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Wednesday, February 12, 2020


By Harsh Thakor
Maoism, Dogmatism, and the Post-1976 Disarray of the International Communist
Movement-Maoism synthesized by chairman Mao Zedong(毛泽东) and not Chairman Gonzalo. Gonzalo equated Maoism with Universality of Protracted Peoples War (PPW) and to justify that revolution was on the strategic offensive worldwide. Maoism originally reached a 3rd stage with the Great Proletarian Cultural revolution when the thesis of Continuous revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat was formulated. I feel even if Gonzalo was correct his followers today most incorrectly award Gonzalo thought as having Universal significance with his concept of militarization of the Communism Parties,' principally Maoism and of 'Unified Peoples War' which combined armed insurrection in cities. Gonzalo did not devise any strategy as his military line was a component or application of Chairman Mao's PPW theory which he tried to apply in Peruvian conditions where urban population was fare greater than China. Gonzaloites like Red Guards Los Angeles or Red Guards Austin incorrectly term that Gonzalo developed a new military line which could also be a strategy for Imperialist countries. Comrades must make a distinction between the positive practice of Communist Party of Peru (PCP) under Chairman Gonzalo and the most sectarian interpretation by RGA groups in America, some of which are now defunct or the DemVolke Dienen Norway. Chairman Gonzalo did not morally promote personality cult or Jetafura as an International trend but had mechanical understanding of Maoism in certain respects. Significant that Gonzalo defended Joseph Stalin (Иосиф Сталин/ იოსებ სტალინი) much more than Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) America or Revolutionary International Movement (RIM) and he and his followers, tooth and nail, refuted Maoism as a rupture like Many Comrades today. Joshua Moufawad Paul and Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP)-Canada strongly uphold concept of rupture in spite of refuting 'principally Maoism' concept to their last blood. The most dialectical Maoist analysis has been made by Chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison[1] who explains how subjective factors are unfavorable for immediate launching of Peoples War. He does not reject eventual possibility but amply demonstrates how the Gonzaloites have scant respect for subjective conditions. Overall to me it is Chairman Sison who is theoretically the soundest Marxist-Leninist Maoist leader after Chairman Mao, particularly in aspect of mass line as practiced by Communist Party of Philippines. I greatly recommend cadres to read the article by Kenny Lake in Kites blog which is one of the finest exponents of Non -sectarian and dialectical approach.
It most fairly gives Gonzalo and PCP Its due and refutes certain negative criticisms of it by Andy Belasario in PRISM blog. It gives great insight into the complex conditions of Peru where Gonzalo had to make inroads in the cities with greater population of people residing in urban towns than the rural areas. He also gives Chairman Sison due credit for refuting Protracted Peoples War as a strategy today applicable in Imperialist countries and at the very root refutes the mechanical concepts of its Universality by Gonzaloites. It praises the achievements of the PCP in comprising the United front and negates Gonzalo's strategy as 'left adventurist' as attributed by Belesario. Arguably it is over critical of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (G.P.C.R.) attributing mechanical understanding. Still it makes a most relevant criticism on the point of how subjective conditions can be created to combat objective factors, in opposition to Sison and Belasario. I also recommend Comrades to read the views of Comrade Peter Korotaev who attributes Lin Bia-ist (林彪) tendencies to PCP or Gonzalo with thesis of  'peoples War till Communism.' He felt this denies “Dictatorship of the Proletariat." He too feels the Gonzaloite trends reveal great sectarianism. Still he gives relevance to militarization of the party from a proletarian angle. Korotaev with great Marxist-Leninist-Maoist[2] depth refuted the 'military' approach and how peoples war could never be a solution in the GPCR. Still I do not feel there was a theoretical similarity between Lin Biao and Chairman Gonzalo as both highlighted Peoples War in a different context. I feel Gonzalo did not want Peoples War as a strategy and used that term as a metaphor or to be used tactically. Several Comrades who refute 'Jefatura' of 'Great Leadership' still uphold universality of PPW and Maoism being a rupture. Here the analysis of Comrade Stalin is a decisive aspect. Comrade Nick Marlatte and Matts Alfred Olsen have very analytically refuted principally Maoism and dogmatism of Gonzaloitse but are arguably holding different views on the question of Stalin. They feel that October road cannot be applied to Imperialist countries. Even if 'Gonzalo Thought' may have been introduced pre-maturely we must historically remember that in the 7th Congress in 1945 itself, before completion of the revolution, Mao’s thought was upheld as a new military line for semi-colonial countries and thus had Universal significance. Gonzalo thought was never universally applicable but played an important role towards applying Maoism in the Peruvian conditions. Still we have to tooth and nail refute sections that wish to copy Peruvian example.

[1] See “On the Question of People's War in Industrial Capitalist Countries” by Jose Maria Sison.
[2] Karl Marx, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин), Mao.

Further notes from Harsh Thakor on this article:
Chairman Mao also never stated: “PEOPLES WAR TILL COMMUNISM V DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT" In my view is that Gonzalo replaces communist politics with war. He constantly emphasizes “people's war till communism”, which in my view is a denial of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The emphasis on the 'militarization of the party' as the key characteristic of Maoism is in my view wrong. People's War was the key characteristic of Maoism for Lin Biao. But for Mao, his greatest concern was how to continue communist politics AFTER defeating the enemy in People's War - the problem of the dictatorship of the proletariat. "I think people's war is absolutely a necessary aspect of any communist politics today. But it is a mistake to say that people's war IS communist politics. It is a stage. "I think the dictatorship of the proletariat is the key concept of Marxism—not people's war. The followers of the PCP think the opposite. I am particularly opposed to the idea that launching people’s war as a solution to the problem of revisionism, that it could have saved the GPCR from the rightists. This thesis shows a total lack of understanding of the class interests at stake in the GPCR"(Comrade Perter Kuroatev). Below I am posting outstanding, analytical and dialectical comments by Comrade Peter Korotaev refuting the eclectic path advocated by PCP or Chairman Gonzalo on 'Peoples War till Communism and defending dictatorship of the proletariat." At the very root it sums up the focal point of how peoples war cannot equate with dictatorship of the proletariat. Today 'Struggle Sessions' Tjien Folke media net and Dem Volke Dienen support the thesis of 'War till Communism" even in GPCR. "To put my view very simply: people’s war is certainly the most powerful military strategy of the proletariat, and it will doubtless be necessary to combat bourgeois (especially comprador) dictatorships for a very long time in the future, until communism is established on a world scale. But war does not solve any of the problems of the transition to communism apart from the immediate one of destroying the most obvious oppressors. The dictatorship of the proletariat is central concept of Marxism, and it does not simply mean intensified repression (even at the level of war) against the enemies of the proletariat. The key problems of the dictatorship of the proletariat are: how to limit, and continue limiting the growth of contradictions between manual and intellectual labour, the city and the countryside, and remaining capitalist or proto-capitalist relations of production (like independent cooperatives). This is the rock on which the great dictatorships if the proletariat of the 20th century broke on, and there is no way to solve them through war." I do not even think that these comrades who advocate line of "peoples war till communism" really believe in or practice Mao’s thesis that non-antagonistic contradictions among the people are among the most important to deal with properly, and that if they are ignored, there is no chance to transition towards communism For them, everything is easily solved by just declaring war "As Mao said, there is no construction without destruction. These followers of Gonzalo seem to think that this means that no constructive politics is necessary, only destruction, only the highest form of destruction (people’s war). What this results in is the petty-bourgeois ultra-leftism of many of the student red guards of the early GPCR, who called for a people’s war instead of seriously working towards strengthening and reconstructing the dictatorship of the proletariat. And, of course, Mao was very displeased with this and sent in the workers into Peking University to stop these infantile ultra-leftists." SECTARIAN STAND ON MAOISM BY SUPPORTERS OF GONZALO THOUGHT The PCP's conception is vague. It is taken by supporters of Gonzalo thought and the principally Maoist tendency to generally mean that the People's Army must be made simultaneously with the party, and with the party inside of it. Broadly this is at odds with Mao's thinking, though a critical point of the MLM synthesis is the acceptance that PPW is universal and the focus of every Maoist party is to build it in their conditions. The reason that this conception from these tendencies is odd, and I think disagreeable, is that it doesn't effectively distinguish itself from the failed Focoist strategy. It largely argues for liquidating mass-work, particularly rejecting working with less revolutionary and more reactionary sections of the masses to build an effective united front. It also makes no concessions for development of PPW in advanced imperialist countries, which are at odds with the semi-feudal, semi-colonial conditions of places like pre-communist China, India, the Philippines, Peru, Nepal, Pre-war Vietnam, etc. where a people's army could effectively liberate peasants from landlords with small military forces that could evade state suppression because of their rural positions. Modern Imperialist countries are largely dependent on base area strongholds existing in cities, close to centralized state forces, and the conditions for that have only existed effectively a few times in history and even then those parties were rightly dealing with the contradictions of full out military activity vs. mass engagement to hold those bases properly ie. Black Panther Party in the USA, Irish Republican Army, and maybe the Red Brigades in Italy. The point is though, we don't have those same circumstances as existed in the 60-70s, and even in their height of power they had these same arguments that largely weren't resolved but often times the correct conception fell towards a more mass based approach with small developments of guerilla warfare that were likely only the infancy of a strategic defensive position.(Nick Marlatte) There are profound limits on what can be said about military strategy for revolution in imperialist countries in a public document. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive, posturing, or worse. When I write about military strategy for revolution in imperialist countries, it is purely hypothetical. In his articles criticizing the church of PPW universalism, Jose Maria Sison makes the correct observation that at present there doesn’t appear to be any communist forces in imperialist countries with the adequate strength—including roots among the masses—and in favorable conditions to carry out military actions. Thus the principal task now, for anyone who wants to transform this situation, is to integrate with the masses, build organization among them, recruit communists and develop solid (and secure) communist organization through this work, and develop theory and strategy in relation to this practice. Joma does not entirely write off the question of revolutionaries and the masses they lead learning how to use hardware now. He gives examples of legally permitted shooting practice clubs and neighborhood defense organizations as instances where this might be appropriate. But Joma warns that connecting the use of hardware, including legally permitted practice with it, with public calls for revolution and revolutionary organization will only result in compromising the security of communist organization and in severe repression of revolutionary organization and the masses before either can be adequately defended. Listen to your elders. From KITES (strategy of revolution in Imperialist countries by Kenny Lake)The church of PPW universalism is keen to argue that Maoism was first synthesized as a third, higher stage of communist theory in 1982 by Chairman Gonzalo, and that today revolutionaries must adhere to a “principally Maoism” version of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM) as well as apply the universal lessons of Gonzalo Thought. Since this is mostly a declaration of dogma it is not worth addressing in its own right, though philosopher J. Moufawad-Paul’s book Continuity and Rupture does present a more intellectually savvy version of the “1982 synthesis” view. Nevertheless, all this does raise the questions: What is Maoism? How did it come into being internationally? How has it been interpreted by different people and organizations? How has the disarray of the international communist movement following the 1976 counterrevolutionary coup in China as well as attempts to come out of that disarray shaped the present state of the subjective forces for revolution? I am not interested in religious attempts to declare a “one true Maoism” and enshrine the apostle who transmitted it to us. We already have Mao’s writings and speeches and the historical experience of the Chinese revolution and socialist rule from 1949 to 1976, and we can take from that what we want. While I uphold the hard-fought lessons of communist theory as it has been developed by Marx, Lenin, Mao, and others, I don’t treat communist theory as a closed system that can only develop further through establishing a fourth great teacher. Or to put it another way: yes, Gonzalo and other communist leaders developed some strategy and theoretical insights that we all should learn from, but that doesn’t mean we need to declare, let alone be obsessed with declaring, a new Thought, Ism, Synthesis, Path, etc. In any event, it does seem relevant today, especially with a new generation interested in Maoism, to explore some of the real issues that have come up in the real struggles around the world to uphold and apply Maoism in opposition to the revisionism of the Soviet Union in the 1960s and ’70s, and especially since the 1976 counterrevolutionary coup in China. As a starting point, I agree with Andy Belisario that irrespective of appellation, Maoism was synthesized by Mao and the Communist Party of China (CPC), and this synthesis can be found, in written form, in the Selected Works of Mao Zedong and in the Red Book. Foreign Languages Press, probably the greatest translation operation and international publisher in human history, published these “classics” of communist theory in numerous languages and distributed them as cheaply as possible far and wide, thus disseminating this synthesis worldwide. Furthermore, the practice of the CPC—its leadership of the PPW to victory in China and, even more, its leadership of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR)—was equally a part of the synthesis of Maoism. To suggest that Maoism requires someone other than Mao, an entity other than the pre-1976 CPC, and an experience other than the Chinese revolution, socialist state, and GPCR to synthesize it is to veer towards arrogance and concern for credit.(Kenny Lake in KITE blog on Strategy of revolution in Imperialist countries) ON THE MILITARY THEORY OF INTERNATIONAL PROLETARIAT.CHAIRMAN MAO THE FOUNDER? I am reproducing this quote by Andy Belesario for a serious debate. I disagree with Belesario that Chairman Mao did not found theory of Peoples War or that the contribution of Ho Chi Minh, Giap or Sison are comparable. In that light even Gonzalo is right up there. However Maoism cannot be projected as a International military theory as propounded by Gonzalo with Lenin even having a military line. Still it was Mao who founded a military theory for semi-colonial countries like in Asia, Latin America or Africa—Through path of protracted Peoples War. The CCP itself acknowledged this when establishing Mao Zedong Thought in 1945 itself. What Ho or Sison did was interpreting Mao's military line in accordance to the situations in their country, just like the Maoists in India. None have made the development of any new military theory like Chairman Mao, so ANTONIO BELESARIO "Despite Kinera’s misplaced flattery, Mao was not the original proponent or first theorist of people’s war as “the military theory of the international proletariat.” For Kinera (or his idol Gonzalo) to make this claim is a disservice to other great communist leaders who made equally valuable contributions to the proletariat’s military theory and practice, as expressed in the strategic, operational, and tactical principles that they adopted for their respective revolutions and are now available for study and creative application by all revolutionaries of the world."

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