Since I posted Maoist Road #1, I have been posting a number of articles that specify different lines in the international Maoist movement. Comrade Paolo Babini of the CARC has been very gracious and accommodating and has provided a very useful overview of the differences between the (new)Communist Party of Italy [(n)PCI] and the Maoist Communist Party of Italy (PCmI). This overview of the differences was originally sent, as the letter states that precedes the analysis, to the UCPN(Maoist) to clarify differences between the two different organizations and I have reposted it so that a more general audience can learn of the line differences between these two Maoist Italian parties. I would be very interested in reading more about the divergences on history and the Italian situation and hope that if Comrade Babini knows of an additional document that identifies these differences that he will provide us with a copy so that the readers of this blog can be made aware as to the nature of the differences between the two respective organizations. I will not spend any more time analyzing the document provided at this point as I need to think about the document provided more before doing so, however, readers should expect an analysis in the next few days. I would also like to apologize for the fact that the lack of updates however, I do not have internet access in my new location and am being forced to find open networks which is not always the easiest thing to do.
Party of the Committees to Support Resistance – for Communism (CARC) – Italy
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About the divergences between Communist Proletarians (known abroad as Maoist Party of Italy) and us
you asked me information about the divergences between the (new)Italian Communist Party [(n)PCI, from now on] and the Communist Proletarians [CoPro, from now on], who are known abroad as Maoist Party of Italy. Those divergences are important. I know very well that for Communists of other countries it is not easy to evaluate them, The (n)PCI explained its conception of the world and its analysis of the present situation and the line it carries out. You may read it in its basic text, the Manifesto Program [see http://www.nuovopci.it/eile/en/in080619.html, where you will find the English version – soon French version will be available]. CoPro never did something like this, even if the leading group of CoPro has been existing and working without interruption since the beginning of the Eighties, that is to say carrying out activities of organization and propaganda for more than 30 years.
The importance given to the communist conception of the world for founding the party’s building and activity is one of the features that distinguish radically the two organizations.
This leads to a very different practice as regards socialist revolution in Italy. A main difference concern the Party: the (n)PCI is a clandestine party, while CoPro is a legal organization. The other main difference concerns the strategy: the (n)PCI’s strategy is the Protracted Revolutionary People’s War carried out according to the conception exposed in the Manifesto Program, chapter 3.3, while CoPro put at the centre of its activity the economic claims it intends to politicize (so they often say, but not explaining clearly what they mean).
Obviously it is not easy for foreign comrades as you are to evaluate the line of the two organizations referring to the Italian situation that you do not know or know superficially. So I believe you may understand the divergences between the two organizations considering them from the point of view of the International Communist Movement, rather than from the point of view of the analysis of the situation of the single country and of the line the organizations are following in the class struggle developing there.
On November 2010 the Central Committee of the (n)PCI sent a letter to a leader of the UCPN(Maoist) in charge of the international relations for his party. It shows the divergences between (n)PCI and CoPro from this point of view. The CARC Party, which I am in charge of for the international relations, shares the position here exposed by the (n)PCI.
Central Committee of the (new) Italian Communist Party
On Divergences between Proletari Comunisti and Us
In order to illustrate the divergences between the (new) Italian Communist Party [(n)PCI] and Proletari Comunisti [Communist Proletarians – CoPro] (also known as Rosso Operaio or Maoist Party of Italy) to foreign comrades, we shall not expose the many divergences about the analysis of history and situation of our country or the many divergences about the line (on the strategy and tactics) followed by (n)PCI and that followed by CoPro in the class struggle ongoing in Italy. We think that to expose this kind of divergences is not necessary, since the evaluation of the first ones requires a knowledge of the history and of the situation in Italy that the foreign comrades usually do not have nor are required to have and the second ones concern tasks that must be defined on the basis of knowledge of the history and of the particular and concrete situation of our country and so they are under sole competence of the Italian communist movement. We instead shall show the different positions of (n)PCI and CoPro in the history of International Communist Movement [ICM] and as regards the ideological divergences and the differences in the line existing in the ICM. The foreign comrades know or can know the history of ICM and the divergences in ICM as we do. So they can properly consider these divergences between (n)PCI and CoPro.
