A WORLD TO WIN    #30   (2004)


On the Struggle to Unite the Genuine Communist Forces

Throughout the history of the international communist movement the question of unity has been of paramount importance. Against powerful, well-organised enemies at both national and international level, the need for the unity of the working class and the oppressed masses under the leadership of a single vanguard constantly reasserts itself. The masses want the revolutionaries to unite and they often have difficulty understanding why they are not united. But despite the obvious need for unity and despite the wishes of the masses, unity has always been difficult to achieve. From the time of Marx and Engels until today, the international communist movement has been marked by repeated and fierce struggles. Indeed, it has only been through waging such struggles that the scientific ideology of the proletariat has been able to emerge and establish an identity different from the numerous other trends that spoke in the name of the working class and the oppressed and thereby serve as a basis for the unity of a vanguard party capable of uniting the great masses of the working people. At a time when the problem of uniting the vanguard communist forces is again emerging as an urgent task on both the international and national levels, we must have a firm grasp of the dialectical relationship between unity and struggle and how the unity of the communist movement is to be forged.

If we look to the origins of the Maoist movement itself, we can see that it was born out of a revolt against all that was rotten within the communist movement of the time, what we know as revisionism, in which the words "communist" or "Marxist-Leninist" or even "internationalism" remain but are gutted of their essential revolutionary content: the fight to overthrow the dictatorship of the exploiting classes and establish in its place the rule (dictatorship) of the proletariat and the masses of the people as part of a protracted world-wide struggle to abolish class society all together.

It was the struggle waged by Mao himself against the revisionist leaders of the Soviet Union, who had seized power in the former workers' state of the USSR and restored capitalism, which laid the basis for the emergence of what became the Maoist movement. In China itself Mao's struggle against Soviet modern revisionism strengthened the ideological underpinnings of what was to be his most important contribution to the international proletariat-the waging of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) and his thesis on continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. In this article we can only refer in passing to the tremendous achievements of the GPCR, the unprecedented unleashing of tens of millions of workers, peasants and revolutionary intellectuals to fight to restore those parts of the state that had been usurped by revisionists who sought to drag China back onto the road to capitalism.

Just as the October Revolution had before it, the GPCR sent shock waves around the world. In country after country the revolutionary elements in the communist movement rallied around Mao and the banner of the GPCR. Everywhere these newly emerging forces faced the fierce opposition of the revisionists and had to fight an uphill battle. They were mainly young revolutionaries along with a relative handful of older veterans of the communist movement who had rebelled against the revisionist chieftains. Together, inspired by the tremendous revolutionary upheaval in China and fired with a sense of a rising world-wide battle against imperialism, they dared to struggle against the established wisdom of the modern revisionists who wrapped themselves in the guise of Marxism-Leninism but practiced compromise and conciliation with imperialism and reaction.

This great world-wide struggle against modern revisionism unfolded differently in each country. In the oppressed countries it often focused on the question of the road to power, on whether or not to adopt the basic path blazed by China of waging a protracted people's war in which the enemy's strongholds in the cities were surrounded from the countryside. The modern revisionists frantically opposed applying Mao's teachings to the revolutionary process in these countries. But the newly emerging revolutionary forces combated the revisionists both in practice and in a theoretical debate that concentrated the life-and-death questions that the "practical movement" faced. Even today we can hear the echoes of the hysterical howling of the revisionists and opportunists at the infant steps the Maoist movement began to take to implement Mao's line of protracted people's war. In India, Charu Mazumdar launched the Naxalbari rebellion, which rightfully earned the label "Spring Thunder" for its electrifying effect on the revolutionary masses of that country. It spread the sparks of armed struggle and transformed the whole political landscape. In Turkey, Ibrahim Kaypakkaya not only developed a scathing critique of the errors of the revisionists and opportunists in the communist movement of that country, but also boldly formed the first armed squads that spread panic among the revisionists and reactionaries and hope among millions of the oppressed. In Bangladesh, Siraj Sikdar was able to lead a grouping of Maoists to dive into the swirl of contradictions as the masses in former East Pakistan revolted against national oppression and the subsequent invasion of the Indian army. The newly formed Maoist party in Bangladesh, the PBSP, rapidly blossomed and placed the political programme of the proletariat-protracted people's war and new-democratic revolution-on the country's agenda. In the Philippines, José María Sison led the formation of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army, which continues to fight against imperialism and reaction in the Philippines to this very day. In all these cases, as well as many others, we can see that it was through struggle that great unity was achieved. It was through struggle in the ideological arena linked to the political struggle for power that small numbers of people who the "learned" revisionists were quick to denounce as mere "sects" were able to quickly bring forward and unite thousands of revolutionaries and win the support of millions and millions of masses.

