[The following is a statement from the Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist Leninist on the current situation facing the international communist movement, with special attention on the effect of the Nepalese abandonment of the People’s War. It is a very timely assessment based on seriously probing issues that affect not only the Nepalese, but revolutionaries throughout the world. — Frontlines ed.]
Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist Leninist (TKP/ML), October 2012
Following the death of Comrade Mao Zedong, similar to the process that took place after the death of Comrade Stalin, modern revisionism seized the party and the state power, and caused serious damages to the world revolutionary front. Having suffered heavy blows in the hands of modern revisionism, the International Communist Movement (ICM), despite having benefited from a series of class war and struggle practices, including the one waged in Turkey, has not been able to stand against the ideological offensives of imperialism, which gained considerable momentum especially during the 1990s.
In the circumstances where resistance was not organized strongly enough, communist forces sustained severe injuries throughout the process. While some of them sank in their capsized ships, yet some were swept to the opposite shores. Only the few “lucky” survived, considering the survival a major success in the given circumstances. There were several exceptional development by those who came up with accurate analyses and correct policies to advance the people’s war. Even these, however, found it impossible to advance without getting caught by the storm.
The most important defeat in people’s war experiences in recent history was suffered by Gonzalo led Communist Party of Peru (CPP). Despite having shown serious advances in revolution, the CPP failed to carry its success through the final stage. Those who explain the defeat in practical and tactical matters, which led to a severe blow in the leadership, or even in political approaches, are missing the chance to see the reality. Assessments regarding the revolution and people’s war that were revealed by the leadership under the conditions of captivity point out to a drift away from the fundamental philosophical principles of MLM science.
The same situation appears to be present in the process of Nepalese revolution as well. What is even more concerning is the fact that similar dangers are reproduced in the cases of certain components of the ICM, which inevitably leads to serious negative consequences in terms of absorbing and practicing Marxist ideology. As an action guideline, the Marxist ideology must first be correctly understood as a philosophy; as a reasoning method. Based on this comprehension, it can be applied for the analysis of class struggle and transferred to political arena.
Truth must be derived from the facts but in order to achieve this one needs appropriate methods and know-hows. The materialist character of dialectic is shaped according to the correct conception of economic, social and political laws. Marxism is not a heap of dogmas but rather a science that breaks down the codes of today’s system; it contains a set of thesis and diagnoses that are proven to be correct and valid. Thanks to its ageless essence, its power to explain the transformation, and its structure that is open to further development, its light hasn’t dimmed; its mission as a guide is still on.
As is known, prior to the peace process that began about 6 years ago in Nepal, 80 percent of the land was practically under the control of the revolutionary forces, the enemy had suffered a major defeat, and Kathmandu, the capital city, was under a heavy siege. At a stage when the final strike was to be delivered, counter-revolution’s calls to peace were responded positively, making note of the absence of a sufficient accumulation in the city, of the possibility of intervention by the imperialist and expansionist powers (Indian state), and of the alternative route of completing the new democratic revolution through the power that was to be gained via elections process in the parliament.
In this way, explicitly mentioning an absolute result, a decisive victory was avoided. There were mentions of popular revolts as the determining force. However, from the beginning it was clear as to what course was chosen and that there was really no going back once on this track. In fact, comments and arguments that were put forth at the very beginning of the process had clear signs regarding what followed. Baburam’s “democratic republic” formulation was indeed articulating a version of Khrushchev’s infamous formulation of “peaceful transition.” There is no doubt now that this formulation became the prevailing perspective and that it describes the current strategy.
Before dealing with the impaired approach toward fundamental truths / concepts, it is necessary here to have a little discussion about matters regarding the balance of power. Issues in understanding the power of the masses, likewise analyses on the role and the status of imperialists and reactionary classes exhibit typical class-bound misconceptions. In this regard, discussion about the difficulty or even the impossibility of achieving revolution in one country is not new. The argument that is built on the “great” influence and dominance of imperialists, with cases of intervention given as examples, is brought to a level where it is argued that in a single country socialism cannot survive. The argument bears a content that opposes proletarian revolutions. This is reformism, the building blocks of which are class collaboration, willingness to give in to one’s fate, and a philosophy of improvement. The journey that begins with the disbelief that revolution in a single country is impossible ends up at believing in the impossibility of revolutions all together and subsequently in the futility of revolution.
The concept of “regional revolution,” efforts to formulate absoluteness of the “national front” as collaboration with the counter-revolutionary classes find breeding ground on this foundation. Again rested upon this foundation is a counter-revolutionary class phenomenon that is isolated from imperialism and a concept of revolution that is reduced to the functionality of leverage in the scrimmage among cliques. After Gonzalo, this is the dress that Prachanda and his friends put on submission and diversion at the stage where they enter the course of defeat and dead end. How else can they explain wrapping their arms around theories that were no longer in circulation due to the incapability of keeping up and renewing the struggle and facing even bigger challenges of revolution?
In October 2010, at the expanded party meeting, the policy of forming a united front against the ruling classes was adopted. Armed popular uprising was identified as the main struggle form. Furthermore, as a secondary struggle form, it was decided to continue with the struggle in the street, in the legal area, and within the government. In practice, however, they followed a line that was the opposite of this policy. The main concentration was on the parliament, where even though communists and patriots composed a 2/3 majority they could still not obtain a decisive position in the government power. At the ministerial seats that they received, as distraction, the best that they could achieve was to develop theories to justify their position.
However, the situation did not remain limited to that. The principle that whoever does not serve the proletariat / people will serve imperialism brutally continued to function. The ruling classes, who are well aware of the fundamental facts about the state mechanism, aimed to first liquidate the People’s Army. Subsequently followed the decisions about returning the lands that were expropriated during the war and doing away with the youth organization, which was another major power house for the revolutionary forces. On the other hand, agreements of enslavement were signed without a shred of hesitation with the Indian reactionaries, the subcontractors of imperialists. Ironically, the prime minister who signed these agreements was Baburam Bhattarai, who once used to bring “clarity” to these matters.
As can be remembered, the process leading to the liquidation of the PLA began the dissolving of red base areas and the armament of the red army. Attempts to explain this policy by using the practice in China as analogy is a clear distortion of the facts. However, as part of their polemics with the RCP-USA, in a letter dated 01.07.2006, the Nepalese Maoists were urging to be patient, to wait and see, explaining that they know the real face of the parliamentarian parties with which they are building alliances, that they are using the contradictions that exist among their enemies, that their priority is to further strengthen the PLA and to make it ready for war 24 hours, that there could of course be compromises in diplomacy, that in order to dodge the worst of bourgeoisie it is necessary to recognize these, and that there isn’t any essential change in the strategy.
In the same official letter, the UCPN (M) representatives acknowledge that there are contradictions in their statements and add that this was done to deceive the enemy and to use the contradiction that exist in the international area, that they know that even if the Constituent Assembly proposal is accepted it will not bring about the ultimate solution, and that the situation must not be read in purely formal fashion. It is asked: “For example, if the constituent assembly can ensure the dissolution of the royal army, the reorganization of the national army under our leadership, the implementation of revolutionary land reform based upon the policy of land to the tiller, the right of nations to self-determination, an end to social discrimination, development and prosperity, etc., why should one oppose it?” And then it follows: , “The masses never compromise with their necessities but prefer peaceful execution. It is the task of the revolutionary parties to prove through practice that their necessities are not met by peaceful means. And only by doing this can the Party of the proletariat lead them to violent struggles. We understand that the enemy will not allow us to attain our strategic goal in a peaceful way, but we can lead the masses in violent struggle to overthrow them with such political tactics.” However, the process flows in the opposite direction. Put aside a land reform, even the expropriated lands are returned; put aside the reorganization of the national army under their leadership, even the existing People’s Army is being liquidated. It is not convincing, neither in those days nor in these days, to justify the situation as the “masses’ request for a peaceful resolution.”
Some comrades who debate within the party in criticize the policies that gave way to the above-mentioned agreements strong terms. However, a consideration must be made as to the question of whether or not these comrades, known to be the architects of the previous process, have assumed an approach that can facilitate a real break away from those at the top of the party power.
The UCPN (M) successfully led a people’s war in Nepal and is currently at a historical threshold, facing the question of whether or not to continue with the revolution. In the struggle against the revisionist line that is dominant in the party, comrades, especially those in the leadership positions, are taking an active stance in the discussions, expressing their opinions and criticism openly, even publicly for sometime now. This course of action is further proof that situation is extremely serious.
The path leading to this stage was marked by concepts that were theorized by Chairman Prachanda and the Prime Minister Baburam, the “second man.” However, it cannot be overlooked that when these policies were being formed the today’s dissident comrades who are in the position of leadership were not opposing them but rather taking a defensive role. The situation will be better understood and the current policies and the background of the practice will be more clearly seen by closer examination of these incidents.
All these debated concepts, as were similar ones throughout the history, are based on the evaluations regarding the world system, in other word regarding imperialism. All revisionists, a line extending from Bernstein to Kautsky, from Khrushchev to Deng, in order to find a base to their non-Marxist concepts, began their work firstly by subjecting the existing conditions to a different line of description, which is natural. After all, every policy and action takes a shape in accordance with this base.
The first concept dealt with is “imperialism.” What is meant by “conditions / change of times” is a redefinition of basic contradictions of the system, by way of mentioning the decisiveness of the economic structure and thus arriving at new descriptions for the concepts of state, democracy, and revolution. Subsequently priorities, alliances, and methods change, and more importantly, the targets become different. Deviation in the evaluation of the system does not point out to a simple difference of analysis, it rather decodes the ideological orientation. In fact, this must be the fact that integrates modern revisionism with imperialism.
Using the terms such as “ultra”, “super”, and “global,” imperialism is rendered invincible, unchangeable, and untouchable. In fact, a more consistent approach would admit the end of history by the ultimate victory of imperialism, as described by its ideologues. Of course, by “the end of history” what is meant is the end of revolutions, the end of dreams of socialism – communism. As result, this means, as opposed to a “moribund” capitalism, an immortal capitalism – a capitalism that indisputably established its absolute victory, that has gotten rid of all classes, and has made the entire world a unified location.