The communist movement was born in Italy as in many other countries for the split of the socialist movement as a result of the failure of the Second International in 1914. The first Italian Communist Party (PCI) was founded in 1921 and carried out the struggle against fascism, culminating in the Resistance (1943-1945) and in the defeat of fascism, in the frame of the first Communist International (Comintern) [CI]. The Kingdom of Italy, established 150 years ago under the Savoy dynasty, was wrecked with fascism but, under direction and protection of U.S. imperialism, it was replaced the Papal Republic, which has its main pillar in the Vatican Court and its Church.
The real founder of the first PCI, Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), was imprisoned by the fascist regime in 1926 and was released only in 1937 when, because of the prison regime to which he was submitted, he was already dying. However, before his arrest he carried out a fruitful work of building the party and while in detention he did a great work of reflection on the problems of the socialist revolution in our country. His work has stamped a deep imprint in the Italian communist movement and in the history of our country. Despite this and despite the heroic struggle waged against fascism, the first PCI did not establish socialism in Italy and then its work was left unfinished, so as the work of the communist parties of the first CI was left unfinished in the other imperialist countries. The ideological and political line of the first PCI in the 50s and 60s of last century is well known abroad, thanks to two famous documents released by the Chinese Communist Party: On the Divergences between Comrade Togliatti and Us (December 1962) and More on the Divergences between Comrade Togliatti and Us (February 1963).
The Twentieth Congress of the CPSU (1956) initiated the fragmentation of ICM. Initially two wings were formed. The right wing openly repudiated some fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism and the left wing asserted allegiance to Marxism-Leninism. In many countries the two wings separated organizationally and the left one formed the Marxist-Leninists parties and groups who assembled the most resolute part of the left of the old communist parties and continued its tradition.
In 1966 in China Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Proletarian Revolution [CPR]. In essence, with the CPR it was stated that to assert allegiance to Marxism-Leninism was not enough. For the victory of the communist movement, the one needed to be divided into two. It was not enough to oppose the denial of Marxism-Leninism that Khrushchev and his followers promoted. Marxism-Leninism needed to be enriched with the principles developed from the experience of the proletarian revolution that had taken place since the October Revolution (1917), with the CPSU and the first CI as a driving force in the ICM, with the Soviet Union as red base of the world proletarian revolution and whose central work was the creation of the first socialist countries and of the socialist camp. In essence, the CPR was the founding act of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Part of the Marxist-Leninist parties and groups rejected the CPR and its message, and this gave rise to a further division in the ICM.
In 1976, after Mao Zedong’s death, in China the CPR was defeated, the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] ceased to aspire to be the driving force of the renewal of the ICM and the People’s Republic of China [PRC] ceased to aspire to play the role of red base of world proletarian revolution. This led to further divisions in ICM as well. In some countries, the Marxist-Leninist parties and groups disintegrated. Some Marxist-Leninist parties and groups substantially aligned to the positions supported by Enver Hoxha (the Party of Labor of Albania [PLA]) which condemned the previous Maoism and the CPR, in the name of the continuity of Marxism-Leninism. Others asserted Maoism as the third higher stage of communist thinking, after Marxism and Leninism. The Communist Party of Peru [CPP] was the standard-bearer of this current. Others remained on intermediate positions.
In 1984 it was formed the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement [RIM], which professed allegiance to the anti-revisionist struggle carried out by the CCP led by Mao Zedong. However, in its founding Declaration (1984) the RIM did not refer to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, but to Marxism-Leninism. In essence, the Declaration made a formal tribute to the CPR, but did not expose and still less assimilated the contributions of Maoism to communist thinking. The current leading team of CoPro participated in the founding of the RIM.
The relation that after the foundation of the RIM was established between the RIM and the CPP, however, made the RIM a channel for spreading internationally the thesis of PCP that Maoism is the third higher stage of communist thinking. But in 1998, when the RIM published a new edition of its founding Declaration, it was completely identical to that of 1984, except that the term Marxism-Leninism was changed to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
CoPro is entirely internal to this path of RIM. Even today it asserts to be based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and pays tribute to Maoism. But in fact, in its theory and his practice, in the current situation CoPro continues the tradition of the old left of the PCI, for good or ill.
