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Article from La Voce
(The Voice of the (new)Italian Communist Party) No. 32, July 2009
Revolutionary people’s war in Nepal and in Italy
Even the longest march is done by single steps
In Nepal, the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and democratic revolution, directed by Unified Communist Party of Nepal (maoist), is going on. Strengthened by the successes got in the ten years (1996-2006) of war in the countryside, after the agreement drew up in 2006 with the “Seven Parties” of the old system for striking out the divine right monarchy and having up a Constituent Assembly, the UCPN(m) has firmly taken on hand the leadership of the popular masses in the cities too. The strife is between the democratic movement of the countryside and that of the cities on the one hand and on the other hand the residual feudal forces, the comprador bourgeoisie and the bureaucratic bourgeoisie. What is at stake is the foundation of a new democracy system.
The reaction persistently opposes, but it is not succeeded to prevail over, despite it still has great forces: the old Armed Forces (Royal, renamed National), the Public Administration, the Magistracy and, most of all, it is supported and pushed by the Indian ruling classes and the USA imperialist groups. The UCPN(m) has the People’s Army and the Militia and it has been able to move successfully the revolutionary forces and to continue the Revolutionary People’s War within the new conditions. Thus it has confirmed that:
1. a Communist Party is able to lead the revolution even in a small and surrounded country (25 millions of people and 140 thousand Km²) also within actual world context,
2. the Maoism is the guiding theory of the second wave of proletarian revolution.
The line “firmness of strategy and flexibility in tactics” pursued by the UCPN(m) has aroused the indignation of the Communist Movement’s dogmatics, particularly of the RCP-USA and of its chairman Bob Avakian, that do not understand the nature of the Protracted Revolutionary People’s War. In fact, the UCPN(m) gives great teachings to us Maoist communists who lead the PPW for making Italy a new socialist country. Let’s see some of this teachings.
Within the imperialist countries, the revolutionary people’s war is “the revolution organized and established by the Party, with one campaign after another, combining battles and tactic operations”. The revolutionary people’s war is the Party building the New Power. This is a structure which guides working class and popular masses’ movement. So it joins leading organisms with organized masses which recognize and anyway follow its directives in their behavior in front of the bourgeoisie, the clergy and the other ruling classes.
The bourgeoisie takes the initiative in the claiming struggles not yet led by Party and then not yet inserted in the revolutionary people’s war as its own parts: here the bourgeoisie leads the dance. The masses, on the basis of their mentality, the existent relations and their means (spontaneity is this) respond to bourgeoisie’s actions, because of necessity, need, because costs increase and wages decrease, because the bourgeoisie makes more difficult popular masses’ life and increase pressure on the masses. Popular masses’ action is a reaction to bourgeoisie’s actions, a answer that needs only a bourgeois conception and mentality: a conception of a seller who sells dearly his workforce. That is why we tell that economism is a backward, still primitive form, of class struggle. It does not require that the communist conception of the world is at the helm, it does not require the lead of the Communist Party. The spontaneous action of the popular masses is their action carried out on the basis of their world conception, of their vision of the things, of their feelings, opinion, mentality (see Gramsci, Introduction to philosophy in Prison Notebooks).
Until the masses restricted themselves to the claiming struggles, in fact they still are dragged along by the bourgeoisie, no matter how great are violence and heroism of the revolt. The bourgeoises have strategies (of course, into the limits of their class condition, strategies that do not go beyond the horizons of capitalist social relations,: this is a weak point they can not eliminate). The masses and their leadership have no strategy. Marchionne [the FIAT manager, Note of Translator] has a plan and he is trying to carry out it. Epifani [the leader of CGIL, the most important trade union of the regime, Note of the Translator] has not a plan. Least of all Angeletti and Bonanni [the leaders of the two other trade unions of the regime] have it. And these are the conceited adventurers still now leading the popular masses insofar as there is a one direction of the moving of popular masses’ individuals and organisms. Neither the alternative trade unions have a plan. They have claims. They want everything more sincerely, with more determination and with a little more consistency, less available to come to compromises with the bourgeoisie and less resigned to its “omnipotence” than the trade unions of the regime. The best part of them already feels the limit (about it see, for example, the Thesis of Slai Cobas’ VI Congress, Milan on April 16-18, 2009; the report of Contropiano on CUB’s (Base Delegations) congress in Riccione (May 23-24, 2009), the Platform by which Slai Cobas has convened the meeting on June 16, 2009 in Milan). The alternative trade unions shout aims more advanced (no dismissal, no closing of firms), while Epifani, Bonanni, Angeletti and some accomplices are content with no closing of firms, dismissals as less as possible, more social security cushions possible, gradualness and fair division of sacrifices, etc. Today Epifani, Bonanni, Angeletti and their accomplices are shouting this, in order to get the closing of less business possible and for getting “what will be possible to get”.
