Rules of the road

Kasama

On the Shelf

« Conditions of the Working Class in China | Main | Prachanda and Bhattarai: Now is the time for the "decisive final blow" to feudal autocracy »

April 17, 2006

Comments

Non Serviam

This is the first I've heard of the Communist League of Indonesia as well. Not surprising since any overt mention of communism, social democracy, Marxism, Leninism, etc. are outlawed according to Suharto-era law. While new cases of that law being enforced are few, the post-Suharto courts still uphold any number of decisions (as when persons convicted on the charge of PKI membership applied to regain their franchise). That's neglecting to mention any number of unofficial methods of enforcement - blacklisting of families known to be of red sympathy, etc.

From what I can tell, the Communist League is likely an outgrowth from the semi-defunct People's Democratic Party (PRD) which was an umbrella for a number of student groups that emerged in the late 1990s. The group was a motley crew of liberals to Trotskyites, that emerged in the absence of any true oppositional party under Suharto. It split after a number of elements either got co-opted by bourgeois democratic parties, or decided to go the NGO/civil society track.

According to a posting to the Worker's Party of Belgium:
http://www.ptb.be/scripts/article.phtml?section=A3AAAE&obid=24019

" Mostly the members of the Communist League of Indonesia were came from the ranks of youth who became pioneer of the militant mass movement of working class, peasantry, youth, students, etc. They were born and grew by the gigantic school of anti-fascist movement against US-backed Soeharto Regime, but they are still in the infant time of theory and practice. The warm and close connection with all the comrades from various Marxist-Leninist Parties and revolutionary organisations is the important thing to study and exchange experiences and to strengthen and to advance the international communist movement and the anti-imperialist struggle based on proletarian internationalism."

sidelong

the issues of that momentous linestruggle (initiated openly in 1963 by Mao) were "modern" forty years ago. They involved questions that are still cardinal questions today (i.e. key dividing line questions like "d of the p" vs. "state of the whole people.")

However, how could it be that our own era doesn't have its own "modern" burning issues in the struggle over revisionism?

Upholding THOSE previous dividing lines is not wrong in its own right. But focusing on them must be "missing the boat" on what is posed now.

Some people still talk about "the great stalin" -- in a way rather different from Avakian's approach in Conquer the World (and since).

Even the way this statement includes the "five heads" on a more or less equal basis, is very different from the approach of taking M, S, and MTT as "three milestones" in a developing synthesis (again, BA's methodology).

Looking back over the whole experience of the "last wave" of prol revs, summing them up (including summing up the strengths and weaknesses of the GPCR) is crucial for pressing ahead.

There are key line questions over not simply doing "your daddy's PW" as if 2006 is identical to 1930s China.

There are key line questions over HOW to evaluate the STalin era, and more: to develop the approach to middle strata and dissent and methods of work concentrated in the new synthesis "solid core with a lot of elasticity."

So, lets remind ourselves on this anniversery of the importance of identifying and struggling against revisionism. But let's also be alert to what is "modern" (today!) in the two line struggle, and raise our own understanding of those issues.

and?

is the epistemological break emerging as a key dividing line between MLM and revisionism?

How could it not?

getting real

it is ironic that the philippine party (which is completely UNclear on the key issues of this historic struggle with Soviet revisionism) should call for the celebration (in words?) of that struggle.

Perhaps they could start by grasping the nature of capitalist restoration -- and having a clear and correct stand on the class nature of China, North Korea etc, with all the implications THAT has for "what kind of society will they build if they win."

sidelong

I wrote: "M, S, and MTT as three milestones"

and meant:

"M, L, and MTT as three milestones"

satirical pen name

New Communist Banner:
"Against EVERYTHING since 1956"

How can a movement gain any faith with the masses when it is stuck pondering what went wrong fifty years ago? These arguments and obsessions are worst than stale, they're miasma from the crypt. The world has moved on, and this dead branch of the past has nothing to offer.

sidelong

huh?

How american to think that history of fifty years ago (or ten minutes ago) has nothing to offer.

Of course it does. My point was that valuable as those experiences were and are, the dividing lines of those moments are not necessarily the dividing lines of our moments.

But to negate the value of history is bizarre. Look: there have been two major socialist revolutions in world history. Everything about them is interesting and of value!

P.S.

Don't put a living person's name down as your site nick. It is confusing at best, and trollish at worst. You are not Ray Lotta -- so don't steal his name.

Klement Gottwald

To "etting real": How does the Philippine party not get what happened in the former socialist countries. The statement says: "But soon after his death, the enemies of the Chinese proletariat and people made a coup and reversed his proletarian revolutionary line in carrying out socialist revolution and construction. Since then, China has increasingly taken the road of capitalist restoration."

Although the word "increasingly" is probably not correct, I don't see a wrong line here. What's wrong with their position?

getting real

the PCC is "all over the place" in its analysis of capitalist restoration.

It was founded along Maoist lines, and had a sharp criticism of Soviet Social imperialism. (And was "aligned" with revolutionary china.)

In the early 70s it "moved" closer to the vietnamese party, and increasingly took a confused (and even friendly) approach to the USSR.

In the years of the 90s, different parts of the CPP have different analyses of the capitalist restoration. Some take the pretty openly revisionist view that it was the "gorbachev collapse" that marked the "death of socialism" in the soviet union (which, if you think about it, is exactly the Breshnevite/Gus Hall analysis.)

The views in that party on say Cuba or North Korea show a marked inclination toward the continuation of those views.

I am speaking shorthand here -- and there may be people who are not familiar with these issues, with the basis for the various verdicts, and (perhaps most important) are not familiar with the implications of all this.

But lets just say: if you can't tell the difference between socialism and capitalism, the society you create is unlikely to be liberatory. If you think soviet social imperialism is socialism, you are unlikely to carry though real, revolutionary and through-going national liberation (but, instead, like Cuba or Venezuela, look for the most favorable deal from the available powers.)

And so on.

These are not just or mainly "verdicts on history" -- but questions closely tied to what your goals and ideology are.

The basic ideological stand of the Maoists (during the great polemics being celebrated) was "The rise of revisionism to power, is the rise to power of the bourgeoisie."

That was a profound and correct insight, and a dividing line (then and now).

getting real

and in fact the wording y ou point to: "Since then, China has increasingly taken the road of capitalist restoration."

This is a rather stark and wrong position -- which actually denies that the restoration of capitalism was marked by a revisionist coup at the heights of power. This is instead a very un-maoist (and incorrect) view of capitalism "creeping in." It views the state capitalist industry of china as "socialist" and the private foreign investment as "capitalism." And so it posits a mixed economy, where the communist party is still a force for socialism, but is being "undermined" from within and from without.

An altogether wrong view -- with very profound implication (i'll repeat) for what kind of society you aim for, and what you see as "socialist" about it.

Klement Gottwald

I must admit I find it of interest that the Filipino party networks with the Belgian Labor Party, which is "centrist"--it is "Maoist" in the sense that it nominally upholds Mao and criticizes Khrushchev and Brezhnev, but it is also basically "Brezhnevite" in allying with whatever appears to oppose U.S. imperialism. They even have articles lauding the current Chinese leadership.

In the U.S., the best expression of this "centrism" is the Workers World Party. They supported the Communist Party of Peru when it appeared they might win, but they have no consistent principle on demarcating Marxism from sham Marxism and socialism from sham socialism.

watcher

one unifying theme for the CPP is that they keep a close watch on countries that may be potential sponsors, and are not to scrupulous about saying whatever may be needed to court that sponsorship.

Gorbachev's rise in USSR prevented their full vault into that camp. And suddenly China started looking more interesting (even if, from a rev point of view, it was anything BUT!)

That is the only explanation i can find to explain the slowly morphing approach to of USSR, China, Cuba (and now North Korea!) or whatever.

Klement Gottwald

Still, it is absolutely crucial to support the CPP/NPA/NDF to the utmost. These are relatively minor differences when compared with out-and-out revisionists.

a comment

it is important to support the struggle of the Philippine people for national liberation and communist revolution.

But let us not be naive -- some lines lead there, some do not. In fact, it would be betrayal of the people and the communist movement to not struggle for clarity on this.

As for "out and out revisionism" -- lets also not mistakenly act as if this only manifests itself outside existing revolutionaries parties, and only as organized counterrevolutonary trends. Far too often, people act as if "revisionism" is the name for opposing trends, rather than the opposite of revolutionary communism emerging WITHIN the revolutionary communist movement itself -- including in its leading centers.

a comment

this statement is a line that opposes Mao's analysis of revisionism and capitalist restoration.

It opposes the idea that the key leap in the restoration process is the rise to power of revisionism, and that this seizure of power by capitalist roaders essentially "changes the color" of society, by replacing the dictatorship of the proletariat with a dictatorship of a new state-capitalist bourgeoisie headquartered right within the now-capitalist ruling party.

The idea of "long slow slide" from socialism to capitalism negates the sharpness of the struggle within the super structure of socialism. It portrays the "state sector" as inherently socialist, and treats only the "private sector" as really or fully capitalist.

All of this is revisionism. It is the theory, analysis and method of precisely those who seized power in the Soviet Union and China.

It is "out and out revisionism" on the whole question of the transitional period -- and it is in stark and specific opposition to everything Mao fought to bring forward, and to the developments that are at the heart of what makes "Maoism" a leap and a milestone in the development of communism.

The fact that this is done in a statement surrounded by verbiage about "Mao" and "MLM" and opposing restoration etc etc does not change this, and simply repackages the the reactionary underlying analysis and assumptions to enable them to get over better among revolutionaries.

These are sharp and crucial issues -- not just for the moment but for the future. And without a clear understanding of this (of how restoration happened and happens, of where it emerges from, of why mere state ownership is not guarantee of socialism, and so on) we will have thrown away all the lessons mao drew from the Soviet experience, and just hand over the next revolutions back to the bureucratic capitalist revisionist roaders.

ShineThePath

I think this statement above all else is refreshing. I think is shows what is really the need for the basic unity between Maoist parties. The stand against modern revisionism is indeed key to the theoritical struggle in the IMC.

Yes there are some, however, problems with the line of Capitalist Restoration in China. However, I think really the CPP has made its position clear about Soviet-Revisionism and how it turned into State-Capitalism. Comrade Sison puts this foward in the pamphlet entitled "Stand for Socialism Against Modern Revisionism." The analysis is much like Martin Nicholaus' "Restoration of Capitalism in the Soviet Union," and Raymond Lotta's position in the debate between himself and Albert Szymanski. The CPP understands the revisionist trend came ahead in 1956, and Khruschov's political line represented that of the Bourgeoisie. However this in of itself was not the defining moment when the Bourgeoisie took charge of the CPSU.

In fact the class struggle within the Party played out for more than 1 year, culiminating in a Military Coup in 1957 that forced the Politburo to stop its demands to remove to Khruschov, and ultimately purged the Revolutionary leaders who upheld Stalin, such as Molotov. One speech does not signify, Capitalist Restoration. We have to understand, that class struggle and the struggle of the lines of each class pursues in the Party. For a long time afterward, Mao and the CCP considered "Comrade Khruschov" to be following a deviant's line; however they never named the "Khruschov Clique" as being Capitalist leaders of the State-Capitalist USSR. When Khruschov was pushed out of power by the Brezhnev and Kosygin group, there was hope that the USSR can return back on the Socialist path; however the opposite was true. This became apparent after Chou's visit to the USSR. It was "Khruschovism without Khruschov," it finally was understood as capitalist restoration. Especially after the market reforms led by Kosygin.

The same is true with the CCP. Capitalist Restoration did not just spontaneously occur when Mao died and the Gang of Four was arrested. Such is really an idealist interpetation. It relies on definite markers on time depending on "who died," and "what speech was given." This is not a dialectical materialist understanding of the class struggle, it is rather a vulgar mechanical historical view, and is simply Historical Materialism. The class struggle ensued in the party after the arrest of the "Gang." The Revisionists certainly took power, and went on dismantling the Socialist economy. It is now quite apparent to everyone today, they achieved just that.

InTheTrenches

What's up with the CPI(maoist)? From what I understand, it was formed recently from the merger of the Maoist Communist Center (allied with the RIM) with the People's War Group (not in RIM). Why has the new CPI(maoist) not joined the RIM? What has happened to the MCC leadership that supported the RIM. Some of these questions may have come to a head in last year's AWTW magazine over questions about whether to participate in the world social forum. The CPI(maoist) seems to hold onto a Lin Biao-like militarist/revenge line that favors class war over uniting all who can be united in the struggle to liberate all of humanity... all of which goes back to Avakian's episimological break with Mao on the question of class truth vs. objective truth. Prachanda seems to have grasped this "break" with previous socialist thought. Why haven't their Indian comrades?

interbreeding

InTheTrenches: excellent questions. I guess we must presume that in the unity talks they decided that the RIM was too contentious, and it's not unreasonable for them to have a principled unity based on not being in the RIM, especially considering they're still in CCOMPOSA. HOWEVER, they do appear to be engaged in a rather different form of praxis in some ways, though I can't tell if this is because of specific Indian conditions or some kind of deviation.

