On the 150 Anniversary of the Communist Manifesto
By the Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
This is the
slightly edited text of the speech prepared by the Committee of
the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and presented by A
World To Win on the occasion of the two seminars sponsored by
AWTW celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Communist
I. THE STRENGTH OF THE MANIFESTO SPRINGS FROM THE PROLETARIAT
Few writings in the history of mankind have the power and eloquence
of the Communist Manifesto. Even fewer have changed the course
of history itself.
Even its opponents cannot deny that the Communist Manifesto
is one of the great works of literature of mankind, and beyond all
doubt the most influential political document ever penned. The most
profound ideas that had ever been formulated - the explanation of
the roots of the misery of the present society, the processes that
brought this society into being and, most importantly, the possibility
of bringing into existence a world without exploitation - are presented
with a clarity and precision that can be grasped and mastered, with
a little effort, by revolutionary workers themselves.
But the inspiring phrases of the Communist Manifesto alone
cannot explain its lasting impact and its continuing ability to
bring forward new communists. Throughout previous history great
works have been written, including some which seek to take the side
of the masses against the oppression of despots and the cruelty
of poverty. But none had or could have had the same attraction and
strength of the Communist Manifesto.
The Communist Manifesto is the reflection of the emergence
of a new class in human history, the proletariat, and the expression
of its political programme and historic mission, which was coming
onto the scene in the mid- nineteenth century when it was first
published. Ever since classes began, the labourers have never ceased
to struggle against exploitation (as the Manifesto put it,
"the history of all hitherto existing society is the history
of class struggles"). And political programmes and revolutionary
leaders emerged again and again to represent the interests of the
exploited and their struggle. But only with the emergence of the
modern proletariat, the class which stands directly opposite the
capitalist ruling class and upon whose exploitation the wealth of
the capitalist class is based, has it become possible to formulate
and carry out a political programme that is aimed at abolishing
the very existence of classes themselves.
Marx and Engels were just two people, only in their late twenties
at the time of the writing of the Manifesto, yet, as Mao
Tsetung pointed out, they were able to confidently predict the end
of the capitalist system and its replacement by communism. What
makes the revolutionary optimism which shines through the pages
of the Communist Manifesto so different from the phoney promises
of religious charlatans and reformist schemers? The main difference
is that Marx and Engels did not just have "good ideas"
- their ideas were based on the emerging revolutionary class in
society, and these ideas were correct. They reflected an understanding
that corresponds to the way the world actually is organised and
how it advances from one stage to another. While Marx and Engels
summarised the vast knowledge that had been accumulated up until
then by the great thinkers of other classes, their ability to understand
the world was inextricably linked with their full participation
in the process of changing it. Indeed, the Manifesto itself
was written for what at the time was a small, initial organisation
of revolutionary workers in a few countries of Europe. Marx and
Engels were intellectuals of the highest quality, but they were
intellectuals of a new type, wholly at the service of the proletarian
struggle in every practical and theoretical sphere.
Even though in retrospect it can be said that the capitalist system
was still relatively young during the lifetimes of Marx and Engels,
they were already able to show how this system was revolutionising
the world, creating the basis for its replacement by a higher social
system. They exposed the cruelty and hypocrisy of the ruling class
and the glaring contradiction between the immense concentration
of capital at one pole, and, at the opposite pole, the concentration
of poverty amongst the very people who produce this wealth. Today,
on a world scale, this contradiction is even more pronounced than
when Marx and Engels first called attention to it.
The world today is still governed by the basic laws that Marx and
Engels discovered and outlined in the Manifesto. The capitalists
have concentrated wealth and productive power into their hands to
a degree that would have surprised even Marx and Engels and, at
the same time, they constantly create whole new legions of proletarians
in every corner of the globe. The Communist Manifesto's indictment
of capitalism has never been truer than today. Never in the history
of mankind has the division of wealth, for example, been so extreme,
so glaring, so outrageous. While world-wide 50,000 children die
of preventable diseases and malnutrition every day, vast quantities
of milk are hoarded in Europe for lack of a market and hundreds
of highly trained US doctors concentrate their activity on the surgical
removal of fat and cosmetic surgery. The Communist Manifesto
first described the absurd character of crisis when, as Marx put
it, "it appears as if a famine or a universal war of destruction
had cut off the supply of means of subsistence, industry and commerce
seem to be destroyed". But why? Not for lack of wealth but
because, as Marx put it, "there is too much civilisation, too
much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce".
Today hundreds of millions of people are again reliving this absurd
nightmare. Can we reach any conclusion other than that of Marx and
Engels, that "the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the
ruling class in society"?
II. A BASIC LINE FOR THE PROLETARIAN MOVEMENT
Although the Communist Manifesto was written 150 years
ago in a world that looks much different than that of today, a class-conscious
worker reading the Manifesto today cannot help but be struck
by the clear, decisive direction Marx and Engels gave to the development
of the working-class movement. The Communist Manifesto, like
the workers movement that Marx and Engels led, was, in a word, revolutionary.
The Manifesto presents a picture of a working-class movement
that has nothing to do with reformist and revisionist understanding
and practice. Marx and Engels thoroughly rejected the idea that
the workers movement should be aimed at simply improving the conditions
of the working class, improving the price they are paid for their
labour power while leaving intact the system based on the purchase
and exploitation of labour power.
The Manifesto points out that the class struggle must take the form of
a political struggle and that this political struggle must be aimed at
establishing the proletariat as the ruling class. In turn, the purpose of
the revolutionary political power of the proletariat must be to step by step
transform the world from top to bottom, until there is no further possibility
of such a system ever being re-established. This political power in the
interests of the great majority of society is the dictatorship of the
The Communist Manifesto is crystal clear: the communist movement
seeks to abolish private property, to abolish the bourgeoisie as a class and
to abolish the conditions in which one section of society, the majority, is
enslaved by a minority, the owners of the means of production. The whole of
official society must be "sprung into the air". Engels emphasized, in his
preface to the Communist Manifesto that history has reached the point
at which the "proletariat cannot rid itself of its class exploitation without
ridding all of society of exploitation, oppression and the very existence of
classes themselves." And the Manifesto stresses that
the communist revolution also represents the most "radical
rupture" with the systems of ideas, or ideologies, that have
been built on the basis of thousands of years of class society and
serve to justify and reinforce exploitation.
The history of our proletarian movement since the Communist Manifesto
has shown how difficult and protracted this struggle will be. Twice
the proletariat has been able to seize political power and seriously
begin the process of transforming society, first in the Soviet Union
under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin and later in China under
the leadership of Mao, the three most important successors of Marx
and Engels. There was tremendous progress in unleashing the masses
of the people, led by the proletariat and its organised vanguard
party, to begin the process of transforming society and ridding
it of all the vestiges of thousands of years of exploitation.
In the countries that were socialist, where the working class was
ruling, there were those who abandoned the Manifesto's programme
of marching forward toward a classless society. Whether it was the
bowl of piping hot goulash that Khrushchev promised the workers
in the Soviet Union, or the "modernisation" that Deng
Xiaoping promised the masses in China, the basic theme was the same:
revolution has gone far enough, the task of the workers and peasants
is to produce. We know this meant the restoration of capitalism,
the seizure of power by a new capitalist ruling class, and the subjugation
of the masses and the whole society to the merciless laws of capitalism.
In the end, goulash was not for everyone and modernisation meant
modern misery for most. The horror of capitalist restoration in
China, incredible exploitation and oppression in what used to be
the shining advanced outpost of working class rule, is a bitter
but vital lesson for all of us to learn from.
After the loss of working-class rule in the USSR in 1956, Mao Tsetung,
the leader of the Chinese revolution, studied the problem of how
to keep on the road of the Communist Manifesto, how to beat
back and defeat those who would reinstitute the system of wage slavery
in one form or another. Mao fought hard to arm the workers, peasants
and revolutionary intellectuals of China with the communist perspective
first developed by Marx and Engels - that the task was nothing less
than the fight for the abolition of classes themselves.
Mao understood that it was not possible to immediately institute
the communist society Marx and Engels fought for. But he was determined
to take successive steps in that direction, to dig up bit by bit
the soil of the old society, the economic, political, social and
ideological features of the old system of exploitation that had
not yet been transformed. And he knew that in carrying this revolution
forward there would necessarily be vicious opposition from a new
bourgeoisie arising from within the Communist Party itself, that
it would be necessary for the masses to strike down this bourgeoisie
again and again and continue the revolution.
The form Mao discovered for solving the problem of continuing the
march toward communism, or in other words continuing the revolution
under the dictatorship of the proletariat, was the Great Proletarian
Cultural Revolution. Under the leadership of Mao and the proletarian
revolutionary headquarters inside the Communist Party, workers and
peasants and a new generation of revolutionary intellectuals rose
up and seized back those parts of political power that had been
usurped by the capitalist-roaders, as those who wanted to go back
to capitalism were known.
The Cultural Revolution was a new Communist Manifesto, a
manifesto of deeds. It called out to the working class and the oppressed
the world over with the same clear and astounding vision of a society
no longer divided between exploiter and exploited, a society in
which the masses are consciously and collectively masters of the
very productive capacity they have created over successive generations,
instead of its prisoner, so that they can use this capacity to transform
and liberate society and advance the world to a stage we can only
dream of today. But our dream is based on a solid understanding
of what shapes and transforms society. Through the giant revolutionary
upheaval of the Cultural Revolution, Marx and Engels' highly scientific
dream began to come more sharply into focus as the black and white
of theory took on the living colour of revolutionary struggle. And
it was in this great crucible of struggle that our revolutionary
science reached a new, third and higher stage - Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
From the beginning, the fight between Marxism and opportunism has
been centred on this question, on whether the working-class movement
dares to and must become a movement for the revolutionary overthrow
of all existing social conditions, whether it will dare "spring
into the air" all of official society, whether it will dare
institute its own dictatorship, its own rule, whether it will use
and maintain this rule to transform itself and the world. Hot goulash
and modernisation or a whole different world, the world that Marx
and Engels fought for or the exploitation of Khrushchev and Deng
and their look-alikes? Yesterday's social-democrats, today's Greens,
the ex-"Marxist-Leninists" who have taken the parliamentary
road - all these opportunists and revisionists, produced batch after
batch in this society, share the inability to see beyond a society
based on exploitation and oppression. In fact, whether by conscious
design or simply in the course of events, they end up seeking only
to preside over and benefit from the capitalist feast of human labour.
It is natural that the division between Marxism and opportunism
would also express itself very sharply in the field of programme.
It is not surprising that those who have given up the fight to overthrow
the system of wage slavery and instead try to focus the attention
of the labourer on petty reforms have no use for the Manifesto's
call for the "forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions".
Lenin had fought a ferocious battle against the pretend Marxists
of his day who opposed the revolutionary overthrow of the ruling
class and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
These revisionists argued that rather than shatter the old state
machinery, somehow the working class and masses could take over
this same reactionary state by peaceful means and use it to gradually
introduce reforms. (Engels himself, in an introduction to a later
edition of the Communist Manifesto written in the wake of
the Paris Commune of 1871, the first attempt at proletarian revolution,
stressed that the lesson of the defeated Commune was the need to
shatter the existing state apparatus.)
Mao was later to sum up this point in his brilliant remark that
"political power grows out of the barrel of a gun". Wherever
communists are, they work for the proletarian revolution. Wherever
the opportunists and revisionists are, they oppose this revolution
(indeed, this is their specific role, for which they are well rewarded
by the ruling classes).
However, merely taking up arms does not settle the question of for
which class and for which purpose. Communists take up arms on behalf
of the proletariat and with the perspective of doing away with all
class society. Other class forces also can combat the ruling classes
with arms in hand but they do so without the perspective of ending
exploitation and class society.
