Post-it note news items

  1. New Australian Communist Blog Founded

May 2022

The appearance of a new Australian Maoist blog, The Waterhole was welcomed by the Swiss publication, The Red Flag:

A new blog, under the title The Waterhole, has been founded by Australian Marxist-Leninist-Maoists. We call the attention of our readers to this new development in the international communist movement. In recent months, new anti-revisionist organisations and websites have been formed in Germany, the USA and Australia, which shows the advances being made in the struggle of the communists of the world against the dogmato-revisionist trend.

On their blog, the Australian colleagues write:

The Waterhole is a Communist blog. Its audience is the Australian revolutionary movement, and it aims to serve the interests of the multinational proletariat and the Aboriginal nations in their struggles against Australian imperialism. It is completely opposed to the revisionist parties that dominate the Australian revolutionary movement. We believe the primary task of the Communists in this country is to establish a Red Faction capable of analysing Australian society and preparing for the refounding of the Communist Party of Australia. We believe that only through a revolutionary war against Australian imperialism will the multinational proletariat, the Aboriginal nations, and all who are oppressed, ever achieve peace and freedom.

We whole-heartedly greet the efforts of the Australian colleagues to struggle for the formation of such a Red Faction and for the refounding of the Communist Party of Australia. We have no doubt that all the pebbles on the path of the Australian revolution shall be crushed and that our colleagues will fulfill their goals.

The blog of the Australian colleagues can be found here: https://thewaterholeaus.wordpress.com/

DEATH TO REVISIONISM! UNITE UNDER MAOISM!

Switzerland, May 2022
EDITORIAL BOARD THE RED FLAG

  • Long Live Red May Day

The Waterhole reproduced “Long Live Red May Day “ , the joint international declaration released by many Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties across the world stating ”It represents a positive development towards a new Communist International.” It was originally published by Maoist Road at maoistroad.blogspot.com

Signatories

Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist

Construction Committee of the Maoist Communist Party of Galicia

Maoist Communist Party – Italy

Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary Maoist)

Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan

Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan – Shola Jawid

El Kadehines Party – Tunisia

Maoist Revolutionary League – Sry Lanka

Revolutionary Communists (RK) Norway

Revolutionary Collective Britain (Formerly RVM)

Red Road Maoist Group of Iran

Communist Party of Switzerland (RedFraction)

 Poder Proletario Organización Partidaria MLM Colombia

 Maoist Kommunist Party Turkey/NorthKurdistan

  •  Split on American blog

With nothing posted at https://struggle-sessions.com  since December 2021, this explanation was provided via the Swiss-based internet site, The Red Flag:

The dogmato-revisionist, White-chauvinist and patriarchal clique in the USA, which stood behind the blog Struggle Sessions and which was exposed time and again by revolutionaries in the USA and abroad, has been expelled from the U.S. Maoist movement. This is according to a document which was sent to us by U.S. supporters of the international communist movement.

In the light of these new developments in the struggle against dogmato-revisionism in the USA, we want to draw the attention of our readers to a new organisation which has emerged in the United States as a result of the struggle against opportunism — the Proletarian Feminist Research Group. In a recent statement, this group declared:

The threat of bourgeois co-optation of the women’s struggle takes two main forms:

1. That of the liberal-reformist response to out-and-out reaction, which has escalated its attacks on the democratic rights of women and transgender people; the liberal-reformist trend sees the solution to the oppression of women and transgender people to be found within the system of bourgeois democracy.

2. That of the revisionism which dominates the International Communist Movement, and whose backwards lines have crept unopposed into the Maoist tendency itself; this trend wears a variety of masks, but always fails to present a dialectical materialist approach to the women’s struggle or provide a proletarian class line capable of leading it, and thereby liquidates the vanguard role of communist politics.

We consequently see the urgent need for a theoretical intervention to disambiguate the correct line for the women’s and transgender struggles […].

We whole-heartedly greet this new and important advance in the struggle for proletarian feminism in the U.S. communist movement, which is necessarily part of the struggle for refounding the Communist Party of the USA on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This is an important blow against the patriarchal-chauvinist, dogmato-revisionist line in the USA, which used to be represented by the clique behind Struggle Sessions, and which is a specifically U.S. reflection of the dogmato-revisionist trend at the world level.

The U.S. colleagues further write:

We consequently see the urgent need for a theoretical intervention to disambiguate the correct line for the women’s and transgender struggles, and to oppose the wrong ideas which inform the mechanical-materialist, chauvinistic and petit-bourgeois postmodernist positions which have been taken up by a wide set of so-called Maoist groupments across the ICM (and which are exemplified by the German and Swiss milieus, respectively). We are also aware that variations upon these lines have become commonplace within other sectors of the Maoist tendency here in the so-called United States, especially in those groups concentrated around the Struggle Sessions leadership and the eclectics of the former MCP-OC.

The effort made here to take up the struggle against the German expression of the dogmato-revisionist trend, which was first initiated by the Swiss communists through their expulsion of the «Committee Red Flag» revisionists from Switzerland in 2020, is noteworthy. However, the colleagues make a mistake when they refer to the Swiss communist movement as having «petit-bourgeois postmodernist positions» on the women’s and queer questions. This assertion should be substantiated and developed in the form of a Marxist polemic concerning the position paper of the Swiss communists on the question, «Marxism and Queer Emancipation», and the U.S. colleagues should not refer to an opinion piece written by an individual supporter of the Swiss communist movement, which does not necessarily represent the line in formation of our movement. We hope that the U.S. colleagues will follow these claims up with an actual debate, so that these important questions of the General Political Line of the international communist movement can be resolved through struggle, and not through empty accusations and rumour-mongering.

We would welcome a polemic by the U.S. colleagues. We are not afraid of being proven wrong in a debate over these important questions, which must be solved in a scientific manner if the world revolution is to win victory; neither should the American colleagues be afraid of being proven wrong by us. The only correct policy for achieving the reunification of the international communist movement is to «Let a thousand flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend!». The old revisionist clique which was expelled from the U.S. communist movement always used opportunist tactics, such as empty phrases about «secrecy», spreading rumours behind closed doors, and refusing to establish secure lines of communications with us, in order to avoid engaging with our viewpoints. It is now time for the American colleagues to prove that they have truly broken with dogmato-revisionism by giving up on this sectarian practice and openly engaging in the struggle between the two lines in the international communist movement.

The blog of the American colleagues from the Proletarian Feminist Research Group can be found here: https://proletarianfeministresearchgroup.wordpress.com/

DEATH TO REVISIONISM! UNITE UNDER MAOISM!

Switzerland, May 2022
EDITORIAL BOARD THE RED FLAG

  • Intervention on the question of uniting under maoism

The Red Flag EDITORIAL BOARD has made an intervention, posting in February 2022, “a polemic against the dogmato-revisionist strategy put forward in the document “A Proposal Concerning the Balance and General Line of the International Communist Movement”.

The October Road Is the Only Path of the Socialist Revolution in the Imperialist Countries – The Red Flag (the-red-flag.org)

Another contribution posted online was an article discussing Mao Zedong’s final contribution to marxism — his thesis that “the bourgeoisie is right in the Communist Party” – titled, Once Again, Yanan

  • Status of Red Flag

As a result of the struggle between two lines in our Editorial Board, in January 2022,The Red Flag website was formally adopted as the organ of the Communist Party of Switzerland (Red Faction). It began in March 2021 as a revolutionary online news site, journal and marxist-leninist-maoist archive. It claims to represents the most consistently revolutionary journalism in Switzerland, its name from The Red Flag, the organ of the Communist Party of Switzerland for French-speaking Switzerland. The same name has been used by Communist Parties all over the world — from the Communist Party of Germany through the Communist Party of China to the Communist Party of Peru — and it thus represents an international revolutionary tradition to which we are proud to belong.

  • Name change in Spain

The American Tribune of the People website sough to inform its readers of developments with the Spanish Workers Party (Marxist-Leninist) by summarize and contextualize a statement by the Maoist Communist Party (PCM, Partido Comunista Maoista) of the Spanish State on the Second Congress of the Workers Party (Marxist-Leninist). An unofficial translation of the full document by David Martinez is available on the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist online newspaper, Communist International, here: Spanish State: Chronicle of the II Congress of the Maoist Communist Party

In early December, the Workers’ Party (Marxist-Leninist) [Partido (Marxista-Leninista) de los Trabajadores], a revolutionary organization based in the Spanish State, held their Second Congress. In January, the group released a report of the event which celebrated the important fact that the organization had voted to adopt Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its guiding ideology and had taken the historic step of changing its name to the Maoist Communist Party (PCM, Partido Comunista Maoista).

The II Congress began by reading greetings from other proletarian organizations who sent their best wishes for a successful gathering, which the PCM appreciated, saying it “demonstrates the important work of international relations that we have been doing.”

The discussion of adopting Maoism, or Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, as the guiding ideology of the organization was the main debate of the Congress. Maoism is the third and higher stage of the proletarian ideology, developed since the time of Karl Marx, who theorized and defined Marxism in the mid 1800s through the rigorous study of philosophy, history, and human society, applying his ideas to the revolutionary movements of his era. Marxism was developed further by Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution and Chairman Mao, the leader of the Chinese Revolution.

PCM say the Congress conducted “important ideological work that would allow the two-line struggle to emerge and the militancy to express itself freely to show its opinions, to evaluate the work of the outgoing Central Committee and to mark the future of the organization.”

As part of this meeting, PCM studied and assessed the International Communist Movement and “the organizations that have claimed to be Maoist. We have been formed by studying the TKP/ML [Turkish Communist Party/Marxist-Leninist -Ed.], the CPI (Maoist) [Communist Party of India (Maoist), -Ed.], the Communist Party of the Philippines… and, especially, the Communist Party of Peru [PCP, Partido Comunista del Perú, -Ed.].”

The PCM highlighted that, “It was the PCP who initiated the first people’s war after the death of Chairman Mao Tse Tung, and it was Chairman Gonzalo who synthesized Maoism as the third, new and higher stage. Our Party, together with Maoism, has assumed the universally valid contributions of Chairman Gonzalo, considering that they form an indispensable part of the proletarian ideology.”

Chairman Gonzalo is the leader of the PCP who was killed by the Peruvian State under the orders of US imperialism last September, after 29 years of imprisonment and torture. Through his application of Chairman Mao’s lessons to the People’s War in Peru, Gonzalo led the work to define Maoism and fought for it to become the ideology of the International Communist Movement. The PCM’s adoption of Maoism is yet another advance for the ideology and for the World Proletarian Revolution, and a testament to Gonzalo’s immortal leadership.

The PCM focused on studying the question of Protracted People’s War, Mao’s proletarian military strategy developed during the Chinese Revolution. PCM said, “we have decided to assume the Protracted People’s War as the universal method for the seizure of power. We are fully aware that this is only a declaration of intentions, therefore we have to study and learn about its materialization and development in imperialist countries.”

The question of nations is an important one in the Spanish State, where multiple national struggles have been waged against Spanish Imperialism. At the Congress, PCM established in their analysis, “that in the Spanish State there are four nations, the Spanish, the Catalan, the Basque and the Galician. This leads us consistently to defend the right of self-determination of the nations.”

“The mass line has played a particularly relevant role in the Congress,” the PCM said. The mass line is another of Chairman Mao’s immense contributions to revolutionary theory, which establishes that the masses are the makers of history, and revolutionaries must draw their ideas from the masses, evaluate these ideas through their theory, then carry out and test them alongside the masses.

The PCM expressed it would follow the principle of the concentric construction of the three instruments of the revolution: the Party, the Army, and the United Front, which is an alliance of revolutionary and progressive organizations led by the Party. The PCM, taking up the contribution of Chairman Gonzalo, said this will be done with a “militarized Communist Party” at the center.

The PCM says that a key principle of its mass work will be to organize working women “on the oppression suffered by working women under capitalism, giving it a marked class character and a revolutionary commitment.”