In a number of other countries as well the foundations of today's Maoist movement were linked to the advanced positions taken ideologically and politically by the forces at the time. In the United States, Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, played a vital role in winning a section of the revolutionary movement of that country to a Maoist position. In Peru, Abimael Guzman (Chairman Gonzalo) was waging a series of struggles against revisionism that was later to lead to the reconstruction of the Communist Party of Peru under a correct line and leadership. In Europe, important Maoist parties were formed and grew quickly in the ferment of turbulent times marked by such glorious events as the May 1968 student and workers movement in France.


The formation of the Maoist movement is an illustration of the laws of dialectical materialism. Mao Tsetung teaches us that it is the law of contradiction, the unity and struggle of opposites, that pushes forward every process whether it be in nature, society or people's thinking. The communist movement both internationally and in each country is no exception. The communist movement itself is a unity of opposites, a permanent battleground between the ideas and forces representing the proletariat and its long-term interests of seizing power and marching forward to communism, and those ideas and forces that would surrender or conciliate with imperialism and reaction and would abandon the goal of a communist world. This ongoing struggle of opposites goes through different waves and has different features according to the conditions of the class struggle in a particular country and internationally. From a quantitative point of view, most of the time this struggle takes place through discussion and debate within a unified party organisation, through criticism and self-criticism, through summation of revolutionary practice and through other forms in which right and wrong ideas are battled out and the communists, including those who have made mistakes, are united in a common viewpoint and policy.

From a qualitative viewpoint, however, Maoists recognise that it is the relatively rare periods of intense two-line struggle, when the very goals and outlook of the communist movement itself are called into question, that great leaps and ruptures take place compared with the more gradual change in "normal times". It is in periods such as Lenin's struggle against the revisionists of the Second International or Mao's fight against Soviet modern revisionism that the communist movement has had both the most to win and the most to lose. That such struggles will periodically break out on an international level and in given countries is a law that cannot be avoided. And when such struggles do break out the ability of the communist leaders and cadres to recognise and fight for a correct ideological and political line will have a decisive impact on the future of the communist movement for many years or even generations.

The process of unity-struggle-unity in the communist movement is linked with and conditioned by the overall process of the world proletarian revolution. It is the class struggle itself that sets the stage and conditions the struggles in the communist movement. The battles waged by Lenin and Mao, for example, were not struggles that they chose to wage because it suited their fancy-these struggles were theoretical and ideological reflections of the intense battles that were shaping up in the world between the forces of imperialism and reaction on the one hand and the proletariat and oppressed on the other. The struggle that Lenin waged against the betrayers of the Second International was made essential by the explosion of the First World War, which placed the overthrow of the bourgeoisie as an immediate task on the agenda in a number of countries. The revisionists of the Second International were the representatives of the bourgeoisie within the ranks of the working class, basing themselves on those sections of workers (the "labour aristocracy") who enjoyed small privileges in return for their support for their "own" ruling class in its war against its imperialist rivals.

On the other hand, the great mass of workers were repulsed and horrified by the slaughter of the First World War, and they yearned for a revolutionary way out. But in most countries no leadership existed that was capable of representing the class interests of the masses of workers, gaining their adherence and leading them in battle against the bourgeoisie. In most countries, there were leaders or circles of revolutionaries fighting against the betrayers, and in Germany Karl Leibnicht and Rosa Luxemberg gave their lives leading the heroic Spartacus Rebellion, and remain honoured to this day by the class-conscious international proletariat. Nevertheless, it must be noted that outside of Tsarist Russia the revolutionary forces were too unclear ideologically and too weak organisationally to lead the millions in assaulting the citadels of imperialism. Without the leadership of Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, there would have been no October Revolution and the Communist International could not have been formed at that time.

Likewise, events in the class struggle in China have had profound implications for the world proletarian movement. When Mao's line was overthrown in China after his death in 1976, China changed colour and hundreds of millions of workers and peasants were thrown back into capitalist hell, while a new bourgeoisie enriched itself in a frenzy of theft, corruption, dislocation and enslavement rarely equalled in human history. China was transformed from a fortress of the world proletarian revolution into one more link in the world-wide system of imperialism and reaction. The impact of this is still painfully felt today. Although Mao and the revolutionaries in China had ceaselessly warned of the possibility that the revisionists would capture China and had directly called upon the revolutionaries the world over to help the Chinese masses overthrow these revisionists if they were to come to power, the international Maoist movement reacted very unevenly to this great challenge. A great many parties and organisations actually supported the new leaders in China, as well as their charges that the so-called Gang of Four, who were actually Mao's closest supporters, were "ultra-left" splitters. Others lost confidence completely in Mao's line after the revisionist coup in China and used the attack on Mao Tsetung Thought (as Maoism was then called) by Enver Hoxha, the leader of the Albanian Party of Labour, as the signal to abandon Mao's precious developments of the proletarian science. Hoxha and his followers tried to resurrect tired old concepts of the past communist movement that the Maoists had long rejected (for example, denying the validity of protracted people's war in the oppressed countries, denying Mao's criticisms of Stalin's metaphysics, etc.) And then there were others, the bulk of the previous Maoist movement, who found themselves leaderless and demoralised, unable to continue the revolutionary struggle in the face of such a crushing defeat and with a lack of confidence in the future of the world revolution.

