The following text is the written contribution of the Revolutionary Marxist Organization A/synechia (predecessor of the Communist Organization of Greece) to the 6th International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations, that took place in 1999. This was the first time our Organization participated in the ICMLPO.
The present publication is an edited version. Some parts of the original text have not been reproduced here, and others have been edited, in order to conform to the Rules of the International Conference.
1. The need for discussion and the general conditions in which it takes place
It is true that it is many years since a serious discussion took place regarding the General Line of the communist movement in the contemporary conditions. The last earnest attempt to raise issues of General Line in the international communist movement was in the early ‘60s by the Communist Party of China. Since then, however, many years have rolled on. The current picture of the world is very different from the one in the early ‘60s. In order to reach the actual situation, several processes, overturnings of correlation of power and retrogressions have taken place. Lots of battles of historic significance have been fought, like the unfulfilled storm of revolutionary struggles in the ‘60s, with its peak, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China. The historic question posed and seeking an answer is whether the course of the revolutionary movement could have been different. That is, whether several battles could have been fought from better positions, whether or not serious attempts have been made to confront, in a united and thorough way, the bourgeois and revisionist line on all the issues.
This question follows and links all the problematics regarding the General Line. Reasons beyond the scope of the present contribution have led to the overlooking of the importance of the problem of the General Line, which has had disastrous results for the marxist-leninist movement, especially in the ‘80s. The marxist-leninist movement suffered a great ordeal and disintegration in the ‘80s. Despite the honoring exceptions of some Parties and movements, which held high up the revolutionary flag under extremely difficult circumstances, the majority of parties and organizations faced great crises and their power shrank to a great extent.
The departure from the problematics of a General Line and the obvious crisis of the marxist-leninist movement (which had been detected in previous years as well through the adventures, the “line” and the attitude of the two centres, China and Albania) led either to substitutes of the General Line at the best of times (such as the equalization of the People’s War with the General Line) or in significant departures from the anti-revisionist positions, to pro-socialimperialist attitudes and to a tacit renunciation of the issues raised by the work of Mao Tsetung.
Nevertheless, even after the difficult decade of 1980, during the ‘90s, in conditions of reconstruction of the revolutionary movement and of more and more intense demonstration of the people’s discontent all over the world, we notice that the several initiatives and regroupments of communist parties and organizations do not focus the discussion on the vital problem of the General Line. The degree of co-ordination is very low, as other priorities seem to be motivating the initiatives and not the steady and determined promotion of the dialogue and discussion on the General Line.
All these happen in conditions of great changes around us. Great convulsions are caused by the process of the capitalist/imperialist restructuring, while the whole planet is preparing to change century and the ideological-political arsenal of the bourgeoisie manages to raise several issues and have the initiative in a worldwide scale.
The requirements of the new phase of the revolutionary movement impose the need for the existence of parties and organizations which have their feet firmly on the ground, which think on their own, which are capable of analyzing the specific conditions of the specific situation, which will acquire the ability to open new paths. These requirements cannot be met, unless we examine in a self-critical way the great damage caused by suivism, the lack of view and opinion on a series of important and crucial problems, the poverty in issues of General Line and the easy ideologicalization of all problems.
For all these reasons we believe that the 6th International Conference of the Marxist Leninist Parties and Organizations must bend over this problem, assess its importance and contribute to its confrontation.
What follows should be considered a small contribution to the problematics on the General Line in the contemporary conditions.
2. The requirements of the discussion on the General Line in the light of our experience
The General Line does not concern the situation and the tasks of the movement in a specific country. Therefore, it should not be thought, that the use of the term “General Line” regarding the needs and specifications of the development of the movement in one country, covers the subject. A more careful analysis would show that it is difficult to distinguish between the general-international conditions and correlation and the analysis and tasks in a specific country, even if the movement in this country has made great progress.
The General Line concerns a whole phase of the world history, it covers a relatively long period of struggle and efforts on a worldwide scale, it readapts according to the curves of history, its great advances or its retrogressions.
Preconditions for a substantial discussion
For any substantial discussion on the General Line some preconditions should be fulfilled. We mention the most important ones in our opinion:
(a) The starting point cannot be other than the specific analysis of the international political and economic situation as a whole and the specific class analysis of the fundamental contradictions in the world nowadays.
(b) The specific assessment of the present phase of the situation in the communist movement, as well as the description of its strategic objective in the current stage on a worldwide level is necessary.
(c) This process of substantial discussion should lead to the isolation of the main counter-revolutionary force, against which the main firing of the peoples’ movements should be aimed.
(d) The determined, wide mobilization of the peoples for the accomplishment of the strategic objective, that is the change of the correlation of power all over the world, is the distinguishing criterion between the communist General Line and the bourgeois, revisionist or neo-revisionist supposed General Line.
(e) Since the General Line promotes the duties of the communist movement with a sight that looks to the future, it has to assert the movement’s final aim, the communist program, enriching it as necessary with the experience (positive and negative) of the last decades.
A necessary clarification
At this point a clarification is necessary. What is the difference among the terms “General Line”, “strategic objective”, and “final aim”? They are not equivalent terms, which mean more or less the same. The confusion normally caused is due to the fact that the difference between the General Line and the strategic objective has not been clarified. More accurately, it is due to the confusion as regards the strategic objective. The most common sort of confusion is the identification of the strategic objective with the final aim of the movement.
In broad outline, the General Line consists of a series of evaluations regarding the international situation and the contradictions in the world today. It necessarily includes the strategic objective corresponding to the specific phase of the revolutionary movement. It outlines, as accurately as possible, the final aim and the means for its achievement. The General Line is the immediate, medium- and long-term political program of the world proletariat with the clarification (this is where it differs from the program) that it lays weight on the immediate struggle of the communists for the changing of the existing conditions and correlation or of the conditions obstructing the development and advance of the class struggle.
The strategic objective compresses in each case the necessary steps to be taken and positions to be reached by the revolutionary movement either on international level or within one country, so that it can change the correlation of power in such a way that it permits the promotion of the class struggle from a better position. For instance, the winning of the majority of the working class is a strategic objective, because without the fulfillment of this precondition it is difficult to imagine a party, which can play an important role in the developments in a specific country. The strategic objective may readapt relatively more flexibly and more often than the General Line. It is a more changeable term and it is not impossible for the strategic objective to be modified within the context of the unchanged General Line. However, this modification will signify that there is a considerable change in the correlation of power, which renders the previous strategic objective old or accomplished. Or such retrogression will have been made that it will need to be seriously considered in terms of the strategic objective. Nevertheless, in all these cases there is no such drastic change of the correlation that might bring about considerable changes of the General Line.
The final aim of the movement, that is socialism and communism, cannot be missing from the formulation of the General Line. But even the former cannot be phrased as if there has been no enrichment of the final aim both in terms of positive and negative experience and in terms of the changes having occurred on a worldwide scale. The latter reveal potentials and necessities, which must always be utilized for the benefit of the theory, the program and the line.
[The discussion on whether Maoism is the third and higher stage of Marxism, whether the term “Mao Tsetung Thought” is sufficient or not, and its juxtaposition to Maoism, etc., sheds little light on the problems of the General Line. At the best of times, it depicts the historic lessons of the class struggle, especially in the second half of our century, on an ideological level. However, if we believe that such ideologicalization of political problems is also their solution, then we are mistaken. Many times ideologicalization may take other forms, which do not help in the acquisition of means for the analysis of the international situation and the advance of the General Line.
On the other side, some parties and organizations declare that their strategic objective is socialism and communism, confusing the final aim with the strategic objective. In other cases we observe the shrinking of the General Line to one path, to one example, such as that of the People’s War. But if we examine the present world as a whole, we will find out that People’s War itself cannot substitute the General Line, it is not the General Line, for the very simple reason that it excludes from its perspective a substantial part of the planet, that is the imperialist metropolis and the relatively developed capitalist countries.
Both the emphasis on the subject of Maoism or the Mao Tsetung Thought and the stress laid on People’s War, together with the parallel disregarding of the General Line, lead to the underestimation of the need for specific analysis of the international situation and for tracking down new phenomena and processes. It is more like adhering to what is granted from the past and to the elements of political formation of a specific period. It also reveals embarrassment or fear of studying all the numerous changes in the world today.
We realize, insisting on the issue of the General Line, that the revolutionary movement must be armed with the weapons of political science, that it must avoid the ideologicalization of political problems (which is a form of expression of both subjectivism and dogmatism-empiricism). Moreover, we consider the focusing on the preconditions required by the General Line as necessary.]
About the C.P. of China and the L.P. of Albania
Let’s just remember the adventures of the marxist-leninist movement in the past decades. At this point we need to examine the role played by the two main centres of the contemporary marxist-leninist movement, the Communist Party of China and the Labour Party of Albania. Although these two titles might not mean anything for us today, they once were the ‘lighthouses’ of the world revolution. And naturally we can all suppose today that the then unity of the marxist-leninist movement was not based on firm foundations, and that other priorities led to this or that formation of line or of the choices made by the leadership of each of these two parties. For example, the “theory of the three worlds” (which was not expressed after Mao’s death, but while he was still alive) created great problems for the marxist-leninist movement. The principle of not depending on one superpower in order to fight the other one was forgotten by the Chinese responsibles first of all. The suivist trend, however, of so many parties and organizations was not the primary responsibility of the Chinese (who may have encouraged it for a relatively long period), but of those adopting it and, thus, causing great damage to the marxist-leninist movement. To what extent were the platform of the LPA and the attack against Mao after his death based on a different General Line and how determining were the inter-state relationships between the two countries in this choice? However, a number of marxist-leninist parties and organizations welcomed LPA’s attitude, adopted its attack against Mao (that is, they completely changed their ideological orientation), reduced the “five classicals” to “four” and continued their course in a somewhat unconcerned way. Of course the developments in Albania itself, and the open surrender of Ramiz Alia to the international imperialism, upset their consciousness, but they did not lead them to conclusions about what LPA was, how it was also conquered by revisionism. Not even for one moment did they wonder about Mao’s contribution, especially on that subject!
Our evaluation is that no matter how much responsibility falls on the two centres (and there, for sure, a great deal of it), for many reasons the weight should be laid on what type of parties the marxist-leninist parties and organizations were, what their formation was, to what extent they depended on their own forces, to what extent they had elaborated and digested all the citations they reproduced. The stress must be laid on this level, because in the present conditions there are no centres, we will miss their warmth for a long time and we have to march forward and construct the international revolutionary movement under completely new conditions.
3. The formulation of a General Line for the present stage of development of the communist movement
3.1. The Chinese example in 1963
On 14th June 1963 the answer of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to the letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Soviet Union of 30th March 1963 is published, under the title “A Proposal concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement”. This document is also known as the “25 points of the CPC”. In our opinion this is one of the most significant documents of the debate between marxist-leninists and modern revisionists. Moreover, in our opinion again, it is probably the only formulation of a General Line in those years. Later, in the following years, there were no other references to the subject or advances on aspects of these issues. After all, the publication of such documents by the Chinese communists stopped, a fact which is definitely related to the course of the class struggle within China.
We feel obliged to make one more remark: in 1963 it is already too late, and the modern revisionism has gained a series of positions in the communist parties. As we have pointed out at other opportunities, the Chinese communists’ intervention should have been done a lot earlier so as not to leave revisionists free scope. The period 1953-1956 was decisive for the consolidation of Chroushchevism, while the conferences of 1957 and 1960 were exploited by revisionism for its further strengthening. The generally correct declarations of these conferences did not prevent the spreading of revisionism and created a false picture of unity. Several initiatives should and could have been taken in those years. After all, in 1953-1956 the radiance of Mao Tsetung was far greater than that of Chroushchev, Kossygin, Migoyan, Shoushchlov, etc.
