(This article has an Norwegian version)
UPDATE January 15,2019: Struggle Sessions have made a reply on this article, which I again have commented.
Kommunistiska Föreningen i Sverige (The Communist Association in Sweden) has translated and posted the following (original German) text:
Correction January 3, 2019: I would like to clarify that the post was printed as a discussion post on the pages of KF and not as an editorial article.
(A little comment on this English translation: – The original article which my article is an reply to was originally written in German. It was then translated to English, and then again translated to Swedish. Unfortunately I don’t have the English translation, so the quotes are translated by me back to English again. It should not be fare from the original through all this translations, but it might not be perfect… and since I’m not an native English speaker – the rest of the text are probably no better).
I think this carries the mark of puritanism as well as have an serious ultra-left deviation. It seems like a trend in the past that several Maoist groups are trying to purify Maoism. It seems that they forget that the most brilliant with Lenin and Mao was their ability to apply and adapt Marxism to the reality they lived under. Marx and Engels did not primarily think of Russia and China when writing their theories. As little as Lenin and Stalin wrote for China.
Those who tried to mechanically use Marxism in Russia failed. The same applies to those who tried mechanically to use Marxism-Leninism in China.In fact, the author of the article argues in favor of mechanically introducing Gonzalo’s thinking in Germany. The Peruvians themselves wrote that Gonzalo’s thinking was mlm for Peruvian conditions, but the article writes:
“… but the basic condition is that we strictly apply the” three with “, as President Gonzalo taught us: Work with, live with and fight with the masses. Communists should live according to the needs of the revolution. Generally, comrades should live with the widest and deepest masses, sharing every aspect of the lives of the masses. Communists should have a personal production in the sector where they must develop their respective mass work. “
The reality in Germany, Sweden and Norway is quite different from Peru. The masses in Peru are on another level and are far more susceptible to communist theory and propaganda, then the case is with us. In Germany, Sweden and Norway, there is much longer between everyone who is receptive to being able to organize themselves. There are also fewer large industrial workplaces today in these countries – it is therefore not possible for everyone to come to a workplace with many employees. When you work with few people, the recruitment basis becomes too small. My experience is that the largest recruitment base is with proletarian youth and most of all with politically engaged youth. Work through progressive front organizations that attract a lot of youth is where it is easiest to recruit. Alternatively, talk to many proletarian youths. We must prioritize our forces so that we get the most out of them. Lenin was right when he wrote that it is unimportant whether students or workers are recruited to the Communist Party (in “What Is To Be Done?“) – the important thing is to build a most powerful Communist Party. The workplace is with other words rarely the place one should put most effort into recruiting new communists to the movement.
It gets extra difficult when the author also thinks:
Furthermore, we need professional revolutionaries who give their whole life to the party, to face the power created by a multitude of people to meet the people’s power, which serves the existing order professionally. Living simple and struggling hard is a principle that leads us. We do not need leisure “communists” or parties that are not parties of militants.
This is not an analysis of how Maoism uses the specific conditions in Germany, but expresses the desire to mechanically follow a theory adapted to Russia in 1901. Lenin himself adjusted the theory to the reality he lived in, and already in 1905 he favored major changes regarding the recruitment work for the party.
What is the consequence of a line to only build organization for professional militants in countries such as Germany, Sweden and Norway in 2019? The reality for us is that the time for most young communists is greatly reduced when they come into the establishment phase of work and children. In reality, most experienced cadres will have to choose between work and family towards continuing as organized communists. The result is that we will be left with a small group consisting of militant students, schoolchildren and unemployed people. Most likely, the organization will die out by itself due to lack of experience and too little recruitment related to the number that will disappear over time. It will be especially difficult if one is to combine the goal of being both a professional militant revolutionary and working in an ever-decreasing national industry. How many are there that will pass this narrow requirement?
What we need, however, is a sea of different people who contribute differently in building the party. We need the experienced comrades who no longer have the same amount of time or desire to join all kinds of militant actions. There are many tasks that need to be solved to build a party, and everyone does not have to be involved in everything. People are different – the party cannot be built, and the revolution cannot be led by a small group of militant youth with limited experience and insight into how the proletariat actually has it. In 1905, Lenin realized that the party had to relax the demands for admission to the party to get one big enough and strong enough party to lead the revolution.
Those who talk about “too much Peru”, “too much about other countries and too little about Germany” and even trying to use Liebknecht’s revolutionary defeatistic slogans “The main enemy is at home” to actually negate the proletarian internationalism are exactly that, demagogues and, as such, they are “the worst enemies of the working class” and it is the duty of all comrades to fight such criminals.
