The New Communist Party (Organizing Committee) recently held its 2nd Congress, and renamed itself the Maoist Communist Group.
Our new name reflects the central task of the moment: ideological consolidation, and in particular, the forging of a principled unity regarding what we mean by ‘Maoism.’ Only in this way can we lay the foundation on which a Maoist Communist Party can be built.
At our 1st Congress in 2013, we embraced an empiricist distortion of Maoism, in which we conceived Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as a simple and undifferentiated addition of the various historical achievements of Marx, Lenin, and Mao. This descriptive—that is, ideological—account of Maoism was reflected in our former Principles of Unity. We are now approaching the problem of constructing a genuine theoretical concept of Maoism via the opposite path, namely: what are the ruptures through which Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is constituted?
Our old name and certain of our old documents were the product of a damaging subjectivism. We failed in carrying out the supreme duty of every communist: to carry out a concrete analysis of the concrete situation. Our new name more accurately represents what we are in the current political conjuncture.
What is presented below is our Founding Statement, which we intend to be a living document. We are currently developing our political line on the national question and the question of women’s oppression, among other issues. We will carry out a conjunctural class analysis of the US in the future.
The Maoist Communist Group aims to bring to the masses the task of building their own Maoist Communist Party of a new type, which will be a weapon that can lead the working class and the broad masses in the building of political power, with the objective of smashing the bourgeois state and establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat. Our current task is to forge a principled unity from which the question of party construction can be posed to the masses. Without ideological and political consolidation—that is, if we forbid nothing and permit everything—we open up the political field to interventions by opportunists, both right and ‘left.’ The first order of the day is thus to articulate a proletarian political line that can be creatively applied to the conditions of the class struggle from which it emerges. We appeal to all revolutionaries to join us in this task.
In order to forge a principled unity, we must—on the basis of a concrete analysis of the concrete situation—contribute to the political and ideological arming of the masses, in order eventually to develop a party capable of organizing the principal forms that the political class struggle must assume.
According to Mao, the new style of work brought by the Communist Party entails: (1) close integration of theory with practice (2) the forging of close links with the masses and (3) the practice of self-criticism. These three moments are the theoretical requirements of the mass line, which names the Maoist theory of organization and knowledge in the sequence defined by the finality of communism. The Party concentrates the dispersed but correct ideas of the masses, in light of the class thought of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, into political directives and slogans that can lead the masses in transforming their concrete situations. The application of these directives and slogans is concretely assessed, resulting in new, dispersed ideas that renew the cycle. This cycle of organization and knowledge only ends when mass knowledge and mass organizations merge with class knowledge and class organizations—that is, with the end of class society and the state, with communism.
(1) Theory and Practice. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, which organizes and recollects the practice of the masses, must be integrated with the concrete practice of the mass movement. This principle is opposed equally to thinking in place of the masses (dogmatism) and to taking partial and fragmentary experience for universality (empiricism). The struggle against dogmatism and empiricism is the process of ideological consolidation. Mao writes: “Ideological education is the key link to be grasped in uniting the whole Party for great political struggles. Unless this is done, the Party cannot accomplish any of its political tasks.” We can only advance towards the building of a genuine Maoist Communist Party if we define our practice in response to the questions posed to us by the political conjuncture. Only if we proceed from a concrete assessment of the conjuncture—which is to say: the current moment of the class struggle seized as a synthesis of contradictions—can the genuine problems of the class struggle can be determined theoretically from the perspective of their objective transformation.
(2) Links with the masses. Dogmatism and empiricism, understood in their developed political forms (bureaucratism, tailism, commandism, etc.) are reflections of a single and same problem, that of the abyss that opens up between the Party and the masses. Mao writes: “every comrade must be helped to understand that as long as we rely on the people, believe firmly in the inexhaustible creative power of the masses and hence trust and identify ourselves with them, no enemy can crush us while we can crush every enemy and overcome every difficulty.” Marxism-Leninism-Maoism does not proceed from a source external to the masses. It is precisely the theoretical systematization, at each of its stages, of the historical experience of the masses. Here, everything depends on seizing the masses as the principal aspect of the class-masses dialectic: democracy first, centralism second—or, equivalently: ‘from the masses, to the masses.’ Only if the masses are grasped as the principal aspect of the class-masses dialectic can the communist future emerge, not as a figure of messianic faith, but as a practicable finality.
