Maoism in the US

maoismintheustxt

Maoism in the US

Article by Struggle Sessions Editorial Board

“[The historical process of the people] has been cradled and advanced through revolutionary violence. It is through this violence, in its diverse forms and degrees, that our people have conquered their revindications, rights, and freedoms, since nothing fell from the sky, nor was it handed out. ‘Damn the words of traitors’; everything was won in fact through revolutionary violence, in ardent battles against reactionary violence; that is how the eight hour day was won, how our lands were conquered and defended, how our rights were won and tyrants were overthrown. Revolutionary violence is, therefore, the very essence of our historical process…”

Chairman Gonzalo [1]


Introduction

Maoism as a catch all term can be obscured by complex history and interpretation, creating considerable obstacles for the newly interested comrades, mainly for those whose primary contact to politics is online. To further obscure matters there are two main schools of thought contending under the title specifically in the US—but also internationally—and within each of these there are two lines which contend internally—these are of course, left and right lines. This essay is intended to offer the most basic instruction and analysis for the newly interested comrades, in hopes to clear some of the miasma gathered around the title “Maoist.”

Recently a split (or defection) occurred inside of the Marxist Center, a “non-tendency” or “base building tendency” group which nominally upholds some of the contributions of Marx and Engels in form but not in essence. This development should be welcomed enthusiastically, in particular attention should be paid to two articles by Drake Berkman “Why I no longer support the Marxist Center” and “Avoiding the Confusion”. [2], [3]

In “Why I no longer support the Marxist Center” comrade Berkman mentioned the organizations which claim to be Maoist and in response he was met with a storm of correction, while the second article serves to demarcate between these two main organizations. Comrade Berkman’s original article shines some light on the fact that those who have come to an interest in Maoism find a variety of sites and organizations claiming to support one “Maoist” project or another.

While there are no two “Maoisms”, it still becomes necessary to outline the differences between those ideas and tendencies claiming to be Maoist. To do this we should start with a brief outline of the forgone era and proceed to the resurgence of Maoism since 2014, paying attention to how the old has informed the new.

The Old

For brevity we can skip over much of the New Communist Movement and focus on two organizations which are the most influential—as both positive and negative examples—today, these are the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP) or the Panthers, and the “Revolutionary Communist Party” USA (RCP).

The example of the BPP is often relied on as something of a model by those with an interest in Maoism, even though the BPP never laid claim to the title “Maoist” or upheld the basic tenants of Mao Zedong Thought (the Maoism of that time). None the less the BPP was one of the most successful revolutionary mass organizations in the US and the most advanced black organization to date. The BPP lacked ideological cohesion; this was their main error often ignored by those discussing their legacy in the positive or the negative.

Without getting sidetracked, we can understand that the organization was quite different from city to city and that it was not even explicitly communist; it did, however, serve to unify large sections of the left and remains treasured by all those who keep black liberation and the struggle of black people on the political agenda. In understanding the BPP and the lessons they left for modern revolutionaries we must understand two crucial theories, that of the vanguard Party—belonging to Leninism, and that of the mass line—belonging to Maoism.

In terms of being the most advanced organization from any oppressed nation in the US, the BPP could certainly be called a vanguard in the loose sense of the word. However, in the more strict Leninist sense it would not be an appropriate title. For Marxism-Leninism (and subsequently for Maoism), the Vanguard Party represents the most advanced organizational expression of the proletariat as a class, and the BPP had limited to no support among the proletariat proper. Non-Panther organizations like Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement had some success mobilizing mainly black proletarians but this highly contrasts with the BPP line that the proletariat was not central to making revolution in the USA. The Vanguard, as the most advanced organizational expression of the proletariat as a class, can only be the Communist Party, yet the BPP was not the Communist Party and the only organization claiming that title was long disgraced and degenerate from reformism, electoralism, negation of armed struggle, white chauvinism etc.

The BPP could not maintain its role as an advanced (and partially militarized) mass organization for the Black Nation and at the same time fill the void left by revisionism which robbed the whole of the US proletariat of its vanguard party. Thus, a tenuous relationship existed between the BPP and the various New Communist Movement organizations, which colluded and contended with the BPP. While BPP relied on some of Mao’s teachings, they were not committed to the tendency that Mao alone represented in the ICM and thus they vacillated, were pulled in many directions by the high tide in the International Communist Movement and the raging national liberation struggles of the mid 60s to the mid 70s. Mainly they were pulled between left and right extremes; without being anchored in the proletariat they were ideologically adrift, adapting and inventing ideas, some good, some bad but ultimately eclectic ideas that proved quickly to be failures.

What resulted was that the BPP divided into two opposing opportunist trends most often summed up in the personage of Eldridge Cleaver and Huey Newton (armed adventurist and right opportunist respectively) while, at the same time, the revisionist “CP” did its best to drive the BPP away from revolution and into the arms of the Democratic Party.

Relevant to our purposes here is the nostalgia that uncritically surrounds the BPP, as well as the knee jerk and often racist superficial denunciation of the Panthers. Of these two responses we can obviously relate more to the former by the understanding that the BPP was (at least mainly) a revolutionary movement. But no Marxist can afford wholesale nostalgia, this is a type of subjectivism which apologizes for or glosses over the very real and very fatal errors of the BPP.  There must be a systematic division between what was correct, what was mainly correct, what was mainly incorrect and what was incorrect. This treatment of the Panthers extends well past the scope of this article. Still, we must critically observe some of this legacy which influences modern day revolutionaries, post-Panthers.

It is sometimes said by the most vocal champions of the BPP legacy that they relied on the Maoist slogan of serving the people wholeheartedly when they implemented their “survival pending revolution programs”.

These programs included an array of necessary social services denied to the majority of the black population in the US at that time; there were about 30 such programs. Most well-known among these was the food service or grocery programs and the breakfast for kids programs. The NGO complex in the US had not yet been articulated as a low intensity warfare apparatus against the poor, and in many respects the work of the Panthers forced the US imperialist system to co-opt or develop its own social services for specifically oppressed populations in a twisted effort to purchase the masses against revolutionary organizations like BPP.

Simultaneously, the BPP survival pending revolution programs and slogan served the right opportunist headquarters within the Panthers quite well, these programs were used by rightists to liquidate both political education and armed self-defense—in short the whole focus of the Panthers shifted from confrontation and battle against the enemies of black people to confronting with charity the conditions of black people. This is a new return to the old pacifism wielded against the black nation historically with churches and other apparatuses albeit with a revolutionary facade.  The bribes were quick to accumulate and the imperialist ruling class could make use of this development. We will explain in more detail later how charity serves the imperialist ruling class the world over in its counter-insurgency pursuits.

This is where we must insist on adherence to the mass line, which is specifically the method of communist leadership provided to mass struggles, the mass line is a cohesive system, a complete theory and to be used in its full capacity communist leadership is a pre-requisite. The Peruvian comrades put the matter of the mass line succinctly:

“[T]he mass line aims at materializing what Marx indicated, the general arming of the people with the goal of guaranteeing the triumph of the revolution and preventing capitalist restoration. This is a thought of great perspectives that shall carry us up to Communism: Only by organizing this sea of armed masses shall it be possible to defend what is conquered and develop the democratic, socialist and cultural revolutions.

[Chairman Gonzalo] refutes those who propound that the masses don’t want to make revolution or that the masses will not support the People’s War. He teaches us that the problem is not with the masses because they are ready to rebel, but rather it is with the Communist Parties who must assume their obligation to lead them and rise up in arms. He differentiates from those positions that today are based on ‘the accumulation of forces,’ which propose parsimoniously accumulating the masses by way of the so-called ‘democratic spaces’ or the use of legality. Such an accumulation of forces doesn’t correspond to the current moment of the international and national class struggle, it doesn’t fit in the type of democratic revolution we are unfolding and which shall have other characteristics within the socialist revolution, since we are living in a revolutionary situation of unequal development in the world. He is opposed to and condemns the opportunist positions of making the masses tail after the big bourgeoisie, either on an electoral path or by armed actions under the command of a super power or power.” [4]

Newton’s position that black people in the US were not ready for socialism came into immediate contradiction with the equally false line from Cleaver that armed struggle should be taken up immediately, without an army to wage it, a party to lead it, and a united front to revitalize it. In both cases, the lack of the leadership of a reconstituted Communist Party made carrying out the mass line impossible. The deviations from the mass line, more than any external factors (such as state repression, harsh conditions etc.), meant the end for the BPP. Indeed, it is a negation of dialectical materialism to credit only external causes for the end of the panthers; this is a revisionist device to overlook the internal contradictions.

The mass line—that is, the method of leadership provided by the Communist Party over the mass movement—relies on the assumed existence of a Party, or at least a pre-party formation. Likewise, the mass line cannot be reduced to the accumulation of forces. It relies on the singular trajectory or arming the masses for protracted peoples war.

This is why we understand the mass line as a method of Communist leadership over the mass struggles, which comes from the masses and goes to the masses, bringing them forward to revolutionary conclusions and revolutionary action with each applied and modified sequence. By not having a CP, as it must be at the helm of the proletariat, the BPP was unable to master or even utilize the mass line; hence the correct orientation toward the class and the masses always eluded them. They sought stand-ins for the revolutionary class; they liquidated the right to self-determination for the oppressed nations; they promoted either liquidation into charity or liquidation into armed action, and the two main centers of left and right gravity went to predictable conclusions, drug addiction (Newton) and reaction (Cleaver). The revolutionary elements were assassinated by the state (Hampton, Jackson) while the most shameful right opportunists found a nice and comfortable seat at the NGO and bourgeois political table (Brown, Seal, Davis, Hilliard etc.) Many others were to never escape prison and remain incarcerated as political prisoners, others still lacking coherent ideology have splintered into a variety of dead-end trends and have been reduced to a social circle.  Whether we are looking to their successes which were remarkable or to their failures which were devastating we can do so by viewing their history critically with Marxism as the guideline to our thinking.

Adjacent to and supportive of the BPP was the Revolutionary Union pre-1976 and the RCP (post 1976); here we will just say RCP as a short-hand. The RCP maintained an active policy of refusing black members and instead sending them to the BPP. This can only be understood as a great mistake, a mistake only offset by the fact that the RCP was never an organization which could have earned the support of the masses of black people to begin with. In essence, the RCP considered itself the Maoist vanguard of the US proletariat, and by this policy it only considered most black people qualified for what in all senses of the word was a mass organization. Thus the RCP helped to make sure the BPP could neither develop into a reconstituted CP by taking up Maoism, nor could black people enter in much quantity into the RCP. The existence of this policy, discussed in the revisionist Bob Avakian’s auto-biography, did not exclude all black people from joining the RCP, however. Notable cadres include longtime Avakianite Carl Dix. Justification for putting black workers onto the sinking ship of the BPP was rooted in a nascent identity politics, which insisted that black revolutionaries belonged mainly in black-only organizations, overlooking the issues of class and class leadership. Like the BPP, the RCP also opposed the right to self-determination of the black nation, a right which always includes the right to secession. What amounts to liquidation of the national question for both organizations significantly hampered their ability to go lower and deeper among the most oppressed masses in the long term.

The Avakianites of the RCP—in contrast to the Panthers—were mostly incorrect. They were never willing to assault the skies. Their tacit rejection of the universality of People’s War, their wholesale and open denunciation of the mass line, their phony idea that socialism is only “a possibility”, these are only a few examples of their ideological bankruptcy. Trafficking in a minority of correct positions, the RCP were able nonetheless to gain significant international support and carry out several good campaigns, all of which served ultimately to swindle the ICM as the RCP attempted to take leadership over it in the interests of evicting Maoism as the guiding ideology of the ICM and putting the twisted revisionist formulas of Avakianism in its place. This maneuvering has significantly damaged the name “Maoist” in the US and has destroyed whole parties and organizations abroad. It led to the dissolution of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, torn asunder by the RCP on the basis of its own internal contradictions in the realm of ideological eclecticism.

For the Avakianite, the lessons of the great revolutions have become outdated; the synthesis of MLM produced by the Communist Party of Peru and its Chairman Gonzalo were never taken as a whole—the rejection of Party militarization, concentric construction of the three instruments, etc. were never grasped, applied, or upheld. We see its lasting legacy today in the calls to uncritically reform the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, which has already met its limitations and must be overcome.

Avakianite deviations seek to transplant Maoism with an eclectic mash of pop-activism, pragmatism, and, primarily, a direct assault on MLM-as-synthesized-by-Gonzalo. This has resulted in the existence of the Avakianites proper who uphold Avakian the person as well as those who liquidate Maoism in essence while opposing Avakian’s “personality cult”. The latter do away with Avakian the person while maintaining the old Avakianite conception of MLM. These liqudationists have to unpack some classic Khrushchev by invoking the secret speech at the 20th congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in which he denounced Comrade Stalin in a wholesale effort to restore capitalism.

The main example of this dual attack on Maoism while smuggling in “Avakianism without Avakian” comes in the “continuity and rupture” thesis which must be understood as a break with Leninism—via an attack on Stalin—and the continuity of whatever eclectic-revisionist ideas serve to maintain “score points” among pop-activist subcultures (i.e. an orientation toward the petty bourgeois student and managerial class). These maneuvers, including the whole theory of “continuity and rupture” as well as the wholesale attacks on Charmain Gonzalo, were pioneered in the thought of Bob Avakian and are crucial to his “New Synthesis of Communism.” Avakian and the RCP conceive of the “New Synthesis of Communism” to be just that type of “continuity and rupture”, they state:

“Avakian has not only upheld Mao and synthesized Mao’s contributions to revolution and communist theory, but he has carried forward the rupture that Mao represented from Stalin, and on that basis Avakian has now made some ruptures with some of Mao’s understanding too.” [emphasis ours] [5]

While some get off the train a little early, their train of thought still arrives at much of the same “post-Maoist” drivel.

Now, these ideas have been adopted by those who also reject Avakian the individual and the old-husk of a “party” which he leads. The RCP once had some influence in the struggle and was able to mobilize people for legitimate and illegitimate campaigns both; it operated impressive propaganda organs across the world and had many mass organizations or front groups in its service. But as Avakianism came out into the open, and as they openly rejected MLM, so too did the RCP’s numbers of supporters, activists, and cadres decrease.

The only view Maoists in the US can afford to have is that this whole period was mainly negative, and that the RCP’s continued existence is not due to their success, but is due to a Maoist failure to crush them and to decisively break their twisted revisionist ideology. This includes opposing the “Avakianites without Avakian”. Maoism in the US can improve and correct this failure. By understanding revisionism as the main danger to the communist movement this can be—and it will be—done.

These two past examples of the BPP and the RCP have left their marks on the movement today—on both the genuine US Maoist movement as well as its strange caricature which we can understand as the falsified movement.

 

The New 

We are not concerned with charting or evaluating the failed or foreclosed projects which developed into or in relation to the current groups upholding Maoism or Maoist influence, so we will only highlight what matters for the sake of this document.

Serve The People-Austin in early 2015 developed its first “service to the people” programs, according to its own published materials these were influenced by Mao’s slogan, but mainly were influenced by the BPP. The service programs themselves intended to build “bio-political dual power” which was already a false start. “Bio-politics” is a Foucaultian term, alien to both the BPP and to Maoism. Nonetheless, the comrades were new, inexperienced, and signaled a correct break with the endemic movement-hopping and spontaneity inherited from the legal left.  Building power was in-and-of-itself a trap; this is already explained in the article “All About the Base? No Struggle?” available in our journal. Suffice it to say, dual power in the Leninist sense cannot be “built”. A base area, or mass support for that matter, are mainly military conquests. Nothing is won without the direct confrontation against recognized class enemies. Anyone who says otherwise is a con-artist or has been conned themselves.

Early STP-A was charged by many with being “Red Anarchism”. This charge was false; the only kernel of truth is that the practice itself resembled that of anarchist projects like Food Not Bombs with added political propaganda as a matter of course. A major difference—still itself an error—was the strategic orientation of the programs. Not yet grasping Gonzalo’s teachings, the comrades believed they could build a militant movement around these service programs.  They learned, as exemplified most beautifully by the comrades in STP-LA, that programs which resemble the NGOs but profess red politics cannot win battles or masses on their own. Furthermore, the best aspect of these programs, proximity and interaction with the masses directly, brings the revolutionaries into contradiction with certain class enemies: lumpen-proletarians, fascists, NGO activists, revisionists, reactionary churches, etc.

Thus there emerged two-lines. Service first—which meant making sure things ran smoothly, logistically, that quality goods were distributed efficiently to the right people and that this should not be placed at risk with combative action. In fact proponents of this line had a strong tendency to avoid conflict, both in terms of line struggle and against recognized class enemies. This thinking is rooted in the weary idea that all militant action is dependent on some fantasy “mass support” which is always somehow elusive and far off. Confronting this line was the line that the programs, while being somewhat useful to the people, were more useful to the revolutionaries who could through them truly learn the issues facing the community. This line stated that refusal or hesitancy to confront enemies would cause the programs to become a bureaucratic albatross; the programs could pull in a few people, but could never produce militants as it was intended to.  The contradiction between economism (the former line) and Maoism (the latter) pressed itself to the front and became the nexus of debate.

All STP organizations moved passed the service program model when the line was grasped that base areas must be conquered, the line that any mass support is won through confrontation and never without it. Most importantly—that nothing is gained in terms of fighters without class struggle as the key link, meaning the direct and indirect confrontations with class enemies, accepting and not avoiding conflict and contradiction. This necessitated a shift in focus away from responding (i.e. reacting only) to a given condition (poverty, hunger etc.) and towards instead finding the bastards responsible for these conditions and giving them hell.

This same demarcation between the two-lines in STP-A highlight our journal’s stark differences with the Marxist Center and it is the exact location of our disagreements with the falsified “Maoists” who in practice cannot demarcate themselves from the “base building tendency” of the Marxist Center in any meaningful way. Both the “base builders”—the best of which have moved away from this treadmill model of organizing—as well as the falsified “Maoists” systematically avoid organizing for the confrontation against class enemies.

When forced to, both the Marxist Center and the falsified “Maoists” will react defensively against fascists etc, but only reluctantly and only when they have no other option. At the core of this is their idea that they can peacefully accumulate forces to one day do something revolutionary once this impossible and always elusive “mass support” comes in—the “base builders” are never specific about what this revolutionary something is that they intend to do, and the falsified “Maoists” call it PPW. Their means to accomplish this “revolutionary something” defeat their ends. No matter the quality of service or intentions, you will not lead the proletariat unless you organize it to confront its enemies!

Today, unlike in the days of the Panthers, there are countless well-funded and highly trained NGOs carrying out the social peace of the ruling class via pacification of the proletariat—mainly through charity (unless actual people are being mobilized to confront actual class enemies then the program is charity.)  Maoists subject charity programs under capitalism to a class analysis; the first question to consider is “who are our enemies” and the second is “who are our friends”. With this line of reasoning it does not take long to figure out why the charity complex exists. It is mainly at the behest of the Democratic Party, used to buy up struggles and sending them to an early grave, or to channel support away from rebellion and into the sham of voting, another grave. For a ruling class which has seen the police it unleashes on the community sometimes result in mass violent uprisings seeks to hedge its bets by providing an advanced service network for the explicit purpose of quelling rebellion. These service networks will never be enough under capitalism to resolve capitalism’s contradictions.

In the instances where the people running the service programming hold revolutionary ambitions—and even in the instances where they come from the affected community—they end up becoming a cog in the bourgeois machine (unless they make breakthrough in terms of combativeness, become class struggle organizations, then they stop being goods-service programs in the principal aspect). Any of these people are a casualty in spite of their good intentions to serve the people.  Thus a servant of the people is converted into his or her opposite—a cog in the counter insurgency apparatus, chasing “mass support” like an addict chases a high.  While a historical materialist analysis of the Panthers “survival pending revolution” line proves without a doubt its right opportunist liquidationist function, it is a far more sympathetic mistake the first time around. Yet, those who try to think the most creatively about penetrating the masses to make revolution have only repeated this old mistake, and in a less spectacular way at that.

Maoists learn from doing. Theory mainly follows practice and hence the Maoist movement (including groups it influences) has moved away from the service-centric model, a model which can be understood as an economistic error. As mentioned previously, the mass line is not only about growth but about where to grow, among which masses to go to, and it likewise informs on which terms to serve the people. Other non-goods distributing service groups still fall into this clap-trap of charity and economism, and do so mainly through reformism—even if it is reformism without electorialism—these include tenants unions, yellow unions etc. which are prone to wrongly consider themselves struggle organizations, all of which fail totally to arm the masses and all of which fail to increase combativeness in confronting enemies. In short, they fail to keep class struggle as the key link and hope to “build dual power” though peaceful accumulation. These groups hold a pessimistic view of the masses as not ready to rebel in any form.

Through charting the various organized expressions of Maoist influence in the US we see this demarcation very clearly; as a theoretical journal we are mainly concerned with the philosophy of each side and with what their ideology brings to their practice. While through practice the STP organizations have migrated away from service programing into areas with clear class enemies to confront and combat, “For the People”—an organization which once falsely called itself an STP—has dived head first into mainly charity work, taking up its post in the counter-insurgency effort of the imperialist class unwittingly.

“For the People” (FTP) gravitates towards anything which lacks confrontation. While its members and supporters might attend demonstrations against this or that, there is no chance of losing if victory against enemies was never considered. FTP it is mainly conflict-avoidant and ignores the class enemy in favor of the class condition. It strikes almost no balance between the two. Even in cases of tenant struggles (which have clear cut class enemies), it sticks to firmly legalism as the only acceptable form of struggle, which is exactly no more beyond that which is acceptable to the ruling class. They make this concession with the hopes that the ruling class will reciprocate with crumbs so that it might continue peacefully and legally accumulating its “forces.”

Many who are brought into the charity trade do not question what they are doing; they have the uncritical assumption that they are doing some good, even in lieu of verifiable chartable results. Culturally, as pop-activists, they are trained to never question these things, to keep going along regardless, because of the assumption that poster-board or free bread and hot soup is going to make a more equal world. If we are to take Mao as correct and all of Marxism can be expressed in the one slogan “it is right to rebel”, then rebellion should be our progressive measure. How well an organization rebels and causes the masses to rebel can be a litmus test for how the organization is progressing. This is not to argue that rebellion excludes goods-service or other service-oriented programs, but that rebellion must be the priority.

At the root of these ideological differences discussed above is the history of Maoism in the US: the BPP infatuation with community service, as well as the Avakianite liquidation of the examples of Peru, Stalin, and their continuity of eclecticism. Corresponding to this are the ideologies’ different considerations of what revisionism is as well as how to orient toward revisionists. There exists a conception of Maoism which says Maoism is anything related to China up to the Cultural Revolution; this conception allows for rejection of post-revolutionary China developments (including full scale restoration of capitalism in all socialist countries). This tendency picks and chooses based mainly on opportunity which revisionists it will oppose tactically; it has little to no strategic orientation toward revisionism. Opposed to this is Maoism proper—or principally Maoism—which seeks to be precise with its views, positions, historical analysis, and orientation. Because of the ideological consolidation of the latter it is often passed over by the casually interested as too polemical or sectarian. Our journal considers ourselves to be of this tradition and defends against this claim. We insist that such “passing over” is in reality a sectarian refusal to engage with the content of Maoism proper!

So what is MLM?

Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the third and highest stage of Marxist science, developed over centuries of class struggle and synthesized by Chairman Gonzalo of the Communist Party of Peru in the 1980s. While the use of the term can be found in various documents from around the world in the 70s, it was not a completed ideology until the 1980s as People’s War in Peru was able to make certain ideological breakthroughs possible.

MLM was superficially taken up by the RIM, some organizations and Parties had the correct grasp while others only a partial grasp. Others still, like the Avakianites, trafficked in the term to secure favorable footing to promote their revisionism.

MLM relies on the understanding that the three component parts of Marxism as defined by Lenin and then Stalin have been developed and elevated each to a new stage by Mao—hence, Maoism is fully realized. These component parts are Marxist Philosophy, Marxist Political Economy and Scientific Socialism. We will outline these succinctly below for those newer to Maoist theory.

Philosophy:

Maoism holds; that the only fundamental law of Marxist dialectical materialism is the law of contradiction, that everything is driven forward by mainly internal contradictions; that between theory and practice, practice develops knowledge and vice versa but with practice being principal; that by applying the law of contradiction to practice Mao masterfully brought philosophy to the masses of people in a never-before-seen way. It is then understood that Mao developed the philosophy of Marxism-Leninism to a new and higher stage.

Marxist Political Economy:

Maoism holds; that the superstructure can modify the base; that ongoing struggles must be carried out to prevent restoration of capitalism; that with political power the productive forces can be developed; politics must be in command of economic work. Through this application of dialectical materialism Mao established the political economics of socialism. It is then understood that Mao developed Marxist-Leninist political economy to a new and higher stage.

Scientific Socialism:

Maoism holds; that revolutionary violence is a universal law without any exception at all; he developed the theory of protracted peoples war, which Maoism holds is universal; that socialism does not neatly define who will be victorious, but signals the emergence of the antagonistic contradiction between two classes played out under the dictatorship of the proletariat, between the socialist and capitalist road, that most importantly Cultural Revolution is the means to fight restoration of capitalism and continue the revolution under the proletarian dictatorship. It is then understood that Mao developed scientific socialism to a new and higher stage.

We have given only the slimmest outline of Mao’s contributions and can only elaborate a little further on where these contributions take us in terms of organizing revolution in the US. However, this short outline of the content of MLM can serve as a basis for understanding the errors and deviations identified in the practice of the US movement. More importantly, it can expose the problems of ideology within the falsified “Maoist” camp, their bad work methods and their erroneous conception of MLM.

Some analysis on the political line of “FTP”

“For the People” is a network of “intermediary organizations” created by the falsified “Maoists” focusing on the aforementioned “service to the people programs” which espouse “survival pending revolution” that we discussed in previous sections. Though examination of their published material, and through contrasting this with the above outline and theory presented by mainly Mao Zedong we can accomplish clear and understandable demarcations.

We focus on the document “So you want to start an FTP?” authored by the falsified “Maoists” as it provides the most coherent conception to date on their understanding—or misunderstanding—of service programs.

When discussing their programs they claim:

“Through these [community gardens and tenant unions!] and other initiatives, FTP organizations function as organs of political power for the proletariat, and contribute to the long-term project of sharpening militant class consciousness and building revolution”.  [emphasis ours] [6]

At the core of this viewpoint is a negation of the Marxist conception of the bourgeois state, and more importantly is a negation of revolutionary violence as a universal law without any exception at all. Chairman Mao insisted on the fundamental truth which all communists must grasp—political power grows from the barrel of a gun. In his great essay “Problems of Warfare and Strategy” Mao not only explains where political power comes from but how base areas are won through arms. His concept is the opposite from that presented by the falsified “Maoists”:

“Every Communist must grasp the truth, ‘Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.’ Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party. Yet, having guns, we can create Party organizations, as witness the powerful Party organizations which the Eighth Route Army has created in northern China. We can also create cadres, create schools, create culture, create mass movements. Everything in Yenan has been created by having guns. All things grow out of the barrel of a gun. According to the Marxist theory of the state, the army is the chief component of state power. Whoever wants to seize and retain state power must have a strong army. Some people ridicule us as advocates of the ‘omnipotence of war’. Yes, we are advocates of the omnipotence of revolutionary war; that is good, not bad, it is Marxist. The guns of the Russian Communist Party created socialism. We shall create a democratic republic. Experience in the class struggle in the era of imperialism teaches us that it is only by the power of the gun that the working class and the laboring masses can defeat the armed bourgeoisie and landlords; in this sense we may say that only with guns can the whole world be transformed.” [emphasis ours] [7]

The above quotation leaves no room for mistakes. It ruthlessly exposes any idea that “political power” organs can be established without guns, and certainly clarifies why organizations like FTP, even if we are to be generous with these, are not “organs of political power”. This is not their function, nor is it their trajectories.

The document of the FTP organizations, having reverted to peaceful construction of “political power”, moves easily into inversion of the mass line when they state that they “… are organizations that follow the mass line. Our leadership ultimately comes from the people”. [8]

Maoists actually hold that while the method of leadership is rooted in the people, the Communist Party leads in all things, serving as a lever to arm the masses, initiate People’s War, develop base areas and seize power, and then its leadership continues under the proletarian dictatorship in the form of successive cultural revolutions. Leadership does not come from the people, the people are led by the Party, first learning from them and then teaching them.

On the conception of Mao’s formula of unity struggle unity, they again make an inversion of Maoism when they insist

“We seek unity first, struggle later. We are not interested in vacuous ideological debates and quarrels over ideology before establishing working relationships.”

Unlike Mao who bases all working relationships on the foundations of ideological agreement, the FTP position is one of pragmatism, a position not at all Maoist. Mao explains things thus:

“We stand for active ideological struggle because it is the weapon for insuring unity within the Party and the revolutionary organizations in the interest of our fight. Every Communist revolutionary should take up this fight”. [9]

If ideological struggle and ideological unity even on a low level is negated or neglected, then real unity is impossible, politics cannot be kept in command of activism or of production. When politics cannot be kept in command, we have pragmatism and economism or reformism is the only possible outcome. Mao teaches that unity-struggle-unity means a desire for unity which necessitates a struggle for it. He makes no exceptions to this rule. “Seeking unity” and struggling later negates this rule as “seeking” is not the same as “desiring”. This is not merely semantics. Mao, holding true to dialectical materialism, explains:

“When unity is talked about, then there must be disunity. Disunity is unconditional. Sometimes there still is no unity even when unity is talked about. Therefore, it is necessary to do something in order to attain unity. To talk all the time about unity, and never about struggle, is not Marxism. Unity must go through struggle before unity can be attained. This is the same within the ranks of the Party, class, or people” [emphasis ours]. [10]

Like their pragmatic-opportunist “unity” concept, their inverted “mass line”, and their view that “political power” can be peacefully accomplished, they present a similar conception of revisionism as inconsequential or trivial.

While Maoists hold that revisionism is the main danger, the FTP document trivializes it as not even an enemy, negating the concrete experience of capitalist restoration via revisionism and the first question of revolution “Who are our enemies? Who are our friends”:

“If they’re [revisionists] not macing you at a demo, they are not your enemy. If they aren’t charging you exorbitant rent or prices for food, they are not your enemy. If they are not shooting you down in the street, they are not your enemy.” [11]

This position totally excludes ideology and how capitalist ideology in particular props up those capable of carrying out the above-mentioned enemy acts. Here class struggle is no longer “the key link” as Mao teaches. It becomes inconsequential and the definition of revisionism is revoked. In the view of FTP, revisionists are just people with a difference of opinion, friends even. Revisionism then is nothing but a discourse; its history is stripped away; no class involved. For Mao and for all of his students revisionism is the main danger, revisionism is nothing but capitalism with a red flag, and capitalism is most certainly the enemy, even when it rules by consent and does not rely on the repressive state apparatus directly.

Instead of understanding the contradiction between revolutionaries and revisionism as Maoists understand it, in class terms—as the struggle between revolution and counter revolution, the struggle between  bourgeois and  proletariat, the struggle between restoration  and counter restoration—they diminish anti-revisionism as a “spat” and defend this erroneous viewpoint on a faulty logic that the masses have no stake in the struggle against revisionism, which is to say no stake in class struggle:

“Messiness is not appealing to the masses of people you seek to organize, and they don’t care about inter-left spats. Unite for rallies, panels, and other things that benefit the masses on the educational and material front. Build decent working relationships with all left groups in your city if possible.” [12]

How easily these right opportunists speak on behalf of the masses! We must also ask what benefit could erroneous and capitalist distortions of Marxism possibly offer to the masses in the educational sense? In reality their “left-unity” line shelters revisionism and promotes it by liquidating anti-revisionism.

Maoism began as Mao Zedong Thought which sought to demarcate itself from revisionism; it was born and understood only in the struggles against modern revisionism. Hence the FTP position is vacant of any historical materialist understanding of the very ideology they claim to adhere to! For them, unity with capitalists who wave a red flag is preferable to going against the tide and struggling to impose real MLM. It must be further stated that the masses’ views on Communism are concerned with revisionism. The masses are no fools. They understand the revisionist model’s consequence in China, for example, and they will be reluctant to support a thing that does not demarcate itself from revisionism. While this concern is often unarticulated by most, it is still present, and much of what can be considered “anti-communist” views among the masses are in essence opposition to what revisionism has done and revisionism’s association with the term.

Indeed, FTP views service programs as primary over politics. According to the falsified “Maoists”: “A revolutionary organization distinguishes itself and is known by its programs”. [13]

For actual Maoism it is understood that the revolutionary organization is determined by and is distinguished by its political line which guides it in all things. It is not determined through abstract service programs which are nothing more than charity in essence due to the lack of confrontation against class enemies. Regardless of what one professes is one’s political line, it is the political line that is carried out which must be the measure of an organization. Revisionism always says one thing and does another, always claims to be the true revolutionary. History confirms this. So the practice of a given political line has substance, while quality programs absent this will only spin their wheels, will not make an organization revolutionary.

In a display of historical illiteracy and a complete willful ignorance on the political line of the US Maoist movement, the FTP document authored by the revisionists claims: “The ultra-leftist Eldridge Cleaver united with the Gonzaloite school of ‘Marxism-Leninism-Maoism’ by denouncing and scoffing at these programs…” [14]

Cleaver, unlike any Maoist organization, promoted immediate armed insurrection without developing and concentrically constructing the three instruments of revolution (the Communist Party, the Red Army, and the United Front.) This was a failure to bring the subjective conditions up to the level where they could contend with their objective conditions, and was an attempt to contend without any real preparation. Willful ignorance of what Maoists actually believe is no excuse for this conflation of Cleaver and Maoism. Cleaver did not uphold the right to self-determination for the black nation, the need for Communist Party leadership etc. He had nothing in common with Maoists. Maoists in the US do not claim that armed struggle and people’s war should be started without first elevating the subjective conditions. Attempting to attribute Cleaver’s errors to Maoists is disingenuous at best and more likely is a transparent lie.

Their only answer to “avoid economism” is as faulty in theory as it is in practice. To “avoid economism” they promote online study groups via google hang-outs. At the core of this is a reversal of the Maoist theory that between theory and practice, practice develops knowledge and vice versa with practice being principal. FTP essentially argues that you can do economistic service program provided you are also studying Maoist texts online. Simply thinking different but acting the same is enough! Theory alone, without practice, will never be understood completely. What is more, it will not prevent economist errors without successive and reiterative revolutionary practice—namely actual confrontational and militant class struggle.

FTP offers no explanation on how a service program is converted into a fighting organization, on how the leap is made from reform to revolt, etc. Even with their tenant work (which is their best work) no explanation is given as to how “victories” (minor concessions from land lords) are converted into something other than pacification. They maintain a suspicious lack of confrontation and risk. Communist militants are forged only in confrontational class struggle and are never forged absent this condition, in only legal struggles for achievable reforms. Reforms and concessions tend to be only those acceptable to the ruling class.

More. Their conception of criticism/self-criticism is also the total reversal of what Mao teaches; FTP says that “Criticism is a gift, not a weapon” [15]

This mistake is easy enough to make considering that they believe strength and power can be accomplished without weapons in the confines of bourgeois legality. However, if we hold this view against the light of Maoism then the cracks begin to show.  Mao explains criticism/self-criticism here:

“We have the Marxist-Leninist weapon of criticism and self-criticism for strengthening the Party organization and increasing its fighting capacity. In the Party organization of the Red Army, however, criticism is not always of this character, and sometimes turns into personal attack. As a result, it damages the Party organization as well as individuals. This is a manifestation of petty bourgeois individualism.” [16]

By failing at dialectical materialism, the FTP document conflates weapons with personal attack, they do not comprehend the principal of combating the rise of revisionism internally, through criticism as a weapon, which strengthens the Party or organization. After all, they promote deferring ideological struggle to a future condition while in the meantime uniting with revisionists. This is still more conflict-avoidance and avoidance of class enemies. It furthermore distorts criticism and self-criticism into useless performance art; this performative self-criticism has nothing in common with the Marxist weapon of criticism/self-criticism.

The most serious error espoused as Maoism by FTP and their falsified “Maoist” leaders is the conception of a “base area” which is developed according to them,  in pre-war conditions, before the initiation of armed struggle. Without fighting, without people’s war, their “base area” is a bankrupt notion.

Chairman Mao understood that base areas take years to develop and conquer in the process of war. Base areas are developed through guerrilla zones. Hence to build a base area, terrain has to be conquered and carved out, the enemy has to be forced out, and where he exists (in an imperialist country there is no area inaccessible to the bourgeois military and police) armed fighting presupposes any political power. Mao correctly asserted:

“Our Party should do adequate work and set up our first line of military defense in these regions, which must never be lightly abandoned. But they will be guerrilla zones for both parties and not our stable base areas” [emphasis ours]. [17]

And once a terrain has been carved out via guerrilla zones

“Mass work consists in arousing the masses for struggles to settle accounts with traitors and in launching campaigns for rent reduction and wage increases and campaigns for production. In these struggles we should form various kinds of mass organizations, set up Party nuclei, build armed units of the masses and organs of people’s political power, speedily raise the mass economic struggles and lead the masses to take part in building base areas.” [18]

Mass work and the building of the base area is still not without violent struggle. Revolutionary violence is again an immutable law without exception, dialectics insists so. Organs of political power are accomplished only by the gun, they survive and exist only by force of arms. This is important to why Lenin considered the dictatorship of the proletariat an instrument of war and not as an instrument of peace.

A base area is an area of support protected by the Red Army and administered by the new state/front. It is an embryonic proletarian dictatorship. It is an instrument of war: “The dictatorship of the proletariat is a most determined and most ruthless war waged by the new class against a more powerful enemy, the bourgeoisie, whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow” – [emphasis original] [19]

We see that the dictatorship of the proletariat—political power—is only possible through war and by means of war’s continuance.

Contrary to this scientific and Marxist viewpoint, the FTP document presents us with more idealistic and wishful thinking exemplified here:

“Power is taken from the State through mobilization of the masses around a set of demands.” [20]

Armed struggle does not even rank a mention! Just “mobilization” is enough to seize power from the most advanced imperialist state the world has ever known. Power itself is fundamental to Maoism. Without it all is illusory, thus power is the principal demand of the masses, and war followed by dictatorship is the only singular method of accomplishing this.

Mao theorized base areas as areas under the military and administrative control of the proletariat via its most advanced organization the Communist Party during an active war. Against this, the reformists argue:

“When the State and capitalists must bargain with the people to get anything done, then it can be said that a state of dual-power in a mass base area has been reached. At this point, the organs of political power are nearly in full control.” [21]

“Bargaining with the state” is a far cry from securing support and control through military repulsion of the enemy forces. In their conception, the enemy has not even been repelled at all from their so-called base area. We must quote them further:

“FTP mass organizations across the country offer great insight into how organs of political power can be developed. In Atlantic City, NJ, this process is underway. The advanced masses are already beginning to take leadership positions, call for further action, and get people organized. If the revolutionary organization can provide the means, the space, and education- then the masses will take the initiative. What follows is a general strategy for how the Atlantic City chapter intends to develop organs of political power.” [22]

While there is some semblance of correct ideas that the revolutionary must act as a lever on the advanced masses, the “general strategy” is reliant on a revisionist misconception of political power, the notion that it can be accomplished through service programming, harming whatever good intentions or correct aspects the Atlantic City activists might have. The corrosiveness of the idea that political power can be “developed” without war or even confrontation is unmatched. Their tactics, like their strategy, rely on peaceful and legal development. This is a doomed venture regardless of the good intentions and hard work of their rank and file.

In an effort to save face they add: “We should develop FTP organizations, the United Front, and the People’s Army concurrently.” [23]

Here the “FTP organizations” have replaced the Party in the schema of the three instruments; conflating an “intermediate organization” with the Party is a dangerous type of rightism which inevitably exposes itself due to the centrality of community service and the marked lack of confrontation and class struggle. They make no suggestions on how exactly “a People’s Army” is “developed” without the conditions of fighting, of learning war through making war, on forging fighters in the organized confrontations against class enemies.

Mimicking the Canadian opportunists they proclaim

“Strategic defensive means protecting the revolutionary gains, defending the rights of the people, and resisting oppression. We must be willing to defend what we have won.” [24]

Even reforms accomplished as a consequence of revolutionary strategy are not in and of themselves “revolutionary gains”. This forgery is nothing but an attempt to pose reforms as not only the goal but to confuse them with revolutionary gains. Comrade Stalin demarcates between the notion of the FTP document and the proletarian perspective in Foundations of Leninism regarding revolutionary strategy and the role of reforms:

“The revolutionary will accept a reform in order to use it as an aid in combining legal work with illegal work to intensify, under its cover, the illegal work for the revolutionary preparation of the masses for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie

The reformist, on the contrary, will accept reforms in order to renounce all illegal work, to thwart the preparation of the masses for the revolution and to rest in the shade of ‘bestowed’ reforms.”[emphasis ours] [25]

To make matters even worse, their conception of “strategic defensive” is totally incorrect and needs to be again exposed with the use MLM. Their conception is what Chairman Mao warned against as “passive” or “pure” defensive. Opposing the conception of passive defense does not mean opposing defense itself but understanding it dialectically. We must rely on Mao which again is the opposite of what the falsified “Maoists” claim. Mao says regarding the strategic defensive stage that

“The proposition that a revolutionary war is offensive is of course correct. A revolution, or a revolutionary war in its emergence and growth from a small force to a big force, from the absence of political power to the seizure of political power, from the absence of a Red Army to the creation of a Red Army, and from the absence of revolutionary base areas to their establishment must be on the offensive and cannot be conservative; and tendencies toward conservativism must be opposed.” [emphasis ours] [26]

Mao is clear that political power must be seized. The term conservativism as used here mean to prefer passive defense to “conserve forces” without offensive action. This is exactly what FTP and their falsified “Maoist” leaders are arguing and as Mao stated this must be opposed. In the US as in Canada this line is bankrupt rightism.

Strategic defensive, then, is not a reflexive maneuver. Their concept of strategic defensive allows all initiative, including the Initiation of Armed Struggle to go to the enemy. Contrary to this Maoism does not leave matters only to the discretion of the enemy. Mao stresses the dialectical identity between offensive and defensive in the unity of opposites:

“The only entirely correct proposition is that a revolution or a revolutionary war is an offensive but also involves defense and retreat. To defend in order to attack, to retreat in order to advance, to move against flanks in order to move against the front, and take a roundabout route in order to get to the direct route—this is inevitable in the process of development of many phenomena, especially military movements.” [27]

By no stretch of the imagination does this scientific position imply that base areas and political power can be peacefully and legally constructed while the enemy is waited upon to declare or initiate war, and that only then can the red forces react reflexively, react in a passive defensive manner. At no point does Mao or any subsequent Maoist take the position that strategic defensive is determined only by using force against the enemies attacks, attacks which are constant if the work is actually revolutionary! While above in comparing Cleaver to Maoists, the FTP document forgets that the revolutionary gains of the Panthers were indeed under violent attack, so by their own misunderstanding of strategic defensive, they come closer to the Cleaver position that war at that time was a correct response. While Cleaver expresses an armed-adventurist line, which is left in form but right in essence, the FTP document presents a naked and open rightist line.

The passive defensive viewpoint ignores the main character of war, of initiating armed struggle, and in fact confuses self-defense for People’s War. Mao has directly exposed these viewpoints as right opportunism:

“The mistake here arose from a Rightist viewpoint. The leaders feared the enemy as if he were a tiger, set up defenses everywhere, fought defensive actions at every step and did not dare to advance to the enemy’s rear and attack him there, which would have been to our advantage, or boldly to lure the enemy troops in deep so as to herd them together and  annihilate them.” [28]

Chairman Mao already warns us against the views expressed by the US and Canadian opportunists and insists on the correct understanding of active defense:

“Active defense is also known as offensive defense, or defense through decisive engagements. Passive defense is also known as purely defensive defense or pure defense. Passive defense is actually a spurious kind of defense, and the only real defense is active defense, defense for the purpose of counter-attacking and taking the offensive.” [emphasis ours] [29]

Instead of studying military theory for themselves and applying this theory to their actual conditions, FTP just imports lines that even the Canadian opportunists are not likely to maintain. Strategic defensive is not tactically defensive; on the contrary, it is tactically offensive. This is the situation with every past and current People’s War, and it will be the situation in all People’s Wars to come. The diseased “accumulation of forces” line promotes nothing but discouragement against bringing the subjective conditions up to contend with the objective conditions.

It should be said here that this exposé is not designed or intended to bash every member of FTP,  as there is no doubt that some of their membership, at least in some places, is committed to at least attempting to serve the people, to better the lot of the most oppressed in the US prison house of nations. At best their methods are incomplete, but when taken in the context of the political line espoused by the falsified “Maoists”, then the programs take on a counter-insurgency function, and further serve the interests  of right-liquidationism by diverting possible recruits into a corrupt and revisionist formation.

It must also be reiterated that we are not antithetically opposed to service programs, or even serving the people through goods distributions. These things can find their place in many revolutionary sequences, for instance expropriating class enemies and redistributing their spoils etc. The point is that these programs are complementary to confrontational struggle and never a substitute for them. Service programs are a tactic to be used by revolutionaries and not a strategy to make revolution.

That being said, the honest and upright among the FTP network should break decisively and as soon as possible with their opportunist leaders; they should struggle against them and support the only Maoist movement in the US.

Damn the Words of Traitors

On the “Public Resolutions of the First Conference” of the falsified “Maoists”.

The Public Resolutions of the MCP-OC is in many ways laughable, plagued by platitudes and partial thoughts. While it is not something we wish to take very seriously, it must be examined only for the sake of demarcation. It begins with a semi-correct understanding that the principle or main contradiction in the world today is between imperialism and nations oppressed by imperialism; yet, even with this departure point they deviate quickly into nonsensical categories by their muddled confusion on the national question and the nature of US imperialism. US imperialism must be understood as a multi-national project. Their faulty superficial understanding of US imperialism only harms national liberation struggles especially those internal to the US. They state

“[F]or the u.s. empire, we recognize that it is composed of many oppressed nations in antagonistic contradiction to the euro-settler nation and its bourgeoisie which commands the state apparatus; among these the New Afrikan nation and its lumpen/proletariat constitutes the vanguard of anti-u.s. imperial struggle; […] we recognize the right of the Chicano nation and the many indigenous nations to struggle for their liberation by any means necessary” [emphasis ours] [30]

Europe is not a nation; the US imperialist class has not by any conditions converted European descendants into a single nation in the Marxist sense. This is not Marxism; it is superficial identity-based politics masquerading as Marxism. The US imperialist ruling class is multi-national. Even if it is mainly composed of European descendants, these too are multi-national. This is due to the fact that the US is a prison house of nations and not a nation itself. The proof of this claim is easy enough: the monopoly capitalist class has included a minority of those from oppressed nations backgrounds to diversify itself against unrest. This is evident by the existence of landlords and capitalists who are not European or white, some of whom even operate third world sweatshops. These are no longer the bourgeoisie of oppressed nations. They have become included in imperialism and are part of the US imperialist ruling class. All the way down the line, US imperialism seeks to wash itself by including women, LGBT people, and oppressed nations people in its military etc. and it has made small space for their most reactionary bourgeoisie in the imperialist project.

Likewise, the “right to struggle for their liberation” offers no conceptualization of what this looks like, all oppressed people have struggle rights, the article cannot just come out and recognize  the right to self-determination for these  nations or say what that means,  vagary betrays lack of understanding and study. It is not even stated which indigenous “nations” they recognize, instead indigenous north Americans  are all treated dismissively as a nebulous thing.

The Resolutions further assert that the vanguard in the US is no longer to be understood in class terms of the US proletariat, and the whole of the black nation is substituted for the vanguard. A nation cannot be a vanguard.

To make matters worse they even specify that it is not the black proletariat at the forefront of US class struggles, but specifically the “lumpen/proletariat.” Struggle Sessions has already produced a piece explaining the lumpen-proletariat, and it should be studied as supplemental to this essay; we will not exhaust that topic here.

The error exhibited by the revisionists is found in a confusion of the main force and the leading force; in any national liberation struggle all classes (except those in service to imperialism) within the oppressed nation are mobilized for liberation. However, the proletariat of the oppressed nation is always the leading force. In the US—a developed imperialist country—the main force is also the proletariat. Understanding that national liberation struggle is essential to the breaking of the prison house of nations, that the struggles must be constructed in concert with one another, and with the black proletariat as the deepest and lowest section which takes the forefront in these struggles, does not reduce us to considering the whole nation as the “vanguard” and in no way can it rest on the basis of the declassed. This position hurts mainly black workers when this political line is put into practice— though this practice is something the revisionists are not at all likely to accomplish. The black proletariat composes the overwhelming majority of the black nation, who since emancipation has predominantly worked for bosses outside of their nation. Their systemic lack of analysis on the black proletariat speaks volumes of the racist and identity-reductionist line of the falsified “Maoists.”

The revisionists believe that “[M]ass work and founding of mass organizations should preference work among oppressed nation lumpen/proletariat and lower petit-bourgeoisie”. [31]

By completely omitting the proletariat, not even considering their revolutionary potential, the revisionists seek to derail and obfuscate class struggle in the US, thus making revolution impossible.

The most hardcore of the US proletariat is composed of oppressed nations. This is what it means to go lower and deeper, not only of oppressed nations colonized by the US internally, but also immigrants from oppressed nations who make up important sections of the US workforce. Still, a majority of proletarians are white, and they must be organized to support national liberation struggles and particularly through their own interests in the establishment of socialism, which itself is only possible with the right to self-determination up to succession extended to (and won by!) the oppressed nations.

This poses a unique problem in military terms for revolution in the US. The majority must be unified with the minority in order for their mutual success as oppressed nations and the proletariat. Marx highlighted this in regard to English proletarians and Irish national liberation struggles. As part of the world proletarian revolution, the revolution in the US must also come to support national liberation struggles in the storm centers, which is the third world. It is not the call to prefer organizing among the internal colonies of the US that is cause for concern, but the negation of any need to unify the proletariat. This latter position is counter-revolutionary and metaphysical.

Their specific attention toward supporting the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP) is also superficial. A Communist Party, while supporting and being supported by other parties, cannot fall behind them. The Communist Party must be the lever. The theoretical shortcomings of the NABPP are abundant and will receive their own article at some point, for brevity’s sake we cannot go into them, but only state that the NABPP deserve better supporters than these revisionists.  (If we care to recall we again witness “Maoist” “Party” tailing behind Panthers, only the repeat is with organizations that pale in comparison to the past)

To better serve their dissemination of revisionism, it is important that the falsified “Maoists” at least speak about guns and violence, against rightism etc. all the while doubling down on the rightist positions expressed before in the FTP document:

“[W]e recognize that power grows from the barrel of a gun wielded in a disciplined and organized fashion; it is necessary to apply the principle that ‘the armed sea of masses is our best security culture’ and consistently develop, educate and discipline them, while also being developed, educated and disciplined by them;… the development of dual power on the economic front; in accordance with the principle of ‘caring for the well being of the masses’, develop all skills necessary to improve their quality of life while simultaneously conquering gains through militant struggle in the form of rent concessions, occupation of land for reclamation for food growing and community purposes, the squatting of buildings, and other forms of struggle that can improve the lives of the masses concretely and in a big way while also avoiding the perils of economism and right opportunist complacity [sic] along with the dangers of ultra-left impetuosity.” [emphasis ours] [32]

The position that the “armed sea of masses” is “culture” bewilders both those aware of what the theory of the sea of armed masses entails, as well as those who understand a basic definition of the term culture.

Instead of analysis, the reader is presented with more platitudes, a word salad of revolutionary sounding phrases strung together, which if dissected, mean almost nothing. Again, the seizure of power is sidelined for service programs and chasing reforms. The revisionists leap from community gardens (allegedly donated by their slumlord parents) and rent concessions to “political power,” and at no point connect the dots on how the masses themselves are converted into soldiers of the Red Army. This lapse of theory is either due to being novices, to being intentional right opportunists, or more likely a bit of both.

In a bold display of their total lack of Bolshevization, the revisionists find it appropriate to outline their internal processes in public documents, which prove that the “party” they seek to create has no intention of becoming a militarized war machine,  or even illegal. Their public document is so vague, with so much useless verbiage, that it can be reduced to mere posturing and point-scoring. For all its talk of social investigation and class analysis there is a glaring lack of focus on the actual proletariat and a persistent attempt at replacing its role with that of a whole nation, or worse with the lumpen-proletariat.

In essence the document avoids what is principle to Maoism—the seizure of political power (by force of arms.) In fact, much of the rest of the content and purpose of MLM is negated; they present no analysis on how to defeat revisionism internally, no comment on the necessity of cultural revolutions, no explanation of how any of their “mass work” actually accomplishes a forward motion for the revolutionary project. Worse still is the lack of coherent internationalism, the lack of international support, the lack of understanding of what the concrete goal of revolution—i.e. socialism—what socialism is, the dictatorship of the proletariat, etc. We believe that these are no mere oversights but are omissions. For the falsified “Maoist”, then, “Maoism” is just cloaking reformism as revolution and militant identity politics as Communist politics.

Conclusion

This article is intended only as an introductory theoretical demarcation, the real demarcations play out it real time, in the practice attached to these movements. It necessitates some length in order to be thoroughgoing as we do not place criticism or polemic lightly, and always we place it in the interest of grasping, upholding and applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism.

Most of the Marxist material we have cited is available on the online study group section of the website of the falsified “Maoists”. We must come to the conclusion that their systematic distortions of MLM are not accidental due to inexperience, but intentional. Therefore they are cognizant of their revisionism.

We can further cite the document “Create Two, Three, Many ‘Parties of a New Type’?” to come to the conclusion that the falsified “Maoists” are but a few, generated arbitrarily by a contrarian opportunist, whose main goal is to create a pole around himself. This should be understood as counter-revolutionary intent. Extreme subjectivism will never sell itself as dialectical materialism, all we have to do is read and think to see it for what it is.

The above conclusions only further prove that ideological struggle is the only weapon to wrest good comrades from the organizational clutches of outright and cognizant revisionists, from individualist who seek to make a name for themselves at the expense of reconstituting the Communist Party in the US. This struggle is critical and will be critical at all moments. Revisionism, especially when it calls itself Maoist, must be ideologically struggled against. All of our readers, organized or not, have the duty to struggle, all must honestly and soberly assess the political line presented by the falsified “Maoists” and genuinely interrogate its content, and, importantly, educate comrades and the masses on the difference between the real movement and the falsified one.

We will close with a reiteration of our position that the confusion will be cleared, mainly through practicing what we learn in our study of the classics of Marxism, and that this practice will be illuminating and create new and deeper understandings of the classics of Marxism. If the only ability of the “Maoist” revisionists is to dupe the recently interested comrades using rumor, gossip and outright lies, then all have the duty to conduct outreach and state the facts.

 

Notes

[1] The General Political Line of the Communist Party of Peru, “Military Line”

[2] Berkman, Drake “Why I no longer support the Marxist Center”, Medium.com, 2019

[3] Berkman, Drake “Avoiding Confusion”, Medium.com, 2019

[4] The General Political Line of the Communist Party of Peru, “The Mass Line”

[5] RCP-USA, “Re-envisioning Revolution and Communism: What Is Bob Avakian’s New Synthesis?”, Revcom.us, 2008

[6] MCP-OC, “So You Want to Start an FTP?”, WordPress.com, 2019

[7] Mao Tse-Tung, “Problems of War and Strategy”, Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Vol. II, Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965

[8] MCP-OC, “So You Want to Start an FTP?”, WordPress.com, 2019

[9] Mao Tse-Tung, “Combat Liberalism”, Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Vol. II, Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965

[10] Mao Tse-Tung, “Talk at the Chengtu Conference”, Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Vol. VIII, BannedThought.net, PDF

[11] MCP-OC, “So You Want to Start an FTP?”, WordPress.com, 2019

[12] ibid

[13] ibid

[14] ibid

[15] ibid

[16] Mao Tse-Tung, “On Correcting Mistaken Ideas in the Party”, Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, Vol. III, Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965

[17] Mao Tse-Tung, “Build Stable Base Areas in the North East”, Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. IV, Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1961

[18] Ibid

[19] VI Lenin, quoted in Stalin, Joseph, Foundations Of Leninism. New York: International Publishers, 1934

[20] MCP-OC, “So You Want to Start an FTP?”, WordPress.com, 2019

[21] ibid

[22] ibid

[23] ibid

[24] ibid

[25] Stalin, Joseph, Foundations of Leninism. New York: International Publishers, 1934

[26] Mao Tse-tung, “Problems of Strategy in China’s Revolutionary War”, Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. 1, Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965

[27] ibid

[28] ibid

[29] ibid

[30] MCP-OC, “Public Resolutions of the First Conference of the Organizing Committee for a Maoist Communist Party”, WordPress.com, 2019

[31] ibid

[32] MCP-OC, “So You Want to Start an FTP?”, WordPress.com, 2019

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