On the Current Contradictions

OnthecurrentcontradictionsWITHTEXTBy Cathal

Note: This article is theoretical and does not claim to speak for any organization or to offer organizational advice

“The combination of conditional, relative identity, and conditional, absolute struggle constitutes the movement of opposites in all things. […] It is not the unity of opposites which is the essence, it is the struggle of opposites” [1]


There is a tempting dismissal of all the past weeks uprisings which many reformists, liberals, and assorted scoundrels have resorted to. This dismissal flows from subjectivism, viewing the process of things through only one aspect, and adds up to a refusal to comprehend history. Not comprehending history, there’s then a tendency to dismiss—on the basis of abstraction— what can only be called a nationwide uprising.

The rebellions were sparked by the murder of George Floyd, and some use metaphysics to weaken revolutionary consciousness developing among the people: shame, doubt, and division are spread with the false logic that the victim’s family should determine the terms of engagement. The US was built and developed through the abuse, enslavement, and oppression of Black people. As Chairman Mao correctly asserted, “it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the black people.” [2]

The uprising of the masses does not exist in a convenient compartment, and no matter how the imperialists and their agents try to spin things, it will not be confined to one. All rational knowledge is attained through practice, which is the combination of class struggle, experiment, and production. Our aim here is not to justify the rebellion which in any case justifies itself by way of the practical existence it generates. Our aim is to theorize the rebellion so that our theory can be of some use.

Unrest in the age of economic crisis:

One week of the uprising has proven to be larger and more combative than the many years of the Black Lives Matter movement. This cannot be divorced from the objective conditions facing the proletariat the world over. Contradictions—as they reach a certain stage and become antagonistic—rely on the mutually opposed identity to exist. But they cannot perpetually exist in such an antagonism—one must defeat the other, and this has become clear around the world as was correctly asserted by Chairman Mao. This has in turn been reiterated by the Communist Party of Peru: we have entered the stage of the strategic offensive of world proletarian revolution.

The 2020 economic crisis means mass uprisings are like a package in the mail, their delivery may be uncertain and at times hard to predict, but they are guaranteed to arrive. Dialectical Materialism allows for the estimation of truth, meaning that through studying conditions carefully, it is possible to make accurate predictions, provided that one remains focused on the class struggle and masses. Corresponding alongside the economic crisis is the pandemic. In a class society there is never such a thing as an impartial killer as society is constructed in a way which can only preserve inequality. The US is such a society. Revisionist notions such that nature is indiscriminate and that there is a meaningful man-nature contradiction with coronavirus are just clever ways to distract from the fact that there is a discriminating social impact. Even the ruling class has been forced to admit—while talking out of the other side of their mouths that “We are all in this together”—that the pandemic and economic crisis has impacted Black people in the US disproportionately to the rest of the population. This condition may be new, but it is business as usual in 400+ years of oppression at the hands of the propertied class, its state, and the most backward elements among the population. The horrific murder of George Floyd is not totally unique, we can all remember the original utterance of the last words “I can’t breathe” were said six years ago by Eric Garner.

Yet, the response was different—in both the new quantity and what proved to likewise be a new, higher quality. The contradictions have sharpened and become more antagonistic. The State is gripped with anxiety and real fear. From nationwide mobilizations of the National Guard, to the President hiding in the Whitehouse Bunker, to the Army being threatened, we find the evidence is compelling. These stunts speak of a deeper issue as we see the masses standing up. The ruling class anxiety is not a quirk and—despite what they may say publicly—they are well aware of the set of conditions which make the times right for major upheaval.

The Great Depression is being rivaled by the New Depression, and it is not showing signs of slowing down. Things will get more antagonistic as opposites inevitably struggle for power in such conditions. While the objective conditions are increasingly apparent in their revolutionary potential, the subjective conditions still lag. The assaults from revisionism and reaction on the Communist movements in imperialist countries have caused real setbacks. How do we overcome these setbacks?

To overcome these setbacks, the advanced elements of the proletariat must reconstitute their parties, along militarized lines, guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism, following the general directives of Chairman Gonzalo’s transcendental speech from the cage in 1992. Its content has become increasingly critical today, through which proletarian leadership will be re-forged in the rising fires. In all of this struggle, what becomes unforgivable is pessimism, or a lack of faith in the masses of people. Equally detrimental would be to tail them and fail to provide the stable bodies of organizations which can channel and guide their remarkable fight.

As the Arab Spring and countless other mass and militant uprisings have proven, taking to the streets is only enough to topple an administration; it is not enough to seize state power for our class. Mao’s dictum remains true, “without a people’s army, the people have nothing.”