Fortunately, a relatively small minority of the previous Maoist movement stood up to the pressure and fought back, using as their main weapon the teachings of Mao and the revolutionary headquarters in China. Many of these forces went on to form the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) in 1984. RIM daringly declared itself the embryonic centre of the Maoist forces internationally and proclaimed its intention to go forward and fight for a Communist International of a new type. It too was initially attacked and derided by many in the revolutionary movement and ignored by some others who felt that political line was less important than the size or strength of the various forces. This same kind of pragmatism, of judging political positions by the force that they mustered at any given point, had led some Maoists to be confused about or even support the revisionists in China, which remained a powerful country, albeit no longer a socialist one except, occasionally, in words. But RIM and the parties making it up persevered and achieved some stunning advances in the class struggle at the very moment that world reaction was declaring its "final victory" over communism. The Communist Party of Peru (PCP), a founding member of RIM which had begun a People's War in 1980, made steady advances throughout the decade, to the point where the imperialists and reactionaries openly stated their fear at the prospect of a Maoist victory. The People's War in Peru suffered a "bend in the road" after the capture of Chairman Gonzalo in 1992 and the emergence of a right opportunist line in the Party shortly thereafter, which called for abandoning the war in favour of peace accords. But the perseverance of the Party Central Committee on the path of people's war despite the difficult conditions continued to inspire Maoists the world over and helped underscore the significance of the ideology and politics that RIM concentrated.

On the ideological front, RIM united in 1993 around the understanding of the proletarian ideology as Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM). Some attacked RIM for "creating another division in the international communist movement". Others tried to downplay the importance of this development by saying that it was a mere change in words and not in political content, and they reflected this by using formulations like "Mao Tsetung Thought or Maoism" in which the two terms are treated as interchangeable. In fact, the adoption of Maoism by RIM expressed in the document Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! reflected a higher and more united understanding of our ideology than the international movement had been able to achieve up to that point.

The importance of this higher understanding was illustrated in practice when the comrades of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN(M)), a party that had been formed in close connection with the developments in the international communist movement and RIM itself, launched a People's War in 1996, which now has the whole country ablaze with revolution.

In order for the CPN(M) to start the People's War, it had been necessary to settle accounts with the views of M.B. Singh, a long-time leader of the Nepal Maoist movement. Singh had led the struggle in RIM against the adoption of Maoism and, as part of this revisionist position, had declared it impossible to wage protracted people's war in Nepal unless revolution succeeded first in neighbouring India. The organisational split between M.B. Singh and those who later went on to play the central role in forming the CPN(M) actually dated from 1986 with the division of the then Nepal Communist Party (Mashal) into two centres (one called the "Central Committee" and the other the "Central Organising Committee"). Cadres and members sensed that under the leadership of Singh no revolution could take place. Nevertheless, at those early stages a thorough political and ideological critique of Singh had not yet been developed, and so the division of the Mashal party did not develop into a full-scale two-line struggle at that time. It was only later, as the political and ideological questions became clarified in Nepal, and in conjunction with developments in the international movement as well, that it became possible to carry out what the CPN(M) later summed up as the repudiation of the "M.B. Singh school of thought". As this critique developed step-by-step the negative effects of disunity based on a still unclear political basis were overcome, more forces were united in a single party centre and the basis was laid for unity on a scale never before seen in Nepal. For it was the consolidation of the Party around Maoism and the thorough repudiation of the "M.B. Singh school of thought" that opened the door for the initiation of the People's War on 13 February 1996. Lenin had pointed out decades ago that the political role played by the different forces in the workers' movement in Russia during the period of crisis and revolution had been foreshadowed by the political struggles that took place among the revolutionaries themselves years earlier. The debates of a relatively small number can, under the conditions of revolutionary upheaval, graphically reveal the opposing interests of different classes. In Nepal, when the MLM line led to the initiation and advance of the People's War, political questions that were formerly restricted to relatively small circles of leaders and activists became questions for the broad masses as a whole, and the living reality of a correct political and ideological line was more easily seen. This also led large numbers of cadres and supporters of wrong lines to be won over to the MLM position and to make important contributions to the ongoing revolution. Thus it can be seen that struggle (or disunity) with M.B. Singh was necessary for building the most important unity of all-the unity between the genuine communists and the broad masses of the working class, peasantry and revolutionary intellectuals who need a revolutionary solution to the problems of Nepalese society. And, once again, the universal truth that unity is the fruit of struggle was illustrated.

Today Marxism-Leninism-Maoism has become the rallying cry of the genuine communist forces the world over. It can be seen that far from being a factor for split and disunity, the adoption of Maoism by RIM is serving as a pole of regroupment and unity in specific countries and on a world scale.

"One Divides into Two" or "Two Combines into One"?