The popular masses takes the initiative on hand within the class struggle only when their activism is part of a revolutionary plan of action, i. e., aimed to establish a new system of social relations: the Socialism in order to go towards Communism. That is to say, when their movement is directed by the Communist Party (actually, even if not yet formally).
On the contrary, in the revolution led by the strategy of revolutionary people’s war, the Party has the initiative. It moves the masses. Of course, it does it, it has to do it, it is able to do it only considering masses’ material, spiritual, sentimental, etc., conditions (as anyway it does when it organizes a simple strike, a simple demonstration, a protest, whenever it takes the initiative). Certainly it does it, it has to do it, it is able to do it only thanks to a network of organisms and relations (the Communist movement) it has weaved and keeps on weaving, consolidating and strengthening. The Party and the New Power use one campaign for making the opportune conditions for the following one, which pursues higher aims. This is the contrary of the modus operandi of the bourgeois adventurers and careerists as Cofferati, Bertinotti [former unionist leaders become politicians in the highest bourgeois institutions, Note of Translator] and Epifani. For them every campaign comes to an end with the agreement they conclude with the counter-part. Under their leadership everything is quite normal with the end of the campaign; the forces break up and the struggle is out.
On the contrary, the Party and the New Power give continuity to the class struggle. Every campaign makes the conditions for the following, even if between the two campaign there can be a break for consolidating forces.
The Party and the New Power with the operations they promote, bring the class struggle to climax, to a high level of combativity, protest and strife which makes impossible bourgeoisie’s life. So, in order to keep its power, its privileges, its “civilization” the bourgeoisie will do inconsiderate and desperate moves which climax is unleashing the civil war. So we pass to the second stage of the protracted revolutionary people’s war.
Since what is important and decisive is the aim, we, who follow the strategy of the PPW, can and must do things the others who have not our strategy do not do, and if they do them, they are yielding to the bourgeoisie or backwardnesses. In James’ seasons, Rigoni Stern [an Italian writer, Note of the Translator] tells that in his village once the peasantry and the rest of the popular masses severely embarrassed the fascists. The fascist authority had forbidden the covering of the cows by the bulls of tarina race, which usually were used in the region. There were violations about disposition, repression, demonstrations, arrests. Finally peasantry and women demonstrated en masse against the law and the repression shouting “Long live Mussolini and the bulls of tarina race!”. How could carabineers repress a demonstration against the fascist law made praising Mussolini? There were frenetic consultations, until from Rome the order arrived to forget, to release the arrestees, and to suspend the law enforcement about improvement of the bovine race. Rigoni Stern tells a fact: what was the effect of that event on local popular masses’ evolution of politic consciousness and organization? The results were determined by those who, in that area, had a more advanced understanding of the conditions, the forms and the results of the class struggle and on that basis carried it out. According to the way of thinking of Bob Avakian (the chairman of the RCP-USA) there is not doubt: it was a semi-fascist demonstration, a contradiction within Fascism. For those who worked in the ambit of a tactic plan within the revolutionary people’s war against the regime, for mobilizing, organizing and orientating the local popular masses it had been an excellent tactic initiative for extending a crack and strengthening their role: it was to put a foundation for the following step.
