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In this phase, the synthesis of Italian communists’ tasks is the constitution of the new Italian Communist Party.
We say ‘‘new’’ not only organizationally. First, it is wrong to think that we need only to reconstruct the old communist party corroded, corrupted, disaggregated and at the end closed by the modern revisionists. Not by chance all the attempts to “recreate the old” as it was before the revisionists came to power are failed. In Italy, everybody knows the course of the Communist Party of Italy (m-l) ( New Unity ). As far as I know this failure is universal. Almost all the parties of the old communist movement, that constituted the first Communist International (1919-1943), are fallen a prey to the modern revisionists. This is not happened owing to some single man or traitor leader. We Marxists easily understand it. Then we must understand why, universally, the best part of those parties, their left wing, was not able to oppose the bourgeoisie’s influence. This happened owing to the limits of the left wing’s conception. The old communist movement fell prey to the modern revisionists and during some decades was carried to death because its left wing has not been able to overcome its own limits and face the tasks set just by the great successes reached in the first half of the century just finished.
The new communist parties must individuate and overcome those limits (1) . Only in this way, they will be able to carry out successfully their own role in the new wave of the proletarian revolution announced by the general crisis of capitalism and by the developing revolutionary situation.
The new communist parties must found themselves on the entire heritage of the communist movement, on the balance of its entire historical experience, then not only on Marxism-Leninism, but on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. To limit ourselves to Marxism-Leninism means to refuse to take account of the balance of the first wave of proletarian revolution which covers the first half of the Twentieth century (2) .
Never in humanity’s history, an ideological-political movement developed so greatly and rapidly as the communist movement did from the half of the 19th century to the half of the 20th century. To limit ourselves to Marxism-Leninism means to refuse to overcome the old communist movement’s limits, which prevented it from utilizing those great successes achieved until the half of the 20th century. Those limits allowed the modern revisionists to gain ground, corrode and corrupt the communist movement from inside until the loss of the great part of its conquests. The balance of the great advancement of the communist movement in the first century of its life and of the great retreat sustained in the next fifty years prepared the instruments for the success of the new wave of proletarian revolution. In the Project of Manifesto-Program published by the National Secretariat of the Committees Supporting the Resistance-for Communism (CARC), in October 1998, it is taken it for granted that the new Communist Party must be founded on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and that Maoism is the third higher stage of communist thought, after Marxism and Leninism (3) . Nevertheless today among the Italian Subjective Forces of Socialist Revolution (SFRS) only the CARC and Rossoperaio openly accept this thesis. The other SFRS are in various ways reticent or even refuse it. In the n. 19 of the August 1998, Rapporti Sociali [ Social Relations, the theoretical review of CARC, n.d.t.], in the article The Six Discriminating Factors and the Four Problems , set the acceptance of Maoism as one of those problems about which the siding of the SFRS was not clear. I think that today the situation is substantially the same. The Italian SFRS have not carried out a debate adequate to its importance for the political activity.
About a year ago (in September 2000), the editorial staff of the review La Scintilla [ The Spark , n.d.t.] published a “letter to the Italian communist movement” entitled “Let’s join the forces!” They proposed an agreement among “all the communist groups’”. They set twenty “fixed points”, founded on “the acceptance of the Marxist-Leninist ideology” (4) . Those points were “equally important and indispensable requirements, discriminating factors, fundamental positions, without which talking of communists’ unification was a nonsense”. The Marxist-Leninist Committee of Italy recently published an own “letter to the communists”. It proposed points and documents of reference for the reconstruction of the communist party to all the communists ( La via del comunismo [ The Way of Communism , n.d.t.] n. 13, 9 April 2001). Also these points and documents are founded on Marxism-Leninism. These and other similar platforms have the same characteristic. Each one of them selects some “universal truths or base documents of the old communist movement (that of the Communist International), truths and documents denied and denigrated by the modern revisionists, which they propose to set back in their former positions. Without any doubt every SFSR must agree on this proposal. Nevertheless to propose it now has the same political value as to propose the unity on the base of Marxism or, maybe more precisely, of the Manifesto of Communist Party in the Twenties of the last century. Recently the Italian group Iniziativa Comunista [Communist Initiative, n.d.t.] did a thing like that. They proposed the “fusion between the working class’ movement and the scientific Communism” (in their review La riscossa [ The Recovery , n.d.t.], n. 2). They take for granted that everybody knows what they mean talking of “scientific Communism” and agrees about it. They think that all the divergences concern the fusion between that “scientific Communism” and the working class’ movement (see La Voce [ The Voice, review of the (new) Italian Communist Party, n.d.t.], n. 3, page 15). The study of these proposals confirms the thesis that who does not accept the Maoism as the third higher stage of communist thought after Marxism and Leninism, can not advance in understanding the present problems and can not trace the line to face them successfully. In fact all these proposals are founded on the return to the revolutionary principles of the old communist movement, purified by the deformations and mutilations done by the modern revisionists. If the old communist movement’s weapons are enough to face our problems, why did our old comrades not succeed in facing the modern revisionists and continuing the advancement of the communist movement, even if they were in much better conditions than we are today? Why did Pietro Secchia and the other comrades of the left wing of the old Italian Communist Party not succeed in it, for example? For the rebirth of the communist movement, it needs an answer to the problems not solved by our old comrades. In substance, this answer is Maoism.