It is impossible to build a Communist party without doing mistakes in the process. It is impossible to correct mistakes without having a climate where people can criticize without being branded as “the worst enemies of the working class”. That the author here believes that comrades who criticize that there is too much angulation on foreign affairs at the expense of domestic issues should be branded in this way is an alarming signal. Even worse, this article is translated into several languages and spread like good Maoism. It does not make it any better for the author here that he tries to legitimize himself behind the fact that Lenin used such harsh words against actual demagogues in his day.
What does this have to do with Gonzalo?
This article is not one attack on Gonzalo. Gonzalo is a skilled Maoist theorist and the one who more than any other has summarize Maoism. This article is part of an combat of puritanical Ultra-left deviation spread by several MLM organizations labeled with Gonzalo’s banner. Ultra-left deviation is just as reactionary as right-wing deviation, and must therefore also be combated.
Ideological struggle is a good thing. Without it – we would never had any Maoism at all. Constructive critique, comments etc. are therefore warmly welcome!
4 thoughts on “Gonzalo and ultra-left deviation”
SS writes: “encouraging mass recruitment at the expense of ideology and security he has no qualms with objecting to being among the masses.” Both of this is wrong. I did not encourage mass recruitment – I was encouraging recruitment, and to apply the vanguard party theory to the reality you live in. If your way of working makes your organization smaller and smaller – then you got to see that you got an error which you must fix.
SS: “Having personal production in the sector within which one develops their work does not limit oneself to the factory; if one is organizing the women’s struggle one must be among working women, and if we are to organize working class students we must do so as students and from the outside both.”
I agree on this. But if you want to recruit f.x. students – you don’t have to bee an student your self.
SS: “…he mentions three imperialist countries and attempts to use the role of finance capital to argue that there is no worthy proletariat to organize…”
No I don’t. Your statement is false. Rest of your arguments about something I have not written, and doesn’t think.
SS: “While our German comrades speak from a position of real life organizing in their conditions, our Norwegian blogger simply is promoting his own personal opinion.”.
SS know perfectly well that I have many years of revolutionary experience in successfully building Maoist organization in Norway. I disagree with the leftist trend promoted by this German comrade, SS and others. This trend is making the organizations smaller and smaller. If this doesn’t change – soon there will be not much left of them to discuss with. I’m afraid this persons are more concerned about their political purity then about how to build a communist party. They are therefore happy with an organization which isn’t growing. Marxism must be used creatively on the reality you live in. You can’t just do exactly the same that worked many years ago in a completely different situation. Lenin and Mao are great examples on how to creatively apply Marxism to the reality you live in.
SS: “Lenin, far from opposing his early theories contained in What Is to Be Done, is speaking of the Party lagging behind the mass movement, a movement which already exists. He is not insisting that the Party be opened up to just anyone and accept a lower standard than that of professional revolutionary. Most importantly Lenin is speaking of the way in which professional revolutionaries lead the masses in existing mass struggle and train them to become members of the Party. ”
Lenin changed the theory because of changes in reality. SS tries to talk about something else, since they themselves strictly keeps dogmatically to what Lenin wrote in “What Is to Be Done?”. SS writes that I “Trying to copy Ajith, but distorting his work in the process”. So let’s here from Ajith himself:
“Did the later day international communist movement loose Lenin’s exemplary, dialectical, handling of the vanguard concept and organisational methods formulated by him? It would be far more profitable to pay attention to such differences rather than running after individual traits of leaders as Pearson does. Lenin was concerned about the dangers posed by universalising Bolshevik party statutes, regardless of time and place. In a report to the Communist International (Comintern), Lenin observed that its organisational principles have a strong Russian flavor, and doubted whether comrades from other countries would be able to grasp it properly (Report to the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, Volume 33, pages 415-432).”
Does SS “grasp it properly”?
SS: “Norway, Sweden, and Germany—the example countries given by our rightist—have no Communist Parties and are in reality making great strides in the reconstitution of their Parties. Reconstitution of these Parties is the principle task of the Maoists there. This is lost on our rightist who assumes that the legal status of these groups determines that they must, right now, develop broad parties which draw in masses who are decidedly less class conscious than those who were in daily rebellion in 1905 Russia”
Again: I don’t argue for “broad parties”. I argue for applying the vanguard party theory to our condition – as we have done in Norway successfully for many years. I’m proud of what we have done in Norway, and I worry about leftist mistakes making such great organizations as Tjen Folket smaller.
It’s hard and takes long time to build a communist party with educated cadres. It’s fast and easy to destroy it. Don’t take easily on it when your organization isn’t growing. Your ideology is of no value if it dosn’t help you build a communist party.
Otto’s War Room, A rebuttal to an article of the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan on Gonzalo Thought, https://ottoswarroom.blogspot.com/2018/11/a-rebuttal-to-article-of-communist.html