As of recent, Maoist Communist Group (MCG) has once again taken it upon themselves to respond to Struggle Sessions previous response, “A Quick Reply To MCG,” through their Twitter platform only to distort the content, delivery, and political line of Struggle Sessions and the movement we support. While we initially dealt with the question of a revolutionary situation in our first response, it remained brief, highlighting MCG’s pessimism and lack of faith in the masses, as well as emphasizing that any revolutionary situation is a question of “whether to take advantage of these factors or not is a problem of subjective situation.”
This has fallen upon deaf ears, with MCG distorting our position in their so-called “Longer Reply,” and consistently since the release of their first document, have rewritten Lenin himself. Therefore, the question of a revolutionary situation requires a deeper examination and remains but only one major point of contention between us and MCG. Two other major deviations of MCG are on the task of the party (and reconstituting it) and the question of the army, since MCG accuse us of failing to distinguish between our tasks and portray us as if we are calling for war in this very instance, claims that we will deal with later.
I. On The Situation
Before getting into the details of a revolutionary situation, we should first be clear about one point which was not addressed in the Quick Reply statement. In their first response, MCG arrogantly claim, “Mazur & co. are spending their days writing blog posts – in the middle of a “revolutionary situation,” no less!” We ask, is line struggle during a revolutionary situation somehow impermissible? Are Communists incapable of multi-tasking? Are they claiming that we should substitute politics for blind economism? Are they implying that work is not being carried out? These charlatans know the answers to these questions. But even worse, MCG “& co.” suffer from historical amnesia, forgetting that Lenin wrote some of his most groundbreaking texts during revolutionary situations, such as the Collapse of the Second International. This in no way implies that any of Struggle Sessions works are at Lenin’s stature, but rather reinforce that Communists must continue line struggle during revolutionary situations, never negating it, never negating those who have done so historically. Line struggle must never be put on hold!
So how does MCG understand the revolutionary situation? In the first paragraph of their “Four Points,” they claim,
“In a revolutionary crisis, there is a complete break between the majority of the people and the state. In a revolutionary crisis, the old superstructure falls apart and various social forces create a new one under the leadership of a revolutionary class. In contrast, today, in the absence of the proletarian vanguard, the coronavirus crisis has spontaneously led the masses to pin their hopes of resolution on extending the reach of the imperialist state.”
In their first response to Struggle Sessions,
“But we cannot breathlessly inflate this strike wave into a revolutionary situation.”
And finally in their latest response,
“Outside of revolutionary situations, the spontaneous movement – the movement as it exists in the absence of proletarian leadership – will naturally subordinate itself to bourgeois ideology and crowd out socialist ideology.”
Here MCG has demonstrated a fundamental error, the conflation of the subjective changes with the revolutionary situation, which in essence, boils down to a revision of Lenin.
Although they take from Lenin’s 1905 document Revolution Teaches, the quote demands some revisiting since MCG paraphrased him according to their understanding. Lenin actually states,
“In a revolutionary period the old “superstructure” falls apart, and, in full view of everyone, a new one is created by the independent action of the most diverse social forces, which reveal their true nature in practice.” (emphasis ours)
Ten years later, Lenin would continue to reaffirm these principles amidst the revolutionary situation of the impending First World War, and the betrayal and opportunism of the parties of the Second International who negated this, even though these same parties adopted a resolution that a revolutionary situation was imminent and drawing “tactical conclusions”:
“Without these objective changes [which we will cite shortly], which are independent of the will, not only of individual groups and parties but even of individual classes, a revolution, as a general rule, is impossible… (…) not every revolutionary situation that gives rise to a revolution; revolution arises only out of a situation in which the above-mentioned objective changes are accompanied by a subjective change, namely, the ability of the revolutionary class to take revolutionary mass action strong enough to break (or dislocate) the old government, which never, not even in a period of crisis, “falls”, if it is not toppled over.” (emphasis ours)
And in 1979, the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) would uphold, defend and apply these principles, dealing a blow to the charlatans who negated the existence of a revolutionary situation and those conflating them with the subjective conditions:
“Others in the country formulate that the revolutionary situation derives and develops by complementing the objective conditions with the subjective conditions, which indicates another serious error… Therefore, a revolutionary situation or objective conditions of the revolution, are not the same as the subjective conditions. The latter are the class and the instruments capable of converting the revolutionary situation into revolutionary violence, which in our country means an armed struggle, the united front, a Party to manage both, a proletariat capable of leading and fulfilling its role as the leading class, and a peasantry capable of rising up in arms.”
