Article from La Voce n. 35, July 2010:
In the Statute approved by the 1st Congress of the (new) Italian Communist Party (paragraph 6) it is written that:
“The main organizational principles of the Party are the democratic centralism and the two lines struggle. The two principles are complementary: they are the two opposite terms of a dialectical unity. In some circumstances the first of the two terms is the principal. In some other circumstances the second of the two terms is principal.
The principle of the two lines struggles teaches us that in the Communist Party two trends are always existing, one pushing onwards and the other restraining. They are the joint effect of the class contradiction (of bourgeoisie’s influence and of the struggle against it), of the contradiction between the true and the false and of the contradiction between the new and the old. In some periods the two trends are complementary and both contribute to party’s development. In other periods they become antagonistic and incompatible. The left trend has to transform the right one. If the right trend proves to be unyielding, the left one has to expel it.”
This rule of our Statute arouses many kinds of objections, both in the Italian and in the International Communist Movement. It is in the nature of things that this takes place. The two lines struggle is a principle not universally accepted and applied in the communist movement.
Firstly, we have to apply (to learn to apply) the rule of our Statute inside us. We have to learn to use the two lines struggle in our Party’s life. We shall better and better understand the principle of the two lines struggle, we shall understand it in a more and more practical way the more we shall apply it.
Secondly, we have to make understand this principle in a just way, in the Party and among the comrades, in Italy and abroad, in the International Communist Movement (ICM).
Thirdly, we have to defend it against the objections and distortions, against the misunderstandings and the denigrations.
The two lines struggle is an indispensable organizational principle.
It is one of the five main contributions by Maoism to the theoretical patrimony of the communist movement (see article17d5.html). All the communist parties and the ICM on the whole need to adopt it in order to speed up the new birth of the communist movement and the proletarian revolution.
The incomprehension of this principle is one of the limits of the old communist movement.
The two lines and the struggle between them exist in every communist party, even if Communists are not aware of it. As a matter of fact, they come from the dialectics between proletariat and bourgeoisie (the two classes, the two ways, the two lines), between new and old, between right and wrong. The difference brought by Maoism is that the left trend is aware of this fact and directs (decides and tries to direct) the two lines struggle. In a communist party that does not recognize this contribution of Maoism, the two lines exist but the struggle between them develops blindly.
In the history of the communist movement, already starting from the epoch of Marx and Engels, of the Communists’ League (1847-1850) and of the First International (1864-1872), the existence of two lines and the struggle between them are a constant datum. Before Maoism, the principle was not recognized. So, in the communist movement the two lines struggle has been carried out instinctively, in a more or less fruitful way depending on the periods, on the parties and on the level of assimilation of the dialectical materialism by single comrades and parties.
Lenin fought the two lines struggle in a masterly manner, even if he did not recognise and formulate the two lines struggle as organizational principle of the communist party.
In the writing Bourgeois Intellectuals’ Methods (June 1914), he clearly says: “See the history [of the Russian Social Democratic Workers’ Party] (it is not a fault for a Marxist to take in account the history of the movement!); it shows you a nearly twenty year struggle against the bourgeois currents of “economism” (1895-1902), of Menshevism (1903-1908) of liquidationism (1908-1914).”
In the Report of the CC of the RSDWP to the International Socialist Office of Bruxelles (13 July 1914), Lenin also signs the borders of the party and of the two lines struggle in the party: “If some party or group definitely and precisely proposes a program or a strategy with which our party can not agree in principle, the problem of the majority, of course, makes no sense. For example, if the Revolutionary Socialist Party (left populists), which differs from our party in the program and strategy, will gain the majority of workers in Russia, this will not make us give up our line at all. “
This concerns the members of our Party and of the CARC Party that have been expelled or resigned in the Third Active Ideological Struggle (March 2009). The following events clearly confirmed that their conceptions were not compatible with ours. Even those of them who have continued to declare themselves Communists, in the group of the Coordination of Communist Collectives (CoCoCo) they formed, have quickly abandoned the conception, the analysis and the party line that until a few months before they said to share and even to defend and to carry out most truly and genuinely than everybody else. They do not even believe to be obliged to explain their intellectual evolution to themselves and to the communist movement, so much they were convinced of the positions of the Party! This also explains why poor were the results of the work for which they were responsible.
The incomprehension of the two lines struggle weakened the action of the left trend and facilitated the victory of the right trend in the first Communist International (1919-1943 formally, but actually 1956). It was also a weak point in Stalin’s direction. This incomprehension showed itself several times in the history of the communist parties of the first socialist countries, particularly in the history of the Soviet Communist Party, after that private ownership of means of production had essentially been abolished. Then it was said that in the Soviet Union antagonistic classes were no longer existing (1936). The unity of the Communist Party was mainly entrusted in administrative methods (control commissions, political police). This incomprehension showed itself also in the communist parties of the imperialist countries. Instead of pursuing the unity of the party with the two lines struggle, the unity was mainly or even solely entrusted in administrative procedures and organs of the party (control commissions).
This practice has greatly weakened the action of the left trend when it was in the minority. Rather than resorting to self-criticism to overcome its limitations that made it become a minority in the party and to criticize the right trend, the left trend gave freedom of action to the right one in the name of party unity, or began to weave plots and conspiracies such as the right trend was doing, without having the strength that bourgeoisie’s support was giving to the right.
Even today the Communist parties that have not adopted Maoism, and therefore do not recognize the organizational principle of the two lines struggle, are used to resort solely or mainly to administrative measures (control commission) to defend the party from deviations. An exemplary and important case to us is the Marxist Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD).
We shall make the better use of the principle of the two lines struggle in the life of our party, we shall defend it much better and we shall fight much more effectively for its assimilation, the better we understand what two lines struggle means.
(new)Italian Communist Party