[In 2004, the two largest revolutionary Maoist organizations in India merged to found the Communist Party of India (Maoist), after a long period of summation and struggle for unity on basic questions of ideology, politics, and revolutionary strategy. At the time of the founding, they issued a series of documents. The following document, “HOLD HIGH THE BRIGHT RED BANNER OF MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM” details much of the history leading up to this merger, what unity was developed, and the place this historic merger plays in the history not only of the Revolution in India, but the responsibility the new Party has taken toward the international communist movement and Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism worldwide. The document, while a summary, is nonetheless quite long, but well worth reviewing. The CPI(Maoist) has taken a leading role in the world revolution, and continues to do so today. — Frontlines ed].
Central Committee (P) CPI(Maoist), 21 September, 2004: “….The present document – Hold High the Bright Red Banner of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism – is the synthesis of all the positive points in the documents of the two erstwhile parties, as well as their experiences in the course of waging the people’s war, fighting against revisionism, and right and left opportunist trends in the Indian and international communist movement, and building a stable and consistent revolutionary movement in various parts of our country…..”
During the uproarious decade of 60s that shook the entire world, the genuine communist revolutionaries in India too began their struggle against the entrenched revisionists inspired by Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought. The Great Debate, initiated and carried out by the then CPC led by Mao Tse-tung against modern revisionism in the International Communist Movement, clearly marked this new beginning in the Communist Movement in India.
It is in this context that many genuine and staunch communist revolutionary forces along with many outstanding and front-ranking leaders like comrades CM and KC started emerging on the scene in the fight against revisionism. This fight was reflected in the 7th Congress of the CPM held in 1964 in the form of two diametrically opposite roads-the road of parliamentarism and the road of protracted people’s war.
Thereafter, the earth-shaking events of the GPCR further surcharged the political atmosphere in India. The clarion call of the great Naxalbari movement led by Com. CM proved to be a “Spring Thunder over India” as graphically described by CPC. It greatly unmasked the ugly face of the revisionist leadership of the CPI, CPI (M) brand. The powerful slogans like “China’s Path is Our Path” and “Mao Tsetung Thought is Our Thought” spread to the four corners of India and even other parts of the Sub-Continent. Naxalbari thus marked a qualitative rupture with age-old revisionism in the Indian communist movement and firmly established the universal truth of MLM Thought in India. From then on, MLM-Thought had become a demarcating line between revisionists and genuine revolutionaries in India. Thus “Naxalbari path, the only path” became an ever-resounding slogan. This movement further inspired and attracted a completely new generation of revolutionary communist forces from among the masses of workers, peasants, students, youth, women and intellectuals towards the ideology of MLM Thought.
The tumultuous events of the 60s starting with the Great Debate and culminating in the GPCR brought forth a new polarisation among the ML forces all over the globe. New Marxist-Leninist parties began to emerge by taking MLM Thought as their guiding ideology.
Although later the revolutionary movement suffered a setback for the time being, the bright red banner of MLM Thought and the flames of Naxalbari continue to shine in various parts of the country. In fact the seeds of MLM Thought were sown very deep in the Indian landscape.
The history of the emergence and development of our two Parties is inseparably linked with this stormy period. During the last 30 years and more of history we not only continue to uphold the shining red banner of MLM Thought, but also continue to apply it in our revolutionary practice in the concrete conditions of India. During this practice we have forged and developed a revolutionary line by analyzing and synthesizing the positive and negative experiences of our movements no doubt on the basis of MLM Thought. In this light we have achieved many remarkable successes in continuing and developing the protracted people’s war through developing agrarian revolutionary guerilla struggle in the countryside by mobilizing and relying on the peasant masses, especially the poor and landless peasants. We continued this struggle by resisting the continuous severe repression and many suppression campaigns unleashed by the reactionary ruling classes. We have succeeded in developing several guerilla zones and guerrilla army-the PLGA- directed towards establishing full-fledged PLA and Base Areas in the vast countryside of Andhra, Jharkhand, Bihar, Dandakaranya and the adjoining parts of these states. This protracted people’s war led by our two Parties is directed towards completing the New Democratic Revolution through the strategy of encircling the cities from the countryside. The content of this revolution is agrarian revolution.
During the course of this protracted people’s war and fighting against various “Left” and Right Opportunist tendencies that emerged from within or outside apart from the revisionism of CPI and CPI (M), we have learnt that any attempt to belittle the importance of MLM Thought and its concrete application to the concrete conditions will prove to be very disastrous. All these tendencies undermined the Maoist conception that in all the backward countries dominated by imperialism and feudalism the objective condition for initiating and developing protracted people’s war from the very beginning are already mature. In the very light of our bitter experience of the last 30 years achieved at the cost of heavy bloodshed along with the experiences of the International Communist Movement, our understanding regarding our ideology has deepened further.
It is in this overall context, when the modern revisionists and those claiming to be followers of Mao Thought have been undermining the universal significance and application of Mao’s contributions and thereby refusing to accept it as a higher stage of Marxism-Leninism that our unified Party is bringing out this document. As the focus of this document is on Maoism, the basic tenets of Marxism and Leninism are dealt here briefly as introduction to show the Marxist-Leninist foundations. Comrade Mao Tse-tung not only firmly based on this foundation but also inherited, defended and developed it to a new, third and qualitatively higher stage. Hence MLM is the continuity of thought of our great Marxist teachers, and is also an integrated whole. Though in our understanding there is no distinction between MLM Thought and MLM and no Chinese Wall can separate the two, we have adopted Marxism- Leninism-Maoism as a new, third and qualitatively higher stage because it is more scientific and appropriate.
It should be borne in mind that the present document is an outline of the guiding principles of MLM. Taking this into consideration, we have to refer to the classical writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tse-tung and creatively apply them to the concrete practice of the Indian revolution to solve the multifarious problems of our revolution.
As Com. Lenin said, “The role of vanguard fighter can be fulfilled only by a party that is guided by the most advanced theory.” And this most advanced theory is the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Hence our Party declares firmly to the workers, peasants and all the toiling and oppressed people of our country (as well as to the international proletariat and the oppressed masses of the world) that our guiding ideology is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
Stages in the Development of the Proletarian Ideology
“Marxism is not a lifeless dogma, not a completed, ready-made, immutable doctrine, but a living guide to action” said Com. Lenin, and it is “bound to reflect the astonishingly abrupt change in the conditions of social life.”
It is precisely because Marxism is a living science, and not a lifeless dogma, has living connection with, and serves practice, that it undergoes continuous development and gets enriched in the course of development of the class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment. The Theory, Ideology or science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the synthesis of the experiences of class struggle in all spheres and in all countries over the last 150 years. It is a comprehensive whole of philosophy, political economy and scientific socialism or class struggle of the proletariat.
MLM has been forged and expounded by the most brilliant leaders of the international proletariat-Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tse tung-in the crucible of class struggle and the ideological struggle against bourgeois ideology and its various manifestations in the form of revisionism and various other alien class tendencies in the past 150 years. It is an invincible weapon in the hands of the international proletariat and other oppressed and exploited masses to understand and transform this world by carrying out the revolution. It is a living and scientific ideology which has constantly developed and enriched during the course of revolutionary practice in the International Communist Movement.
Marxism, the scientific theory developed by Marx and Engels, laid the foundation of the new science and became firmly established by the last decade of the 19th century after defeating all the bourgeois, petty-bourgeois and opportunist trends in the International Communist Movement in a bitter struggle lasting for almost half-a-century. Marxism is the first stage in the development of the scientific ideology of the proletariat.
The second great leap in the science of Marxism took place in the initial decades of the 20th century under conditions of monopoly capitalism, which took the form of imperialism. It was in the course of creatively applying the basic tenets of Marxism to the concrete practice of the Russian Revolution and the World Proletarian Revolution and in the course of the ideological- political struggle against revisionists like Bernstein, Kautsky and dogmatic Marxists like Plekhanov, that Com. Lenin defended, enriched and developed Marxism to a new and higher stage of proletarian science. Thus Marxism- Leninism represented the second stage in the development of the scientific ideology of the proletariat.
