First Published: In Struggle! No. 192, February 20, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Appeal for the political and organizational unity of the international communist movement has just been published in Spanish. This initiative enables us to establish even broader contact with the communists of the world. It was made possible by the co-operation of comrades in the Revolutionary Communist Party of Chile (RCP) who agreed to our request to translate the document.
We are publishing some excerpts from the RCP’s Introduction to the Spanish edition. After indicating that they are in basic agreement with most of points of view put forward in the Appeal, the comrades from the RCP emphasize that they also consider the initiative taken by our organization and other Marxist-Leninist organizations to promote the unity of revolutionary communists on a world scale as a very positive step forward. (The subtitles are ours.)
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... We want to take advantage of this occasion to briefly put forward some opinions on the unity of the international communist movement.
Our Party, both in its writings and its practice, has defined itself as a firm believer in the unity of the international communist movement. We believe that we would not serve this cause if we made no efforts to achieve it. However, we would not serve it either if we let ourselves be carried away by our wish for an international communist organization without duly demarcating from the present variants of revisionism, not only from those which are being openly fought, but also from others that must yet be unmasked.
Organizational unity will only be achieved as a result of political and ideological unity. The latter can only be reached by deepening the struggle against the different bourgeois and revisionist conceptions.
In other words, to really unite we must put politics in command, make ideological struggle the centre of political work and, without ignoring,shelving or being spontaneous about organizational questions, make them serve the political ones. To consider organizational questions as basic, leaving ideological and political ones in second place, to quickly build organizations without going through the indispensable process of reaching political and ideological unity, would have the clear advantage of being a spectacular victory, in the desire for unity, but it would be more superficial victory than a real and lasting one. Although it would have some effect in stimulating the struggles in our countries it could easily be transformed into discouragement and frustration as a result of the inevitable political and ideological contradictions that had been set aside.
It seems to us that ideological and political unity, which is the key problem, as well as organizational unity, are the fruits of a process in which common actions and discussions are carried to a higher level. It is at this point that the first organizational links are formed.
It is in this sense that lately we have had a few positive experiences at the same time as we have had. negative ones: on the one hand the boycott of the Chinese revisionists at multilateral meetings, and on the other hand the imposition of this decision by some parties that call themselves Marxist-Leninists. We also consider as negative the manipulation of Marxist-Leninists’ correct desire for unity for the exclusive purpose of propaganda, or agitation or solely to serve immediate goals. This has happened in some Joint Declarations and demonstrations organized by several parties which played such an important role in isolating the Chinese revisionists when they took complete power in the People’s Republic of China. These could have been the starting point for unity, but it quickly became evident that they did not correspond to a real spirit of advancing in practice in the process of unity around Marxist-Leninist principles, and that some considered unity as slavish adherence to certain incorrect positions which they were not even willing to discuss.
For example, the last joint declaration proposed to us was supposedly in defence of Stalin, but its objective was evident: it endeavoured to obtain a collective condemnation, which it did not dare to propose openly, of the thought and work of Comrade Mao Zedong. Our Party is ready to discuss a Marxist-Leninist evaluation of Stalin and his work, just as it has seriously tried to discuss a Marxist-Leninist evaluation of Mao Zedong, because it considers that these are some of the fundamental questions linked to the principal problems that the international communist movement faces and will continue to face. However, such a discussion has always been avoided and instead, there has been hasty publications of declarations – largely unsubstantiated – against comrade Mao Zedong...
Since it is very important to adopt a certain number of political and organizational agreements, we believe it is of crucial importance for the unity of Marxist-Leninists to make a thorough and collective analysis of the history of the international communist movement, its Internationals, the origins of revisionism in the different stages, as manifested in each of our countries and in the U.S.S.R. and China, and of the efforts to formulate a geperal line opposed to revisionism, etc.
The reasons for this analysis of the origins of revisionism is to prevent and fight it effectively, to demarcate from it on all levels and to demonstrate to the masses that despite what has happened in the U.S.S.R., the other East European countries and in China, Marxism-Leninism is still the most precious weapon for liberation from all exploitation and oppression.
If we leave this process of clarification until later, if we proceed to study an international programme for communists, for instance, or to set up certain organizations before we have made progress in this clarification, we will inevitably come face to face with the problems of the history of the international communist movement during the discussion, and be prevented from advancing in theory or practice...
We think that the present weakness of the international communist movement is basically due to the fact that in many of our new parties there are still important aspects of revisionist and bourgeois attitudes and conceptions which have not been sufficiently unmasked and combatted on a daily basis on all levels. It is clear that these influences will retrain as long as social classes exist, but our struggle to have Marxist-Leninist principles prevail will make the dividing line between these principles and revisionism more clear-cut.
In order to advance in the process of ideological, political and organizational unity , we must concentrate our efforts on an exchange of opinions on what we judge to be the most important aspects for unity of revolutionary communists at the present stage of the revolutionary struggle. At the same time, we must proceed in the heat of the struggle against our common enemies to carry our discussion to higher levels on those points which are not of prime importance at this time and on which we have no precise opinion or where disagreement exists.
FORWARD IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLE AND THE UNITY OF MARXIST-LENINISTS ON A WORLD SCALE!
International Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Chile