On Party Building

An article about the laws of Party building according to Marx, Lenin and Mao.

Proletarians of all countries, unite!

ON PARTY BUILDING

MARXISM AND PARTY BUILDING

Abimael «Gonzalo» Guzmán
August 1976

The Red Flag
No. 46, August 1976

Reproduced by
The Red Flag

This article was originally written by Comrade Gonzalo for the theoretical journal of the Communist Party of Peru, The Red Flag, in August 1976. It was written to serve in culminating the process of refounding the Party. On decision of the 2nd Plenary Session of the 1st Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru in 1990-91, it was decided to publish this article as an official document of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Peru. We are reproducing the original article.

ON PARTY BUILDING

«All revolutionary struggles in the world have the goal of taking and consolidating power.»

Mao Zedong

Summarizing the experiences of 100 years of working-class struggle and world revolution, in 1948, Comrade Mao Zedong wrote:

«If there is to be revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the marxist-leninist revolutionary theory and in the marxist-leninist revolutionary style, it is impossible to direct the working class and the broad masses of the people to defeat imperialism and its running dogs. In the more than 100 years since the birth of marxism, it was only through the example of the Russian bolsheviks in directing the October Revolution, in directing socialist construction and in defeating fascist aggression that revolutionary parties of a new type were formed and developed in the world. With the birth of revolutionary parties of this type, the face of the world revolution has changed. The change has been so great that transformations utterly inconceivable to people of the older generation have come into being amid fire and thunder. […] With the birth of the Communist Party of China, the face of the Chinese revolution took on an altogether new aspect. Is this fact not clear enough?»i (The highlights are by our Party.)

Here we have condensed the question of the Party; its necessity and its building as a Party of the new type which builds and gives precise directorship to the world revolution and of each country as it functions for the working class and its emancipation.

There are three questions that need to be taken into account:

1. The necessity of the Party, which is the problem of taking power for the working class.

2. The building of the Party, which is the problem of its building in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country in which the working class, and only it through its Party, can direct the national-democratic revolution.

3. The internal struggle, which is the problem in which the Party develops itself in the midst of the struggle of two lines in its heart, struggle around which Party unity and cohesion are sustained.

These three questions demand that we take into account: first, marxism in theory and practice, the experience of marxism in the problem of Party building, the great teachings systematized by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Comrade Mao Zedong; second, the building of the Party in our own country; and third, the current situation in which the building of the working-class Party unfolds in our country.

MARXISM AND PARTY BUILDING

In the middle of the 19th century, with the appearance of marxism, the working class arose as a new class and the last one in history. With the «Manifesto of the Communist Party» the proletariat was furnished with the programme which would take humanity towards a new world, to a communist society, to a classless society. This is the programme and the path which all must necessarily cross under the directorship of the proletariat materialized in its Party. There is no other path for the classes, there is no other path for humanity. World history easily proves this. The October Revolution, the Chinese revolution and others, the rising national-liberation movement, the persistent march of the international working class and its revolutionary parties are all part of this inevitable path. A path which in the coming 50 or 100 years will decisively develop in great earth-shaking struggles, as Comrade Mao Zedong teaches.

1. MARX, ENGELS AND THE BUILDING OF THE PARTY

Marx and Engels founded the world outlook of the working class which is marxism. They raised solid truths which we cannot abandon such as: the principle of class struggle to understand and transform the world; violence as the midwife of history; the dictatorship of the proletariat and the necessity of the revolutionary transformation of the old society through a long historical process, among others. But also, and at times it is not emphasized enough, Marx and Engels realized their thesis on the necessity of building the working-class Party as an indispensable instrument to fight for its class interests. Thus, in the midst of arduous struggle against old anarchist concepts with a profoundly bourgeois essence, they were able to establish in the statutes of the International, in 1864 and 1872:

«In its struggle against the collective power of the propertied classes, the working class cannot act as a class except by constituting itself into a political party, distinct from, and opposed to all old parties formed by the propertied classes.

This constitution of the working class into a political party is indispensable in order to insure the triumph of the social revolution, and of its ultimate end, the abolition of classes.

[…]

The lords of land and the lords of capital will always use their political privileges for the defence and perpetuation of their economical monopolies, and for the enslavement of labour. The conquest of political power has therefore become the great duty of the working class.»ii

Marx and Engels started from the idea that the workers themselves had to struggle for their own emancipation as a class, and that the economic emancipation of the proletariat is «the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means».iii They proposed the need that the working class has in organizing itself as a political party to struggle for its own class interests, to seize power and then, consequently, reach its goal, the realization of its historic objective: the abolition of classes and the building of a new society without exploiters or oppressors.

In the same manner they set forth that the working class organize itself «into a political party, distinct from, and opposed to all old parties».iv This is because the working class upon organizing itself into a political party, does so taking as its sustenance its class consciousness: marxism. Because it has its own programme, which Marx and Engels set forth in the «Manifesto», which makes communists «point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality»v and in «the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole».vi Constantly keeping hold of its class consciousness which can be summarized «in the single sentence: Abolition of private property».vii In this manner they proposed the building of a «distinct and opposed» Party that would serve the class unity which the revolution demanded, or, in their own words:

«Since the success of the workers‘ movement in each country cannot be secured but by the power of union and combination, while, on the other hand, the usefulness of the International General Council must greatly depend on the circumstance whether it has to deal with a few national centres of workers‘ associations, or with a great number of small and disconnected local societies – the members of the International Association shall use their utmost efforts to combine the disconnected workers‘ societies of their respective countries into national bodies, represented by central national organs. It is self-understood, however, that the appliance of this rule will depend upon the peculiar laws of each country, and that, apart from legal obstacles, no independent local society shall be precluded from corresponding directly with the General Council.»viii (Our emphasis.)

In addition to the development of struggle in the party of the proletariat they conceived the stage of revolution to be connected with other oppressed classes. Marx set forth that in Germany the working class revolution would depend on backing it «by some second edition of the Peasant War»,ix while Engels maintained that «in a predominantly agricultural country like Prussia it is despicable to attack only the bourgeoisie in the name of the industrial proletariat, without even mentioning the brutal patriarchalist exploitation of the rural proletariat by the big feudal aristocracy».x As such, Lenin would state:

«While the democratic (bourgeois) revolution in Germany was uncompleted, Marx focused every attention, in the tactics of the socialist proletariat, on developing the democratic energy of the peasantry.»xi

Finally, Marx and Engels carried out a great and intense struggle for the building of the party of the proletariat. They invested long years in struggling against anarchism until converting marxism into the recognized world outlook of the working class and in support of its political organization. Marx and Engels had to confront the machinations of Bakunin and his group «which, under the mask of the most extreme anarchism, directs its blows not against the existing governments but against the revolutionaries who accept neither its dogma nor its directorship», and which «infiltrates the ranks of the international organization of the working class, at first attempts to dominate it and, when this plan fails, sets to work to disorganize it»; which «organizes within the public sections of the International its own little secret sections»; which «in its newspapers […] publicly attacks all those who refuse to submit to its will»; and which «resorts to any means, any disloyalty to achieve its ends; lies, slander, intimidation, the stab in the back — it finds them all equally suitable».xii In summary, against anarchism, which behind all its mascarades of high-sounding radical «Leftism», hides its Rightist essence and its economism and denies the class politics of the proletariat. Later, they carried out a struggle against Right-deviations and -opportunism in the midst of the Social-Democratic Parties, especially in Germany, because of its negations of class principles and with its bourgeois deformations of the political programme. This, like the previous struggle, was carried out in defense of unity, by demanding that «one must have the courage to sacrifice momentary success for more important things».xiii (Our emphasis.) Teaching self-criticism and the serious judging of errors and what should be greatly highlighted, pointing out the root of the struggle and schism:

«For the rest, old Hegel has already said: A party proves itself a victorious party by the fact that it splits and can stand the split. The movement of the proletariat necessarily passes through different stages of development; at every stage one section of people lags behind and does not join in the further advance; and this alone explains why it is that actually the ‹solidarity of the proletariat› is everywhere realized in different party groupings which carry on life-and-death feuds with one another, as the Christian sects in the Roman Empire did amidst the worst persecutions.»xiv (Our emphasis.)

These are fundamental questions which Marx and Engels taught us in relation to the necessity of the Party, its building and development in struggle. This is a very important part of scientific socialism, of the very theory of the classic founders who many times are not remembered. If Marx and Engels had not raised these issues, their gigantic task would not have had reason or basis. But, as it is very necessary to reiterate, since its appearance the scientific world outlook of the working class, marxism, set forth and resolved the problem of the Party. What has happened is that, as in other fields of marxism, this revolutionary theory and practice on the necessity of the Party, its building and the struggle of the two lines within it, has been developed, synthesizing the later great experiences of the international working class, efforts which have been accomplished at a global level by Lenin and Comrade Mao.

2. LENIN AND THE BUILDING OF THE PARTY OF A NEW TYPE

The 20th century brought us imperialism as the last and highest phase of capitalism. Lenin reestablished the old revolutionary theories of Marx and Engels, which the old revisionists had tried to destroy, and elevated them to the level of marxism-leninism. What implications does this development of marxism have for the construction of the party of the proletariat? Lenin, conscious that they had reached the stage of seizing power and of the dictatorship of the proletariat, repeated the necessity of the Party to transform society. See his great maxim:

«Give us an organization of revolutionaries, and we will overturn Russia.»xv

For Lenin, to change the world requires a Party, and this has a programme which, according to his own words, serves «to organise the class struggle of the proletariat and to direct this struggle, the ultimate aim of which is the conquest of political power by the proletariat and the organisation of a socialist society».xvi

Understanding like no one else in his time the necessity of the organization of the proletariat in whose organization their strength resides, Lenin set forth the following principle which no Communist can forget:

«In its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organisation. Disunited by the rule of anarchic competition in the bourgeois world, ground down by forced labour for capital, constantly thrust back to the ‹lower depths› of utter destitution, savagery, and degeneration, the proletariat can, and inevitably will, become an invincible force only through its ideological unification on the principles of marxism being reinforced by the material unity of organisation, which welds millions of toilers into an army of the working class. Neither the senile rule of the Russian autocracy nor the senescent rule of international capital will be able to withstand this army. It will more and more firmly close its ranks, in spite of all zigzags and backward steps, in spite of the opportunist phrase-mongering of the girondists of present-day Social-Democracy, in spite of the self-satisfied exaltation of the retrograde circle spirit, and in spite of the tinsel and fuss of intellectualist anarchism.»xvii

We Peruvian communists and revolutionaries must pay attention to these words which are today more precious than ever. In them we reiterate: In the first place, the struggle for power demands the organization of the proletariat, and its importance is such that it composes its only weapon. In the second place, despite all the difficulties imposed by exploitation, if it takes marxism as its guide and ideological basis of unity and solidifies it by tightening their ranks in organization, the proletariat will be invincible. In the third place, against the organized army of the proletariat the reactionary power will be unable to stay in power in any country nor will imperialism or social-imperialism on a global level. In the fourth place, the organized working class will close its ranks more and more against the sinister plots of contemporary revisionism, advancing despite the evidently decrepit group and sectarian spirit, and will march on despite the organizational renunciation and the tinsel and fuss of «intellectualist anarchism».

In that manner Lenin set forth the problem of the building of the Party, of its necessity and development in struggle and of its ideological, political and organizational building.

But this is not all. In «One Step Forward, Two Steps Back», Lenin set forth the organizational theories of the Party, whose majestic summary we take from the old and great History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik), Short Course by Stalin:

1. The Party is a military detachment of the working class, a part of it. But it is a vanguard detachment which goes ahead, which directs. It is a conscious detachment which knows the laws of the revolutionary process, and it is a marxist detachment which firmly sustains itself in the revolutionary world outlook of the working class.

2. The Party is an organized detachment, it is a system of organizations which «as the vanguard of the class, should be as organized as possible, that the Party should admit to its ranks only such elements as lend themselves to at least a minimum of organization»xviii for which it has its own obligatory discipline for all its members.

3. The Party is the «the highest of all forms of organization»xix of the proletariat, called on to direct the other class organizations for which goal it counts on being composed of the best children of the class (steeped in marxism, learned in the laws of the class struggle), and with their own experience and that of the global working class.

4. «The Party is an embodiment of the connection of the vanguard of the working class with the working-class millionsxx As such, it will not live or develop separated from the masses and, on the contrary, its life and development demand that it «must multiply its connections with the masses and win the confidence of the millions of its class».xxi

5. The Party should be organized along the principle of democratic centralism, having one set of rules and uniform Party discipline and «one directing organ — the Party Congress, and in the intervals between congresses — the Central Committee of the Party; the minority must submit to the majority, the various organizations must submit to the centre, and lower organizations to higher organizations».xxii

6. To maintain unity in its ranks the Party requires a single discipline applicable to all, a unity which demands great attention because, as Stalin would say: «Departing from us, Comrade Lenin enjoined us to guard the unity of our Party as the apple of our eye. We vow to you, Comrade Lenin, that this behest, too, we shall fulfill with honorxxiii

This thesis and the previous ones we should bear in mind as Peruvian communists and revolutionaries, since all of them are vital. Another problem of extraordinary importance discussed by Lenin is that of clandestinity, a question which amongst ourselves is confused with hiding, with ostrich politics. Lenin set forth the need for a clandestine Party as a system of highly centralized organizations with the goal of being able to constantly count on, in all circumstances, with a «general staff» capable of directing the revolution, maintaining its flags and sticking by them despite repression and persecution. Thus clandestinity serves so that the Party becomes a «war machine» which will indomitably persevere until accomplishing its goal of taking power in order to change the world without ever separating itself from the masses. Due to the necessities of the very struggle in our country we should highlight some points on this complex problem. Here it is particularly important to have a clear idea of what the art of conspiratorial organization consists of. Lenin, in his own words, in «A Letter to a Comrade on Our Organizational Tasks», a booklet which is cited but whose principles are not understood much less applied, tells us:

«The whole art of running a clandestine organisation should consist in making use of everything possible, in ‹giving everyone something to do› at the same time retaining directorship of the whole movement, not by virtue of having the power, of course, but by virtue of authority, energy, greater experience, greater versatility, and greater talent.»xxiv (Lenin‘s emphasis.)

In the same booklet, against those who understand clandestinity as something rigid and mechanical, Lenin states:

«Further, the degree of clandestinity and the organisational form of the various circles will depend upon the nature of the functions: accordingly, the organisations will be most varied (ranging from the ‹strictest›, narrowest, and most restricted type of organisation to the ‹freest›, broadest, most loosely constituted, and open type).»xxv

We consider this question to be of the utmost importance for our current revolutionary situation as there is, we reiterate, too much mechanical and non-dialectical thought in considering these problems. Lenin‘s theories regarding clandestinity are further set forth in «The Clandestine Party and Open Work»:

«The question of the clandestine party and of open work of the social-democrats in Russia is one of the cardinal Party questions. It has been the concern of the Social-Democratic Labor Party of Russia throughout the post-revolutionary period [after 1905], and has given rise to the bitterest struggle within its ranks.

The struggle over this issue has been going on chiefly between the liquidators and the anti-liquidators, and its bitterness is due in full measure to the fact that it amounted to the question whether our old, clandestine Party was to be or not to be. The Conference of the Social-Democratic Labor Party of Russia in December 1908 emphatically condemned liquidationism and, in a special resolution, clearly formulated the Party‘s view on the organisational question: the Party is made up of clandestine social-democratic cells, which must establish for themselves ‹strong-points for work among the masses› in the form of as wide and as ramified a network of various legal workers‘ societies as possible.»xxvi (Lenin‘s emphasis.)

And highlighting the relations between clandestinity and open work:

«[…] The main conclusion to be drawn from our appraisal — the Party appraisal — of the situation is that the revolution is necessary and is coming. The forms of the development leading to the revolution have changed, but the old tasks of the revolution remain. Hence the conclusion: the forms of organisation must change, the forms of the ‹cells› must be flexible, their expansion will often occur through the expansion, not of the cells themselves, but of their open ‹periphery›, and so on. […]

But this change in the forms of the clandestine organisation is not at all covered by the formula: ‹adaptation› to the open movement. It is something entirely different! Open organisations are strong-points for propagating the ideas of clandestine cells among the masses. In other words, we change the form of exerting influence to ensure that former influence continues along clandestine lines.

In terms of the form of the organisations, the clandestine ‹adapts itself› to the open. But in terms of the content of the work of our Party, open activity ‹adapts itself› to clandestine ideas.»xxvii (Lenin‘s emphasis.)

And finally:

«The Social-Democratic Party is clandestine both ‹as a whole› and in its every cell, and — most important of all — in the entire content of its work, which is to propagate and pave the way for the revolution. Therefore the most open work of the most open cell of the Social-Democratic Party cannot be regarded as ‹openly conducted Party work›.»xxviii (Lenin‘s emphasis.)

This quotation is lengthy but we consider it to be of great importance for all revolutionary work in our country and it deserves special attention as does the preceding on clandestinity.

In our country it is common to think that clandestinity separates us from the masses. But we shall recall what Lenin said with regard to this:

«However, this professional revolutionary never, not even for a moment, lost contact with the masses. Although the conditions of tsarism condemned him, like all the revolutionaries of those days, mainly to clandestine, secret activities, even then, even in those clandestine and secret activities, Sverdlovxxix always marched shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand with the advanced workers […]»xxx

These are Lenin‘s fundamental theories which we should keep in mind in the building and development of the party of the proletariat and correctly apply them in refounding Mariátegui‘sxxxi party.

To conclude, it is sufficient to recall that these principles of the building of the revolutionary Party of the proletariat, of the Bolshevik Party, of the Party capable of taking power, did not fall out of the sky but were established in the midst of a great and hard struggle against the mensheviks, the Right-opportunism of the time in Russia. Besides carrying out the struggle for the Party‘s organizational principles Lenin had to do so with a precise background: a Right-opportunist political line. It was from there that he wisely concluded that problems of organization would not change in 24 hours nor in 24 months. To finish, we recall that Lenin established that the parties advance in the midst of struggle, almost always under enemy fire. In his own words:

«We are marching in a compact group along a precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advance almost constantly under their fire. We have combined, by a freely adopted decision, for the purpose of fighting the enemy, and not of retreating into the neighbouring marsh, the inhabitants of which, from the very outset, have reproached us with having separated ourselves into an exclusive group and with having chosen the path of struggle instead of the path of conciliation.»xxxii

Are those theories of Lenin not important for us? Should not we revolutionaries and communists really adhere to them? Are we doing it like we should? It is now time to set aside complacency and seriously judge our revolutionary reality.

3. MAO ZEDONG AND THE BUILDING OF THE PARTY IN THE SEMI-FEUDAL AND SEMI-COLONIAL COUNTRIES

To conclude our topic, marxism and the building of the Party, we will use Comrade Mao Zedong‘s thesis on the necessity of the Party, its construction and the struggle in its midst. In this article‘s initial quotation we precisely quoted his thesis on the necessity of the Party. It would be pointless to repeat it.

Going on to the problem of Party building we start out by noting that in «Problems of War and Strategy», Chairman Mao sets forth Party building based on the universal principle of revolutionary violence. Thus he teaches us:

«The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution. This marxist-leninist principle of revolution holds good universally, for China and for all other countries.»xxxiii

Starting out from this marxist-leninist principle and differentiating between the revolution in the capitalist countries and in China, he established in the same work:

«In China war is the main form of struggle and the army is the main form of organization. Other forms such as mass organization and mass struggle are also extremely important and indeed indispensable and in no circumstances to be overlooked, but their purpose is to serve the war. Before the outbreak of a war all organization and struggle are in preparation for the war […]. After war breaks out, all organization and struggle are coordinated with the war either directly or indirectly […].»xxxiv

Developing the problem of the building of the Party, Comrade Mao Zedong in «Introducing The Communist» sets forth and resolves fundamental problems. There he sets forth that, in the first place, the Communist Party of China carried out great and numerous struggles in which it forged its members, its cadres and its organizations, which obtained great victories and also suffered serious defeats. And to understand the laws of the Party‘s development requires an analysis of its own history and extracting from it the solution to its problems of construction.

In the second place, in the judgment of his own Party in its relations with the bourgeoisie and its relations with the united front and the armed struggle, he establishes the following great thesis:

«It is through this kind of complex relationship with the Chinese bourgeoisie that the Chinese revolution and the Communist Party of China have progressed in their development. This is a special historical feature, a feature peculiar to the revolution in colonial and semi-colonial countries and not to be found in the revolutionary history of any capitalist country.»xxxv

This question is basic for us Peruvian communists and revolutionaries, as our society is also semi-colonial and semi-feudal, from which it is derived that our revolution will also be bourgeois-democratic just like the first stage of the Chinese revolution, and in which, in consequence, «its main targets are imperialism and feudalism».xxxvi

In the third place, the Chinese revolution presents two particularities, in Comrade Mao‘s own words:

«Thus, there are two basic specific features in the Chinese bourgeois-democratic revolution: 1. The proletariat either establishes a revolutionary national united front with the bourgeoisie, or is forced to break it up. 2. Armed struggle is the main form of the revolution.»xxxvii

In the fourth place, the preceding emphasizes that the building and development of the Communist Party of China cannot be understood on the margin of these two particularities which are basic questions of the political line of the democratic revolution. The same great leader teaches us:

«The Party‘s failures or successes, its retreats or advances, its contraction or expansion, its development and consolidation are inevitably linked up with its relations with the bourgeoisie and with armed struggle. When the Party takes a correct political line on the question of forming a united front with the bourgeoisie or of breaking it up when forced to do so, our Party moves a step forward in its development, consolidation and bolshevization; but when it takes an incorrect line on its relations with the bourgeoisie, then our Party moves a step backward. Similarly, when our Party handles the question of revolutionary armed struggle correctly, it moves a step forward in its development, consolidation and bolshevization; but when it handles the question incorrectly, it moves a step backward. Thus, for 18 years, the building and bolshevization of the Party have been closely linked with its political line, with the correct or incorrect handling of the questions of the united front and armed struggle.»xxxviii

In the fifth place, Mao connects these problems to the problem of directorship of the revolution. In the quoted writing, the following thesis should make us think very seriously to see to what extent we are on the correct path:

«Therefore the united front, armed struggle and Party building are the three fundamental questions for our Party in the Chinese revolution. Having a correct grasp of these three questions and their interrelations is tantamount to giving correct directorship to the whole Chinese revolution.»xxxix

And finally, marking out the role of the Party he states:

«Our 18 years of experience show that the united front and armed struggle are the two basic weapons for defeating the enemy. The united front is a united front for carrying on armed struggle. And the Party is the heroic warrior wielding the two weapons, the united front and the armed struggle, to storm and shatter the enemy‘s positions. That is how the three are related to each other.»xl

It is here, to our understanding of the ideological and political basis of the building of the Party in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country which was established by Comrade Mao Zedong, that the importance of these questions cannot be obliquely slanted in any manner. Because as he himself teaches us:

«The correctness or otherwise of the ideological and political line decides everything. When the Party‘s line is correct, then everything will come its way. If it has no followers, then it can have followers; if it has no guns, then it can have guns; if it has no political power, then it can have political power. If its line is not correct, even what it has it may lose. The line is a net rope. When it is pulled, the whole net opens out.»xli

It is on this ideological and political basis that Comrade Mao Zedong establishes his plan for building the Party organizationally, building its tactics and principles of struggle. This problem is set forth in point 6 of his article «Freely Expand the Anti-Japanese Forces». We shall analyze the problem. In the first place, it establishes the policy of organizational building in the areas dominated by reaction:

«In the Guomindang areas our policy is to have well-selected cadres working clandestinely for a long period, to accumulate strength and bide our time, and to avoid rashness and exposure.»xlii

In the second place, he establishes the tactical principle that should guide:

«In conformity with the principle of waging struggles on just grounds, to our advantage, and with restraint, our tactics in combating the die-hards are to wage steady and sure struggles and to build up our strength by utilizing all Guomindang laws and decrees that can serve our purpose as well as everything permitted by social custom.»xliii

In the third place, he establishes the penetration of the reactionary organizations and the work of revolutionaries within the same.

In the fourth place, he states the basic policy:

«In all the Guomindang areas the Party‘s basic policy is likewise to develop the progressive forces (the Party organizations and the mass movements), to win over the middle forces (seven categories in all, namely, the national bourgeoisie, the enlightened gentry, the troops of miscellaneous brands, the intermediate sections in the Guomindang, the intermediate sections in the Central Army, the upper stratum of the small bourgeoisie, and the small political parties and groups) and to isolate the die-hard forces, in order to avert the danger of capitulation and bring about a favourable turn in the situation.»xliv

In the fifth place, he points out the need to prepare for contingencies:

«At the same time we should be fully prepared to deal with any emergency on a local or national scale.»xlv

In the sixth place, he highlights clandestinity:

«Our Party organizations in the Guomindang areas must be kept strictly clandestine.»xlvi

In the seventh place, he emphasizes the scrutiny of the committee members:

«In the South-East Bureau and in all the provincial, special, county and district committees, the whole personnel (from Party secretaries to cooks) must be strictly scrutinized one by one, and no one open to the slightest suspicion should be allowed to remain in any of these directing bodies.»xlvii

And finally:

«Great care must be taken to protect our cadres, and whoever is in danger of being arrested and killed by the Guomindang while working in an open or semi-open capacity should either be sent to some other locality and go into clandestinity or be transferred to the army.»xlviii

All of these are true and valuable instructions on the Party‘s struggle and organizational life.

As to the internal struggle, it is worth remembering that it was precisely Comrade Mao Zedong who has magnificently developed the understanding of the struggle within the Party as a reflection of the contradictions of the class struggle and between the old and the new in the social world. More so, he proposes that the struggle within the Party is the struggle between two lines which covers its entire process of development and if such contradictions and struggles did not take place «the Party‘s life would come to an end».xlix In the same manner, he is the one who, for the correct development of the struggle within the Party, proposed the policies «learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones» and «cure the sickness to save the patient».l Today more than ever we must apply this great theory, remembering its content:

«The mistakes of the past must be exposed without sparing anyone‘s sensibilities; it is necessary to analyse and criticize what was bad in the past with a scientific attitude so that work in the future will be done more carefully and done better. This is what is meant by ‹learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones. But our aim in exposing errors and criticizing shortcomings, like that of a doctor curing a sickness, is solely to save the patient and not to doctor them to death.»li

Chairman Mao has summarized the great historic experience of the Communist Party of China as to the two-line struggle, with the following words: «I hope that you will practice marxism and not revisionism; that you will unite and not split; that you will be sincere and open and not resort to plotting and conspiracy.»lii We subject ourselves to this great lesson. Nevertheless, we must never lose vigilance, as he himself taught in 1964: «As for those people who engage in intrigues, they must take note that more than ten persons, such as Gao Gang, Rao Shushi, Peng Dehuai, Huang Kecheng and others had emerged from the Central Committee. Everything is one divided into two. If some people wish to engage in intrigues, what can be done about it? Even now there are still those who wish to engage in intrigues!»liii

But what is the struggle within the Party for? In the end it is to maintain unity and persist in marxism, to reject splits and repudiate revisionism because, as Mao himself teaches us, unity is raised over struggle and is relative while the other is absolute. Thus, in consequence, the struggle is to maintain the unity within marxism, since unity is important. «It is only through the unity of the Communist Party that the unity of the whole class and the whole nation can be achieved, and it is only through the unity of the whole class and the whole nation that the enemy can be defeated and the national and democratic revolution accomplished.»liv

Here then are Comrade Mao‘s substantive theories on the necessity of the Party, its building and the struggle within it. We should study them because they are decisive in guiding the building of the party of the proletariat in our country.

With the foregoing, we have set forth what to our understanding are the basic themes of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Comrade Mao, on these questions which we, as we said, consider to be crucial in the building of the Party in our actual situation: the necessity of the Party, the theory of its building (in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country) and the struggle between the two lines within it. We maintain that the problem of the building of the Party of the proletariat does not receive the attention it deserves and does not appreciate the complexity or the importance of such a question. We have returned to re-summarizing the fundamental theories of marxism on the building of the Party, at risk of reiterating things already known, for the simple reason that only by truly absorbing marxism-leninism-Mao Zedong thought will we have a correct guide, to fuse its principles with our reality, as Mariátegui showed us.


i Mao Zedong: «Revolutionary Forces of the World, Unite! Fight Against Imperialist Aggression!» (November 1948)

ii Karl Marx: «General Rules of the International Workers‘ Association» (1864/72)

iii Ibid.

iv Ibid.

v Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: «The Communist Manifesto» (December 1847-February 1848)

vi Ibid.

vii Ibid.

viii Ibid. In the original Castillian-language version of this article, this quotation reads: «To ensure the success of the revolution, the unity of thought and action is necessary. The members of the International try to create this unity through propaganda, discussion and organization […]» However, this does not correspond to any sentence which we can find in the works of Marx and Engels about the International.

ix Karl Marx: Letter to Friedrich Engels (16.04.1856)

x Friedrich Engels: Letter to Karl Marx (05.02.1865)

xi V. I. Lenin: «Karl Marx» (1914)

xii Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: «The Alliance of Socialist Democracy and the International Workers‘ Association» (April-July 1873)

xiii Friedrich Engels: Letter to August Bebel (20.06.1873)

xiv Ibid.

xv V. I. Lenin: «What Is To Be Done?» (End of 1901-February 1902)

xvi V. I. Lenin: «Our Programme» (End of 1899)

xvii V. I. Lenin: «One Step Forward, Two Steps Back» (February-May 1904)

xviii Ibid.

xix Ibid.

xx Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik): «History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik), Short Course» (1939)

xxi Ibid.

xxii Ibid.

xxiii J. V. Stalin: «On the Death of Lenin» (30.01.1924)

xxiv V. I. Lenin: «A Letter to a Comrade on Our Organizational Tasks» (September 1902)

xxv Ibid.

xxvi V. I. Lenin: «The Clandestine Party and Open Work» (05.11.1912)

xxvii Ibid.

xxviii Ibid.

xxix Jacob Mikhailovich Sverdlov (1885-1919) was one of the leaders of the Communist Party of Russia and the Great October Socialist Revolution. He was the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party and Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of Council Russia. He was responsible for the execution of the Romanov family in 1918. He died of the Spanish Flu in 1919.

xxx V. I. Lenin: «Speech in Memory of J. M. Sverdlov» (18.03.1919)

xxxi José Carlos Mariátegui (1894-1930) was a Peruvian communist leader who founded the Communist Party of Peru on 07.10.1928. He thoroughly analyzed Peruvian and Latin American society, founded the General Confederation of Trade Unions of Peru and is considered to have been one of the greatest marxist theoreticians in history.

xxxii V. I. Lenin: «What Is To Be Done?» (End of 1901-February 1902)

xxxiii Mao Zedong: «Problems of War and Strategy» (06.11.1938)

xxxiv Ibid.

xxxv Mao Zedong: «Introducing The Communist» (04.10.1939)

xxxvi Ibid.

xxxvii Ibid.

xxxviii Ibid.

xxxix Ibid.

xl Ibid.

xli Mao Zedong: «Talks with Responsible Comrades at Various Places During Provincial Tour» (August-September 1971)

xlii Mao Zedong: «Freely Expand the Anti-Japanese Forces and Resist the Onslaughts of the Anti-Communist Die-Hards» (04.05.1940)

xliii Ibid.

xliv Ibid.

xlv Ibid.

xlvi Ibid.

xlvii Ibid.

xlviii Ibid.

xlix Mao Zedong: «Dialectical Materialism» (1937-38)

l Mao Zedong: «Rectify the Party‘s Style of Work» (01.02.1942)

li Ibid.

lii Mao Zedong: «Talks with Responsible Comrades at Various Places During Provincial Tour» (August-September 1971)

liii Mao Zedong: «Talk on Putting Military Affairs Work Into Full Effect and Cultivating Successors to the Revolution» (16.06.1964)

liv Mao Zedong: «Win the Masses in Their Millions for the Anti-Japanese National United Front» (07.05.1937)