The necessity of distinguishing between the universal
and particular laws of the protracted popular revolutionary war
(Article on La Voce del (nuovo)Partito comunista italiano, n. 17)
In many parts of the world, communist parties and organizations are increasingly and consciously adopting the strategy of protracted popular revolutionary war to lead socialist or new democracy revolutions. The revolutionary situation is developing in different ways in every country and all over the world. The imperialist bourgeoisie is leading everywhere an undeclared war of extermination against popular masses that directly and brutally strikes hundreds of millions of men and women.
In this context, thousand of communists are questioning themselves on the right way to lead popular masses to effectively face up to imperialist bourgeoisie, to put an end to the present social order, and to establish socialism. The first wave of proletarian revolution has left an important inheritance, exercising its influence in a thousand ways. An increasing number of Communists are following the path of protracted popular revolutionary war (PPRW). The theory of PPRW is one of Mao’s main contributions to communist thought (it can be found in La Voce, n. 10, pages 19 onwards, and La Voce n. 12, page 56). The adoption of PPRW as a universal strategy for proletarian revolution, both for socialist revolution in imperialist countries and for new democracy revolution in semi feudal and semi colonial countries imposes itself through a tough ideological struggle. It is a struggle for the adoption of Marxism Leninism Maoism as an ideological foundation of new communist parties. In this struggle communists close their accounts with the dogmatics who for years had limited the development of the antirevisionist Marxist Leninist movement born in the Sixties. Indeed in that movement had developed a long and tortuous struggle for the affirmation of maoism. Some comrades and organizations, craftily or ingenuously, hide this and present the adoption of Marxism Leninism Maoism as a simple change of name that is apllied on the same contents of the Sixties and the Seventies.
In 1988 The Committee of Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) reprinted the constitutive Declaration of 1984 replacing m l with m - l m in the text: this was a way to change the insignia without changing the old merchandise. Throughout the years marxist - leninists saw the struggle against modern revisionism as essentially a restoration of the principles which had been declared out of date by revisionists (the principles of revolutionary conquest of power, of the working class’ direction, of proletarian dictatorship). They did not understand that modern revisionism had succeeded in imposing itself within the communist movement, (that is to say: the right wing had overcome the left) thanks to the limits of the left wing of the old communist movement. Due to those very same limits the first wave of proletarian revolution hadn’t succeeded in establishing socialism in any of imperialist countries. In short Maoism holds the key to overcome those limits. Even today within the communist movement there are still parties that call themselves Marxist Leninist which goes to say that they ignore Maoism or oppose themselves to the adoption of Maoism as the third higher stage of communist thought. However there are also parties who call themselves Marxist - Leninist - Maoist in a forced way, attenuating the universal contribution of Maoism to communist thought. They hoist the m l m as a new sign, but they have not yet clearly show Maoism’s main universal contributions of to communist thought (unlike Stalin, who showed Lenin’s main contributions to communist thought in Leninism principles, 1924). For this reason it necessary to pay tribute to Peru’s Communist Party and its leader, Chairman Gonzalo who has been in the hands of peruvian accomplices of imperialism since 1992. He has strongly contributed to declaring Maoism the third higher stage of communist thought spreading this message globally and has underlined its new contributions towards the communist movement.
In conclusion, the struggle surrounding the revolution’s strategy, is also the struggle concerning the evaluation of the first wave of the proletarian revolution. In this struggle communists increasingly distinguish themselves more and more clearly from revisionists opportunists of the right wing (who in one way or another openly support the "pacific and democratic road to socialism) as well from dogmatic communists (generally supporters of a legal work today and waiting for insurrection tomorrow. However there is a proverb which says: " I can protect myself from my enemies, may God protect me from my friends." Even in the fight concerning the PPRW as well as right wing the revisionist-opportunists and the dogmatic communists, who both openly oppose the PPRW, there is also a third current which damages the adoption of PPRW as universal strategy of proletarian revolution.It is the current of supporters of PPRW who do not distinguish universal laws of this war from particular ones, those country specific ones. They are the dogmatics of PPRW. Therefore people fighting for asserting PPRW as a universal strategy and those who want to adopt it in order to bring about a revolution in our country (amongst whom there are also Italian communists), are engaged in three distinct fronts of ideological struggle: 1. the right wing revisionists opportunists, 2. the dogmatic communists of insurrection, 3, the dogmatic communists of PPRW who do not distinguish the universal from the particular.
1. The right wing revisionists opportunists continue modern revisionist’s tradition, even if practice has already shown the bourgeois and unsuccessful nature of their thoughts and policies: Two strong point make them politically important: 1. the bourgeoisie’s support and 2. the ingenuous and spontaneous opportunism of that part of popular masses that just entered the political fight and is still influenced by bourgeoisie and believes it is possible to improve the bourgeois society rather than overthrowing it. We cannot completely eliminate bourgeois influence as long as the bourgeoisie still exists. It is therefore necessary to constantly fight it, contain it, repress it with context specific initiatives: the unmasking, the denunciation, the confutation and the banishment of their irreducible supporters and of the spies. We must use ideological struggles, propaganda and organizational measures. As far as concerns the main road for correct the ingenuous and spontaneous opportunism of a part of the popular masses the best way to correct this is is their own practical and direct experience supported by the party. We must clearly show and practise the way of revolutionary struggle, and the party must hoist, propagandate and carry out its advanced line. On the other side the party must not break even with this backward part of the masses. On the contrary it must lead it in its practical experiences of fight and organization. In this case defeat is the foundation of victory, if communists show the right way. As communists we must not abandon the backward masses in the hands of the bourgeoisie. We must not let their priests and reformists agents organize these masses. We must take their mobilization in our own hands even if their aims are modest, and lead them through one experience to another until they will agree to join the revolution. The fight and its defeat will tvindicative them that it is impossible to better bourgeois society and to lead it with good manners to respect popular masses’ interests and even acquired rights. This teaching will spread quickly and effectively for the members of oppressed and exploited classes. It will be as much effective as we are active and presents as communists. The masses’ backwardness is never a good excuse for the absence of the party: a party is all the more advanced if it is able to mobilize and lead to revolution even the most backward part of the masses (mass line)
2. The dogmatic communists of insurrection will no longer have an important role among the popular masses. Nevertheless they still divert some communists from revolution because they have had a great (and negative) importance up until the Seventies. At the time they included a large part of the old communist parties’ left wing, a left wing which because of its dogmatic approach was unable to confront modern revisionists and stop them from taking the direction of the communist parties. They were in favour of the revolution, they were honest revolutionaries but they did not learn the lessons that the practice of communist movement gave to all communists. Their antirevisionism seriously damaged the Marxist Leninist movement which some of them belonged to. The break with their dogmatism is the affirmation of Maoism as the third higher stage of communist thought. The contradiction between Maoists and the dogmatics was and remains mainly a contradiction between old and new, and between true and false. It is not a direct class contradiction, even if bourgeoisie for lack of anything better supports them in order to disturb true communists. As for the revolutionary strategy their epigones and they do not learn the lesson Engels drew from the experience of the communist movement and particularly that of the Paris Commune (1871) which is synthesized in his Introduction of 1985 to Marx’s pamphlet Class struggles in France 1848 1850 (on this subject see the CARC pamphlet, F. Engels: 10, 100, 1000 CARC for the reconstruction of communist Party. They do not have a dialectical vision of the revolution. They schematically divide the various phases of the revolution, without seeing their connection. They do not see that one phase pierces together with another one and least of all do they see how this process take place. They fail to see that we must conduct every phase so that at a certain moment it can turn itself into the following one. Every phase is therefore "marked" by this its own destiny since the beginning. Instead according to them the passage from a phase to another "falls from the sky", it happens by chance, or it occurs for arbitrary and subjective decision. In short their conception misses the passage, that take between one phase to another from the quantitative development of the first one up to the leap of quality determined by that same quantitative development. Many of them wait for the insurrection (the tendency called "attendismo" in Italian language). Others throw themselves into risky initiatives, called "avventuriste" in Italian; corresponding to the tendencies so called "militarism" and "putchism". According to them the accumulation of the revolutionary strengths should derive from work completely conducted within the legality, within the bourgeoisie’s order and under its power, unless the bourgeoisie itself interdicts the communist party. This reveals the weakness of their reasoning. Was it by chance that the bourgeoisie interdicted the communist parties in many countries in the last century? What are the origins of this fact and which lessons they draw from it? Are those not the very reasons that make another interdiction of the communist party or of its construction by bourgeoisie inevitable, unless that party submits to its conditions? What will the party do when the bourgeoisie will interdict it? Is it not worthwhile to the cause of communism that party precedes the bourgeoisie’s decisions? Are vaguard workers so stupid that they can’t understand that it is right that the communist party precedes bourgeoisie? Did the Italian and German communist parties have a right line when they led themselves so that their respective secretaries (Antonio Gramsci in 1926 and Ernest Thaelmann in 1933) were arrested and then eliminated? Is it by chanche that no victorious socialist revolution has ever developed in the way they should have, even if many parties of the first Communist International tried to follow the line that they insist on proposing? Naturally dogmatics do not answer any of these questions. If they look for an answer they would no longer be dogmatics. In general they distinguishs themselves from revisionist-opportunists through their conception, their propaganda and their slogans. That is to say they distinguish themselves thorugh the subjective and ideal side, the side aspirations. Yet on the side of action, whe they are at their best and not ever, dogmatics distinguish themselves from revisionists opportunists with the radicalism of their aims and for their methods of struggle: they are tougher on the bourgeoisie and less forgiving. It is not by chanche that in the past up to the end of his days (1973) Pietro Secchia could be a part of the same party as Giorgio Amendola and Palmiro Togliatti. Unlike (but not always) revisionists opportunists some of them promote the revolutionary principle of the refusal to drive the popular masses to itervene in the elections, in parliamentary activities and generally in bourgeoisie’s political activity (abstensionism). Using this and other extremists slogans they try to distinguish themselves from the reviosionists oportunists of the right wing. As for the passage to the following phase, to insurrection, some of them count on a "sooner or later" explosion of the movement of the masses (an insurrection). They wait for it and so they fall in the "attendismo". Others count on bringin it about it themselves with an insurrectionary initiative. These consider the terrible book The insurrection, of Neuberg as a Bible. This book was compiled by a committee of Soviet Red army in charge of the first Communist International. It describes a series of attempts of unsuccessful sudden attacks and insurrectionary initiatives. According to the authors themselves some of them failed because of banal motives, but really it confirms how detached they were from the mass movement. They did not consider the insurrection as it was in all the victorious proletarian revolutions: a moment of a wider war. They isolated it from previous and future events and so they submitted it to either the masses’ spontaneity (the explosion of their malcontent) or to the one of the more or less appropriate enterprises of the communist party or of genial leaders, whose destiny, as Neuberg bravely stated depends on operators’ punctuality, on the rigorous observance of secrecy and on other similar accidents. It is clear to everyone that the success of a single and concrete military tactical operation surely depends on those indicated factors. But it is completely on the wrong track to claim that the development or not of a revolutionary movement which has the wide masses as protagonists depends on a single tactical operation. If we think back the insurrection of October (1917): two important leaders of the Bolsheviks (Kamenev and Zinoviev) publicly denounced the preparations of insurrection, but the insurrection successfully took place all the same. If we think back to the Resistance: perhaps it would not happened if one or some military operation, even the first ones, had failed? As a matter of fact many single military operations failed but nevertheless the Resistance developed. In conclusion the dogmatics do not understand that it is the present communists’ increasing and valid work that is determining a leap of quality and the entry into a new phase..If the party refuse to do the leap even the work carried out so far will degenerate. This happened many times during the first wave of the proletarian revolution, simply because many communist parties did not master the theory of PPRW. When the qualitative leap takes place or is ready in general the dogmatics are in fact unprepared, unaware, they do not know what to do, they are divided between several solutions.
3...As for the dogmatists that do not distinguish between the universal and the particular they are one of the poles of the contradictions in the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist movement today. This contradiction in particular divides the International Revolutionary Movement (IRM). Today, the dogmatic conception of the PPRW is still a serious obstacle to its application in the imperialists countries, as a practical demonstration of a victorious conclusion of a socialist revolution in a imperialist country consciously conducted as a PRW of LD does not exist. A practical example would also impose itself on the sincere revolutionary dogmatics. By refusing to combine universal truths with particular ones they present PPRW in an impracticable form. Those who share such a conception are either forced to bow down to the facts and to admit that PPRW is impossible, or to undertake unsuccessful endeavours which are then used by the opponents of the strategy of this war as a "demonstration" that it is impracticable. Dogmatically some comrades consider the laws successfully carried out by PPRW in their country as universal, mistaking the particular for the universal. The most wide-spread mistake is to consider, , the laws carried out by PPRW in semi feudal and semi colonial countries as universal and therefore also valid for imperialist countries, and trying to carry them out in imperialist countries as well, without looking for specific laws of PPRW in one’s own country. "Every truth is concrete", that’s to say that every affirmation is true only in relation to particular circumstances of time and place, to particular not specified but implied circumstances, implicit in the situation where that truth is declared. The PPRW was theorized by Mao Tse-tung fbased on the Chinese experience of a large concrete semi feudal and semicolonial country, dominated by imperialist powers struggling among themselves. Mao Tse-tung did not make a systematic distinction between the universal laws of the PPRW and the specific laws of that war in China (1). Just as Lenin did not busy himself with making a systematic distinction of how much of the universal and how much of specifically Russian there was in the line carried out by his own party. Nevertheless Lenin within the first Communist International, in whose creation and activity he intensely participated in until 1922, repeatedly declared that communists in other countries did not have to follow the Russian experience slavishy. He also declared that Russian communists should guard against favouring or imposing the imitation of Russian line. Also Stalin took good care not to impose the line carried out by the Soviet party on other parties. Thus it was not by chance as a matter of fact that the parties of the first Communist International carried out very different lines among themselves. If anything, it must pointed out that in the first Communist International there were constant uncertainties about which general strategy had to be carried out, as I have shown in the article Activity of the first Communist Iternational in Europe and Maoism, published in N. 10 of La Voce [the Voice, n .d. T.]. The strategy of PPRW was consciously practised by the Chinese communist Party, but it was not indicated or studied as a possible universal strategy. Only since 1968 PCC sustained that Mao’s thought also had a universal value, but it never indicated in an exhaustive text which are the Mao’s new principal contributions to communist thought. Nothing was easier then than for dogmatics and demagogues to sustain that everywhere PPRW must carry out the same laws stated by Mao Tse-tung for China. Obviously this supports and makes it easier all those who mantain that a socialist revolution in imperialist countries follows other laws, which are different from those of PPRW. There are even those who do not worry about tracing a specific line for their country, by picking up some current practice from here and there, like true "movementists" as they are [the "movementists" are those ones who do not attach any importance to the line, the program or the theoretic analysis of politics and economics and only attach importance to the "movement" of popular masses, that is to say to demonstrations, strikes and so on. N. d. T.]. Nowadays it is fashionable to declaim the PPRW, and to do it in a demagogic way in order to gain glory and to present themselves as great revolutionaries on the international scene, in the international meetings and associations, in messages and bulletins issued to foreign countries. They are like those (Togliatti, Thorez and so on) who in the old communist movement up to 1956 declaimed Stalin and USSR, while in their national practice they followed lines that had little or nothing to do with USSR and Stalin’s universal teachings. It is important to clearly distinguish between the universal laws of PPRW and the particular ones, applying to a country or a group of countries. Only in this way can we successfuly lead the ideological struggle for the adoption of PPRW by all communist parties as a way for proletarian revolution and we can extend its practical application and therefore the rebirth of the communist movement that it is connected to. For example in imperialist countries, where the city largely predominates over the country-side, peasants are a small minority (from 1% to 3%) of the workers, and are entirely given to the commercial production and are widely dominated by industrial commercial monopolies. So it is evident that they do not carry out the same role as to that carried out in PPRW of semi-feudal countries, where the country-side predominates or at least is less tied to the city and where peasants are the large majority of the workers and they are still widely devoted to subsistence agriculture and inserted in semi-feudal relationships. There are two parties presently that are currently leading a successful and long-standing revolution in their own countries and consciously following the strategy of PPRW: the Peruvian Communist party and the Nepalese (Maoist) Communist Party. They both underline as necessary condition to launch and to lead with success the PPRW, as well as the adoption of the Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (the assimilation of the universal laws of PPRW), the elaboration of a conception and of a line founded on the specific characteristics of the country (respectively "the thought of Gonzalo" and "the street of Prachanda"). Even the Maoist communist Party of Turkey and of northern Kurdistan, that has a rich and long experience of PPRW, expressed many just considerations against the application of laws of PPRW, specific for semi-feudal countries, as universal laws, in imperialist countries. But, due to the non-distinction among universal and particular laws of PPRW that party has completely disavowed the validity of PPRW for the imperialist countries (see at the TKP(m)’s intervention sent to the International Conference of Palermo on 3-4 January 2003). The US revolutionary communist Party The revolutionary communist Party (USA) and the Committee of the International Revolutionary Movement (IRM) (as have other parties and organizations communist that participated in the International Conference on PPRW in 1998) substantially deny that PPRW is also a valid strategy for imperialist countries. This is also because they present the specific laws of semi-feudal and semi-colonial countries as universal laws of PPRW (see on this subject the article On the Struggle to Unite the Genuine Communist Forces in A World to Win n. 30, January 2004). On the contrary, and especially recently, the popular Movement Sol Rojo has made a a serious effort to distinguish universal laws from particular ones in the in the struggle that leads to the adoption of the PPRW as a universal strategy(see the intervention presented by the MPP at the International Conference in Paris on 27-28th March 2004).
How can we distinguish the universal laws of the PPRW ?
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is a science, not an esoteric doctrine, a riddle or anything like that. Therefore we must consider the experience of proletarian revolutions and elaborate on it in order to discover the laws followed by its development. More precisely, the development of a phenomenon happens according to its own laws even if men ignore them. The law of the universal gravitation (the attraction that every mass exercises on every other) was followed by all masses even when men had not yet identified it. When builders did not position a builiding’s centr of gravity according to criteria which were only understood later, the building would collapse. After Newton (1642-1727) discovered it and after scientists, scholars and finally everybody assimilated it, it became possible to see that indeed phenomena that had been inexplicable until that day, or had seemed uncertain or strange, now became comprehensible in the light of the new law. It was even possible to do much easier and more regular operations that before sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed, or resulted difficult and with an uncertain results. It even became possible to easily carry out things things and operations that had never been possible or had been uncertain before. Likewise if it is true that PPRW is the universal form of proletarian revolution, this means that every proletarian revolution that has occurred up till now happened according to its universal laws, even if their protagonists did not know them yet. If they were successful it was because their leaders had followed those laws blindly and instinctively, without knowing them, by trial and error. If they failed, they did so because, despite the protagonists’ good will, impetus and heroism they had persisted in working in contrast with those unknown laws.
In short the course of the concrete proletarian revolutions cannot contradict those laws, because otherwise they would not be universal. On the other hand the understanding of those universal laws hands us communist a formidable weapon with which to caryy out our role and to succeed in revolution. Therefore it is worth our while to try and single out those laws.
Even in our country this is a topical subject. Everyone who wants to work towards making Italy a new socialist country must necessarily face this subject.
The articles published on La Voce, n.14 (Political Revolutionary Struggle and Vindicating Struggles, p. 49 and following, By Nicola P.), n.15 (Revolutionary politics, p.60 and onwards, by Ernesto V.) and n. 16 (On the Second Front of the Revolutionary Politics, by Rosa L.) face many problems regarding PPRW . These and the articles previously quoted are the contribution by CP to the present ideological struggle in the Italian and international communist movement (even if those text texts have not yet been translated and circulated to the foreign countries, excepted the one on La Voce n. 12). In our country other organisms already expressed themselves on PPRW.
It must be said that as a rule that right wing revisionist-opportunists do not tackle the debate on the form of the socialist revolution. It does not interest them and it does not fall within their line of thought. Even those who are personally honest they are empiricists, they proceed at sight and out of habit, along paths traced by bourgeois society and do not develop a science of revolution. They would not be opportunists if they devoted themselves to the science of revolution. As empiricists they are satisfied, to allege this or that fact or event in order to support their opportunist’s theses. This is applies to Italian ones as well as those of other countries. In Italy the editors of Teoria & Prassi [Theory and Praxis, N. d. T.] are representatives of the dogmatists of insurrection. In n. 10 of their magazine they published an inferred criticism of the thesis of PPRW as a universal strategy for socialist revolution. But all their valid arguments reduced themselves to the thesis that it is not possible to follow the particular specific laws of China in imperialist countries (principal role of peasants, encirclement of cities starting from the countrie side, creation of free areas yet in the phase of strategic defensive, etc). There are various non effective topics; On of them claims that "armed struggle is the fundamental form of struggle in PPRW.
This is obviously not true. They themselves (p. 3, col. 2) claim that "for Mao a clear and comprehensible political program is the fundamental struggle form in PPRW". They even claim that (p. 36, col. 2) that according to Mao only "in semi-feudal and semi-colonial China and they also had to add, for a faithful reproduction of Mao’s thought: in a country dominated by imperialist powers fighting one against every other right from the beginning the armed struggle is the main form of struggle and the army is the main form of organizations of masses".
Another false argument is that PPRW strategy involves the thesis stated by Lin Piao according to which the victory of new democratic revolutions in oppressed countries will determine socialist revolutions in imperialist countries. Another is that the adoption of PPRW strategy is connected to the thesis that "the main contraddiction of our era is that which opposes imperialism to oppressed peoples and nations rather than that between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie".
Apart from their valid and invalid arguments, what the dogmatics of insurrection do not say is: what teachings can we draw from victories and defeats of the revolutions in single countries during the first wave of proletarian revolution? In particular, why have the first Communist International parties not succeedeed in establishing socialism in any imperialist countries (excepted in the weak link of the imperialist chain, in Russia, where the line followed by the party to accumulate revolutionary forces was however different from the one they propose)? Why do they believe that a line that has never brought the victory in the past can lead to victory in the future?
On the contrary apart from us the Rossoperaio (RO) group also proclaim themselves as promoters of PPRW. However, only the present ideological struggle nevertheless will show if Rossoperaio is directed by dogmatics who do not distinguish between universal and particular or by characters who demagogically proclaim to no effect the dogmatic conception of PPRW in order to gain fame and present themselves as great revolutionaries on the international scene, in meetings and international associations, in messages and in statements, while in practice they follow an economicistic and anarco trade unionistic line according to which "only syndical struggle is a concrete struggle".
They mask their positions with a halo of mystery and ambiguity. They write some thing in the press for the Italian public and another thing for parties and organizations of Internationalist Revolutionary Movement (which RO has been part of part since its foundation in 1984). They take contrasting positions in the course of time without explaining the change of position with self criticism (as they did regarding the valuation of the armed struggle in Europe expressed by Gonzalo in his Interview of 1988, on thet Armed Struggle in Italy). They juxtapose the declamation of strategy of PPRW at a economicistic practice. Just two years ago they they proclaimed the theory that the working class can be replaced by forces of other classes as protagonists of revolution, and the theory of "stability of political regimes in imperialist countries, contrasting with the thesis of the "developing revolutionary situation". They systematically refuse to expose their conception of the world, their general line and their programmatic thesis and to defend them in an ideological struggle with other Subjective Forces of Socialist Revolution (SFSR). They carry out polemics in a demagogic way. They never developed propaganda of universal laws on PPRW and even less a specific theory for our country (corresponding to "Gonzalo’s thought" or "Prachanda’s way") that can support their declamations about PPRW. They use international relations and they use inventions on the RO’s supposed role in Italy to gain credit at the international level as a "revolutionary party" (2). These nine elements and others indicate an opportunistic and demagogic behaviour.
Obviously neither the declarations, nor the cries of indignation, or the offended faces, or the investitures from the foreign countries but only the concrete development of ideological struggle and of revolutionary practice can say what will be the real role of RO in the rebirth of communist movement in our country.
The thesis that the strategy of the PPRW is the universal strategy of proletarian revolution (for imperialist and for oppressed countries) is confirmed by the experience of the first wave of the proletarian revolution both where it was and where it was not consciously assumed as a strategy; both in victorious revolutions and in defeates. Everyone who examines the history of the first wave of proletarian revolution in the light of the conception of PPRW can confirm this.
The history of the struggles of the parties of the first IC in the imperialist countries, since their foundation up to the end of the Fourties, when they acted in the context of the first general crisis of the capitalism and the connected developing revolutionary situation, shows the same course with unusual uniformity. 1 . In spite of the uncertainty of the strategic orientation, these parties in general led the first phase of PPRW, the one of the accumulation of revolutionary forces with such good results that in almost every country the bourgeoisie caused or threatened to cause the civil war because of it. 2. In general when faced with the threat of civil war they withdrew, because they were ideologically and politically unprepared to pick up the challenge of the bourgeoisie, that for contrast would have mobilized against the bourgeoisie which in contrast would have mobilized enormous popular masses on the grounds of civil war: it would have produced the leap of quality that the accumulation of revolutionary forces must produce, the leap that somebody submit to the explosion of the masses (the "waiters") or to the effectiveness of example and demonstrations (the "militarists") or to coups de main (Neuberg & Co.). 3. Where sooner or later, for one reason or another those parties entered the battlefields of the civil war determined by the situations (in Spain, France, Belgium, Italy), and despite their uncertain strategic orientation they mobilized wide popular masses under their direction until the carrying out, as far as is possible to whom acts without knowledge of case, of the conditions of strategic equilibrium (the second phase of PPRW). 4. No one of them, due to their wrong orientation carried on the civil war with the conception of PPRW and so they never red the third phase, that of strategic offensive. 5. Every time that the parties opposed themselves to the right course of things, that is to say when they tried to set it in motion contrasting with the laws of PPRW, even the work that had already been done amounted to nothing.
Therefore this experience shows that practice pushed towards PPRW. The Soviet experience teaches us the same lesson. The phase of accumulation of the revolutionary forces (led by the clandestine party, therefore under conditions of a system of independent or contrasting power to the Tsarist power) in 1917 opened into the second phase (that of the strategic balance, of the "dual power") and then into the phase of strategic offensive. Lenin did not elaborate the strategy of PPRW, but his constant struggle for a dialectical conception of reality (which bourgeois refer to as political ability and pragmatism, expressions which are not in agreement with accusations of fanaticism and dogmatism of which also they gratify him) was a struggle for the adhesion of the party in its direction of the masses to the laws that the reality of revolution followed in its course.
A particularly meaningful confirmation of our thesis was given by the Spanish communist Party (reconstituted) (PCE(r) in its pamphlet Aproximacion a la historia del PCE (September 1997) translated into Italian language by Social Relations Editions under the title War of Spain, PCE and Communist International. Even if the PCE declares itself anti maoist (but Stalinist!), in the pamphlet the authors draw the conclusion that the defeat in the Spanish War (1936 1939) was substantially due to the fact that PCE directed the war without adopting the strategy of PPRW. The practical experience of great countries during the first wave of proletarian revolution therefore shows that the strategy of PPRW is the strategy of socialist revolution even in imperialist countries.
If we then consider the course of proletarian revolution at a world level, the confirmation is particularly clear. The accumulation of revolutionary forces historically due to the Second International, as Lenin and Stalin repeatedly sustained while drawing up the balance of the communist movement. In 1917 with the October Revolution we enter the phase of strategic balance: since then the proletarian revolution gained its own liberated zones or red bases (the USSR and the socialist countries) and their own armed forces that contented the field to counter revolutionary forces. The unsuccessful passage to the phase of the strategic offensive set back the proletarian revolution from positions it had already conquered, like in a pregnancy when after its maturation for some reason the birth does not occur.
So what are the universal laws of PPRW which the experience of the first wave of proletarian revolution brings out? I think that the laws, or at least the main ones, are as follows:
1. It is the popular masses mobilized by the working class and giuded by its communist party that build the new power system (that’s to say in imperialist countries they establish socialism, the proletarian dictatorship) and eliminate the current one.
2. The establishment of new power in the whole country does not happen overnight, but is the result and the victorious conclusion of a civil war.
3. In every country the PPRW passes through three phases: strategic defensive (accumulation of the revolutionary forces), strategic equilibrium ( two armies contending the field among themselves), and strategic offensive (annihilation of the bourgeois forces).
4. The PPRW develops itself thanks to the developing revolutionary situation ( in our case it will be the overthrow of the undeclared war of extermination war carried out by imperialist bourgeoisie due to the second general crisis of the capitalism).
5. The PPRW develops itself according to a combination of universal and particular laws that must both be exploited in order to obtain the goals of victory.
6. International and national factors condition the development of PPRW in every single country.
7. The PPRW develops from one phase to the following one, but defeats can push it back to the preceding phase.
Finally in order to carry out the PPRW victoriously the party must study the Works of Mao, the discoverer of the conception of PPRW, and the experience of every single country, in order to obtain the universal laws of PPRW and apply them to our country by means of the investigating the concrete economic, political and cultural conditions, the practice, the balance of experience, the elaboration of specific laws of our country.
In relation to our country in fact we need to recognize and take into account the specific conditions of our country in which we carry out the PPRW. The conception of PPRW specified for its application in our country follows the path of the accumulation of revolutionary forces through the constitution and the resistance of the clandestine party and its direction to the popular masses to join in every kind of mass organizations necessary for satisfying their material and spiritual needs, to take part in bourgeois political struggle in order to overturn its course, to conduct vindicative struggles up to the beginning of civil war. In our country this is the equivalent of the "encirclement of the city by the country-side" in the semi feudal countries. In imperialist countries the encirclement of cities by the country-side is impossible, but it is entirely possible, and practice has shown this, to define the specific quantitative development constituting the first phase of PPRW, through which we go to its second phase.
With the beginning of the civil war generated by that quantitative development, the second phase of PPRW will begin. The beginning of civil war will be marked by the constitution of Popular Armed Forces that sice that time will contend the field with the armed forces of reaction.
In particular, the GPR of LD therefore does not begin with the armed struggle, but with the constitution of the clandestine communist party. Today this occurs through the drawing up of the "two points plan" predisposed by CP and present being implemented. Therefore it does not occurs by means of armed propaganda, as the Red Brigades tried to do in the specific conditions of the Seventies, when the revisionists drift had not been unmasked yet by the practical course of events, the prestige and the strength of the old communist party were still high and the socialist field built during the first wave of proletarian revolution still existed.
The construction of the party must be conceived and guided as the first footstep of the PPRW. The new power in our country begins with the existence of the clandestine party. Its existence is the existence of the red power, an alternative to the bourgeois power. The clandestine party is not the most left-wing in the whole group of the parties of the bourgeois Vatican republic. It is the nucleus of the new party. The clandestine party does not depend on the bourgeois power, but exists in opposition to it. Despite all the efforts of the bourgeoisie to hinder it, for isolating it from the masses, destroying it, the party is able to exist and to develop its activity (of recruitment, elaboration, formation, orientation, aggregation, propaganda, mobilization and direction) through its organizational network and its system of relationships, contacts and influences. Therefore it does not depend on people known by bourgeoisie to develope its activity, people that the bourgeoisie controls and then can infiltrate, corrupt, threaten, blackmail, arrest or kill. It does not depend on financial channels known by bourgeoisie, channels that the bourgeoisie controls and can therefore cut. It does not depend on public centres that the bourgeoisie can occupy, search, ransack, devastate or close. In brief it is a party that exists and operates like Lenin’s party in the Tsarist empire up until 1917, (3), like the parties of the first Communist International in imperialist countries like Italy (1926-1945), Germany (1933-1945), Spain (1939-1956), France (1940-1945) and many countries in Eastern Europe during the Twenties, the Thirties and the Forties. Those who say that a clandestine party is by its own nature detached from the popular masses must show us that those parties just mentioned previously were detached from the masses.
Is it possible to create such a party today? Is it possible that such a party can be born and operate? These questions translated concretely mean: Will a clandestine communist party find the sustenance among the popular masses and particularly among the working class (in people to be recruited, in collaborations, in money, in bonds, in influences) necessary to exist, to withstand the blows of the bourgeoisie and of its counter revolutionary apparatuses, to expand its action? The historical experiences quoted above give a positive to this question. But above all, this is ensured by the existence of a developing revolutionary situation, of a undeclared war of extermination that the bourgeoisie carry out against the popular masses even in our country.
The party clashes with the counter revolution, which is not constituted only by State and non-State organs of repressions. It is also constituted by whole initiatives and measures adopted by the bourgeoisie to hinder the party and its system of relationships, contacts and influences, and to isolate it from the masses. This clash is the political nucleus of the undeclared war of extermination, it is the small part of it in which the new power with initiative opposes and faces the bourgeoisie. Its quantitative development (the growth of the party and the growth of aggregation under its direction of multiform organizations of popular masses) upon reaching a certain stage will determine the passage to the second phase of the PPRW, to the civil war, to the armed struggle.
We communist we do not love war. War is a terrible monster that brings blood and destruction. We are contrary to war and we are sure that men now, in contrast to the past, no longer need wars to live and develop just as they do not need to divisions in social classes, presently produced only by the interests and the social order of the bourgeoisie. So we are sure that in a not far off future war will end up as a museum piece. But we do not fear wars. We are resolute in preventing the popular masses passively from passively suffering injustices, the abuse of power, the mutilations, the massacres and the wars that the current social order imposes. Only in changing this social order can we really put an end to wars. The bourgeoisie gave us repeated and bloody lessons that it will not step down from power without a civil war. So we communist have to be resolute not to surrender to the bourgeoisie because they threaten us with civil war, but we must take care to reach civil war under the best conditions for us. Our responsibility towards the popular masses imposes us to build the new power system in view of victoriously facing the civil war. InevitablyIt will begin, and experience has taught us this repeatedly, when the accumulation of the revolutionary forces and the installation of the new power will have reached a certain level. We cannot avoid it. What we can do and what we must do is to obtain it in the most favorables conditions for the popular masses’ victory. With the beginning of civil war it comes the second phase of PPRW, in which the popular armed forces will contend the field with the armed forces of the imperialist bourgeoisie, liberated territories will exist and so on. Experience has already shown what action is needed for the aggregation and mobilization of popular masses done by the party in the first phase of PPRW in our country. Clearly the party has to be ready and able to change tactics, in cases of radical and sudden upheavals of the situation, that change the state and the attitude of the popular masses. If these conditions were not be in place the party’s action during this phase substantially develops itself on three fields:
The mobilization of the popular masses to take part in the bourgeois political system. The preliminary ostility declared by the dogmatics of insurrection (Teoria e Prassi) and by Rossoperaio to the revolutionary use of elections, Parliament, elective meetings and other tools of bourgeois politics it puts aside from a specific aspect of almost all the imperialist countries and also of our country. The very participation of the popular masses in bourgeois politics (obviously in a certain way and in a certain context) has come about many times and in many imperialist countries (Italy, Germany, Spain, England, to only name the biggest) was the direct and immediate cause of the beginning or of the threat of civil war during the first wave of proletarian revolution. The participation of the popular masses directed by communist party divided the bourgeosie and made bourgeois political life impossible. The increased abstentions verified over these last years goes far from cancelling this aspect. It denotes the popular disappointment in the face of the bourgeois parties, it is an aspect of the political crisis of the bourgeois regime. But it does not set out the ground for a revolutionary solutions of the regime’s political crisis. It is a precarious phenomenon, on which both the revolutionary mobilization of popular masses and the reactionary mobilization of popular masses can act. The refusal to direct the popular masses to participate in the interest of the socialist revolution to the system of the bourgeois politics by the dogmatics of insurrection and by Rossoperaio is not born from the existence of a popular masses’ mobilization in revolutionary war yet gone over the system of bourgeois political activity, a mobilization that would be damaged by the participation in that political activity. Under such conditions the elections would be a counter revolutionary move and boycotting themwould be a serious thing. Today that refusal is born from the mistrust that the communist party is able even on this ground to found its leadership of the popular masses and to lead this participation in such a way that it be a factor of accumulation of revolutionary forces and not a factor of their corruption and dissolution. It is the very same mistrust that prevents them from conceiving a line that has the aim of conquering the leadership of the great labour unions to which millions of workers join by choice and to which they pay a quota. (4) All the arguments brought forward by the opponents of participation in the bourgeois politics system reduce themselves to the thesis that "there is no guarantee" that this participation will not corrupt the party and the forces it mobilizes. But these gentlemen forget that there is no guarantee against the bourgeois influence within our lines outside the conception and the revolutionary line of the party and the inflexible and suitable struggle to defend them against the influence of bourgeoisie. To make anyone believe in a different guarantee means deluding and disarming the party. The refusal to participate in the bourgeois political system is only a pseudo guarantee as is every guarantee with the exception of that shown above. The bitter experience of the Seventies and of the Eighties as well as the experience of the Resistance showed that not even taking up weapons is a guarantee. We saw fighters become police collaborators: from Pecchioli to Franceschini. Every pseudo guarantee produces a false sense of security and a lack of vigilance that favours the aggression. It is not merely by chanche that all the objections against participating in the bourgeois political system can also be extended in the same way to participating in trade union activity, in cultural activities and so on, particularly in imperialist countries. Also this only goes to show that they are only the objections of comrades who have no faith in the revolutionary abilities of the popular masses, of the working class, of the party. They are the objections of comrades who only have faith in their conventicles of enlighted men, just as the sadly remembered fellows of Bordiga did.
The mobilization of popular masses in vindicative struggles and in the unreserved defence of the conquests.
The mobilization of the popular masses to build the necessary tools for satisfying their material and spiritual needs. This third field does not appear in the articles by comrades Ernesto V. And Rosa L. (respectively in La Voce n.15 and 16) Instead I think that it has to be considered apart, considering the rich experience of self organization (cooperatives, social centres, people’s houses, sporting and cultural associations and so on) developed by popular masses in our country. Their articles and the one by Nicola P. in La Voce, n. 14 say all there is to say today about these two other fields with regard to the development of PPRW.
2. The clandestine party’s resistance to repression and the development of its action in the three fields shown above: this is what is meant in specifically in our country, in the first phase of PPRW by "to build the red power", the equivalent of "the creation of red bases" in other countries. It isn’t possible to create "red bases" from the beginning in an imperialist country, but experience has already shown that is possible to create the system of "red power"that I have illustrated. There are four struggle fronts that have their central and irreplaceable axle in the first one.
Surely there are and there will be comrades and adversaries who will accuse us of "waiting": of renouncing a revolutionary work today and in the immediate future while awaiting conditions that events will produce tomorrow "in some way or in another, keeping revolutionary forces that are ready for the struggle inactive while waiting for conditions that are not present today. In reality in the line shown by the first wave of proletarian revolution there is no "waiting". On the contrary there is the determination of a process of quantitative growth where all the revolutionary forces are involved as they form themselves, in work that forms them and hardens them to be agents of the revolutionary mobilization of the popular masses. It is a process of quantitative growth which upon reaching a certain level determines the passage to the following phase, the leap of quality. If the party opposes itself to this process it regresses and disintegrates. It is like a pregnancy a pregnance which has reached the moment of a birth but is then curbed. It is the contrary of waiting for events, keeping the forces grounded and inactive when they are ready to fight, waiting for others who holds the baby for us or trusting in God.
This is the way taught to us by the reflection on the present situation and by the experience of the communist movement, from which all things considered we refuse to dissociate ourselves unless. This is the path we are already following today.
1. Nevertheless it must be called in mind that in the Chinese edition of the selected works of Mao Tse tung it is shown that not all the characteristics of PPRW pointed out by Mao are valid for PPRW in other countries, and Vietnam in particluar is quoted.
2. The behaviour of the Rossoperaio leaders reminds us of Proudhon, who, as Marx said, in France was tolerated because people thought he was appreciated as a great philosopher in Germany, and in Germany he was tolerated because people thought he was appreciated in France as a great economist. In relation to Rossoperaio see also Rossoperaio a bad beginning, in La Voce n. 7 Marc 2001, republished in this number of the review.
3. In the years between the 1907 and the 1917 Lenin strongly opposed all Mensheviks’ attempts to set the party’s legalization as a political claim and the construction of a legal party as an aim. A party that had accepted to be a legal party conforming to the laws of the Tsarist satet would no longer be the centre of the new power.
4. It is significant of Rossoperaio’s nature that they widely proselytize the activity of the PCN(m) and they declaim against participation in election in our country. But they have never felt the necessity to publicly examine the fact that he Nepalese Communist Party, like Lenin’s party did some time ago, took part in the elections (in 1991) and boycotted the elections (in 1994), before beginning the civil war in 1996 (see The Worker, organ of the Nepalese Communist Party (maoist) n. 9, February 2004, p. 65 and 66).