One of the great contributions of Mao Tsetung was his further development of dialectical and historical materialism. In particular, Mao focused on the unity and struggle of opposites as the central law of dialectics, and he brilliantly applied this to socialist society, the building of the party, political economy, revolutionary warfare and other areas. As we have seen, a deep grasp of how the law of dialectics applies to the process of forming and strengthening a vanguard party is vital.

One of the important arenas of theoretical struggle in China was on the philosophical front. Mao had to fight sharply against the leader of the Chinese revisionists, Liu Shao-chi, who was later overthrown in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR), and against Liu's main representative in the philosophical field, Yang Hsien-chien. In 1963, at the very time Mao was launching open polemics against Khrushchev and the revisionists of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Yang argued that "all things invariably combine two into one". (See Peking Review 22 Jan 1971 and 23 April 1971 for a more detailed review of this debate.) He argued that "analysis means 'one divides into two' while synthesis means 'combine two into one'."

In order for the struggle against revisionism to develop in China and on a world scale it was necessary for Mao to vigorously refute this thesis. He reaffirmed that: "All things invariably divide into two"; "In society as in nature, every entity invariably breaks up into its different parts, only there are differences in content and form under different concrete conditions." ("Speech at the Communist Party of China's National Conference on Propaganda Work", cited in Three Major Struggles on China's Philosophical Front (1949-1964), Foreign Language Press, Peking, p. 58.)

The revolutionaries in the Communist Party of China (CPC) argued that, "Marxist philosophy tells us that analysis and synthesis are an objective law of things and at the same time a method for people to understand things. Analysis shows how an entity divides into two different parts and how they are locked in struggle; synthesis shows how, through the struggle between the two opposite aspects, one prevails, defeats and eliminates the other, how an old contradiction is resolved and a new one emerges, and how an old thing is eliminated and a new thing triumphs. In plain words, synthesis means one 'eats up' the other....

"Analysis and synthesis are closely connected. There is synthesis in analysis and analysis in synthesis.&

"The process of summing up our experience is also one of analysis and synthesis. By undertaking various kinds of struggles in social practice, men have accumulated rich experiences, some successful and some not. In summing up experience, it is necessary to distinguish the right from the wrong, affirm what is correct and negate what is wrong. This means, under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, reconstructing the rich data of perception obtained from practice, 'discarding the dross and selecting the essential, eliminating the false and retaining the true, proceeding from the one to the other and from the outside to the inside,' raising perceptual knowledge to the level of rational knowledge and grasping the inherent laws of a thing. The movement of opposites-one divides into two-runs throughout this process. With the experience summed up in this way, we are able to uphold the truth and correct our mistakes, 'popularise our successful experience and draw the lessons from our mistakes'." ("The Theory of 'Combine Two Into One' Is a Reactionary Philosophy for Restoring Capitalism", Peking Review, 23 April 1971.)

The above passage, written in the heat of the GPCR, stands the test of time and serves as a good guide to us now, as we seek to make a great advance in building the unity of the communists in individual countries and on a world scale. While on the surface it may appear that the unity of the communists from different organisations will come about through the combination of "two into one" this view fails to grasp the essence of the process through which a new thing comes into being. Synthesis will represent a new unity, but as the above passage argues, synthesis cannot be confused with "combing two into one". Synthesis is the result of struggle and transformation by which one contradiction or set of contradictions is resolved and a new contradiction emerges.

In connection with the struggle of "one divides into two" versus "two combines into one" the comrades of the CPC sharply criticised the theory of "seeking common points". By this we refer to the argument of Liu Shao-chi, Yang Hsien-chen and others, of seeking "common points" between opposites, such as capitalism and socialism and the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Indeed, if we look only on the surface and not at the essence we can find many so-called "common points" between Marxism and revisionism. Don't the revisionists also claim to represent the proletariat, to favour socialism and even communism? Don't the revisionists also claim to oppose imperialism? But if we use our MLM understanding to look beneath the surface we can see that revisionism and Marxism are implacable enemies contending on every point.

Unity must be seen as the product of struggle and synthesis, a leap through which is formed a new entity based on a new contradiction, and most definitely not as a product of "negotiations" based on discovering "common points" while disregarding cardinal points of struggle. There are many examples in the history of the communist movement, recent and past, that illustrate that an approach to unity based on discovering "common points" will never be successful and in fact will be harmful to the advance of the movement.

If we go back to the formation of the Communist International itself, we can see that Lenin fought hard to include as many forces as possible, but he did so without compromising on the fundamental questions of the day. Specifically, he insisted that members of the Communist International break with revisionist misleaders, and he vigorously combated every attempt to conciliate with them under the guise of unity.

There are also important examples from our more recent past that illustrate this point. We referred earlier to the content of the rebellion led by Ibrahim Kaypakkaya against the revisionists in Turkey, including those who were trying to masquerade as supporters of Mao and revolutionary China (the Shafak revisionists who, not surprisingly, supported the counter-revolutionary coup in China and whose principal leader, Perencek, continues to this day to be a sworn enemy of the revolutionary movement in Turkey and even calls for unity with the reactionary ruling classes). The struggle by Kaypakkaya led to a new unity, the TKPML, which quickly galvanised hundreds of thousands and even millions of supporters in the country. But like any unity, it too was marked by struggle, and the subsequent martyrdom of Kaypakkaya and the setbacks in the armed struggle he initiated led to new struggles in the TKPML over how to sum up revolutionary experience and what ideological and political line to implement.

It is not our purpose here to review in detail the history of this struggle (some of this can be found in AWTW 2000/28, "Open Letter to the TKP/ML", as well as in AWTW 2002/29 in the Congress documents of the Maoist Communist Party [Turkey and North Kurdistan] (MKP) formed out of the former TKP(ML)). As the leadership of the Maoist Communist Party has summarised, after the death of Kaypakkaya a strong opportunistic current existed in the TKPML for thirty years, especially focused on the questions of Mao's development of Marxism-Leninism to a whole new stage and on the validity of Kaypakkaya's analysis of protracted people's war as the path of revolution in Turkey. Because a correct ideological and political line was lacking, disunity was reflected on the organisational front. The Party was riddled with factionalism, indiscipline and splits.

Clearly the disunity of the communist vanguard forces weighed heavily on the masses in Turkey and on their struggle. Indeed, it is often the case that the masses can see only the disunity and the paralysis of the practical struggle, the surface reflections of the deeper problem of ideological and political line, since to go beneath the surface to the essence of the struggle between Marxism and revisionism requires MLM, which the broad masses do not and will not acquire spontaneously. And what is true for the masses is also true for the broad ranks of the members and fighters of the political party as well-unless they are well equipped in applying MLM (which was not generally the case in the TKPML at that period) they too will see the surface and not the essence, the problem of disunity and paralysis but not the deeper problem of the substance of the ideological and political line.

This was the general situation when several attempts were made to unite the major groupings of the TKPML into a single centre. One of the most important of these efforts was the formation of the Provisional United Central Committee (PUCC) in 1993. The PUCC, which brought together the largest portions of the TKPML, was met by great enthusiasm in the ranks of the members and supporters of the TKPML. (The TKP/ML (Maoist Party Centre) did not participate in the PUCC.) But the PUCC was formed by negotiating "common points" between the existing centres that made it up. Even some of what seemed, on the surface, correct "common points", such as the adoption of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the party's ideology, were mere formalistic verbiage covering over the same previous misunderstanding about Maoism, in particular negating Mao's criticism of the mistakes of Stalin and his further development of the proletarian ideology. Other wrong positions of the past, and notably a harmful and incorrect evaluation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, were also incorporated into the PUCC.

The results of this experience are worth noting. The PUCC was not at all able to meet the expectations of its members and supporters nor to give rise to a new wave of revolutionary struggle in Turkey. Instead the old factionalism, indiscipline, disunity and paralysis continued in new forms. Within a few short years a major split again took place within the Party. Because a correct line was not guiding the process of struggle and advance in the TKPML, the various splits and unifications that took place did not represent the same kind of process of "unity-struggle-unity" that takes place when a genuine MLM line is in command. In the case of the TKPML, a higher level of unity of the Party and a higher level of revolutionary practice were not achieved.

This situation began to change only in more recent years, as leaders and members of the TKP(ML) began a process of more thoroughly repudiating previous incorrect positions, summarising the past experience of the whole movement on the basis of MLM and, closely integrated into this process, uniting firmly with the international communist movement, especially RIM. Thus we can see in the struggle waged by the TKP(ML) and the TKP/ML (often called "Ozgur Gelecek") a difference from the sectarian squabbling of the past-genuine life-and-death questions of the Turkish movement were being addressed correctly and the differences between the TKP(ML) and the TKP/ML were raised to the level of two-line struggle.

In Turkey, as elsewhere, the process of uniting all of the genuine communists in a single centre is not complete. There are certainly a great number of leaders, cadres, members and supporters of the present TKP/ML who can and should play an active role in a united vanguard party. The basis for completing this process on a correct basis, for bringing into being the "new unity" that a single vanguard party will certainly represent, will come through further radical rupture with the wrong understanding that is now more and more concentrated in the TKP/ML and reflected in its departure from the ranks of RIM and its adoption of other, erroneous centrist approaches to building the "unity" of the international communist movement. (Again see AWTW 2000/28, which addresses the TKP/ML's departure from RIM and its joining of a different alignment in the international movement.) Once again, repudiation and rupture with the incorrect ideological and political line are the key to unity and advance.

Who are the Splitters? Who Stands for Unity?

History has also shown that it is always the genuine MLM forces that fight for unity and always the revisionists and opportunists that resort to factionalism, splits and intrigues. MLM parties and organisations are the constant arena of two-line struggle and, as we have argued, can at times be the site of extremely sharp internal battles, but if this process is guided by a correct MLM line and leadership it will result in greater unity within the party, between the leaders and the membership and, most importantly, between the party and the masses themselves.

On the other hand, bourgeois and reactionary political parties are the focus of a different kind of struggle-the struggle between persons and cliques for personal gain, for individual authority and prestige, even over shares of corruption. If such parties are, for a certain period of time, able to maintain a façade of unity within their ranks, it is obedience that grows out of fear of reprisal, hope for reward, ignorance or even terror. At the first fissure, such parties will split apart and their leaders will tear each other apart like crabs caught in a net.

This is because bourgeois and reactionary parties do not and cannot represent the interests of the broad masses of the proletariat and oppressed and thus must always seek to confuse and deceive the masses, appeal to their most ignoble and backward sentiments, and try to exercise dictatorship over them. However strong the following of bourgeois and reactionary parties appear, they are certain, sooner or later, to face the judgement of the masses of people. History has proved this, time and again, in country after country.

When some political parties of the national bourgeoisie or petite bourgeoisie have, however half-heartedly, led struggle against the imperialists or domestic reactionaries, they claim the right to speak in the name of the whole people and are often able to achieve an important following, including among the oppressed classes. But even in these kinds of situations the character of the bourgeoisie as an exploiting class is inevitably expressed. Such forces cannot rely wholeheartedly on the oppressed masses and cannot appeal to their highest interests. They always attempt to resort to appeals or compromises with ignoble and backward sentiments, including narrow nationalism, religious bigotry, the oppression of women and so on. If such parties come to power and compromise with the world imperialist system, whatever popular character they may have once represented is usually quick to evaporate, and these parties, too, become indistinguishable from other bourgeois and reactionary parties. (We can see this transformation clearly in the trajectory of the Kurdish nationalist forces in Iraq who began fighting for more rights for the Kurdish people but ended up as tools in the hands of the US imperialists in enslaving not only the Kurds but all of the peoples of Iraq.)

When an MLM organisation departs from a correct revolutionary line, it is inevitable that revisionist ideology and politics will be reflected in the organisational sphere and that such parties will adopt features of bourgeois and reactionary parties.

Mao Tsetung summed this up brilliantly in his well-known "three dos and three don'ts": "Practice Marxism, not revisionism; unite, don't split; be open and aboveboard, don't intrigue and conspire." (See "Report on the Revision of the Constitution" of the Tenth Congress of the CPC.) The key is the first, to practice a correct MLM line. Those who depart from such a line cannot unite and inevitably split. Those who depart from Marxism are unable to be open and aboveboard and wage principled struggle for their point of view. Instead, they always resort to personal attacks, spread rumours and gossip, obscure the cardinal questions of line involved in the struggle, and concentrate on minor or secondary points. Once one departs from Marxism it is impossible to have confidence in the masses of the people and the masses of party members, and intrigues and conspiracy become the order of the day. Such people will always sacrifice the long-term interests of the international proletariat for the narrow and short-term interests of a minority. Fighting for the unity of the genuine communists, fighting for the unity between the party and the masses, is one of the permanent tasks of Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, who must be ever vigilant to avoid the style of work and forms of struggle of the bourgeois, reactionary and revisionist parties.

In the case of former MLM parties that have transformed qualitatively into revisionist parties, such parties are no different than other reactionary parties-when they hold political power the so-called democratic centralism and discipline of such parties is just a feature of the reactionary dictatorship exercised over the masses of the people, including the masses of party members. Today the Communist Party of China is a perfect example of a bourgeois, reactionary and fascist party. Those who arrested thousands upon thousands of Mao's closest followers, including his widow Chiang Ching, who violently suppressed the revolutionary workers and peasants in order to seize political power, and who became known to the world in 1989 as the "butchers of Tiananmen Square"-this kind of party can never be "rectified" but must be overthrown by force like all other parties exercising reactionary dictatorships.

The Fight for Unity is on the Agenda

There is a constant need for the unity of all the genuine communist forces in every country. But the need for unity and even the desire for unity is not always enough to carry through the struggle to achieve a single united vanguard. Once again, the key factor is the emergence of a correct Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideological and political line capable of serving as a rallying centre for the great bulk of the genuine communist forces in a given country.

History has shown that the path through which such a correct line will emerge will vary greatly from country to country according to the different conditions and different histories of the communist movement. In Peru, for example, Chairman Gonzalo traced the development of the PCP as a direct outgrowth of a series of struggles going far back into the history of the communist movement of that country, struggles in which comrade Gonzalo played a central role in fighting against various forms of revisionism and opportunism. In Nepal, however, the formation of the CPN(M) followed a different path, and Comrade Prachanda was to sum up that the forces that were later to play the central role in the formation of the CPN(M) had not been the most correct of the communist forces at the earlier stages of the communist movement, such as in the 1970s.

