[‘Maoism or Mao Thought?’, a booklet on ideological debate published by Janamuktikami Prakashani is a collection of letters and articles with opposing views and classical Marxian literature on the ideological question. We publish the publisher's note, the contents and selected sections of this booklet. Interested reader can download pdf of the complete booklet here.--Editorial Board, Red Barricade]
'Mao Thought vs. Maoism' has assumed the form of an important ideological debate in the communist revolutionary camp in the international as well as national level. Much of the course of Indian revolution and world communist movement rests on the outcome of this ideological debate. Right from June 2001 to December 2001 Janamuktikami published some letters, articles and some relevant parts of the classical Marxian literature with editorial notes in respect to this debate. From these writings published the readers come to know different arguments in favour of Maoism, our firm position on Mao Thought and reasonableness in its favour in one hand, and, on the other, they can make clearer their outlook to take proper position in this debate by becoming more intimate with such important subjects as the dialectical materialist laws of development of society, the sources and components of Marxism as the proletarian ideology, material basis of its quantitative and qualitative development, the dialectical relation between matter and consciousness, i.e., materialist theory of knowledge, historical context of Leninism and Mao Tsetung Thought, and so on.
We compiled the writings scattered in different issues of our journal and reprinted them in January this year in the form of a booklet in Bengali. Now, as per the demand of some readers, we publish its English version to spread the debate in a larger sphere.
Hope our mission will be fulfilled.
1. (a) Indranil Dutta's letter in favour of Maoism
(b) The Editorial Board in reply
(c) Abani Kar in reply
2. (a) Mao Tsetung Thought, Maoism—
Formulation of Maoism is correct in this debate : Mohan Sarkar
(b) Leninism-Mao Thought, and not Maoism, is the most
advanced ideology of the world proletariat : Editorial Board.
Had there been no difference in essence, then why Maoism,
why not Mao Thought : Editorial Board
Since Lenin's death, the world situation has
undergone great changes, but the era has not changed : Abani Kar
5. Inseparable is the relation between Era and
Ideology : Editorial Board
6. Appendix I The Materialist Conception of History,
The Three Sources and
Three component Parts of Marxism : V I Lenin
Appendix II A Historic Document of the CPC
Appendix III Historical Materialism and Scientific
Socialism : Frederick Engels
Appendix IV Lenin's Contributions to the
Development of Marxism : J V Stalin
Appendix V Marxist Philosophical Materialism : J V Stalin
Appendix VI Materialist Dialectics : Mao Tsetung
Appendix VII The CPC on the Present Era and
International Significance of Mao Tsetung Thought
MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT, MAOISM--
FORMULATION OF MAOISM IS CORRECT IN THIS DEBATE
Opposing the formulation of Mao Tsetung Thought, the development of Marxism-Leninism, as Maoism the Janamuktikami has published in its June 2001 issue with Editorial notes two articles of Com. Lenin—(i) The Materialist Conception of History, (ii) The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism—and the 16 May 1967 Editorial of the CPC's organs Red Flag and People's Daily. In the "Letter to the Editor" column of the July 2001 issue, one Abani Kar has put forward his well-thought out views upholding those articles published in the preceding issue. The report under the title of 'Mahanagari Mukharita Janajuddher Sanghite' (The City Echoing the Songs of People's War) written by Sekhar
The articles published clearly justify why it is realistic to call Maoism. Yet in the Editorial note remarks have been added in order to help the readers "identify the wrong trends of denying the great contributions of Stalin to the treasury of Marxism-Leninism and replacing Leninism with 'Maoism' that come into the vision in the national as well as international arena" and realize the interrelation between era and ideology.
But as a Maoist reader what I realize after going through the two articles of great Lenin and the document of the CPC is that the Editorial Board of Janamuktikami and Com. Abani Kar have reached an improper realization that has been expressed in the Editorial note through a self-assigned evaluation of the historic articles. I would like to analyse those erroneous, limited hypothetical subjects below. As Com. Abani Kar has produced in his letter theories, facts and arguments why it is correct to call Mao Tsetung Though instead of Maoism, it is by dealing with this letter that I put forward my opinion.
Before passing remarks on such mechanical formulations as whether the relation of ideology to epoch is correct or whether Leninism is replaced or great contributions of Com. Stalin are denied by adopting Maoism, we should realize what essence is meant by calling Maoism or Mao Tsetung Thought. Let us look into what the CPC document means and what Com. Abani Kar says:
Com. Abani Kar writes, ".......The Leninist strategy and tactics are still valid but they are valid in entirely different political and economic objective conditions (in the conditions of a permanent, uninterrupted and ever-increasing crisis of imperialism). Since Lenin's time, the objective conditions of the international situation have both economically and politically undergone great changes. But the fundamental contradictions of the era of Leninism, i.e., the era of imperialism (three fundamental contradictions of the present era are: (i) contradiction between labour and capital ; (ii) contradiction among the imperialist powers; and (iii) contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed countries, nations and people of the world) have not been resolved to usher in a qualitatively new era. Naturally, there is no possibility of creation of a new ideology."
The CPC document, however, states, "......Marx and Engels founded the
theory of scientific socialism. Lenin and Stalin developed Marxism, solved varions questions related to the proletarian revolution in the era of imperialism, and also solved the theoretical and practical problems of establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat in one country. Comrade Mao Tsetung has developed Marxism, solved the questions of proletarian revolution in the present time, and also solved the theoretical and practical problems of continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and frustrating the endeavour of restoring capitalism. These three stages resemble three great and profound milestones in the history of development of Marxism."
If one goes through these two quotations side by side, one can clearly understand that the essence regarding ideology Com. Abani Kar has explained by the formulation of epoch and that explained by the CPC are entirely different. Abani Kar asserts the creation of ideology is not possible without qualitative changes in era, whereas the CPC maintains these three stages resemble three great and profound milestones in the history of development of Marxism.Mark it, three milestones, and not two. It means the three milestones are of equal importance. The CPC has not, however, separated Mao Tsetung Thought in view of no qualitative changes in the era of imperialism.
As Com. Abani Kar writes, ".........In this circumstances, Mao Tsetung has integrated the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of revolution, developed Marxism-Leninism in political, military, economic, cultural and philosophical spheres and has brought it to a higher phase— which is internationally acknowleged as Mao Tsetung Thought." So to speak, he wants to call Mao Tsetung Thought as a higher phase, but, unlike the CPC document, does not agree to accept it as the milestone of equal importance like Marxism-Leninism.
It is not the essence of the CPC document but Com. Abani Kar's personal formulation. So, if Com. Abani thinks the formulation by the CPC is wrong he must deal with and stick to this point. That's a different question.
There is, therefore, no difference in essence between Maoism as formulated under the leadership of RIM and Mao Tsetung Thought as formulated by the CPC. Our realization in this respect has further developed, of course. That Mao Thought is the 3rd stage of Marxism [1st stage Marxism, 2nd stage Leninism] has been basically resolved even in the sixties and seventies. The CPC first accepted it. Afterwards a number of parties, including the CPI (ML) under the leadership of Comrade Charu Majumder, the PBSP under Com. Siraj Sikder in
Afterwards in its clarification on the formulation of Mao Tsetung Thought as Maoism in 1993, the RIM maintained,"........Maoism does not merely mean the sum total of great contributions of Mao Tsetung. Rather it is the total and all-embracing development of Marxism-Leninism to new and higher stage. Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is an integral entity" (Bengali version of "The Declaration of RIM and Long Live MLM" published from
The qualitative development of Mao Tsetung Thought can not remain static in a phase due to any individual's or organisation's limitations in realization of its essence or due to epoch. However much does Com. Abani Kar say that Mao Thought is internationally acknowledged, he virtually denies its international applicability by formulating it separately from Marxism-Leninism. The Hoxaites once ignored Mao Tsetung Thought by afixing ideology to era in this way.
Now some comments on era. By formulating Leninism as the ideology of the era of imperialism the Editorial Board of Janamuktikami and Com. Abani Kar have drawn a subjective conclusion that no other ideology than Leninism is possible in the imperialist era. This declaration is foreign to Marxism-Leninism. It has no existence in the classical Marxist-Leninist literature as well as in the objective reality. Such outlook is in opposition to dialectical and historical materialism, which does not realize the motion of development of matter. It is a mechanical outlook of constraining ideology within the framework of era.
As Com. Abani Kar mentioned the development of imperialism and world situation, so also inevitable is the development of ideology. By the by, it is not possible to ascertain today whether some new ideology would be created in future—it will be resolved by developing communist revolution itself.
Com. Stalin was reportedly called an idealist and a man of metaphysical idea in the paper placed in the Kolkata seminar on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Chinese Revolution. Reporter Com. Sekhar Roy has raised this allegation, which is, however, not factually correct. Anyone may go through that statement of the seminar published in the 26th issue of AWTW. Despite it I would like to quote from the "Declaration of RIM and Long Live MLM" to make the readers understand the evalutaion and outlook of RIM on Com. Stalin:
"........After Lenin's death, Joseph Stalin defended the dictatorship of the proletariat from the internal enemies, and, at the same time, also from the imperialist aggressors during the World War II; he carried forward the task of socialist construction and transformation in the
The RIM, however, incidentally projects the summing up of Stalin's errors along with his great contributions. As the CPC states in its document: ".....But where Stalin failed was that he could not recognised that classes and class struggle did exist in the society throughout the whole historical period of dictatorship of the proletariat and that revolution would ultimately win out was not finally settled yet." Therefore, to sum up Stalin's errors does not necessarily mean to ignore his contributions.
It is just Mao's summing up that the RIM has projected. That Stalin practised metaphysics in some respect was summed up by Mao himself. To acquire more detailed and deep knowledge in this regard one should study the contributions of Mao during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR).
This poverty and limitations in realization of Maoism by the Editorial Board of Janamuktikami and Com. Abani Kar are related to their incapability of realizing and assimilating Mao Tsetung Thought or Maoism as one bearing equal importance and as an integral entity of Marxism-Leninism. Hope, they will try to understand the ongoing Maoist development in the international communist movement.
LENINISM-MAO THOUGHT, AND NOT MAOISM, IS THE MOST ADVANCED IDEOLOGY OF THE WORLD PROLETARIAT
With a critical view on our Editorial notes along with Lenin's two articles and the CPC's historic document printed in the June 2001 issue and on Com. Abani Kar's letter as well as Com. Sekhar Roy's report in the subsequent issue of our journal, Com. Mohan Sarkar has sent an article from
Thanks to Com. Sarkar on behalf of the Editorial Board of Janamuktikami,
We would like to open our discussion facing the remark on Stalin passed in the Kolkata (then
As a matter of fact, how much diversities might exists among themselves in their arguments in favour of Maoism, the protagonists of Maoism all strangely maintain uniformity in one issue: They usually display the profoundity of their knowledge by throwing, in the name of Mao, some words / phrases provided with "Stalin's error" in their enlightening speeches. But in doing so they hardly count how difficult was the situation wherein Mao stood in defence of Stalin. Did the revisionists of Titoite and Khrushchevite varieties remain sitting idle merely in
Com. Mohan Sarkar has set up several arguments in favour of Maoism, of which only two, as we feel, deserve exposition to some extent : (i) that the three phases in the history of development of Marxism are three great and -profound milestones means the three milestones are of equal importance; and (ii) that no other ideology than Leninism is possible in the era of imperialism is a subjective formulation that goes in opposition to dialectical and historical materialism and bears the mechanical outlook of constraining ideology within the framework of era.
Certainly, in 1967 the CPC marked the three phases in the history of development of Marxism as "three great and profound milestones". And in the 9th Congress held in 1969 the CPC further resolved Com. Mao had brought Marxism-Leninism to "a higher and completely new stage". The communist revolutionary organisations formed in the sixties and seventies in different countries of the world including south
Despite mentioning the great contributions of Mao, the 9th Congress of the CPC upheld the Leninist strategy and tactics, while the 10th Congress did very clearly show (as Abani Kar mentioned in his letter)," Since Lenin's death, the world situation has undergone great changes. But the era has not changed. The fundamental principles of Leninism are not outdated; they remain the theoretical basis guiding our thinking today." That is, the question of "the fundamental principles of Leninism" being "not outdated" is related to "the era" having "not changed".
Wherein does, therefore, lie the international applicability of Mao Tsetung Thought? It is the "great changes" since Lenin's death, especially after the World War II, the world situation has undergone that form the background for the international applicability of Mao Tsetung Thought as the quantitative development of Leninism.
The Hoxaites are basically anti-Mao—they hardly accept Mao as the international leader of the proletariat. So if they raise the question of epoch with a view to shrugging off the international significance of Mao Thought, will then the question of interrelation of ideology with epoch go in opposition to dialectical and historical materialism for this ground alone?
We all know, in his Foundation of Leninism, Stalin formulated, "Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution. To be more exact, Leninism is the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution in general, the theory and tactics of the dictatorship of the proletariat in particular." In his philosophical work, On Contradiction, Mao said, " Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution precisely because Lenin and Stalin have correctly explained these contradictions (that is, the contradictions of the era of imperialism— Editorial Board) and correctly formulated the theory and tactics of the proletarian revolution for their resolution."
Even if we accept that Stalin was a "victim of metaphysics", what about Mao? Didn't even Mao realize the motion of development of matter? Was he also a victim of mechanical outlook of constraining ideology within the frame of era? Whom are the protagonists of Maoism really fighting then? Aren't they fighting Mao himself?
Arbitrary use of some Marxian terminology can rarely testify one's intimacy with the classical Marxist-Leninist literature.
Marxism is not merely a science, rather it is the science for social revolution—science for building socialism and communism. Hence it can hardly separate itself from the modes of production and exchange, i.e., economic structure of the society. Every epoch in the history of human society is, in turn, specified by the fundamental contradiction/s emerging out of the specific modes of production and exchange, and the necessity of its / their resolution gives birth to a particular ideology in a particular epoch. As the fundamental contradictions in the whole era of imperialism with its different phases of development remain unchanged (the fluctuation of their intensity is of different question), as Leninism remains in force as the theory and tactics for their scientific resolution, wherein does the material basis for any other ideology than Leninism in the era of imperialism then lie?
In his article, On Practice, Mao mentioned, "In feudal society it was impossible to know the laws of capitalist society in advance because capitalism had not yet emerged, the relevant practice was lacking. Marxism could be the product only of capitalist society. Marx, in the era of laissez-faire capitalism, could not concretely know certain laws peculiar to the era of imperialism beforehand, because imperialism, the last stage of capitalism, had not yet emerged and the relevant practice was lacking; only Lenin and Stalin could undertake this task. Leaving aside their genius, the reason why Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin could work out their theories was mainly that they personally took part in the practice of the class struggle and the scientific experimentation of their time; lacking this condition, no genius could have succeeded." Lenin wholly and completely based himself on the principles of Marxism, carried out the teaching of Marx and Engels, and at the same time continued that teaching. Mao wholly and completely based himself on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, carried out the teaching of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, and at the same time continued that teaching further. Stalin defined Leninism as "Marxiam of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution", and at the same time clearly showed, "Leninism cannot be separated from Marxism; still less can it be counterposed to Marxism". However much the protagonists of Maoism try to project Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as "an integral entity", they virtually separate Mao Tsetung Thought from Leninism, counterpose Maoism to Leninism and replace Leninism with Maoism by maintaining that the contributions of Mao are "of the same magnitude" as those of Marx and Lenin and that the three milestones are "of equal importance" to justify Maoism without its material basis.
Aren't the protagonists of Maoism running of the risk of being branded as Trotskyites / Titoites in accusation of causing division in the proletarian ideology and making fissure in the proletarian unity, in exchange of comparing those with Hoxaites who give Mao Tsetung Thought proper weight and proper place ascertained by the interrelation of ideology with era?
Hope, Com. Mohan Sarkar will think over the matter.
Janamuktikami, 2nd Year 4th Issue October 2001
HAD THERE BEEN NO DIFFERENCE IN ESSENCE,
THEN WHY MAOISM, WHY NOT MAO THOUGHT?
Recently a 'Note of Discussion' under the title of 'Are There Any Differences in Essence Between Mao Tsetung Thought and Maoism’ has come into the market. Without mentioning the name of individual / organisation this Note belongs to the protagonists of Maoism have raised here an eleven-point argument in favour of their new formulation, which is fraught with vehement self-contradiction, factual discrepancy and theoretical confusion.
In an attempt to project Mao Tsetung Thought as an 'ism' in essence (i.e., Maoism) they have produced its evaluation and formulation by the 9th Congress of the Communist Party of China. The Congress pointed out that "Chairman Mao has brought Marxism-Leninism to a higher and completely new stage", and defined Mao Tsetung Thought as "Marxism-Leninism of the era of total collapse of imperialism."
To install Maoism on a material basis they describe the era of total collapse of imperialism as a separate one. Their arguments in this respect are:
(a) How could Leninism emerge if previous contradictions are supposed abolished or regarded outdated for the emergence of an ideology? Although two new contradictions have emerged in the world economy with the emergence of Leninism, the contradiction of the era of Marxism (i.e., the contradiction between labour and capital) has not been abolished or become outdated, ....... imperialism is capitalism in essence......... with the same laws, same basis—the capitalist ownership on the means of production, capitalist relations of production" (point 6). (b) "The concept of era does not as a whole emerge out of one that belongs to a qualitatively separate materialist concept. Rather the concept of different eras is related to the political concept of specifying the particularity of contradiction (that is, phase or stage) under its universality in all eras — the era of capitalism, the era of imperialism, and the era of total collapse of imperialism" (point 10). (c) "Imperialism means revolution wherefrom a socialist system will come into being, and, therefore, no such production system as to create an antagonistic contradiction like one between labour and capital will arise. Therefore, no material basis for the emergence of new contradictions and, as a result, no possibility for the creation of a new ideology is likely to exist in socialism following the termination of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. It means there is no material basis for the development of ideology. ....... Marxism-Leninism is a science—it is bound to develop, develop in different eras, in different situations. As the era of Leninism has developed within the contradiction of the era of Marxism, a new stage must emerge from the contradictions of the era of Marxism-Leninism with the emergence of a new ideology. To restrict its development is of a reactionary policy" (point 7).
They, however, could not stick to this argument for a long time. At the next moment they put forward the doctrine of emergence of Leninism and Maoism as separate strategy and tactics from separate situations within the same era. They argue:
"It is true that Lenin explained the contradictions of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, and to solve them implemented the strategy and tactics of the proletarian revolution, i.e., the strategy and tactics the proletariat adopt to destroy capitalism and build up socialism in a capitalist country, thereby founding the Leninist strategy and tactics..... Similarly, Mao Tsetung creatively dealing with the contradictions of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution in a situation totally different from that of Europe—in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal China which was oppressed and plundered by various imperialist powers—expounded his strategy and tactics. And this strategy and tactics, i.e., the theory of protracted people's war and tactics of encircling the cities with the countryside are not the matters of China alone but a theory acknowledged by the international communist revolutionaries today. As Lenin founded the basis of Leninism by expounding the strategy and tactics of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, why then should we not accept the strategy and tactics similarly expounded by Mao in the same era (emphasis added) as the basis of Maoism '.'"
Interestingly, feeling it no longer safe to stick to this argument, they ultimately put forward the doctrine of emergence of ideology without its material basis. Directly dragging the very Mao into the battlefield they declared:
"Mao shows matter gives birth to consciousness while consciousness which is sprung from the matter also transforms the matter. In some conditions consciousness plays the principal role. The capitalist economy develops (as a matter) in the womb of feudalism. After the capitalist economy has fully developed, then come its politics, philosophy, culture, the legal statute and its institutions as the superstructure. Hero the economics has been established first, then is built up the superstructure. But in socialism this law is hardly relevant. There are little possibilities for the socialist production system to develop in the womb of capitalist economy. But, despite the socialist economy not coming into being as the material basis, the socialist consciousness, its politics, philosophy and culture emerge as the consciousness or superstructure, which, in turn, destroy the foundation of capitalist economy and set up the socialist production system. So a question may be asked to those who say no ideology can emerge without the emergence of its material basis: How could the socialist consciousness and philosophy, politics and culture as the ideology emerge in absence of a socialist production system as its material basis? Recognition of only the one aspect (matter) and not of the other (consciousness) in the contradiction between matter and consciousness is, according to Mao, is the mechanical materialism which inevitably gives birth to metaphysics" (point 8).
In short, the protagonists of Maoism bring forth three self-contradictory doctrines to project Mao Tsetung Thought as Maoism in essence in the Note of Discussion: (l) The doctrine of projecting the era of total collapse of imperialism as a separate era that constitutes the material basis for Maoism; (2) The doctrine of emerging Leninism and Maoism as separate strategies and tactics from separate conditions in the same era; and (3) The doctrine of emerging ideology without its material basis.
Now, let us look into these doctrines separately to grasp the essence.
