If the leadership and the organization of the minority that forms the vanguard—i.e. of the party—are a sine qua non condition for the development and the victory of the revolution, those are however impossible without the involvement of the masses. The masses are the makers of history. The socialist revolution that will come to terms with capitalism and that will set the foundations of a communist society will never be possible if only a few partake in this endeavour, despite the degree of burning enthusiasm or total devotion.
The party leads, guides and suggests, but it is the masses that transform its political line into a concrete material force. They are the only ones that can truly transform social relations, i.e. incarnate the theory of revolution, and make it something feasible and durable. They made revolution possible in Russia. They thwarted the aspirations of the new bourgeoisie and delayed the restoration of capitalism in China. They also beat U.S. imperialism in Vietnam, even though the Yankees had more sophisticated armaments.
Currently in Canada, the proletarian masses, which make up the vast majority of the population, resist exploitation as much as they can. They do this without having the level of consciousness needed to lead a revolutionary struggle that would deal severe blows to the bourgeoisie. Furthermore, most of them are under the tutelage of a whole slew of state-sponsored organizations. These organizations all too often oppose or control any nascent movement of rebellion that may pop up. They steer this revolt away from its true target, the bourgeoisie. This acts as a deterrent to the development of any true revolutionary activity.
The Revolutionary Communist Party is constantly attempting to link itself to the masses. It uses methods of inquiry, not only to gain a better understanding of their situation, but to be able to grasp their spirit. It collects ideas from the masses. Then, it sorts the best ones out and articulates them in the most coherent fashion. Always in close relationship to the masses, the party strives to give as wide a circulation as possible to its activities of agitation and propaganda. It always relies on the masses for carrying out its activities.
Fighting for just claims
The Third International pointed out that: “All the agitation, propaganda and political work of the Communist Parties must start from the understanding that no long-term improvement in the position of the proletariat is possible under capitalism and that only the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the destruction of capitalist states will make possible the transformation of working-class living conditions […].This does not mean, however, that the proletariat has to renounce the fight for its immediate practical demands until after it has established its dictatorship.” (Resolution of the Third Congress of the Communist International, On Tactics)
Through the policy that was further developed by the Communist International, we see that in the daily activities, we must undertake each need of the masses as the starting point for revolutionary struggles. These struggles as a whole will constitute the powerful trend of socialist revolution. Contrary to the reformists and the petit-bourgeois pacifists, the communists do not put forward any “minimum programme” that would serve to strengthen and improve the shaky foundations of capitalism. “The Communists’ main aim is to destroy the capitalist system.” But to fulfill this task, the communists put forward claims, whose achievement would constitute an immediate and urgent need for the proletariat, “regardless of whether they are compatible with the continuation of the capitalist system”. (Ibid.) What matters is that theses claims answer the vital needs of the broad proletarian masses.
That being said, we should never forget that there is a two-sided character to any gain we ripped of from the bourgeoisie. We must be aware that these gains, although being partial victories for the proletariat against the class enemy, are also a way for this same enemy to keep social peace in order to pursue the exploitation of the workers. In fact, the bourgeoisie uses such claims coming from specific sectors to divide the proletariat. Communists, on the contrary, take part in immediate struggles to link the whole proletariat against the bourgeoisie. That is possible only if we don’t lose sight of the final goal: the seizure of power as a step towards communism.
While taking active part in the immediate struggles of the proletariat, the Revolutionary Communist Party must be able to bind them to the general and long-term struggle. It must educate the masses in the revolutionary spirit of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism; it must unceasingly raise their political consciousness and assume the leadership of the proletarian revolution. Our first duty is not to run from a strike/action to another; but rather to link together and mobilize the proletariat and its allies in the masses and oppressed nations, against our main enemy—the Canadian bourgeoisie. That means that the communists must work firstly to build the highest form of proletarian organization—the Revolutionary Communist Party; and to develop the strategy and tactics that will make the revolution side to get stronger. In order to achieve this, the bourgeoisie must be isolated. This is why we must struggle for the right claims; those that include the entire proletariat, and also other social layers like the petit-bourgeois class as well as the oppressed nations of the country.
The work of the party in this regard is aimed at spurring the masses into revolutionary action. The party has no pretence of substituting itself for the masses. It doesn’t imagine or invent claims or demands any different than the ones the masses are asking for by themselves (when they are in a position to raise their demands without the interference of state servants). But at the same time, the party does not lag behind the masses either. It seizes upon the best of their demands and forms them into a coherent and systematic whole. The claims that the party puts first are the ones which contribute to defending the most exploited proletarians and to unmasking and isolating the bourgeois state so as to create a clear dividing line between both sides—that of the proletariat and that of the bourgeoisie.
Ideological leadership and revolutionary action
Spurring the masses into revolutionary action also consists of seeking to gain leadership of their struggles. This leadership is first and foremost political and ideological leadership and can not be based on organizational manoeuvres.
All too often, communists in Canada have curtailed their work in vying for leadership of mass organizations, especially of the unions, independently of their real influence among the broad masses. Sometimes they even left unquestioned the role really played by those organizations within the class struggle.
The role of the party is to help the broad masses in assuming leadership of their own struggle. By doing so, the masses will also learn to assume leadership of the whole of society. In regard to mass organizations that are not under the full tutelage of the state, the party must wage fierce struggle to extend workers democracy within those organizations, to crush the bourgeois line, to help the proletarian line to triumph and at some point to gain control of them. In regard to the organizations that are under total tutelage of the state, the party must help the masses to liquidate these organizations.
Every step of the way, the party must assist the masses in endowing themselves with genuine proletarian organizations, completely self-sufficient and independent from the state and its “civil network.” These new organizations that will have to be created from scratch in many cases—including women and youth organizations—will fully be part of the revolutionary struggle. Because these organizations will be radically different from those in today’s society that are attached to the state apparatus, they will take on different forms that are unknown till now in Canada. The party will call for the establishment of Soviets, i.e. of worker councils, where the masses will be able to express and organize themselves on the basis of their own class interests. All those organizations will form a large network around the party and the revolutionary army and will constitute the embryo of the new socialist power.
It is in the name of these new organizations, authentically proletarian, in which they will have learned to defend themselves, to engage in battle against the enemy but mostly—and with help from the party—to assume leadership of society, that the masses will then rise. They will be ready for any sacrifice to defend their organizations, as well as the vast network built around the party. They will do this while bearing arms, as soon as they understand that the bourgeoisie will be endeavouring to destroy them.