On the Low Intensity Warfare Waged by the State:

The PCP explained the contemporary methods used by the old state in its 1992 document May Directives for Metropolitan Lima:

“Educate the masses about the political objective of these actions by the State: they are part of its low intensity warfare, aimed against the People’s War, and at containing the explosiveness of the masses. Teach the people that these crumbs, which they have wrested away with their ceaseless struggle, are not going to solve their problems, and that only the Revolution can truly address the rights of the people, and the Revolution is made with the People’s War. Educate them on the State’s economic objectives, and teach them that the essence of these handouts is to minimally compensate the monstrous cut in wages, and how and why this is done by the reactionaries in times of crisis. This has been already taught to us by Marx (reproduce his quotations or those of the party documents.)”

Containing the explosiveness of the masses—this is precisely what the state and imperialist ruling class is attempting with a number of devious tactics: police passing out snacks, hugging with staged or liberal “protesters,” offering condolences to the families of those they murdered without justification, and rumor-spreading to divide the people in the interests of imperialism.

“The oppressors and the exploiters want to use the masses to support fly-by-night ideologies and reactionary idealism. To this end, they traffic with the people’s religious fervor. This is done in order to sell them the ideology of an old backward, hypocritical and false Catholic religion, which historically has always been against progress, and science.”

The US is not a Catholic majority, but the oppressors and exploiters still use religious fervor the same way. They are just more fluid with their approach, and perhaps more effective. This is particularly evident in the demand for exclusively “peaceful” protest, which of course only extends to the people, as the police are not meaningfully disarmed of their weapons and armor. These scoundrels are telling the side that is already, or mainly, disarmed to be peaceful as they are fired upon. This must be challenged and unmasked for things to continue advancing. The masses put forward the slogan “no justice no peace” and revolutionaries must make this a reality, by challenging the calls for “peace” by unmasking them as calls for surrender.

“Politically, they want to convince the masses of the need to preserve the Old State, which gives them ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy,’ when in reality the masses experience repression and death on a daily basis, add their hunger and misery. The ‘freedom’ they talk about is freedom for the powerful now ruling, and not for the downtrodden. The ‘democracy’ they preach is simply the dictatorship of the rich ruling classes of the Old State: the big bourgeoisie…” [3]

By exposing and struggling, mass consciousness in the furnace of class struggle can be consciously converted by revolutionaries into class consciousness that is combined with racial consciousness—this combination is the only revolutionary consciousness possible for the people of the US. Without one aspect the other suffers remarkably, becomes anemic and in some cases reactionary. Race and class form a unity of opposites, and class is the principal aspect which must guide the race question. In essence, we should see Black liberation is the necessary component to the accomplishment of socialist revolution. For anyone to get free from the chains of capitalist exploitation, they must unite in the struggle for Black liberation. Those who will not do this earnestly will certainly end up being confronted by Black people right alongside the police and the imperialist ruling class.

Identity politics have reached certain limitations in the face of the rebellion. The less savvy opportunists still traffic with these, but increasingly it is becoming clear that the masses see through this ruse. Multi-racial unity has been demonstrated in the streets this past week, and attempts to cast aspersions on the basis of identity alone have been met with jeers. The issue is not that everyone in the US should be listening to the masses of Black people, that is a proposal which is reasonable and correct, the issue instead is that it highlights the black-white contradiction to an exaggerated degree and is deployed politically in a way to tactically and strategically weaken the struggle and give armor to the ruling class. Likewise this treats Black people as socially homogenized and in approaching the black-white contradiction allots opportunists the ability, on this basis, to promote that there is a single unified platform for whites to “ally” around, ignoring political contradictions for the purpose of silencing Black workers and whites who have risen up in a militant fashion. It becomes necessary, just as it is in fighting pessimism, to combat such opportunists who promote self-policing victimhood.

As Mao has instructed, words should unite and not divide the people. In this case, uniting all races with the struggle for Black liberation must be pushed because it is in the interest of all people save the ruling class and the handful of opportunists. The role of identity politics in low intensity warfare should not be underestimated as an ideological tactic of imperialism. It can be convincing and at times sound progressive, but it is not and so it must be exposed as the people are steeled against these maneuvers. In many cases, the identity opportunist is arrogant, they proclaim a lack of Black participation, a lack of Black leadership etc. then the truth slaps them across the face for all to see. As it turns out, the only Black leadership they want to respect is the minority of Black people who wish to go along with earning the “respect” of the police and government, collaborating with them to force the masses into capitulation.

It is most certainly a devious trick to divide friends, to attempt to convince the minority population of Black people that they can overcome injustice alone, and worse yet, within the confines of legalism. Rebellion on the other hand is a collective, mass undertaking which always brings other racially oppressed groups together and of course the progressive and revolutionary sections of white proletarians. This fact in no way diminishes the duty of the white revolutionaries to immediately begin fighting white chauvinism within their own communities, at the points of production, and against the police in the streets.