In 1924, in the lessons at the Sverdlov University then collected in the pamphlet Principles of Leninism , Stalin showed what Leninism was. He showed that it was not sufficient to say that “Leninism is the application of Marxism to the specific conditions of the Russian situation” nor that “Leninism is the rebirth of the revolutionary elements of Marxism”. He said: “Leninism is the Marxism of the era of the imperialism and of the proletarian revolution”. Then he showed the particular and original Lenin’s contributions to the science of proletarian revolution, to the conception of the world and the method of thinking and acting of the revolutionary proletariat. Stalin reached this conclusion: in the new era, it was no more possible to be Marxists without being Leninists. It was necessary to be Marxist-Leninists. Today we reach this conclusion: it is not possible to be Marxist-Leninists without being Maoist. Then it is necessary to be Marxist-Leninist-Maoists.
Why must the communist parties founded in the Twenties assume the Marxism-Leninism and not only the Marxism as their own foundation?
In order to face the political tasks that they had to accomplish, they had to distinguish themselves from the parties that did not support the October Revolution and the proletariat’s dictatorship, that did not adhere to the Communist International, that limited themselves to the electoral, parliamentary, trade unionist, cultural and cooperative struggles. Thanks to these kinds of struggles during the second half of the 19th century the working class became an independent actor in the political fight in Western Europe. However those struggles showed themselves completely unfit for the conquest of the power. It was not enough to clear the field of the distortions and mutilations done by the opportunists of the Second International. It was not enough to reject the cooperation with the bourgeoisie and to carry out honestly the old tasks that were even so useful for the proletariat (and in many aspects they continued to be useful). Since the beginning of the era of imperialism and of the proletarian revolution, to refuse the Marxism-Leninism became the banner of bourgeois parties for the workers (that is to say of the left wing of bourgeoisie). It was necessary to acquire new concepts, instruments and kinds of struggle, in order to be equal to the political tasks requested by the period. So it is today. In order to be equal to the political tasks that we must accomplish, we must clearly understand the reason why the communist movement has lost the great part of the successes gotten. We must distinguish ourselves from the parties that do not adopt the long lasting revolutionary popular war as the universal from of the proletarian revolution. We must distinguish ourselves from the parties that do not adopt the mass line as the main method of work and direction of the party. We must distinguish ourselves from the parties that do not adopt the two lines struggle as an instrument for the development and the strengthening of the party. We must distinguish ourselves from the parties that do not see where its bourgeoisie in the socialist countries. We must distinguish ourselves from the parties that do not accept Maoism as their foundation.
Which were the innovative elements (the new discriminating factors) of the Leninism in comparison to Marxism? I do not itemize them each and every one. I refer back to Stalin and his Principles of Leninism.