In the imperialist countries along the first part of last century, during the first wave of proletarian revolution, the communist parties of the first CI played a positive role as national departments of ICM, in defending the USSR and in the fight against fascism, but in no country they developed their understanding of the conditions, forms and results of the class struggle in order to carry out the class struggle until the establishment of socialism in their country. As long as the ICM has been strong and growing, in general they mobilized the working class and the masses in large and effective struggles, and under their direction the masses wrung many conquests of civilization and prosperity from the imperialist bourgeoisie. When since the 70s the ICM entered a phase of decline, even the communist parties of the imperialist countries have gradually lost strength and, also as a result of the second general crisis of capitalism for absolute overproduction of capital which began during those same years, the imperialist bourgeoisie has begun to reduce and eliminate the conquests that the masses wrung from her under the direction of the communist parties of the first CI and for the effect of ICM.
When, starting from the XX Congress of the CPSU, in the old communist parties the right wing was gradually coming fully to light, the left wing differed for asserting allegiance to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and for opposing the attenuation of the struggles of demands. It did it the more clearly the more, also on this ground, the right wing was coming instead to compromise with the imperialist bourgeoisie. The Marxist-Leninist parties and groups that were formed in the imperialist countries in the wake of anti-revisionist struggle led by the CCP and the PLA, continued to accentuate the features of the left wing of the old communist parties. They were parties and groups characterized and hampered by dogmatism in theory and by economism in practical matters.
They were dogmatic in the sense that they asserted the principles of Marxism-Leninism without taking them as a guide for their work. So they did not carried them out in the particular situation of the socialist revolution in their country, they did not develop them on the basis of the experience of the first wave of proletarian revolution, and they reduced them to empty formulas.
They followed economism as they supported claims and claiming slogans more radical than the right wing was doing. This practice was made possible and even facilitated by the fact that in no country they were directing large organizations or large masses’ claiming struggles. So generally their radicalism was limited to slogans and propaganda.
The split between theory and practice characterized them and slowed or prevented their development.
As far as we know, even among those who after the struggle promoted by CPP declared themselves Maoists no one of the parties and groups of the imperialist countries has overcome the limits of dogmatism and economism outlined above. Also CoPro, among them, did not do it at all. For CoPro to join Maoism is to wave a flag. For CoPro Maoism is like a badge that it put on in order to be recognized, as a sign of identity and recognition. CoPro says that Maoism is the third higher stage of communist thinking, but it has never defined which the main contributions of Maoism to communist thinking are. Still less it carried Maoism out in any positive innovation in comparison to the left of the old PCI. In the theoretical field CoPro repeats the principles of Marxism-Leninism turned into empty formulas. In the political field it has not formulated any strategy to establish socialism. It does not distinguish between strategy and tactics. It reduces the political struggle to the claiming struggles: growing in number and strength, sooner or later those claiming struggles should lead to the outbreak of the revolution (this is the real strategy of CoPro). The most important negative innovation in comparison to the left wing of the old PCI that CoPro introduced is the confusion of roles and boundaries between party and trade union: CoPro called “communist party of new type” the hybrid organization resulting from it.
The lack of distinction between strategy and tactics expresses itself in particular in the polemic that CoPro explicitly carries out against the (new) Italian Communist Party [(n)PCI] and in a less systematic and somewhat blurred way against the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [UCPN(m)]. As for (n)PCI, in any ground CoPro reduces our strategy to the tactics that we follow in a particular moment in that ground, it points out that tactics as a strategy and criticizes it from the standpoint of the strategy. CoPro has never yet faced in a systematic and comprehensive way the criticism of the strategy that we follow and indicate to establish socialism in Italy. Because of this the criticism of CoPro towards the (n)PCI is actually denigration of the (n)PCI. The criticism of CoPro towards the UCPN(m) is more blurred, but in essence is of the same type of that towards the (n)PCI. This is however logical because the critic is always the same and does not escape its conception of the world, by his nature it sees what it is able to see and talks with the language it knows. CoPro does not distinguish between tactics and strategy and insinuates doubts about the revolutionary character of the UCPN(m) and its allegiance to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism relying on the fact that in 2006 the UCPN(m) had an agreement with the Alliance of the Seven Parties and suspended military activity.
As regards the position of (n)PCI in the frame of ICM, the world conception that guides it and the strategy it follows to establish socialism in Italy and his tactics at this stage, the (n)PCI has described them in detail in his Manifesto program whose English version is available in the website of the party (http://www.nuovopci.it). It indicated the main contributions of Maoism to communist thinking in his writing The Eighth Discriminating Factor whose English version is available in the same website.