The third great leap in the development of the proletarian science was brought forth by Com. Mao by applying the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete practice of the Chinese Revolution and the World Proletarian Revolution and in the course of the resolute struggle against modern revisionism led by Khrushchov & Co. He firmly defended, enriched and developed the science of Marxism-Leninism to a new and higher stage by making significant contributions to the three component parts of Marxism- Leninism. Thus Marxism-Leninism-Maoism marks the third stage in the development of the scientific ideology of the proletariat.
A correct scientific understanding of the development of the ideology of the proletariat over the last 150 years is very essential in order to grasp the significance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as a qualitatively higher stage of Marxism-Leninism.
Marx and Marxism
Pointing out the objective conditions that gave birth to the science of Marxism Com. Mao states :
“For a very long period in history, men were necessarily confined to a one-sided understanding of history of society because, for one thing, the bias of the exploiting classes always distorted history and, for another, the small scale of production limited men’s outlook. It was not until the modern proletariat emerged along with immense forces of production (large-scale industry) that man was able to acquire a comprehensive historical understanding of the development of society and turn this knowledge into science, the science of Marxism.” (Mao – On Practice, Selected Works, Vol I, page 206)
And Com.Stalin succinctly sums up the essence of Marxism thus:
“Marxism is the science of the laws governing the development of nature and society, the science of the revolution of the oppressed and exploited masses, the science of the victory of socialism in all countries, the science of building a communist society.”
Karl Marx, along with his close comrade-in-arms, Frederick Engels, developed the philosophy of dialectical materialism as a method and outlook; applied the dialectical method to discover the laws of motion of social development or the materialist conception of history; developed the science of political economy which discovered the laws of motion of capitalism with its inherent class contradictions and the doctrine of surplus value-the cornerstone of Marx’s economic theory-which uncovered the source of exploitation; developed the theory of scientific socialism based on the doctrine of the class struggle; and outlined the principles governing the tactics of the class struggle of the proletariat.
Marx gave to philosophy the revolutionary task of changing the world. This is expressed in the famous statement made by Marx in his Theses on Feuerbach: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, our task is to change it”.
Marx and Engels defined matter as material reality existing objectively and that it gets reflected in human consciousness. Marxist philosophical materialism thus resolved the fundamental question in philosophy- that concerning the relation of thinking and being …spirit to nature.
They also proved most scientifically the second aspect in the fundamental question in philosophy, viz, can human consciousness properly reflect objective reality? Marxist theory of knowledge totally rejected agnosticism and skepticism, asserted that nothing in the world remains forever as a “thing-in- itself” or unknowable. Marxist theory of knowledge asserted that social practice is the source of knowledge. Completely rejecting rationalist and empiricist trends, it also stated that social practice is the measure of truth.
Marx synthesized the knowledge gained by humankind over the centuries and, basing himself mainly on all that was rational in German classical philosophy, English classical political economy and French revolutionary and socialist doctrines, Marx discovered the Materialist Conception of History. He defined the human essence as the ensemble of social relations.
In the field of political economy, Marx’s greatest contribution is the analysis of Capital.
As explained by Lenin and cited by Com. Mao in his ‘On Contradiction’,
“In his Capital, Marx first analyses the simplest, most ordinary and fundamental, most common and everyday relation of bourgeois (commodity) society, a relation encountered billions of times, viz. the exchange of commodities. In this very simple phenomenon (in this “cell” of bourgeois society) analysis reveals all the contradictions (or the germs of all the contradictions) of modern society. The subsequent exposition shows us the development (both growth and movement) of these contradictions and of this society in the [summation] of its individual parts, from its beginning to its end.”
Thus where the bourgeois economists saw a relation between things (the exchange of one commodity for another) Marx revealed a relation between people. The exchange of commodities expresses the tie between individual producers through the market.
In his monumental work, Das Capital, he expounded the labour theory of value and showed how surplus value extracted from the worker is the specific form of exploitation under capitalism, which takes the form of profit, the source of the wealth of the capitalist class. He showed that exploitation takes place in the capitalist mode of production behind the façade of free and equal exchange. Marx refuted the erroneous views of the Classical economists that exploitation arises from unequal exchange of labour for the wage. Based on this analysis and the law of contradiction Marx discovered the basic contradiction in capitalist society. As Com. Mao explained:
“When Marx applied this law to the study of the economic structure of capitalist society, he discovered that the basic contradiction of this society is the contradiction between the social character of production and the private character of ownership. This contradiction manifests itself in the contradiction between the organized character of production in individual enterprises and the anarchic character of production in society as a whole. In terms of class relations, it manifests itself in the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.” (On Contradiction)
Marx explained capitalist crises also as another manifestation of this fundamental contradiction of capitalism.
Com. Lenin expounded the Marxist understanding regarding the capitalist crisis, while refuting the Sismodian view, that crisis manifests “precisely in the conditions of production. To put it more briefly, the former (Sismondian) explains crises, by underconsumption (Unterkonsumption ), the latter (Marxist) by the anarchy of production.” (The characterization of Economic Romanticism)
Explaining how the capitalists try to resolve the crisis, The Communist Manifesto puts it lucidly:
“The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand, by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say,, by paving the way for extensive and more destructive crisis, and thereby diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.”
Basing on the above understanding Marx and Engels recognised that the proletariat has emerged as the most revolutionary social class and a motive force for social development; that the proletariat, in the course of liberating itself from wage slavery, will also liberate the entire society from all class exploitation and oppression and advance towards a classless society. They realized that, in order to liberate itself by overthrowing capitalism the proletariat should develop its own class ideology, that it should transform from the position of class-in-itself to a class-for-itself, and that it should form its own advanced organization-the Party of the proletariat.
They proved that the contradiction between productive forces and relations of production in class society manifests itself as a class contradiction and it is this class struggle, which serves as the driving force of society. Hence they described the history of class society as a history of a class struggle. The Communist Manifesto, an immortal work of Marx and Engels which appeared over 150 years ago, remains the international proletariat’s guide even to this day.
The birth of Marxism belongs to the period of one of the greatest transformations in human history and the establishment of the global domination of a few Western capitalist regimes. It was in the period of stormy revolutions of the bourgeois-democratic epoch and nascent proletarian- revolutionary movements from 1848 to the Paris Commune of 1871, and a relatively peaceful period of preparation of the proletarian revolutions after the fall of the Commune to the turn of the century that Marxism became established through the correct analysis provided by Marx and Engels into the great events of the period like the Paris Commune. Marx and Engels played a major role in establishing and guiding the Communist Parties and the First International and gave the workers of various nations an internationalist outlook and camaraderie through their clarion call : “Workers of the world Unite!”
Marxism developed into an ideological weapon in the hands of the proletariat by defeating the various petty-bourgeois trends like the Anarchist trend of Proudhon, Bakunin and the like who rejected the need for the political struggle of the working class, rejected the need for a Party of the proletariat and rejected the dictatorship of the proletariat; the Blanquist trend that relied exclusively on conspiratorial methods; and the opportunist trend of Lassalle, who proposed a system of government-subsidised co-operatives, which would gradually replace capitalism, and opposed even trade union struggles and strikes by his infamous theory of the “iron law of wages”.
Marx criticized the opportunist Gotha Programme that was adopted by the new Party formed in Germany by the merger of the revolutionary Left led by Liebknecht and Bebel with the opportunist Lassalle who believed in the democratization of the state through universal suffrage or so-called state socialism and collaborated with Bismarck.
Marx developed the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat as a form of rule of the proletariat and as a method of overthrowing the rule of capital by force. Marx and Engels explained the birth, development and the withering away of the State in the course of development of human society from the slave-owning society to communism. They explained that “the executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie”.(The Communist Manifesto).
The most important principle derived from the experience of the Commune, according to Marx, is that ‘the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and use it for its own purposes.’ In other words, the proletariat should use revolutionary means to seize state power, smash the military bureaucratic machine of the bourgeoisie and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat to replace the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.
Dictatorship of the proletariat is a key concept in Marxist political theory. Marx proved that “the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; that this dictatorship itself constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.” (Letter to Wedemeyer, March, 1852) Marx and Engels thus exposed and defeated all petty bourgeois, utopian theories of socialism that rejected class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat and firmly established the principles of scientific socialism.