The revisers of Lenin should be more straightforward with their positions. They should have proclaimed that in a revolutionary situation, the new superstructure is not created by the independent actions of the various social forces. They should have proclaimed that they cannot “breathlessly” turn the strike wave into revolutionary violence, for the situation, the objective conditions themselves exist independently, regardless of their or our own will.
How then did Lenin define a revolutionary situation? and does one exist today?
“(1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes”, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in “peace time”, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the “upper classes” themselves into independent historical action.” (emphasis ours)
Today, unemployment has skyrocketed approaching Great Depression numbers. Any illusions or implications that all these people will have work after COVID-19 restrictions are withdrawn–such as the bombastic proclamations of the reactionary Trump advisors that after May numbers will recover–only reinforces the notion that the bourgeoisie is all powerful and can adequately address the crisis, as if this were plausible. Failing to even address the international significance of the current situation, MCG has sunk to the level of a narrow and un-dialectical understanding, focusing only on US matters. To remedy this, we will briefly cite the recent El Maoista statement, signed by Maoist parties and organizations across the world:
“The current situation in the world from the side of the people is condensed in: THE EXPLOSIVITY OF THE MASSES INTENSIFIES IN THE WHOLE WORLD AND WILL UNFOLD MORE POWERFULLY. Our obligation is to be clear about this explosive situation and to use it according to the interests of the proletariat and the people, in service of the initiation and development of the People’s War. You have to know how to fight. You have to apply the principles of war. Then you have to apply what Chairman Mao says for all kinds of struggles in general: Fight with reason, advantage and limitation.” (emphasis ours)
Today MCG’s subtle pessimism of low expectations has been shattered by the rebellions around George Floyd. While they asked “where is this revolutionary situation” the masses wrote back with fire, sending a message that could not soon be forgotten. The imperialists–including its media, its attack dogs, and its para-state activist administrators, those who act as the self-appointed leaders of their communities guarding them from “outside agitators”–have highlighted the least politically conscious activity. They do this while denying the radical political consciousness increasingly manifested in many forms of fighting, in vain hopes of stymieing the potential growth and fusion of organized Communists with the masses. MCG’s pessimism manifests as talk about rebellions and what they represent, but in evaluating their development, they are subjectively locked in an immediate time and place that doesn’t account for the masses and class struggle advancing. They are unable to be materialists–only thinking in terms of proximity to some phenomena but not all. As so, they can’t see how quality and quantity can and will change as motion moves imperialism into a profound crisis and the masses respond accordingly.
A revolutionary situation indeed exists, but are the US Maoists proclaiming that a revolution itself will take place? We will await MCG’s response, if they can find such proclamation. This leads to the question of tasks of Communists across the world, another fundamental question, a question which MCG also distorts. But before that, we would like to state that MCG are free to disagree on the question of a revolutionary situation, they are free to be pessimists, but in doing so we ask that they do not revise the words of the Great Lenin, especially under a counterfeit banner of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!
II. On Party Reconstitution
Another point of contention we have with MCG is on the question of the party, especially on its tasks, reconstitution, and what function it serves.
MGC quote Lenin saying “‘no putsches of any sort can replace or artificially evoke open mass political action (Lenin).” We are left without explanation of what these putsches are. MCG lower themselves to the level of the 31 flavors of revisionism that exist in the country, which so vehemently proclaim that the US Maoist movement is carrying out “putsches!” In essence, accusations of “adventurism! Here the MCG offer no concrete examples, but expect the reader to know what they are talking about. It would do them some good to re-read Chairman Mao’s On Correcting Mistaken Ideas, especially the first and last two sections of the text where Mao criticizes actual and not imaginary putschism! It would do some good to investigate the actual adventurism of the Weather Underground, an eclectic mess of revisionism and petty-bourgeois infantilism, making declarations of “states of war” against US imperialism with no Party, real army, or mass support, only to later serve imperialism by having its former leaders backing the Democrats.
It is on these infertile grounds of imaginary putschism that MCG state that the US Maoist movement follows “impetuosity.” They opportunistically cite Struggle Sessions initial response, cutting off the first part of the sentence which is crucial. Instead they distort and misquote Struggle Sessions, claiming that the first task is to go beyond legal unions: “and our “first task” [!] is to “go beyond the simple growth of legal unions” (Struggle Sessions as quoted by MCG).
What we actually stated and what is key is:
“We must reconstitute the Party, which uses generated organisms it sets up in this mass movement as support points by which to strengthen the proletarian basis. It must boldly confront and expose the plain clothes cops of union officials and revisionist politicians that would sell the masses out for a plate of lentils, it must go beyond the simple growth of legal unions and struggles which are existing only by virtue of police authorization, and we must constantly temper it in the flames of revolutionary violence and deep links with the masses. This is our first task.”
Going beyond unions, which MCG cites, cut off from Party reconstitution, is correct, but this is not the first task, only an aspect of it. MCG have proven themselves once again to be inept dialectical materialists. They fail to distinguish between the main task and other tasks. They cry, “Our task is not yet to prepare a war,” as if Maoists in the US are stating that a war will take place in this very instance. These pseudo-disciples of Lenin should remember that the Bolsheviks were perfectly capable of expressing their aims immediate and long-term, expressed in their minimum and maximum programs. We must declare, as Chairman Mao did, that “Before the outbreak of a war all organization and struggle are in preparation for the war” and the PCP in their General Political Line that “the Party is the highest form of organization, the army is the principal form of organization!” Does this contradict the first task? Of course not!
Although no one is declaring war in this instance, the imaginary putschism within the minds of the revisers of Lenin, it is crucial to remember that “the task of the Communist Parties is to uphold revolution shaping the principal form of struggle: People’s war to oppose the world counterrevolutionary war with world revolutionary war.” It is not detached from this goal. Any attempt at Party reconstitution must keep this question in mind and special attention must be given to the PCP’s General Political Line, and why the Military Line was at the center.
Following that the task is “not yet to prepare a war,” they state it is to “raise an army via propaganda, agitation, and organization.” This also requires further examination. Although they once again pull from Lenin’s Revolution Teaches regarding propaganda, agitation, and organization, they completely gut Lenin’s words. Lenin clearly emphasizes:
“The assertion of the liberal bourgeoisie, the Osvobozhdeniye League, that we are lapsing into “abstract revolutionism and rebelliousness” is a downright lie [sounds familiar]. We have always raised, and are now raising, this question not in an “abstract” way, but on a concrete basis, answering it differently in 1897, in 1902, and in 1905.”
Here, Lenin masterfully answers the question of the distinction between the concrete tasks of each of these periods. What he does not do is negate the fact that socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, to be achieved by means of war [!], were aims throughout all these periods! But apparently, Lenin’s own words have fallen upon deaf ears, with MCG failing to handle the general and the particular. Any call for war must mean that this is somehow immediate! This argument that their task “is not yet to prepare a war” implies as if the US Maoist movement is engaged in warfare as we speak, and whether conscious or not, unmasks MCG’s position to be similar to the other falsified “Maoists”, under Marxist phrase-mongering, that the boogeyman of adventurism is indeed being carried out, inventing that the movement sees People’s War as something which will be initiated now.
To distinguish themselves from actual Maoists, they amateurishly state that if their “Four Points” are adhered to, “we will be able to prepare ourselves for the next period of our development, in which we will be born as a political Party that has conquered our proletarian class independence…”
As Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, principally Maoists, we have a duty to reject this conclusion and point them in the direction of the PCP, as outlined in Line Construction of the Three Instruments. A Communist Party, a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, principally Maoist party, will not be “born” out of this infantile and incomplete Four Point “formula,” but from what the PCP laid out as the six aspects of construction: Ideological, Political, Organic, Leadership, Two-Line Struggle, and Mass Work. On top of this, there is no separating nor delaying of when the army will be developed, but that the three instruments are constructed concentrically, and as the PCP states in their document On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, “organizational building develops simultaneously…”.
III. On Ties to Revisionism
MCG also plays naïve on the question of the mass line when stating that the Struggle Sessions response does not detail which masses we go to, stating “of course! But which masses? And how are these links forged?” For starters, the response was not intended to detail to which masses do we go, yet they pull up this argument as if the mass line has not been addressed in several articles within Struggle Sessions, especially in criticizing Avakianite rats and JMP. But if this idea should be entertained, it is no secret that the US Maoists uphold the PCP and their groundbreaking General Political Line, and regarding this question it is important to study closely the Mass Line within the GPL. It is here, in which the PCP establish, “We must start from the class criteria to resolve to what masses do we go.” In the US, we should clarify for MCG’s sake, that the section “To What Masses Do We Go?” should be specified and applied to our concrete conditions if they are still wondering about “which masses” and “links forged.”
Deflecting from the criticism of meeting with the revisionist and bourgeois collaborator Andrew Dobbs, MCG disregards his role as a police collaborator, and wildly compare themselves (whether intentionally or not) to the Communist Party of China (CPC) during their temporary alliance with the Kuomintang (KMT) under the threat of Japanese invasion. Instead they claim, “we are left wondering how one could possibly build the United Front, or indeed, engage in any type of politics whatsoever, without meeting any opportunists in person? Perhaps by meeting them “over email”? To set the record straight, revolutionaries in Austin did have contact with the organization Dobbs was a part of*. The email quote is a cheap shot, framing revolutionaries in Austin as if they never met with the organization Dobbs was a part of, and justifying the fact that people from New York met with him after he had already been exposed.
Proudly and arrogantly, the MCG state, “MCG has indeed met with all manner of opportunists, and will continue to do so for the elementary reason that the MCG intends to engage in politics.” As if this is worth bragging over. Should Maoists meet with DSA, PSL, etc. after they have proven themselves countless times not only in politics but in actions that they are counterrevolutionary organizations? MCG should dare to be bold and proclaim that they will meet with actual revolutionaries and line struggle over politics instead of claiming, in essence, that they will continue to meet with the revisionist heap of garbage that have already been politically, ideologically, and organizationally defeated.
With that being said, it is necessary to reveal the essence of MCG’s so-called “united front.” In conjunction with MCG’s distortion of the Party and the army, they have unsurprisingly managed to liquidate the question of the Front and eradicate it of its revolutionary content. It is here in which MCG utilizes the Kautskyite trick of substituting sophistry for dialectics, as Kautsky did when comparing the national wars of Marx’s time to justify the imperialist war. Here, MCG point their fingers like children at the fact that the CPC temporarily aligned with the KMT in order to justify their opportunism. As if meeting with an outright revisionist camp is similar to the war against Japanese aggression! Let us provide a reminder from the PCP of how they outline the United Front,
“Concretely, therefore, the united front is the unity of the revolutionary forces against counter-revolutionary forces in order to wage the struggle between revolution and counter-revolution, principally through people’s war, arms in hand.” (emphasis ours)
What we have here is not a meeting between revolutionary forces under a United Front, but instead a sought out ‘united front’ with revisionism, and not revolutionaries! This can only be understood as attempts of unity with counter-revolution, making it a united front against Maoists, a reactionary alliance.
The so-called “Maoist Communist” Group have proven themselves to be inept “Marxists”. We will not dwell on every question raised in their responses considering many were deflections from the heart of their revisionism. This has been clearly expressed in their revision of Lenin, in their distortion of the three instruments, and their attacks on the US Maoist movement, which only differs in form from the colossal heap of garbage that exists within the US.
*We will not dwell at length on Dobbs and his organizations considering they have already been thoroughly exposed by the now-concluded project Red Guards Austin. But it is necessary to address a claim from MCG, that Struggle Sessions “attempts to put some distance between itself and the formations of the past…” This distance is actual, not imaginary. The journal does not hold identical positions to these former projects, and is not composed of the same individuals. If they want to assert that it is a continuum then they must substantiate this, not us. We have been clear that we defend the former attempts for their revolutionary content, but do not support all of their views and positions.
Lenin. Revolution Teaches. 1905. Retrieved at https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/jul/26.htm
Lenin. Collapse of the Second International. 1915. Retrieved at http://www.marx2mao.com/Lenin/CSI15.html
Mao. Problems of War and Strategy. 1938. Retrieved at https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_12.htm
PCP. Develop the Growing People’s Protest. 1979. Retrieved at http://www.signalfire.org/2015/02/05/develop-the-growing-peoples-protest-1979/
PCP. General Political Line. 1988. Retrieved at https://gplpcp.wordpress.com/
PCP. Fundamental Documents. 1988. Retrieved at http://bannedthought.net/International/RIM/AWTW/1988-11/AWTW-1988-11-PCP-Docs.pdf
El Maoista. Cast Away the Illusions and Launch Into Fight! 2020. Retrieved at https://www.demvolkedienen.org/index.php/en/t-dokumente-en/3923-cast-away-the-illusions-and-launch-into-fight
MCG replies and Tweets as response for reference: