At the ideological level, the Revolutionary Communist Party bases itself on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism—that is, a synthesis of the experience of the revolutionary communist movement from its inception to today. During the struggles of the proletariat and the oppressed masses, some of the revolutionary and communist thinkers and practitioners, namely Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong, studied, queried, experimented and theorized this experience in order to establish a new science. This science is called Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and it is an indispensable guide to creating a revolutionary movement and leading humanity to communism.
The establishment of this science does not stem only from the personal experiences of Marx, Lenin and Mao. History is its greatest teacher. While capitalism greatly developed scientific and productive forces, it also gave humanity the opportunity to definitively comprehend how the world works and how history has evolved. Before capitalism, it was impossible to understand history and all its vagaries. The working out of the science of communism was possible through their involvement in class struggle, acute ideological struggles, debates within their own parties and the Communist International. Without their involvement in the struggle of the masses; without their involvement in ideological and political discussion, it would have been impossible to produce this science despite their great personal qualities.
“Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement,” wrote Lenin in his famous work, What Is To Be Done. Throughout history, dominated and oppressed classes—the “disenfranchised”—led struggles and rebelled against their oppressors. To lead revolutions, revolutionaries relied on what past struggles had taught them. This was the case with the French Revolution. Arriving at one of the first comprehensive studies of history by analyzing it through the perspective of class struggle, Marx laid the foundations of a theory that aimed to transform the world. He devoted his life to the advancement of revolutionary struggle: he laid the solid foundations that enable the proletarian movement to move forwards, towards communism and its liberation. To carry on his work, and to advance our society towards communism, to overthrow the bourgeoisie and give power to the majority of workers, labourers, jobless, immigrants—in other words the proletariat—we must learn from past experiences and act accordingly.
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism analyses historical changes. History moves forward through class struggle. A social class is more than just a group of individuals that share the same interests on account of the way they fit in with each other and the rest of society through the relations of production. A social class must also be conscious of these interests. Only the historical synthesis and the proper ideology of a proletarian party can help them achieve this goal.
The creation of a new science is an on-going process. This is true for the science of class struggle and proletarian revolution, which has seen much progression in its theory: Marxism was the first milestone; then came Marxism-Leninism; and today Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM). These important leaps were made possible thanks to criticism of theory and practical experience gained during the revolutions in Russia and China. New advancements helped overcome certain mistakes. Changes took place within the capitalist mode of production and its relations of production as well as in the processes of reproduction in general. Currently, MLM represents the most advance state of modern revolutionary science. The battles to come will help us move on.
Most of the concepts of MLM were conceived by Marx in close collaboration with Frederick Engels. Marx perceived that the proletariat would one day become the ruling class and that this would eventually lead to a classless, communist society. His dialectical and materialist analysis of historical development starting from the era of slavery, with its revolts, feudalism, marked by upheavals of the peasantry and the rise of the bourgeoisie in the cities, accompanied by the proletariat and its distinct battles as exemplified by the Chartist Movement in England or the very active socialist groups of the Paris Commune in France. Dominated classes at that time did not have a clear theoretical and historical vision of their political tasks. Socialist thinkers described the misery of the proletariat and the peasantry and conjured up new social systems, but their ideas were mainly utopian. Through careful scrutiny of the material economic workings of capitalist society, which is still in development, Marx understood that a new society would emerge from it and that socialism would be created by the proletariat, the working masses, which is the only class that would lead the struggle to its fruition.
Marx’s theoretical mainstay was the writing of a vast and brilliant analysis of political economics. While he led the First International and through his involvement in the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany, he criticized the political economic theories of his time. He helped us understand the fine workings of capitalism and how it reproduced itself. Marx showed us that each class struggling in the political arena was represented by its own political organizations. Organized in the form of a party, the proletariat can overthrow the bourgeoisie, destroy its state apparatus and set up a dictatorship against it to prevent it from re-taking control of society.
The Second International set up by Engels after Marx’s death did not last very long. It is however on this turf where Lenin honed his skills. Subsequently, political currents twisted the hell out of Marxism, making it a contemplative theory incapable of upholding a revolutionary movement. This “bourgeois” and right wing version of socialism reared its ugliest face during World War One as several of its parliamentarian representatives voted in favour of war budgets. In Russia, the Bolsheviks rejected this attitude and decided to struggle against their own bourgeoisie. In 1917 they led the proletariat to its first historical victory. In leading the October Revolution, Lenin convinced the workers that revolution was possible and had to be won through armed struggle.
Lenin’s struggle against the leaders of the Second International led him to found the Third International. This organization led communists all over the world up until the Second World War. Lenin improved upon revolutionary science and brought insight into the upcoming transformations of capitalism. He also expanded our understanding by systemized theoretical thought in regards to the role of a communist party and its function as a centralist-democratic organization. He explained what monopoly capitalism (imperialism) was and defined how the proletariat of rich countries and oppressed nations had to work jointly. His brilliant statement—that Imperialism means war—has stood the test of time. He also understood that the labour aristocracy of rich countries was the social base for right wing reformism. Hence, communists had to rely solely on the truly revolutionary strata of the proletariat. To do so they had to work in putting together a clear-sighted party that would help led the way.
After Lenin died, the Bolsheviks and Stalin carried on. They tried to build socialism in Russia and help build it throughout the world. Stalin fought hard against the old bourgeoisie and against opportunist deviations like Trotskyism. He also led the struggles of the proletariat and the people against fascism in the Thirties and Forties. The Russian proletariat did in fact make enormous sacrifices during the Second World War. Overall, however, Stalin was unable to grasp the contradictions in socialist society. He also failed to understand the erroneous ideologies and weaknesses of the Bolshevik Party. The proletariat was thus overthrown and the gains of the October Revolution lost. On an international scale, Stalin and the Bolshevik Party were too domineering and this led to promoting their erroneous aspects throughout the whole international communist movement.
The leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would end up embarking down the path of state capitalism. A new bourgeoisie grew out of the state apparatus. They reinstated domination and exploitation over the workers. It is true that the period that extended between 1917 and the treason of the party leaders rested on vast economic sectors based on commodity exchange. On the other hand, socialist economy that relies on the sharing of resources and goods rather than commodity exchange, would still have been able to develop protection against and thwart the growth of those other sectors. When a revisionist leadership took over power with Khrushchev in 1956, various economic reforms pushed for the recovery of capitalism within Russia. The new revisionist leaders made good on the weaknesses of the former communist regime.
The Soviet revisionist thrust their outlook upon most of the other communist parties. Their political line advocated “peaceful competition” with capitalist countries and subservience of other socialist countries to the “soviet homeland.” The revisionists truly thought that it was possible to be as productive as the advanced capitalist countries and adopted the same consumer structures. They claimed to believe in peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism and asserted that revolution was no longer necessary.
China, where a strong revolutionary movement had emerged, refused to follow the Russian revisionists. The revolution that took place in China avoided a good deal of errors committed in Russia. For example, instead of engaging in adventurist insurrections advocated by the Third International that had led to failure in the cities of Canton and Nanchang, the Chinese Communist Party, under the leadership of Chairman Mao, took up arms to fight a protracted people’s war. They had a method and a plan. In the Thirties, Chairman Mao had already criticized the shortcomings of the Russian revolution. One of his contributions was to point out the importance of the revolutionary role of the peasantry. Stalin had misjudged this question. In China the peasants played an important role in the revolutionary struggle and in building a new type of power.
The military science of the proletariat experienced a great leap forward thanks to the struggle of the Chinese and the 1949 revolution. Protracted people’s war, which includes the participation of the masses as being the mainstay of revolutionary warfare; the creation of red bases; the use of these bases for a social transformation that leads to the development of socialism; the command of the party over the armed forces, helped re-established the importance of revolutionary violence and thus helped fight pacifist and conciliatory thesis that prevailed in the international communist movement of the time.
Mao also developed the concept of “new democratic revolution,” resolving the problem of revolutionary strategy in countries oppressed by imperialism and the relations of democratic tasks and socialist ones during revolution.
Mao and the revolutionary leaders of the Chinese CP analyzed the nature of contradiction, the relation between theory and practice. Mao taught how to use this analysis to advance revolution. He elaborated the concept of “mass line.” This concept evolves from the notion that class struggle is what impels revolution. The scientific method of investigation was another of his ground breaking findings. Synthesizing the most correct ideas of the masses and setting the political line according to this work was another of his contributions. He added that once this line was set, the communists had to return to the masses with it in order to broadcast it, explain it, and check out its pertinence in practice.
But it is mostly the analysis of socialism that made the Chinese experience most conclusive. From it came the analysis of the contradictions in socialist society, criticism of the “theory of productive forces,” analysis of the role of the party and the two-line struggle within it arising after the conquest of state power as well as the fact that the bourgeoisie nestles in the new born socialist state. Mao Zedong perceived this danger and alerted the masses with the watch word “Bombard the headquarters” which he uttered in front of the red guards and the vanguard. This cry set off the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Thanks to this initiative, for more than a decade, the proletarian masses and the peasantry developed socialist practice and stalled the seizure of power by the bourgeoisie. The fact that this effort was aborted after Mao’s death demonstrates clearly the need to unleash several of these cultural revolutions during the period of socialist construction. The masses must actively partake in the dictatorship of the proletariat and prevent capitalism from reforming.
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the most advanced state of revolutionary science. Maoism took root in Marxism-Leninism and went beyond some of its shortcomings and historical boundaries. This science must always be improved upon since society and the revolutionary experiences of the masses continuously undergo change. Parties and organizations that rely on MLM to lead revolutionary warfare contribute to its betterment. All in all, MLM is the only thing we have to make revolution.