This “bright” period of history is reached with the information society / information age, where the technological revolution has put a full stop to all other forms of revolution. What follows is the peaceful resolution of existing issues on a reformist basis, where a world that is to be gradually improved by mutual cooperation to the point of perfection. In the condition where class struggle is indefinitely put on vacation, elements whose raison d’etre no longer exists must urgently surrender themselves to this reality and choose ranks accordingly…
Apparently we owe this dazzling picture of the world to imperialism’s enormous forward steps, or more accurately its “revolutions,” in the fields of information and communication. Through the metaphor of the world transformed into a single town or village, a kind of vision of communist society is depicted, emphasizing that the borders are made artificial / disappeared, and calls are made to unite under the wings of forces that are the architect of this great achievement. There is no issue that cannot be solved in time by those who have demonstrated their capabilities through such developments.
Whereas there are millions of examples of developments throughout the world proving just the opposite, those who want us to see a different picture in fact inadvertently reveal the very perspective from which to view the situation. Interestingly, this condition applies to all the ages that had been ruled by savagery. “Heaven” has always existed in the world of the ruling classes. For those who could benefit from all the goods of the stage the humanity has reached, the elements who represent the humanity have always been themselves. Nothing is different for today either. Those who possess the means of production see themselves entitled to own all the property in the world and run the world as they wish. Developments and progress in science and technology take place according to the scales and terms of their determining based on their narrow interests and needs as opposed to those of the entire humanity. All this in order to perpetuate their reign.
As stated by comrade Lenin, the monopoly capitalism, the eve of socialism, can show development and progress only as much as its lifespan allows it to. Imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism and as such it describes the final stage of capitalism’s life. In this sense, efforts to bring imperialism to a new stage, without reaching socialism, are efforts to create an alternative to socialism and thus remove socialism from the loop.
The world economic order, as dealt, distorted, and exagerated by a wide range of revisionist and reformist currents, does not describe a change in the characteristics of monopoly capitalism. Of course, there is always change and development of some sort. We are talking about a period that extends beyond a century. Not only in the fields of communication and information, in all fields there have been significant developments. In technology there were more than one revolutionary breakthrough. It is inevitable that these developments bear consequences on the economic structure. However, the problem relates to whether or not a structural change has yet occured. This is the main issue that will affect all parameters. When the matter is seen from this perspective, it will be obvious that there can be no mention of a fundamental change neither in the nature of capitalism nor in the characteristics of imperialist world system.
Chiefly in the area of technology, there are developments in all areas. However, we can detect this “growth” in all areas of conflict as well. Examining ten-year periods clearly show that income distribution has become a lot worse over the years. Poverty, hunger, lack of clan water, unemployment, deprivation of basic rights and freedoms, persecution and torture rates have grown. The proportion of those who died, wounded, injured, and / or displaced due to wars and other violent conflicts has increased. Effectively we now have a planet that is a lot more polluted and degraded in all regards and precisely for this reason capitalism has come even closer to its death. The task of getting rid of this system before it destroys the entire humanity stands before the world proletariat ever more urgently.
Nepalese comrades describe the “new world” as follows:
“The main specificity of today’s imperialism has been to exploit and oppress the broad masses of people of the earth, economically, politically, culturally and militarily, in the form of a single globalized state. The world that had been influenced, on the one hand, by the wave of national liberation, democratic and socialist movement around the Second World War and, on the other hand, by the inter-imperialist rivalry during the cold war, has now been entrapped in the sole hegemony of US imperialism. Owing to main factors, like the defeat of new democratic and socialist states that were developed in the course of the first wave of World Proletarian Revolution in the power struggle against the state-owned bureaucrat capitalism, the establishment of economic and mainly military superiority of US imperialism over other main imperialist countries, the control of multinational finance capital on the national capital and economy of the third world countries and the intensification of worldwide cultural intervention by means of the monopoly in information technology etc., the aforesaid hegemony has been maintained.” (“Resolution of the Central Committee – Political and Organizational Resolution,” Worker # 10, May 2006, Special Issue on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of People’s War.)
Apparently, the US imperialism, using the opportunity of restorations in formerly socialist countries and having subdued its opponents, has established a global state (or even an empire) and is reigning in a uni-polar world. There is neither any force who can intervene in its affairs nor stand against it. This is so also largely thanks to its hegemony on finance capital and its breakthroughs in technology.
These arguments are invalid not only in today’s or 6 years ago’s reality but also in the years when the US had felt even lonelier at the top. Moreover, even if a global state is established in a uni-polar world, it would neither form a base for the argument that it has caused a change of characteristic in imperialism nor alter the necessity and function of revolution and socialism.
Having relied upon the previous era’s position and accumulation, the U.S. came out as the most advantageous force out of the process of 1990s. Its military capacity is incomparably bigger than those of the other countries. Its ability to give direction to the world economy and its position as the leading state still continue. However, there are still other imperialist states and even blocks, over which the US still does not have an absolute control. The interdependence at various levels of major actors in this market is something different than one’s control over the other in a colonial style. Besides, this is contrary to the nature of imperialism. Imperialism goes on with a rapid centralization on the one hand and constant reproduction of conflicts on the other hand. This contradictory situation is due to the anarchistic nature of capitalism.
A research report published by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, reveals in hard numbers that a handful of monopolies control almost the entire world economy. From Orbis 2007, a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide, the research team pulled out all 43,060 TNCs and the share ownerships linking them. Then they constructed a model of which companies controlled others through shareholding networks, coupled with each company’s operating revenues, to map the structure of economic power. The work revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships (see image). Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What’s more, although they represented 20 percent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world’s large blue chip and manufacturing firms – the “real” economy – representing a further 60 percent of global revenues. When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 percent of the total wealth in the network. As stated by James Glattfelder, one the members of the research team, “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 percent of the entire network.”
Moreover, many other research reports published by imperialist think-tank institutions point out to the developments performed by other countries, mainly by China and Russia, underlining their potential threats for the US’s world hegemony. We can also consider the EU in this category, both due to its relations with the US and with the other countries. It was not for nothing that in the recent defense white paper published in January 2012, the need to act jointly with the other countries in military attacks is underlined. 10 years ago’s reckless and maverick US is replaced by an aggressor more sober and careful. Such low and high tides, ups and downs should not mislead us to interpret developments as fundamental alterations in the characteristics of imperialism.
The bubble of the spook called “globalization” must first burst in Marxists’ world. Just as the “new world order,” globalization too is a flamboyant campaign slogan targeted to spread fear. On the one hand, the increase in the number of huge international, intercontinental monopolies has intensified the concentration and on the other hand in a market of cut-throat competition, mergers of monopolies or the ingestion of failed ones by the other monopolies intensifies the centralization of them. However, this development does not describe a new state in terms of repartitioning the world. We cannot mention an erosion in the “repartitionary” characteristic of the imperialist-capitalist system, whose basic law is the instinct for more profit. On the contrary, we see a state of further impetuousness in this basic characteristic.
In about last 70 years, there hasn’t been a war that brought the imperialist forces directly against each other. However, there were local wars, sometimes in regional scales, military occupations, and wars on economic platforms, which indicate that they were sufficient to substitute / fill the “gap” of direct military confrontations among imperialist forces and function as a restrainer for the time being. The fact that there are nuclear weapons in the hands of more countries now has less deterring effect than expected. In recent history, there were cases where nations reached the threshold of a nuclear war.
Characterized as being one of the existential conditions of imperialism, the world market has evolved significantly in a period of more than a century. Developments in the fields of transportation and communication have provided capitalist exploitation access to all areas of life. All production areas of the world are connected to the center with more than one channel and with a rising rate of absorption. The existence of semi-feudal production relations, which still survive dependently on this market, do not constitute an obstacle to this organization network. On the contrary, they play to the imperialists’ interests as it is in fact these production relations that make it possible for the imperialism to access regions where such production relations exist. Bringing forth contrary arguments by looking at the forms of situations is not realistic and furthermore it actually results from being under the influence of capitalism’s spell.
Another consequence of such a world market in the new era is reflected in the division of labor. The process that revolves around the dependence / exploitation of internal markets within the general network of relations now compels the imperialist countries to be more involved in the domestic economies of dependent countries. The level of centralization that is reached by monopolization ends up making the local bases of concerned sectors more efficient parts of the system. The natural consequence of this is that division of labor is re-organized and gains sharp lines of definition. Being integrated into the world market makes itself closely felt / perceived and this in return has obvious impacts on political and social life in the concerned country.
“Globalization” is the intensification of enslavement and plunder. In this situation, one cannot talk of softening or dulling of contradictions. On the contrary what we see is the further sharpening of contradictions. The abyss has deepened. An exploitation mechanism that extends beyond the dimensions of internal markets has been established. All statistical data depicts the situation as being worse than the previous one. The labor-capital contradiction shows itself in the collapse of the popular classes in the intermediate layer. Rather than disappearance of proletariat, we can talk of the proletarianization of even a bigger section of the population. Social destruction and environmental degradation remains at a high level. Societies find themselves in a stage where they block and consume themselves within a cultural intoxication. That is why it should not be surprising to see that mass movements, uprisings, and resistances are growing. In fact we can expect them to define the current period.
Economic crises should not be seen as a result of a healthy situation but rather as a result of an unhealthy one. At a stage where even the smallest crisis is on a regional and intercontinental scale, the current world crisis has gained an almost perpetual characteristic.
“Globalization” is used to describe the world-wide integration. This is nothing new as it is in a sense one of the basic characteristics of imperialism. What can be added to this situation is perhaps the fact that the new process has caused a stronger spiral and that the integration has made itself felt even stronger and increased the number of chains of dependence. Furthermore, the dimensions reached by the financial capital do not reflect a qualitative transformation but rather explain its development process.
The arguments that at this stage the tremendous developments seen in the sectors of information and communication, coupled with the growth in the service sector, brings about a new design of class are not realistic. Firstly, technological developments occur at every period and advances made in technology do not disintegrate (or, according to some, remove altogether) the existing classes. They rather cause new variations in the equipage and positionings of classes. As for the service sector, it is somehow viewed abstract from the exploitation and the creation of surplus-value. It is expected that the production relations that mark the production in the context of information technology and information society are considered detached from exploitation and surplus-value. And within the framework of deletion or inactivation of the class, the “subject” factor is eliminated. Such a view removes the need for a subject as within the concerned situation there is no longer any need for an intervention, or in other words for a revolutionary process. This is read as the “new world” reality.
Along with the advancements made by western imperialists led by the United States, the increase in the influence of international monopolies, and parallel to the re-organization of division of labor across the world, transformations that took place in upper-structure institutions began to shape up a different picture. In the meanwhile, modern revisionism could no longer stand against the achievements of the West with its usual state capitalism and eventually threw off its mask of socialism and declared bankruptcy. The US, in return, in order to reaffirm its victory as absolute and make maximum benefit of the situation, launched a massive campaign. We are still seeing the impacts of this large-scale ideological, economic and military offensive campaign in all areas of life even after a quarter century.
The entire world increasingly resembles a concentration camp with enslaving regiments of work. Administrative mechanisms too have adapted to this grim picture with increased authoritarianism and repression. Imperialists’ regime of terror had already been institutionally established under the banner of “new world order.” Using the 9/11 as an umbrella pretext, this regime has been further consolidated under the insolent fit for all brand of “anti-terrorism.” This also has been the real face of “globalism” in economic, political, social, and legal terms.
Data presented by system’s own institutions or by independent research clearly reveal the foundation of this reality: According to the Annual Wealth Report published by Credit Suisse, the total global wealth is $230 trillion, of which 38.5% is in the hands of 29.7 million people who have greater than $1 million annual income, which means 0.6% of the population. The number for the previous year was 35.6%.
The figures presented above simply confirm Lenin’s analysis on imperialism (only this time with updated numbers) and shed light upon the purposeful efforts (or, at best, on the delusion) of those who attempt to represent imperialism under the concept of “globalization” in a new dress that is supposed to show changed characteristics of the system. As in everything, no doubt changes take place in imperialism as well. However, what matters here is whether the concerned changes qualitatively affect the fundamental characteristics of imperialism. What the numbers are showing is that despite occurrences of changes, there is no fundamental change in the nature of class struggle. Those who argue otherwise, when they realize that the numbers are not on their side, come up with “forced theories” that, looking at the degree of capital concentration (especially of finance capital), attempt to describe the process of production, redistribution, and consumption along with the adventure of capital’s circulation within a different network of relations.
The manner in which the socio-economic structure of the world is depicted naturally affects the actions and methods of changing and transforming this structure. Indeed, Lenin had based his thoughts regarding the proletarian world revolution on his analysis of the free competitive period of capitalism, identifying its elements that had changed enough to gain new characteristics, which he ascribed to imperialism. Today, although monopoly capitalism has gone through certain changes in accordance with its development process, we cannot possibly say that it has created a world where classes, state, democracy, the structure and role of communist party, and the basic principles of revolution and scientific socialism have all become fundamentally different.
When the contrary is argued, however, it is inevitable that theses similar to those suggested by Kautsky, Kruschchev etc. will be put forth. The problem, after all, is related to the needs and requirement. If we are dealing with a system that doesn’t need to be destroyed, we have also no need for revolutions. Instead, it will suffice to just reform it. Similarly, if there isn’t a structure that necessitates the use of force and armed struggle, then there is no reason why the struggle platform shouldn’t be peaceful. If the structure of classes has gone through a transformation, then the proletariat’s mission too is changed and what is more is that on local grounds it has become necessary to form alliance and collaborate with forces belonging to bourgeoisie. Since a force that does not recon with the balances of power in its region and in the world in general on its path to socialism is bound to be eliminated within a short period, it must follow a more indirect path. And finally, if we make the argument that the state power is not everything, that the state mechanism has lost its usual function, then we are removing the proletarian dictatorship on history’s shelves all together.
It is well understood that in order for these arguments to be effective, instead of taking a confrontational head-on stance, it is best to develop a stance from “within,” without discarding the manners of respect and by taking cover behind a series of complimentary rhetoric about how it no longer fulfils the time’s requirements. And in order to convincingly arrive at the conclusion regarding its inadequacy / insufficiency, pull out the card that reads: “Times have changed.” The flag of pragmatism waved by those who claim to have further advanced the scientific socialism in a creative manner, under the pretext of waging a struggle against dogmatism, quickly gives its true colors away.
“The attention of the internationalist revolutionaries of the 21st century must be focused seriously on the fact that the analysis done by Lenin and Mao on imperialism and a number of concepts they had developed on its basis regarding proletarian strategy have lagged behind. Following the Second World War, the inter-imperialist rivalry and Lenin’s analysis on the nature of war that continues among them to divide and re-divide a certain part of the world and the proletarian strategy built up as well on its basis; and following the cold war, the analysis of the situation that Mao made on Three Worlds, even though in a tactical sense, do not basically exist now. The situation of US imperialism, which is advancing as a globalized state, has caused Lenin’s and Mao’s analysis to lag behind… “ (“Analysis of the Central Committee-Political and Organizational Analysis’, Worker # 10, May 2006, the People’s War, Special Issue for the 10th Anniversary of People’s War.)
In the official reply by the UCPN (M) to the RCP-USA’s letter, dated 01 July 2006, it is stated that throughout the war in the process of progresses and regressions, left and right turns, they have developed new ideas that shall enrich MLM’s arsenal and that in 2001 these enrichments were named “Prachanda Path.” The followings are listed as developments that compelled them to treat MLM not in an orthodox fashion but rather creatively: Disintegration of USSR, restoration of capitalism in China, retreat by the revolution in Peru, incapability of other people’s wars to extend beyond their own borders, emergence of the US imperialism as the sole superpower, intensification of ideological-political attacks, advancements in information technology, and the influence of the semi-Hoxhaite thoughts by Singh in the country.
The same people who are now associating the Three Worlds Theory with Chairman Mao were only a few years ago talking about reactionaries and revisionists’ attacks on Maoism and comrade Mao Zedong with generous praises for both. We do not wish to think that, rather than a confusion, associating this theory with comrade Mao is a conscious effort as was done by Hoxhaite revisionists. We are more concerned, however, about the view that Lenin’s analyses on imperialism’s characteristics of repartitioning the world and of war are “invalid” in today’s world. As it is well known, repartitioning is a fundamental law of capitalist production rising from capitalism’s instinct to get ever more profit and due to this fundamental property of capitalism, the imperialist structure cannot be and is not satisfied with the existing division of markets.
This has long been a crucial topic of debates on imperialism as coming up with the concept of “global state” is part of the efforts to describe imperialism as a permanent phenomenon as opposed to being temporary and periodical, laying the ground for a concept of structure that is omnipotent and invincible and subsequently for alliance policies that are suitable to this concept.
The fierce struggle among the imperialist states is apparent in all areas. This is a fact not only for the bigger imperialist forces but also for all reactionary states. A feverish armament, the tension in all regions, and wars as a result of class struggle are constantly on the agenda. Albeit the severe consequences of the financial crisis, the armament is in full swing. According to the 2012 Military Balance Report published by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, Asia’s defense spending this year has already caught up with that of Europe and by the end of 2012 it will surpass it. It is reported that China has shown 250 percent growth rate in its military spending between 2001 and 2011 and that by 2015 it will reach such a figure that will be second only to the US’s military spending surpassing all other giants in this area.
The 2012 report published by the US Department of Defense, titled Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, states: “The balance between available resources and our security needs has never been more delicate.” The following sections from the same report, published by the leading imperialist force, is very revealing as to whether imperialism has indeed changed its character:
“As a nation with important interests in multiple regions, our forces must be capable of deterring and defeating aggression by an opportunistic adversary in one region even when our forces are committed to a large-scale operation elsewhere.”
“We are determined to maintain a ready and capable force, even as we reduce our overall capacity. We will resist the temptation to sacrifice readiness in order to retain force structure, and will in fact rebuild readiness in areas that, by necessity, were deemphasized over the past decade.”
“[T]he maintenance of peace, stability, the free flow of commerce, and of U.S. influence in this dynamic region [Asia-Pacific] will depend in part on an underlying balance of military capability and presence. Over the long term, China’’s emergence as a regional power will have the potential to affect the U.S. economy and our security in a variety of ways.”
The nonsense argument about the establishment of a uni-polar structure can no longer be defended even by the spokepersons of the USA. Besides the fact that even individual imperialist forces have begun to content for a bigger say in the hegemony war, there are also new alliances being built in the form of regional blocs. To see this as a kind of balance is as misleading as the theory of uni-polar world:
[I]n the realities of the capitalist system, and not in the banal philistine fantasies of English parsons, or of the German “Marxist”, Kautsky, “inter-imperialist” or “ultra-imperialist” alliances, no matter what form they may assume, whether of one imperialist coalition against another, or of a general alliance embracing all the imperialist powers, are inevitably nothing more than a “truce” in periods between wars. Peaceful alliances prepare the ground for wars, and in their turn grow out of wars; the one conditions the other, producing alternating forms of peaceful and non-peaceful struggle on one and the same basis of imperialist connections and relations within world economics and world politics. (Lenin, Imperialism, Inter Publications. p.124.)
Revisionist theses regarding the situation in the world and subsequently regarding the “new era” expose themselves as revisions of the MLM approach on the questions of state and revolution. Baburam’s “democratic republic” thesis, at his most recent interview Prachanda’s statements that mix up the phases such as democratic revolution, popular uprising, and socialist revolution with each other, the “progress” strategy that is tightly wrapped to the practice of parliamentary path, the liquidation of PLA and the youth organization, and the decision to return the lands that were expropriated during the people’s war have sacrificed the revolution for the “peaceful transition” and discarded the goal of achieving socialism.
Those who until recently were not shy of advocating the correct lines of marxist theory on these matters are nowadays theorizing the practice of the complete opposite. Simply defined, state is a class-bound tool for governance and oppression. State, as an organization for the establishment of supremacy, will always carry the mark of the class / classes that dominate it and aim at acquiring an absolute authority over other classes. This instrument, having carried such a function throughout the history, mobilizes all its institutions for achieving this objective and constitutes an integral structure with its ideological devices. So long as this organized structure is not demolished along with all its institutions, there is no chance of building a new state. Any thesis or arguments otherwise, in other words concept of transformation through reforms, cannot bear any other meaning than insidious efforts of those who wish to preserve the old system.
The question of how to seize the state, in other words how the revolution will take place, is directly related to the evaluation made regarding the state. The situation [seizure of the state], following a development course that depends on the process of production relations and the level reached by the class struggle, has to do with the subjective conditions of classes that will carry out the action as well as the objective conditions. The use of force becomes the only option against those who do not give up the power voluntarily, by consent. After-all, there isn’t a case in the history were those who maintain their power with the use of force are made to give it up without putting a fight for it.
The “peaceful transition” theory, advocated as a method of seizing state power, in fact aims to preserve the existing mechanism. The system is preserved, only this time masters with the “revolutionary” or “socialist” mask have come to power. The “populist” or “revolutionary” governments that came to power through elections or similar methods, and once through coups that took place with the involvement of social-imperialists, never brought about a fundamental change in the reign of ruling classes.
Another dimension of the issue is the abstract concept “democracy” that forms a basis for the dreams about “peaceful transition.” The understanding that defines democracy as a supra-class concept, a common system that is isolated from classes, finds its ground in the assessment of “geniality” regarding imperialism. It is argued that imperialism, which collectively carries the humanity to more advanced standards and optimally develops the productive forces, contains legitimate possibilities for peaceful transformation of the system owing to the virtues of “democratic” regimes that it has established or assisted the establishment of in many countries.
Indeed, in the past quarter century we have frequently witnessed the cases where movements that accumulated considerable concrete powers through people’s war or other armed struggle practices fell victim to “impatience” and ended up integrating to the system via negations throughout the peace process and eventually elections, finally seeking power through methods that are based only on this framework. And unfortunately we haven’t yet seen a case where a channel is actually opened to the power through such methods. So far, what is happening is the liquidation of the movement’s lively, dynamic, effective / armed character and eventually its complete adoption to system. The architects of today’s policies in Nepal possess a solid knowledge of Marxist theory’s ABCs and yet choose not to practice it. In such a case it is not possible to explain the “transformation/return” as a simple error of assessment or by “peculiarity of conditions.” Finding a place in the parliament, or even be a part of the government and sit on the prime minister’s chair, as is the case in Nepal, does not really change anything.
Khrushchev revisionists along with the “peaceful transition” thesis advocated the principle of “peaceful coexistence,” which was depicted as necessary in the relations that the socialist state builds with the bourgeois states, by transferring it to the domestic realm and thus coming up with new excuses for the class collaboration.The views that are advocated by the revisionism that take shape in Nepal seem to be placed at the same centre. In this case, the alliance that is formed with the ruling class paties is rendered permanent and a form of state that suits this is defended as an instrument to reach “new democratic revolution” and “socialism.”
But more concerning are the agreements that consolidate the dependency on imperialist and expansionist countries that are the masters of these very parties and backward steps in the liquidation of feudal classes, along with the signing of new agreements with their political representatives. The collaboration that is practiced with the enemy classes means the practice of the concept of “peaceful coexistence” and turning back on the course of revolution and socialism.
The concept of peaceful transition is used as a substitute for revolution and its foundation is solidified with the excuses such as “conditions” and “difficulties.” Imperialism gains a “super” characteristic and facing the difficulty (actually impossibility) of overcoming such a power, new conditions are put forth, such as “the revolutionary initiative in the world,” or “becoming an integral part of the resistance of peoples of the world.” Furthermore, it is mentioned that as long as these conditions are not present it is impossible to achieve (or defend) the revolution. In some other statements, discussion regarding the certainty of intervention by imperialism and defending the views of “regional revolution” are all results of the same analysis.
Another dimension of the issue lies with the problematic approach in the understanding of people’s war strategy, which reflects itself in the “fusion” theory. The “protracted” character of people’s war has to do with the concept of struggle that is kept on with patience, resolution, and perseverance until the balance of power is in favor of the revolution. Although, after having carried the achievements of people’s war to the final stage (strategic attack), the vulnerability towards an imperialist intervention can be overcome with the “national united front”policies and tactics, in panic and anxiety, and failing to trust the masses, diverting to a “short-cut” and seeking a compromise is nothing short of inviting defeat. The excuse of “balance,” in other words “the power of the enemy,” that is brought forth in the case of Nepal is already given as part of the war’s nature. With such an approach, however, it is rendered literally impossible to even start a people’s war.
Another important point to underline is the meaning of the concept of state for the proletariat and the eventual position of the proletarian state. The underlining of this point is necessary because the “peaceful transition” theory compliments the argument that the proletarian dictatorship is no longer needed. In the circumstances where the state apparatus has not really changed hands, such an approach towards the role of the state can be defended only while also opposing the proletarian dictatorship. After-all, since it is deemed that a structure need not be demolished, there is also no possibility of transforming it into another structure. Therefore, the proletarian dictatorship is deemed pointless.
The fact is, however, that the only means to achieve the democratic revolution and march towards socialism is to establish a dictatorship that will ensure the absolute rule of the proletariat over the bourgeois classes. Comrade Lenin defines this matter as the most crucial point of Marxist doctrine and provides highlights that leave no room for diverging interpretations.
When talking about the state apparatus, we are inevitably talking about an institution that is based on force, an organized and armed force, a military structure. Army or the armed forces compose the indispensable and fundamental force not only for the state but also for all political formations and are the main components of violence. If the revolutionary force and violence represent people’s power, it is represented by people’s army. That is why Chairman Mao emphasis that without a people’s army, the people have nothing. Therefore, disbanding of the army occupies a determining position in terms of the liquidation of a state or a movement that is to establish an alternative state.
To their credit, the leaders of the UCPN (M) have been consistent on this erroneous approach. They had beforehand mentioned the necessity of liquidating the People’s Army by advocating the concept of a “new type” of army, formulated as “melting [the army] within the people in order for arming the masses.” There is no doubt that they have been acting according to this concept.
Decisions taken recently regarding uncovering the initiative of the mass, progress by revolutionary methods, and organizing the popular uprising have been removed to dusty shelves. Instead, preference is given to writing a constitution whose nature is already exposed and “progress” through reforms, eliminating the principle forces of the organization by liquidating the army and the youth organization, and thus “voluntarily” entering a process of full integration with the system. In the meantime, the alliances formed with the ruling class parties have been carried to the parliament and eventually a coalition that is expressed as partnership in the government is formed. Faith in eventually gaining these parties, previously labeled as counter-revolutionary, over to the “revolution” is not a new phenomenon.
The policy to form alliance with ruling class parties is defended in the name of “flexibility in tactics,” mentioning “hitting the enemy while riding on its back.” Defended in the name of 21st century’s characteristics, this policy finds its counterpart in the military area as the formulation that merges people’s war with popular uprising, labeled as fusion. The essence of this approach, however, the replacement of armed struggle and revolutionary force with the “peaceful transition.” By stating that “we are fighting against the traditional, clichéd, dogmatic, and orthodox tendencies,” they show flexibility in strategy, permitting the enemy to ride on their backs and hit their heads. Repeated frequently, rhetoric of “being against dogmatism and left adventurism” and “flexibility in tactics” have been the complementary hackneyed slogans of modern revisionism.
When not stern on strategy, whatever flexibility adopted in tactics will end up breaking down. Tactics are developed in order to serve and further advance the strategy, not independently of it. It has been the hallmark of all forms of revisionism to isolate tactics from the strategy. It is the result of insidious nature of revisionism to be talking about tactics yet settling accounts with the strategy. Besides, it is all well known that showing flexibility in tactics has always costs for the strategy.
It will not be surprising to see that collaboration with the counter-revolution advocates a policy that contains expectations from imperialists. Carrying forward the revolutionary potential that has been created by the gains of people’s war through reforms would be against the nature of things. And it is not difficult to determine that throughout the history those who “tried” this had acted based on their preferences rather due to an “illusion.”
The revolutionary movement in Nepal has gained the support of the proletarian and toiling masses and poor peasantry by resolutely advancing in the path of people’s war. It is suggested that gaining the urban popular masses over to the revolution and to complete the process will be achieved through reforms and the method of gradual consciousness-raising. However, after a certain stage, this affair of “winning” can be achieved only by utilizing the “state” apparatus. After all it cannot be considered that classes that have been defeated and forced to withdraw will not voluntarily enter into a process that will eventually bring about their total elimination. Indeed, as a result of the signed agreements, any chance of making a step forward in the name of “winning” also disappears.
The policies that are followed in Nepal in last 6 years have put all aforementioned Marxist concepts through a revision. In place of arguments and practices that were entirely overlapping with each other, those who have made new interpretations and assessments that run in complete opposition to them have now found themselves in a nasty impasse. Indeed, Chairman Prachanda’s previous statements on old revisionists and reformists are like letters sent from past to present.
Today’s decisive issue lies in the current state of the party. It seems that due to the policies followed in recent years, the party has been dragged into a chaos. Besides the disappointment of the policies pursued, the debates that go on openly in public have negatively affected the party discipline, which yields to a serious crisis of confidence. In the circumstances where the problems, identified at the early days of “peace process,” were growing, Prachanda had reacted saying “the party is dying.”However, one of the foremost problems is caused by the position of “great” leaders, their ambition for status and reputation, and the cult of leader. Once upon a time, Prachanda himself was making “assertive” and correct statements on the matter. The fact that today he has unfortunately come to the same position can be described as tragic, at best.
It is our observation that, although putting forth a series of correct analyses and criticism on the line followed by the leadership, as outlined by this article, the dissenting comrades do not seem to be developing an approach that will facilitate a full break and instead they tend to act in reconciliatory manners. More importantly, they don’t seem to be making steps towards turning their dissent into a concrete force. Before it is too late, an intense campaign must be organized and the process must be intervened. The action philosophy of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which falls all too appropriately in place in this case, must be adopted and the bourgeois headquarters must be bombed by introducing the mass initiative to the process. Otherwise, what is feared by the comrades, who had drawn attentions also to this point, is about to befall them.#
Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist Leninist