These is no organisational formula for party-building. Our emphasis is politically on building the capacity to give a political lead. This emphasis is correct, but this is not to deny the importance of building organisation. However correct the line, however sound the analysis, it is useless unless a disciplined, experienced and dedicated Cadre force exists to put them into practice. Even at this stage of party-building, building organisation, unifying small groups, bringing larger numbers under a common discipline, is correct so long as it is done on a correct basis.
That correct basis is the degree of ideological unity, political unity and unity with the working class achieved. As comrades in different groups develop a common approach on such questions, organisational unity under democratic centralist principles becomes possible and correct. Regarding such matters, a distinction must be made between fundamental principles and less basic issues, and between contradictions central to the present stage of the struggle and those differences which are not immediately relevant, although they may be very serious. If real political unity exists on fundamental and immediately relevant issues, particularly those central to party-building tasks, organisational unity is correct. Other differences can most correctly be resolved in one organisatior, providing correct principles of democratic centralism are effective. Where full democratic discussion and comradely criticism and self-criticism exist internally and where decisions are made and policy formed on the majority line and outwardly applied and tested in practice by the whole organisation, the correct basis for resolving differences is present.
We must learn to “uphold unity while persevering in struggle” not only internally, but in relation to other comrades where organisational unity is not yet possible. Marxist-Leninist organisations avoiding comradely discussion of political differences or not cooperating with others in joint practical work where possible, reveal the error of ’small group’ or ’mountain strong-hold’ mentality. Organisations or individuals failing to put forward basic criticisms or to raise important political differences, show liberalism. We must avoid both errors and see our differences in the Marxist-Leninist movement in relation to the tasks of party-building and the revolutionary movement.
The Communist Unity Association(Marxist-Leninist) holds to the principle of cooperation with any organisation or individual so far as this furthers the development of the necessary conditions for the party. We believe also in the ’open,’ frank, discussion of political differences. We do not hold the view that partial organisational unity such as federalism furthers the struggle. Cooperation or temporary informal unity on some form of practical activity can be useful, it is not, however, a magic carpet ride to correct political unity, as some appear to think.
It would make nonsense of the line of developing the necessary party conditions if this were interpreted as meaning, that these tasks must be fully completed before a party was established. These tasks can never be ’completed’. The great Communist Party of China has led a successful revolution, and now leads the masses in building socialism. Yet as a party it still, struggles to build greater ideological unity, develop its political line and strengthen its ties with the working class and peasantry. So long as a party is needed these struggles must continue.
At what stage, then, is it possible or correct to organisationally establish a party? At the point where there is sufficient ideological unity, political unity and working class links to draw clear lines of demarcation between revolutionary forces and opportunism, to draw up a party programme giving a clear revolutionary lead to the working class and for the party to be in a position to expand and develop its influence among workers. Ideological, political and practical struggles must be engaged in to the point where the party organisation set up will be firmly orientated to continuing and developing these struggles to a higher level.
It is impossible to predict how soon this point can be reached, or what organisational mergers or splits will precede it. The more wide-spread and intense the struggle for the necessary conditions for the party, the sooner a party can be established.
This struggle requires the participation of comrades in different parts of the country, having varied experience of struggle. The unifying and concentration of experience from different places and areas of work is essential to building a correct line and correct organisation.
It is also fundamentally important to recognise the role of leadership in party-building and at all stages of the struggle. Development of all processes is uneven and this is true of the development of ideological and political consciousness, of the capacity to give a consistent revolutionary lead.
In this process of developing the conditions for the party, a leading centre must emerge. By a centre, we do not mean a geographic centre, but a centre composed of leading individuals who show consistently in political line and in the test of practice the capacity to give a correct lead. This leadership will emerge perhaps from one, perhaps from several sources. As correct lines emerge, there will be growing political and organisational unity of those most firmly and consistently upholding those lines. That is how a leading centre will develop, and its development is an essential feature of the struggle – to build a party. There is no question of any group or individual usurping the role of leadership. Consistent correct leadership must be shown in the struggle to create the party conditions and develop the revolutionary movement.
Correct communist work can only be carried out in a collective, disciplined manner and must be led by those with the highest qualifications of political consciousness, dedication and energy. Only the democratic centralist organisational framework permits the correct internal political, struggle, the disciplined application of the line of the majority and the appropriate role of leadership. In the party-building struggle, organisational developments must keep step with political advances. No opportunist organisational unity, unprincipled organisational ’take-overs’ or attempts to claim a leading role without justification, will advance the struggle. On the other hand, clinging to the autonomy of small groups when the basis for political and organisational unity exists will seriously hold back further advance.
Building the number of communist cadres is also an important task. Growth must not overstep political and organisational consolidation, however. If the cadre force does not grow, political work will not grow, but opportunist increase in numbers will lead to even worse results, destroying ideological and political unity. In particular, in recruiting cadres we must exercise a strong bias towards workers, rather than intellectuals from a petty-bourgeois background. Such individuals can become good revolutionaries, but the danger of the political waverings and ideological weakness of this class coming to dominate organisations must be guarded against by a numerical majority of workers. This is another basic reason why involvement in practical workers’ struggles is essential. There cadres drawn from the working class can be recruited, and petty-bourgeois intellectuals can re-mould their consciousness and class outlook.
The building of organisation, of a disciplined united cadre force, is of great importance. It can only develop correctly, however, in so far as the ideological and political basis for unity is developed. That is why it is impossible at this stage to put forward any concrete plans for establishing organisational unity into a party. However, while seeing the struggle for political advance as primary, we must not neglect those organisational steps which further this struggle at every stage.