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.