The peculiarity of the development of the communist movement in Italy is that in the 70s the Red Brigades [BR] were formed. On one side this organization gave an interpretation mainly positive about the first wave of proletarian revolution, asserted allegiance to the principles of Marxism Leninism, and to some extent was inspired by Maoism; on the other side it upheld that the line taken by the PCI after the conclusion of the anti-fascist Resistance (1945) was wrong and that, in order to establish socialism in Italy, it was necessary to rebuild the Communist Party providing it the strategy of the armed propaganda. The Red Brigades constituted a healthy innovation in the communist movement in the imperialist countries. In their activities they combined political struggle with the armed struggle, and asserted that the socialist revolution in imperialist countries is not an event that breaks out, but a process that the Communist Party builds, as F. Engels indicated in 1895, in the Introduction to Class Struggles in France from 1848 to 1850.
The Red Brigades were ultimately defeated because they degenerated in militarism, but their criticism of the first PCI was deeper and went beyond that of the Marxist-Leninist parties and groups: the BR also criticized the conception and practice of the left wing of the communist parties of the first CI (and not only the conception and practice of their right wing, as Marxist-Leninist parties and groups were doing).
The (new) Italian Communist Party has collected and has assimilated Red Brigades’ criticism to the left wing of the old communist parties of the imperialist countries and, thanks to Maoism, it has developed this criticism in the conception of the world that guides it, in an organic system of evaluation of ICM experience during the first wave of proletarian revolution, in the identification of the reasons why during the first wave of proletarian revolution no communist party of the imperialist countries has established socialism in their country, in the analysis of the situation of the imperialist countries (general crisis for absolute overproduction of capital, regime of preventive counterrevolution), up to the strategy for socialist revolution in Italy (protracted revolutionary people’s war with a clandestine Communist party that develops a large mass work through generated and non-generated mass organizations) and its articulation in the tactics of the current phase (the General Plan of Work). Since the end of 2007, when we entered the terminal phase of the second general crisis of capitalism, the (n)PCI took into account the level where in Italy the rebirth of the communist movement and the establishment of new power are. Therefore it made concrete its tactics. Now our tactics is: “to create the conditions for making the Workers’ Organizations and People’s Organizations constitute an emergency government (the People’s Bloc Government) who will implement the six general measures,(1) giving form and strength of national laws to the provisions the same Workers and People’s Organizations will indicate in each particular case to eliminate immediately the worst effects of the economic and environmental crises and start the rebirth of the country, and so bar the way to the reactionary mobilization of the popular masses promoted by the most criminal groups of the bourgeoisie and the clergy.
The (n)PCI is a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party. As part of the ICM the (n)PCI struggles for making parties and groups take up Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as their ideology and carries it out into a line (strategy with its tactics) to establish socialism in their country. In the imperialist countries, only through this transformation, they will be able to promote the second wave of the proletarian revolution that advances in the world driven by the second general crisis of capitalism until establishing socialism in their own country, merging with the communist parties around the world to form the second CI and lead humanity in the transition to communism.
In order to fully evaluate the divergences between the (n)PCI and CoPro, the communist parties of the imperialist countries must first understand the rational reasons why, during the first wave of proletarian revolution, the communist movement did not establish socialism in their own country. We believe that by making this search, they will reach the conclusion that Maoism is the third higher stage of communist thinking. In order to fully understand the divergences between the (n)PCI and CoPro, the communist parties based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism must ask CoPro what are the main contributions of Maoism to the communist thinking and how CoPro used them to define the conception of the world that guide it and the line (the strategy and tactics) that it follows in its activities.
1. The six measures are the following:
1. to give to every firm productive tasks (of goods or of services) useful and suited to its nature, according to a national plan (no firm must be closed);
2. to distribute products to families and individuals, to firms and collective uses according to clear plan and criteria, universally known and democratically decided;
3- to assign to every individual a socially useful work and, in exchange of its scrupulous implementation, pledge him the conditions necessary for a dignified life and for the participation in the management of society (no worker must be fired);
4. to eliminate activities and productions useless and detrimental for human beings or for the environment, assigning other task to the firms;
5. to start the reorganization of the other social relations according to the new productive base;
6, to establish relation of cooperation or of exchange with other countries willing to establish them with us.