The formation of a correct line in a given country is a protracted process that inevitably involves twists and turns, advances and setbacks. And as we know, it is a never-ending process, as a correct line can never "stand still" but can only advance in continual struggle against what is incorrect and in continual interaction with the class struggle itself. It is also possible to fall into the error of seeking the "absolutely correct" line, and, since this mirage is by definition unobtainable, of using the "absence of a correct line" as a convenient excuse to avoid achieving the unity that can be achieved during a given period. Looking for the "absolutely correct" line is idealism and metaphysics, not materialist dialectics. It separates thinking from being, and theory from practice, and will lead to sectarianism and sterility. Communist leaders must be good at defining the crucial questions of ideological and political line facing the revolutionary movement and focus their attention on these points. While no important ideological and political struggle can be neatly wrapped up in a predetermined box-there are always many different aspects and fronts of struggle-it is nonetheless true that resolving the principal question or contradiction facing the movement at a given point is key to resolving secondary but important questions, such as style of work, correctly summing up lesser historical disputes in the movement, and so forth. As communists raise their ability to understand the key questions of ideological and political line, they will also be able to unite more firmly and not allow relatively minor matters to disrupt the unity process.

A great deal of experience has been accumulated in different countries and on a world scale. There have been great achievements throughout the history of our movement, and new ones are coming into being in this period, such as the great advances of the People's War in Nepal. But we know the international communist movement has suffered serious setbacks as well, including the loss in China from which we are still suffering. The recent period has also seen both advances and defeats in different countries. A correct line must be forged on the basis of summing up this rich experience of struggle and sacrifice, advance and retreat. This also means having a good understanding of the essential experience of the international proletariat as a whole, as summed up using Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and of the experience of the struggle of the proletariat and the oppressed and the communist vanguard forces in each specific country.

In a number of countries, revolutionary experience has been achieved by different contingents of the communist forces, working apart. This is a particularly important feature of the communist movement in India, where, for reasons of the history of the communist movement, as well as the diversity and large size of India, different communist forces have been carrying out various forms of revolutionary struggle, including trying to develop people's war, in various corners of the country. Now the task of synthesising the combined experience of the communist movement in India, both in recent years as well as the great upsurge of the Naxalbari period, is coming sharply on the agenda. Such summation is also an important arena of struggle-what are the essential lessons to be upheld? What are the weaknesses to be overcome? As in other countries, the successful conclusion of this process, which can be nothing other than a single vanguard party following a correct MLM line and united in the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, will also come about through a process of leap and rupture. Those aspects of thinking and practice that have been clearly wrong will need to be repudiated, while the tremendous positive achievements of the communist movement in that country will need to be upheld and developed.

In India we can also see where efforts to unite the Marxist-Leninist-Maoists on the basis of "common points" has led to failure. In the late 1990s, a movement to unite a number of forces that made up part of the Indian MLM movement resulted in the formation of the Janashakti organisation. Its creation was met with enthusiasm from important sections of the fighters and supporters of the MLM movement. But this unity was false and hollow. It was based on negotiations to determine the "common points" that existed between the merging organisations. But these "common points" included, and indeed were based on, a continuation of a wrong summation of the Naxalbari movement led by Charu Mazumdar and actually represented a repudiation of that experience and those lessons. Not surprisingly, this opportunist unity, like so many others in the history of the international communist movement, was based on "combining two into one" combining verbal support for the strategy of people's war with a line of building peaceful mass organisation as a "necessary" sub-stage, and combining illegal struggle with long-term participation in parliamentary politics. This kind of eclecticism, trying to put Marxism "on a par" with opportunism, will always mean that Marxism becomes mere window-dressing, while revisionist practice and orientation predominates. In the case of Janashakti, the unprincipled unity did not last long and burst like a soap bubble. The enthusiasm the unity had given rise to was replaced by an even deeper demoralisation. This does not mean that there is not much in the experience and understanding of Janashakti's members and leaders that can and must contribute to the formation of a genuine united Marxist-Leninist-Maoist vanguard party in India. But for this experience to be useful, for it to be really at the service of the people, the process of "dividing one into two", and specifically the process of criticising and repudiating opportunism and revisionism, is essential.

On the International Line of the Communist Party

Every political party or organisation is guided by a stand, viewpoint and method. It is impossible for a party to apply one ideological and political line when it comes to making revolution in its own country and a different ideological and political line when it comes to the international movement. History has shown this time and again.

The formation of the communist parties and the adherence to the Communist International in the years immediately following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 were part of a single process. Whether or not to support the dictatorship of the proletariat that had emerged out of Tsarist Russia was linked to whether to fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat in one's own country. Similarly, supporting Mao Tsetung's fight against revisionism and upholding the Cultural Revolution is a crucial and indispensable dividing line in every country between the genuine revolutionary communists and the different stripes of revisionists.

