«Whether in China or in other countries of the world, to sum up, over 90% of the population will eventually support marxism-leninism. There are still many people in the world who have not yet awakened because of the deceptions of the social-democrats, revisionists, imperialists and the reactionaries of various countries. But anyhow they will gradually awaken and support marxism-leninism. The truth of marxism-leninism is irresistible. The masses of the people will eventually rise in revolution. The world revolution is bound to triumph.»
Mao Zedong: «Talk at the Enlarged Working Conference of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China» (30.01.1962)
«Imperialism and all reactionaries are paper tigers, and so are the revisionists.»
Mao Zedong — Quoted in Beijing Review, No. 9 of 1970
We are proud to share the news of some important developments in the struggle against dogmato-revisionism in Germany, which is represented there by a German-nationalist, patriarchal and revisionist sect calling itself the «Committee Red Flag». These new developments come in the form of a polemic released on a blog created in February, which was sent to us by the collective running it by email. The German colleagues behind the blog The Sparrow have produced an important polemic against the revisionist line of the «Committee Red Flag» as represented by its magazine, Class Position. This is a great development which shows that the struggle against the new dogmato-revisionist trend at the world level is increasingly being taken up by the genuine revolutionaries of different countries.
We share the links to this polemic and another document by the German colleagues below. However, while we generally agree with the polemic and consider it to be a truly great development in the anti-revisionist struggle of the Left in the German and international communist movement, we also have a few significant disagreements. We will list them here for our wider audience, but we also emphasize that these points should be discussed in depth between the Swiss and German revolutionaries, so as to reach unity by proper means and not through open polemics.
1. ON THE QUESTION OF J. C. MARIÁTEGUI
We disagree with the polemic‘s use of the term «Mariáteguists» to refer to the German dogmato-revisionists. J. C. Mariátegui, the founder of the Communist Party of Peru, was an important marxist-leninist and a communist leader — he was one of the foremost leaders and theoreticians in the history of the international labor movement. To refer to some revisionists who abuse one of his theories as «Mariáteguists» is to lend legitimacy to the revisionists and their attempt to present themselves as «the real communists». It would be akin to refer to the Frankfort School and other «Western marxists» as «Luxemburgists» — completely inappropriate.
The line represented by the Committee Red Flag and the Class Position magazine should more properly be referred to as dogmato-revisionism, because it treats Comrade Gonzalo as an infallible god, just as the historical dogmato-revisionism of Enver Hoxha treated Comrade Stalin. Furthermore, it should be pointed out that this approach to marxism-leninism-maoism-Gonzalo thought originated with the Peru People‘s Movement. It would therefore be more appropriate to refer to the German dogmato-revisionists as «MPP-ists», if anything.
2. ON THE QUESTION OF THE THESIS ON THE MYTH
We disagree with the polemic‘s whole-sale rejection of J. C. Mariátegui‘s thesis of the myth. While it is true that Mariátegui inherited this thesis from the «Left»-revisionist George Sorel, it is not true that Mariátegui treats it in a revisionist way. He does not import Sorel‘s thesis whole-sale — rather, he divides it into myths corresponding to the interests of various classes. Mariátegui therefore «turns Sorel on his head» and establishes a marxist thesis of the myth.
The German dogmato-revisionists do not apply a proletarian myth, as Mariátegui and Gonzalo promoted, but rather a bourgeois, fascist myth of the type also analyzed by Mariátegui. Besides being dogmato-revisionists, the German dogmato-revisionists are Sorelians, not Mariáteguists, because they do not conceive of the myth in class terms. The German colleagues from The Sparrow commit the opposite, «Leftist» version of this error by discounting the thesis of the myth as a whole.
At the same time as rejecting the thesis of the myth in words, the German colleagues reaffirm and use it in deeds. This is for instance expressed when the German colleagues write that «the ‹myth›» can be «benevolently summed up as the passion of the masses» and thus reach the completely correct conclusion:
«A communist should be aware of the seriousness of their decision, and this should be noticed. A communist should be aware of their responsibility for other people‘s lives, and this should be noticed. They should have a certain sovereignty in action based on their understanding of the world, and this should be noticed. In short, they should radiate that they are a communist, and thus inspire confidence beyond the understanding that the masses have of marxism. This, by the way, is the place that faith actually has. Not as a substitute for knowledge, but as its complement.»
This is the role of the myth, as a complement to knowledge which allows for the broader popularization of the knowledge in question — and the German colleagues admit this implicitly while rejecting it explicitly. This forms a contradiction and an eclectic aspect of the polemic.
To summarize, the myth is nothing more than the spiritual expression and form of ideology and politics, it is the link between theoretical knowledge and it demonstrating relevance for humanity, to use Marx‘s expression — it is a necessity in popularizing the ideological and political line and embodying it. When one embodies rational, scientific knowledge and applies it in order to change the world, a myth is produced as a result, which grips the masses and agitates them to help change the world. Mao Zedong promoted this idea in his speech «The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains».
The marxist thesis on the myth is (scientific knowledge → embodiment → myth → mass action). The subject (the communist) starts by grasping scientific knowledge (marxism-leninism-maoism). On this basis, the subject assumes their responsibility and duty (embodiment). This embodiment generates a spiritual and moral effect on the subject as well as the object (the proletariat, working masses and people) (myth). This myth, in turn, agitates the object and promotes their incorporation into the struggle, although they do not yet fully understand the scientific fact of marxism. This inspires them to grasp marxism.
Instead of this marxist approach, what the dogmato-revisionists do is to pervert the thesis on the myth, turning it on its head, so that the subject is supposed to embody the myth rather than scientific knowledge. This is an irrationalist and therefore fascist conception. What happens then is that the subject attempts to embody a mythical-spiritual concept rather than a scientific fact, and as a result, one generates «Party soldiers» instead of communists — people without critical thinking skills or any real grasp of marxism-leninism-maoism. This is a fascist criterion, which the Committee Red Flag applies in «forging» its membership and activists.
As an example, imagine a demonstration in Hamburg or Freiburg. The activists are told: «Our flag is holy, do not let it touch the ground, do not let it fall into enemy hands!» This is supposed to help the activists understand that the flag is a revolutionary symbol and that the police are our class enemies. They are supposed to behave heroically and combatively and inspire the masses to follow suit. However, what actually occurs is that the activists do not understand why they must guard the flag, they do not understand why the police are the enemy, and the masses are not inspired — instead, they are repulsed by what appears to be sectarian, cult-like behavior. Anyone who doubts that this is the effect of the dogmato-revisionist «myth» will only have to ask the people of Hamburg what they thought about the demonstration «for» Comrade Gonzalo at the end of last year (we are not referring to this demonstration not having reached many people here, we are saying you should ask the people who witnessed it march around the gentrified tourist neighborhood).
However, if one starts with the understanding that we need the revolution, that the reactionary State is the main enemy and that by marching in a demonstration we are supposed to show our strength against that of the State, one will understand one‘s duty in defending the flag, one will understand the tactical limitations of this duty (meaning that one will not attempt to «de-arrest» the flag, as the dogmato-revisionists demand of their activists), and one will embody the class struggle and a conscious, proletarian discipline. This will actually inspire the masses to follow suit. Such is the difference between the two conceptions of the myth.
The best example of the fascist myth upheld by the Committee Red Flag revisionists is the 1st of May, 2013. The directorship of the dogmato-revisionist sect gave a directive: Don‘t leave the demonstration until you get arrested! This was supposedly in order to «embody» the idea of carrying one‘s life on the fingertips. In reality, it was an extremely sectarian order, which functionally had the effect of burning almost the entire revolutionary organization at the time (conveniently, not the directorship). This is the peak of the fascist myth of the German dogmato-revisionists, their fascist, Mussolini-esque worship of «the struggle» as an end in itself.
We recommend that the German colleagues from The Sparrow return to Mariátegui‘s works and study them as independent works, while keeping the positive experience of using the myth during the Chinese cultural revolution in mind, instead of studying them in the perverted form which is promoted in Class Position.
3. ON THE QUESTION OF REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY
We disagree with the polemic‘s criticism of the German dogmato-revisionists‘ revolutionary strategy. While we consider the emphasis put on the question of bourgeois ideological and political hegemony to be important and correct — in accordance with Gramsci‘s important thesis on hegemony — we do not agree with the eclectic conclusions reached by the German colleagues from The Sparrow.
While the colleagues correctly point out that the dogmato-revisionist strategy amounts to focus theory instead of a creative application of people‘s war, they do not understand what such a creative application entails. We have discussed this question at great length in our important contribution «The October Road Is the Only Path of the Socialist Revolution in the Imperialist Countries», which we recommend our colleagues to carefully study.
Essentially, the German colleagues do not understand that guerrilla warfare does not rely on the terrain in which it takes place — terrain is only a complement to people. This was an important struggle both during the Russian revolutionary civil war, where Stalin and Trotsky clashed over whether to take the terrain or the masses as the main aspect during the struggle against the White Army, and during the Chinese people‘s anti-japanese war of resistance, where Mao Zedong directed the people‘s army to develop guerrilla warfare in different types of terrain (mountains, plains and urban areas alike) and different political situations (Communist, Guomindang and Japanese areas), by again and again emphasizing the determining role which the mass work of the people‘s army played in where guerrilla warfare could be developed (see Mao Zedong‘s correspondence from 1937-45 in Mao‘s Road To Power, Vols. 6-8). In the people‘s war in Peru as well, it was possible to develop the armed struggle in areas held by the enemy, such as the capital Lima itself.
For us in the imperialist countries, it is not a matter of unfolding the mass work before the initiation of the armed struggle, but of unfolding the armed struggle as a complementary aspect to the political struggle (including mass work as the fundamental part) until the dual power emerges across the country and the strategic stalemate is reached — thus making possible the insurrections and thereby the transition to open revolutionary class war during the strategic offensive. This has been outlined in the article «The October Road…» mentioned above and we hope that our German colleagues will take the study of this contribution very seriously.
If we base ourselves on the theses of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Gonzalo on the topic of the socialist revolution in capitalist countries, we can understand that the socialist revolution in an imperialist country will have to go through a process characterized by:
A stage of founding or refounding the Communist Party. This means to identify, retake and develop («correct» and «modernize») the historic basis of Party unity in the light of today‘s marxism or to establish the basis of Party unity if it did not historically exist. This is in sum a struggle against historic, domestic, international and internal revisionism. In this stage, building organizational apparatuses and carrying out political work must serve the task of founding or refounding the Communist Party.
A stage of building or rebuilding the Party organizations, the military organizations and the united front while waging political struggle and preparing for armed struggle. This stage must necessarily be characterized by starting to use bourgeois parliaments and referendums in order to generate public opinion for the socialist revolution. During this stage, mobilizing the masses for riots and other forms of mass action have particular importance as well, in that they allow the people to train for armed struggle and win public support for the revolution.
A stage of waging political struggle as well as armed struggle (the strategic defensive of the revolution). This is the initiation of the people‘s war in strategic terms, but in military terms it remains merely struggle and not yet war. This stage is characterized by the emergence of dual power and limited base areas.
A stage of preparing and carrying out insurrections in order to break the enemy‘s hold on the big and medium-sized cities (the strategic stalemate of the revolution). This is the further development of the class struggle and its transformation into class war. This stage is characterized by widespread dual power and the conquest of significant base areas.
A stage of waging armed struggle complemented by political struggle (the strategic offensive of the revolution). This is the open revolutionary civil war, the proletarian class war against the bourgeoisie. This stage is characterized by the generalization and stabilization of the dictatorship of the proletariat as State power is conquered country-wide.
A stage of rebuilding the domestic economy, securing the country‘s borders and suppressing counter-revolutionaries in order to prepare for building socialism.
It is necessary to comprehend this outline. Of course, the October Road must be applied in the light of the theory of people‘s war differently in different countries. Switzerland has three nations (German-, French- and Italian-speaking nations) of relatively similar size, while Germany has only one big nation (the German nation) and three smaller, subordinated ones (the Danes, Frisians and Sorbs). Germany is a large, generally flat country, while Switzerland is small and mountainous. Germany has many big and medium-sized cities, while Switzerland has no big cities in the international sense of the term. Moreover, neither Germany nor Switzerland have settler-colonies, as in Australia or the USA, where it is necessary to complementarily surround the cities from the countryside in people‘s wars of the oppressed nationalities, while at the same time following the October Road in other regions. There are also other questions which must be resolved, such as the migrant national question, the Jewish national question and the Traveling people‘s national questions. There are also territorial questions, such as Liechtenstein or North Schleswig, which have different characters and must be solved in different ways. Thus, we are not proposing that our German colleagues adopt the same revolutionary strategy as the Swiss revolutionaries. However, they must understand that the general road to follow is the same — that of the October Road in the light of the theory of people‘s war — and that specifications must take place after acknowledging the general road.
4. ON THE QUESTION OF THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN GERMANY
We disagree with the polemic‘s attacks against the previous generations of colleagues who have left the ranks of the German dogmato-revisionists in the past, such as the colleagues from Youth Resistance.
What must be understood is that the dogmato-revisionist trend at the world level, of which the line of the German dogmato-revisionists is an expression, developed inside the Peru People‘s Movement in the 1990s and 2000s, becoming the dominant aspect in the line of that organization by the year 2000, and eventually leading to its complete betrayal of the revolution around 2013, when it began knowingly promoting the 3rd Right-opportunist line in Peru as a supposed «people‘s war in Peru» — a vain attempt to maintain the prestige, legitimacy and reason to exist of the Peru People‘s Movement itself. When the Committee Red Flag was created by the Peru People‘s Movement in 2013-15, it completely inherited this «Left»-liquidationist line and gradually turned it into its mechanical opposite — a Right-opportunist line.