While adopting the name of the Communist Party, the organization emphasized it could not really be considered a Communist Party at this stage, stating “we are a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist organization that is clear that it is not the vanguard Communist Party. Having this question clear, our Party fights for the reconstitution of the Communist Party of the Spanish State.”

To conclude, the PCM expressed their revolutionary optimism and readiness to take on their important tasks, quoting The Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Friedrich Engels, which states:

“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

“Proletarians of all countries, unite!”

  • Canadians sent greetings

Among the greetings to the Spanish congress were a Canadian ‘group’ the COMMUNIST WORKERS FRONT (ORGANIZING COMMITTEE). Born out of a split in the Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM), the Red Fraction of the RSM (the Greater Toronto Area and Vancouver sections) on the eve of May Day 2021, the Red Fraction announced its dissolution and the formation of the Communist Workers Front (Organizing Committee).

“We are an organization of workers from across Canada, uniting in struggle to build a Communist Workers Front that serves the reconstitution of the Communist Party of Canada for People’s War. We envision a mass front that welds the working class into a revolutionary force, mainly at the point of production and secondarily among the unemployed. We will make this a reality through creative application of the ideology of the working class: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism–Gonzalo Thought, principally Gonzalo Thought.”

Greetings to the Founding Congress of the Maoist Communist Party of the Spanish State

Late last year, the Communist Workers Front (Organizing Committee) sent a letter of greetings and congratulations to the newly founded Maoist Communist Party (PCM) of the Spanish State. The PCM was born at the 2nd Congress of the Workers’ (Marxist-Leninist) Party, held last December, marking an important advance in the struggle to reconstitute the great Communist Party of Spain. The Congress adopted Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the contributions of Chairman Gonzalo as the ideology of the organization, contributing another victory to the forward march of Maoism around the world. A new name was adopted for the organization, now known as the PCM. Today, in the spirit of internationalism on the eve of another red May Day celebrated by the proletariat of Spain and Canada alike, we are happy to publicize our letter to the Spanish comrades.

On behalf of the Communist Workers Front (Organizing Committee) [CWF(OC)], we wish to congratulate you comrades of the Workers’ (Marxist-Leninist) Party of Spain [P(ML)TE] for successfully convening your 2nd Congress. This Congress will undoubtedly mark a major milestone in the two-line struggle within your organization toward the reconstitution of the Communist Party of Spain.

The Unity of the Proletariat of Spain and Canada

We are honoured to have been asked to write a greeting toward this important event. We would like to open by remarking on the historical unity between the proletariat of Canada and Spain. In the 1930s, thousands of Communists, workers, and other progressives from around the world volunteered for the People’s War against fascism and the completion of the democratic revolution being waged by the Spanish proletariat. Among these, as many as two thousand would come from Canada, including Comrade Norman Bethune. The bulk of the volunteers from Canada would be organized into the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion as a part of the XV International Brigade. Of all the volunteers from Canada, at least 721 would be martyred, mingling the blood of the proletariat of Spain and Canada together in the fight against fascism as part of the world proletarian revolution. We greet your congress in the vein of this historical unity and with the hope of sparking two-line struggle between our two organizations as part of the process of reunifying the International Communist Movement and reconstituting the Communist International.

The Similar Development of the CWF(OC) and the P(ML)TE

The CWF(OC) and the P(ML)TE have a similar origin in the rebellion of the youth against revisionism. In Spain, the culmination of the organizational split from the various revisionist organizations was carried out by the Communists-in-formation of Spain in 2018, several years before our own, with the constitution of the Communist Youth and later the P(ML)TE.

On the part of the Communists-in-formation of Canada, this process culminated in mid-2021.1 Our organization has emerged out of the struggle against the former “Revolutionary Communist Party” (RCP) led by the liquidator Joshua Moufawad-Paul who attempted to strangle the revolutionary line in Canada that had been developing for years among rank-and-file members of the “RCP” and the “Revolutionary Student Movement”.2

Having gone through a similar process in our formation as the P(ML)TE, we recognize the immense struggle that has been waged internally to consolidate yourselves ideologically and politically in order to break with revisionism on an organizational level. This process is especially important today as we are faced with the general counter-revolutionary offensive (GCRO) of imperialism, revisionism, and reaction that tries to liquidate Marxism and prevent the outbreak of the new great wave of world revolution. The formation of the P(ML)TE and the convening of its second congress around the question of Maoism has already dealt a major blow to the GCRO.

This congress is especially important as it concerns the adoption of Maoism and the universally valid contributions of Chairman Gonzalo by the P(ML)TE. The successful adoption of this ideological line will further consolidate unity within the international communist movement. In 1982, the Communist Party of Peru began the campaign for Maoism. Its purpose was to place Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism as the sole command and guide of the world proletarian revolution (WPR). This campaign has been met across the world and has seen the start of the process of constituting and reconstituting militarized Communist Parties for People’s War and the development of the revolution under this ideological line where it has already been initiated. Internationally, this campaign has seen the deepening of two-line struggle toward the unified Maoist international conference and the reconstitution of a militarized Communist International that will lead the WPR to its final victory. By convening a congress with Maoism as its centre of discussion, the campaign for Maoism has been given new strength in Spain and by extension the campaign is strengthened internationally.

Since 1982, the international proletariat have more and more armed themselves with Maoism and applied it in class struggle and two-line struggle producing new lessons. The most important among these experiences has been the People’s War in Peru. The Communist Party of Peru under the great leadership of Chairman Gonzalo synthesised Maoism as the third, new, and higher stage of Marxism and applied it to the concrete conditions of Peru producing Gonzalo Thought. While Gonzalo Thought was originally synthesised in and for the concrete conditions of Peru, it has been shown to contain many universally valid and indispensable contributions such as the militarization of the Communist Parties, Guiding Thought, Unified People’s War, etc. The importance of these contributions have been seen in the initiation and development of the People’s War in Nepal, up to Prachanda’s liquidation, as well as in the driving role they are playing in the international unity of Maoists and in the constitution and reconstitution of the Communist Parties of the world. This growing importance of Gonzalo Thought has been summarized by the Communist Party of Ecuador – Red Sun (PCE-SR) as follows:

We are principally Maoists because we consider that we are entering a stage of inflection and leap, where in countries, particularly in the third world, where the weight of Gonzalo Thought is ceasing to be incidental and becoming decisive in politics and ideology.3

We agree with this assessment by the PCE-SR completely and hope to wage further two-line struggle with the P(ML)TE around the question of the universally valid contributions of Chairman Gonzalo, which we hold must be understood today as Marxism-Leninism-Maoism–Gonzalo Thought, principally Gonzalo Thought.

It is important to note that the universally valid contributions of Chairman Gonzalo are nothing new to Spain and can be seen as early as 1987. The Communist Party of Spain (PCE) was one of the first Parties in the world to adopt Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism as their ideological basis. The PCE would even sign a joint statement with the Communist Party of Peru upholding key contributions of Chairman Gonzalo such as the militarisation of the Communist Party. We are confident that the proletariat of Spain will seize upon this great legacy and develop it with the reconstitution of a powerful militarised Communist Party guided by MLM-GT, the Guiding Thought of the Spanish Revolution and initiate People’s War in Spain yet again.


  1. Communist Workers Front (Organizing Committee). “Destroy the Old and Build the New with Gonzalo Thought as Our Weapon!” 30 April 2021.
  2. Communist Workers Front (Organizing Committee). “Documents from the Split in the Revolutionary Student Movement.”
  3. Communist Party of Ecuador – Red Sun. “Some Comments on the Document ‘On Maoism Itself’ of the RCP of Canada.” Unofficial English translation by Struggle Sessions, 5 October 2020. Also available in Spanish.

Published May 11, 2022

  • Demise of Canadian PCR

Without fanfare or much explanation the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada, founded as a party in Quebec in 2006, announced its demise last year. The party, supported by J. Moufawad-Paul, suffered an internal split in 2017, resulting in two competing factions: the PCR-RCP (Central Committee) and the PCR-RCP (Historical Direction). The PCR-RCP (Central Committee) retained control over fronts such as the Revolutionary Student Movement (that also split), as well as the rest of the party membership. It later set up a new website, leading to two competing websites of similar names. The PCR-RCP (Central Committee) announced its dissolution on November 5, 2021.

  • Amongst polemical maoist reflections there has been
  1.  Kenny Lake of the US journal  Kites  surveys and the limitations of a variety of political lines adopted in America by those seeking social change. His observations on Pac-man politics  compliments an earlier polemic on Tin Man Maoism  .
  2. These snappy titles are in vogue – Canadian blog M-L-M Mayhem!  used Straw Personing Maoism. Its true that in the imperialist metropoles Maoism still must prove itself and in Critique of Maoist Reason JMP indicate the heterogeneity within Maoism and issues that indeed needed to be worked out, so he is rightly miffed when supposedly critiqued when “that requires actually reading the source material you are claiming to critique rather than represent them through second and third hand sources, filling in the blanks as you go.” JMP’s text is published by Foreign Language Press, a MLM publishing enterprise https://foreignlanguages.press
  • Another split, a new Nepalese party formed

In Nepal, the fractious communist movement saw a  New Party Formed From Split In Chand Led CPN .

 Kathmandu, May 9, 2022:The Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) has split formally with a dissident leader of the party, Dharmendra Bastola forming a separate party named the CPN (Majority), accusing that the “Chand-led faction is getting stuck in the quagmire of parliamentary politics.” According to Bastola, the new party was formed after “rejecting the conspiracy of some of the party’s central members” to trap the party in the parliamentary system by contesting the local polls from the UML’s election symbol.

Bastola said that the new strategy of his party was to complete the scientific socialist revolution and by carrying forward the slogan of prosperity and independence of the country.

“After the Biplav [Chand]-led faction was tempted to take some central members to the polls under the UML symbol, we decided to form a new party by continuing the goal of completing the democratic revolution,” Bastola said.

more than an internet thing

Mayday 2022 saw a return to the streets in London, with assembly at Clerkenwell Green for now traditional march and rally in tourist town, Trafalgar Square. The London May Day organising Committee set the slogans

FOR TRADE UNION RIGHTS – HUMAN RIGHTS

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

FIGHT AUSTERITY – FIGHT RACISM

As the Morning Star describes it “the one day of the year that celebrates workers’ achievements and battles.”

Leading up to this Mayday, confined to isolated bed rest by Covid inflection – so much for it being the tailend of the pandemic – thoughts turned to what is needed for the future.

Research note:  More than an Internet thing

Ever since 2008, there has been attempts to stimulate interest in creating an appropriate UK Marxist Leninist Maoist organisation to move forward. This tenacious fifteen years of encouragement and support to re-spark organised Maoism in Britain has involved the same few activists, either veterans of the Maoist movement or new young converts, with the fraternal internationalist aid of likeminded co thinkers.

Back in December 2008, an evening meeting at Conway Hall London was convened to address the question of «The Present International and National situations and the tasks of creating a revolutionary communist party in Britain».

P.S.

Revolutionary Collective Britain (Formerly RVM) signed May Day Joint Declaration, Long Live Red May Day!

Literature List: UK Anti-Revisionist Material

The pdf shared is not a catalogue of British-related material drawn from the online archive provided by the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line.

It contains other material produced around, and within the anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist movement, and a listing or related material that provides background reference information to that movement without being an exhaustive bibliographical guide (or for bibliophiles, a checklist).

 However, even given those limitation it provides a signpost to the literature produced, and a springboard for any research on the origins and developments within Britain’s anti-revisionist movement from the 1960 to the new century.

Literature List

The Passing of Chairman Gonzalo

  READINGS    The Passing of Chairman Gonzalo 
  

 The death of Chairman Gonzalo in the high security centre of the Callao Naval Base was always the intended outcome of the Peruvian state. His imprisonment, and three separate trials, for 29 years was envisioned both to diminish his influence and serve as a warning to any who took up arms in resistance with the intention of creating a better society. In a real sense, both objectives failed. The death of a revolutionary doesn’t kill the revolution, and the drive for a just society is created in the lived experience of those striving for change.