The criticism that Avakian, RCP-USA and other dogmatic people (who declare themselves Maoists as well) are doing to the UCPN(m) (see the Five Letters and similar positions), falls within this context. Avakian does not understand what UCPN(m) is making, because he does not understand the essence of the Protracted Revolutionary People’s War. Ever step of the UCPN(m) has some limits: then according to Avakian it is a defaillance. For those who carry out the PPW, every step is a starting point for the following, or an element which takes the significance from the context to which is tied in its work plan. Every time somebody go up a step, Avakian shouts he is giving up the struggle. Is it possible that UCPN(m) will come to a halt at a point and then all that which it has made will begin to putrefy and collapse, given that in a struggle it is impossible to come to a halt whenever one like? Can the way pursued by UCPN(m) lead in fact the Nepali revolution into a blind alley? Both things can happen. Such things already happened in other cases. But only who adopts the strategy of the PPW and is able to make a concrete analysis of the concrete situations, can avoid all that, contributing so that the UCPN(m) elaborates the just line and enforces it by the two lines struggle.
Let’s return to our situation and to what we have to do. It is important that we promote a process, that we make the popular masses carry it out, starting from those who already are moving themselves and that we already are able to move and to orientate, a process of campaigns, struggles and operations, such as to make the bourgeoisie no more able to bear the way we forced it in, the way it undertook for facing the process of campaigns, struggles and operations carried out by popular masses through our work. It will be a process able to suffocate the bourgeoisie itself in the trap where we will have forced it to fall. Then, the bourgeoisie will rouse the civil war, if it will insist to preserve at any cost its system of social relations, to remain to the power and to perpetuate its privileges, as exploiting classes usually do. As regards us, it is important that we drive the bourgeoisie toward this stage of the socialist revolution in the opportune conditions for us, having the initiative on our hand, even if will be the imperialist bourgeoisie to rouse the civil war and we will lead those who will face its sudden attack, its precipitate, desperate and criminal move (we have not to deceive us about a possible pacific passage, however working according to our directions we will be prepared to seize it if it will occur due to unexpectedly and unsuspected causes). We shall choose the right time and the right ground of imperialist bourgeoisie’s move in order to determine the widest ranking of troops and classes possible in our favour and the greatest isolation possible of civil war’s initiators.
An example for understanding about what could happen are the events in Nepal in the last weeks. On April 20, 2009, Prachanda government, after the umpteenth infraction by general, has dismissed the gen. Katawal and has appointed the gen. Khadka in its place as chief of the National Armed (former Royal) Forces. Prachanda government had strong cases for dismissing Katawal because of his insubordination since months. In substance, Bob Avakian (RCP-USA) indicated Prachanda as traitor of the revolution because he did not actions as dismissing Katawal. Prachanda dismissed Katawal after he thought he got ready the conditions needed for facing successfully the reactions which the gen. Katawal, the chairman Yadav and the most reactionary forces certainly would have made in order to not lose their main bastion, the National Armed Forces. Has the UCPN(m) well sized up the conditions made and reactionary forces’ effects? We certainly are not able to tell it. But this is the way pursued from UCPN(m) and on this basis it has to be sized. Those who understand what PPW means, size the events in this way. So far the UCPN(m) has proved to think hard its own steps and to predispose good traps for the reaction, to lead well the play which the revolutionary process involves, to be able to make the reactionary forces believe to be able to prepare traps for the maoists and the revolutionary movement so that they fall into those traps themselves. There is no reason for thinking a priori that the UCPN(m) this time has not succeeded about it. This is the thought of the individuals widely corrupt by rooted diffidence in the possibility of the success of revolution (they have neither revolutionary spirit nor courage). The direct and immediate aim which UCPN(m) is carrying out in the ongoing strife, i. e., the supremacy of civil on military power’s, can be hardly refused by parties which do not to openly take the responsibility of restarting civil war and of a coup d’état which results will be uncertain thanks to what happened before.
The examples more fitting for explaining what we will become, when at least a part of us will have adopted a such tactic principle which is part of the New Method of Work, are both that of the stonemason who is able to find out the vein of the stones he must work and goes toward his aim, utilizing stone’s vein (this means to consider the circumstances and the conditions), and the pupil who “plays along” school children and “instigates” them against an incapable and hateful teacher until making him unable to carry out his own didactics activity (this means to work with continuity, one campaign after another, making of every struggle a school of communism and putting the results of every struggle as starting basis for the following which has higher aims, by stages and levels).