The Committee Red Flag and its mouthpieces, such as the magazine Class Position, were therefore never marxist, but revisionist. Opposition to and splits from this sect on a marxist basis have therefore been legitimate means of struggle ever since it was founded. This is also true for Youth Resistance, which was the victim of a coordinated dogmato-revisionist attack and reactionary police repression, which led to its isolation and collapse. It is not true that Youth Resistance or any of the other anti-dogmato-revisionist circles in Germany existing at present are social-fascist organizations — this was a lie invented and promoted by the Committee Red Flag in order to secure international support for itself. The entire polemic against Youth Resistance is therefore completely off the mark.
In recent years, many revolutionary circles have emerged across Germany. This year‘s Red Youth Bloc at the Lenin-Liebknecht-Luxemburg Demonstration was a great expression of this trend. These young revolutionaries conceive of themselves as anti-revisionists and are inspired by marxism-leninism-maoism. They increasingly raise the necessity of refounding the Communist Party of Germany and certain circles within them are leading a struggle towards maoism within them. All of these circles also see themselves as being in the tradition of Youth Resistance, and as a result, they despise the dogmato-revisionist sectarians from the «Committee Red Flag», who they (rightly) consider to be police collaborators and cultists. The movement to refound the Party is objectively taking place in Germany — but it demands centralization and directorship. This role must be fulfilled by the circle with the most advanced ideological and political line. Therefore, our German colleagues cannot be permitted to behave in a sectarian manner toward these young colleagues, who are actually marching toward the refounding of the Party — otherwise, the young colleagues themselves will generate the necessary directorship and march over the heads of the more experienced colleagues.
The actual task for the German communist movement at present is not to attack the less knowledgeable newcomers to the revolutionary movement or to implicitly support German dogmato-revisionist at any point in the past — instead, the most burning task at present is to create a unifying ideological-political directing center, consisting of committed communists who adhere to a correct ideological and political line, which must then struggle to win over all of the dispersed revolutionary circles in Germany, including those who previously split from the Committee Red Flag, on the basis of marxism-leninism-maoism-Gonzalo thought, the necessity of refounding the Communist Party of Germany and the necessity of armed revolutionary war to conquer political power.
In this way, it will be possible to actually create an organization which can direct the revolutionary movement in Germany, refound the Party and initiate the armed struggle in the light of the theory of people‘s war applied to the October Road. Sectarianism and repetition of dogmato-revisionist lies in no way serves this goal. We understand where the colleagues from The Sparrow are coming from — the Swiss revolutionaries used to believe in the very same lies due to their history with the German dogmato-revisionists. However, we were able to break with this wrong attitude by seeking truth from facts. We suggest that the German colleagues from The Sparrow return to the original polemics exchanged between the Editorial Board of Class Position and Youth Resistance and reevaluate the positions which the colleagues have inherited from the dogmato-revisionists.
5. BRIEFLY ON THE QUESTION OF PATRIARCHY
We partially disagree with the other document, «On Patriarchy Under Capitalism and Its Abolition», because it completely leaves out the secondary aspect of patriarchy, which is the double oppression of queer people. Anti-queer oppression is a necessary complement to the double exploitation and oppression of women in patriarchal society. Anti-female exploitation and oppression could not possibly exist without anti-queer oppression, and leaving it out therefore produces a subjectivist, one-sided analysis of the problem of patriarchy under capitalism. We refer to the document «Marxism and Queer Emancipation» for further elaboration of this topic.
* * *
We want to end this brief editorial by reaffirming our great joy over the initiation of open struggle against German dogmato-revisionism in Germany itself. It is of extreme importance that this struggle is now being taken up by colleagues in Germany. We hope that the German colleagues will correct their errors, just as they did when they broke with the Committee Red Flag revisionists, and continue advancing toward refounding the Communist Party of Germany, the Party of Luxemburg and Liebknecht, on the road of the socialist revolution — the road from which they must first sweep away the pebble that is dogmato-revisionism before they can advance further. The most major challenge in this task will be overcoming the inherited sectarian position toward the other revolutionary organizations in Germany, which can and must be united under a single flag, in a single organizational, for a single goal — under marxism-leninism-maoism, in a single, unified, country-wide German communist organization, for the Communist Party of Germany and the armed struggle.
The polemic by the German colleagues from The Sparrow can be found here. The document on proletarian feminism can be found here. We are certain that an English translation will eventually be made available by the German colleagues in the interest of developing the two-line struggle in the international communist movement generally, and not merely in the German-speaking countries.
DEATH TO REVISIONISM! UNITE UNDER MAOISM!
REFOUND THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF GERMANY!
CLASS WAR FOR SOCIALISM! PEOPLE‘S WAR UNTIL COMMUNISM!
THE RED FLAG