It is through the development of the theory and tactics of the proletariat in the pre-monopoly stage of capitalism and the resolute struggle waged by Marx, against the various opportunist trends hostile to the interests of the proletariat, that Marxism got established as the first stage in the development of the proletarian ideology. And the Marxist methodology has been adopted in understanding and developing almost all subjects ranging from natural sciences to the strategy and tactics of revolution.
The great contributions of Marx and Engels are inseparable. It was in close collaboration with Engels that Marx developed his theory. Engels assisted Marx and enriched the latter’s writings, simplifying and elaborating them where necessary. Engels also made great contributions to philosophy, political economy and scientific socialism after the death of Marx. He defended Marx and led the ideological struggle against the opportunism in the Second International in the initial years of its existence. Thus the contributions of Engels are an inseparable part of the theory of Marxism.
The revolutionary standpoint, political theory, the dialectical method and the all-embracing world view developed by Marx i.e., doctrine of Marx, came to be called Marxism, and represents the first great milestone in the development of the scientific ideology of the proletariat.
Lenin and Leninism
Lenin, following Marx and Engels, was a great revolutionary teacher of the proletariat, the working people and the oppressed nations of the whole world. Under the historical conditions of the epoch of imperialism and in the flames of the proletarian socialist revolution, Lenin inherited, resolutely defended, scientifically applied and creatively developed the revolutionary teachings of Marx and Engels. Leninism is Marxism of the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolution.
He creatively applied the basic tenets of Marxism to the concrete practice of the Russian revolution and to the World Proletarian Revolution in the early phase of the imperialist era. Comrade Stalin summed up Leninism as: “Marxism in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.”
Stalin mentioned two causes for the specific features of Leninism. “… firstly, to the fact that Leninism emerged from the proletarian revolution, the imprint of which it cannot but bear; secondly, to the fact that it grew and became strong in clashes with the opportunism of the Second International.”
Com. Lenin made great contributions to enrich all the three component parts of Marxism and elevated our understanding of the proletarian Party, revolutionary violence, the State, the dictatorship of the proletariat, imperialism, the peasant question, the women’s question, the national question, world war, and tactics of the proletariat in the class struggle to a higher stage of conception. The theoretical writings of Com. Lenin deal with almost every subject applying the dialectical method of Marx.
Lenin undertook the very serious task of generalizing, on the basis of materialist philosophy, the most important achievements of science from the time of Engels down to his own time, as well as of subjecting to comprehensive criticism the anti-materialistic trends among Marxists. In particular, his criticism on empirio-criticism which came to the fore as a revisionist trend in philosophy is of fundamental importance. From then on until today it has served as Marxist critique of the modern bourgeois philosophical trends. He considered the attack on Marxism in name of “New” philosophical trends based on modern scientific discoveries as a manifestation of the class struggle in the philosophical front. He proved that all the “New” philosophical theories were no different from the old subjective idealism of Berkeley and Hume. Lenin thus defeated most ably this attack on Marxism in the philosophical front. In this process he creatively developed Marxist philosophy.
Lenin developed Marxist theory of reflection in a creative way. He explained on the basis of modern scientific discoveries that matter has the property of being reflected and consciousness is the highest form of reflection of matter in the brain.
The theory of reflection of matter developed by Lenin, the definition he gave to matter further strengthened the foundations of Marxist philosophical materialism, making them impregnable to any attacks from any form of idealism. The revolutionary dialectics was further carried ahead by Lenin who particularly made a deep study of contradictions. He called contradiction “the essence of dialectics” and stated that ‘the division of the One and the knowledge of its contradictory parts is the essence of dialectics.” He further asserted, “In brief, dialectics can be defined as the doctrine of the unity of opposites”.
Lenin made some of his greatest contributions to political economy. While Marx and Engels revealed the various aspects of capitalism when it was at the stage of free-competition and pointed out its tendencies and future direction, it was not possible for them to analyse imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism which was yet to be unfolded. Lenin further developed the Marxist political economy and analysed the economic and political essences of imperialism.
In his brilliant analysis of imperialism, which is a great contribution to the theory of Marxism, comrade Lenin scientifically explained the transformation of capitalism from the pre-monopoly stage to monopoly stage and how this highest stage of capitalism bred war and revolution. He pointed out that imperialist war is a continuation of imperialist politics. The imperialists because of their insatiable greed in scrambling for world markets, sources of raw materials and fields for investment, and because of their struggle to re- divide the world start world wars. Hence, so long as imperialism exists in the world, the source and possibility of war will remain. He laid bare the myth of democracy and showed how “politically imperialism is always a striving towards violence and reaction.”
Lenin asserted that imperialism is monopolistic, parasitic or decaying, moribund capitalism, that it is the highest and final stage in the development of capitalism and therefore is the eve of the proletarian revolution.
Another major contribution of Lenin was regarding the smashing of the State structure of the exploiting classes and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. He explained how the State is an instrument of oppression of one class by another and how the exploitative State can be smashed only by means of revolutionary violence. Lenin repeatedly pointed out that the proletarian revolution must smash the bourgeois state machine and replace it with the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Drawing lessons from the experiences of the Paris Commune and the Russian Revolution, he discovered that the Soviet form of government was the best form of the dictatorship of the proletariat; defined the dictatorship of the proletariat as a special form of the class alliance between the proletariat, and the exploited masses of the non-proletarian classes, particularly the peasantry, under the leadership of the working class; and explained how the dictatorship of the proletariat is the highest type of democracy, the form of proletarian democracy, which expresses the interests of the majority of the masses. Lenin pointed out that the dictatorship of the proletariat is a persistent struggle – bloody and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative – against the forces and traditions of the old society, that it means all-round dictatorship over the bourgeoisie. The importance of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Lenin’s thinking could be gauged from his famous observation: “Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat.”
Lenin also warned of the danger of the restoration of capitalism if the working class does not completely transform the small commodity production. Lenin said: “small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale.” That is why Lenin considered that the dictatorship of the proletariat is essential to check the rise of the new bourgeoisie. Moreover, basing on the law of the uneven economic and political development of capitalism, Lenin came to the conclusion that, because capitalism developed extremely unevenly in different countries, socialism would achieve victory first in one or several countries but could not achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. Therefore, in spite of the victory of socialism in one or several countries, other capitalist countries still exist, and this gives rise to imperialist subversive activities against the socialist states. Hence the struggle will be protracted. This was very lucidly brought out by the CPC in its famous June 14 Letter of 1963:
“After the October Revolution, Lenin pointed out a number of times that:
- The overthrown exploiters always try in a thousand and one ways to recover the “paradise” they have been deprived of.
- New elements of capitalism are constantly and spontaneously generated in the petty-bourgeois atmosphere.
- Political degenerates and new bourgeois elements may emerge in the ranks of the working class and among government functionaries as a result of bourgeois influence and the pervasive, corrupting atmosphere of the petty bourgeoisie.
- The external conditions for the continuance of class struggle within a socialist country are encirclement by international capitalism, the imperialists’ threat of armed intervention and their subversive activities to accomplish peaceful disintegration.”
This thesis of Lenin that the struggle between socialism and capitalism will embrace a whole historical epoch is a tremendous contribution to the theory of building socialism and communism.
Lenin made a path-breaking leap in the concept and practice of Party building, which is a great addition to the arsenal of Marxism. Lenin considered it of prime importance for the proletariat to establish its own genuinely revolutionary political party, which completely breaks with opportunism, that is, a Communist Party, if the proletarian revolution is to be carried through, and the dictatorship of the proletariat established and consolidated. He brilliantly summed up the need for the party in the famous phrase “The Proletariat, in its struggle for power, has no weapon other than organization”.
He postulated that the Party is the highest form of class organization that directs all other forms of organization of the masses, that the dictatorship of the proletariat can be realized only through the proletarian Party, and that the Party should consist of a stable nucleus of professional revolutionaries with an extensive network of Party membership. This political party must identify itself with the masses and attach great importance to their creative initiative in the making of history; it must closely rely on the masses in revolution as well as in building Socialism and Communism.