Briefly the Lenin’s theoretical contribution concerns aspects of the conception of the world and of the method of action which in the Marx and Engels’ thought do not have an importance and a definition adequate to the political significance they assumed in the new situation (the imperialist phase of capitalism and the beginning of the proletarian revolution). The conception of the world elaborated by Lenin developed those aspects more adequately to the need of the political struggle on the agenda. Thank to these development of the thought, the Lenin’s party was able to open the way of revolution and to oppose the opportunist successfully. All the comrades of the other parties of the Second International who opposed the opportunists defending the Marx and Engels’ positions but did not develop conception fit for the new situation were not be able to reach the success as Lenin’s party did. The Lenin’s contributions, the new elements of the new conception of the world, became discriminating factors for belonging to the communist parties but not for belonging to the parties of the Second International. Then the passage from Marxism to Marxism-Leninism has been dictated by the political tasks that the communist parties must accomplish.
Also our science, our scientific conception of the world, that we call sometimes Marxism (broadly speaking considered as conception of the world and method of the communist movement) and sometimes dialectical materialism, develops through evolutions (gradual and quantitative accumulation of experiences and knowledge) and through qualitative leaps. All the members of the communist movement contribute to the development of Marxism: they supply the experience that moves and verifies the development of the theory. Many members of the communist movement contribute to the development of Marxism at a higher level: they draw up the balance of the common experience and elaborate theories. Most of the leaders of the communist movement elaborate theories which develop our learning. The passage from Marxism (now considered in the strict sense of the word as the canon of thought elaborated by Marx and Engels) to Marxism-Leninism is a qualitative leap. The passage from Marxism-Leninism to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is another qualitative leap.
When there is a qualitative leap, a struggle takes place between the advanced and the backward part of the communist movement. The advanced part asserts the necessity of the new term: then it underlines what is new and asserts that the new is the main and leading element. The backward part refuses or attenuate the newness, tries to reduce the new to the old, asserts that “as a matter of fact the so called new is wrong”, or that “there is nothing substantially new”, that “the new is nothing”. Nevertheless the qualitative leap comes true because corresponds to the practical needs. It becomes leading theory and then revolutionary practice just through the struggle of the advanced part against the backward part. The advanced part first becomes the guide of the communist movement and then becomes the new communist movement. The backward part first becomes a restraint within the communist movement, an aspect of its internal struggle between the new and the old, the true and the false. Then it becomes an instrument of the bourgeoisie’s struggle against the communist movement.
We must acknowledge that also Marxism (now considered in a broad sense) develops following the law that “the one parts in two”. A thesis is common to all the movement and presides over a phase of its development. In front of the development of the political struggle this thesis shows itself no more adequate, and so it parts in two.
The history of the communist movement gives an example. During the 19th century, against the utopian socialists, the proudhonians, the anarchists, the blanquists, the Marxists asserted the necessity that the proletarian parties participate actively and independently in the struggle between the bourgeoisie and the nobility (clergy and monarchy), between the elements of the bourgeoisie most radical and the elements in favor of an agreement with clergy and monarchy. The Marxist also asserted the necessity to participate in the parliamentary form of this struggle. The proletarian parties first supported the most advanced part of bourgeoisie. Then they became the direct mouthpiece of the popular masses’ democratic requests (expressed in the “minimal programs” of the socialist parties) against the bourgeoisie that was more and more becoming the reactionary part of the society. From a certain moment onwards, the thesis that the proletarian parties must participate actively and independently to the struggle between the most advanced and most backward elements of the bourgeoisie parted in two. One thesis asserted that the proletarian must take upon themselves the popular masses’ democratic requests (in the socialist revolution or in the new democracy revolution) against the bourgeoisie. The opposite thesis asserted that the proletarian parties must proceed together with the progressive bourgeoisie against the reactionary bourgeoisie.
The Leninism was not a negation of Marxism (now considered in the strict sense of the world), as its antagonists asserted, sometimes opposing to Lenin some quotations of Marx (the “letter” of Marxism). The Leninism was the necessary filiation of Marxism in front of the new phase and the new tasks of the communist movement. The Marxism would decay if he had not generated the Leninism. It would be deprived of its revolutionary life. It would become first a useless and sterile tool, then a tool useful for the enemies of the communist movement. This is what the historical experience has shown.
The Marxism is the science of the proletarian revolution and of the passage of humanity from the capitalism to communism. Like every scientist’s work, also Marx and Engels’ work is not a compendium of all the human knowledge in its field. Only the metaphysicians can think to create a closed and complete system of knowledge for the past and the future. In fact they think that the ideas are not produced by men’s mind. They think that ideas exist in themselves independently from men, in God’s mind or in some other form. Therefore it is possible to “reveal” all the truth. Actually during their history the men have created new ideas adequate to the tasks that they face as they practically were taking possession of the world. The ideas get more rich and change as the men’s practice become more rich and complex. Every science lives this growth process, and so does the Marxism. It will continue to live such a process until the phenomenon that is its object will end: the proletarian revolution and the passage from capitalism to communism. Marx and Engel were the founders of Marxism. Lenin and Stalin were the exponents of a stage of its following development, the Marxism-Leninism. The first wave of proletarian revolution, the construction of the first socialist countries, the development of the communist movement all over the world, the prevalence of the bourgeoisie’s influence within it, its decadence, are a great historical experience which enriched the communist thought. Those who today pretend to remain Marxist-Leninist deprive themselves of this enrichment. They are not able to get through the problems that we must face. Their speeches are right, but are not sufficient. They talk of childhood to a man that has already the problems of youth.
The conclusion of this preamble is the following. We are obliged to conclude that the new communist parties must be not only Marxist-Leninist, but Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. The examination of the political phase that we face, the political tasks that the new communist parties must accomplish, oblige us to do it.
We communists must face the second general crisis of and capitalism and lead the second wave of proletarian revolution. It is a fact that during the first general crisis of capitalism and the first wave of the proletarian revolution the communist movement reached great results (a socialist field extended to a third of the humanity and the constitution of influential communist parties almost all over the world). This was a confirmation of the Marxism-Leninism. But it is also a fact that during the first wave of the proletarian revolution the communist movement was not able to seize the power in the imperialist countries. It is a fact that since the half of the 20th century it was no more able to utilize the great successes achieved and continue its advancement. It is a fact that during the following 40 years the modern revisionism prevailed within the communist movement, so that it lost also the successes achieved. The Maoism enriches the Marxism-Leninism of the balance of the first wave of the proletarian revolution, of the balance of the short life of the first socialist countries and shows the limits that prevented the communist movement from reaching greater successes, and that allowed the prevalence of the modern revisionism. If this is true, it is clear that the new communist parties must adopt the Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as their conception of the world and their method of thinking and acting. The parties that will not do it and that will obstinately keep still only Marxist-Leninist will not be able to face the political tasks of the communist parties. Sooner or later they will end by opposing to the proletarian revolution and passing in the bourgeoisie’s field.
Which are the theoretical advancements needed by the communist party to face its political tasks? Which are the limits of the old communist movement emerging from the balance of its advancement and decadence? Which is the answer to the tasks we must face?
Now I will show that the answer to these questions mostly corresponds to the contributions already given by Maoism to the communist thought and that make it the third higher stage of communist thought.
2. The comrade A. Serafini gave an exemplary demonstration of it in its conference “Socialist revolution and proletarian dictatorship in Lenin’s thought and in the historical experience of bolshevism” (given in the People’s House “A. del Sarto”, at Florence). In the second and last part his report arrives until 1926. As regards the following period (and we were in May 2001!) Serafini said that “today it is a communists’ task to analyze deeply that experience [following the 1926], both for deducing all the valid teachings... and for verifying...” That’s all!
3. Already long ago the CARC have taken a stand in favor of the Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Rapporti Sociali (n. 9/10, September 1991) published the article For the Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. For Maoism , where there are illustrated 10 Mao’s contributions to the communist thought. From 1991 to 1994 the publishing house Rapporti Sociali published the Mao Tse-tung’s Works in 25 volumes. In 1993 the same publishing house published the pamphlet On Maoism, Third Stage of the Communist Thought (where are shown 22 contributions).
4. In February 2001 the Lenin Circle joined the editorial staff of La Scintilla and the two organizations published a joined declaration that proposed again the “fixed points” (meanwhile the 20 points were become 19, because silently the 17th point was lost on the road). In May 2001 also the editorial staff of Politica Comunista [ Communist Politics, n.d.t.] (Florence), subscribed the 19 points.