The response to the announcement of his death saw the usual life story obituaries in the mainstream media and different narratives from the communist press. There were contrasting perspective of the revolutionary achievements of Chairman Gonzalo among the tributes and homage paid to the leader of the decade long People’s War that begun in the countryside and swept into the capital before it strength diminished with his capture in 1992.

He was more than just a provincial academic, a Professor of Philosophy, who initiated an armed revolutionary struggle, a protracted people’s war, which he later saw as launched at the ebbing of the global revolutionary wave. The conduct of that struggle divides opinion over some of it features and the emphasis drawn by others seeking to establish the lessons of the revolution. His arrest did materially affect the course of the struggle, in the complexity of revolution remaining a symbol for some and an inspiration for a new tact for others. There is an opinion, voiced in the Kites journal, that

“Since Gonzalo was held in isolation in Peruvian prisons and denied contact with the outside world, it is impossible to know for certain what his political views and state of mind were since his capture. His death now means that we will likely never know. Moreover, while revolutions can take great inspiration and even strategic guidance from revolutionary leaders who have been imprisoned, revolutions can never be led from inside a prison cell for obvious reasons.”

 Regardless of the judgement on his place in history, Chairman Gonzalo – party name of Abimael Guzmán, (1934-2021) Maoist guerrilla leader – contributed to the new democratic revolution of Peru, the revolutionary internationalist movement and in holding high the banner of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.

These readings from across the spectrum of reaction to the passing of Chairman Gonzalo reflects the contentions that is less about the person and more about the political actor, thinker and leader.

El Pueblo newspaper ,Chile:

September 24 – International Day of Actions in honor of Chairman Gonzalo

People of the world are not taking Chairman Gonzalo’s death lying down (Harsh Thakor)

Multi-party statement: Eternal Glory to President Gonzalo!

Editorial Note: Gonzalo Thought Development of Maoism

Ecuador: Honor and Eternal Glory to President Gonzalo

Declaration of Red Aid International regarding the Death of Chairman Gonzalo

Statement on The Death Of Dr Abimael Guzman Reynoso  | Marco Valbuena | Chief Information Officer | Communist Party Of The Philippines. September 12, 2021

Red Homage to Comrade Abimael Guzman (Gonzalo), Founder Leader and Former Chairman of Communist Party of Peru!

Issued by Abhay, Spokesperson for Central Committee Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Chairman Gonzalo’s Legacy of Steadfast Revolutionary Principle and Strategic Innovations

Posted by the North American Kites Journal September 17, 2021

Declaration of Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan (CMPA) On occasion of death of chairman Gonzalo the Peruvian Communist Party’s leader

M-L-M MAYHEM! Marxist-Leninist-Maoist reflections

Obituary: Chairman Gonzalo September 12, 2021

Belgium MLM Center, PCF (mlm): Gonzalo, the great commentator of Maoism

American blogger S J Otto provided links to contributions gleaned from the internet

A disreputable article about the death of Chairman Gonzalo

View of Simon Strong author of Shining Path: Terror and Revolution in Peru

The Confessions of a British Senderologist

Bitácora Team (ML). The outcome of Chairman Gonzalo and Sendero Luminoso; another Maoist myth hitting rock bottom

Research note: Indonesian exile in Tirana, Beijing, Moscow


Draws on material curated by Jürgen Schröder  at the mao-project website, the core information provided in the Wikepedia article, Indonesian Communist Exiles in Albania (2021) and that in an article by Prabono Hari Putranto,  API: An Indonesian Journal of the late 1960s–1970s from Albania . Other sources acknowledged in text. Further documentation available at the Indonesia section of Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line  https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/indonesia/index.htm    e.gJustus Maria Van der Kroef (June 1977). The Indonesian Maoists: doctrines and perspectives. School of Law, University of Maryland.


In Indonesia, in September 1965 the rumours of a coup d’etat being organized by the Council of Generals, indicate that the Army generals will move on October 5, 1965, the national celebration day of Defense.

The so-called September 30th movement against the coup plans of the generals is formed by the communists, under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Untung, the commander of the 3rd Sukarnos’ bodyguard. It goes public with a press release and tries to eliminate approximately 60 generals, but only succeeds with six, rather unimportant ones. Progressive officers with the support of the PKI want to eliminate the ‘Against the People’ side of state power, which leads to a right-wing coup. The PKI then claimed that Sukarno would not allow all communists to be killed. In reality, the chairman of the PKI, D.N. Aidit, Lukman and other leaders of the PKI and the trade unions were amongst those brutally murdered in widespread massacres unleashed by the military.


The Indonesian Tribune published in its January issue (No.3) the self-criticism adopted by the Political Bureau of the Cen­tral Committee of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in September 1966. The self-criticism entitled “Build the PKI Along the Marxist-Leninist Line to Lead the People’s Democratic Revolution in Indonesia”, says that the disaster which has caused such serious losses to the PKI and the revolutionary move­ment of the Indonesian people after the outbreak and the defeat of the September 30th Movement has lifted up the curtain which for a long period has hidden the grave weaknesses of the PKI.

An editorial in Hongqi [Red Flag], No.11, 1967, People of Indonesia, Unite and Fight to Overthrow the Fascist ­Regime, commented

“… the Political Bureau of the In­donesian Communist Party sums up the experience and lessons of the Party in leading the Indonesian people’s revolutionary struggle, criticises the right opportunist errors committed by the leadership of the Party in the past, points out the road for the Indonesian revolution, and lays down the principles for future struggle.” [i]

The Banned Thought website, notes that the PKI self-criticism, republished by Beijing’s FLP in a pamphlet “People of Indonesia, Unite and Fight to Overthrow the Fascist Regime”, (Peking: FLP, 1968), was co-authored by Sudisman, (the fourth-ranking PKI leader before October 1963) assumed the party’s leadership and led the Political Bureau after the murder of the Aidit by the Army during the 1965 massacres.

“Apparently the full document (which is not included in the pamphlet from China) specifically blames Aidit for the revisionist road after 1951 and the resulting catastrophe. But the ideological thrust of the self-criticism is against the so-called Bandung theses, a revisionist line that led to uncritical support of Sukarno among other things. Sudisman himself was arrested by the fascist regime in December 1966, put through a show-trial in 1967-68, and then executed. This PKI self-criticism was publicized internationally, especially by another Political Bureau member, Jusuf Adjitorop, who was based in Beijing after 1965.”

He was in China when the 1965 massacre occurred part of a sizeable delegation that had travelled to the People’s Republic of China to participate in the anniversary celebration of the Chinese Revolution. Others had left Indonesia to study in Eastern Europe, including Albania. Despite the terror inside Indonesia, the party’s skeleton apparatus continued to function in exile.

The PKI self-criticism that emerged from militants in China was distributed internationally, this was publicised in broad terms by oversea ML organisations in the Federal republic of Germany, the  KPD / ML-ZK, summarised the new program as the three banners:


– Building a ML Party free from subjectivism, opportunism and revisionism,
– armed agrarian revolutionary struggle of the people under the leadership of the party and
– revolutionary united front against feudalism, bureaucratic imperialism, based on the class alliance of the workers with the poor peasants under the leadership of the party.  [ii]

In the aftermath of the massacres, revisionist lies and their defamation of the People’s Republic of China was evident in  their portrayal of the counterrevolutionary coup d’état in Indonesia in 1965. In their historical falsification, they claimed that it was the Mao Tse-tung ideas that disarmed the Indonesian Communist Party and then plunged it into a coup adventure. “The tragic consequences of the events of September 30th, which were inspired by the ‘ideas of Mao tse-tung’, showed the damage that Beijing’s adventurous policies can do to the national liberation movement.”

German Maoists protested that:

“The social-imperialists are now unscrupulously twisting the facts and presenting the desperate attempt by progressive sections of the army under Lieutenant Colonel Untung to fend off the counterrevolutionary coup as the real cause of the counterrevolution. We recognize the core of this argument again: whoever leads the fight against fascism is calling fascism on the scene. Anyone who aggressively fights imperialism must reckon with its annihilation by imperialism.

The lesson: If the Communist Party does not prepare itself and the people in good time and on all sides for the path of armed struggle, it will subject the masses to imperialist rule. The Indonesian example shows who is going this way. The lesson that the Indonesian CP itself has drawn from its defeat is just as clear: Maintaining friendship with the modern revisionists’ means giving up the resolute struggle against imperialism. ” [iii]

In addition there was criticism of the Soviet Union’s stance of maintaining a normal and political trading relationship (in much the manner China was criticised for in relation to the military coup in Chile in 1973). The Communist League drew a direct connection when in February 1974, the KB publishes the third revised edition of the brochure “Chile from ‘peaceful transition’ to fascist military dictatorship” with the article “How the Indonesian CP criticized its mistakes after the fascist military coup in 1965” [iv]

 Very quickly a union delegation from the SU arrives in Indonesia in January 1967 “to exchange views on common interests” in the aftermath of the military smashing the PKI’s trade union organisation. The ‘Komsomolskaja Pravda’ in an article on Indonesia (in March 1967 1967) argued , it is early to judge the policies of the new Indonesian government, but if the current leaders see to it that the country does not fall under imperialist influence, Indonesia deserves a leading place in the modern world. “

Following the massacres of half a million people, members and sympathisers of the Partai Komunis Indonesia/Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) by Indonesian military and civilian allies in 1965-6, those communists and progressives aboard wisely stay there avoiding the murderous repression of the Suharto regime that saw between 600,000 and 750,000 people were imprisoned.

For exiled members and sympathizers [v] of the pro-Chinese Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) there was a dilemma of where they should be based to rebuild the opposition to the military regime. Beijing was an option rejected as the dominant view was that neither the Chinese government nor the PKI wished for the party would be perceived as too closely linked to China. The seemingly unlikely choice of the Albanian capital Tirana offered a number of positive possibilities. It was a friendly environment for the PKI who had opted not to condemn the Albanian party at the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1961.  The PKI could operate in a supportive political environment, indeed In March 1967 Radio Tirana  broadcasts in Indonesian twice daily. (Radio Tirana discontinued its Indonesian broadcasts in 1991).

Geographically Albania was close to other centres of exiled Indonesian student activists across Eastern Europe. In the early 1960s, scholarships had been offered to Indonesians to study in countries such as Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, the Soviet Union and Hungary and, by September 1965, hundreds of Indonesian students had received scholarships to study in the Eastern bloc.

Tirana was already a destination for Indonesia party members studying and working in the capital. A political presence made clear at the 5th congress of the Party of Labour of Albania (PPSh) in November 1966. The PKI delegation at the congress was led by Jusuf Adjitorop, a candidate member of the PKI politburo before the coup.  He survived the purge of PKI by being in China for medical treatment prior to the coup.

In his address to the Albanian party congress, Adjitorop called for the reconstruction of PKI under the banner of Marxism–Leninism and Mao Tse-Tung Thought, calling for protracted armed struggle of the peasantry to overthrow the rule of Suharto and Nasution. [vi]

According to Prof. Justus van der Kroef there were about forty Indonesian communists staying in Tirana in the early 1970s, around half of them organized in the Persatuan Peladjar Indonesia (‘Indonesian Students Association’). The Tirana-based group were assumed to act as spokespersons of the party. [vii]

An English-language bimonthly journal, Indonesian Tribune, was issued from Tirana. The publishing house of Indonesian Tribune was called Indonesia Progresif (‘Indonesian Progressive’). The Persatuan Peladjar Indonesia (‘Indonesian Students Association’) in Albania published the journal Api Pemuda Indonesia (‘Flame of Indonesian Youth’).

Swie Siauw Poh and Ernest Pinontoean were key organizers of the Tirana group. The writer Chalik Hamid, who had travelled to Albania to study journalism before the coup, was one of the members of the group that produced Indonesian Tribune and Api Pemuda Indonesia and worked as translator for Radio Tirana. He stayed in Albania until 1989.

The account given  to journalist Martin Aleida who interviewed Chalik Hamid, in Tirana,  had API  started by Anwar Dharma, an ex-correspondent of the PKI’s  Harian Rakjat (People’s Daily) in Moscow who had  reported on his unwarranted expulsion by the Soviet authorities due to his critical views towards them (Dharma 1966). Anwar Dharma then moved to China and was instructed by the Delegation of the Indonesian Communist Party in Beijing to go to Albania to start there a publication in Indonesian and in English. After his arrival in Tirana, Anwar Dharma also initiated an Indonesian programme for Radio Tirana. (Chalik Hamid was one of Anwar Dharma’s first contact persons in Tirana, and it was him who taught Dharma to speak Albanian).

Chalik Hamid on his role in Albania suggested it is not entirely correct to say that it was an official command from the PKI as the party was already disbanded. The PKI’s remnants in Beijing at that time, even in the publications of API never called themselves as PKI but as Delegasi CC PKI (‘The Delegation of CC PKI’)  [viii]

“API – Api Pemuda Indonesia” (‘Flames of Indonesian Youth’) had two different editions of API were issued, one in the Indonesian language, the other in English and/or French, both with differing contents and The Indonesian version is published monthly, but the English/French edition bi-monthly.

Indonesian Tribune and Api Pemuda Indonesia were the two main organs of the pro-Chinese PKI. These publications were illegal inside Indonesia, and one could be arrested for possessing a copy

The political ideology of API which was already stated on the title page Marxisme – Leninisme – FMTT is discussed in every issue of API. There is a section called Belajar Marxisme – Leninisme – Fikiran Mao Tje Tung (‘Learning about Marxism – Leninism – Thoughts of Mao’) which usually contains translated works of Marx, Lenin or Mao and sometimes also an analysis of their works.

 The magazine had a section called Komentar Radio Tirana (‘Commentaries of Radio Tirana’) which provided insights about some particular issues which were trending at that time. In March 1967 Radio Tirana started to broadcast in Indonesian twice a day, therefore it seems likely that this section was a highlight of the broadcasting materials of every month. 

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

Tirana was also convenient for communication with solidarity organizations operating in Western Europe. For example, in the Federal Republic of Germany, solidarity is practiced at universities, for example in Munich (1967/ 1968), later also in Tübingen (1969) and in Heidelberg (1969),

A group, the Indonesia Working Group, in Cologne were active and  Indonesians in Berlin regularly published Mengabdi Rakyat as a bulletin to oppose the New Order regime. [ix] The Indonesian Revolutionary Group (GRI), from Berlin, were students organising in the Federal republic of Germany.

Representatives of the Indonesian youth group in the FRG built working relationship with local German the Marxist-Leninist  K-Groups, Rote Fahne reports their presence In Cologne when the KPD held a major rally at the end of its 1st party congress (June 26, 1974) with 6,000 people.

Solidarity activities in protest to the two-day visit of the Indonesian President Suharto to the Federal Republic of Germany in September 1970 were organised by exiled Indonesians, their supporters and German Maoists such as the KPD / ML local group Frankfurt call for a demonstration , an Indonesia Teach In was organised  in Bonn and awareness raising material published such as  at the University of Tübingen were the student Marxist-Leninist groups distributed an article “The Indonesian people in the anti-fascist struggle “. [x]

The KPD / ML carried an article in Roter Morgen  on “10 years of fascist dictatorship in Indonesia. Heroic armed struggle of the Indonesian communists”. [xi]

Next door Indonesians in the Netherlands, partly due to its past colonial links to the region, had established communities and developed solidarity networks that saw the Tirana produced API distributed by mail to Indonesia; safer to post from non-Eastern bloc states , such as the Netherlands. Daraini’s study refers to several Dutch organizations: Indoc, and an organization initiated by the founder of Indonesian Studies in the Netherlands, Professor Wim Wertheim I (1907-1998) to support the struggle of human rights’ issues in Indonesia under the governance of New Order,    Komitee Indonesië, a solidarity group with the oppressed and democracy activists in Indonesia, and PPI Amsterdam. The latter student organization was renowned for being progressive in comparison with another, similar student organization. PPI Amsterdam at that time published a bulletin called Berita Indonesia (Indonesian News) distributed to various places including Australia and the USA.

Solidarity activities around Indonesia from 1975 became conflated with campaigning on the issue Indonesian aggression in East Timor e.g. Tapol in the UK promoting human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia, established in 1973 by Carmel Budiardjo, a political prisoner in Indonesia . [xii]

June 1976 saw a three-day international conference on East Timor and Indonesia begins in Bonn: “The organizers were the Journal of Contemporary Asia (Stockholm / London) and the Bonn Committee for the Independence of East Timor.”  [xiii]

The experience of exile elsewhere _ Beijing

The exile community in China was quite diverse and consisted of PKI members and sympathisers, students who had been studying in the Eastern bloc and in the Soviet Union, and pro-Sukarno people. On 30 September 1965, there happened to be a 500-strong Indonesian delegation in China for celebrations of China’s national day, 1 October, which marked the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Chinese Revolution.

Some members of this politically diverse delegation stayed in China but not all. The Beijing contingent grew as many PKI members left the Soviet Union for China due to splits inside the PKI. In China, a separate party leadership emerged, known as the Delegation of the Indonesian Communist Party. Mirroring Sino-Soviet rivalries, the Delegation urged Indonesian leftists in the USSR to join them in China. Hundreds did so. These rival factions were separated by mutual distrust until they each disbanded toward the close of the cold war.

“There were debates among party members about ‘what had gone wrong’ with the PKI, including questions about why there had been no resistance to the military purges. Older PKI members from the pre- Aidit period (before 1951) argued that the party leadership had placed too much trust in President Sukarno and that, by operating wholly as a legal party, the leadership had exposed the membership to grave dangers of political repression. Debates within the exile community in China exposed the inter-generational differences in political experience and these were testament to the growth and development of the PKI as a mass party between 1951 and 1965. The situation led to dissatisfaction among the exiles and added to the uncertainty of their stay in China.”  [xiv]

Taomo Zhou’s study [xv] looked at this issue.

For  members of the Indonesian and Filipino Communist Parties living in China during the Cultural Revolution, political upheavals in their home countries—the September Thirtieth Movement in Indonesia in 1965 and the Plaza Miranda Bombing in Manila in 1972—turned their originally temporary travels abroad into long-term exiles. The rise of anti-communist, authoritarian regimes led respectively by Suharto and Marcos made it unsafe for these exiles to go back and stranded them indefinitely in another land.

The foreign policy pivot at the start of the Seventies saw the 1972 Sino-US rapprochement, and China redirected its foreign policies and retracted its support for foreign revolutionary forces. As China sought normalization of diplomatic relations with Suharto’s Indonesia and Marcos’ Philippines, the exiles’ very existence became an embarrassment to Beijing.

The Chinese government moved them in the early 1970s from Beijing to Nanchang, 1250 km away, the provincial capital of the landlocked Jiangxi in southeast China. Taomo Zhou observed that as for the exiles, many had left for Western countries by the early 1980s. The Indonesians who stayed became naturalized Chinese citizens and some even transformed themselves into devoted advocates for Deng Xiaoping’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

Living in Moscow

David Hill has explored the phenomenon of Indonesians living in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) when the military regime came to power in their homeland. [xvi] Moscow was a popular destination for Indonesian students in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the Soekarno regime pursued both socialism and close ties with the Soviet Union.  By mid-1965 when General Suharto seized power in the country and began his purges on communists, several thousand Indonesian students were enrolled in various courses in Soviet universities.

With the rise in Jakarta’s New Order under Major-General Suharto after  October 1965 saw thousands of Indonesians abroad effectively isolated. Faced with detention or execution if they returned home, Indonesian leftists and other dissidents became unwilling exiles. Several thousand Indonesians were then studying in the USSR, where they were one of the largest foreign nationalities in Soviet universities and military academies.

  After the 1965–66 purges in the Soviet Union, as in the Indonesian Students Association in Czechoslovakia (Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia, PPI) there was a split between the pro- and anti-Suharto camps. Those ideologically inclined decided to move to China. The most influential grouping of Indonesians who remained in Moscow after 1965 was known as the Overseas Committee of the Indonesian Communist Party. They echoed the Soviet positions, calling  the KPI line before the coup on September 30, 1965, the Chinese line and advocated the united front with Sukarno and Suharto.   Around 2,000 choose to stay in the Soviet Union. Revisionist supporting Indonesian exiles in Moscow published a Russian-Bahasa Indonesia journal in the 1970s titled OPI, an abbreviation of the organization’s title Organisasi Pemuda Indonesia. The journal focussed on Indonesian politics and the role of young people.

 There were fragments elsewhere and Vannessa Hearman writes of “The last men in Havana: Indonesian exiles in Cuba” . A small group of six Indonesians exiled from Suharto’s New Order regime who settled in Cuba from the early 1970s onwards. [xvii]


[i] See Five Important Documents of the Political Bureau of the CC PKI (marxists.org)

[ii] Roter Morgen No. 8, Hamburg 1970

[iii] Rote Fahne No. 34, Berlin January 14, 1972

[iv] KB: Chile from the ‘peaceful transition’ to the fascist military dictatorship, Hamburg 1974

See also :  Dharma, Anwar (1966): Soviet Revisionists’ Shameless Collaboration with Indonesia’s Fascist Military Regime Condemned. Beijing Review No. 42, 14 October 1966, 30–32

[v] Knowledge of the Indonesian exile communities did not grow until the 2000s attracting some academic research. The life stories of how they found themselves in exile and the social and political issues they faced are appearing in studies

Hill, D. T. (2008). Knowing Indonesia from Afar: Indonesian exile and Australian Academics (pp. 1–13).

Hill, D. T. (2010). Indonesia’s exiled Left as the Cold War thaws. Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, 44(1), 21–51. 70

Hill, D. T. (2014). Indonesian Political Exiles in the USSR. Critical Asian Studies, 46(4), 621–648.

Sipayung, B. A. (2011). Exiled Memories: The Collective of Indonesian 1965 Exiles. International Institute of Social Studies.

 Ibnu Nadzir Daraini (2017) Imagining the Homeland: The use of the Internet among Indonesian Exiles in the Netherlands

[vi] Communist and Workers’ Parties and Marxist-Leninists Groups Greet the Fifth  Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania held in Tirana from November 1 to November 8, 1966.  Tirana: The Naim Frasheri Publishing House 1966

[vii] Van der Kroef (1977)

[viii] API: An Indonesian Journal of the late 1960s–1970s from Albania

[ix]  Daraini (2017) p22

[x] Roter Pfeil/ Red Arrow  No. 10, Tübingen September 29, 1970.

[xi] Roter Morgen No. 41, Dortmund October 11, 1975, p. 7

[xii] https://www.tapol.org/news/international-solidarity-movement-east-timor-weapon-more-powerful-guns

See: https://etan.org/ifet/support.html  and https://timorarchive.ca/.

[xiii] Workers’ Struggle No. 83, Hamburg June 28th, 1976, p.47

[xiv] Hearman (2010) p.90

[xv] Reluctant Revolutionaries: Indonesian and Filipino Communist Exiles in the People’s Republic in the Wake of Sino-US Rapprochement

[xvi] David T. Hill (2014) Indonesian Political Exiles in the USSR, Critical Asian Studies, 46:4, 621-648, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2014.960710.

David Hill,  Emeritus Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and Fellow in the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University in Australia

[xvii]  Hearman V., “The last men in Havana: Indonesian exiles in Cuba”  Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, vol. 44, no. 1 (2010), pp. 83–109.


Read, read again Ajith

Ajith’s polemical demolition “Against Avakianism” is more than a good critique of erroneous positions and muddled theoretical constructions. In exploring what was fundamentally flawed in packaging a “new synthesis” in the cultist degeneration and revisionism promoted by the RCP,USA, Ajith raises a fruitful exposition of observations and speculations on many topics and questions that constantly face the international communist movement throughout its historic process.

Even in the briefest of treatments – like the section on socialist democracy [102-124] – there is a condensed focus on the lessons drawn and alternative approaches to take in addressing the challenges on the party and socialist state and their operations.

(A more complete presentation on the matter of the party can be found in, The Maoist Party an essay written by K. Murali, also known as Comrade Ajith, from his book Of Concepts and Methods.2020 Foreign Languages Press Collection “New Roads” #9)

Ajith’s critique provides a more inspiring springboard than the work he dissects. In his application of the many insights and observations offered in Mao Zedong’s writings, Ajith corrects Avakian’s distortions and reasserts the creative purposefulness of Maoism.

Amid the discussion around the ideological and theoretical aspects of truth and understanding Marxism as a science, what is clear is the centrality of both the intention and experience of the Cultural Revolution to contemporary MLM. In many of its practices it raised phenomenon and issues that shape an universalist understanding of principles and practices that contribute to human liberation.

Avakian’s claim to go beyond and exceed that experience lies like an image of a by-gone age, a half-ruined folly in the political landscape.

Whereas Ajith pushes forward, not necessarily with complete answers but the interesting questions.

The aim of clarifying the struggle within RIM around Avakian’s attempt to foster upon it his “new synthesis”.

The ambition and vision of RIM as a correct manifestation of internationalism was both attractive and deceptive and other groupings of political allegiance have similarly appeared. The journal “A World To Win” was a platform for organisations providing news and information, reinforcing that sense of internationalism and being part of something much much bigger than parochial concerns. It could raise awareness and organisational abilities, generating international solidarity, co-operation and co-ordination; all powerful elements in sustaining an organisational allegiance to RIM (and the idea of it).

[While Ajith quotes from the (not yet in the public domain) internal journal Struggle to clarify the process that led to RIM’s disintegration, and the subsequent drive to establish a unified international MLM body, important elements are outside the scope of this critique.

But then that is for a different format and publication encompassing a definitive account of the failings of RIM, a political summation, including the input of the PCP after the arrest of Chairman Gonzalo, and the weakening of the “embryo” by the internal struggles over Peru and Nepal, the absences of other major active parties, like in the Philippines etc

A separate website containing links to quoted articles in Against Avakianism has been made available by FLP:

https://foreignlanguages.press/colorful-classics/ against-avakianism/documents/

Ajith begins with setting the circumstances of the early 2012 Special Meeting of the parties and organisation of RIM convened by

Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan

Maoist Communist Party of Italy

Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Naxalbari

An original invitee, the PBSP – Proletarian Party of Purda Bangla [Bangladesh] – was absence, later explaining this was due to political differences with the contents of the Special Meeting. were involved in the consultations during the drafting of the invitation, a delegation of the Red Faction of the Nepalese UCPN( M)  – struggling against the Prachanda/Bhattarai revisionist line – joined as observers .

[The resolutions adopted at the Special Meeting are available on the Maoist Road website]

The background to the need for the Special meeting had been laid out as

“… the present collapse of the RIM is the result of the paralysis of the Committee of the RIM (CoRIM) arising from positions, serious ideological political differences that emerged among some members of the CoRim.”

RIM – RIM Documents and Statements (bannedthought.net) –  had emerged in the 1980s as a Maoist grouping, a self-described “embryo” of a new international.  Organisationally, an administrative function was based in London, the CoRIM taking on communication and co-ordination duties, overseeing the publication of the multi-language journal, “A World To Win!”.

The pre-discussion to the Special Meeting had identified the disparaging effects, negatively infecting a line struggle that affected the operation of RIM specifically paralysing the work of the CoRIM. It identified the revisionism of Bob Avakian’s post-MLM new synthesis course and the once lauded Prachanda/Bhattari line that disarmed and disrupted the progress of the Nepalese revolutionary struggle.

Summarising Avakian’s positions and criticisms, Ajith’s “Engaging with the Chairman” defend Mao’s contributions against the view that Avakian’s ideas must be made the basis of the international communist movement. [ pages 12-28] Drawing lines of demarcation as asked, Ajith wrote of the “new synthesis”

“ It has liquidated its ideological moorings by declaring that MLM is outdated and must be replaced with Avakianism.” This was the crutch of the dispute. Furthermore Ajith argued that it was insufficient to simply reactive RIM minus RCP,USA and others that had fallen by the wayside. The original Declaration of RIM was no longer an adequate basis to continue as before, even with a new constituted CoRIM. This did not lessen the need for an international organisation to convey a united revolutionary message and facilitate the development of collective wisdom.

What discernible impact in the real world?

The RCP,USA has failed as a revolutionary project in its social practice. The RCP,USA was flattered by its association with an international grouping that belied its own domestic weakness on the margins of the American left. Its similarities with the Trotskyist cult, the WRP led by Healy, becoming more pronounced with the orchestrated cult of leadership personified in Avakian. A network of bookshops, publishing and newspapers as well as international reach, sustained appearance of organisational strength All these elements partially explain an emphasis on internet-based Leftist news sites as modern equivalents of Lenin’s Iskra approach as the propaganda produced seeks to inspire or produced the desired political effect of building the movement. Far from securing the glow of leadership, Avakian’s well-deserved obscurity reflects the value of the contributions of his RCP’s ruminations-and wranglings.

Ajith

Against Avakianism 

Foreign Languages Press 2017 “Colorful Classics” #9

In the battle for the unity of the MLM communist movement….

Drawing a line of demarcation in 21st Maoism, the veteran Philippine Marxist, Joma Ma. Sison, in an interview spoke on the theme of Mao Zedong Thought / Maoism and the contemporary world communist movement.

Published by the NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES, 18 November 2019 https://ndfp.org/questions-on-mao-zedong-thought-maoism/

Interviewer: Prof. Regletto Aldrich D. Imbong (RADI)

1. RADI: In a recent publication of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) entitled “Anniversary Statements (1992-2017),” I found out that it was only during the 26th anniversary of the CPP in 1994 that the term Maoism appeared (not in 1992 and 1993, as far as the said publication is concerned). Previous statements, like the “Rectify Errors, Rebuild the Party,” in 1968 merely mentioned Mao Zedong Thought, despite the fact that Chairman Gonzalo of the Communist Party of Peru in 1983 supposedly affirmed the universality of Maoism. Can you please enlighten me with the CPP’s appreciation of Maoism and the seemingly delayed upholding of the CPP of Maoism’s universality?

JMS: The adoption of the word Maoism, instead of Mao Zedong Thought, by the Communist Party of the Philippines is a matter of transcription and symmetry alongside the terms Marxism and Leninism. It is a reaffirmation of the earlier CPP recognition of the great contributions of Mao (under the rubric of Mao Zedong Thought) to the development of Marxism-Leninism in philosophy, political economy, party building (especially the rectification movement), the people’s war and the proletarian cultural revolution in socialist society.

In the course of his leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese revolution, Mao together with his Chinese comrades had the modesty of being averse to glorifying himself by the term Maoism. In the literature of the Chinese CP, you will find summary references to his contributions in ideology and policy as “Mao’s thinking” and “Mao’s thought”. It was only in the course of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution that “Mao Zedong thought” graduated to “Mao Zedong Thought (with a capital T).

By that time, the CPC had already acclaimed Mao Zedong Thought as representing the third stage in the development of the universal revolutionary theory of the proletariat. Thus, it is false to say that Gonzalo was the first to sum up or synthesize the teachings of Mao or his theory and practice as constituting the third stage in the development of Marxist theory and practice. The foundation for the Marxist theory and practice of people’s war was already established in the Leninist stage when the October revolution of 1917 shifted from the cities to the countryside in the civil war and war against foreign intervention.

Regarded as Mao’s most important achievement to constitute the third stage of the development of Marxist theory and practice was not his theory and practice of protracted people’s war but that of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through cultural revolution to combat revisionism, prevent capitalist restoration and consolidate socialism. (Considered as the first stage in the development of Marxism was the formulation of its fundamental principles and critique of free competition capitalism by Marx and Engels. And the second stage of Leninism was the further development of Marxism by Lenin in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution).

Before Mao died, he had achieved all theoretical and practical contributions that he was capable of in order to achieve the third stage in the development of Marxism. But the CPC called this the stage of Mao Zedong Thought. In the early years of the GPCR there was even an overenthusiastic notion within the CPC that after the solution of the problem of modern revisionism “imperialism was heading towards total collapse and socialism was marching towards world victory. But Mao himself cautioned in 1969 that it would take another 50 to 100 years to reach that desired goal.

Soon after Mao’s death in 1976, the Dengist counterrevolution overthrew the proletariat in China. The Chinese state and CPC changed their class character. But they have continued to refer to Mao Zedong Thought formally and ritualistically, despite the official condemnation of the GPCR as a total catastrophe and the full-blast capitalist restoration and teaming up of China with US imperialism in promoting neoliberal globalization.

It is to the credit of Gonzalo that he took the initiative in 1983 to use the term Maoism, instead of Mao Zedong Thought, by way of posthumously showing a higher appreciation of Mao at least for some of his great accomplishments and for acclaiming Mao’s theory and practice as third stage in the development of Marxist theory and practice. But it is absurd to assert that because of Gonzalo’s “synthesis” he is responsible for making Maoism “universal” or that the universality of Maoism is reduced to the “universality of protracted people’s war” and the prescription for a “militarized party.”

As I have earlier pointed out, Mao himself constituted in his own lifetime Mao Zedong Thought or Maoism by making great contributions to the development of Marxism-Leninism in philosophy, political economy, party building (especially the rectification movement), the people’s war and the proletarian cultural revolution in socialist society. Mao Zedong Thought has gained universal significance long before Gonzalo called it Maoism. The universal significance of Mao Zedong Thought or Maoism does not depend in any way on Gonzalo who has not really summed up all the great achievements of the great Mao.

The worshippers of Gonzalo use his coinage of the term Maoism to evaluate him as the greatest Maoist after Mao. They should take him to account for his own conduct of leadership in his own country, his “Left” opportunist line before his capture in 1992 and Right opportunist line soon after his capture. These conflicting opportunist lines have brought about the decline of the people’s war in Peru. And the mystique about him as being responsible for “synthesizing” Maoism should not be used as an ax against those who continue to wage people’s war. Kautsky did not prove himself any better than Lenin when he protested that Lenin’s ideas were not Marxism but Leninism. He was the first among all people to utter the term Leninism against Lenin himself.

2. RADI: In the same 1994 anniversary statement mentioned in the previous question, the latter equated Mao Zedong Thought with Maoism (as stated, Mao Zedong thought OR Maoism), a criticism which is likewise charged by Dem Volke Dienen in First Critical Remarks about the Role of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the International Communist Movement (see http://www.demvolkedienen.org/…/2726-first-critical-remarks…). You have given the explanation that “there is no difference in content between Mao Zedong Thought and Maoism” in an interview by the New Culture Magazine of the Communist Construction Union of Brazil. For the Dem Volke Dienen, however, if both Mao Zedong Thought and Maoism were terms having the same content, there would be no difference as well in either saying Marxism or Marx Thought, or Leninism or Lenin Thought. However, the “ism” in Maoism has to be distinguished as it means the systematization and closed development of all the three components of Marxism “to a higher level and to a higher truth” and not merely as an individual contribution of a Chinese communist. What is your response to this critique?

JMS: I had the good fortune of being in China in August 1966, when the GPCR was just beginning and Mao was being evaluated, appreciated and defended against his detractors and in relation to his great Marxist-Leninist predecessors. I had very enlightening conversations with members of the CPC Central Committee and the highest responsibles of the CPC Higher Party School. They summed up the great achievements of Mao under the term Mao Zedong Thought, such as the following:

a. In philosophy, Mao elaborated on and developed Lenin’s identification of the unity of opposites (divide into two) as the most fundamental law of materialist dialectics. He did so in such essays as On Contradiction, On Practice, Where Do Correct Ideas Come From? and On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People. He applied materialist dialectics in gaining higher knowledge from the dialectics of theory and practice, in carrying out the new democratic revolution through people’s war and undertaking socialist revolution and construction.

b. In political economy, Mao had the advantage of learning positive and negative lessons from Stalin’s policy of socialist industrialization and agricultural cooperation, the revisionist reversal of socialist revolution and construction and leading self-reliant socialist revolution and construction by using the basic and heavy industries as the lead factor, agriculture as the base ofthe economy and light industry as the bridging factor under conditions of imperialist blockade, revisionist betrayal and other adversities.

c. In social science, Mao developed further the theory and practice of the new democratic and socialist stages of the Chinese revolution. But his most important achievement in social science was in recognizing the problem of modern revisionism and the continuing fact of classes and class struggle in socialist society and in adopting solutions. He put forward a series of campaigns to uphold, defend and advance socialism, such as the anti-Rightist campaign, the Great Leap Foward. the socialist education movement and ultimately the cultural revolution as he faced greater resistance of the revisionists and capitalist roaders.

d. In party building, Mao adopted and developed further Leninist teaching on building the proletarian vanguard party. He excelled at developing the rectification movement as the campaign for educating the Party cadres and members in Marxist-Leninist theory and practice, as the method for identifying the errors and weaknesses and for saving the patient from the disease and and as the way for the Party to better serve the masses, mobilize them, let them acquire power and come under their supervision.

e. In people’s war, Mao had already demonstrated how the toiling masses of workers and peasants could defeat an enemy that was superior in military equipment and trained personnel through the strategic line of protracted people’s war by encircing the cities from the countryside in semicolonial and semifeudal countries. By winning the new democratic revolution through people’s war, the revolutionary proletariat and the people gain the power to proceed to socialist revolution.

f. The theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through the GPCR was regarded as the greatest epoch-making contribution of Mao. It was aimed at combatting modern revisionism, preventing capitalist restoration and consolidating socialism. Even as the GPCR would be defeated by the Dengist counterrevolution, it still confirms and explains how socialism can be subverted and destroyed from within. Such a lesson will guide the forthcoming socialist revolutions.

Before, during and after the founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the foregoing six components of Mao Zedong Thought or Maoism were already acknowledged and propagated in CPP publications and grasped by CPP cadres and members. What the Gonzaloites are doing is to tear apart Mao Zedong Thought or Maoism and exaggerate protracted people’s war as prescription for all countries under all circumstances and require militarization of the party as the principal or essential elements of Maoism. This is not Maoism but a grotesque Gonzaloite distortion of Maoism.

In other articles, I have already pointed out that the Gonzaloites have well proven themselves as mere charlatans by claiming that protracted people’s war can be done in industrial capitalist countries and by not doing any single armed tactical offensive anywhere for decades to prove their point. The militarization of the party is an anti-Maoist notion which runs counter to the principle that the Party, as the ideological and political leading force, commands the gun. In its Second Great Rectification Movement, the CPP opposed and defeated the “Left” opportunists who wanted to subordinate the Party to the army.

3. RADI: Contemporary leftist philosophers like Alain Badiou, Slavoj Zizek, and Jodi Dean affirm the communist idea (although they have various interpretations of this idea) but strikingly glaring among them is their divergences in terms of the question of political organization which can be commonly described as a clear surrender of the Leninist vanguard party. Badiou, for example, a self-proclaimed Maoist and an heir to the May of 1968 of France, argues for a “politics without a party.” Dean, on the other hand, argues for the necessity of a party but a party in an international level, not anymore the traditional state-bound communist party of the past that clearly claim as its aim the seizure of political and state power from the bourgeoisie. What is your insight in relation to the question of political organization in winning the struggle for communism and what was Mao’s or Maoism’s important contribution to this problem?

JMS: It is absurd for Badiou to argue for “politics without a party”. He is intellectually and practically a subjectivist and anarchist who seeks to disorganize the masses and lead them to the predominance of bourgeois parties and the bourgeois state. He is out of the world of class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Definitely, he is not a Maoist even if he proclaims himself to be a Maoist.

The first great socialist state would not have been established had there been no Bolshevik party to lead the toiling masses of workers and peasants in overthrowing the reactionaries and seizing political power. Without the CPC, the Chinese proletariat and people would not have succeeded in winning the new democratic and socialist stages of the Chinese revolution.

Jodi Dean is somewhat better than Badiou in recognizing the need for a revolutionary party. But while being internationalist, the proletarian revolutionary party has to win the revolution within national boundaries. For Lenin and the Bolsheviks to win the Great October Socialist Revolution, they had to oppose the social pacifism and social chauvinism of the Second International. 

It is relevant to recall that the Third International or Comintern tried to run a world party with local communist parties as national sections. But came 1943 the Comintern had to dissolve itself because it could not communicate and instruct or advice the CPs who were engaged in the bitter anti-fascist wars. Consequently, the principles of equality, independence and mutual support and cooperation were adopted in the comradely relations of communist and workers’ parties.

In the bitter struggles against the well-organized bourgeoisie and imperialist powers, the proletariat as the leading class in the revolution must have a political party. It must have an ideological, political and organizational line to defeat the enemy. It must grow in strength by being intimately linked to the toiling masses. It must arouse, organize and mobilize them in their own best interest. The mass base generates the mass activists and the best party cadres and masses. The party can defeat the enemy and win the revolution only with the participation and support of the masses.

We can learn from Mao and Maoism how to build the Party ideologically, politically and organizationally, how to do social investigation and mass work, how to arouse, organize and mobilize the toiling masses and how to avail of the people’s war and the united front to reach and mobilize the masses in their millions. Mao taught us how to use the rectification movement in order to correct errors and shortcomings and thereby further strengthen the Party. He insisted on the mass line of mobilizing the masses and gaining strength from them from one stage of the revolution to a new and higher stage.

Some petty bourgeois intellectuals have the high flown disdain for nation-states and political parties. But these are progressive products of history in relation to the backward conditions of colonial and feudal domination. And for the proletariat to defeat the bourgeois states and parties, it must create the socialist state under the leadership of the proletarian revolutionary party. Before the classless communist society can be achieved, socialist states and communist parties are needed to fight and defeat imperialism and the local reactionary classes

I need not comment on Slavoj Zizek because you do not raise any specific point about him. You do not have to. He is a chameleon and charlatan who poses as a philosopher, flip-flops from pro-Stalin to anti-Stalin statements and plays with phrases like a child playing with his toys. I suggest that you look into how Noam Chomsky describes him. 

4. RADI: Alain Badiou interprets the Great Cultural Proletarian Revolution (GPCR) as a novelty as it is the first revolution to happen in a socialist state in the same way that the Paris Commune was the first revolution to happen in a capitalist state. However, in his reading of the GPCR, Badiou reinforces his stand of the “politics without a party” as the Communist Party of China then (and now) became intertwined with state power, the machinery which he claims must be abolished rather than seized. In this way, his notion of emancipatory politics advances the claim of a politics “at a distance from the state,” claiming that restrain rather than seizure should now be the model of contemporary political procedures. What is the correct Maoist view concerning the relation between the party and the state? Can we say that the Mass Line constituted a significant contribution to this problem?

JMS: There would have been no GPCR as a “novelty” for Badiou had there been no CPC that established a socialist society that was being subverted by the capitalist roaders and that needed the GPCR to combat the capitalist roaders and consolidate socialism. The Dengist counterrevolution defeated the GPCR precisely because the revisionist or capitalist roaders were able to retain and eventually enlarge their power and authority within both the Party and state.

As shown in the examples of the Soviet Union and China, when the ruling party of the proletariat is undermined by modern revisionism and the capitalist roaders, the character of the state changes from socialist to capitalist. In the first place, no socialist state and society can ever arise and develop if there were no revolutionary party of the proletariat that leads the people’s army and the masses in overthrowing the bourgeois state.

During the GPCR, the most extensive kind of democracy arose, with Mao rallying the masses of Red Guards and the people to bombard the bourgeois headquarters in the Party and state and calling on the Party and the People’s Liberation Army to support the Left. Under the leadership of the CPC, revolutionary committees arose to lead the masses in communities, factories and farms. But in the course of the class struggle, the Rightists and the ultra-Leftists also generated an anarchy of factions behind which the capitalist roaders maneuvered to retain their positions in the CPC and state in collaboration with the Centrists in order to defeat the GPCR ultimately.

It is in accordance with Maoism or the teachings of Mao that the CPP has strengthened itself ideologically, politically and organizationally and has built the mass movement as its and at the same time the local organs of political power as the embryos of the future people’s democratic state. The sum of these local organs of political power may be considered the provisional revolutionary government of the workers and peasants. These organs of political power can be formed only because there are the Party, the people’s army, the mass organizations and the united front that support and enable them.

5. RADI: In my dissertation, I argue that contemporary communist hypothesis must consider three terms, each of which are dialectically related with each other: party, state, and mass movement. I argue further that the possibility of communism could only be if the nature of the party is “a party in scission,” that is, a party which, while utilizes state power to suppress reaction, also immerses itself with the mass movements. What is Maoism’s greatest lesson to the question of political organization (a question which Lenin brilliantly answered in What is to be Done)? Did Maoism modify, in one way or another, the question of vanguard leadership (especially if we take into account the lessons of the GPCR)?

JMS: You are on the correct track by considering the party, the state and mass movement, each of which are dialectically related to each other. Even if only one of these is lacking or is weak, it is impossible to achieve the full development of socialism, which is the precondition to communism. If there is no genuine communist party, there can be no socialist revolution and no socialist state to establish. 

If there is no socialist state, there is no way to promote the forces and factors of socialism and pave the way to the communism. Without the class dictatorship of the proletariat, there is no way to suppress reaction and to prevent the bourgeoisie from re-emerging and taking power. A ruling communist party or socialist state cannot survive and progress without relying on the mass movement.

Mao adhered to the Leninist concept of a vanguard party representative of the proletariat as the most advanced political and productive class that is most interested in socialism. In the course of the new democratic and socialist stages of the Chinese revolution, Mao and the CPC had ample time and opportunity to develop the CPC as the leading force and the various types of forces that brought about the Chinese socialist state. 

In an all-round way, the CPC benefited from the line of relying and trusting the masses and constantly arousing, organizing and mobilizing them in communities and work places in the course of fighting the enemy and building a socialist society. The Party was in the lead and at the same time at the core of mass formations. In both ways, it drew strength from the masses.

It is also pertinent to mention that, after the death of Lenin, Stalin and the CPSU carried forward Leninism in Party building, mass mobilization and in socialist revolution and construction. He built a powerful socialist state that could defeat fascism and subsequently challenge US imperialism and the world capitalist system. He carried out well the Leninist task of promoting the building of communist parties in many countries through the Comintern.

The Chinese revolution would not have won victory and would not have established the Chinese people’s democratic state (gliding into the socialist state) if not for the vanguard role of the Chinese Communist Party, the mobilization of the masses, the use of the people’s army to destroy the reactionary state and the readiness of the people to build further as the new democratic government the local organs of political power established in the course of people’s war.

News from FLP

An accelerated publishing programme saw the first webinar from Foreign Language Press now available on Youtube and includes the web launch of two new titles: J. Moufawad-Paul offers an exacting analysis of the different trends that emerged out of the victory, development, and ultimate defeat of the Chinese revolution, exploring maoism after Mao in his Critique of Maoist Reason. Also discussed in the presentation is number 19 in the Colourful Classic series , a reprint of the 1975 A New Outlook on Health with an introduction that contextualise the issues in healthcare policy in the ongoing global COVID-19 pan­demic , including the addition of some detailed footnotes. The footnotes provide more current sta­tistics and some updates about how healthcare and the US economy has changed in the past forty plus years.

A brief history of the development of the publishing endeavour is also provided by Chris Kistler in the internationally organized Zoom webinar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQjZ6kq3_0g

The next webinar is on Sunday, August 30, North America: 9:00PM EST/6:00PM PST featuring two titles in the New Roads series.

Like Ho Chi Minh! Like Che Guevara! focuses on the Ethiopian communist movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Ian Scott Horst’s – whose principle contribution made EROL’s national section on Ethiopia such a valuable online legacy to the struggle in the region – provides an historical treasure trove of first hand accounts and narratives from the actors themselves documenting the heady, complicated and ultimately tragic events of that revolution.