III. IMPERIALISM, THE HIGHEST AND FINAL STAGE OF CAPITALISM
The world that we see around us today is the natural outgrowth
of the capitalist world first dissected by Marx and Engels in the
Manifesto. Marx and Engels spoke of industries that no longer
rely on local materials but "raw material drawn from the remotest
zones" whose products are consumed "in every quarter of
the globe". They spoke of how the "intellectual creations
of individual nations become common property". Today, this
tendency of capitalism to tie the world together into a single whole
has become one of its most striking features and impossible for
any observer to ignore. The brilliance of Marx and Engels and the
validity of the Marxist analysis are underscored by the ability
of Marx and Engels to sketch the outlines of this development when
this process was still in its early stages.
How true - how more clearly true than ever - is the Manifesto's
statement that the search for profit drives the bourgeoisie to "nestle
everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere".
It has made its system of exploitation the undisputed master of
But Marx and Engels were not fortune-tellers. It was only after
their deaths that the process of capitalist development and expansion
they described was to reach a qualitatively new level, the system
that we know today. V.I. Lenin, the leader of the October Revolution
of 1917 which established the first sustainable proletarian rule,
in the Soviet Union, discovered and explained the features and laws
of capitalism in its highest and final stage, and named it imperialism
or monopoly capitalism. This was one of a number of Lenin's great
contributions as he developed the revolutionary ideology of the
proletariat to its second stage, Marxism-Leninism.
Lenin analysed imperialism on the basis of Marx and Engels' teachings,
not in opposition to them. He fought hard against those in his day
who said that imperialism had put an end to capitalism's anarchic
character. He showed in theory and proved in practice that imperialism
had not done away with the possibility of working-class revolution
but, on the contrary, had ripened the conditions for the overthrow
of capitalism. And he showed how the growth of capitalism into imperialism
had spread the proletarian revolution from its beginnings in the
advanced capitalist countries into a truly world-wide phenomenon.
The Manifesto's point that capitalism's most important product
is its own gravediggers was all the more confirmed as new legions
of gravediggers were created in countries all over the globe.
Lenin showed how the breakneck competition of capitalism described
by Marx and Engels had reached a form in which a handful of imperialist
powers were dividing up the world. And he showed how this leads
the imperialist powers to go to war, not only against the oppressed
peoples they need to exploit and dominate but against their imperialist
rivals as well. The horrors of capitalism described by Marx and
Engels had been joined by a new monstrous crime, world war. Indeed,
the imperialist era has been marked by two such horrendous conflicts
that slaughtered many tens of millions of people. Unless their system
is destroyed, sooner or later the imperialist system will once again
menace mankind with world war. Is this alone not proof enough that,
as the Manifesto puts it, "Society can no longer live
under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer
compatible with society"?
Marx and Engels showed how the tentacles of capitalism were spreading
to every corner of the globe and how "nations of peasants"
have become dependent upon "nations of bourgeois, [t]he East
upon the West". The subordination of the less developed countries
of Asia, Africa and Latin America to the handful of imperialist
countries is one of the most important features of imperialism that
Lenin analysed. And he understood the profound implications these
developments had for the development of the workers' movement as
The superprofits gained from the exploitation of the oppressed peoples
meant that capitalism could bribe one section of the workers in
the advanced countries and lull some others to sleep. While one
section of the workers is driven down and exploited ever more ferociously,
while homelessness becomes an epidemic in the richest of countries,
other sections of the working class purchase stocks and are allowed
to rise to a comfortable middle-class position in return for loyal
subservience to "their own" ruling class. The opportunists
and revisionists are the representatives and spokesmen for this
privileged section. The revolutionary communists are the representatives
and spokesmen for the proletariat which the Manifesto describes
"as having nothing to lose but its chains".
Under imperialism the capitalists export not only their products,
but capital itself into the countries they dominate. They seek not
only raw materials but most of all to suck the very surplus created
by the ever-growing sections of the proletariat in the dominated
Everywhere the imperialists go they integrate the existing societies
into their world-wide system of exploitation. They introduce capitalist
development into these countries, but development of a special type,
subordinated to imperialist capital and incorporating and reinforcing
many of the backward features of earlier forms of exploitation.
Thus US-designed blue-jeans can coexist quite comfortably with wife-burning
in India; local tyrants can continue to hold power in the countryside
of Mexico or Peru and use the latest computers and Microsoft software
to count and organise their bloody booty.
Mao Tsetung analysed Chinese society on the basis of Marx and Engels'
description of capitalism and of Lenin's teachings on imperialism.
He showed how the penetration of imperialism into China had led
to what he described as "semi-feudalism". The old feudal
society had become substantially but not thoroughly transformed
by the introduction of capitalist relations, and remained a target
of the revolution, along with the country's bureaucrat capitalist
class and imperialist domination.
Mao grasped the essential point in the Manifesto that "the
communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against
the existing social and political order of things". He showed
how in the concrete conditions of China this meant that the working
class could and must organise the whole people, and especially the
vast peasantry of China, to carry out a democratic revolution to
sweep aside these targets. While such a revolution would still be
bourgeois in that it did not immediately seek to abolish capitalism,
it would none the less be a bourgeois-democratic revolution of a
new type. This meant it would be led by the proletariat as a part
of the overall world proletarian revolution. It would open the door
to socialist revolution. This is exactly what Mao did. The protracted
war Mao led the Chinese masses in waging spread the message of the
Manifesto throughout the oppressed nations.
Today a big deal is being made about "globalisation".
Indeed over the last ten years or so the imperialists have unleashed
yet another round in the further expansion and intensification of
their world-wide system of exploitation. They demand that all nations
bow before their God of freedom of investment. The IMF dictates
social policy to the rulers of the oppressed countries just as surely
as the former colonial powers did to their governors and viceroys.
When the imperialist system demands it, the very diets of the people
all over the world must change, Coca Cola must replace coconut milk.
But as we see today in Indonesia, peasants are forced to revert
to eating tree bark as their grandparents had done in the famines
of a previous time. In a world where so many diseases go untreated,
the imperialists are brandishing the banner of "intellectual
property" to ensure that no vaccines will be produced without
the giant monopolies getting their profits. And not only do they
legislate the world according to their own interests, they do not
hesitate to resort to naked terror, sending in their troops and
bombers as they have in Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and so
many places in the last decade alone.
Although new features are constantly emerging, this new world of
globalisation is really only the same old world of capitalism and
imperialism that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism has already dissected and
condemned. Nor has globalisation fundamentally changed the basic
analysis Mao made of the interpenetration of imperialism, feudalism
and bureaucrat capitalism. Certainly the seal of world capitalism
has been seared more deeply into the flesh of the oppressed nations.
But imperialism has by no means eradicated the remaining features
of earlier, non-capitalist forms of exploitation - while some of
these forms are transformed or eliminated, others are reinforced.
Globalisation has not done away with the division of the oppressed
and oppressor countries; it has made it all the more stark. Nor
has globalisation done away with the need for the New Democratic
Revolution that Mao explained; it has made such a revolution all
the more necessary to liberate the oppressed nations. Globalisation
has not eliminated the basis for People's War - it has made the
launching of such wars an urgent task.
IV. WHAT HAS DIED AND WHAT HAS NOT?
At the beginning of this decade the Soviet Union and its Eastern
bloc fully collapsed. But what collapsed? Not genuine socialist
society, which had been buried decades earlier by Khrushchev. The
military behemoth of the Brezhnev era had nothing to do with socialism.
It was, as Mao called it, a social-imperialist power, an imperialist
power driven by the same laws as any other while hiding under the
thinnest coat of red paint. How can the proletariat of the world
regret the collapse of one of its greatest enemies? The disastrous
end of the phoney communists of the USSR bloc helps to clarify what
communism is and what it isn't. With the rout of those who had long
ago made a mockery out of Marx and Engels' goal of classless society,
the basis is there for the message of the Manifesto to ring
out more loudly and inspire a new generation of proletarian revolutionaries.
But there can be no doubt that the class enemies will continue to
use the collapse of the USSR to ridicule and declare dead our genuine
communist ideology. The ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism will
triumph, but only by waging a fierce and protracted battle against
its enemies in the sphere of ideas as well as in practice.
It has become fashionable in the 1990s to heap abuse upon our revolutionary
ideology and slander the great leaders our class has brought forward.
As Marx and Engels put it in the Manifesto, the "ruling
ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class".
Everywhere their television waves reach, the masses are bombarded
with the idea that grabbing and greed are the highest human virtues.
Any notion of the masses collectively and voluntarily changing themselves
and the world is cynically dismissed. So is it any wonder so many
different kinds of people parrot capitalist clap-trap against communists?
These people, including ex-revolutionaries, consider themselves
quite brilliant, when actually they are often just regurgitating
the vilification of a ruling class that has everything to lose from
a communist revolution. The bourgeoisie screams that our ideology
is "outmoded" when, in fact, they are ideological midgets
compared to proletarian giants such as Marx and Engels. Today the
level of the bourgeoisie's descent into ideological narrowness,
obscurantism and selfishness knows no limits. Whereas in the past
the bourgeoisie had to fight the Church, today they have discovered
the "soul" in the foetus - and they call us outmoded!
The masses will continue to struggle; they cannot do otherwise.
The very conditions of imperialism, the workings of capitalism itself,
force the proletariat to combat the bourgeoisie, require the oppressed
nations to resist imperialism, and lead the capitalist powers themselves
to intensify their in-fighting, with all of the immediate misery
and long-term danger that this conflict has for human society.
The class struggle cannot be abolished without abolishing the class
exploitation that gives rise to it. The question is not whether
the proletariat and the masses will fight, but with what programme,
what ideology and what leadership?
History has shown again and again that without the leadership of
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the struggles of the proletariat and the
people will either fail or end up perverted into a mere vehicle
to enable one set of exploiters to replace the old ones. Let us
put it bluntly: either the genuine communists will succeed in leading
the people to wage people's war as part of the world-wide battle
to eliminate imperialism and reaction, or the workers, peasants
and other revolutionary masses will follow false flags and their
sacrifices and suffering will not lead to their emancipation.
Just look at Vietnam where the people put up one of the most heroic
struggles in history. Because the leadership of the struggle in
Vietnam lost, or never really had, the all-the-way revolutionary
perspective of the Manifesto, the revolution ended in a whimper.
Not only has that country not advanced in the direction of classless
society, but even the great accomplishment of the war, the defeat
of US imperialism, has been undermined as the leadership is forced
to humble itself before the US They have even had to pay war reparations
to the imperialist war criminals for the "privilege" of
a place in the imperialists' "new world order"!
In the final analysis, then, either the bourgeoisie or the proletariat
will rule over the planet. Either the world imperialist system making
use of every type of reaction and backwardness will prevail, or
the socialist system will be instituted in every country and the
world's peoples together will advance forward to the classless future
communist society. The victory of the proletarian revolution in
specific countries must be seen in this context.
The socialist countries we build must be stepping stones along the
advance to communism, base areas for the advance of the people's
struggles everywhere. The imperialist enemy understands this only
too well, and there is no doubt that in the future, as in the past,
they will invade, harass and try to starve any genuine socialist
regime. The working class and the oppressed must seize power whenever
and wherever possible, and this will most likely be in one country
or group of countries at a time. But our vision and our programme
will never stop at the border of a single country. We can and must
"win the world" or sooner or later we will lose everything.
From the very publication of the Communist Manifesto Marx
and Engels saw the working-class struggle as an international one,
and they strove to build international organisation of the proletariat.
For Marx and Engels the necessary struggle of each proletariat against
its "own" bourgeoisie was only the form while the substance
was an international struggle against the whole capitalist mode
of production. Marx and Engels considered the recognition of the
international character of the struggle and the final aim of world
communism to be the central dividing line with other political movements
acting in the name of the working class.
In this spirit, Marx and Engels played a leading role in the First
International, which grouped the infant working-class organisations
of Europe. Later, after Marx's death, Engels was to be a key figure
in the Second International. After the victory of the October Revolution
in Russia, Lenin, who never lost sight of his internationalist vision
or the communist goal, led in organising the Third or Communist
International, which played a glorious role in spreading communism
to the four corners of the earth. It was the practical centre of
the proletarian struggle world-wide, mustering and leading, for
example, the International Brigades, workers from all over the world
who travelled to Spain to fight with their class brothers and sisters
against the fascist Franco regime.
Today the need for a new Communist International is increasingly
felt. There must be a political centre rallying all of the world's
genuine communists, based on the revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism,
capable of uniting and concentrating the strength of our class internationally,
enabling the experiences and struggle of the workers and oppressed
in one country to become the common property of revolutionaries
the world over. Against an international and organised enemy, we
need nothing less than the international organisation of the communist
movement. The clear and unambiguous internationalist vision of the
Manifesto must once again be the guiding principle for all
of the world's communist forces.
The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, RIM, was formed in
1984 and set itself the task of helping to form such an International.
At the beginning it was only a relative handful opposed not only
to the imperialist enemy but also to the main currents that claimed
to be "communist" - the revisionists of the former USSR
and East Bloc; the new usurpers who seized power in China after
Mao's death in 1976 and overthrew his legacy; and other trends such
as those who followed Albania's Enver Hoxha, who took advantage
of the defeat in China to launch an all-out attack on Maoism.
Today, almost fifteen years later, we can see that the genuine Maoist
forces have advanced. The People's War in Peru, only in its infancy
when RIM was formed, grew to the point where the possibility of
nation-wide political power was a great fear not only of the ruling
circles of that country but of their US masters as well. Although
the subsequent capture of the leader of the Peruvian revolution,
Chairman Gonzalo, led to a "bend in the road" of the struggle,
the comrades of the Communist Party of Peru have continued to battle
forward, not only against the reactionary ruling class but also
against those previously in the revolutionary ranks who demanded
that the war be stopped and agreement reached with the enemy.
In Nepal in 1996, a glorious page was opened when the Communist
Party of Nepal (Maoist) launched a People's War, which has been
spreading quickly throughout the country and now involves vast sections
of the Nepalese people in the struggle against the old society.
In Turkey and Bangladesh, comrades are striving to raise the revolutionary
armed struggle begun by Ibrahim Kaypakkaya (founder of the TKP ML)
and Sihar Sikdar (founder of PBSP) to a new level. In other countries
as well participating parties and organisations of RIM are preparing
to initiate people's war in accordance with the conditions and the
path appropriate for specific countries.
Outside the ranks of RIM there are other Maoist forces who have
also been advancing on the revolutionary path. In the Philippines,
the People's War begun a generation earlier has taken on new life
and dynamism following the rectification campaign launched by the
Party leadership aimed at restoring and revitalising the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist
vision and programme under which the Party was founded. In India,
a number of Maoist organisations continue to uphold the revolutionary
banner of Naxalbari through waging armed revolutionary struggle.
So while it can be said that the Maoist forces are still weak in
comparison to the imperialist enemy, it can also be said that the
Maoist forces are growing not only in strength but also in their
understanding and their unity. And where are our opponents now?
Where are the pro-Soviet revisionists, the followers of China's
line of surrender and restoration of capitalism? Where are the pro-Albanian
detractors of Mao? It is no small measure of success that the genuine
followers of the Manifesto, with nothing to rely upon except
the masses and the correctness of their ideological and political
line, have been able to weather and even grow in the face of the
anti-communist storm while revisionists with states and even empires
at their disposal have collapsed.
But this does not mean that the ideological struggle against phoney
Marxism, or revisionism, is over. Opportunism will exist as long
as the class basis for it exists in the world, and the fight for
the line of proletarian revolution, of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism,
is a constant life-and-death struggle for the whole international
communist movement. The Communist International of a new type that
we are striving for will be built not by avoiding disputes between
Marxism and revisionism but on the basis of a clear and decisive
victory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism over all of its enemies, open
Although the struggle for this new International will no doubt be
protracted, complex and difficult, this process has already begun.
In this year of the 150th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto
we should reaffirm our commitment to aim at nothing less than a
completely new world without exploitation. Let us finish with the
stirring conclusion of the Manifesto:
The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They
openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible
overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes
tremble at a communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing
to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
Workers of All Countries, Unite!