The Leninist understanding on the national question is qualitatively of a higher level. He fought both the chauvinism of the oppressor nation and the narrow nationalism of the oppressed nation and laid out a correct policy for the Party of the proletariat on the national question i.e. complete equality of rights for all nations; the right of nations to self-determination, including the right of secession, and the amalgamation of all nations. He showed how the national and colonial question is a component part of the general question of the world proletarian revolution and how it can be resolved only by the complete elimination of imperialism worldwide. According to the National and Colonial Thesis of Com. Lenin, the proletarian revolutionary movements in the capitalist countries should ally themselves with the national liberation movements in the colonies and dependent countries; this alliance can smash the alliance of the imperialists with the feudal and comprador reactionary forces in the colonies all dependent countries, and will therefore inevitably put a final end to the imperialist system throughout the world.
Lenin creatively developed the ideas of Marx and Engels on an alliance of the working class and the peasantry into an integral doctrine. Refuting the line of the Mensheviks like Plekhanov who argued that the proletariat should only play the role of extreme left opposition and leave the leadership role of the bourgeois democratic revolution in Russia to the bourgeoisie and that the peasantry should be left under the latter’s tutelage, Lenin formulated the strategic plans for both the stages of revolution in Russia as: “The proletariat must carry the democratic revolution to the completion, allying to itself the mass of the peasantry in order to crush the autocracy’s resistance by force and paralyse the bourgeoisie’s instability. The proletariat must accomplish the Socialist revolution, allying to itself the masses of the semi-proletarian elements of the population, so as to crush the bourgeoisie’s resistance by force and paralyse the instability of the peasantry and the petty-bourgeoisie.”
Analysing the international and the internal conditions in Russia in the era of imperialism Lenin thus developed a completely new theory of two stages of revolution-bourgeois democratic and proletarian socialist-both of which are indivisible and should be led by the proletariat.
Leninism developed through relentless fight against the various shades of opportunists such as the Bernstenian revisionists, Narodniks, Economists, Mensheviks, Legal Marxists, Liquidators, Kautskyites, Trotskyites, etc. Lenin drew up the tactics by taking Marxism as not a dogma but a guide to action. The amazing clarity of the tactical slogans and the astounding boldness of the revolutionary plans of Lenin won over all the Left forces in the Second International and the revolutionary masses to the side of the Bolsheviks.
Lenin considered revisionists as agents of imperialism hiding among the ranks of the working class movement and said: “…the fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism.”
With the collapse of the Second International during the First World War due to the betrayal by most of the Social-Democratic Parties that pursued a national chauvinist policy of “Defence of the Fatherland”, Com. Lenin formed the Third International immediately following the War and made it a powerful instrument of the international proletariat in its fight against imperialism.
While Marxism is the doctrine of the era of relative peaceful development of capitalism and Leninism is the doctrine of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.
Describing the conditions under which Leninism arose, Com.Stalin said:
“Leninism grew up and took shape under the conditions of imperialism, when the contradictions of capitalism had reached an extreme point, when the proletarian revolution had become an immediate practical question, when the old period of preparation of the working class for revolution had come up and passed over to a new period, that of direct assault on capitalism”. And that “Leninism is the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution in general, the theory and tactics of the dictatorship of the proletariat in particular.”
Lenin’s teachings on imperialism, on proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, on war and peace, and on the building of socialism and communism still retain their full vitality. The science of Marxism thus took a qualitative leap into the second and higher stage of Marxism- Leninism in the course of the proletarian revolution and the struggle against the opportunists of the Second international in the imperialist stage of capitalism.
Stalin’s Defence of Marxism-Leninism
Stalin’s contribution is part and parcel of Leninism. Based on the theoretical foundations of Com. Lenin he further enriched and played a leading role in construction of socialism in the USSR, the world’s first ever socialist country.
Com. Stalin, the comrade-in-arms of Lenin, creatively applied, defended and developed Marxism-Leninism in some fields. He led the International Communist Movement, in the three decades after the death of Com.Lenin. He played a glorious role in defeating the Hitler fascism during the 2nd World War.
Stalin defended and developed Marxism-Leninism in the fight against various kinds of opportunism, against the enemies of Leninism, the Trotskyites, Zinovievites, Bukharinites, and other bourgeois agents.
Stalin made an indelible contribution to the international communist movement through a number of theoretical writings such as those on the Nationality question, Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, History of the CPSU(B), on linguistics, etc and is known for the most lucid, popular and simplified presentation of the works of Lenin such as “The Foundations of Leninism” making them easier to grasp by the Marxist-Leninists all over the world.
Mao and Maoism
Combining the Chinese Revolution and the international proletarian revolution with the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism, Com.Mao has protected, inherited and developed Marxism-Leninism to a new and higher stage in the field of philosophy, political economy, military science and scientific socialism. Com.Mao has further developed the Marxist-Leninist strategy and tactics. Protracted people’s war was developed through revolutionary struggle and was for long 28 years in colonial, semi-colonial, semi-feudal China-in a situation totally different from the capitalist Europe.
His theory of the New Democracy is also a unique contribution to the arsenal of Marxism-Leninism.
After the successful completion of the great Chinese Revolution in 1949 he made some of his most brilliant contributions through the process of leading a worldwide struggle against Khrushchov revisionism as well as modern revisionism which is popularly known as The Great Debate in the history of the International Communist Movement and thereafter by making continuous contributions to the treasury of Marxism-Leninism, he initiated and led the earth-shaking GPCR which marked a historical turning point in the history of International Communist Movement. During this period he developed the theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat to prevent the restoration of capitalism thereby consolidating and strengthening the socialist system and the dictatorship of the proletariat with the very purpose of advancing it towards communism on a world scale. On the whole, Com. Mao developed the science of Marxism-Leninism to its third, higher and qualitatively new stage.
Marxist philosophy: Mao Tse-tung made invaluable contributions in greatly developing the proletarian philosophy of dialectical materialism including the theory of knowledge. Through his penetrating study of society and human thought and particularly fighting against the dogmatists and made a conceptual leap in understanding and developing the law of contradiction. He pointed out that law of contradiction, the unity and struggle of opposites, is the fundamental law of motion governing nature and society including the human thought. He expounded that the unity and identity in all things and processes is temporary and relative, while the struggle between opposites is constant and absolute which marks “breaks in continuity” and new leaps. He further explained this conceptual leap in identifying the relationship between the particularity of contradiction and the universality of contradiction. He said that in given condition, opposite in a contradiction possesses identity, and consequently can coexist in a single entity and can transform themselves into each other. This is the particularity and relativity of contradiction. But the struggle of opposites is ceaseless, it goes on both when the opposites are coexisting and when they are transforming themselves into each other, and this struggle becomes especially visible when the opposites are transforming themselves into one another – this is universality and absoluteness of contradiction. In this context he further said that in analysing the particularity of contradictions we must give attention to the distinction between the principal contradiction and the non-principal contradiction and to the distinction between the principal aspect and the non-principal aspect of a contradiction, while in studying and analysing the universality of contradiction and the struggle of opposites in contradiction, we must give attention to the distinction between the different forms of struggle. That is why he stressed that “the study of the various states of unevenness in contradictions, of the principal and the non- principal contradictions and of the principal and the non-principal aspects of a contradiction constitutes an essential method by which a revolutionary political Party correctly determines its strategic and tactical policies both in political and in military affairs.”(Mao – ‘On Contradiction’ Selected Readings, Page 117)
How we must study every great system of the forms of motion of matter, Com. Mao said, “It is necessary not only to study the particular contradiction and the essence determined thereby of every great system of the forms of motion of matter, but also study the particular contradiction and the essence of each process in the long course of development of each form of motion of matter . In every form of motion, each process of development which is real (and not imaginary) is qualitatively different. Our study must emphasise and start from this point.” (On Contradiction).
How to solve the qualitatively different contradictions Com.Mao taught us, “qualitatively different contradictions can only be resolved by qualitatively different methods.” ( Ibid.). How to study a long process he advised us to remember the following guideline: “ the process is marked by stages. If people do not pay attention to the stages in the process of development of a thing, they cannot deal with its contradictions properly.”
Regarding the interrelationship between class struggle and the development of ideology, Com. Mao said, “The three basic constituents of Marxism are scientific socialism, philosophy and political economy. The foundation is social science, class struggle. There is a struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Marx and others saw this. Utopian Socialists are always trying to persuade the bourgeoisie to be charitable. This won’t work. It is necessary to rely on the class struggle of the proletariat…….it is only starting from this view-point that Marxism appeared. The foundation is class struggle.” (Talks on the Question of Philosophy, Mao, 1964)
Mao also developed the dialectical understanding regarding the relationship between productive forces and relations of production, theory and practice, economic base and superstructure, matter and consciousness, and so on. He raised the understanding to a qualitatively higher level by pointing out that although productive forces, practice, matter, economic base, etc. are the principal aspects in the above contradictions, in certain conditions, aspects such as relations of production, theory, superstructure and consciousness can become the principal and play a decisive role.
Thus Mao stressed the profound truth that matter can be transformed into consciousness and then consciousness back into matter, thereby further developing the understanding of the conscious, dynamic role of man in every field of human activity.
Mao Tse-tung masterfully applied this understanding in analysing the relationship between theory and practice, he stressed that practice is both the sole source and ultimate criterion of truth and emphasising the leap from theory to revolutionary practice. He elaborating this understanding in developing the theory of knowledge :
“Discover the truth through practice, and again through practice verify and develop the truth. Start from perceptual knowledge and actively develop it into rational knowledge; then start from rational knowledge and actively guide revolutionary practice to change both the subjective and the objective world. Practice, knowledge, again practice and again knowledge. This form repeats itself in endless cycles, and with each cycle the content of practice and knowledge rises to a higher level. Such is the whole of the dialectical- materialist theory of knowledge, and such is the dialectical-materialistic theory of the unity of knowing and doing.” (Mao, On Practice, Selected Reading, page 81-82)
During the GPCR Mao Tse-tung gave utmost importance to the study and popularising the philosophy of the proletariat and thereby coined the term that “Philosophy is no mystery” and hence to take philosophy to the masses in their million he developed the new concept of “one divides into two” in opposing the revisionist thesis of “Two combine into one”. This became the most popular version of the law of the unity and struggle of opposites which marked a new development in philosophy.
Political Economy :
In the realm of the political economy of Socialism, Com.Mao Tse-tung made tremendous advances, particularly analyzing the concrete laws of motion governing the Socialist Construction by undertaking deep and critical analysis of the then ‘Soviet Economics’ and by taking lessons from the positive and negative experiences of socialist construction in Soviet Russia. During this penetrating analysis he defended and highlighted the positive achievements of the socialist construction while at the same time criticised some of its negative aspects. On the basis of this analysis including the analysis of the Chinese experience itself, com. Mao developed a new conception thereby making a major breakthrough in this field. In his masterful writing “Ten Major Relationships” Com.Mao underlined and developed new concepts for building Socialism, such as “take agriculture as the foundation and industry as the leading factor”. He emphasized the contradictory and dynamic role of production and its interaction with the political and ideological superstructure of the society. Mao recognized that although the ownership of the whole people will coexist with the ownership of the collective for a fairly long period of time, the latter can also prove to be a hurdle for the further and full development of the productive forces. That is why he stressed that there should be constant interaction between the system of socialist ownership with the other aspects of the relations of production, that is the relations between the people in production including the system of distribution. In this context he emphasized the fact that since the law of value and the “bourgeois right” still continue to operate (although restricted) in the Socialist society, it is therefore the correctness of the ideological and political line that decides whether the proletariat actually owns the means of production. It is in this background that Com.Mao warned time and again that if the revisionists succeeded in capturing the political power it would be easy for them to rig up the capitalist system. He thereby enriched and developed the Marxist political economy by profoundly criticizing and waging a life and death struggle against the revisionist theory of the productive forces represented by Liu Shao-chi &Co in China and Khrushchov in Russia. He concluded that the superstructure and consciousness can transform the base and, by placing politics in command in every field, productive forces can be constantly developed.
With this higher stage of conception and understanding of the laws of socialist construction Com.Mao formulated some important guidelines in the form of slogans such as “Grasp Revolution, Promote Production”, “Never Forget Class Struggle” and “Take Class Struggle as the Key Link” in carrying out production in the correct direction. Refuting the revisionist theory of “Only Expert”, com. Mao enunciated an important guideline by emphasizing the interrelationship between expertise and revolutionary politics or “Red and Expert”.
Another great contribution of Com. Mao is the new conception of bureaucrat capital, which is comprador in nature and is tied to imperialism and feudalism. He explained how, during their twenty-year rule, the four big families, Chiang, Soong, Kung and Chen, have piled up enormous fortunes and monopolized the economic lifelines of the whole country; how this monopoly capital, combined with state power, has become state-monopoly capitalism. He stated: “This monopoly capitalism, closely tied up with foreign imperialism, the domestic landlord class and the old-type rich peasants, has become comprador, feudal, state-monopoly capitalism. Such is the economic base of Chiang Kai-shek’s reactionary regime. This state-monopoly capitalism oppresses not only the workers and peasants but also the urban petty bourgeoisie, and it injures the middle bourgeoisie. This capital is popularly known in China as bureaucrat-capital. This capitalist class, known as the bureaucrat-capitalist class, is the big bourgeoisie of China.” He said that besides doing away with the special privileges of imperialism in China, the task of the new-democratic revolution at home is to abolish exploitation and oppression by the landlord class and by the bureaucrat-capitalist class (the big bourgeoisie), change the comprador, feudal relations of production and unfetter the productive forces.
Com. Mao’s analysis of the degeneration of the Socialist economy of the Soviet Union into a capitalist economy, the process of development of state monopoly capital in the Soviet Union and the transformation of the latter into a social-imperialist country and then into a superpower has also enriched our understanding of the bureaucratized capitalist states i.e. in States where capitalism is restored.
Development of a Maoist Revolutionary Line
The principal elements of Com. Mao’s revolutionary line are the political line of carrying out the New Democratic Revolution under the leadership of the working class which will pass over to the Socialist stage; the military line with the protracted people’s war as its essence; the organizational line that consists of the basic principles underlying the construction of the three magic weapons; and the revolutionary mass line.
Com. Mao’s revolutionary line emerged by creatively and masterfully applying the science of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete practice of the Chinese Revolution. During the long and complex course of the Chinese Revolution he developed a qualitatively new theory regarding the nature and the path of the revolution for the colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal countries; developed the strategic and tactical principles of people’s war and enriched the military science; and developed the mass line and class line and thereby developed the new theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
New Democratic Revolution
According to the new theory developed by Com. Mao that the revolution in the semi-colonial, semi-feudal, countries will generally pass through two different or distinct but inseparably interlinked stages. The first stage will be the New Democratic Stage, which will uninterruptedly pass over to the socialist stage directed towards communism. This is because these countries have not gone through the bourgeois democratic revolution and hence are oppressed by both imperialism and feudalism. by Basing on the Leninist thesis with regard to the Russian revolution Mao developed the theory of two stages to a qualitatively new level. Thus he explained that the democratic revolution in China is not the old type of bourgeois revolution but a new democratic revolution and that it had the two-fold task of overthrowing feudalism on the one hand, which determined the democratic character, and of overthrowing imperialism, which determined the national character of the revolution. The NDR will remain directed against imperialism, feudalism and comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie. Agrarian revolution will be the axis of this revolution. The proletariat and its party will play the leading role in this revolution. He analysed that the bourgeoisie is divided into two sections-the comprador big bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie. While the former is the target of the revolution the latter is a vacillating ally in the democratic stage of the revolution. It is this penetrating analysis that made it possible for the CPC to forge a powerful united front of all the classes that stood opposed to imperialism and feudalism based on worker-peasant alliance and led by the working class.
Path of Protracted People’s War
In order to victoriously carry out the new democratic revolution Com. Mao developed a qualitatively new theory of protracted people’s war. Before the Chinese Revolution the path of armed insurrection, generally known as the soviet model of revolution, was considered as the general path for the seizure of power by the working class. But great Mao Tsetung solved the question of successful completion of the revolution in the colonial, semi- colonial and semi-feudal countries. He solved this question by waging a bitter struggle against various right, dogmatist and “left” deviations and learning from mistakes in the course of advancing the Chinese revolution. With the victorious completion of this revolution the truth that has come out is marked with internationalist significance. This truth is revolution in colonial, semi- colonial and semi-feudal countries can be victorious generally by following the path and the principles underlying the strategy and tactics of the Chinese Revolution. According to this path the countryside will remain the main centre of the revolution and armed agrarian revolution will be the key in the creation of the unending flow of armed revolutionary forces from the mass of the peasantry, which will lead towards establishing the invincible people’s army. The protracted people’s war will advance towards victory by liberating the vast areas of the countryside first and then encircling and finally capturing the cities.
During this revolution Com. Mao put forth immense importance to the building of a staunch and heroic people’s army and establishment of the liberated base areas firstly in the strategic areas of the countryside. The emergence of the base areas will contribute to enhance and expedite the revolutionary high tide throughout the country and this lays the basis for building up new base areas. Moreover, the task of carrying out the revolutionary transformations in the base areas, by mobilising and relying on the masses themselves, will help in further strengthening these base areas politically, economically as well as culturally, which will definitely help in achieving new victories in the protracted people’s war.
Com. Mao developed a most comprehensive military line of the proletariat of a new type in the history of the international communist movement. He developed this line by comprehending the laws of war developed in the previous history and particularly by basing on the Marxist-Leninist understanding regarding the revolutionary warfare.
Comrade Mao systematically and comprehensively formulated the basic principles of building up the Red Army and of the Red Army’s strategy and tactics during the course of China’s Revolutionary war, or in short, the laws that govern the people’s war. The basic strategic and tactical principles of the Red Army were derived from the principal characteristics of China’s revolutionary war These basic principles, together with other military theories, constitute the military line of the CPC represented by Com. Mao.
The principles and theories comprising the military line have enriched the military science and have become a guide for directing the war, particularly in colonial, semi-feudal. semi-colonial countries as the experiences of the people’s wars and national liberation struggles in several countries since the Second World War amply demonstrate.
One of the greatest contributions of Com.Mao to military science lies precisely in his interpreting guerilla warfare on a strategic level. Formerly, guerilla warfare was only considered as a tactical problem. He said that throughout the period of war, guerrilla warfare and mobile warfare of a guerilla character are the chief forms of fighting. The strategic role of guerilla warfare is two-fold, to support regular warfare and to transform itself into regular warfare. While guerilla warfare is basic, he stressed that “the outcome of the war depends mainly on regular warfare, especially in its mobile form”, and that “these two forms of warfare will afford full play to the art of directing the war and to the active role of man”. Which form of warfare-guerilla, mobile, positional-will assume the main form at a particular phase of the protracted people’s war depends on the concrete conditions. But in all conditions the basic principle will remain “You fight your way and we’ll fight ours: We fight when we can win and we retreat when we cannot.” In the same way he categorically stated that “ all the guiding principles of military apparatus grow out of one basic principle, ‘to preserve oneself and destroy the enemy’”. All technical principles and all principles concerning tactics, campaigns and strategy represent application of this basic principle.
One of the most important contributions of Mao is the involvement of the broad masses in the people’s war. He showed that it is the people, not weapons that are decisive in carrying out the people’s war. The development of the people’s militia as the local fighting force with the slogan of “Every citizen a soldier” spread the guerilla warfare in depth and breadth throughout China. Guerilla warfare acquired a mass character behind the enemy lines thereby facilitating the advance of the regular people’s army and the guerilla units. Com.Mao taught that Party should always command the gun and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.
Com. Mao also profoundly chalked out the three distinct but interlinked stages that the revolutionary war would generally traverse through. These are the stage of strategic defensive, the stage of strategic stalemate or strategic equilibrium and finally the stage of strategic offensive. The duration of these stages will vary according to varying conditions of a country. Com. Mao forcefully stated that “It is imperative that we arouse interest in the study of military theory and direct the attention of the whole membership to the study of military matters.” In this context of developing and applying the military line, the military writings of Mao Tse-tung are a guide to action. These must be studied and grasped for continuously deepening and advancing the revolutionary protracted people’s war to higher and higher stages.
Com. Mao further developed the concept regarding the revolutionary mass line based on his famous dictum that “the people and the people alone are the motive force in making world history.” He explained the basic method of leadership by showing how correct ideas are formed in the leadership by taking the ideas of the masses and concentrating them, and again going to the masses, persevering in the ideas and carrying them through. He stated that “take the ideas of the masses (scattered and unsystematic ideas), and concentrate them (through study, turn them into concentrated and systematic ideas) then go to the masses and propagate and explain these ideas until the masses embrace them as their own, hold fast to them and translate them into action and test the correctness of these ideas in such action.”
Such is the essence of Mao’s mass line.
The 1945 CPC ‘Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party’, lucidly summed up Com.Mao’s conception of mass line inside and outside the Party:
“As Comrade Mao Tse-tung says, the correct line should be ‘from the masses, to the masses’. To ensure that the line really comes from the masses and particular that it really goes back to the masses, there must be close ties not only between the Party and the masses outside the Party (between the class and the people), but above all between the Party’s leading bodies and the masses within the Party (between the cadres and the rank and the file); in other words there must be a correct organisational line. There fore, just as in each period of the Party’s history Comrade Mao Tse-tung has laid down a political line representing the interests of the masses, so he has laid down an organisational line serving the political line and maintaining ties with the masses both inside and outside the Party.”
Three Magic Weapons
The “Three Magic Weapons”-the party, army and the united front-is another new thesis developed by Com. Mao. The deeper understanding and masterful use of these weapons by the party of the proletariat can and will guarantee the advancement of revolution towards victory. It is extremely necessary to understand and grasp not only the significance of each weapon taken by itself but it is more important to understand and master their interrelationship in theory and, more importantly, in concrete practice. In this regard Com. Mao remarkably concluded : “Our eighteen years experience show that the UF and armed struggle are the two basic weapons for defeating the enemy. The UF is a UF for carrying on armed struggle, and party is the heroic warrior wielding the two weapons, the UF and the Armed Struggle to storm and shatter the enemy’s positions. That is how they are related to each other.” (Mao, “Introducing the Communist” Vol. II, Page 295)
This is the essence of Com. Mao’s theory in understanding and correctly handling the two weapons, UF and Armed Struggle, by the Party of the Proletariat.
Apart from the three magic weapons Com. Mao also developed an important guideline in understanding and developing the relationship of other forms of organization and struggles. He said that “….war is the main form of struggle and the army is the main form of organization. Other forms such as mass organizations and mass struggles are also extremely important and indeed indispensable and in no circumstances to be overlooked, but their purpose is to serve the war.” This is the most correct criterion in judging the performance of all other forms of organization and forms of struggles.
Com. Mao further developed the vanguard role of the Leninist concept regarding the Communist Party who emphatically stated that “ if there is to be revolution there must be a revolutionary party.” The party must be armed with the scientific ideology of MLM, it must be built on revolutionary style and should be well disciplined, using the method of criticism and self- criticism and closely linked with while relying vast masses of the People. Apart from fighting against bourgeoisie ideology and various shades of revisionism Com. Mao developed the profound understanding of how to develop and preserve and enhance the proletarian character of the party through waging active and relentless struggle against the influence of the bourgeoisie tendencies inside the party ranks at all levels.
Com. Mao taught that the communist party plays the primary and vanguard role in all matters before, during and often the revolution in leading the proletariat and the masses in the historic struggle leading toward communism. He developed the profound understanding of how to develop and preserve the proletarian character of the party through waging an active and serious struggle against bourgeois and petti-bourgeois tendencies in the party ranks at all levels. In addition to the ideological remoulding of the party members the weapon of criticism and self-criticism should be used for strengthening the party organisation and increasing its fighting capacity. In opposing subjectivism and sectarianism and other alien class tendencies communist must firstly “learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones,” and secondly “cure the sickness to save the patient”, this is the only correct and effective method. He also set a new example to constantly rectify the party in order to proletarianise the Party and safeguard the political line through initiating rectification campaigns from time to time.
He also warned against subjectivism, arbitrariness and vulgarisation of criticism and emphasised that during this process statements should be based on facts and criticism should stress the political side.
Com. Mao highlighted the importance of integration of the leadership with the masses. Thereby he emphasised that they should be bold in unleashing their initiative and creativity. For this they should set an example in “simple living and hard work”. Both commandism and the attitude of dispensing favours have to be fought. Communists must be modest and prudent and guard against arrogance and impetuosity; they must be imbued with the spirit of self-criticism and have the courage of correcting the mistakes and shortcomings in their work. They must not cover up their errors and claim the credit for themselves and shift all the blame on others. In developing the mass line Mao Tsetung continued to stress that communist should set an example in learning from the masses and relying on them.
On Democratic Centralism
Mao’s dialectical presentation of the understanding of democratic centralism was a significant contribution to the Marxist theory of organisational principles. He stressed on creating ‘a political situation in which we have both centralism and democracy, both discipline and freedom, both unity of will and personal ease of mind and liveliness’ both inside and outside the Party and said that
“Otherwise it will be impossible to arouse the enthusiasm of the masses. We cannot overcome difficulties without democracy. Of course, its even more impossible to do so without centralism. But if there’s no democracy there won’t be any centralism.”
“Without democracy there can’t be correct centralism because centralism can’t be established when people have divergent views and don’t have unity of understanding. What is meant by centralism? First, there must be concentration of correct ideas. Unity of understanding, of policy, plan, command and action is attained on the basis of concentrating correct ideas. This is unity through centralism. But if all those concerned are still not clear about the problems, if their opinions are still unexpressed or their anger is still not vented, how can you achieve this unity through centralism? Without democracy, it is impossible to sum up experience correctly. Without democracy, without ideas coming from the masses, it is impossible to formulate good lines, principles, policies or methods.”
Mao also explained the dialectical relationship between democratic centralism and dictatorship of the proletariat:
“Without democratic centralism, the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be consolidated. Without broad democracy for the people, it is impossible for the dictatorship of the proletariat to be consolidated of for political power to be stable. Without democracy, without arousing the masses and without supervision by the masses, it is impossible to exercise effective dictatorship over the reactionaries and bad elements or to remould them effectively.”
He warned that if the DOP is not consolidated based on democratic centralism it is impossible to establish a socialist economy and then China will turn into a bourgeois state and the DOP will turn into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and into a reactionary fascist dictatorship.
The importance of the people’s army in the seizure of political power is captured in the well-known statement of Mao, “Without a people’s army the people have nothing.” He further stated that “the people’s army is an armed body for carrying out the political tasks.” For this is it highly necessary to comprehend that the people’s army can accomplish its historic tasks only by earnestly and firmly following the great teachings of Com. Mao. He showed that besides fighting to destroy the enemy while preserving its own strength it should shoulder such political tasks of doing propaganda among the masses, mobilising the masses along with organising and arming them and helping them in establishing their revolutionary political power thereby setting up and developing the party also. Com. Mao said without these objectives fighting looses and the red army looses the significance of its existence.
The Revolutionary United Front
The building of the united front of the four anti-imperialist, anti-feudal classes-the working class, the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie- on the basis of the worker-peasant alliance, is another major breakthrough in the Marxist-Leninist understanding on the united front.
Com. Mao laid down the basic tactical principles of the united front to be pursued by the proletariat. These were: to isolate, and destroy the main targets of the revolution-the imperialists, the feudal forces and the comprador bureaucratic capitalists by mobilising and organising the broad masses and uniting with all classes, parties, organizations and individuals that were willing to oppose feudalism and imperialism; to maintain the hegemony of the working class over the united front; to maintain the independence and initiative in the hands of the working class and to rely on its own efforts in all conditions; and that the united front should serve the armed struggle. Such a UF should be built up through armed struggle and for carrying forward the armed struggle. The party of the proletariat should play a vanguard role in this united front. The national bourgeoisie will take part in the revolution against imperialism and feudalism at certain times and to a certain extent. Hence the correct and incorrect handling of relationship with the national bourgeoisie will be another hallmark for the party of the proletariat.
On the Women Question
Com. Mao gave utmost attention to the women question. He developed many new ideas in understanding and mobilising the women. He said that women along with men are not only subjected to three systems of authority (i.e., political authority, clan authority and religious authority) but in addition to that women are also dominated by men (the authority of the husband). These four authorities are the product of the decadent feudal-patriarchal ideology and system. These are the thick ropes binding the people, particularly the peasants. Hence to overthrow the feudal-patriarchal ideology mobilisation of the women in the revolutionary war is a must. “Women represent half of the sky”. Without unleashing the fury of women as a mighty force of revolution, victory in the revolution is impossible. That equality between men and women can be realised only in the course of revolutionary war and “in the process of the socialist transformation of society as a whole.”
However, taking into consideration the deeply ingrained ideology of patriarchy in backward semi-feudal, semi-colonial countries, Com. Mao warned that the final solution of the women’s question will require a fairly long period of time after the establishment of Socialism. Hence, he stressed on the need to continue the class struggle in the superstructure to eradicate the old reactionary feudal and bourgeois ideas, culture, customs and habits related to patriarchy and male domination.
On Art and Culture
Com. Mao’s contribution to the field of culture and art are a new development. He forcefully refuted the idea of art for art’s sake. He said all literature and art belong to definite classes and are geared to definite political lines. There is no such thing as art for art’s sake. He emphatically declared “all our literature and art are for the masses of the people.” He put forth a completely new line. He said that our literary and art workers must “move their feet over to the side of the workers, peasants and soldiers, to the side of the proletariat.” He also called upon them that they should go “into the thick of practical struggles and through the process of studying Marxism and society.” He further asserted, “an army without culture is a dull – wetted army, and a dull-wetted army cannot defeat the enemy.” How to develop a socialist culture, Com. Mao in a unique way said, “Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting the progress of the arts and sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land.”
This is the only way to bring forth a revolutionary and socialist culture in the finest sense.
On Imperialism and the National Question
Basing on Lenin’s theses on the national and colonial question Mao developed the concept of national liberation struggles in the colonies and semi-colonies particularly in the conditions prevailing after WW II, analysed the neo-colonial forms and methods of rule adopted by imperialism in the post WW II period, and explained how the struggles of the oppressed nations and people in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America – the storm centres of world revolution – are dealing blows against imperialism shaking the very foundations of imperialist rule. He stressed on the importance of forging a united front of the national liberation struggles in the semi-colonial, semi-feudal countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America on the one hand and the proletarian revolutionary movements in the capitalist countries on the other in order to defeat imperialism and hasten the victory of the world revolution. He pointed out that no nation, however big and powerful, can subject a weak and small nation and said that even a superpower like the US is a paper tiger and the nuclear bomb is also a paper tiger. Explaining how we should look at imperialism and all reactionaries from the strategic and tactical points of view, Com. Mao said:
“Imperialism and all reactionaries have a dual nature-they are real tigers and paper tigers at the same time. Hence, imperialism and all reactionaries looked at in essence from a long-term point of view, from a strategic point of view, must be seen for what they are-paper tigers. On this we should build our strategic thinking. On the other hand, they are also living tigers, iron tigers, real tigers which can devour people. On this we should build our tactical thinking.”
The Great Debate and Ideological struggle against modern revisionism
After the demise of great Stalin, the agent of imperialists and the die- hard revisionist Khrushchev through the 20th Congress of the CPSU held in 1956, brought forth his pernicious theory like ‘peaceful transformation to socialism’, ‘peaceful competition’, and ‘peaceful co-existence’. All these theories are diametrically opposite to the theory of Marxism-Leninism and through these harmful theories Khrushchev left no stone unturned to make a split and loss to the international communist movement. In the same way, Khrushchev revisionism tried to divert the world proletarian movement by denying the existence of imperialism and by showing the danger of ‘atom bomb’ and ‘war’ in the situation developed after the 2nd World War. Com. Mao fought relentlessly and resolutely against Khrushchev revisionism and defended and advanced the ICM with a correct Marxist-Leninist orientation by drawing a clear line of demarcation with those die-hard revisionists. As a part and parcel of the struggle against revisionism Com. Mao resolutely fought against Tito, the agent of imperialism and against the recognised revisionists like Togliotti and Thorez and through these struggles against revisionism he defended and developed Marxism-Leninism and formulated a new and general line for the international communist movement.
Mao Tsetung led the international struggle against modern revisionism through initiating the Great Debate. During this great struggle he not only defended Marxism-Leninism but also developed it in some aspects. This struggle was focussed on all the major questions particularly on the dictatorship of the proletariat. He set forth a new general line for the international communist movement, which paved the way for the genuine Marxist – Leninist forces for struggling against and revolting from revisionism thereby advanced towards forging and building new ML parties based on ML principles all over the globe.
During this period Mao Tsetung has to wage repeated two line struggles against the revisionist headquarters within the CPC also. Actually, this process of analysis and struggle against modern revisionism including the repeated two-line struggle in the CPC begins in the new form with the 20th Congress of the then CPSU. Thereafter this process go deepening and getting sharp and sharp in the subsequent period. It culminated during the GPCR.
Mao Tsetung initiated and led the historic GPCR. The GPCR represented the culmination of the great struggle against Modern Revisionism including repeated two-line struggles in the CPC. During the initial period of this struggle Com. Mao, while keeping the edge of his struggle against Revisionism, also analysed some of the questions related with the history of the International Communist Movement. In this context, he analysed the role of Com. Stalin. While doing so, he principally defended and highlighted the great achievements of Com. Stalin while at the same time summed up some of his errors in the “Second Comment” of the CPC “On the Question of Stalin”.
GPCR and the theory of continuing revolution
Mao Tsetung initiated and led the historic GPCR which proved to be a earth-shaking event in the history of the international communist movement. It represented a new and qualitative leap forward in defending and exercising the dictatorship of the proletariat. It was directed mainly against the capitalist roaders who emerged from within the socialist society itself. Their chieftains were especially concentrated in the leadership of the Party. During the GPCR Mao Tsetung’s historic and powerful new slogan “It is right to rebel” and “Bombard the Headquarters” resounded throughout China and proved to be a clarion call against the capitalist roaders. This helped in rousing millions of people and from below. Actually this mass mobilisation of the proletarian masses set forth a new record.
Fighting against the headquarters of the capitalist roaders led by Liu Shao-chi, Com. Mao Tse-tung had already reasserted that the principal contradiction in socialist China continues to remain between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and thereby laid down the tasks for carrying on the class struggle against the bourgeois class through to the end. The high point of this class struggle reached during the GPCR. In this great struggle masses in their million led by Mao himself deeply uprooted the soil which engendered capitalism, that is , the bourgeois right and the three major differences still existing in the socialist society. This great revolution not only helped in deepening the class consciousness in China but also greatly helped in sharpening the struggle against revisionism in various communist parties at the international level. Two outstanding achievements of the GPCR marked its historic importance.
One is that it developed a completely new method in the arsenal of MLM to prevent the restoration of capitalism. That method is continuing the revolution thereby to prevent the restoration of capitalism. With this purpose it concentrated on remoulding the world outlook. The class struggle and the two-line struggle are extremely complex. When one tendency covers another many comrades often fail to note it. This great teaching of Com. Mao was vindicated immediately after the Cultural Revolution against the capitalist roaders in the case of Lin Piao. While being in the forefront during the GPCR Lin Piao actually proved himself later to be a conspirator in the guise of Mao Thought who had tried to bring forth a revisionist line. But, according to dialectical materialist point of view, all objective things are knowable. But for this, “natural eye is not enough, we must have the aid of the telescope and the microscope. Marxist method is our telescope and microscope in political and military matters.” For this one must diligently study the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tse-tung and take active part in actual struggle and work hard to remould one’s world outlook. That is the way one can constantly raise the ability to distinguish genuine from sham Maoism and differentiate between correct and wrong lines and views. The concentrated expression of this understanding is that for constantly going on remoulding the world outlook., “Fight Self, Repudiate Revisionism” and the “Revolutionary spirit of daring to go against the tide”, are extremely necessary.
Second is it represented a higher leap in defending and strengthening dictatorship of the proletariat. It also represented the most extensive and deep going exercise of the proletarian democracy in the world history, that too, under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The capitalist restoration following the 1976 counter-revolutionary coup d’etat led by Teng-Hua revisionists in no way negates the historic lessons of the GPCR rather it confirms Mao’s teachings that classes and class contradiction remain operative in the entire socialist society and the need to continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. No doubt, if the working people of the world want to defeat the bourgeoisie fully then the task to continue the revolution continuously will be the inevitable condition.
Com.Mao, through the process of integrating the truth of Marxism- Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese Revolution, developed this science to its higher and new qualitative stage. His theory of GPCR, which is meant for preventing the restoration of capitalism and consolidating and strengthening of Socialism, is the outcome of higher and qualitatively new synthesis and has no parallel in the history of class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
So, it can be said that the GPCR is not only tremendous and higher contribution of Mao to the theory of Scientific Socialism, rather it is a theory of historic importance to prevent restoration of capitalism and advance the socialist society towards communism on a world scale.
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is an Integrated Whole
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is an integrated whole today. Marxism- Leninism-Maoism is the most advanced and scientific ideology of the world proletariat. Not only that, MLM is the all-powerful weapon, by which we can combat and defeat bourgeois ideology and all brands of revisionism, including that which may don the garb of Maoism.
Marxism arose as a science of the laws of motion of nature, society and human thought, a science of revolution at a moment in history when the proletariat made its appearance as a revolutionary class capable of shaping the destiny of the society including its own destiny. Marxism is the ideology of the proletariat that was further synthesized and developed to new and higher stages. From Marxism it developed into Marxism-Leninism. Thereafter, it further developed into Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is not a science pertaining to a particular field of knowledge but a science representing a whole comprehensive philosophical system, political economy, scientific socialism, and the strategy and tactics of the proletariat in comprehending and transforming the world through revolution.
The CPC led by Com. Mao made historic and comprehensive analysis of the development of Mao Thought (now Maoism), through its 9th Congress, held in 1969. It summed up Mao Tse-tung Thought as a completely new and higher stage of Marxism-Leninism. Thus Mao Tse-tung Thought, whose historic significance began to be recognized by the Marxist-Leninist forces worldwide ever since The Great Debate, became established as a qualitatively higher stage in the development of the proletarian ideology by the time of the 9th Congress of the CPC. Maoism is not just the sum total of Mao’s great contributions. It is the most comprehensive and all-round development of the science of Marxism-Leninism that had taken shape in the period of the tremendous changes and great upheavals that had occurred in the world since the time of Com. Lenin, namely, the emergence of the Socialist camp following WW II; the upsurge of the national liberation struggles throughout the world leading to a new phase of neo-colonial control and exploitation; and the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with the usurpation of power by the modern revisionist Khrushchov clique. Marxism- Leninism-Maoism is an integrated whole. Maoism is Marxism-Leninism of the present-day. To negate Maoism is to negate Marxism-Leninism itself.
In our understanding, there has never been a Chinese wall between Marxism-Leninism-Mao Thought and MLM. Yet the term Maoism is a more precise and scientific explanation for Mao’s contribution. In addition since modern revisionism is belittling Mao Thought and negating or denying the historical and international significance of Mao Thought, it will be more correct and appropriate to use the terminology Maoism in lieu of Mao Thought in order to draw a clear line of demarcation with them
Lenin put forth the dividing line that “Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” But today this dividing line has become more sharpened. Today only he is a Marxist-Leninist who extends the recognition of class struggle not only to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat but also to the recognition of the existence of classes and antagonistic class contradictions, to the recognition of the existence of the bourgeoisie in the party and of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat throughout the period of socialism up until communism.
Today the world situation is passing through a period of unprecedented turmoil. People in their millions are increasingly drawn into the struggle against imperialism, particularly the US imperialism and all reactionary forces serving imperialism. All the genuine Maoist forces throughout the world and in India are duty bound to spread our ideology of MLM among the struggling masses. Protracted people’s war, presently in the form of guerrilla war, is powerfully going on and developing in India, under the leadership of our two Maoist parties. Armed with the ideological weapon of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, we are confident that we can further deepen and advance the protracted people’s war on the soil of India by applying our ideology to the concrete conditions in India and the contemporary world. And that we can victoriously complete the New Democratic Revolution and successfully build Socialism, prevent the restoration of Capitalism, and advance to Communism under the guidance of MLM. It is only by assimilating the substance of the ideology of MLM and creatively applying it to the solution of the practical problems of the revolutionary movement under the varying conditions of the class struggle, only by applying it to the all-important task of forging of a strong proletarian Party, a mighty People’s Liberation Army and the Revolutionary United Front, and achieving great leaps in our people’s war, that we can spread MLM more vigorously to the four corners of India and also at the international level. It is also in this process of creative application of MLM and synthesis of our revolutionary experiences that we can further enrich the proletarian science.