2020 began with reports from Maoist Road of a successful International preparatory meeting held in Italy in January before the lockdown.
Arguing for a method of unity-struggle-unity and against the spirit of faction and division, the PCm has striven through the Maoist Road sharing of information and campaigns and other avenues, for organizations “to arrive at the widest possible unity of the MLM movement”. [i]
There discussions were developed regarding the conditions, the need and possibility of holding a Conference grandly envisaged as a Unified International of Marxist Leninist Maoists of all countries.
The main organising sponsor the PCm Italy issued a message that spoke of
“The battle for the unity of the MLM communist movement, the struggle between the two lines within it, the definition of a common platform, the organized form with which to continue this work require, as we know, a prolonged work which demands preparatory meetings, new bilateral and multilateral meetings, as well as the exchange of documents, initiatives aimed at the masses, on the tortuous but luminous path of the realization of a Unified International Conference of the communist movement MLM that wins over the fragmentation, surpassing the effects of the collapse of the Rim and responds to the need to unify MLM on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, on the basis of a critical-self-critical assessment of the general experience of the RIM and other attempts to formation of an international organization.”
Previously the PCm had said “let’s work together for an International Conference of mlm parties and organisations in the world against revisionism, opportunism and pretty bourgeos leftism masked by ‘maoism’.” No names named this time.
Internet commentator, Harsh Thakor [ii] (coincidentally after interviewing exiled Philippine communist Jose Maria Sison) was not so circumspect arguing comrades must make a distinction between the positive practice of Communist Party of Peru (PCP) under Chairman Gonzalo and the most sectarian interpretation, naming Gonzaloists like RGA groups in America, some of which are now defunct , the German Committee Red Flag associated with Dem Volke Dienen website and those around Tjen Folket Media. He references Kenny Lake’s critical exploration of the debate around the universality of protracted people’s war (PPW) [iii], and the scathing criticism in Andy Belasario in PRISM blog, On the so-called University of Protracted People’s War and the “the dubious genius of a Gonzalo….his flip-flop from “Left” opportunism to Right opportunism, which has caused the people’s war to decline and nearly total defeat in Peru”. [iv]
Even before the enforced pause brought about by Covid 19, the conditions for convening the unified international conference have been absence with 2020 the year of alternative planning for separate developments on the unitary road in the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist tendencies.
Sison is involved in a big call for the new decade in what was set to be a year of competing “internationals”. Issued jointly at the end of December 2019, after months of discussions and exchanges between the International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organizations (ICOR) and the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), two international anti-imperialist formations, the organisations entered the fray inviting others to join them in part of a new global alliance: The Anti-Imperialist Anti-Fascist United Front (AIAFUF), or simply United Front. [v]
What is envisaged is that the United Front shall be a movement of allied organizations without democratic centralism and a costly and expensive apparatus, so not a new Comintern-type arrangement. A challenging timetable was set with the promise that “The Front will be launched before the end of June 2020.”
The problems of establishing and agreeing a general orientation involved in uniting on a common platform was illustrated in an article ‘Maoism as in itself: against the idealism of the “mainly Maoist” current’ from the Canadian PRC-RCP – the Quebec Continuator group – that lays into the Communist Party of Brazil (Red Fraction), Struggle Sessions group, the Maoist Communist Party in France (despite its ambivalence), and domestically swipes at “intellectual revisionist Joshua Moufawad-Paul”. Factional fighting and name calling are milestones on the road to demarcation but can the direction of travel be to a unitary destination? The conclusion in the reassuringly-named ISKRA is hard to reject:
“Currently, there is no, such a thing as an international Maoist movement per se. What exists are Maoist parties and organizations with more or less strong links between them, and in many cases without links at all. For a movement to exist, there must be unity, even if it is relative: common objectives, regular exchanges of experience, close collaboration and solid organizational links. If there is no unity at all, there is no movement. In history, the only time that an international Maoist movement actually existed was when the Internationalist Revolutionary Movement (RIM) was in place. Ironically, this experience, the partisans of the idealist tendency reject it under the pretext that the RIM defended a “disjointed and eclectic” conception of Maoism. The PCB (FR) declared last year that “in today’s world, unlike the founding or existence of the RIM, a revitalized international communist movement has flourished and developed”. This is a mind-blowing statement totally disconnected from the real world situation.” [vi]
Indeed dismissive of the whole engagement in the international project of communication, co-operation and co-ordination – they were never members of RIM – the Canadian group reflects a fundamentalist stance that
If we want Marxism to once again become a powerful weapon in the hands of the popular masses, we will have to put an end once and for all to literary leftism and petty-bourgeois pseudo-Maoism. That said, it is in the material world, and not in the world of ideas, that the idealist and postmodern currents will be swept away. It is through real practice, and not through an endless ideological struggle to reach the purest concepts, that the problem that these idealist currents represent will be resolved.
It is not likely they will be engaged in the debates and manoeuvres or overblown rhetoric on the road to establishing a durable structure for international relations with like-minded comrades. The advice from the Maoist era was clear: “the CPC, to its credit, refused a hegemonic role…and constantly drummed into overseas Maoists the need to think independently about their own conditions” [vii]
[ii] On the Theory of International Proletariat Military tactics of Mao and Chairman Gonzalo http://ottoswarroom.blogspot.com/2020/02/on-theory-of-international-proletariat.html February 12, 2020
[vii] Biel, Robert (2015) Eurocentrism and the Communist Movement. Montreal: Kersplebedeb p162.