People’s war is the only possible strategy for the proletariat, and it will necessarily rely upon three things: 1) the United Front which means uniting all proletarians with their allied classes and this includes multi-racial unity, 2) the army of the people, led by the Communist Party which draws forward the most combative militants and mobilizes them to serve the people through fighting, production, and social service, and this again is multi-racial, and, most importantly, 3) the Communist Party which is the axis of everything and which provides the overall political leadership of the revolution, the seizure of power through smashing the Old State and establishing the New State through its Army and Front.

In all three of these aspects multinational, multi-racial unity is needed. Otherwise, the Old State is serviced by division, and a fraction of the population is expected to stand alone against imperialism—adding up to self liquidation for revolutionary forces and a betrayal of the masses. Ideologically militant identity politics must be done away with and replaced with Maoism.

On Color Revolutions:

Color Revolutions refers to attempts by mainly US imperialism to topple foreign governments by mobilizing pro-imperialist elements in the name of ‘democracy.’ The name derives from mainly ‘peaceful’ protest movements in former Eastern Bloc countries, such as the ‘rose revolution’ in Georgia, the ‘orange revolution’ in the Ukraine, the ‘tulip revolution’ in Kyrgyzstan, etc. designed to aid US interests in inter-imperialist struggles for consolidation around US imperialism. This tactic is not limited to post-Soviet collapse; it was used in Poland with the ‘solidarity movement’ and of course in China, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

The tactic is today used in Mexico and the rest of Latin America and has evolved to utilize the counterinsurgency mechanisms we see in the US today. The methods of the imperialists are in the main: charity, identity politics that divide the people, and “viral” actions that spread subtle but real imperialist interests. Many of these even maintain a progressive element of the masses that have legitimate grievances against their governments.

What the experience of the Color Revolutions should teach us is the potential of the CIA and other US imperialist agencies to fabricate ‘mass movements’ and pro-imperialist/pro-US state elements within genuine mass movements. This potential is not limited to foreign power-plays that establish puppet governments. They do it here as well with the establishment of leaders who serve them and act in their interests. The bourgeois media of the US has shifted the nature of its coverage as of the Monday after a week of intense uprisings and rebellions to focus instead on cops hugging ‘protesters’ and crying out for the people to stop hating them and, mainly, to abide by ‘the rule of law.’ This has been seen on a large scale, the ideological apparatuses of the state are mobilized to do what the police and National Guard could not do with their batons, CS gas, pepper spray, plastic and real bullets, etc.—to put down the rebellion.

The Old State mobilizes the most backward elements of the people and uses them to convince intermediate elements into retrograde and to isolate the most advanced and combative elements, in many cases serving them up to the very police they were protesting. This is a reversal of the mass line method and it is in strict service to reaction and oppression. The more successful they are allowed to be in these tactics, the less they have to reform, and all reforms accomplished can then be used to further pacify the population. The US Army and the CIA have done the same in all recent wars, they have won none of them however and only entered a fatal quagmire. In this instance, the people of the US and especially Black people have a lot to learn from the masses of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. in how to withstand such trickery while continuing to demand “Yankee go home.”

Resistance to US imperialism forms a part of the world proletarian revolution, but anti-imperialist resistance is itself not enough to liberate the people long term, for this the people of the third world require New Democratic Revolution, and the people of the first world require Socialist Revolution. In all cases, revolution requires the leadership of the reconstituted Communist Party; anything less is a changing of the guard, and this guard change can either be a step forward or a step backward depending on the political line.
The pessimist will decry this notion, insisting that so very few people resisting en mass are Maoists—to this we can only reply with Mao himself:

“Our forces were small, fifty thousand Party members at first but only a few thousand after counter-revolutionary suppressions. The enemy made trouble everywhere. Again this law operated: the big and strong end up in defeat because they are divorced from the people, whereas the small and weak emerge victorious because they are linked with the people and work in their interest. That’s how things turned out in the end.” [4]

We must insist on remembering that wherever the imperialist goes, at home or abroad, he can only make trouble, stumbling from crisis to crisis until his final overthrow. This is the logic of imperialism. The logic of the people is quite different. It is persistent, optimistic and captivating because most of all it is the truth, that is to say: the people fight, fail, fight again, fail again, and fight again until victory.

