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Maoism today

Translated from Le Drapeau Rouge [1] No. 57, June-July 2005.

In 1984, while a group of communist organizations dared to recognize the loss of socialist China and decided to resist the treason and demoralization of the communist movement by creating the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), capitalism was apparently triumphing. Its ideologists even proclaimed the "death of communism" and even the "end of history", when the USSR and the Berlin Wall both collapsed. Twenty years later, imperialism is hopelessly trying - by the repressive and devastating force of its armies - to maintain an unjust world and the dictatorship of the rich causing tremendous misery worldwide. This brings the masses of all continents, from Bolivia to Iraq as well as Palestine, Afghanistan, Nepal, India or the Philippines, to be more and more angry, day after day.

By creating the RIM 20 years ago, these revolutionaries built the foundations for the renewal of communism in its most revolutionary understanding - that is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This renewal was made possible by directly attacking the revisionist drifting of many "Marxist-Leninist" organizations which had actually given up on revolution. The revolutionaries who gathered around RIM condemned the return to capitalism in the former socialist countries and began to make a serious assessment of the revolutionary experience in China and the USSR. This Movement - which is a truly living body - constantly grew rich and still continues to progress, thanks to the two-line struggle and political discussions which animate it. The RIM experienced its most important developments through new experiments of revolutionary action and people's war which were initiated during the last few years and saw spectacular progress, especially in both Nepal and South Asia.

People's War in Peru and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism

Among the events which played a decisive role in the Maoist revival certainly was the launching of the people's war by the Communist Party of Peru in May 1980. The CPP has been the first organization to refer to Maoism as a new stage of Marxism-Leninism. This Party and the armed struggle it waged - without any external material or military support - in a country that is among the poorest in Latin America became a model of resistance and courage from the masses. The people's war in Peru initiated an important thought on Mao's contribution to the revolutionary strategy and brought a new leap as to the crucial role of people's war in preparation for world revolution.

The development and the progression of people's war in Peru played an important role in the recognition in 1993 by the RIM of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as "the ideology of the proletariat synthesized and developed to new stages." RIM's declaration entitled Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! that was issued on December 26, 1993 thus summarized the reasons for upholding Maoism:

"Mao Zedong elaborated many theses on a whole series of vital questions of revolution. But Maoism is not just the sum total of Mao's great contributions. It is the comprehensive and all-round development of Marxism-Leninism to a new and higher stage. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is an integral whole; it is the ideology of the proletariat synthesized and developed to new stages, from Marxism to Marxism-Leninism to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, by Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and Mao Zedong, on the basis of the experience of the proletariat and mankind in class struggle, the struggle for production and scientific experiment. It is the invincible weapon which enables the proletariat to understand the world and change it through revolution. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is a universally applicable, living and scientific ideology, constantly developing and being further enriched through its application in making revolution as well as through the advance of human knowledge generally. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the enemy of all forms of revisionism and dogmatism. It is all-powerful because it is true."

In Canada, the Action Socialiste group, which dissolved to integrate the Revolutionary Communist Party (Organizing Committees) in November 2000, had itself adopted Maoism in 1994, inspired by the experience and discussions of the Communist Party of Peru and RIM.

Rectification movement and progression of the people's war in the Philippines

The discussions that happened following the advances of the revolution in Peru and the important critique of revisionism made by the Maoists (including the RIM) certainly contributed to the victory of the Second Great Rectification Movement launched by the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1992. This Party, which had launched the people's war in 1969, had faced important setbacks in the eighties. It was experiencing an important two-line struggle, opposing mainly those who were supporting a revisionist path that pushed towards abandoning the protracted people's war strategy and legalizing the Party, and the revolutionaries who wanted to better grasp and apply the Maoist revolutionary principles.

Whereas the guerrilla fronts and base areas had practically disappeared by the mid-Eighties, the Maoist rectification movement allowed the revival of the Communist Party of the Philippines. This revival was based on the need for developing not only military activity on guerrilla fronts, but also the political and ideological work of building a people's revolutionary power in the zones under its influence. On March 29, 2005, on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of the New People's Army (NPA), the Central Committee of the CP of the Philippines reaffirmed the essential role played by the rectification movement in the important advances carried out in the last few years.

Incidentally, it invited the NPA to raise the strategic defensive to a higher level by raising the number of guerrilla fronts from 130 to 140 in the coming year. With a military and political presence in more than 70 of the country's provinces, encompassing some 800 municipalities and 9,000 villages, the New People's Army and the CP of the Philippines are considered today as being "the greatest internal security threat to the country", according to Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz. He expressed this last April, when demanding that United States enable him to negotiate a peace agreement with Filipino Islamic "terrorists" who used to serve as a pretext for US Army to redeploy its presence in the country.

Revolution on the road in Nepal

Largely inspired too by the people's war in Peru (at some point, more than 10,000 people demonstrated in the streets of Kathmandu in 1993 in support of Chairman Gonzalo and the Communist Party of Peru!), the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is also basing itself on Maoism. In February 1996, it announced the launching of the people's war. In less than 10 years, this Party and the People's Liberation Army it leads became the armed and political tool of a whole people that looks for freedom and dignity and want to put an end to all forms of oppression: patriarchal, caste, religion, nationality and property ones, cleverly maintained by feudal monarchy.

By establishing base areas free from feudalism and landowners and by creating new organs of people's political power - today this new power exists in most of the country except the Kathmandu Valley - the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) showed the soundness of the Maoist ideology and strategy on which it relies. This guerrilla, made up at the beginning of a few hundred members, began its activity nine years ago with only one rifle and one handgun and nevertheless developed a genuine People's Liberation Army made up of thousands of men and women, who today controls the vast majority of the country and is in the process of driving out an army and police machine of more than 120,000 men.

All that would have been impossible without a correct revolutionary strategy, thanks to Maoism. According to Maoist principles, for a revolution to success, it requires the support and participation of the masses, along with a party and a revolutionary army able to tackle and destroy the power of the reactionary classes. The revolution becomes possible when the people themselves contribute and take part, by the force of its best elements, the women and men most determined to overcome oppression and drive out the tyrants and reactionaries with revolution.

Maoist revival in Afghanistan, India and South Asia

The revolution today shaking Nepal has posed new conditions and urgent challenges to Maoists, particularly in oppressed countries. This first challenge was certainly the need to unify the forces and currents supporting Maoism, in order to consolidate the revolutionary camp.

The attacks and armed offensive by US imperialism in various parts of the world, as well as the resistance it meets, create new challenges and opportunities for the revolutionary forces. Their capacity to unleash the fury of the masses as a mighty force for the revolution is at the heart of developments to come.

In 2002, Maoists in Turkey unified under the banner of the MKP, the Maoist Communist Party [Turkey and North Kurdistan], and along with the People's Liberation Army, they raised the flag of people's war by waging armed actions in zones under their influence. A year and a half later, the Afghan Maoists concluded their own unification process, by founding the Communist Party (Maoist) of Afghanistan at the end of a historical congress held in May 2004.

This new Party is the fruit of a process started after the military invasion of Afghanistan by US imperialism and its allies in 2002, thus obliging Maoist forces to arm themselves with a program and a clear political line. Initiated by the Communist Party of Afghanistan and the Struggle Organization for the Liberation of Afghanistan (Peykar), the discussions then continued with another group called Revolutionary Unity of Workers of Afghanistan. The call they then issued to all the country's MLM forces received a cordial answer. The base of unity of the new Party was formed around the political and ideological principles of MLM, with the New Democracy Revolution as a minimum program and preparing the transition towards the maximum program, socialist revolution and the final goal of communism. The new Party also posed as a base of unity adhesion to the strategy of protracted people's war and the preparation of its launching being the central task of the day.

At its founding congress, participants also put emphasis on internationalism and the struggle within the RIM, in order to build a Communist International of a new type. RIM besides played an important role in the process of unification of Maoist forces in Afghanistan. In 2003, it had called for the holding of a Joint Regional Conference of MLM Parties and Organizations of Iran and Afghanistan, which allowed important steps forward toward unity of the whole MLM movement at the regional level. The contribution of the Communist Party of Iran (MLM) to this process was also underlined by the new Afghan Party.

In September 2004, it was the Maoist revolutionaries from India who achieved unity by creating the new Communist Party of India (Maoist). In this country - the second most populated in the world after China - this event constitutes a major advance for the revolutionary forces and the development of people's war in South Asia. Like returning a negative echo to this new revolutionary breakthrough, the US government officially added the new Communist Party of India (Maoist) on its Other Selected Terrorist Organizations (OSTO) List, in May 2005.

South Asia, with the Maoists of Nepal and India as its vanguard, seems the most active revolutionary zone today at the international level. The guerrilla zones and guerrilla bases stretching from Nepal to the North-East of India is the theatre of a new coordination between revolutionary Maoists, based on their common analysis and the need for fighting in a unified way against reactionary feudal, capitalist and bureaucratic classes. All this at a time when Maoist actions become extensive in western Bangladesh and when a new Maoist Party has been created in Bhutan.

The Maoist challenge: concentrating the anger of the masses towards attacking bourgeois power

Today, revolutionaries, sympathizers and all groups and organizations who want to resist and fight in a consequent way against the imperialist domination on the world, need to be aware of victories and important advances of Maoism towards revolution and its essential struggle against imperialism. Its goal is to give "all power to the masses". Inspired by the Nepalese example as by that of Peru, Maoist forces are progressing in Ecuador, Brazil and Colombia, where support campaigns for the Nepalese revolution were recently organized.

The soundness of the Maoist strategy was and still is incarnated today in the important progress of people's war in oppressed countries, where as in Nepal the oppressed masses never have been so close of seizing power. It is also incarnated in the new breath which it gave to the Maoist movements in the imperialist countries.

In Europe, Maoists are more and more active, notably in Germany, Turkey, France, Italy and the UK. In the United States, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA - one of the founding parties of RIM - continues the struggle to develop revolution in the most powerful imperialist country in the world.

In Canada, Maoism lit the necessary spark for organizations and individuals to organize a conference in 2000 which carried out the creation of the Revolutionary Communist Party (Organizing Committees). In fact, Maoism enabled them to elaborate a program, a strategy, and an action plan for revolution in Canada - a strategy which largely remains to be defined within the reality of class struggle inside the country, but whose principles are firmly anchored in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Those comrades - that we fully support! - who adhere to MLM understood, as underlined in an article from the most recent edition of A World to Win magazine, that "without the degeneration and destruction of the reactionary armed forces, as the backbone of the enemy's state power, revolution is impossible in any country."

To fight bourgeois power by concentrating the anger of the masses into a party, an army, a united front-in a word, to merge Marxism-Leninism-Maoism with the new rising wave of revolution and to manage to concentrate the anger of the masses towards attacking bourgeois power: this is the tremendous challenge of the Maoists and the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM). In front of the courage of the Maoists and the broad masses which fight against imperialism and reaction in Nepal, the Philippines, Iraq, Peru, in Palestine, India or Turkey, we have the responsibility to take on this great challenge and to invite all revolutionaries to work towards it!

1) Le Drapeau Rouge is the RCP's French newspaper. Go to for more info.

(paru dans the People's War Digest magazine n° 2)

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