More on the (n)PCI’s document, “On the Divergences between Proletari Comunisti and Us”

In my last blog entry I had reposted a document provided by Comrade Paolo Babini which began to articulate the differences between the Maoist Communist Party of Italy (PCmI) and the (new)Communist Party of Italy [(n)PCI]. The document’s title of course is meant to recall the famous documents produced by the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the Great Debate entitled, “On the Divergences between Comrade Togliatti and Us” (December 1962) and “More on the Divergences between Comrade Togliatti and Us” (February 1963). In these two documents the CPC challenges the Italian Communist Party’s (PCI) attempt to decry “dogmatism” and use arguments calling for “creative applications” of Marxism-Leninism to justify revisionism in the form of Eurocommunism (Eurocommunism basically argued that communist parties did not need to use revolutionary violence to overthrow their respective national governments, as it was possible to use the parliamentary path to do so. This was also called the ‘peaceful transition to socialism’ and was made possible due to supposedly “socialist” elements in the Italian constitution). Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier the document does not discuss what I think would be the substantive differences between the two organizations however, there are some interesting elements in the document provided. The document begins with a short overview of the history of the Italian Communist movement within an international context, this history is interesting because it will be a demarcation between the to organizations as we will see shortly. However, I must note that the (n)PCI’s inclusion of Antonio Gramsci is a welcome addition to the classical Maoist pantheon, especially in light of the misuse/abuse of Gramsci’s work by the Communist Party of Italy to justify Eurocommunism.

The document, first of all, identifies at least 4 main points of differentiation between the two organizations: 1) the PCmI’s “dogmatism” ; 2) the PCmI’s economism (which interestingly is supposed to have resulted in a collapse of a clear distinction between the work and role of the Party and the trade unions, supposedly articulated in their own peculiar conception of a “communist party of a new type”; I would be very interested in learning more about the PCmI’s retheorization of the Party, however, to the best of my knowledge no document on the topic exists in English, if someone has such a document please share it with us all); 3) a fully developed understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in contradistinction to the classical Marxism-Leninism that has characterized the Italian Communist movement (this of course relates to the thumbnail history that I mentioned earlier); and 4) that the PCmI has confused the question of strategy and tactics, and has effectively conflated the two. Of course these differences have been articulated in prior statements and comments, and there is nothing substantively new in these charges, and indeed these charges are reasonably common fare in the ICM with numerous different organizations accusing one another of the above deviations.

However, what is new and truly interesting are three points: 1) the aforementioned rehabilitation of Gramsci as the founder of the revolutionary Italian Communist movement; 2) the unequivocal defines of the UCPN(Maoist)’s decision to enter into the peace process in 2006 (although I am sure that this is closely related to a defence of particular tactics that have been employed by the (n)PCI; and 3) the rehabilitation of the Red Brigades. Indeed, the (n)PCI states that the Red Brigades was a “healthy innovation” for the ICM, especially in imperialist countries because of its early combination of the political and armed struggles, which itself was an outcome of a rejection of the classical insurrectionist strategy. Indeed, the (n)PCI claims to have internalized the critique that the Red Brigades provided of the left-wing of the PCI, which for them partially characterizes the qualitative differentiation between Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and classical Marxism-Leninism. The document also distances itself from the Red Brigades later political degeneration into a militarist organization with little political character. Indeed, the experience of the Red Brigades is something that the (n)PCI seems as fundamentally important as their failure emphasizes the need to develop large-scale mass work through mass organizations that are formed by the Party or by the masses themselves, whilst simultaneously developing concrete tactics that are appropriate to the Italian situation at any given time (which they juxtapose to the PCmI’s supposed “flag waving”).

In the coming days I hope to repost other documents from different Maoist  and political-military organizations from around the world so that we can develop a balance sheet of the experiences of the ICM since the 1960’s onwards (something that is unfortunately lacking). However, I think Comrade Paolo Babini for providing this document to us for discussion and analysis, and hope that the comrades from the Maoist Communist Party of Italy will provide a rebuttal to these charges in the coming days so that we can get a better, or perhaps more confused, understanding of the differences between these two organizations.