But we should remember that what seems so obvious today was bitterly fought over at the time. Between Lenin and the modern revisionists were a whole host of opportunists and centrists who tried to muddy the dividing lines in the name of the unity of the proletariat or simple pragmatism, the philosophy that "whatever works" is correct. As Mao was proclaiming "It's right to rebel" and leading an earth-shaking struggle against revisionism, some other influential forces, notably the Vietnam Workers Party, which at that time was leading the most important struggle in the world against US imperialism, were trying to return to a false "unity" of the international communist movement that embraced even the Soviet revisionist clique itself. No one can deny the great necessity the Vietnamese leadership faced in their confrontation with the US, and it is easy to imagine the arguments for diplomacy and compromise. But we can also draw lessons from the tragic betrayal that led to Vietnam remaining caught in the web of the imperialist world system even after the masses had fought so heroically and successfully against the world's most powerful imperialist enemy. Opportunism, pragmatism, centrism and revisionism in the international arena will also surely undercut, sap and ultimately destroy any revolutionary struggle being waged on the home front.

What was true in the past is no less true today. Inevitable disarray took place in the Maoist movement following the revisionist coup in China and, for a while, the different contingents of the international communist movement faced the need to advance separately. Some forces were more favourably situated than others to more quickly draw the lessons of the loss in China and its implications for the world movement. For the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, it is not a question of demanding special privileges merely because RIM was able to more quickly and decisively recognise the true nature of the Chinese revisionists and take up the obligation of fighting against them. As Mao put it so beautifully, "Come early or late, all who make revolution deserve equal treatment."

Unlike an earlier period when many communist forces were working separately, today virtually all the forces of the international communist movement are seeking to unite on an international level. The question is, with whom to unite, on what line, with what ideology and for what purpose? The attitude that one adopts to the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement is not a minor matter. It is not possible to be correct about the revolution in one's own country but be hostile or indifferent to RIM. On the contrary, an incorrect evaluation of RIM should be taken as an alarm and serve as an impetus to discover and root out those incorrect aspects of politics and ideology upon which such a misevaluation is based.

It is also noteworthy that groupings on an international level also tend to reflect the line that political parties follow in relation to the class struggle in their own countries. The parliamentary cretinism of the Belgian Workers Party (PTB) goes hand-in-hand with their efforts to erase the hard-fought lessons of the struggle against modern revisionism and "reunite" the communist movement on a completely opportunistic, anti-Maoist basis. The non-revolutionary programmes of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany, the Communist Party of Nepal (Mashal), the Communist Party of India (Red Flag) and similar groups that are all joined in the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organisations (ICML) are the "glue" that holds this amalgam together. Nor is it possible to forever keep one foot in the revolutionary camp whilst refusing to break with the revisionists and opportunists.

We can see that the existence of RIM is creating a more favourable environment for the unity of the genuine Maoist forces at the national level as well as the international level. This has been clear in Afghanistan, for example, where the genuine MLM forces have been rallying to strengthen the Communist Party of Afghanistan. In India, RIM issued a call to stop the armed clashes that were going on between the two most important Maoist groups of that country. At the time there were those who dismissed the initiative taken at the 1999 South Asia Regional Conference of RIM Parties and Organisations as "useless" or even as unwelcome interference. Now it is impossible for anyone to deny the positive and important role this call played in helping stop the clashes and bringing about a more positive atmosphere in the Maoist movement of that country. (The South Asia Regional RIM Conference in 1999 issued a call reprinted in AWTW 2000/26.)

Does this mean that RIM alone contains the Maoist forces, and all others outside it are not Maoist? Obviously such an argument would be ridiculous. There are important Maoist organisations outside RIM who need and must play a vigorous role in uniting the genuine communists on both the national and international levels. As we have stated from our foundation, RIM's goal is its own replacement by a Communist International of a new type. This will represent a synthesis, a new contradiction, on a qualitatively higher level than we have experienced up until now. The question is whether to advance further based on the achievements of RIM and others in erecting a genuine MLM pole internationally, or whether to believe that the first task is to liquidate RIM's role as an embryonic center and replace it with an eclectic and ineffectual talk shop, mixing Maoists and opportunists, or with some other ineffectual form. The question facing every genuine communist force is whether to support the process of uniting the genuine MLM forces wholeheartedly or lag behind and demand that others do likewise. It is whether to unite on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism or whether politics and ideology should be subordinated to other considerations such as temporary strength. (We continue to be amazed that some notorious revisionist forces such as the FARC in Colombia are still considered important "Marxist-Leninist" forces by some in the Maoist movement!) "Supporting wholeheartedly" or "lagging behind" the process of uniting the genuine MLM forces internationally is a vital question of line. It is one that cannot be swept under the carpet, especially when it is intertwined with the problem of the formation of a single vanguard party in a given country.

Today the "wind of unity" is spreading and bringing hope to the revolutionary-minded people in many countries. The great battles looming on the horizon demand that the communist forces make great efforts to overcome their shortcomings and consolidate a unity that represents something higher, more solid and more correct than what exists today. The struggle to achieve the unity of the Maoists will not be simple, but then revolution never is. By redoubling our efforts and being fearless in discarding what is wrong and upholding what is correct, it is possible to take important steps forward in uniting the genuine communists on both the national and international levels.


The full text of "The Theory of 'Combine Two into One' is a Reactionary Philosophy for Restoring Capitalism" will appear on A World to Win's web site www.awtw.org.