Finally, the document of the “25 points” has been attributed by several persons to Mao himself, something which has never been denied. Therefore, it is of great importance to see how the Chinese communists described the General Line of the communist movement in 1963:
“(…) Workers of all countries, unite; workers of the world, unite with the oppressed peoples and oppressed nations; oppose imperialism and reaction in all countries; strive for world peace, national liberation, people's democracy and socialism; consolidate and expand the socialist camp; bring the proletarian world revolution step by step to complete victory; and establish a new world without imperialism, without capitalism and without the exploitation of man by man.
This, in our view, is the General Line of the international communist movement at the present stage.
This General Line proceeds from the actual world situation taken as a whole and from a class analysis of the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world, and is directed against the counter-revolutionary global strategy of U.S. imperialism.
This General Line is one of forming a broad united front, with the socialist camp and the international proletariat as its nucleus, to oppose the imperialists and reactionaries headed by the United States; it is a line of boldly arousing the masses, expanding the revolutionary forces, winning over the middle forces and isolating the reactionary forces.
This General Line is one of resolute revolutionary struggle by the people of all countries and of carrying the proletarian world revolution forward to the end; it is the line that most effectively combats imperialism and defends world peace.
If the General Line of the international communist movement is onesidedly reduced to "peaceful coexistence", "peaceful competition" and "peaceful transition", this is to violate the revolutionary principles of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement, to discard the historical mission of proletarian world revolution, and to depart from the revolutionary teachings of Marxism-Leninism.
The General Line of the international communist movement should reflect the general law of development of world history. The revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and the people in various countries go through different stages and they all have their own characteristics, but they will not transcend the general law of development of world history. The General Line should point out the basic direction for the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and people of all countries.
While working out its specific line and policies, it is most important for each Communist or Workers' Party to adhere to the principle of integrating the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of revolution and construction in its own country.
In defining the General Line of the international communist movement, the starting point is the concrete class analysis of world politics and economics as a whole and of actual world conditions, that is to say, of the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world.
If one avoids a concrete class analysis, seizes at random on certain superficial phenomena, and draws subjective and groundless conclusions, one cannot possibly reach correct conclusions with regard to the General Line of the international communist movement but will inevitably slide on to a track entirely different from that of Marxism-Leninism.” (A Proposal concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement, Letter of the CC of the CPC, 14 June 1963).
These passages, making up points 2, 3 and a part of point 4 of the “25 points”, are extremely important both in terms of wording and content. However, at the same time they urge us to wonder what a General Line for the communist movement would be nowadays and how it would be formulated.
The wording of the General Line (point 2) is brief and clear. It is the General Line in the “present stage”. This means that all the associations and contradictions in the contemporary world are taken into account, there is an inclusion of the broader correlation of power, and the subjective factor is present throughout the point (with the socialist camp and the world proletariat as its core). The isolation of the main counter-revolutionary force, the US imperialism, is a fundamental aim. The line should allow the daring mobilization of the masses, develop the revolutionary forces, win the intermediate forces and isolate the reactionary ones. The General Line leads the proletarian revolution to the achievement of the final aim, but it simultaneously fights more effectively against imperialism, and thus defends peace. Although the revolutionary movement in each country will have peculiarities and special features, it cannot “surpass” the tasks posed by the “present stage” of the revolution on a worldwide scale. It is an absolute necessity to respond to these tasks, it cannot ignore them or seek easy solutions.
For instance, in the decade of 1960, the double task of the deepening of the revolution in the countries building socialism and of the determined opposition to imperialism, more specifically against the US imperialism, was posed. No movement in any country could avoid these two duties of historic significance and set another one in their place. It is obvious why and how the shattering of the US imperialism bothered the whole world. Even in the countries it did not intervene directly, the tasks of determined mobilization against it, and of solidarity with the peoples fighting against it, were posed. The task of the deepening of socialism was related to the confrontation of the modern revisionist current both in the countries where socialism was built and in the capitalist ones, against its liquidationist influence and its open collaboration with imperialism.
3.2. The differences between then and today
However, almost 40 years have rolled since then. Many great changes have occurred in the world. The most important ones are related to a great extent to the defeat of the revolutionary movement and its inability to fight back the joint attack of imperialism and revisionism.
What has been the main form of the counter-revolutionary strategic in the past 30 years? In our opinion it has been the forwarding of restructuring of the capitalist/imperialist system in order to answer two great issues: a) the dealing with the worst world over-accumulation crisis in capitalist history, b) the suppression of the revolutionary movements, the absorption of revolts, the imposition of the western imperialist culture.
During all this time the several stages of this unified process have been forwarded in an asymmetric way, with delays or accelerations and, of course, in a competitive environment. In the decade of 1970 what prevailed was the collusion between West and East for the suppression of the revolutionary movement. In the decade of 1980 the model of thatcherism and reganism started spreading and the productive restructuring process started being fulfilled having as its main subject the multi-branched multinational monopolies. If until 1989-90 we could notice a relatively massive trend of support of this restructuring process both in the east and the west (e.g. the masses have been used for the completion of the collapse, just as caricatures of People’s War have been used by the Americans to dislodge the Russians from various areas), in the decade of 1990 the demonstrations of popular discontent, as well as the strengthening of people’s movements, revolts etc. multiplied.
If we consider the New World Order as the political superstructure of all the processes forwarded by restructuring all over the world, we should note that we have reached it through a conflicting and escalating process of imposition of a basically counter-revolutionary strategic in an environment, where the correlation of power between revolution and counter-revolution tended in favor of the latter. This was not true in the ‘60s, for example. All this period the “eastern wind was really stronger than the western wind” and this was confirmed almost in the whole world. There was a magnificent revolutionary outburst all over the world. This manifested in the heart of capitalism, but also in the heart of socialism with the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and also in the whole zone of the revolutionary storms.
If one wishes to find the causes of the retreat, a thread can be found in the following words of Mao: “In the social practice, the forces representing the vanguard class often suffer failures; not because they have erroneous ideas, but because, in the correlation of powers within which they are struggling, they are, temporarily, less strong than the reactionary forces. This is the origin of their temporary failures; but, finally, they always triumph.”.
However, what is important for us is that the battle was fought in a rather dispersed order, without drawing the necessary conclusions on theoretical and practical level. For instance, there can be no comparison between the help given by the Communist International (CI) in the years of Lenin-Stalin to young parties and organizations, and the practical attitude of the Chinese communists. If we want to be precise, the comparison should be made between the period of the formation of the CI (1919), when the young Soviet republic was not consolidated yet and the revolutionary forces in Europe and elsewhere were particularly weak after the period of confrontation with modern revisionism on the one hand and the birth of a number of communist parties and organizations in order to fight against the latter on the other. The argument that there was an “overreaction of the Communist Party of China to the negative aspects of the Comintern that led them to refuse to play the necessary leading role in building up the organisational unity of the Marxist-Leninist forces at the international level” (RIM Declaration, 1984) is not a satisfactory answer to the question why socialist China did not rise to the occasion. The answer has to be sought in the confusion of the relationship between the international and the state factor within the revolutionary headquarters in China, in the correlation of power within the CPC and in the confrontation between the proletarian and the revisionist line.
A phase of domination of the counter-revolution
Nevertheless, there was an undeniable defeat. Defeat in politics directly signifies a modification of the correlation of power. It is of great importance to evaluate whether we live in the low or high tide of the revolutionary movement, whether the main trend in the world is the revolution or whether we live in a period when the correlation is favorable for the counter-revolution. To “read” the reality as it is, is neither sacrilege nor passiveness or lack of revolutionary optimism.
The discovery that we live in a phase of domination of the counter-revolution does not mean that we do not live in the period of imperialism and proletarian revolutions. The restoration of capitalism is not the deepening of revolution, but the prevalence of counter-revolution in a given area. An epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolutions is exactly what we have experienced during all this century: revolutions, counter-revolutions, wars. In all the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolutions, the elements of retrogression, zigzags, etc. are included. Furthermore, the estimation that we live in a period of domination of the counter-revolution does not mean the exclusion of revolutions and revolutionary movements in some parts of the world; but these do not have the necessary gravity to reverse the general situation.
Therefore, we do not agree with some evaluations put forward in the ‘80s:
“Today the world is on the threshold of momentous events. The crisis of the imperialist system is rapidly bringing about the danger of the outbreak of a new, third, world war as well as the real perspective for revolution in countries throughout the world. The scientific accuracy of these words from the Joint Communique of our First International Conference in autumn 1980 have not only been fully bonre out by the recent developments in the world, but the world situation has been further accentuated and aggravated since that time.” (RIM Declaration, 1984).
“We start from the understanding that revolution is the main trend, and this continues to be so, this trend put forward by Mao continues to develop. In our view, there has been no stability since World War II, not even relative stability. The whole world has been shaken by great revolutionary storms. They've come in waves, of course, because it couldn't be any other way.” (Interview with Chairman Gonzalo, El Diario, Peru, July 1989).
In the same interview, Chairman Gonzalo evaluates that the situation in Europe is revolutionary, “a revolutionary situation developing unevenly”.
We have referred to estimations of the early and late ‘80s. In any case the developments have not verified these allegations, their scientific accuracy or their super-optimism. We refer to them because they were the most serious evaluations for that period within the marxist-leninist movement; other important parties of our movement, such as the Communist Party of the Philippines, were experiencing during those years serious problems of orientation, which were resolved only in the early ‘90s.
The conclusion drawn is that the departure from the exploration of a General Line, the lack of all co-ordination and discussion about the General Line has led to serious mistakes and estimates. At the best of times these reveal super-optimism, which is still subjectivism and at the worst of times extreme pragmatism, which can take an openly right or “super-left” mantle; these normally cost quite a few years of retrogressions, crises, splits, lost opportunities etc.
In the same period (1988-1989), our Organization estimated that:
“A whole period of confrontations, having as an object whether a new qualitative leap forwards in the social evolution will take place or not, has been concluded. The Counter-revolution bearing the coat of ‘revolution’ would occupy the place of the Revolution, or the opposite? From this event, the new period, under the flag of the autonomy of the ‘technological revolution’, would be characterized by an unprecedented restructuring of the capital and, consequently, of the productive and social relations, since the conditions for such a development would be completed. This is not the ‘cyclic’ (big or small) crises-restructurings, but a new qualitative restructuring.”
“The succession of phases of rising of the Revolutions and Counter-revolutions is a characteristic of our century. Globally the Revolution and the Counter-revolution have been expanded on all the sectors, whether we realize this or not. Quite often, in the same phase both sides co-exist.”
“Today the Counter-revolution is developing in the name of the crisis’ overcoming, through the answering of the challenge of the post-industrial epoch or society. The eastern or ‘socialist’ world is not outside this kind of answering; the eastern world is focusing its ‘challenge’ to the modernizations of Gorbachov and Teng.”
“The convergence of restructuring policies the world over is the one face of the coin; it does not reflect something more than the potentialities of a victorious counter-revolution over a Revolution which, exactly because it has not been ‘overstepped’, uses ‘revolutionary’ external characteristics.”
Nowadays a lot will agree that the main fire should converge against the New World Order. However, it is of significance to find out how each party and organization conceives it. There is, for instance, the view of a European M-L Party that “The international transformations of the capitalist basis of production are a new condition of class struggle... Since the beginning of the nineties, there is no longer any country in the world that is not involved in the system of international production... The most productive and profitable business locations in the world form an integrated international production system…” (in the original text here followed the reference to the concrete publication).
This view leads to two conclusions. The first one has to do with the evaluation regarding the contradictions in the present world, or with where the centre of revolution is detected; it has to do even with its international character, whether a revolutionary process is possible in one country or whether we necessarily will proceed to an international revolution. The second one has to do with another serious issue: how we conceive the nature of this internationalization, whether it is positive or negative. In this case an objectivist view can be developed through other paths, a repetition of the theory of the productive forces, which forgets all the lessons/teachings of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in those issues.
But, on the other hand, we believe that the way in which a series of new phenomena and trends occurring in the restructuring process are dealt with, leads to their underestimation. The over-stressing of the contradiction of imperialism/peoples and oppressed nations leads to the seeking of ways to solve it. The perspective of the new-democratic revolution and its transformation into socialist mainly under the strategics of People’s War, is “obliged” to study the conditions in the modern world almost just as this was done three decades ago, at least as regards the main trends and developments. Quite “naturally” the consequences of the restructuring process are diminished, since the analysis “has” to reach the conclusion that few changes have occurred on international level considering social stratification, class relationships, etc. The fact that today’s world is very similar to that before 1917 is also summoned up. A unified world market, intense competition among imperialist powers, etc.
Although we live in a country where we have to combat eurocentrism, although we agree that the future of humanity will basically be decided in the vast areas of the world inhabited by the 3/5 of the world population, still we are of the opinion that the communists’ attention should be focused on the developments and processes in the production sphere of the most developed capitalist countries. Because this is where they will draw a series of arguments from, where they will base a series of potentials and other choices, which not only can but also have to be made. It is on this level that a big ideological and political juxtaposition with capitalism takes place. Even if the revolutionary movement in the capitalist countries is weak, this does not mean that the great advances in theory will be made on the ground of movements and experience of areas where the conditions for the development of revolutionary movement are most favorable. Any theory reproducing the views of super-imperialism must be combated nowadays, the views claiming that we have passed to a new stage of capitalism and that imperialism is out-of-date should be criticized; but at the same time we ought to study and detect the new phenomena which are marking the contemporary imperialism. The restructuring of the capitalist/imperialist system has brought about a series of convulsions in all sectors, in order to deal with its prolonged general crisis.
3.2.1. The most important changes in the material production and the contemporary forms of monopolistic alliances
The objective of the restructuring as far as it concerns the productive process was double: economic and social. From the economic point of view, it aimed at the reduction of cost per product unit through the squeezing or even the wiping out of the living labor. From the social point of view, it aimed at restricting and “emptying” the workshops from a homogeneous workforce, especially in peak sectors. The “flexible workshop”, which was realized through a complex process, is nothing but the condensation of these aims.
However, in order to reach the “flexible workshop”, so that it acquires flexibility and gets over rigidity - after having been of service to the profitability of capital for 30 years, now rigidity had to be abolished at all costs – the capital had to carry out an unprecedented over-concentration and over-accumulation on an international level. It also had to promote a continuously increasing underemployment of the productive work force, so as to be able to cater for the frenetic search of technological innovation, which would permit the approach of the objective of the restructuring process, offering advantages to the sections of the capital achieving it. The blow against the labor movement and the workers’ achievements (against all the “anachronisms”, as these achievements were called by the economic and political world), the “anti-corporatist” struggle, etc., were and still are the other side of the restructuring process. Without the latter, the emptying of the “productive workshop” from a homogeneous work force would not be achieved. These changes and modifications take place in an environment of crisis and intense competition, the environment of the contemporary international economic war among the main centres of the capitalist world. That is, within an unremitting course towards the shattering of the barriers set by one subtotal to the other in the name of the acquisition of “free space”.
It is on this constantly changing material basis, on this simultaneous withdrawing and expanding process of the capital, that its “over-mobility” was developed, that the “leaps to the intangible” were programmed, that we reached the “globalized” capitalism, that we were led to the development and domination of the multi-branched multinational monopolies and their creation, the “economy-world” or “world-economy”. The capital, while developing its productive forces, reduces the socially necessary labour, but it has to continually find ways to increase overwork, either completely or relatively. Human labour is the one creating values, adding value. Therefore, the capital (as a relationship) cannot exist without the constant and increasing production of overwork, of surplus value.
The multinationals: real protagonists of the restructuring process
The capital, while trying to reduce to a minimum the human labour, to compress it to an intolerable extent, to expel it from the workshop, to create a factory without workers, is obliged at the same time to use, to exploit human labour in order to extract surplus value. This is the reason for which nowadays the most anachronistic and out-of-date forms of production co-exist with and survive next to the most advanced ones. It is on the over-exploitation of human labour and the maintaining of backwardness zones that the take-off in the most modern sectors is based both socially and economically. Consequently, capitalism, the capital, cannot and will not exist without labour, without a working class. Therefore, the view of the transition to a new stage of capitalism, the post-industrial stage, in which the working class has been eliminated or its role in the production process is unimportant, is a propagandistic myth, which is useful, however. The economic and social objective of restructuring (reduction of the cost and emptying of the workshop from the homogeneous class) needs the ideology, the politics, etc., in order to be achieved.
An essential part is played in this case by the process that started at the beginning of our century, but was intensified after 1929-31 and has acquired vast dimensions nowadays: that is the virtual subordination of science and technology to the capital. The slogans “knowledge=power” expresses exactly this situation. Nowadays the main part in the post-industrial model is played by knowledge, information (for the bourgeois “knowledge=information”). The “revolution” in the technologies of production control and management, made possible by the applications of microelectronics and computers in the production process, leads to the arbitrary equation: “production = knowledge or information”.
The “leap to the intangible”, so much propagandized by the rulers and worshippers of the technological determinism, is nothing but the completely material adaptation of the productive basis to the possibilities provided by the new technologies. The result of the “leap to the intangible” is also absolutely material and leads to the reduction of the cost through the compression or elimination of human labour and the emptying of the peak sectors from the homogeneous work force.
The real protagonists of restructuring are today’s monopolies, the multi-branched multinational monopolies or, in more simple words, the multinational companies. The UN Centre of Research for the Multinationals (abolished in 1993…) gave some revealing data in its last report: the total turnover of multinationals represents over 25% of the world gross product (the bourgeois statistics estimate that about 35.000 multinationals and 170.000 subsidiaries exist all over the world. Not all of them are multi-branched multinational monopolies). However, the biggest 200 of these multinationals, while appropriating more than 1/4 of the world gross product, employ only 3% of the world active population. They employ 10% of the total employment in the developed areas. In the South they employ a little less than 1% of total employment.
So, when 1/4 of the world production is a “family” matter, this has tremendous consequences on the world modelization. First and foremost, it has to be clarified that this 1/4 (standing for 1 trillion 200 billion US dollars) is generally “production”, meaning that it represents goods and services. That is “material” and “energy”, or the intangible. For the year 1991-92 it had been estimated that 10% of this sum was commercial transactions and the rest 90% intangibles. This ratio changes according to the “conjuncture” and the demands of the hard cell, which has become autonomous to a great extent and plays the part of the leader of the whole world economy. These multinationals are the modern international “society of citizens”, the “economy-world” or the “global economy”. They are the core, the steam engine of the world capitalist economy.
This “world” is closed, unaccessible as far as it concerns the top; but it stands because it rules over the “base”. Depending on the evaluation of the cost, it expands or shrinks the networks of subcontracts horizontally and vertically, so that the most modern techniques co-exist with the most obsolete ones. Although it rules and forces huge economic and social scales to depend on it, it cannot do without all those it rules and who depend on it. Its development would be impossible without and against the national and international state power. It expands and contracts according to the correlation of power in the world, both peripherally and “nationally”. This “world” derives from different starting points, therefore, the history of its component parts presents peculiarities (“national”, “peripheral” particularities), but also special “moments” of concert, agreements, common objectives, all this with simultaneous conflicts and confrontations. The competition and the struggle for domination obey the following rule: no agreement or concert is final.
The multinationals represented, and still do, the degree of concentration and centralization of economy on both national and international scale, something that is from a quantitative aspect evident in the data of the former service of the UN. Multinational companies, in conjunction with their countries-metropoles, dealt with the crisis. For example, they do not seem to have been generally affected by the prolonged crisis: their total turnout, from 3 trillion US dollars in 1982, reached 5.9 trillion in 1992. Their share in the world gross product from 24.2% in 1982 reached 26.8% in 1992.
172 of the 200 biggest multinational companies belonged to five countries: USA, Japan, France, Germany and Great Britain. There have been many changes regarding the 200 first companies. The US multinationals, numbering 80 in 1982, decreased to 60 in one decade. The Japanese ones increased from 35 to 54. The German and French ones increased, whereas the British ones decreased. The Swiss ones have an important position, having increased from 2 in 1982 to 8 in a decade. The Korean ones have increased, too. (Of course it would be interesting to examine the new changes after the recent crisis in Asia, but also in Russia and in Latin America). Executives of these multinationals staff the governments in the countries of the “economy-world” (the main imperialist centres) and the international economic networks (IMF, World Bank, OECD, etc.), as well as the international political organizations (UNO, NATO, Conference for Safety and Co-operation in Europe, peripheral integrations, etc.).
When we talk about multi-branched multinational monopolies, we refer to companies whose turnover exceeds the budgets of many countries, we refer to giants which are active in all the spheres of the international economy, which have their own credit and finance enterprises and are closely related to state entities. Such giants can mobilize colossal sums in the search of technological innovations, etc. Those monopolies create production networks spread to any part of the planet is the most beneficial to them, and control networks of capital consumption and flow, from which an insignificant minority of the world population benefits, that is the internationalized and globalized monopolistic big-bourgeoisie.
The multinationals are the immediate vehicles of the capital’s nomadism (over-mobility) and flexibility, since they have all the information and knowledge, as well as the technological potential to spread production, the workshop and all their services, in order to extract surplus value on an international level. The information network they have created, in which they have trapped and on which they have made the economic activity all over the planet dependent, forms the nervous system of the globalized capitalism. It is the necessary base which is giving to the capital the flexibility potential, it allows the spread of companies all over the planet, it enables the rejection of human labour and the extraction of surplus value to an unprecedented extent on a global scale. However, there is another side of the electronic informatics nomadism of the capital, which created another “industry”, the financial one.
The financial, "paper" economy
In the over-accumulation crisis there are capitals that cannot find outlets, due to the fall of the profit rate. Thus, they are not invested in productive activities, but they cannot also stay “still”, unemployed. The only economy literally flourishing and developing at an extremely fast rate within the crisis is the financial one. The liberation of the stock markets, a term for which the financial capital fought hard and achieved it, was one of the most profitable investments of the jostling capitals. At the same time, however, it was, and still is, the ground for global profiteering at the expense of the small saving, but, also, on the whole, at the expense of the working people and the peoples all over the world.
To form an idea of the gigantic dimensions of the “paper economy” and its distance from the real economy, we should note that at the years of Keynes the ratio of paper to real economy was 2 to 1. Nowadays this ratio has become 50 to1! The “new products” of the financial economy, that is all the inventions and tricks in the game of the golden yuppies, the gambling on stocks, currencies, bills, etc., have over-tripled their turnover within two years (1992-94). Up to now, about 1.200 of these “new products” have been registered. The hight of the so-called “derivatives” of finance products has reached twice the gross national product of the biggest economy in the world, the USA. The daily transactions in the exchange market follow a similar rate: in 1986 they reached the sum of 290 billion dollars, in 1990 they were 700 billion dollars, and in 1994 1.000 billion dollars.
Nowadays there is no economy in the world not relating to this paper economy. This economy is necessary for the “economy-world”, in order to be able to drain and exploit the work force on a global scale. When the debt-device is set to work, all this broadened finance-economy system is activated. Loans are provided by this complex, but the latter determines in turn the terms of the debt’s paying off and settlement. When the IMF and the World Bank announce programs of “structural readjustment” as a precondition, in order to provide loans and to “support” economies, what they practically do is to lead to the disintegration and drain of the “supported” countries. When, finally, the debt is gambled on in the international finance market, when the handling of deficits depends on this market too, then the association of virtual economy (paper economy), with the process of draining the world produced surplus value, becomes obvious. Finally, through the mechanism of finance industry the flow of resources for the support of the metropoles is encouraged, so that the various leaps to the intangible and the dominance of the “economy-world” are feasible.
This economy-casino (the term has been first used by the bourgeois side) is not a deviation, a foreign body within a system, but the precondition for its perpetuation. The present globalized capitalism would be impossible without this economy. It is flesh of its flesh. It is the intangible, the real intangible to the utmost. Both the intangible and the parasitical together.
We live, as they keep telling us, in the globalized, internationalized capitalism, in the global village, in the globalized economy. Apart from the multinationals, there are other active factors and rulers of this world, as well: the supranational or international organizations. Such are the IMF, the World Bank, but also the European Union (EU), NAFTA, OPEC, etc.
We can distinguish two types of such monopolistic alliances:
1. The supranational integrations, that is the organizations formed by several countries, whose main role is the enlargement and liberation of the market within the specific imperialist poles. This process serves the multinational multi-branched monopolies to create a super-speed in the interior of the pole in which they are dominant, to transfer waves of the crisis to the weaker parts, turning them into satellites to a great extent, so that they can respond to the competition against the other imperialist poles. This is the case with EU in Europe or NAFTA in North America.
2. The supranational organizations playing a more intense role. These stand on higher level than each separate country and their objective is the promotion and planning of spherical strategics of dealing with the capitalist crisis. Such organizations are the IMF and the World Bank, which dictate rules for the policies applied by the national states. They are the real economic gendarmes of the “economy-world”.
There is an immediate substantial and organic connection between the multi-branched monopolies and the supranational organizations and integrations. Both the former and the latter are direct supports of imperialism in its development. Imperialism cannot be perceived merely as a foreign policy based on gunboats and the military aspect of its expansion. Imperialism must be perceived, first and foremost, on the basis of its main characteristic, which is the activity of monopolies and the enormous concentration and centralization brought about by this activity. In each sector 3-4 multi-branched monopolies control more than 50% of the world economy. These cannot be seen outside the imperialist alliances, which are necessary for the existence and activity of the monopolies. The question posed and racking many analysts’ brains is what the role and relationship of the national state is within the globalized capitalism.
According to some analysts, the transposition of multinationals to “everywhere and nowhere”, leading to globalization and nomadization, results in a situation in which the national base of the multinationals is a thing of the past. This nomadism results in the power centres not being either in Washington or Tokyo or another metropole. Consequently, those analysts are explaining, the state as we knew it, as a regulator, a balancer, is pushed aside or turned into a mere conveyor of the decisions taken by these, ideal and real at the same time, power centres.
Unquestionably, all the changes having occurred have brought about the crisis of the form of state as we knew it until now (national state – main field of organization of the internal market and basic pivot of the economic life of a country, etc.). However, the generalization of the crisis to one direction only is a mistake made by those sinking into elements and aspects of reality, finally creating virtual realities themselves. They reach the conclusion that there are two forms of state: the states, including the “great” states together with the supranational organizations on the one hand, and the “globalized” multinationals-states on the other hand. The formers are on the decline, the latter decide about everything. As a result, this fact lays the issue of the existence of the form of state, as we know it, on the table. This is where repetition starts: the world state-company, or a more clear repetition of the super-imperialism theory.
The “economy-world”, with the activity of multinationals and supranational organizations and integrations, has necessarily formed its needs each time through modifications and changes in the form of state. The resultant of the present needs, which bring about the modifications, is the constant race for the conquest, or the maintaining of the competitive position achieved through globalization. These necessarily alter the form and content of the modern state. But this is where the essence lies, the “economy-world” is a fact, that is, it consists of capitalist giants with imperialist mechanisms, which are a composition of “exchanges” between the form and content of the individual components of this “economy-world” with the corresponding forms of state.
In the race of globalization, this “international society” had the lead over the states in many aspects. In simpler words, the states “promoted” or subscribed to decisions planned by these “societies of citizens” (multinationals). So, the expansion of multinationals from the “multinational” to the “global” does not signify a nomadism interpreted as the cutting of the “umbilical cord” connecting them with the “national centre”. Multinationals need the “protection” or the power provided by their corresponding “national centre”.
The truth is that the national states of the imperialist countries lay all their weight on supporting their multinationals. But even within the multinational integrations the dominant role belongs to the ruling powers, which exploit all the regulations for the strengthening of the super-speed represented mainly by their own multinationals. Moreover, the imperialist states lay all the weight on protecting and subsidizing their own economy, while at the same time they launch out into the world race with slogans against any protectionism, for the abolition of all restrictions of the free handling of capitals and commodities, and with the theory and ideology of free trade. Finally, the world economy cannot be globalized without using the power of arms of its national centre. Thus, it needs the state more and more.
The dominated countries, the countries that have to abolish any autonomous economic existence to be looted by the activity of the multinationals, literally see the formal shift of decision centres to international organizations or see that they are forced to withdrawals and shrinking of sovereign rights they had previously. Talking about imperialism, Lenin said that a clear distinction between its economic base and its political trends has to be made. Within this analysis Lenin considered the complete enslavement of a country by imperialism absolutely possible through the subornation of parliaments, politicians, civil officials. Nowadays we have advanced to the shift –even typically– of many responsibilities, once belonging to the national states, to the supranational organizations, acting on behalf of the dominating imperialist powers.
3.2.2. The most important changes on the social level
The restructuring of the imperialist/capitalist system, as an attempt to meet with its prolonged general crisis, brought a series of turmoils in all sectors. On the social level, the most important of them are the following:
(a) The most important element of the restructuring is its tendency to negate the living labor and to reject it from the productive process, on levels unforeseen up today in the history of capitalism. This means that the reserve industrial army of labor takes gigantic dimensions all over the world. The pivot of this process is the higher form of the subordination of the science and technique to the capital, which started in the beginning of our century but intensified greatly during the last decades.
(b) Nevertheless the dualization (the negation, the rejection of the living labor, and the attempt to impose a new model of society, without rights for the big majority of the people) has other aspects as well: political, social, cultural. The dualisation develops both in the interior of each country and on international level - i.e. in both a vertical and horizontal way.
In the interior of each country, the strata of the population which are rejected and thrown in a total misery become larger and larger. The labor force is squeezed in extreme level. The flexibility of labor relations is promoted, provoking an unprecedented suppression of conquests and rights of the working masses, won in the past by them during long and bloody struggles. In the interior of each country, there is a large section of the population living under the poverty level, unemployed or underemployed, reduced to absolute misery and with no perspective for work. Many bourgeois analysts are speaking for the "society of the 2/3 (two thirds)", meaning that it is the 1/3 which is rejected and "excommuniated" from the first society (which is supposed to be composed by the other 2/3). The reality is much worse, because the absolute and relative poverty concerns more than 1/3 of the population. But even if this number would be correct, it is in any way a huge proportion. What kind of system is capitalism, if it is unable to give the slightest perspective to the one third of its societies? But capitalism is magnanimous: it simply stops counting this excluded 1/3. It is an invisible part of the society: it exists, but capitalism doesn't give a damn about it. Or, to be more correct, it cares; as far as this concerns its advertising "philanthropist" campaigns.
(c) The horizontal dualisation (called by many as antagonism and gap between the developed North and the undeveloped South) shows another aspect, equally important: The most rich fifth (20%) of the world population enjoys 82,7% of the world income. The poorest fifth of the world population "enjoys" just the 1,4% of the world income. This gap shows that the rest 3/5 of the world population must be satisfied with 15,9% of the world income. If we examine those 3/5, we 'll see that 1/5 gets 11,7% of the world income, 1/5 gets 2,3% and 1/5 gets 1,9%. Consequently, we can see that the three fifths of the world population, according to the data of the UNProgram for Development, are "living" with 5,6% of the world income! This is about an inconceivable concentration of inequality on the earth, that never existed before, in no other system and even in no other period of capitalism.
(d) This situation and all the restructuring process brought more consequences: we are in front of a wide proletarianization, which is not advancing exclusively because of the huge depopulation of the world countryside. The proletarianization is also advancing because of the destruction of medium strata, especially the intelligentsia. Such strata are grinding, particularly in the metropolitan centres, because of the massive use of the "intangible" in the production and the services.
(e) The depopulation of the world countryside aims at the domination of the agricultural-food supplying filiere of the multinational corporations and at the coping with the agricultural crisis of overproduction. The devastation of the countryside condemns huge populations in famine, destroys all forms of natural economy, blows up the agricultural production of whole countries in order to oblige them to import food from the rich countries.
Those procedures, together with the raking up of ethnic and tribal confrontations (which are always stired up by the multinational corporations), have provoked a huge coercive agricultural exodus. This exodus can be compared and has many similarities with the procedures of primary accumulation described by Marx in "The Capital". In the eastern world this process is accelerated by the destruction of the cooperative structures and the privatization of the land. In China the provision of labor force, particularly in the zones that have been conceded in the foreign capital, is made through the internal immigration and the expropriation of the cooperatives and communes existing in the chinese countryside (those were the "four modernizations"...).
(f) All this move provoked big migratory currents, the bigger that have been witnessed in capitalism's history. Some calculations show that the migratory current of the recent years concerns 650 millions of people. The previous migratory currents, during the beginning of our century and the early 60's, came in a period of rising of the cycle and they had been "easily" absorbed in the reception countries. The so-called "miracles" of the economic development have their base exactly on this relatively cheap labor force, which has been used in the most difficult and dirty jobs. On the contrary, the actual migratory current, the biggest in modern history, is a moving gigantic reserve labor army. There is no the slightest possibility for its absorption. That's why the main form of existence it has is to be stowed in the megacities which are spreading in several regions of the world. The megacities in the entire world have been multiplied and the phenomens of "savage" urbanization are characteristic of this process.
(g) Under the direction of the monopolistic capital, a "periphery of the world" is created, in which a series of industrial activities are emigrating and where is used a cheap labor force. In the shantytowns and the slums of this periphery are stowed millions and millions of people uprooted from the countryside; and farther on extends the countryside of the world, condemned in desertation. Every now and then, "Irrational" wars draw the attention for certain regions of this forgotten countryside. What happens? The struggle for raw materials, for deposits of strategic materials, activates the "interest" but also the fierce antagonism of the imperialists. The same happens as far as the control of passages and routes of transport and communication (even the space) are concerned. Still, this description is not complete. The monopolistic capital took care to create "free zones" in the periphery of the world, where no legislation applies and the capital is free to "officiate" without any constraints. How many such "free zones" exist all over the world? More than 500. But we have no data concerning the volume of the labor force exploited in them. The bourgeois statistics is suffering from strabismus in this field as well…
(h) Another important consequence is the disturbance of the balance between human and nature, the destruction of the natural environment every time that this brings profits to the multinationals. The ecological destruction through the unreasonable use of energy forms (like the nuclear energy), the deforestation of huge areas-oxygen lungs, the climatic changes, the pollution of the seas and the water resources, the desertification of whole regions, etc., are not natural phenomena; they are the result of the perpetuation of the capitalist relations of production. Complementary to this unbearable situation, comes the spread of several contagious diseases (despite the fact that it is possible to fight effectively against them), and of diseases provoked by the frenetic tempo of life and the nightmarish working conditions. The science and its production have been transformed into slaves of the capital, and all their activities are focused in the target of serving the New Order absurdity: destruction of the bio-diversity, interventions with monstrous aims in the DNA, biological warfare, etc.
All those changes (accompanied by many political changes and modifications, and imposing the activation of a series of manipulating and repressive mechanisms) have brought up many new situations. The marxist-leninist movement must study them, must detect what is genuinely new, and what is to be concluded on the level of strategics and tactics. The detection of the objective law of the class struggle’s development in the contemporary conditions will be possible only if the appropriate attention to the new facts will be given, only if there will be the ability to compose social alliances and fronts that will reflect the changes which took place.
3.2.3. The political changes and the appearance of the New World Order
The concept of “monopolistic capitalism which has been globalized after a period of split of the system” plays an essential part in our evaluations. We study the globalization of monopolistic capitalism as this appeared historically through a sequence of developments and juxtapositions, through a series of expressions and episodes of the class struggle, and not as a natural development of capitalism/imperialism. The point “after a period of split of the system” states the historical time, but also the marks which the monopolistic capitalism bears on it, the specific problems it has had to confront. So, when we talk about globalization of the relation capital, we refer to the present stage of monopolistic capital, which has managed to impose its networks all over the planet, after an intense challenge of its dominance. The historical time exists in this concept.
