Twenty years ago, in March 1984, the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) was announced to the world during a historic London press conference that boldly declared the formation of “an embryonic centre of the world’s Maoists” and the goal of forming a communist international of a new type. A short time later, on 1 May of the same year, the Declaration of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement was published and distributed in many languages. Although the world situation has undergone dramatic changes since then and RIM’s own understanding of its revolutionary ideology has advanced, especially with the adoption of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its guiding ideology in 1993, the Declaration remains a precious achievement and a solid foundation for further advance.

The formation of RIM was, above all, a response to the capture of revolutionary China by the new bourgeoisie led by Hua Kuo-feng and Deng Xiaoping shortly after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. The closest followers of Mao, including his widow, Chiang Ching, were arrested, and a wave of terror spread across the country. Thousands were killed or imprisoned. The China that had been living proof of the possibility of building a new society free of exploitation was rapidly transformed into a hellhole of capitalist exploitation. The China that under Mao had been a bulwark of resistance to the world imperialist system became another link in the world-wide chain of oppression.

The international communist movement was severely harmed by the loss in China. Many forces followed the Chinese party into the revisionist swamp. Others echoed Enver Hoxha’s vicious attack on Mao Zedong Thought (which today we call Maoism). Some tried to “rediscover” socialism in the Soviet Union, which Mao had so forcefully and convincingly exposed as social-imperialist. Even more former communists lost their hope in the possibility of proletarian revolution and drifted away from political activity altogether.

The formation of RIM was a declaration of refusal to abandon revolution. It was a daring act to hold high the red flag when it was being trampled in China, Albania and elsewhere. As the Declaration put it, “Today…the forces fighting for a revolutionary line are a small minority encircled and attacked by revisionists and bourgeois apologists of all stripes. Nevertheless, these forces represent the future”. With the hindsight of twenty years we can see how prophetic these words were.

Only a few years after the formation of RIM the whole East bloc, including the USSR itself, came crashing down to the applause and laughter of the Western imperialists, who tried to use the collapse of this revisionist monstrosity to proclaim the final victory of Western “democracy” over “communist totalitarianism”. Even today the tidal wave of the bourgeois ideological onslaught against the theory and experience of proletarian revolution does its damage.

Despite these difficult moments, RIM and the parties and organisations making it up were not only able to maintain their bearings but to make some dramatic breakthroughs. The People’s War under the leadership of the Communist Party of Peru advanced steadily throughout the 1980s and early 1990s before facing a “bend in the road” following the capture of its leader, Chairman Gonzalo, and the subsequent emergence of a right opportunist line that called for abandoning the war. Despite the hardships and difficulties, the communist revolutionaries in Peru have persisted and struggled to keep the red flag flying.

South Asia, home to hundreds of millions of the world’s exploited and oppressed, is crucial in the process of world proletarian revolution. Maoist forces from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have been a pillar of RIM since its formation. A new chapter in this history began in Nepal in 1996 with the initiation of the People’s War. Now, after only eight years, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has liberated the bulk of the country and is knocking at the door of nation-wide political power, which is sending shock waves throughout the region.

In India, RIM’s connection to the advancing revolutionary struggle has been strengthened with the participation of the Maoist Communist Centre of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Naxalbari).

In Turkey, the Maoist current is emerging stronger after a series of line struggles against the pernicious influence of a semi-Hoxhaite trend in the communist movement of that country. As a result, the subjective conditions are improving for a powerful new wave of people’s war.

In Iran, a generation of revolutionaries had faced arrest, execution or exile, but amidst the defeat and demoralisation the red flag was kept afloat by the forces of RIM who went on to form the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist). Today, as the reactionary regime of the mullahs is agonising on its deathbed and the imperialists and reactionaries seek to control the inevitable “regime change”, the importance of RIM and the existence of its contingent in Iran stands out more clearly than ever.

In Afghanistan, where the communist forces had been smashed and/or disoriented by the Soviet Union’s invasion and the subsequent leadership of the anti-Soviet war by CIA- (and China-) backed reactionaries, a new communist party emerged.

Thus, we can see that in the Middle East-Central Asia region, the only choice for the masses is not the false conflict between imperialist “modernisers” and Islamic “anti-Western” obscurantism. The path of new-democratic revolution, socialism and communism is no doubt a difficult road, but it is the only road to genuine liberation. Suffering at the hands of domestic and foreign exploiters, tired of seeing national sovereignty and democratic rights trampled by these same enemies and fed up with the dead-end “solutions” of the misleaders, whether bearded or clean shaven, men or women, the revolutionary elements in these countries need the liberating ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and it is the forces of RIM, in particular, who are struggling to bring it to them.

The countries of Latin America have long been considered their “backyard” by the US imperialists, who believe they have an unrestricted right to exploit the masses of these countries and control their destiny. Although the People’s War in Peru has faced difficulties in recent years, it has been a shining example for revolutionaries throughout the region, and comrades in Colombia, Mexico and other countries of Latin America have struggled to popularise its lessons. In Latin America, as well as elsewhere, efforts by the US imperialists to impose an even tighter control are intensifying the already strong hatred for Yankee imperialism. Here, too, the possibilities of new revolutionary breakthroughs exist.

From the beginning, RIM has reflected the reality that the world proletarian revolution consists of two basic streams – the proletarian socialist revolution in the imperialist countries and the new-democratic revolution in the oppressed countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. RIM’s vision of the final goal of a world without classes and its internationalist orientation is strengthened by its presence in both kinds of countries. In the imperialist citadel of the United States, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA has been able to sink roots among the masses and advance preparations for the future battle to rid the world of its greatest oppressors. In Italy and Germany, parties and organisations are developing as part of RIM, and elsewhere in the imperialist countries comrades are increasingly recognising the role of RIM in uniting the genuine Maoist forces.

In short, the world is ripe for revolution, and the situation is ripening still further. But in order for the dreams of the oppressed to become a reality, proletarian ideology must come to the fore and a solid communist organisation must be built. There are still too many parts of the world where Maoist forces are extremely weak or non-existent, such as in Africa where the need for revolutionary transformation is so evident. Even where genuine Maoist forces do exist, their capacity is generally dwarfed by the magnitude of the tasks to accomplish and the possibilities to fulfil.

Further, we must consider the whole of the international communist movement and its future, not just the specific parts that make it up. RIM was formed not only to help the existing parties and organisations learn from each other and advance but to develop as a centre, to strengthen the proletarian ideological and political pole in the world as a whole and to lay the basis for further advance, both ideologically and practically, towards a communist international of a new type. The need for ideological and political clarity, for a stronger unity of the communists at the international level, and for further breakthroughs in leading the revolutionary struggle of the masses forward, all this cries out to be done. All Maoist revolutionaries must understand the importance of RIM to the world proletarian revolution and do their utmost to help it advance.

The world today is a fiery cauldron of conflict. The imperialist enemy is on the rampage and the people are driven to resist in a thousand ways. Imperialist order and stability is giving way to more intense turmoil in which the difficulties, hardships and sacrifices facing the communist forces and the masses of people are intensifying. Yet these very same conditions are favouring the emerging new wave of world proletarian revolution. Thus, we see once again that danger can be transformed into opportunities, the necessity to resist transformed into the freedom to take great strides ahead. In this light we can see that RIM’s important achievements over two decades are but a prelude to the even greater challenges on the horizon facing the proletariat.

Committee of the RIM, May 1st, 2004
Participating Organizations in RIM are :
Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist)
Communist Party (Maoist) of Afghanistan
Communist Party of Bangladesh (Marxist-Leninist) [BSD(ML)]
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Naxalbari)
Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
Communist Party of Peru
Maoist Communist Centre of India
Maoist Communist Party [Italy]
Maoist Communist Party (Turkey/North Kurdistan)
Marxist-Leninist Communist Organization of Tunisia
Proletarian Party of Purba Bangla (PBSP) [Bangladesh]
Revolutionary Communist Group of Colombia
Revolutionary Communist Party, USA
e p D T F s