Maz

It's interesting because in the dvd 'Indian Revolution', discussing the formation of their P, the cpi(maoist) makes a criticism of the earlier naxalite movement saying that it overemphasized the military aspect to the detriment of other political aspects. And today when you read "The Mass Line" you wonder how deeply that self-criticism has been absorbed.

Maz

Sorry, I meant to say "People's March" not "The Mass Line".

Lurigancho

It seems to me that People's March runs quite a number of articles on mass political struggles and efforts at creating new political power in the countryside, and does not focus exclusively or mainly on armed actions. Indeed, their longest articles tend to be broader analyses which don't touch on the armed struggle waged by the Party at all, such as this recent one: http://www.peoplesmarch.com/archives/2006/Mar2k6/won_2.htm

One article that comes quickly to mind regarding the political efforts in the base areas is this one: http://www.peoplesmarch.com/archives/2006/Mar2k6/Struggles.htm

In particular, the articles that People's March has run over the past few months on the tranformation of women and adivasis in the base areas have strongly emphasized the 'political aspect' of their movement.

ShineThePath

I'm not sure if this "epistmological break" has been accepted by Prachanada...and I'm not sure how in any way CPI (M) is promoting a Lin Biao type line. There is a real difference in contradictions between the CPN (M) and CPI (M), the two movements are not very comparable. In fact, Communist Party of India (Maoist) has to to struggle against an already exisiting Capitalist order, and parliamentary order. The Parliamentary parties, such as Communist Party of India (Marxist), are vehemently anti-Maoist and anti-People's War.

The Situation is much different in Nepal, in which the struggle has principally turned to that of over-turning a Feudal Despotic order. The parliamentary parties, such as Communist Party Nepal (United Marxist-Leninists), have a progressive role to play, if not revolutionary. The same can't be said of the parliamentary parties in India.

So I am not sure if CPN (M), and "Prachanda Path" has really accepted the theoritical and "epistmological break" of Avakian.

real john

shinethepath wrote:

"Yes there are some, however, problems with the line of Capitalist Restoration in China. However, I think really the CPP has made its position clear about Soviet-Revisionism and how it turned into State-Capitalism. Comrade Sison puts this foward in the pamphlet entitled "Stand for Socialism Against Modern Revisionism." The analysis is much like Martin Nicholaus' "Restoration of Capitalism in the Soviet Union," and Raymond Lotta's position in the debate between himself and Albert Szymanski. The CPP understands the revisionist trend came ahead in 1956, and Khruschov's political line represented that of the Bourgeoisie. However this in of itself was not the defining moment when the Bourgeoisie took charge of the CPSU.

"In fact the class struggle within the Party played out for more than 1 year, culiminating in a Military Coup in 1957 that forced the Politburo to stop its demands to remove to Khruschov, and ultimately purged the Revolutionary leaders who upheld Stalin, such as Molotov. One speech does not signify, Capitalist Restoration. We have to understand, that class struggle and the struggle of the lines of each class pursues in the Party. For a long time afterward, Mao and the CCP considered "Comrade Khruschov" to be following a deviant's line; however they never named the "Khruschov Clique" as being Capitalist leaders of the State-Capitalist USSR. When Khruschov was pushed out of power by the Brezhnev and Kosygin group, there was hope that the USSR can return back on the Socialist path; however the opposite was true. This became apparent after Chou's visit to the USSR. It was "Khruschovism without Khruschov," it finally was understood as capitalist restoration. Especially after the market reforms led by Kosygin."

I appreciate your thoughtful answer. And would like to dig in from a couple different sides.

First of all, the issue of 'when capitalism is essentially restored" is a far more profound question than "arbitrarily picking a point in a complex process."

Because there are several key questions involved:

What is the importance of state power?

What is the role of the superstructure in defining the character of the base (and the direction of society's changes)?

And does the legal FORM of property ownership (state ownership, collective ownership, private ownership) essentially determine its class character?

As a relevant side point: Martin Nicholaus' "Restoration of Capitalism in the Soviet Union," has a line fundamentally opposed to the line put forward by Raymond Lotta in the debate with Albert Szymanski.

Nicholaus wrote that book as a supporter of the CPML -- which was soon to embrace the Dengist coup in china. And his approach formed a framework for arguing that NO MATTER WHAT THE LINE THAT WON in the class struggle within the leadership, the society was socialist (at least until the plan was formally undermined and abolished.)

His approach was the approach (exactly!) that brought many Maoists from the revolutionary camp to the counterrevolutonary camp around the world! And made it so that people could not tell the difference between socialism and capitalism, between revoluton and counterrevolution!

The question is THAT important.

And here is the point:

A seizure of power by the capitalists represents the restoration of capitalism (fundamentally, and essentially) even if it takes years for them to dismantle the various institutions, relations, structures, social consensus etc. that socialism had built up.

Let me use an analogy:

Did Russia become a socialist country in 1917, or did it only become socialist in the late twenties when the first five year plan created a major socialist industry and when socialist relations came into the countryside?

The answer is (imho) that it became (essentially) a socialist country when the proletariat seized state power -- which happened through the October Revoluotion (which created socialist state power) and then through the civil war (which established it countrywide).

The fact that they went through another decade of struggle to develop a socialist economy in both industry and agriculture .... well, that meant that socialism was developed, extended and deepened through major historic leaps.

But the turning point, the DECISIVE moment happened in the superstructure not the base.

It was a seizure of power (a superstructural event) -- even if it took place by the actions of a few hundred fighers in one city at the Winter Palace. That is when the turning point happened.

And that is why Lenin stood before the congress of soviets a few days later and said "we will now proceed to construct a socialist order."

Similarly, the coup of 1956, by krushchev was the decisive turning point in Soviet socialism.... its reversal. There was ongoing struggle later (the defeat of the Molotov group, the development of the Kosigin reforms.)

But capitalist restoration is not "market private ownership overthrowing the plan" (which didn't finally happen until the 1990s.) it is "bourgeoisie overthrows the proletariat" which ahppened in 1956.

Similarly the Chinese capitalist roaders abolished the people's communes (in agriculture) in 1978. But by then the restoration of capitalism (its DECISIVE moment) had happened in 1976, in the September coup that reversed state power and overthrew the proletarian line.

There is much more to say about this. About the implications of different shades of understanding and line.

But those are the essential points i wanted to start with.

nick

"For a long time afterward, Mao and the CCP considered "Comrade Khruschov" to be following a deviant's line; however they never named the "Khruschov Clique" as being Capitalist leaders of the State-Capitalist USSR. When Khruschov was pushed out of power by the Brezhnev and Kosygin group, there was hope that the USSR can return back on the Socialist path; however the opposite was true. This became apparent after Chou's visit to the USSR."

There is some confusing of things here:

First, this was the first example of capitalist restoration of this kind (leaving aside Tito for the moment). And so much was not "obvious" to the genuine communists watching it. So they LEARNED from this experience.

Second, there was significant struggle WITHIN the chinese party over whether to break with the Soviet party and call them out for restoring capitalism. In other words, this PARTY may not have denounced soviet restoration of capitalism until 1963 -- but you can't assume from that that Mao and his party did not think they were capitalist before then.

Third, if you read mao's writings in the 1956-1963 period, you can see he is preparing the ground for a leap in understanding and analysis, and is working it through himself. (like On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People in Feb. 1957)

The work "On Krushchev's Phony Communism" comes out of the bag (1963) in this groundbreaking analysis (written, it is said, with Mao's close supervision).

Again: the fact that the chinese party took seven years to publiclly make their analysis of capitalist restoration, does not mean (a) that they, and especialy Mao, didn't think this earlier or (b) that they thought that the restoration process was not decided in the line struggles of 1956-57.

Mao and Lotta say the key change of class nature of society happened in 1956.

Nichlaus basically argues that restoration is happened by 1963.

And the argument of many strains of revisionists (including those that uphold "Stalin over Mao") is essentially that the country became revisionist in 1956, got a little better in the 1970s under Breshnev (when they challenged the u.s. more) and that capitalism was finally restored in the wake of Gorbachev.

This last view is not only opposed to Mao and RCP on "historical dating" -- what this concentrates is a fundamentally different view of "what is socialism, what is capitalism, and what is the goal of our revolutionary struggle."

Christopher Day

This is interesting to me. What I'd like to have spelled out a lot more clearly is how Kruschev's ascent to power after Stalin's death is "bourgeoisie overthrows the proletariat." Is this shorthand for "bourgeois line overthrows proletarian line" or is the argument that the actual proletariat, a class composed of real people with names, was in power and was overthrown by a new bourgeoisie?

I appreciate the significance of the October Revolution as a proletarian seizure of power, but I am not convinced that Kruschev's ascent is analagously unambiguous. It seems to me that by the the time Kruschev comes to power, proletarian power has been completely hollowed out in the Soviet Union. Why am I wrong?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Hot Shots