The most important elements which determined this course were the following:
(a) The retreat of the revolutionary movements all over the world after 1975 and the spread of the disintegrating processes imposed by the multi-faced revisionism.
(b) The appearance of the deepest, most multi-sided and prolonged crisis the capitalist system has ever suffered.
(c) The restructuring process, which was determined exactly by the need to deal with the capitalist system’s crisis.
The most important results of this course were the following:
1. The official completion of the restoration of capitalism in a series of countries, and the disintegration of the Soviet block.
2. A lot of reclassifications within the imperialist camp, since the bipolar situation (USA-USSR) stopped playing its previous role.
3. Not only has the capitalist system failed to get over, but also it sinks deeper and deeper into the vicious circle crisis-restructuring-crisis.
4. The process of domination of the monopolistic capitalism, which enters the phase of globalized monopolistic capitalism after the healing of the schism suffered in 1917, has been forwarded to a great extent.
5. The New World Order, which forms the necessary superstructure of the globalized world capitalism, has appeared.
6. Unavoidably, all these modifications and earthquakes had consequences on social level, on the living conditions of the masses, on the world class stratification. The main and basic issue is the spread and growing to gigantic dimensions of the dual society, both horizontally and vertically all over the planet.
This phase of overturning and counter-revolution definitely poses new tasks and aims to the struggling working masses. So, Mao is once more confirmed nowadays, when he said that we are going to face great fights, which in many respects will be different from the great fights of the previous periods.
The New World Order is the necessary superstructure, the superstructure corresponding to monopolistic capitalism, which was globalized after a split of the system. The New World Order is a slogan and a reality under shaping. A nazi slogan, repeated by George Bush in the days of the Gulf War. The New World Order means the transition to a new stage, to a higher stage of the restructuring process (which started at the beginning of the ‘70s).
What are its main features?
(a) It is an extremely aggressive policy of the imperialist camp in order to answer two issues: 1. The dealing with the capitalist crisis and 2. The dealing with the revolts and outbreaks all over the world.
(b) It is an extremely aggressive policy of the imperialist Directorate aiming at covering the gaps created by the collapse.
(c) It is an extremely aggressive policy of the imperialist Directorate signifying a new great aggravation of the inter-imperialist rivalry.
(d) It is an extremely aggressive policy of the imperialist Directorate trying to eradicate anything that reminded and reminds of another social organization, socialism, communism, etc.
(e) It is an extremely aggressive policy of the imperialist Directorate striking the working people and the peoples’ masses on a global scale, deepening the dualization and imposing a modelization, which pushes the individual to the fringe of society and makes it incapable of any participation, organization, struggle, etc.
(f) It is an extremely aggressive policy of the imperialist Directorate, which, in the name of internationalization, interdependence and globalization, dissolves national economies, levels national specialities, oppresses whole nations, condemning them to the utmost degradation.
(g) It is an extremely aggressive policy of the imperialist Directorate, which more and more, next to the generalized economic war of the multinational giants among them, and their coalitions against the working people and national economies, presents the fact of limited, regional, peripheral, etc. wars as a usual and normal situation.
(h) It is an extremely aggressive policy of the imperialist Directorate, which leads to an international life among countries, regions etc. under the immediate heel of the international gendarme and its organizations. Embargoes, interventions, punishments, bombardments are decided by the Directorate, validated by the “organizations of the international community” and imposed by the armed sections of the counter-revolution.
(i) It is an extremely aggressive policy of the imperialist Directorate, where the return to pre-October landscapes (partitions of countries, alteration of frontiers, revival of symbols and slogans, balkanization of regions, national slicing, adoption of nationalism, creation of countries-protectorates etc. etc.) is related to the most phantasmagoric show of technological power (mainly through clever arms systems and information networks). These are elements of past centuries’ barbarity with science fiction pictures constantly aiming at the enslavement of the masses.
The imperialist Directorate
Which is the Directorate? As known, the USA, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Canada comprise the “G7”. Of course, the USA, Germany and Japan play the basic part in it. The role of Canada and Italy is relatively secondary. An active role is also played by Great Britain and France, which have an important military arsenal and impose their interests wherever they can, although they have been somewhat downgraded by the ascent of Germany and Japan. Within the Directorate a lot of conflicts, compromises and changes of temporary alliances, etc., occur.
When we refer to the Directorate (either referring generally to the present imperialist system, or to the Directorate of the EU meaning its main imperialist powers), we do not mean the abolition of contradictions among those comprising it, because although they agree on their common front against the peoples, they are rent by deep contradictions, competitions and conflicts. We could say that the entry into the New World Order has aggravated in the extreme the contradictions and conflicts, has pushed the competition to new levels, because:
(a) a significant imperialist power, the Soviet Union, has been downgraded, a coalition (Comecon, the Warsaw Pact) has dissolved. So, the terms for the covering of the gaps it left by all the imperialist powers have been fulfilled;
(b) the economically ascending imperialist powers judged it was time they claimed the relevant plunder from the markets, and it was time that they conquered more,
(c) the US superpower had to forestall any serious controversy by its competitors, therefore, to take initiatives, etc.
The aggravation of contradictions among imperialists is unavoidable as long as we are in the era of imperialism. The question for us today is whether the contradiction between imperialist countries and the classes joining forces with them on the one hand, and the struggle of the peoples, the fight of the working class etc. on the other, regardless of how much it deepens, cannot lead the imperialists to a general agreement, surmounting, eliminating, weakening their contradictions. The Directorate is not the super-imperialism. It is the temporary form that takes the relationship, the concert and competition of the main imperialist powers on a worldwide level.
After all, the fact that the system does not face any important threat from an organized power (they are only afraid of systemic dangers, such as unforeseen revolts, collapses of the monetary system, of the banks, etc.), leads both to a more unbridled attack against the peoples, and to wilder rivalry among the main powers. An immediate and recent example: the concert of all as regards the “collapse” of the eastern coalition and the relatively controlled way of its forwarding did not at all prevent a frenzied competition at the same time among the basic ones as to who would take the most. This competition led to the regional internationalized wars conducted through representatives (the case of Yugoslavia, etc.).
Also, within the Directorate the asymmetry between economic and military power is manifested. The USA is in the first place both as an economic and as a military power, but it sees its economic power relatively shrinking. Germany and Japan have made great progress in the economic sector, but they present some backwardness in the military one. Nevertheless, they have already developed a remarkable arms industry, their military presence in several regions of the world (though limited) is noticeable, and they claim the right to become standing members of the UN Security Council, so as to play a more energetic role. Russia is the power experiencing the most great fall in the imperialist hierarchy. Right now it is not a member of the Directorate. They do not count on it and can even create problems for it. Russia will normally be restructured, will sooner or later break with the other powers and claim a place in the Directorate. But it has lost a lot of ground. This will require a series of confrontations on political and economic level, as well as the forwarding of considerable restructuring within Russia and the “Commonwealth of Independent States”. There are indications of reorganization, but it has not got rid of economic dependence on western capitals yet.
China is another important link of the chain. The main question is whether it will avoid the lurches and drastic changes experienced by the other regions of the world, where capitalism was restored. It cannot avoid such developments. Furthermore, it is not reasonable to suppose that international imperialism will let China become a superpower. There are going to be rows, conflicts, subversive activities, etc.
3.2.4. About the strategic objective
In other words, in the present conditions we should give all our strength and tune our steps so that the phase of passive defence (in which we are on global scale and which is expressed through the spontaneous, uncoordinated, without common aims and common consciousness, resistance of the people masses), gives its place to the phase of active resistance; this new phase will be characterized by the existence and action of significant people’s movements, capable of creating breaches and damage for imperialism and the reactionaries, and of course by another level of consciousness, action and collaboration among the people’s movements on local, regional and international level. This transition from passive defense to active resistance must be a, in our opinion, the strategic objective of the international movement in the present phase. We name this objective as the international community of the peoples (international peoples’ front), which will be opposed to the international community of the imperialists. If the term is considered unsuccessful, we will gladly discuss it and we will expect suggestions. The question, however, is whether we agree on the essence of it.
We realize that progress in each region and country will be made in an asymmetric, uneven, not uniform way. Nevertheless, the existence of developed revolutionary movements in a region or country does not mean the overstepping of the present phase on its own. For example, nowadays there is a series of people’s movements in arms, but this does not overturn the general picture of passive defense as we defined it on a worldwide level. Agreement or disagreement on this subject is of great importance. We realize the need of great movements or parties, having reached advanced positions or being in difficult situations, to be led to evaluations which might overestimate the potentials or give a more optimist view than that given by the sober examination of the correlation of power.
Let’s see for example the evaluation of a M-L Party from Asia that “the objective conditions for making revolution are favourable” (in the original text here followed the reference to the concrete publication). This is right in principle. That is because crisis leads to the incredible squeezing of the oppressed classes, all the contradictions of the contemporary world are aggravated in the extreme, terms are created favouring the activation of the masses, the revolts are multiplied and revolutionary situations occur. [“To the Marxist it is indisputable that a revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, it is not every revolutionary situation that leads to revolution. What, generally speaking, are the symptoms of a revolutionary situation? We shall certainly not be mistaken if we indicate the following three major symptoms: (1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the "upper classes", a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for "the lower classes not to want" to live in the old way; it is also necessary that "the upper classes should be unable" to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in "peace time", but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the "upper classes" themselves into independent historical action.” (Lenin, The Collapse of the Second International)].
But we have to stress again and again the fact that we are quite far from revolution. That, on a worldwide level, the first strategic task is to develop the movement, to develop original people’s movements capable of striking blows to the enemy and, on this favourable ground, to develop original vanguards. As long as a worldwide front of the peoples with advanced elements of awareness of its importance and declared common aims has not been formed, as long as marxist-leninist parties and organizations capable of playing a significant role in the class struggle in their country have not been constructed (there are only a few of them today), we cannot seriously talk about revolution. We will experience revolutionary situations, but we will not be able to influence them significantly. That is why the same Party is right again, when it adds in the same document: “Definitely, the marxist-leninist parties and the other subjective forces of the revolution are still few, small and weak” (in the original text here followed the reference to the concrete publication).
Let’s consider the following words of Mao when he evaluated the military experience of the communist movement in 1938: “There are only three armies in the whole world which belong to the proletariat and the labouring people, the armies led by the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union, of China and of Spain, and as yet Communist Parties in other countries have had no military experience; hence our army and our military experience are all the more precious.” (Problems of War and Strategy, 1938). Within a few years since then, many parties acquired considerable experience and led people’s armies. This is an aspect we should never forget. The other aspect we should also never forget is the retrogression in history in the past 30 years; we should never forget what the liquidation caused by contemporary revisionism really means. The international proletariat is far from the situation of 1938 and has to cover this distance.
In the course towards the active resistance, many new phenomena and unknown situations will appear. Communists must be able to detect them, realize their importance, and evaluate them. The future will by no means be a simple repetition of the past. It has never been and it will not become one now. This is where Mao’s words fit: “Expensive things are not won at a cheap price” (On Protracted War, 1938, point 49).
In this struggle it is clear that the most advanced detachments of the international proletariat, those opening paths, with liberated areas, fighting in guerrilla zones, striking serious blows to the enemy, following People’s War and connecting it with a General Line corresponding to the present stage, are playing and will play a vanguard role. The broad mobilization of the popular masses for the support and strengthening of these movements is very important for their victory and the fulfillment of the strategic objective, as we determined it. At the same time we ought to pay proper attention to all the authentic mass movements, outbreaks, revolts all over the world, because they pose a whole series of serious issues and subjects. The movements of the working class and of the youth. all over the world and in the imperialist metropoles, can teach the revolutionaries a lot, no matter where they are and the conditions under which they fight.
Through these trials on a worldwide scale, in different conditions and through the dealing with unknown situations, the new world vanguard will be steeled, the international communist movement will be reconstructed. From its lines the objective law of the development of the class struggle in the present period will be discovered.
3.2.5. About the position of the timeliness of communism
A century is over. The bourgeoisie and its various headquarters are feverishly preparing several accounts. We believe that the communist movement has nothing to fear of these accounts. It must enter the discussion, and it must do so from a dominant position. But the bourgeoisie makes its accounts talking about a “new era” and new potentials, mainly based on the new technological and scientific discoveries, which are of course monopolized by it to an unprecedented extent.
When Mao stressed, in socialist conditions, that, as regards the correlation in the ideological front, Marxism was still weak, he also took into account both the frenzied activation of imperialism to respond to the challenge of the communist movement, which had the initiative in the first decades of the century, and the inculcation of bourgeois and idealist ideology in people’s conscience throughout the centuries. It was impossible for Marxism to “get rid” of all this in a few decades. Consequently, the overuse of superlative adjectives such as “unbeatable”, “always young”, etc., for the term Marxism did not lead to its domination.
Capitalism today launches the spontaneity or even the automatism of progress through science and technology, in an arty packaging and a popular version at the same time, that is, a version of broad consumption in all the parts of the globe (not only where it might be more widely spread). Many of the problems appearing are interpreted as the necessary adjustments that countries or regions must make in order to get a privileged position in the cosmogonic changes occurring…
The way this is presented or conveyed, brings us against a constant, continuous substitution of the communist plan:
- The derision of the dreams of the communist plan for the abolition of class differentiation: the salaried society is offered in its place (we are all salaried).
- The reduction of the socially necessary labour to the lowest limit through the development of the productive forces etc.: the “Scientific and Technological Revolution” with its results is offered instead.
- Elimination of the contradiction between manual and mental labour: automation is offered instead.
- Elimination of the contradiction between conception and execution: the abolition of intermediate managers as a prospect and the constantly developing artificial intelligence is offered in its place.
- Elimination of the difference between city and countryside: the urbanization, together with the incorporation of agricultural economy in the peak technologies, etc. etc., is offered instead.
And, finally, the greatest mockery: decline of the state, anti-statism, and the like.
Recently Bill Clinton said that each one should change 5-6 professions in his/her life. Instead of the program aim of communism, that human shakes off the slavish subjugation (subordination) to the division of labour, imperialism “offers” the flexible, life-long trained worker. If this constant, uninterrupted offer of substitutes is interpreted correctly by the revolutionaries, it demonstrates more clearly than ever the objective ripening of the conditions for a qualitative leap to a higher form of social organization. The bourgeoisie tries to make it “unnecessary” since the very spontaneous-planned evolution presents social forms as substitutes or realizations of this plan.
In any case, communism is accused of being incompatible with this spontaneous automatic advance to progress through technology and science, since it is loaded with ideology and cannot lead to the prosperity and happiness of the people.
Are we changing century in such an ideological background, or is it not the prevailing issue? If there is an opinion that it is not such, then let’s discuss it. But if it is, then a series of tasks necessarily lie on the communist movement; the communist movement must meet those tasks. It has to conduct a battle on this ground as well, and win it. This means bending over and studying all these issues. There is no other way. It has to present a deep and broad ideological front on this ground. Maoism, when schematized, over-projected, over-highlighted as something standing over Marxism and Leninism, as something which, when accepted, automatically offers over-adequacy and over-sufficiency, is of no use. We should consider the huge work of Marx and Engels in order to rebut the then dominant economic, political, scientific, historical views. Let’s think of the great attention they paid to a series of discoveries, inventions, and technological applications, especially in the most developed capitalist countries. Let’s think of the huge attempts made by Lenin to defend materialism against machism (“Materialism and Empiriocriticism”). Let’s also think of him, when the 1st World War was conducted, being in a library in Switzerland studying Hegel, exclaiming that marxists had been reading “The Capital” for 50 years without understanding it, composing his famous “Philosophical Notes”, stressing that there are no great walls standing between the objective and subjective terms, studying anything written about imperialism with great care. And let’s compare this attitude with the present state of mind and the feeling of adequacy and sufficiency (covered by insufficient knowledge, mechanical repetition of citations, ideologicalization, dogmatism and empiricism).
The formulation of the communist program
The critical issue is whether the task of the construction of an ideological and political front will be set, which will support the position of the timeliness of communism after taking into account all the modern historical, economical, scientific and cultural development. On this basis, a system of different knowledge, which will be antithetic/antagonistic to the dominant one, will be constructed. On this basis conclusions will be drawn for all the sectors of social activity, no powers or arguments will be given as a present to the enemy. It will advance the enrichment of the communist movement. All this process, together with the real advances of the movement, will lead to the formulation of the Communist Program. More specifically, all this concerns the following problem: with which ideas, which visions, which self-criticism, which “consciousness” the communist movement will be able to play a serious propulsive role in the historical evolution?
The concept “Communist Program” consists of three categories of issues:
(a) What can be said regarding what type of societies can arise as transitional ones, after all the changes which have occurred.
(b) The self-criticism of the communist movement, the rectification on theoretical and practical level of the imperfections of the first attempts.
(c) The reversal of the delay imposed by revisionism on the communist movement and the confrontation of the New World Order through the promotion of the strategic objective.
The “view” of this Program should be directed to the future, consolidate the position for the timeliness of communism and social revolution on the basis of the existing objective potentials-needs, be connected with the “present” with the need for shattering of the new paper tiger (the New World Order and the restructuring process), and bring closer the international community of the peoples. It has to be such a “broad” view that it will embrace, and will be able to express, the new dimension of the slogan “Proletarians, Unite!”. The new Communist Program must be aware of the new conditions and difficulties existing, and it must not subordinate to the correlation of power, to cynicism or to pragmatism.
The self-criticism of the communist movement is imperative after what has happened, not as apologetics, but as the tracing of the mistakes, the shortages, distortions, etc., made in its course in the past decades, so as to throw the revisionist rust to the rubbish, and so that the communist movement can open again new paths for the human progress in the contemporary conditions.
We roughly trace five great categories of subjects to which the search for mistakes, shortages and distortions should be directed. This search will contribute to the enrichment of the communist program, as well. Which are these five axes?
1. Gradually, the marxist position for the unlimited resources which can be activated through human activity, provided the capitalist relations are overturned, was abandoned. Communism could assure the unlimited development of the productive forces.
All the discussion that takes place now and then about the “deterministic exhaustion of the resources” has always been marked by specific aspirations of the capitalists.
Gradually, the potential of limitless development of the productive forces was attributed to capitalism through the “Scientific-Technological Revolution”. So a series of daring and serious elaborations done by the communist movement were buried and characterized as voluntaristic.
A re-approach of the basic marxist position for the limitless potential of resources, and the historically finite character of capitalism which puts on brakes to the development of the productive forces, is necessary.
2. The revolutions of the future have not only the duty to smash the bourgeois state machine and to put the economy they have acquired to the service of the working people through the socialization of the means of production. They also have to smash all the material and technical organization of the capitalist production. They have to decode it, demonstrating all the steps taken in the material “pores” of the production so that the human labour, and the control of human labour on the whole productive process, become shattered.
This is a basic programmatic position. We were led to it through all the experience of socialist construction and through the criticism expressed on these subjects during the Cultural Revolution in China.
This position does not mean any destruction of the techniques and a return to lost paradises. Exactly as the total of the people is a total of people who have specific relationships between them (social relationships), the destruction of these relationships does not include the destruction of the people. The “smashing of the material and technical organization of the capitalist production” means: to create a “new world” out of the existing “old materials” – a “new world” which will liberate the human, the worker.
3. As regards the above task, the criticism of the “Scientific-Technological Revolution”, and especially of the process of the higher subordination of the science to the capital, must be deeply advanced. The liberation of science from the bonds of the capital unavoidably includes the very organization and production of science, as well as its immediate socialization by the freely associated producers. The destructive force capitalism “releases” through the mummifying of science and its imprisonment (nuclear weapons, DNA cloning, informatization systems, “clever” weapons, etc.) is the one managing the organization and production of science, and this is conveyed to the whole productive process on a second level.
So, what is nowadays called “Scientific-Technological Revolution” is not just an instrument which is used in a wrong way by the bourgeoisie and which we will take some day and use it correctly. If this “STR” is class-committed in all its moments (birth, development, application, etc.), shouldn’t we think of another type of science, developed on another basis, with a different direction and aim, allowing the participation of the workers, that is: allowing them to have the control of the productive process even when it offers them free time?
The problem nowadays is not and cannot be that “the art, civilization, technology, science must go to the masses”, but to advance the revolution and to deepen the revolution in these sectors.
4. Statism must be criticized. Not in the sense the bourgeoisie wants to, by presenting communism as a society with smaller social complexity than capitalism, in which uniformity is imposed by a “party-state” and, therefore, is doomed to die.
Marxism is opposed to state. There will be no state in communism. In the transitional societies, in socialism, the proletariat is organized in a state, it uses the political power (which is very different from that in the bourgeois state), but the main objective is not its further consolidation and, especially, is not its alienation from the working masses. These societies are in need of a constant and renewing process of “advance-consolidation-advance” ensuring, balancing each time, or promoting, deepening the process of the transformation of society. Through this process the antithetical unity of the form of state/movement is solved. The participation of the masses and their mobilization is a basic factor of the communist transformation.
The relationship between the party and the masses must be clear in this process: the party must guide, and not monopolize.
In the transitional societies, from a point on there was monopolization, not real guidance of the masses. The state element was dangerously stabilized and standardizations and formalisms were born, which prevented the masses from expressing themselves (this does not necessarily mean that the masses would express themselves against socialism).
The role of the Chinese experience is significant from this aspect, as well.
Statism has pestered the international communist movement and helped revisionism establish its power.
5. We must defend the need for, and the role of the communist movement.
Has the model of the Party been exhausted? But what was this model?
And here we reach the … “root of the trouble”, the Party. Because all this is related to whether the Party is the organized vanguard detachment of the working class, wielding the power initially on behalf of the class, then with the class, and is constantly in a process of advance-consolidation-advance with the masses and for the masses. Whether the Party remains a producer of theory and political lines. Whether it applies a suitable line, from the masses and for the masses. Whether it constantly criticizes itself, gets renewed and enriched. Whether it rejects any routine, any standardization, which unavoidably is impressed on it when it wields power, etc. Whether it remains or tries to be such a Party: this is the issue.
Despite the differences in the “methods”, this was the ideal type of Party.
Has the “ideal” been expressed as “real”, as well? In many cases and at many “moments”. This refers both to parties that came to power and to others which did not. There was also, however, a contrary transformation, which prevailed.
Let’s put aside the terms, titles and the like, and let’s see things without them:
- if there is (or is surpassed?) the necessity of another social form or even of surpassing the dead-ends (that is overcoming them), which has been created and daily intensified by the present system of social relationships,
- if the overcoming of these dead-ends requires radical, revolutionary changes in the mode of production and whatever this brings with it,
- if the terms created require the smashing of the obstacles in such a process, and indicate this process,
- if this process, despite the unfavourable correlation of power, is the only one which will remove these dead-ends,
then it means that the social forces for this overturn objectively exist.
If all this is true, then it means that we cannot talk about struggle against the system without the production of knowledge, the organization of this production, the programming and elaboration of strategies and tactics by an organized entity. These are the elements of this Communist Program, which we are discussing here. Then, and only then, “life” will show things, which are inconceivable for us now. But this cannot happen by letting things come as they will.
This is not academic talk. 150 years ago, Marx and Engels wrote, on behalf of the First International, the “Communist Manifesto”, the first Program of the communist movement. It was the maximum that could be formulated in those conditions in a declaration of the main principles and aims of the communist movement. But this “document”, this appeal, this manifesto shook the world. It was completed not only with texts, but also with the working movement’s historic leaps to the sky. By the way, what would a Communist Manifesto mean today? Which issues, and to what extent, would cover the criticism and the Program of the modern communist movement? But also, what attempts are being made to make us aware of the necessity for this Program in current conditions?
Excuse us a parenthesis concerning revisionism. Ideologicalization must be avoided here too. It is not enough for a political formation to speak against revisionism, or to discover the bad points of Chrouschev, refer to Stalin in a nice way, but mumble about Brezhnief, or discover authentic marxist-leninist forces in original revisionists (e.g. KKE/the revisionist party of Greece, AKEL/the revisionist party of Cyprus, etc.). Such an attitude doesn’t transform such a political formation into an antirevisionist one.
But the attitude of the Chinese, also, has offered little to pragmatism in some cases? Their relationships with “fraternal” parties, e.g. with the “communist” party of Romania, a declared revisionist party, as well as their relationship and flirting with euro-communism (at the cost of their relationships with marxist-leninist parties) was based on the very pragmatist idea of joining the weaker revisionism against the strong one. But this had more to do with statism than with an attitude of principles. Aren’t such expressions of pragmatism continued within the contemporary communist movement? Isn’t the emerging of a neo-revisionist current evident?
Can we seriously support the position for the timeliness of communism on the basis of, for example, the “Pyong Yang Declaration”, which has already been signed by 150 parties (so what)? Or the “Yu-che Thought” and the theory of the genius, as formulated by the North-Korean responsibles: do they have anything to do with the communist program? Unless the defense of anything named after or reminding of the socialist past is considered as a defense of communism… But even if they wanted to conduct a serious defensive battle, they should not fight this way. In this way there is no enrichment of the theory, no self-criticism, all history is a succession of pressures exerted by imperialism, of good intents of the communist parties, which, however, create traitors within them, who betray socialism for a pizza, and so on. All this has nothing to do with the science of historical materialism, all this has nothing to do with Marxism!
In our opinion, modern revisionism in all its versions, including the neo-revisionist one, must be exposed in the international communist movement. The main and special features of revisionism must be studied and generalized so as to trace the revisionist rust and the influence of revisionism. Revisionists should be isolated (no matter whether they call themselves revolutionaries, marxist-leninists, internationalists, etc. etc.). We believe that the main characteristics of modern revisionism are the following:
- Modern revisionism denies the deepening of the class struggle. Consequently, it is led to the collaboration with the bourgeoisie, it seeks a concert with the bourgeois state of things. In the capitalist countries, it supports the “national interests” and the “democratic institutions”. It participates, or tries to, in government coalitions together with the bourgeoisie, and it is inspired by governmentalism, granting the bourgeois anti-people policy remission of sins, and, moreover, directly helping its realization. It hauls down the flag of the anti-imperialist struggle and promotes the “responsible and realistic attitude of compromise with the standards of the New World Order”. It refuses to fight against the imperialist integrations and the results of the capitalist restructuring. It does not fight against all the splitting policies within the masses and the working class. It does not fight against racism and xenophobia and it constantly discovers “national routes to socialism”.
- Modern revisionism supports the theory of the productive forces and it adopts productivism. It restricts the role of the masses to the “task” of the acceleration of a supposed automatic process through the “scientific and technological progress”. It adores the “scientific and technological revolution” and it considers it to be an objectively progressive, positive and neutral process. Modern revisionism admired the “successes” of capitalism and tried to “import” them in the transitional societies with the aim of “accelerating the development and increasing the productivity”. The result was totally different, because this was how capitalism was restored. Even nowadays contemporary revisionism applauds the “socialism of the market”.
- Modern revisionism is imbued with statism. It reproduces the superstition of the worship of the state, which has nothing in common with the marxist-leninist conception of the proletarian political power. It is afraid of the mobilization and self-action of the masses, it does not trust the masses and the working class. It is based on bureaucratic and administrative methods and it increases the distance between the mechanisms and the masses. It conveys these views to the relationships among communist parties, having an arrogant attitude and practice, which has nothing in common with the communist ideas. It plays an energetic role in the slander of struggles, organizations, individuals, circles of the revolutionary left, it collaborates with the repressive forces or it even undertakes the role of the repression of a series of demonstrations and militant actions. When in power, it adopts a social-imperialist policy.
Denial of the class struggle, class collaboration, productivism and statism: these are the essential features of revisionism in the contemporary conditions. Declarations, big words, etc. cannot really hide this truth. They can fool only those intending to be fooled or fervently wish to join revisionism…
3.2.6. About the contradictions in the modern world
The Communist Party of China in the “25 points” outlines the basic contradictions in the world as follows:
“What are the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world? Marxist-Leninists consistently hold that they are:
- the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp;
- the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries;
- the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism; and
- the contradictions among imperialist countries and among monopolistic capitalist groups.
(…) These contradictions and the struggles to which they give rise are interrelated and influence each other. Nobody can obliterate any of these fundamental contradictions or subjectively substitute one for all the rest.” (A Proposal concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement, Letter of the CC of the CPC, 14 June 1963, extract of point 4).
[Today it seems that almost everybody agrees to eliminate the first contradiction, the one between the socialist camp and the capitalist one. This contradiction, with the form it had in the postwar period up to the ‘60s-‘70s, has disappeared long ago. But we saw and we still see how this contradiction functions in our days as well, in the ideological level – and not only in it. Many of the attacks of imperialism are conducted in the name of “overcoming all the anachronisms”, that is to say, all the “anachronisms” which remind to the masses a different social potentiality. Thus, we see the contradiction functioning, between the socialism as a potentiality (and also as achievements and performances in the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolution), and the imperialism as a counter-revolutionary force.
For example, the smashing of Cuba pursued by imperialism has not so much to do with economic facts, but rather with the fact that a collapse of Cuba would have important repercussions on ideological level in Latin America. Even if the marxist-leninists are aware that the C.P. of Cuba cannot give a perspective, and goes from compromise to compromise, it can do this only in the name of the revolution, of socialism, etc.]
Chairman Gonzalo, leader of the Communist Party of Peru, in his famous interview of 1989, describes the issue of the contradictions in the modern world as follows:
“We hold that there are three fundamental contradictions in the overall situation that is unfolding. The first and principal contradiction is between the oppressed nations on one side, and the imperialist superpowers and other imperialist powers on the other. (…) This contradiction is resolved through democratic revolution, through people's war. A second fundamental contradiction is the one between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. This is resolved through socialist revolutions and proletarian cultural revolutions (…). A third contradiction is the inter-imperialist one, between the superpowers, between the imperialist superpowers and the imperialist powers, and among the imperialist powers themselves. These contradictions among them are resolved through aggression, and imperialist wars (…).
Why do we put the contradictions in this order? Because we consider this to be their order of importance. We insist that the contradiction between the oppressed nations on one side, and the imperialist superpowers and imperialist powers on the other, is principal and of great importance for the world revolution. It has to do, in our opinion, with the weight of the masses in history. It is obvious that the great majority of the masses who inhabit the earth live in the oppressed nations. It is also evident that their population is increasing four times as rapidly as the population of the imperialist countries.” (Interview with Chairman Gonzalo, El Diario, Peru, July 1989).
The Communist Party of the Philippines evaluates the basic contradictions in the world as follows:
“1. Contradictions between the bourgeoisie and proletariat. The objective conditions for the intensification of the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat exist. The crisis of overproduction is worsening in the industrial capitalist countries... But the subjective forces of the proletarian revolution are still small and weak in the imperialist countries...
2. Contradictions between imperialism and oppressed peoples and nations. Through the use of neo-colonialism and wars of aggression, the imperialists have carried out the most bitter oppression and exploitation and the ruination of national economies in Asia, Africa and Latin America and in the former Soviet block countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
3. Contradictions among the imperialists...” (CPP, About the monopoly capitalist “globalization”, 1996).
It is important to see how the Communist Party of the Philippines raises the issue of war, and thus, of the evaluation of the inter-imperialist contradictions: “But it will take some time for the worsening crisis of overproduction to sharpen the inter-imperialist contradictions to the point of breaking up the current alliance of imperialist countries and bring forth the imminent danger of inter-imperialist war... There is now neither an imminent inter-imperialist world war nor an impending total collapse of imperialism nor an unhindered and unlimited growth of industrial capitalism in the world. But there is more than enough disorder and instability to stimulate the emergence and development of revolutionary forces.” (CPP, About the monopoly capitalist “globalization”, 1996).
The three main contradictions
Therefore, there are three main contradictions in the modern world. These seem to be tallying with three of the four outlined by the Chinese communists 36 years ago. But the content of these contradictions has been modified, just as the relationship among them. These contradictions interact. This interaction of today is different from that a few decades ago.
The Chinese communists, when answering to Palmiro Togliatti, in the chapter “Two totally different views on the contradictions in the world” they write: “When analyzing the world contemporary situation, the marxist-leninists must have a good command of essential facts, political and economic, for the different countries of the world, and be able to understand the essential contradictions, which are: the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp; the contradictions within the very imperialist countries; the contradiction between the imperialist countries and the oppressed nations; and, in the capitalist countries, the contradictions between the bourgeoisie from the one side and the proletariat, the working people from the other, between within the several monopolistic corporations, between the monopolies of the bourgeoisie and the lower middle bourgeois strata, etc. It is obvious, that only through the knowledge of the contradictions, their analysis and the analysis of the modifications that those contradictions have in the different periods, and through the tracking down of the meeting point of the concrete contradictions, the working class parties of all the countries will arrive to a correct evaluation of the international and national situation, and they will base their policy on secure theoretical positions.” (More on the differences between comrade Togliatti and us, 3.4.1963).
What are the modifications of the basic contradictions in the past years, and what is the meeting point of the specific contradictions in today’s world?
The basic contradictions in the monopoly capitalist world, which is globalized after a period of split of the system, present many modifications if compared with the basic contradictions in the ‘60s. Apart from the elimination of one of the basic contradictions, there is a modification of the mutual influence of the three others between them. For instance, the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is strengthened and globalized in conditions in which the latter is developing and expanding. That is, it is demonstrated more intensely not only in the capitalist countries, but also in the dependent countries and those with a medium level of capitalist development. If the globalized capitalism means the subordination of the working force on a worldwide scale for the extraction of surplus value and the simultaneous development of the working class in selected areas in the periphery of the world, then this means intensification and demonstration of this contradiction. At the same time, the globalized monopolistic capitalism means that the imperialist imposition on the globe through the three world and internationalized networks (the economic, the military and the information networks), brings the working class, the peoples and the oppressed nations all over the world in opposition to the imperialist Directorate or the New World Order. Therefore, we can talk about a modification of the basic contradiction between imperialism and oppressed nations and peoples in the following sense: The monopolistic capitalism which is globalized after a split of the system, leads to a situation in which the contradiction imperialism/oppressed peoples and nations on a world-wide scale is shifted to the contradiction imperialism/working class, peoples and oppressed nations. This contradiction tends to become the prevailing one in the world. The New World Order, the imperialist Directorate on the one hand, and the working class, the proletariat of all the countries, the peoples and oppressed nations of the entire world on the other hand, confront each other and clash. This is the way in which the basic contradictions we knew meet, cross, interlace. In this dominant framework function and are modified all the basic contradictions.
We are trying to outline a course, a content resulting from the analysis of the economic and political terms on an international level. The obstacle in such an attempt is the schematic way of conceiving and presenting the reality: “The imperialist countries on the one hand and the oppressed by imperialism countries and nations on the other”. The situation is a bit more complicated. Not only today, but also in the past, there was not such a schematic way of conceiving reality. In the “25 points” the Chinese communists make a series of distinctions among several countries that were liberated from the imperialist yoke and they pinpoint special features in some of them, etc.
The Third International in its 6th Congress gave a more analytical presentation and categorization of the various countries of the world. We quote it because sometimes the discussion on the basic contradictions might take a simplifying character:
“The variety of conditions and paths for the transition to the dictatorship of the proletariat in every country can be schematically divided into three main types.
Countries of the developed capitalism (USA, Germany, England, etc.), with strong productive forces, highly concentrated production, where small scale economy is of relatively limited importance, with a bourgeois-democratic political regime which has been established a long time ago. In these countries, the basic programmatic demand on the level of politics is the immediate transition to the dictatorship of the proletariat. As regards the level of economy, the characteristic points are: the expropriation of all the big-scale production; the organization of a considerable quantity of state soviet sovhoz, and, instead, the offer of relatively insignificant part of the land to the peasants; the relatively restricted extent of spontaneous market relations; the fast pace of the socialist development in general and of the collectivization of the agricultural economy in particular.
Countries with a medium level of capitalist development (Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Balkanic countries, etc.) with considerable remnants of semi-feudal relations in the agricultural economy, with a certain minimum of material preconditions necessary for the socialist reconstruction, where the bourgeois-democratic transformation has not been completed. In some of these countries a more or less quick transition of the bourgeois-democratic revolution to a socialist one is possible. In other countries types of proletarian revolution are possible, which they have, however, to fulfil tasks of bourgeois-democratic character in a great extent. Consequently, in this case the dictatorship of the proletariat might not be immediately achieved; instead it could be accomplished in the process of transition from the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry to the socialist dictatorship of the proletariat. Where revolution directly develops as a proletarian revolution, it pre-supposes the guidance of the broad peasant movement by the proletariat. The agrarian revolution generally plays a colossal, and sometimes decisive, role. In the process of expropriation of the big landownership, a considerable part of the seized land passes over to the peasantry’s disposal. The extent of market relationships after the victory of the proletariat is considerable. The task of the peasantry’s organization in cooperatives, and later of its productive union as well, is of great importance among the other tasks of the socialist reconstruction. The rate of this reconstruction is relatively slow.
Colonial and semi-colonial countries (China, India, etc.) and dependent countries (Brazil, Argentina, etc.) with a certain embryon or sometimes even with a considerable development of the industry, the latter being insufficient, however, in most cases, for an independent socialist construction. These are countries where the feudal-medieval relationships, or relationships of the ‘asian mode of production’ are dominant both in the economy and the political super-structure of the country. Finally, these are countries where the most important industrial, commercial and bank entreprizes, the main means of transport, the big land properties and the plantations, etc., are concentrated in the hands of the foreign imperialist groups. The struggle against feudalism and the pre-capitalist forms of exploitation and the agrarian revolution, conducted consistently, on the one hand, and the struggle against the foreign imperialism for the national independence on the other hand, are of primary importance. The transition to the dictatorship of the proletariat is possible here, basically, only through a series of preparatory stages, only as a result of a whole period of transformation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist one. Furthermore, successful socialist reconstruction is possible in most cases only on the condition that it is directly supported by the countries of the proletarian dictatorship.
Even more backward countries (in some parts of Africa, for instance) where there are almost no, or not at all, salaried workers, where the majority of the population lives in tribes and where remains of the primitive forms of the race society still exist, where the national bourgeoisie is almost inexistant, where the foreign imperialism plays mainly the role of military occupator, who deprives them of their land. In these countries, the fight for national liberation is of primary importance. The national revolt and its victory can here open a way for a development towards socialism, without their going through the stage of capitalism generally, provided they are offered great help in practice by the countries of the proletarian dictatorship.”
The analysis of the Communist International led to the adoption of specific strategic forms for the rallying of the working class in each country and for the type of social alliances, which should be forwarded.
The category of countries with a medium level of capitalist development does not seem to be bothering too much the discussion among marxist-leninist parties today. Nevertheless, a series of countries have these characteristics and many of the social phenomena in them are related to the development of capitalism in these countries. The issue of the quality of capitalism, of its usually dependent and supplementary role for the monopolistic capital in contemporary conditions, cannot be analyzed under the category of “bureaucratic capitalism”, as this was done in China in the decades of ‘30-’40.
Nowadays that the national, social, cultural flattening is attempted in the name of globalization and internationalization, it is completely wrong to overlook the significance of the struggle for independence. The content of this struggle, considering its social content and the forces forwarding it, coincides more and more with the struggle for socialism.
The flag of independence cannot be raised and waved by the bourgeoisie in the conditions of globalization and restructuring. No matter whether there are moments in which the bourgeoisie adduces it (when cornered or pressed; but in any case it adopts it without believing in it), those who have to respond to the duty of the advance of the fight for independence more than ever before are the communists, and they have to associate it with the struggle for the socialist perspective.
Just as at the time of the first New Order its smashing was the pre-condition for any real advance in the process of social progress, and just as they combined or had to combine then the fight against the New Order with the aims of the national liberation and the people’s power, we have to do the same today: the overturning of the New World Order, wherever it appears and whatever forms it takes, has to be associated with the prospect of independent, self-reliant, anti-concentrative development, always on the basis of a new political power.
-- It is unquestionable that the focal points of the serious developments and decisive battles are the extensive areas of Asia, Africa, Latin America, but also of the ex-Soviet block.
In these areas the main contradiction takes the form of the contradiction between people/nation and imperialism. But even in these conditions we notice the more and more intense appearance and independent action of the contradiction proletariat/bourgeoisie, the latter appearing in the form of the comprador bourgeoisie.
We include in the frame of this contradiction (people/nation-imperialism) the cases of countries not participating in the globalized capitalist market (although they adapt more and more to it and intensify their openings to it). Such cases are for us Cuba, Korea and Vietnam.
On this basis, we express our support and solidarity to the peoples suffering the attacks and interventions of the imperialist Directorate, we denounce the embargoes and the violation of all sense of national sovereignty and independence.
-- Considering the inter-imperialist conflicts, we would like to pinpoint some aspects: the formation of the three basic centres of the imperialist world (USA, Japan, Europe) signifies an important change in the imperialist camp during the recent years. The monopolization of the word dominance by the two superpowers belongs to the past, and Russia will need a lot of time until it regains an important role. The USA is trying to take advantage of the gap, but in the years of the crisis it has experienced a decline of its economic power and has felt other powers approaching it. Military blackmail is a basic pivot for the maintaining of its primacy. Germany has started playing the role of a superpower and claiming emphatically what it regards as “belonging” to it.
What is the significance of the inter-imperialist conflicts? We believe that the thought is valid that, in the absence of an important revolutionary pole in the world and as long as the world crisis of capitalism deepens, the inter-imperialist contradictions can in some cases play a central role in the course of things. The developments in a series of regions, which are the focal points of the inter-imperialist antagonism, are mainly determined by the course of the conflict among the imperialist powers, and this contradiction predominates over the contradiction imperialism-peoples in these regions. Of course, when interventions, wars, etc. are launched in order to solve the dispute for the markets and the territorial sharing, the other contradictions are activated and have their role too.
Stalin writes in “The Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR” regarding the subject: “They say that the contradictions between capitalism and socialism are stronger than those among the capitalist countries. Theoretically speaking, this is right of course.”. But in the case of the 2nd World War, “the struggle of the capitalist countries for markets and the desire to stifle their competitions, proved stronger in practice than the contradictions between the camp of capitalism and the camp of socialism” (1952). So, we shouldn’t be surprised if today these contradictions prove to be stronger in some cases than the other main contradictions.
Since we referred to the work of Stalin, it is worth reading another important formulation. This is about the basic economic law of contemporary capitalism. Stalin says: “The basic characteristics and the basic requirements of the basic economic law of contemporary capitalism could be formulated, for example, in the following way: ensuring of the highest capitalist profit by the means of exploitation, destruction and misery of the majority of the given country’s population, by the means of enslavement and systematic pillaging of the other countries’ peoples, particularly of the backwarded countries, and finally by the means of wars and of economy’s militarization, used in order to assure the highest profits.”. Even this law leads to conclusions very close to the unity that the world proletarian movement should have.
It would be somewhat schematic to conceive the contradiction bourgeoisie-proletariat as mainly occurring in the imperialist countries and to believe that the contradiction peoples and oppressed nations-imperialism is solved through the democratic revolution, while the contradiction bourgeoisie-proletariat through the socialist revolution. In our opinion, nowadays the anti-imperialist revolution in the storm zones also has to confront the problems raised by the monopolistic capitalism which is globalizing, and it necessarily has anti-restructuring characteristics. The struggle in the countryside and the periphery of the world cannot but take under consideration all the changes and modifications brought about by the restructuring process. The enlargement of the proletariat and half-proletariat poses a series of duties for the new vanguards, which cannot be postponed for other times. The form of the new democratic revolution and especially of the People’s War may, in some cases, lead to the underestimation of the work, which should be done among the working class, in the cities. The right relationship between the work among the peasantry and in the countryside, and the work among the working class and in the areas where huge masses are packed, is a difficult but also focal/central point for all vanguards.
About the tasks of the revolutionaries
Likewise, in many resolutions we notice a separation of the tasks of the revolutionaries in the imperialist countries from the tasks of those in the dependent countries. At the same time, there is blatant lack of analyses and positions stressing the need for unified struggle of the proletarians and oppressed peoples and nations against the common enemy, the New World Order. As we tried to analyze up to here, the New World Order is not just the form of the big powers’ foreign policy, but a political superstructure founded on a material basis, which is the result of the restructuring process; therefore, the struggle against it has a content on many levels: the anti-imperialist and the anti-capitalist tasks interlace more than ever before in the past.
If we think of the great slogans “Proletarians of the world, unite!” and “Proletarians of the world, oppressed nations and peoples, unite!”, we will gain a better understanding of the tasks posed to us. The slogan “Proletarians of the world, unite!” emerged 150 years ago, in the Communist Manifesto. Since then, capitalism has expanded to regions which were not caught in its toils then in ways other than the world trade. The proletariat has become broader, it has increased, and it became the basic majority of the world population. The proletarian is present all over the world, a fact that is a result of the globalized monopolistic capitalism. This proletariat must really unite through common struggles all over the world. The objective basis of such struggles is more than ever existing. Even the struggle of a part of the proletariat in a multi-branched multinational monopoly in a Third World country needs, in order to be successful, the solidarity and mobilization of the workers in the other sections of this multinational monopoly in other countries. The supranational integrations also work in the same direction. The confrontation of the internationalization of capitalism requires the internationalization of the proletariat’s struggle. The slogan “Proletarians of the world, oppressed nations and peoples, unite!”, introduced since the anti-imperialist struggle became the immediate reserve of the world proletarian revolution, expresses a direct and urgent need nowadays. The application of this slogan-urge means to immediately create, today, now, the common front of the working class, the peoples and the oppressed nations against the New World Order. The unity of these movements is necessary in order to strike blows against, and isolate, the main counter-revolutionary power, which is nowadays unified in the New World Order.
The international character of this movement is a huge weapon in the struggle against the New World Order. This has not been yet fully understood/realized. A relative reference in phrases, does not also signify that attempts have been undertaken in order to cover this gap.
3.3. Suggestion for the formulation of a General Line
(The present proposal - A proposal that needs enrichment)
Therefore, after all the above presented, we consider that the General Line of the contemporary communist movement could be formulated somehow as follows:
“Let’s resist the New World Order, the greatest enemy of the humanity; let’s smash the holocaust prepared by the imperialist Directorate and its lackeys!
Let’s modify the correlation of power in favour of the forces of progress in a worldwide scale, through struggles and movements, by promoting the International Community of the Peoples, which is the large front of the fighting classes, strata and nations against the New World Order and the dual society.
Let’s, step by step, reconstruct the Communist Movement, that is the necessary and decisive force capable of uniting and offering perspective to the struggles.
Let’s construct the communist program, throwing away anything rusty, old-fashioned and anachronistic was created by the domination of revisionism for more than thirty years.
Let’s spread the position of the timeliness of socialism and communism as the unique positive way out of the capitalist barbarity”.
By presenting, and mainly by trying out such a General Line, we are confident that the Communist Movement of our days will open the roads leading to the Proletarian Revolution in the 21st century!