Many years ago, in the early ‘70s, I followed closely the class struggle within a big metal factory. A working group, even if narrow, was able to mobilizing effectively its colleagues against the bosses, to prevent and to face their moves and manoeuvres so that bosses’ life was impossible. The factory changed leadership many times (at that time the idea to close the factory would have kicked up a complete row), as long as, in a context different from which the working group was fed by (and that it fed) a even sharper leadership, was able to make the working group do mistakes, driving it to isolation and break up. Apart from such end, which belongs to another story, our just work would become so and will become so when we shall have assimilated dialectical materialism at higher level and we shall master it with some skill as method for knowing and transforming the reality. We will utilize a higher world conception, we will lead the asymmetric war, on the ground more favorable to us, upon which the bourgeoisie can not act (as the French or American imperialists fruitlessly tried to learn and to apply Mao’s military theory for leading the counter-revolutionary war).
Instead, until we compare ourselves with the bourgeoisie, the revisionists, the Subjective Forces of Socialist Revolution on the ground of the quantity, following again the mobilizations which in the past were effective but today tire out the workers, we are people who face their own opponents on a ground more favorable to them, where they are stronger, where they have got more experience.
For better understanding this thinking we may develop it as regards the field of the public opinion. In the regime of preventive counter-revolution, the bourgeoisie developed refined systems and procedures (the nr. 1 pillar of the regime, see Manifesto Program website www.nuovopci.it) for influencing, deviating and poisoning the public opinion. The revolutionaries often do not know how making the media (TV, newspapers, radio, film, theatre, concerts, etc.) talk about the experiences, the events and the operations regarding the class struggle in order to form a public opinion concentrated on this field and how making the media favorably present masses’ claims and the struggles the masses carry out for achieving them.
The Red Brigades (BR) and other Fighting Communist Organizations (OCC), when they degenerated in the militarism that drove them to defeat, came to theorize the attempts as means for propagandize themselves. The bourgeoises resorted to blackout as counter-revolutionary move. It was forbidden to talk about attempts. At a certain level of the stirfe, the bourgeois strategists of the struggle against the BR got the consent of media’s owners who made silence around OCC’s activities.
How can we face the task to create a public opinion enlightened and favorable to us?
Certainly neither founding ourselves mainly on the bourgeois media, nor mainly on our media, which are incomparably weaker than the bourgeois ones.
Our (still weak) media have to create the public opinion of our entourages, the entourages they are able to reach. Today we yet are well away from being able to give, by our propaganda, a clear and practical consciousness of the reality to those who are listening to us. You just need to see how even our comrades are in trouble when they are facing a new problem or event upon when there is not yet a Party Statement about it.
We have to be able to give to the people we reach by our newspapers, statements, discourses, fliers and other means of propaganda, the sufficient intellectual instruments for talking well and the sufficient, moral and intellectual instruments for acting well. (This is the task of the agitation and propaganda sector). From here on, their words and actions will form the public opinion on a wider range. Lenin told the masses learn mainly by their direct experience. We must lead them to make that direct experience which helps them to better understand the class struggle and to make their direct experience go with the word, the writings, the propaganda, which interprets and does the balance of their direct experience itself.
Obviously, this main course of our action for making a public opinion favorable to us, does not exclude the use of auxiliary, secondary instruments as: to make pirate programs entering the great diffusion media, to profit by electoral campaign, to make operations as we did with the web site “cop hunting” [where the nPCI put the photos of the cops of the political police, so that everybody could be able to recognize them, Note of the Translator], etc. It is important we take ourselves the initiative of these operations and that we rightly size up their effect, range and time, considering the counter-moves of our enemies.
The UCPN(m) is giving important teachings to all the Communists. The world conception leading it is the more important strength factor for the revolution. We Italian Maoist have to learn from its actions, obviously considering that we are working in a imperialist country, in particular in the Papal Republic. The common base of the Marxism-Leninism-Maoism helps us to learn from their experience.