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International Communist League's relentless conviction despite its sectarian approach

By Harsh Thakor 

The Revolutionary Communist Party of Nepal should be saluted for formulating a most balanced and constructive analysis and critique of the International Communist League. Very similar to the analysis on the same subject by the CPI (Maoist). I also complement the International Communist League for giving a most lucid, comprehensive and objective reply to critique of the CPI (Maoist).
In this article I am presenting a critique of the formation of Communist International and Revolutionary Internationalist Movement and view of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Nepal. Still the Communist party of Nepal has adopted an erroneous evaluation in upholding the role and contribution of erstwhile Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, today. I am also making a brief appraisal of the reply of the ICL, to critique.
Quoting the Revolutionary CPN “the process of its formation, the organizational method and principle it has adopted, the ideological and political positions of the declaration, and the path of revolution it has pursued do not correctly grasp the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist principles. There are problems with militarist thinking in the document adopted by ICL. Instead of understanding the organization as a unity of opposites, the sectarian and monolithic thinking that entertains the unity of like-minded parties seems to prevail in the ICL. The opinion of our party is that the ideological and political line expressed in this manifesto cannot unite the dispersed MLM parties and thereby face the current challenges imposed by imperialism. Instead, it has split the movement and made it weaker.”

Formation of Communist International and RIM and views

I think that the Revolutionary Internationalist movement contributed to the setback of the Shining Path Movement and Nepal by launching attacks on Stalin and some of the fundamental Marxist Leninist Tenets. It was premature to form such an organisation with inadequate development of proletarian parties worldwide and the Communist Movement. Some of the most significant writings opposing the R.I.M. were of the late Comrade Harbhajan Sohi.
After the counter-revolution in China, and particularly after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the establishment of the Committee of RIM (CoRIM) was a bold move and befitting reply to the apologists of imperialism when they had attacked the communist movement from all angles’ However RIM Manifesto prepared by the Second International Conference held in 1984 and the document Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism adopted by the Second Extended Meeting of CoRIM held in 1993 betrayed the ideological and political crystallisation of the world communist movement at that time. The role played by the RIM at that time struck a blow to the people’s wars in Peru, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, and other countries and in building communist parties in several others. RIM was not established as a trustworthy Marxist-Leninist-Maoist international centre of the world proletariat among the revolutionary communists the world over.
The sectarian and authoritarian trend of RCP, USA, and the unhealthy contention that had developed among the chief leaders of the prominent parties in RIM, the role of the CoRIM weakened in the later period. The class and national capitulation of Prachanda and the post-Marxist deviation of Bob Avakian resulted in the undeclared dissolution of CoRIM in 2008. One must evaluate the un-marxist role the CoRIM had played in most parts of its existence.. The initiative to construct an international communist centre should be based on the synthesis of the overall experiences of the first, second, and third internationals, and the demise of the RIM.
We must note that the Chinese Communist Party never advocated the formation of an International learning the lessons of the experience under Stalin. Since the displacement of proletarian power in the C.C.P Socialist base was totally extinguished in the World. History records that despite the achievement of C.P.C under Mao, the party did not orient or head towards establishing he Communist International or establishing an International Organisation. Instead it stressed for the Communist Parties of the camp to apply he universal truths of Marxism-Leninism in the concrete situation of their country. It emphasized that other countries should not replicate the Chinese Experience in to-to but apply the Chinese experience in accordance to their own condition.
The main reason for the C.P.C’s stand was Imperialism was permeating through its local regimes new forms of neo-colonial rule and only a native communist party could adjust to such situations. An outside force could not comprehend the concrete reality. Thus imperative for political independence of each country’s communist party.
Chauvinistic tendencies may also germinate under Communist Parties .The more developed and advanced may behave chauvinistically and deliver big-brother treatment to the less developed or successful parties.
The victory of a revolution in a country under the leadership of a Communist Party indicates that certain crucial contemporary problems of he revolutionary movement have been resolved by it ,and thus the experience can be passed on to Communist Parties of other Countries. At present there is no such party in the World. The ideological political struggle against Opportunism within the revolutionary Camp is fierce and bitter in each country.
A dialectical process integrating of Communist Parties is required, with Mutual exchange imperative. Actual experiences should be shared, which would facilitate more developed forms of collective positions on issues and galvanising of more forces worldwide. Mutual Exchange and Common stands, bilaterally and laterally, and multilateral platforms on the basis of the general line are required.
Today in India and in other Countries the reorganization of he Communist Party is still in the rudimentary stage It is crucial to formulate and practice the correct line and establish its content with opportunism. In this process Communist revolutionaries have to be determined to achieve unity on the basis of resolving and achieving unanimity on various line questions in connection with the revolutionary practice of the masers of the Indian people.

On Violence

In an article, when Mao said "the omnipotence of war" is Marxist, he meant that violence is an integral part of Marxism but not more powerful than Marxism. By saying so, Mao has emphasized that violence is a necessary perquisite for revolution, universally applicable, and the role of war guided by Marxist principles in revolution is omnipotent. The way the ICL has projected subject matter brushes aside other related aspects .If the dividing l;ine between Marxism and revisionism is derived on basis whether one accepts the "omnipotence of war," Marxism is reduced to revolutionary violence. The revolutionary violence is an integral and decisive aspect of Marxism but not more powerful than Marxism.

Peoples War

Another subject of debate raised by ICL in the declaration is that of people's war. The way the ICL applies or interprets terminology people's war in its declaration is metaphysical. During the new democratic revolution in China, the form of violence contrived and applied by Mao was a protracted people's war, not merely a people's war. Some communist parties, including ICL, use the term people's war. Still none have yet explained and clarified whether it is the protracted people's war as defined by Mao or its improvised form that is relevant to the present context. The ICL declaration writes, "People’s War is a war of masses led by the Communist Party to conquer and defend the New Power for the proletariat." This statement denotes that all forms of violence that are applied in revolution are people's wars. It is not clear whether the People's War is a protracted people's war as defined and applied by Chairman Mao or distinct from it.
The lesson we have learned from Mao is that the protracted people's war undergoes three strategic stages: namely defensive, equilibrium, and offensive. In these three stages, the guerilla war, mobile war, and positional war, respectively play principal roles. Moreover, the base area is the backbone of the protracted people's war. In capitalist countries, the installation of science and technology and the information, communication, and transportation networks they have laid have blocked any possible inroads to establish the base areas.. Even in the semi/neo-colonial countries oppressed by imperialism, the protracted people's war cannot now be mechanically done as during the Chinese revolution. In this situation, the strategy of revolutionary violence in developed capitalist countries, where the centre of class struggle is the cities, and in oppressed countries, where the centre of revolution is the countryside, should both be formulated respecting the new objective conditions.
It has failed to explore what extent the two models of violence applied in the past revolutions ‒ protracted people's war and armed people's insurrection ‒ are an integral part of people's war or peoples revolution that the international communist movement, including ICL, is using now.
ICL declaration reads, "With the ongoing people's war in India, Peru, Turkey and the Philippines, and preparations for it in many other countries, a new great wave of world proletarian revolution has arisen in the world." This is a subjective analysis; nothing except a mechanical replication of Chairman Mao's 1962 statement, which said, "The next 50 to 100 years or so, as of today, will be a great epoch of radical change of the social system in the world." This analysis was possibly not even objective and correct when the Socialist Revolution and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China had shimmered a revolutionary spark around the world, and imperialism was weak.

Principal Contradiction

The correct analysis of the fundamental and principal contradictions of the world is one of the essential conditions for the development and success of the proletarian revolution. ICL has analysed the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations and people of the world as the principal contradiction. Our party believes that the ideological contradiction between capitalism and socialism will prevail so long as classes exist in society. Nevertheless, to analyse it as a fundamental contradiction in the present condition when no single socialist country exists in the world obliterates the objective reality. 

Analysis of Imperialism

However, there is a problem with the declaration on comprehending the relationship between the imperialist powers and the present international balance of power. There exists always a state of contention and collusion among the imperialist powers, in which the former is absolute, and the latter is relative. Imperialist powers collude with other forces to form temporary alliances and blocs to undermine their rivals. They confront each other to establish their monopoly and capture the natural resources and markets. In the present world, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea have formed a bloc against another bloc, the US-led NATO. Right in this context, the ICL declaration reads, "The imperialist dispute is absolute, and the collusion is relative. This determines the circumstantial and temporary character of the imperialist alliances; this is why one cannot speak about “imperialist blocks;” this is revisionism. Thus, the European Union is not a block, or an “European imperialism,” but an alliance of countries of Europe, under hegemony of Germany.” In their view, the concept of the circumstantial alliance between the imperialist powers is Marxist, the bloc is revisionist, and the European Union is not imperialism. This is an ecclectical or idealist analysis.
Again, the declaration reads, "On the side of the imperialist powers, Yankee imperialism is the sole hegemonic superpower. Russia is still an atomic superpower and there is a handful of second-tier imperialist powers." This analysis concludes that the US is the only enemy of the world proletarian revolution because it is the sole hegemonic superpower, and all others are not so because they are second-tier imperialists. Thus declaration does not mention the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing war between the US-led NATO and Russia in Ukrainian Land..
As a result of the unequal development of capitalism, the imperialist country that is weak today can become powerful tomorrow and vice versa. No imperialist power is number one forever, including the US. At present, the development of China is pushing the US behind in many respects. And another country may emerge as a superpower tomorrow. In this way, ICL's analysis of the current balance of power between the imperialist superpowers and their level of confrontation does not relate to the existing objective reality. It is a metaphysical understanding. .

Reply of ICL to CPI (Maoist) critique

In a reply the ICL asserted that it considers that the criticisms and evaluations made by the CPI (Maoist) of the General Political Line contained in the “Political Declaration and Principles” are relevant issues that need to be discussed and verified in an organized manner, respecting revolutionary proletarian methods and criteria, in the midst of a two-line-struggle. It expressed hope to discuss each of these issues in a bilateral, direct and organized manner. However it retorted that these differences do not represent any difference of ideological principles that formed the basis for the unity of the 15 parties and organizations at the founding of the International Communist League. It was convinced that the International Communist Movement, reunited under this red banner, will would proceed and give a mortal blow to imperialism, reaction and all revisionism and opportunism.
It advocated open struggle, two-line struggle, sincere and fraternal criticism and self-criticism as the only Marxist-Leninist-Maoist methods for resolving contradictions within the communist movement. It gave due weight to criticism and advice from sister Parties. and expressed readiness to engage in serious self-criticism when it proves necessary. In it’s view the statement of the CPI (Maoist) raises some questions and requires some clarifications on the Unified Maoist International Conference, the establishment of the ICL, and the unity of the ICM.
Quoting the ICL “In order to reach the right conclusions on any question, one must take the objective situation as a starting point. Not seeking the truth in the facts, following an idealistic method and thus substituting for the truth “the facts” we create in our minds or whose outcome is determined by ourselves in advance, as you can see, does not coincide with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is necessary to avoid following this style.” In order to reach the right conclusions on any question, one must take the objective situation as a starting point. Not seeking the truth in the facts, following an idealistic method and thus substituting for the truth “the facts” we create in our minds or whose outcome is determined by ourselves in advance, as you can see, does not coincide with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is necessary to avoid following this style. Especially if we are speaking in the name of the international proletariat and serving its interests. If there is a problem in the way we obtain information, then the conclusions we draw from that information will be faulty from the outset.
Whatever sectarian or diversionary approach and methods, I express admiration for ICL’s relentless conviction to uphold Communist method of practice, evaluation and self-criticism .I suggest all revolutionaries read their document answering the critique.
*Freelance journalist



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