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One thought on “More on the (n)PCI’s document, “On the Divergences between Proletari Comunisti and Us”

  1. Dear comrade,
    I see you are very interested in the debate among Maoist parties, and in the process by which they could come close together and (maybe) get united, of course when both of them are running the revolutionary road (on the contrary, when there is a party when a part is running the capitalist road, a split is hoped, or else the expulsion of the capitalist runners by the revolutionary ones, if they are able to get the majority).
    Anyway, Maoist parties can get united not setting aside their divergences, but founding themselves on the right conception (so as in a party the two lines struggle is carried out upon the right conception and strategy).
    You know something more about the situation in Italy, and I am going to give you one more information. It regards the matter of participating or not in the bourgeois elections. It is a particular issue, regarding Italy, but it is linked with an universal issue.
    The particular issue is: “Is it right for revolutionary communist parties to participate in the bourgeois elections in Italy?” Only Italian Maoists can answer to this question, because foreign people do not know the particular conditions of the revolutionary struggle in Italy.
    The universal issue is: “Is it right for revolutionary communist parties to participate in the bourgeois elections in the imperialist countries?” This question regards all the revolutionary communists, because it is universal. Obviously, who answers that it is not right for revolutionary communist parties to participate in the bourgeois elections in the imperialist countries, also believes that to do so in Italy is not right, and that who does so is revisionist.
    I am telling you this because in the Paris meeting of January 2010, the first topic was:
    “To advance in the building of the Party in the fire of the class struggle and closely linked with the masses: the participation in the elections is now useless and dangerous. Who participates in the elections in the imperialist countries is revisionist and new-revisionist.”
    I told you that it was the reason why CARC Party was not invited in the meeting, as we participate in the bourgeois elections and so, according to the topic, we were revisionist.
    As you know, PC(Maoist) of Italy (in Italy: Proletari Comunisti) was a promoter of the meeting. Now, after one year and a half, Proletari Comunisti changes its mind. I translate the end of an article (“The Political Action of Proletari Comunisti”) from their review Proletari Comunisti:
    “…who, as we do, openly points to the proletarian and popular revolt and to proletarian and popular victory in a spread civil war (that today also in an imperialist country like ours can have only the characteristics of a protracted people’s war culminating in the insurrection and in seizing political power) cannot undervalue the electoral level in which this clash today takes place. Such undervaluation would be a phenomenon of political blindness, of elitism and infantile extremism. These are all characteristics a party that has to be built in the fire of class struggle cannot have nor allow itself, also in this initial phase of building…”
    From whar Proletari Comunisti are writing we can draw a positive and a negative conclusion.
    The positive and principal conclusion is that Proletari Comunisti have abandoned a wrong conception about participating in bourgeois elections in the imperialist countries. According to the concrete situation of an imperialist country, it could be useful, or even necessary, for revolutionary parties to participate in such elections, and so what they say in Paris on January 2010 was wrong.
    The negative conclusion is that Proletari Comunisti changes its mind without telling why, as if it were normal to say something on January 2010 and to say the contrary on June 2011. This shows that they do not have the necessary attention to the development of the revolutionary theory, that develops also thanks to the process of criticism – self criticism and transformation. This means that they undervalue the ideological work, that they are not independent on the theoretical and ideological level, and so that they are acting blindly, tailing what happens, unable to really contrast the revisionists, because you are able to win against the revisionists only thanks a higher and new conception (revisionists do not need a higher and new conception: they already have the bourgeois conception, and the only work they have to do is to conceal it paying lips service to the revolution).
    Anyway, the positive side is principal: if Proletari Comunisti begin to walk on the right way, even if they do not know how they go this way, they too will give a positive contribution to the People’s War for making Italy a new socialist country.
    In solidarity,

    Paolo Babini

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