(3) Criticism and Self-Criticism. Dust will accumulate if a room is not regularly cleaned, our faces will become dirty if we do not wash them. Mao says: “Conscientious practice of self-criticism is still another hallmark distinguishing our Party from all other political parties.” Self-criticism is a real process in which the thought and practice of the Party subjects itself to criticism by the thought and practice of the mass movement, even as the Party divides the correct ideas of the mass movement from the effects (division, dispersion) of bourgeois ideology. Self-criticism is not a confession in the manner of a penitent churchgoer, but a moment immanent to the concrete situations of history. For this reason, the moment of self-criticism is only realized in the subsequent moment of material rectification. It is the principle of self-criticism that determines Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the class thought of the Party, as a process of selection that divides practices according to what must live and what must die in order that the present be transformed.
“If the new style of work brought by the Party is marked by relating theory to practice, forging links with the masses, and criticism and self-criticism, the role of the Party is to lead the masses.” This means that a fraction of the masses must constitute itself as a revolutionary class, a class in the political sense—that is to say, a class capable of establishing itself into a leading force that can seize state power and model society in its image. But if this leadership in turn becomes a new form of domination, the Party instead becomes the embryo of a new bureaucratic bourgeoisie. At the other extreme, if there is no class leadership, the masses are left without an effective means of realizing their aspirations.
“As Comrade Mao Tse-tung says, the correct political line should be ‘from the masses, to the masses.’ To ensure that the line really comes from the masses and in particular that it really goes back to the masses, there must be close ties not only between the Party and the masses outside the Party (between the class and the people), but above all between the Party’s leading bodies and the masses within the Party (between the cadres and the rank and file); in other words, there must be a correct organizational line. Therefore, just as in each period of the Party’s history Comrade Mao Tse-tung has laid down a political line representing the interests of the masses, so he has laid down an organizational line serving the political line and maintaining ties with the masses both inside and outside the Party.”
The cycle of revolutionary knowledge, which proceeds from the masses to the masses, is mediated by the Party. The cycle of knowledge organizes the following dialectical process: mass revolts that produce correct ideas in a state of dispersion and division; partial systematization of these ideas through the process of class struggle within the mass movement; centralized systematization of the struggle through the proletarian class Party that analyzes it in light of the class thought of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism; formulation, concentrated in the form of the directive or slogan, that articulates the systematization of correct ideas with the transformation of the objective situation; application of the directive by the masses and the class Party; evaluation of the correctness of the directive through the results effectively obtained in its putting to work by the masses and the class Party; the production, through this application, of new ideas in a state of dispersion and division which serve as the basis for a new cycle of systematization. This new cycle begins the process of transforming the directive, its rectification.
The mass line is simultaneously the Maoist theory of knowledge and the Maoist theory of organization. Mao writes: “What sort of method is this? It’s the method of democratic centralism, the method of the mass line: first democracy, then centralism; from the masses, to the masses; integration of the leadership with the masses.” Centralism here names a double movement of synthesis and direction: it designates both the concentration of the correct, but dispersed and divided, ideas of the masses in light of the class thought of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and the subsequent organization of this synthesis in the form of a directive or slogan. In this way centralism depends on a broad democratic practice as its origin, although the penetration of Marxist theory into the mass movement has as its immediate source the directive or slogan that disseminates the political line of the Party.
The three theoretical requirements of the mass line make it clear enough that one cannot build the Maoist Communist Party of the proletariat and the people in cold isolation from the mass movement. We must not fall into the historical trap of allowing our call to construct a Maoist Communist Party to serve as a cover for a bureaucratism in which the construction of the vanguard Party and the struggle of the masses are dissolved into two independent processes to be conjoined in a future that never arrives. Rather, party-building and leadership of the mass movement must be grasped as two aspects of the same process, since the sense of the word ‘organization’ here is organization of the correct, but dispersed and divided, ideas of the masses who resist domination and exploitation. The Maoist conception of party-building is thus opposed to the Comintern understanding of the Party as principally defined by administrative rules and structures that constitute a ‘steel-like’ fortress whose primary aim is to prevent a breach by alien elements that threaten its existence. The strategic role of the Party is to lead the masses in their increasing involvement in managing affairs of the state until a state is no longer necessary. This perspective—the mass, or communist, perspective—must guide the Party at each stage of the revolutionary process. The call for the building of the Party must thus be taken up by the most advanced elements of the masses, and it is only then that the proletariat, thus born in the political sense, can construct its own organization that can lead the masses toward communism.
Ideological consolidation, mass initiative, and continuous assessment of our theory and practice are the three principles from which we must proceed as we bring to the masses the question of building a Maoist Communist Party of a new type. The precise form that such a Party will assume cannot be elaborated in advance of the concrete movement of its construction. We call upon all revolutionaries to join us in the difficult undertaking that lies before us.
LONG LIVE MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM!