First Posted: June 17, 2010.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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Right doctrinarism persisted in recognising only the old forms, and became utterly bankrupt, for it did not notice the new content. Left doctrinarism persists in the unconditional repudiation of certain old forms, failing to see that the new content is forcing its way through all and sundry forms, that it is our duty as Communists to master all forms, to learn how, with the maximum rapidity, to supplement one form with another, to substitute one for another, and to adapt our tactics to any such change that does not come from our class or from our efforts. (Lenin, “Left-wing” Communism: an Infantile Disorder)
We are currently going through an important period in the history of class struggle in the world. In Britain, the past eight years have been marked by a rapid polarisation of the society between the ruling class and the people, emerging shortly before and during the occupation of Iraq, causing a palpable loss of ’credibility’ of the ruling class and politicisation of the working class and the masses, particularly the youth.
Today, the objective situation indicates an accelerating rate of decay in all spheres of life, which is increasingly compelling the masses to seek a way out of the gradually more unstable living conditions. One example is the intensification of the class struggle in the North of Ireland. Also, the British imperialist state is at war with the oppressed nation of Afghanistan, a war which has become grossly unpopular, and increasingly heading toward a humiliating defeat. It has already been forced to retreat from its occupation of Iraq.
Moreover, the economic crisis is persevering, forcing the state to transfer the crisis to the oppressed countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The war and the economic crisis have compelled the ruling class to tighten the living conditions for the working class as well. The privatisation of the public sector, including the post office and even education, is accelerating. The ruling class is also resorting to more suppressive measures in this country, including facilitating the creation of fascist organisations, such as the English Defence League (EDL).
The parasitic system ruling Britain, particularly its structure of bourgeois democracy as well as its monopoly capitalist economy, has to a palpable extent lost the ’confidence’ of the people. Evidently, the ruling class politicians and economists are unable to provide any proper solution to reverse this detrimental trend. For a growing number of working class and the masses it is becoming increasingly clear that the existing political system and its ruling politicians have no competency to solve the numerous people’s problems.
Now that the tip of the iceberg of ruling class corruption has surfaced, they are desperately running around striving to hide what lies below. Even within two weeks of the so-called ’new’ politics of the Tory-Lib Dem government, one cabinet minister has already been forced to resign because of corruption. Major contradictions within the ruling class have intensified, hugely weakening the existing political structure, particularly the parliament. The ruling class infighting and the exposure of the members of the parliament’s expenses, undoubtedly has opened the way for revolutionaries to show that the whole system is corrupt and rotten to the core.
It is true that the whole structure is moribund and today the old cracks are widening and some pillars are splitting, but the monopoly capitalist ruling system will not crumble down spontaneously. Although there has been polarisation, rising levels of consciousness amongst the people and a loss of confidence in the ruling class, the continued prevalence of spontaneous thinking and the ability of the ruling class to maintain the illusion that it is the only viable system still play a decisive role. There is a definite need to explain to the people that the old structure should be demolished and be replaced with a new one. This immense and complicated task, which can only be carried out under the leadership of the proletariat, requires a careful plan based on the objective reality and particularities of Britain.
Indeed, communists need to investigate this society to formulate a scientific class analysis and on this basis work out a revolutionary strategy compatible to these particularities. However, these fundamental tasks can only be accomplished in the process of formation of a genuine Communist Party and a revolutionary movement under the leadership of the proletariat, and therefore, invariably depend on development of a correct ideological-political line. Hence, we need to develop a dialectical-materialist understanding of practice-theory-practice.
It is clear that the objective situation is increasingly becoming more favourable. However, there are several serious subjective problems that we communists need to address in order to build a proletarian-led revolutionary movement in Britain. The first and the most important problem is grasping the ideology of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
In this context, the experience of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) provides guidance in grasping this ideology. Their successful experience shows that ideological and political advances can only take place through the creation and development of a proletarian-led revolutionary movement, and also by adopting the method of involving the working class and the masses in major two-line struggles within the Party.
Indeed, the central task of communists is to develop and lead a revolutionary movement in this country. However, today, the proletarian-led revolution in Nepal is rapidly reaching its peak. In this situation, building a powerful support for the Nepalese revolution in this country is not only essential, showing a true internationalist spirit, but also highly desirable for developing a proletarian-led revolutionary movement in Britain.
The UCPN(M) provides a good example of how a Communist Party and a revolutionary movement under its leadership could develop. But the RCP (USA), which was established 35 years ago to carry out revolution in the top imperialist country, and has completely failed and remained grossly insignificant, also provides a good example of what not to do. In this light, we need to learn from both experiences with the aim of creating a proletarian-led revolutionary movement in this country.
In our article, “On Vicious Attacks Against the Revolution in Nepal” (www.wprmbritain.org), we criticised the RCP (USA), exposing that their thesis of the ’Nepalese revolution under the leadership of revisionists’ is wrong and damaging. We showed that the RCP has grossly failed to grasp the science of revolution, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, because after decades of political activities, the Party has been unable to apply the proletarian ideology to the concrete conditions of the US. We emphasised that the central task of a Communist Party is to develop a revolutionary movement in that country, and therefore, the RCP’s failure is the proof of its wrong ideological-political line.
However, instead of dividing the Party and its leadership into two, and realising that the principal aspect of its ideological-political line is non-proletarian, Bob Avakian, the Party’s arm-chairman, has theorised the RCP’s overall failure in his ’New Synthesis’, pompously claiming to be the saviour of humanity. The fact that nearly the whole Party has taken up the ’New Synthesis’ shows that the secondary aspect within the Party has once again blindly tailed the dominant wrong line, but this time losing the condition for its existence. Thus, this monolithic Party has completely transformed itself into its opposite, changed its position to that of its opposite and what it claims to be – revolutionary.
During the last few years, the RCP has gone through a series of regressive leaps to reach its present position. Bob Avakian copied the notion of “Crusading McWorld vs. Reactionary Jihad” from Benjamin R. Barber’s book entitled “Jihad vs. McWorld, Terrorism’s Challenge to Democracy” (Corgi Book, 2003), condemning the national resistance movement in Iraq fighting against the US occupation of their oppressed country as reactionary (please see the RCP-USA and its New Synthesis, Part 2, www.wprmbritain.org). And during the same period, the RCP launched its initial attacks against the revolution in Nepal and its leadership (same article).
Also, in the campaign ’World Can’t Wait, Drive out the Bush Regime’, the RCP joined a section of the US imperialist ruling class to impeach George W. Bush, and warned the White House and Congress that they would lose people’s support if they did not change their direction (The RCP-USA and its New Synthesis, Part 1, www.wprmbritain.org).
The final ideological-political leap backward, which took place with Bob Avakian’s New Synthesis, shows that the RCP has become a completely backward and infantile ’Communist’ Party, left in form but right in essence. That is why today, the RCP viciously attacks genuine Communist Parties, such as the UCPN(M), and destructively criticises progressive people like Arundhati Roy, who actively supports a massive and rapidly growing revolutionary movement in India under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), damaging both just to get noticed. In spite of using revolutionary words, these anti-revolutionary activities indicate that the RCP has degenerated into opportunism.
Furthermore, this Party has shown that it is incapable of carrying out any major two-line struggle, rectification campaign or self-criticism, and therefore, it is extremely intolerant and scared of being criticised. For these reasons, the RCP launches its anti-revolutionary attacks against the revolution in Nepal and its leadership by a few individuals, so-called supporters of that revolution. This disingenuous conduct is only to pretend that there are others who ’independently’ have come to the same conclusion.
However, according to ’A Basic Understanding of the Communist Party of China’, “we must not act as if we want to hide our sickness in order to avoid being cured, nor hide our errors or refuse to accept criticism, nor enjoy boasting while refusing to be criticised.” And Mao says, “I believe we should do things honestly, for without an honest attitude it is absolutely impossible to accomplish anything in this world” (Rectify the Party’s Style of Work)
Some supporters of the RCP (USA)’s anti-revolutionary line against the Nepalese revolution and its leadership, without even striving to pay attention to the concrete analysis of the concrete situations in Nepal carried out by the UCPN(M), have concluded that the revolutionary movement in this oppressed country cannot achieve victory because the line of the leadership of the Party is wrong.
Well, what is the meaning of line? Line is a compressed expression of theory and practice. Undoubtedly, in a class society, every line has a class character. The basis of a line is an ideology, and on this basis policies are formulated and applied to the class society serving the interests of a particular class. However, today there are only two ideologies; bourgeois and proletarian. On the basis of bourgeois ideology, bourgeois politics is formulated by the ruling bourgeois parties to preserve the existing system of exploitation and oppression. And, on the basis of the ideology of the proletariat, proletarian politics (strategy and tactics) is formulated by the Communist Party to abolish these fundamental ills of the class society, principally through revolutions.
Thus, in a class society, every line has a class orientation, and therefore, line can be defined as a compressed expression of ideology and politics; an ideological-political line of a class. In every battle of class struggle, from small to huge, different class forces strive to tilt the balance of forces in their favour to win the battle. That is why in a given condition, “The correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything” (Mao, The 10th National Congress of the Communist Party of China).
A proletarian line is based on the proletarian ideology: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. When this ideology is correctly applied to class society, proletarian politics and a correct ideological-political line develops. That is why Lenin emphasizes, “What is most important, that which constitutes the very gist, the living soul, of Marxism – a concrete analysis of a concrete situation.” (The Journal of the Communist International). Grasping the proletarian ideology primarily depends on applying it to the class society to develop proletarian politics. Consequently, the development of a proletarian-led revolutionary movement is the only criterion of an ideological-political line.
Lenin also says, “Without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement. This thought cannot be insisted upon too strongly at a time when the fashionable preaching of opportunism goes hand in hand with an infatuation for the narrowest forms of practical activity” (What is to be done?). Here, he draws a clear line against economism and spontaneity, emphasising that the creation and development of a proletarian-led revolutionary movement is the primary task of the proletariat.
Class struggle, especially against class enemies, is generally the main arena to develop a correct ideological-political line. However, because the Communist Party is a reflection of class society, from time to time, class struggle is consciously waged in a compressed form, two opposing ideological-political lines within the Party. This is a method that Lenin and particularly Mao developed, the method of major two-line struggle, which is essential to overcome the erroneous lines within the Communist Party striving to lead the revolution. And the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-76) advanced this method and principle to a new height.
Consequently, the development of a proletarian ideological-political line depends on adopting the method of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to involve the working class and the masses in major two-line struggles within the Party. This method not only provides the basis for the Communist Party to overcome the erroneous lines by relying on the masses, but also by transforming both the Party and the masses ideologically, creating a higher ideological-political unity within the Party and among the masses.
By applying the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the UCPN(M) has analysed the history, the concrete conditions and the present situation of the class struggle in Nepal. Grasping the correct ideological-political line through creating and developing a proletarian-led revolutionary movement has enabled the Party to recognise the major contradictions of the Nepalese society and identify the principal one at each stage of advancing the revolutionary movement in the country.
Through the class struggle, particularly from 1994, the UCPN(M) has provided a correct answer to the questions regarding the nature, tasks, the motive force and the objectives of the revolution. At each stage of developing the revolutionary movement, the Party’s tactics has further united the people and divided the enemies of the people, namely the ruling reactionary classes, the Indian expansionists and imperialists, particularly the US imperialists.
For the first time in the history of the country, the working class, the peasantry, the intelligentsia, the petit- bourgeoisie and some sections of the national bourgeoisie have united under the leadership of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) creating the most powerful and independent force, preparing to determine the course of class struggle in Nepal.
Millions of people, from all walks of life, from different nationalities, different castes and particularly women as well as men, have been consciously organised around their just demands. Half a million youth, the most important asset of any country, have been organised in the Young Communist League (YCL) to build a New Democratic Nepal. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the People’s Militia have continuously developed in different shapes or forms. Many communist organisations and individuals have joined the Party through struggle and many continue to join. All these developments have taken place under the leadership of the UCPN(M) to prepare the working class and the masses for the seizure of power and the building of an independent and democratic country.
Some supporters of the RCP (USA), without looking at the facts, try to convince themselves that they know the truth about the revolution in Nepal. Well, let’s look at some more facts. The working class, the peasantry, the intelligentsia, the petit-bourgeoisie and some sections of the national bourgeoisie in Nepal are different classes, and therefore, have different class interests and demands. Also, for more than two decades, the imperialists and reactionary classes all over the world have declared and persistently propagated that Communism is dead. This malicious propaganda has certainly affected people globally, including the people of Nepal.
However, the UCPN(M), being able to increasingly unite these classes under the banner of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism during the last 16 years, shows that the Party has been able to respond correctly to the people’s just demands. Moreover, during this period when bourgeois ideology in different shapes or forms has dominated the world, and rampant agnosticism about the necessity and inevitability of socialist revolution has become the norm, the UCPN(M) not only has powerfully demonstrated that communism is alive and kicking, but also that the second wave of proletarian revolutions has already begun.
During the 6 days of the Mayday campaign, 5 million people actively participated throughout the whole country, 6 hundred thousand in Kathmandu, demanding a fundamental change in Nepal. It is astonishing to not realise the level of consciousness and organisation necessary to carry out the campaign and sustain it for 6 days, when the whole country was shut down!
Providing drinking water, food, sanitation, accommodation, medical care and security for 6 nights and days, when the people were continuously demonstrating and surrounding the government’s buildings and military barracks, while the police and plain clothes security agents were attacking demonstrators from without and within, was an immense task, which was carried out successfully. The Mayday campaign under the leadership of the UCPN(M), clearly shows that today, the vast majority of the Nepalese people do not want to live as before.
Moreover, the UCPN(M)’s masterful tactics have further isolated the reactionary ruling classes, causing a deeper rift between the US and European imperialists on the one hand, and the Indian expansionists on the other. The whole campaign of Mayday was peaceful, making it difficult for the imperialists and reactionaries to state that the UCPN(M) is a Party of war. In the election in 2008, the current Prime Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal of UML, lost not one but two seats! In fact, a large number of ministers, including deputy Prime-Minister S. Koirala from the Nepali Congress Party, were not even elected in that election, which has caused serious problems for the Western ’democracies’ to recognise the legitimacy of the government in Nepal.
During the campaign, some sections of the vacillating national bourgeoisie wrote to both the UCPN(M) and the government, putting forward their demands. They warned the government that if their demands were not met, they would not recognise the government and would not pay any taxes. Also, 50 top UML leaders have opposed the Prime Minister officially.
The UCPN(M) has continuously exposed the reactionary nature of the 1950 Treaty, which legitimises India’s intervention in Nepal. Now, only India fully supports this government, and also, because the Prime Minister has refused to nullify the 1950 Treaty, the Nepalese people have given him the title of “Puppet of India”. Indeed, due to the UCPN(M)’s masterful tactics, deep divisions within the ruling classes of Nepal have further expanded, and their support from abroad has largely diminished. These recent developments clearly indicate that the ruling classes in Nepal cannot rule as before.
Thus, the whole objective and subjective situation shows that the revolutionary movement under the leadership of the UCPN(M) is advancing forward towards the creation of a revolutionary situation.
These are the most recent facts that we have been able to observe, and certainly there are many more, which can be observed from afar with all our inherent limitations. However, as Marxist observers from afar we have certain principles to distinguish between facts and fiction.
Mao says, “The Marxist philosophy of dialectical materialism has two outstanding characteristics. One is its class nature: it openly avows that dialectical materialism is in the service of the proletariat. The other is practicality: it emphasizes the dependence of theory on practice, emphasizes that theory is based on practice and in turn serves practice. The truth of any knowledge or theory is not determined by subjective feelings, but by objective results in social practice. Only social practice can be the criterion of truth. The standpoint of practice is the primary and basic standpoint in the materialist theory of knowledge” (On Practice)
Thus, as observers from afar, we need to analyse and then synthesise the ideological-political line of the UCPN(M) leading the revolution in Nepal, primarily and basically, on the practice of the revolutionary movement and its leadership. For this purpose, we need to find correct answers to the following questions:
Has the Party applied Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the concrete conditions of Nepal?
Has the Party been able to investigate the society and formulate a Marxist class analysis of the country?
Has the Party been able to implement a revolutionary strategy for the masses to seize power?
Has the Party been able to create a revolutionary movement and ensure its advances?
Has the Party led the revolution through strategic stages of defensive, equilibrium and offensive?
Has the Party been able to develop tactics to unite the people and divide the enemy, all along?
Is the Party leading the revolutionary movement through final sub-stages of the strategic offensive?
Are there clear signs that a revolutionary situation is being created under the leadership of the UCPN(M)?
If we investigate properly and honestly, we can clearly see that the answer to all these questions is YES. And if we investigate properly and honestly, regarding the RCP’s practice in the US, we can clearly see that the answer to even the first question is NO. However, it is astonishing that a few individuals still support the RCP’s line which has totally failed in practice, proven to believe in a non-revolutionary theory, and therefore, following a wrong ideological-political line.
The ’left’ opportunists and economists have one common root, namely, bowing to spontaneity. However, the ’left’ opportunists and economists bow to different poles of spontaneity. The ’left’ opportunists bow to the spontaneity of the passionate subjective imagination of petty-bourgeoisie intellectuals, who lack the ability to link up the revolutionary struggle with the working class and the masses to form a revolutionary movement, while the economists bow to the spontaneity of the ’pure’ working class movement.
It is difficult indeed for those who have lost their belief in the working class and the masses, or who have never really believed in a proletarian revolution, to find some outlet for their indignation and energy other than belittling its achievements and pompously declaring its future failure. And at this juncture, when the process of creating a revolutionary situation in Nepal has begun, they have no option but to bury their heads in the sand, like ostriches, and imagine that everything around them has disappeared.
Lenin says, “Will this situation last long? How much more acute will it become? Will it lead to revolution? This is something we do not know, and nobody can know. The answer can be provided only by the experience gained during the development of revolutionary sentiment and the transition to revolutionary action by the advanced class, the proletariat.
There can be no talk in this connection about “illusions” or their repudiation, since no socialist has ever guaranteed that this war (and not the next one), that today’s revolutionary situation (and not tomorrow’s) will produce a revolution.
What we are discussing is the indisputable and fundamental duty of all socialists – that of revealing to the masses the existence of a revolutionary situation, explaining its scope and depth, arousing the proletariat’s revolutionary consciousness and revolutionary determination, helping it to go over to revolutionary action, and forming, for that purpose, organisations suited to the revolutionary situation” (The Collapse of the Second International)