A collection of writing from the imprisoned K. Murali (Ajith) confronts and counters Brahmanism, an ideological linchpin of the Indian ruling class, is also featured

Other titles, including corrected reprints of the additional selected Works of Mao Zedong originally published in India  by Kranti Publications, are available from its webshop  http://flpress.storenvy.com/

https://foreignlanguages.press/

https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ethiopia/index.htm

Foreign language Press ~ New Roads ~

The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Publishing House , Foreign Languages Press established in 2016 have extended their publishing programme beyond « Colourful Classics » (see previous posting   here) and have four titles in their New Roads collection that publishes original works and essays that analyze the challenges and answer the questions posed by Marxist-Leninist-Maoists today, and shed light on lesser known aspects of the history of the communist and workers movement.


From Victory to defeat : China’s socialist road and capitalist development (Pao-Yu Ching)

Preface by J. Moufawad-Paul

How can a country that developed the most advanced socialist society in the history of the world change directions so quickly and so completely? In From Victory to Defeat Pao-Yu Ching dissects this question, providing economic analysis of what it means to actually “build socialism” with all of the necessary contradictions and obstacles that must be overcome.

Addressing seven commonly asked questions, Pao-Yu Ching gives accessible explanations to the complicated issues China faced in its socialist transition and the material basis for its capitalist reversal.


Silage Choppers and Snake Spirits : the lives and struggles of two Americans in modern China (Dao-Yuan Chou)

Forward by Juliet de Lima-Sison

Silage Choppers and Snake Spirits follows the journey of two Americans who left the United States to experience first-hand the events of the Chinese revolution. Sid Engst came from a poor farming family in upstate New York and found himself on the run from Chiang Kai-shek’s generals in the barren hills of northern China. Joan Hinton went from working on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos to wearing disguises and ducking the Nationalist government in the Chinese communist underground. The two married and stayed in China to raise a family and help build a new society.

This biography follows their experiences working alongside ordinary Chinese people, from the Inner Mongolian steppe to a state commune in Beijing. Their lives and struggles offer an unusual insight into the events that make up modern Chinese history from Liberation to the Cultural Revolution.


Which East Is Red? The maoist presence in the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc Europe 1956-1980 (Andrew Smith)

This short essay tell the little known story of antirevisionists and Maoists in post-Stalin Eastern Europe. Interrogating the myth of a monolithic Marxism in Eastern Europe, overwhelmingly supportive of Khrushchev, Andrew Smith answers the question he posits: To what extent was Eastern Europe red?


Mao Zedong’s “On Contradiction” – Study Companion (Redspark Collective) contradictions-207x300

On Contradiction is Mao Zedong’s seminal text on dialectical materialism. Perhaps his most well-known work, it’s been read and studied by millions all over the world and is required reading for all those who seek to objectively analyze the world and struggle to solve the contradictions in it. The Redspark Collective prepared this study companion to assist readers by providing historical and modern day context and examples.

Redspark maintains a news site that focus on organisations engaged in people’s war

Also distributed from their webstore are some titles from the French language publishers Soleil Rouge.

Foreign-Language-Press-LogoSMALL-300x300

Mabel & Robert F. Williams: Monroe to Beijing.*

One of the earliest and most important black militant leaders in the modern United States, Robert F. Williams, the civil rights activist and militant revolutionary nationalist moved to China with his wife Mabel at the invitation of Mao Zedong in 1966 at the early stages of the developing Cultural Revolution. The Williams lived in China for three years.mabel-robert

In China, Robert and Mabel visited communes and factories and spoke about the civil rights struggle in the United States. Williams was named international chairman of the Revolutionary Action Movement and elected president-in-exile of the “Republic of New Africa.” In this role, he traveled throughout the developing world building solidarity with the struggles in the USA. During the Vietnam War, the activist-in-exile met with Ho Chi Minh and made radio broadcasts to African-American soldiers against racial oppression in the United States.

Finally in 1969, the Nixon administration, desperate for knowledge of what was going inside China, offered Williams and his wife amnesty in exchange for information. The Williams agreed and returned home that year.

The journey from Monroe to Beijing, via Havana.

Robert Franklin Williams (1925–1996), the grandson of a former slave, was born in 1925 in Monroe, Union County, North Carolina. He was trained as a machinist in the National Youth Administration, and later attended West Virginia State College and Johnson C. Smith University.

In the 1940s, he moved to Detroit to work in the auto factories and it was there he met and married his wife, Mabel. Born in Monroe, NC in 1931, Mabel married Robert in 1947. Mabel Robinson Williams, (1931-2014), along with husband Robert F. Williams (1925 – 1996) led a campaign for self-defence that shaped the 1960s. Robert Franklin Williams work in partnership with Mabel having a profound influence on civil rights activists, sharpening the militancy and resistance to racial oppression.  Mabel Williams, who in her writings acknowledged the double oppression faced by black women, was sometimes asked how she felt about working in the shadow of her husband. She discussed her reaction to that question during a speaking engagement that was recorded and posted to Freedom Archives.

“The power structure used that, I think, to split up our movement,” she said. “I feel fine. I’m fighting for my rights just like he’s fighting for his. We’re fighting together for the rights of our people.”

Following a tour of duty in the segregated Marine Corps, Williams returned to Monroe in 1955. In the same year he was elected president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Williams would remain committed to the struggle for civil rights the rest of their lives. They were leaders of the Monroe, North Carolina chapter of the NAACP during the 1950s until early 1961, very much involved in the struggle for Civil Rights and self-determination in Union County, North Carolina during the 1950s and early 1960s when they were targeted by local authorities and the FBI.

Williams gained national notoriety for forming rifle clubs that met racist violence with armed self-defense. The civil rights organizers became advocates of armed self-defense against racist violence perpetuated by the Ku Klux Klan and law-enforcement personnel in the city. The Williams organized a militant local chapter of the NAACP and an armed self-defense unit called the Black Guard in Monroe, hometown of segregationist U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, whose father served as police chief.

As president of the Union County NAACP, Williams not only revitalized the organization, but also began a non-violent campaign to integrate the county’s public facilities. He gained national attention for the notorious “Kissing Case,” defending two  young black boys (ages seven and nine) who were jailed for letting a white girl kiss them on the cheek. Although eventually pardoned the state refused to apologize for its harsh treatment of the boys. The attempts to integrate the public facilities, such as the swimming pool, were largely unsuccessful and often were met by violent resistance.

While organizing with the NAACP, Rob Williams also helped found the Union County Council on Human Relations, bringing the races together to work for black freedom. Mabel Williams served as secretary for the group, which eventually fell apart due to white supremacist backlash.

In 1959, after a jury in Monroe acquitted a white man for the attempted rape of a black woman, Rob Williams stood on the courthouse steps and declared the right of black people to defend themselves. As he said later at a press conference:

“I made a statement that if the law, if the United States Constitution cannot be enforced in this social jungle called Dixie, it is time that Negroes must defend themselves even if it is necessary to resort to violence.

That there is no law here, there is no need to take the white attackers to the courts because they will go free and that the federal government is not coming to the aid of people who are oppressed, and it is time for Negro men to stand up and be men and if it is necessary for us to die we must be willing to die. If it is necessary for us to kill we must be willing to kill.” (Sturgis April 25, 2014)

Repudiating the NAACP policy of passive non-resistance, Williams advocate a stronger means of self-defence. He urged that Afro-Americans arm themselves and meet white supremacists violence with violence. Williams’ stand on this question eventually forced a minor split in the NAACP because many black leaders had become increasingly impatient with passive non-resistance. Williams was temporarily suspended from the NAACP, but many in Union County heeded his advice and did arm themselves. The Black Guard mobilized hundreds of African Americans to defend their community against the racist violence of the Ku Klux Klan and the police.

His stance sparked a debate between himself and King on the efficacy of non-violence.

Following King’s refusal to join the Freedom Rides, Williams wrote in his newsletter The Crusader that many freedom riders were angered by King’s refusal to join the campaign because they, too, had suspended sentences:

“It is pathetic that some of the students are under suspended sentences and some are three and four time losers for freedom, yet they are participating. Maybe, in King’s estimation, they are just students and only stand to lose their lives or careers while he stands to lose a fortune in struggle and blood money” (The Crusader 2, no. 31 [5 June 1961]).

Williams also criticized King for wanting to “ride the great wave of publicity but not the buses” and purported that if King is the “undisputed leader as the white folks claim he is,” he needs to ride the buses or “quit the scene” (The Crusader, 5 June 1961).

Though SNCC representatives pleaded with King to join them on the Freedom Rides, he declined, citing his probation for a May 1960 traffic violation. In this telegram, Williams, who had clashed with King in 1959 over the role of self-defense in the movement, calls King a “phony” for refusing to participate and challenges him to “lead the way by example.”

Telegram from Robert F Williams to Martin Luther King

REV MARTIN LUTHER KING
208 AUBURN AVE NE ATLA

THE CAUSE OF HUMAN DECENCY AND BLACK LIBERATION DEMANDS THAT YOU PHYSICALLY RIDE THE BUSES WITH OUR GALLANT FREEDOM RIDERS. NO SINCERE LEADER ASKS HIS FOLLOWERS TO MAKE SACRIFICES THAT HE HIMSELF WILL NOT ENDURE. YOU ARE A PHONY. GANDHI WAS ALWAYS IN THE FOREFRONT SUFFERING WITH HIS PEOPLE. IF YOU ARE THE LEADER OF THIS NON VIOLENT MOVEMENT LEAD WITH WAY BY EXAMPLE. YOU ARE BETRAYING OUR CAUSE BY ATTEMPTING TO APPEASE OUR ENEMIES RIDE THE BUSES AS THE STUDENTS HAVE ASK YOU TO. IF YOU LACK THE COURAGE, REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THE VANGUARD. I PERSONALLY CHALLENGE YOU TO RIDE FOR FREEDOM. NOW IS THE TIME FOR TRUE LEADERS TO TAKE TO THE FIELD OF BATTLE

ROBERT F WILLIAMS
PRESIDENT UNION COUNTY BRANCH NAACP.

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Robert and Mabel Williams pictured in Cuban exile.

Needless to say, a militant civil rights leader urging African-Americans to form armed militias throughout Dixie did not sit very well with local politicians or law enforcement. When the Freedom Riders brought their nonviolent campaign to integrate interstate bus travel to Monroe in August1961, they were met by Klan violence and turned to Williams’ Black Guard for protection. On August 26th violence exploded. Williams and others fought back with guns. During the height of the violence, a car containing a white couple inadvertently wandered into the black neighbourhood. Williams sheltered a white couple from an angry African-American mob only to be accused later by local and state authorities of kidnapping them .Rather than risking arrest Williams fled to New York City. With interstate flight from a warrant – a federal crime – the FBI became officially involved. Williams went to Canada and then onto Cuba, with Mabel and their two sons, where Premier Fidel Castro offered him political asylum.

Cuban Exile

The exiled activists made pirate shortwave radio broadcasts to the southern United States as Radio Free Dixie, broadcasting news, music and commentary throughout the eastern United States. They also collaborated on the book “Negroes With Guns”, an important influence on Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton.

The Williams continued to publish The Crusader, an underground newsletter they had launched in Monroe and for which Mabel Williams drew editorial cartoons. Frazier observed that in the self-produced newsletter:crusader0365

“They highlighted the racial injustice experienced by blacks in the South, emphasizing the increasing waves of racialism that were emerging from Southern blacks, and connected these struggles to international movements against imperialism, colonialism and racial oppression.” (Manning :92)

The Crusader was widely read by an emerging generation of revolutionaries who would lead the urban rebellions and form organizations such as the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), the Black Panther Party and the Republic of New Africa.

From his Cuban base, Robert Williams reached out to the international community of national liberation activists and progressive expatriates and reached a worldwide leftist audience to seek support for the black liberation struggle in the United States.

Robert F. Williams, the former NAACP leader in Monroe, North Carolina and editor of the Crusader newsletter, stated in a speech on October 10, 1963, that “The same savages who rain death and destruction on the innocent women and children of Cuba, the same savages who rain death and destruction on the helpless women and children of south Viet Nam, the same savages who supply the implements of death and destruction to South Africa and Portugal, are the same who blow off the heads of little black girls in the homes and churches of Birmingham, Free World U.S.A. U.S. racism is a cancerous sore that threatens the well-being of humanity. It can only be removed and a cure effected by a surgical operation performed by the great masses of world.” ( Azikiwe  2016)

Chairman Mao Zedong, after receiving a letter from Robert Williams in 1962, responded by issuing his “Statement Supporting the Afro-American in Their Just struggle Against Racial Discrimination by US Imperialism” just days before the August 1963 March on Washington for jobs and freedom.

Mass rallies were held in China communicating their solidarity with their black brothers, and the Williams were invited to China’s 14th anniversary National day celebrations in Beijing.

Back in Havana there were deteriorating personal relations with the Cuban authorities because, Frazier explains, of the Williams criticism of anti-black racism in Cuba and their political sympathy of black nationalism; this position saw some Cuban officials refer to them as “black racists”.  (Manning :24)

NEW ADDRESS:

Robert F. Williams, 9 Tai Chi Chang, Peking, China.

In 1965, the Williams family moved to The People’s Republic of China at the invitation of Mao Zedong. They were treated like unofficial cultural diplomats and guests of the state.

In Beijing, The Crusader printing increased from 15,000 copies in Havana to 30,000 in Beijing. The Crusader’s original masthead of a sword-wielding Crusader, printed and distributed from Cuba, was replaced in the October 1966 edition, after Williams left Cuba for China, by a machine gun & flaming torch.

Their radio show was broadcast periodically to African countries, and China’s short wave radio output aimed at black Americans was increased. A documentary of their extended tour of China in 1964 was made, Robert Williams in China. There was attendance at seminars like that held to honour William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois (1868-1963) a leading African-American sociologist, writer and veteran civil rights activist.

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DuBois on his third visit to China was greeted by Mao Tse-tung in early 1959.

dubois-seminar                                                              Above: Celebrating the 100th birthday of Dr. W.E.B. DuBois in Peking. Left to right: Shirley Graham DuBois, editor of Freedomways; R.D. Senanayake, Secretary General of Afro-Asian Writers’ Bureau; Chen Yi, Foreign Minister of People’s China; and Robert F. Williams.

At a 91st birthday commemoration in China DuBois made a speech at a state-sponsored banquet which was broadcast through the national media. DuBois was quoted as saying that “Come to China, Africa, and look around. You know America and France and Britain to your sorrow. Now know the Soviet Union and its allied nations, but particularly know China. China is flesh of your flesh and blood of your blood. China is colored, and knows to what the colored skin in this modern world subjects its owner. In my own country for nearly a century I have been nothing but a nigger.” (“Du Bois, 91, Lauds China,” New York Times, March 5, 1959)

On China’s National Day celebration on Oct 1, 1966, Robert huey_chouWilliams, another civil rights leader and a revolutionary, was invited to speak at Tiananmen Rostrum, with Mao standing at his side. In 1971, then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai met in Beijing with Huey Newton, leader of the Black Panther Party.

“This is the era of Mao Zedong, the era of world revolution and the Afro-American’s struggle for liberation is a part of an invincible world-wide movement. Chairman Mao was the first world leader to elevate our people’s struggle to the fold of the world revolution,” Williams said in 1967, as quoted in the article Black Like Mao: Red China and Black Revolution. In the article, the authors described how Mao’s theory inspired African-American leaders in the 1960s and ’70s, resulting in the many Maoist organizations.

robert-f-williams-with-mao-zedong

Chairman Mao Zedong signs U.S. civil rights leader Robert F. Williams’ copy of the ‘Little Red Book’ at the National Day celebrations, October 1, 1966.

In a speech given at a demonstration in Peking on Aug. 8, 1966, Robert Williams asked, and answered,

“What is the meaning of this cry BLACK POWER in a land dominated by the unmerciful power of white intruders who murdered and all but exterminated the rightful owners, the American Indians? Black Power means that black men want to have some control over their own lives, to have a respected voice in public affairs that affect them. We resent being a colonial people, treated as third class citizens in our native land. We resent being forbidden to speak for ourselves, even in black belts where we constitute as much as 85 percent of the population. We resent being deformed by a white man’s mould in a degenerate white supremacy society that derides and belittles our African heritage and make us ashamed of our ethnic characteristics. Black Power is the vehicle by which we hope to reach a stage wherein we can be proud black people without the necessity of an apology for our non-Anglo-Saxon features. The dominant society in racist America is reactionary, imperialist, racist, and decadent and we wish to disassociate ourselves from it. Black Power is a dissident force challenging the racist white power structure that is so heinously exterminating the people of Vietnam and threatening the world with nuclear destruction.” (Peking Review, Volume 9, #33, Aug. 12, 1966, pp. 24-27)

While in exile Robert Williams became the international chairman in exile of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) The Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) was the first independent Black revolutionary Marxist organization of the 1960s. Organized in 1962 by Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford), a close associate of Malcolm X and Queen Mother Audley Moore, RAM was a national semi-clandestine organization which articulated a revolutionary program for African Americans that fused Black nationalism with Marxism-Leninism.

Although it was not a large organization, RAM influenced a wide range of groups, including the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Black Panther Party, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and the Black Workers Congress. RAM dissolved in 1969. As Max Elbaum notes, “RAM’s significance had not resided in its organizational strength, but in its popularization of revolutionary nationalist, Marxist and Maoist ideas during a critical period of the Black freedom movement.” (Revolution in the Air :65)

Williams also served as a president-in-exile for the Black separatist organisation Republic of New Africa (RNA) that advocated the creation of an independent African-American-majority country situated in the south-eastern United States, in the heart of black-majority population. A position similar to that argued in the 1930s Comintern and the Black Belt nation position that found favour among some organisations in polemics on the Afro-American National Question and Racism   in the Maoist-inclined New Communist Movement in the 1970s.

demo

Mao’s “Statement in Support of the Afro-American Struggle Against Violence” was both a condemnation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s murder and racial oppression in the US, and an insistence that:

“The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progressives’ in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.”  This position was at odds with a Black separatist perspective as the Chairman’s orthodox perspective was that “The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progressives in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.”

Robert Williams travelled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in May 1968. Here he met with representatives from southern African liberation movements that had established logistic bases in the country.  In a visit to North Vietnam, where he met Ho Chi Minh and broadcast anti-war propaganda to black soldiers in South Vietnam.

He authored a pamphlet titled Listen, Brother! (1968), which deemed the war in Vietnam “a Honky trick worked up against the other oppressed colored people”. Filled with scenes of total devastation of “colored humanity” where bodies burned with napalm, Listen, Brother! urged African American soldiers to realize that participation in the war made them part of a “big mob of savage klansmen who maim and kill in the name of Christian democracy”. Critiquing the dominant cold war ideology of a bipolar power struggle as well as a perceived crisis in representative democracy, Williams hoped to turn cold war violence back against itself. He saw the war in Vietnam as a model for minority revolution in the US, where “black saboteurs” and “guerrilla enclaves” were a second front in the war for a lasting world black revolution. While he was criticized for advocating unpredictable revolutionary violence, Williams was also profoundly affected by the Cultural Revolution in China and turned increasingly to art and culture as a means to sustain the coming revolution. In Chinese propaganda, Williams found a model in which he could imagine the African American man and woman of his future nation, the Republic of New Africa.

Listen, Brother! pdf

 

Back to the USA

Mabel Williams and sons John and Bobby, returned to the United States in August 1969 and settled in Lake County Michigan.

Robert Williams followed soon after and was arrested on the outstanding kidnapping charge at Detroit Metropolitan Airport:

“Wearing a blue Chinese suit similar to that worn by Mao, Robert walked down the tarmac, clenched fist raised high in the Black Power salute. He was immediately taken into custody by the FBI and released on a personal recognizance bond of ten thousand dollars.” (Manning : 97)

In 1975 efforts to extradite him to North Carolina to stand trial on the1961 bogus kidnapping charges was resisted and despite a large campaign to stop Williams’ extradition, Governor William Milliken of Michigan extradited him. Following his acquittal, Williams returned to Baldwin.

In 1970-71 Rob Williams had taken a research position at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Chinese Studies. Drawing from his extensive stay in China, Williams was questioned by Allen Whiting who in turn advised Henry Kissinger shortly before Kissinger’s first trip to China in the opening of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.

For the next twenty years, Robert F. Williams wrote books and articles about his experiences and continued his work as a civil rights activist. He spoke at the Chicago memorial meeting for Mao Zedong  in 1976, “Chairman Mao was our brother” .In the 1980s and 1990s, Williams remained active in community affairs in Baldwin and took up the cause of Clyde Cleveland, a prisoner on death row in North Carolina. When he died in 1996, hundreds of people attended services in Detroit and New York. Civil rights leader Rosa Parks delivered his eulogy, hailing “his courage and for his commitment to freedom.”  An Obituary in The New York Times said:

Mr. Williams was a ”revolutionary black nationalist” but was never a Communist, even though he sympathized with some of Communism’s goals, said his son John.

During their time in Lake County they had engaged in community activism and Mabel continued to work tirelessly until her death on April 19, 2014. She was 82.

mabel-and-robert-f_-williams-greeted-by-mao-tse-tungIn an obituary distributed at Mabel Williams’ memorial, it described, in part, their partnership and goals: The funeral service for Mrs. Williams was held  April 25 2014.

 “Mabel and Robert worked tirelessly together as one, in their contribution to the struggle to uplift black people and marginalized humanity. It is impossible to speak of Rob Williams accomplishments and exploits in the civil and human rights struggle without simultaneously discussing the significant role this warrior woman played by his side, at his back, out in front, and behind closed doors as she followed Rob all around the world advocating and sounding the alarm for our people.” Azikiwe (April 29, 2014)

 * * *

* Heavily indebted in use of the following sources

Abayomi Azikiwe , Mabel and Robert Williams: A Legacy of Revolutionary Struggle and Community Service. The Pan-African News Wire April 29, 2014.

Abayomi Azikiwe  China and the Struggle of Oppressed Nations for Self-Determination, National Liberation and Socialism

Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination: An Interview With Robeson Taj Frazier http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/159255

http://www.4thmedia.org/2016/10/china-and-the-struggle-of-oppressed-nations-for-self-determination-national-liberation-and-socialism/

Elbaum, Max (2006) Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che

Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Robert Williams Speaks in Chicago. Chairman Mao Was Our Brother Says Black Liberation Fighter. https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/ncm-3/cpml-williams.htm

Speech by U.S. Negro Leader Robert Williams, at a rally on August 8, 1966 https://www.marxists.org/subject/china/peking-review/1966/PR1966-33p.htm

Frazier, Robeson Taj, “Black Crusaders: the transnational circuit of Robert and Mabel Williams” in Marble, Manning & Hinton, Elizabeth Kai (2011) The New Black History. Revisiting the second reconstruction. London: Palgrave Macmillan pp91-98

Kelly, R. & Esch, B.  “Black like Mao: Red China and Black Revolution” Souls Fall 1999

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ccbh/souls/vol1no4/vol1num4art1.pdf

Robert F Williams: Self Respect Self Defense and Self Determination; An Audio Documentary as told by Mabel Williams. Audio CD and 84 page booklet. Produced by Freedom Archives. Distributed by AK Press.

Sturgis, Sue (2014) Remembering Southern Black freedom fighter Mabel Williams 2014

Tyson, Timothy B. (2001) Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power.  University of North Carolina Press

Williams, Robert Franklin

The Crusader

Negroes With Guns. (1962)

Listen, Brother! (1968)

 

 

 

 

 

 

First speech by Robert F. Williams in China’s Great Hall of the People in 1968 on the third anniversary of Mao Zedong’s speech against racial discrimination in the United States and in support of African Americans in their civil rights struggles. Topics include black power; history of African Americans; President Lyndon B. Johnson; Robert F. Kennedy; and Vietnam.

The second speech by Williams pays tribute to Mao Zedong and China and addresses the topic of the revolution against race discrimination.

http://clio.lib.olemiss.edu/cdm/ref/collection/eastland/id/166