Following the logic of the people, the only way to defeat the application of Color Revolution to the US mass rebellions is through reaching the masses, through exposing the enemies interests’ in the political line of their active and volunteer forces. This means, in a word, unmasking. Once unmasked, the enemy cannot sufficiently embed itself like a parasite within the struggle to diminish the struggle and cause it illness; it will be exposed and cut out, and those who fell victim to its illusions will be won over to the notion that “It is right to rebel.”

Political work within the mass struggle, agitation, propaganda and political education are critical to prevent “missing the moment”. Even a small amount of genuine revolutionaries among the people can then make massive interventions. This requires patience and good faith, a desire to unite all who can be united in a very real way. It means winning over and convincing the popular intellectuals who tend toward vacillation and the middle elements of the masses who can reach a great many people. Amateurish and vulgar approaches which seek the lime light will only fall into accordance with enemy plans.

The Inevitability of Rebellion:

Even if all the maneuvers of the imperialists were successful, they could only be a temporary asset. Fundamentally, the system cannot reform itself into harmony with the people; this is impossible. Rebellion will continue, and it is correct to proclaim that this one is but the tip of the iceberg. We must not forget the adaptability of the enemy, nor must we forget the infinite creativity of the masses.

The revolutionary leadership which is now insufficient will also not remain so, as every protest action according to the universal laws of Marxism is a school of war where the people and the enemy are all in attendance. Through these struggles—mainly through the practice of correctly identifying contradictions between the people and the enemy, between the people themselves, and between the enemy and himself—the revolutionary can improve, expand, and secure increased mass support. The class struggle and all things it produces including the fight against racial injustice are the best classrooms, teaching in mere moments lessons lost on dedicated university students locked away from the people. Great things can be accomplished through calling these forces out on to the streets and giving them lessons in a learn-and-teach environment.

The PCP provides essential direction on navigating these contradictions correctly:

“First, sweep away the colossal heap of garbage that is revisionism and opportunism, principally electoralism. None of these revisionists and opportunists, nor any of their kin, can represent, much less defend, the masses.

“Second, go to the deepest and most profound masses which constitute the majority, which in our country are the workers and principally poor peasants, the petty bourgeoisie and also keep the national bourgeoisie in mind. Of these, the most important are the workers and principally poor peasantry, and we must go mainly to them in both the countryside and city. We must propel their movement, lead it, mobilize them for Power so as to topple and overthrow the old State. This is the principle tactical question. Thus, among the masses it is necessary to distinguish the superficial scum which is the crust that serves the bourgeoisie from the immense majority of deep and profound masses which shall emerge more and more until the sweeping away of the decrepit Peruvian state, even more so when a People’s War starts to crumble the old Peruvian state.”

It is among the people that these two tasks are realized, and always with the creative application of MLM to the concrete conditions, while the principles themselves do not essentially change. It is necessary within the mass movements to first sweep away the colossal heap of garbage—revisionism, opportunism, pacifism, legalism, identity politics, etc. in order to go to the deepest and most profound masses, those masses critical to maintaining production, those without rights, those facing acute state sanctioned reactionary violence, etc. These two steps, while correctly delineated from one another come together to form a whole in the work among the people. The PCP summarizes:

“We must apply the only Marxist tactic of going to the deepest and most profound masses, educating them in revolutionary violence and in the struggle against opportunism.” [5]

Creative application is critical, and can take up many approaches, but it maintains the universal truth and develops the understanding of this truth through practice and reiteration. For the people in the US there is no people’s war, nor Party to lead it, etc. Revolutionary violence, however, is an immutable law of history. It takes place when the masses resist their oppression and are guided by revolutionaries to coming to this decision.

The uprisings have shattered many common sense bourgeois myths, that the people are incapable of acting without the careful hand of their opportunist leadership, and that “violence only begets violence,” that somehow the violence of the state (reactionary violence) is equatable to the violence of the people against the state, the violence which guided by revolutionary theory becomes revolutionary violence. The distinction between success and failure is a question of leadership and masses. What is the leadership, who are the masses?

For leadership to take place, specific methods of the mass line must be used and that means fighting opportunism and going to the deepest and most profound masses. The next logical step is to act as a lever among the people, supporting and advancing their struggles politically. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the heroes of history, who are billions of years of matter in motion, rising inevitably for revolution, through consciously linking the oppression of Black people under imperialism to the need for imperialism’s final overthrow. This final overthrow is realized in socialist revolution, the continuation of it under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and at last luminous communism.


Works Cited:

[1] Mao Zedong, Philosophical Annotations and Marginalia

[2] Mao Zedong, Statement Supporting the American Negroes in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by US Imperialism

[3] Communist Party of Peru, May Directives for Metropolitan Lima

[4] Mao Zedong, US Imperialism is a Paper Tiger

[5] Communist Party of Peru, “Mass Line”, General Political Line

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