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Friday, January 03, 2014


! by Peru People's Movement. This part of the article is in response to a position taken by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Naxalbari. Most American revolutionaries I am aware of, besides the Communist Revolutionary Party USA, do not like the idea of a personality cult. There is a cultural attitude among people in this country that we do not need to worship a leader any more than those of us who do not want to worship a god (although there are religious revolutionaries). Many of us agree with the old Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) slogan; “No god, no master.”  
Other revolutions have succeeded without such personality cults. The Communist Party of Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge), created a powerful movement that took power in 1976, under the leaders ship of the Angkar or “organization.” Henri Locard, author of Pol Pots Little Red Book, points out that their movement proved disastrous as leaders, yet they were able to organize the guerrilla movement in the country side. According to Locard, of the Angkar;  "the Communist Party of Kampuchea, its Standing Committee, as well as the state security apparatus, represented in every social cell of Khmer Rouge society." (p. 6)
Other revolutionary movements have also succeeded without a cult of personality. The Sandinistas of Nicaragua had a five person directorate rather than a one man personality cult. Carlos Fonseca wrote;
Democratic centralism
The vanguard is the political organisation that acts as the engine of the revolution. The scale of what it takes to make it succeed implies well-organised political action, for which discipline is a fundamental element. From the Leninist theory of the vanguard party derives the conception of democratic centralism for the internal life of revolutionary political organisations. Democratic centralism consists in collective work, decisions, and leadership: united leadership and decisions, individual responsibility; election and recall of officials, with regular reports and accounting, hierarchical subordination (of lower to higher bodies), the right to internal criticism, and the duty of self-criticism.
One of many anti-Leninist prejudices arising from the collapse suffered by the model known as “real socialism,” in its Soviet and European version, is to confuse the concept of a vanguard political organisation with sectarianism and dogmatism. The two defects are present in many leftist organisations (for reasons that go beyond the content of this article) and have induced them to develop a cult of personality, authoritarianism, and a tendency to substitute for the popular classes in the revolutionary struggle or in the exercise of power, in the name of their best interests.”
One guerrilla group that learned to keep backup leaders was the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) of Chile. In October 1974 the group was fighting the fascist Augusto Pinochet regime. Their leader, Miguel Enriquez, was killed. They had another set of leaders who were planning to return to Chile and launch an armed struggle. Having back up leaders would have helped the Communist Party of Peru’s “people’s war” when Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán)was captured in 1992.
The Sandinistas may have made mistakes, but they had the right idea on the “cult of personality.”  The CPI (ML) Naxalbari, a Maoist group, is also correct on their position of rejecting the “cult of personality.” -សតិវ អតុ

From the Peru People's Movement
September 24th, 2013
However, there are a series of points on which we do not agree with the comrades of the CPI (ML) Naxalbari. Some are questions of application or problems of development, while others are more worrying; and we are for developing the debate with the comrades more in detail on all these points as soon as there is an opportunity. Now, we only want to put forward some points concerning one of our more acute differences: the question of the so-called "personality cult".
In 1963, in its Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movementthe Communist Party of China put forward:
"Over the past few years, certain persons have violated Lenin's integral teachings about the interrelationship of leaders, party, class and masses, and raised the issue of "combating the cult of the individual"; this is erroneous and harmful. The theory propounded by Lenin is as follows:
a. The masses are divided into classes. 
b. Classes are usually led by political parties. 
c. Political parties, as a general rule, are directed by more or less stable groups composed of the most authoritative, influential and experienced members, who are elected to the most responsible positions and are called leaders.
    Lenin said, "All this is elementary."
The party of the proletariat is the headquarters of the proletariat in revolution and struggle. Every proletarian party must practise centralism based on democracy and establish a strong Marxist-Leninist leadership before it can become an organized and battle-worthy vanguard. To raise the question of "combating the cult of the individual" is actually to counterpose the leaders to the masses, undermine the party's unified leadership which is based on democratic centralism, dissipate its fighting strength and disintegrate its ranks.[our emphasis - editor's note]
(A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement, Communist Party of China, 1963)
That is to say, that the position of the CPC and of Chairman Mao was quite clear, and that his total rejection of the so-called "struggle against the cult of the individual" was not a mere "tactic" or concession to the necessities of the struggle of the moment. On the contrary, Chairman Mao and the other Chinese communists defended the Marxist position on the great leaders and Great leadership of the revolution, because they knew that it is an indispensable necessity and an objective fact of the proletarian revolution that the proletariat in each country, in the process of all its struggles, generates its vanguard, its great leaders, and that among those, in the process of the concrete application of the universal ideology, in the struggle to death against revisionist lines, a great leader is generated who stands out and who represents the most advanced of all the experience of the class.
"The Central Committee of the CPC pointed out in its letter of June 14 that the "struggle against the personality cult" violates Lenin's integral teachings on the interrelationship of leaders, party, class and masses, and undermines the Communist principle of democratic centralism.
The Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU avoids making any reply to our principled arguments, but merely labels the Chinese Communists as "defenders of the personality cult and peddlers of Stalin's erroneous ideas".
When he was fighting the Mensheviks, Lenin said, "Not to reply to an argument of one's opponent on a question of principle, and to ascribe only 'pathos' to him, means not to argue but to turn to abuse." The attitude shown by the Central Committee of the CPSU in its Open Letter is exactly like that of the Mensheviks.[our emphasis - editor's note]
(On the Question of Stalin, CPC 1963)
In fact, the slogan of the so-called "struggle against the personality cult" has appeared every time as part of a reactionary campaign to attack the great proletarian leaders that represent important leaps in the revolution and in the unity of the communists and revolutionaries of the world, for example: in the case of comrade Stalin, who defined Marxism-Leninism as second universal stage of Marxism and applied, in spite of his mistakes, Lenin's proletarian line in the construction of socialism in the USSR, and in the case of Chairman Mao, who represents a series of qualitative leaps in the development of Marxism and revolution, principally that of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In the same way, in the case of Chairman Gonzalo, imperialism, reaction and revisionism cannot forgive the qualitative leaps that he represents: the initiation and development of the people's war in Peru and its repercussions on world level, the definition of Maoism as third, new and higher stage of Marxism and other contributions to Marxism, like the thesis "countryside principal - cities complement" etc. Today, the campaign to slander Chairman Gonzalo continues to be a necessity for the class enemy in order to be able to facilitate and promote the spreading of revisionism and opportunism in the ICM. And, just as Lenin points out in the above quote, when they cannot debate on the arguments, on the ideological and political line, they resort to insults, they resort to the hypocritical terminology of the general counterrevolutionary offensive of imperialism, mainly yankee imperialism, talking about "dictators", "cult" etc.
Therefore, it is worrying that in the articles of the CPI (ML) Naxalbari, there is no discussion about the ideological and political positions of Chairman Gonzalo and the PCP. They say that the principle of Great Leadership is wrong because it implies the "infallibility" of an individual - even though neither the PCP nor Chairman Mao has argued that there are "infallible" great leaders - but they do not want to point out which are the ideological and political faults committed by these Great Leaders (like the miserable members of the LOI in Peru have unsuccessfully dared to do).

For the entire article, click here.

1 comment:

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