DOES THE TOTAL COLLAPSE OF IMPERIALISM
USHER IN A SEPARATE ERA?
That it is capitalism which constitutes the economic basis of imperialism should be confronted by nobody. But whether the pre-imperialist capitalism and imperialist capitalism are identical having no qualitative difference is the question. In his book, 'Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism’, Lenin showed "Imperialism emerged as the development and direct continuation of the fundamental characteristics of capitalism in general. But capitalism only becomes capitalist imperialism at a definite and very high stage of its development, when certain of its fundamental characteristics began to change into their opposites, when the features of the epoch of transition from capitalism to a higher social and economic system had taken shape and revealed themselves all along the line." That is, although imperialism is capitalism in essence, it is, in Lenin's words, a "very high stage" of the development of capitalism, "a higher social and economic system". Did this stage emerge through the smooth evolution of capitalism? No. This stage/system emerged, as Stalin showed, not through the smooth evolution of capitalism but by its "spasmodic and cataclysmic" development succeeding the smooth evolution. Practically, if we analyse the history of transformation of capitalism into imperialism, we can see: (1) 1860-70, the highest stage, the apex of development of free competition; monopoly is in the barely discernible, embryonic stage. (2) After the crisis of 1873, a lengthy period of development of cartels; but they are still the exception, and not yet durable. (3) The boom at the end of the nineteenth century and the crisis of 1900-03; cartels become one of the foundations of the whole of economic life. Capitalism has been transformed into imperialism.
Lenin mentioned five basic features of imperialism that differentiated it from capitalism: (1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this "finance capital", of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist combines which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.
Despite the existence of the contradiction between labour and capital, the fundamental contradiction of the era of capitalism, even in the era of imperialism, it is the emergence of two new contradictions that characterizes the imperialist era : the contradiction among the various financial groups and imperialist powers in their struggle for sources of raw materials, for foreign territory; and the contradiction between the handful of ruling, 'civilized' nations and the hundreds of millions of the colonial and dependent peoples of the world. By concluding "imperialism means war" and 'imperialism is the eve of the socialist revolution" Lenin marked War and Revolution emerging out of the combination of the latter two contradictions with the former one as the specific features of the era of imperialism. So to speak, Leninist strategy and tactics have arisen with the necessity of scientific solution of the fundamental contradictions of the era of imperialism. It is the material basis for the transition of Marxism to Leninism.
Imperialism is the highest or last stage of capitalism, capitalism has no third stage. The era of total collapse of imperialism is just a phase of the era of imperialism, and not a separate era. Neither any fundamental contradictions of the capitalist or imperialist era get abolished nor a new contradiction emerges in this phase nor do exist any particularities of the contradictions except some variations in their intensity.
As a result, the material basis for no other ideology except Leninism and no other strategy-tactics except Leninist ones manage to exist.
The protagonists of Maoism allege in the point II of their Note:
"Those who think no new ideology can arise without the rise of a new contradiction or the abolition/rejection of an old one is essential for the rise of a new ideology are not ready to accept Mao Tsetung Thought as an ideology or a science. In this way they deny Com. Mao's historic contributions to the arsenal of Marxism-Leninism, thereby downgrading Mao."
Is it so? Then let them fight Mao himself as well as the Mao-led Communist Party of China, we have got no objection. The Tenth Congress of the Mao-led CPC firmly declared: "Since Lenin's death, the world situation has undergone great changes. But the era has not changed. The fundamental principles of Leninism are not outdated; they remain the theoretical basis guiding our thinking today." The Tenth Congress further asserted, "Chairman Mao has often taught us, 'We are still in the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution'." What is the reason behind the era having not changed despite great changes in the world situation? The only reason is that the fundamental contradictions of the era of imperialism have not qualitatively changed, i.e., neither an old contradiction has got abolished nor a new one emerged. Obviously, while the Ninth Congress of the Mao-led CPC highlighted the specific features of the post-World War II world situation and the international significance of Mao Tsetung Thought, the Tenth Congress has dealt with the question of interrelations between the fundamental contradictions and era and between the era and ideology, i.e., strategy-tactics.
Since Lenin's death, especially since the World War II, the 'great changes' the world situation has undergone—which are marked by the era of total collapse of imperialism with imperialist economy plunged into a permanent, uninterrupted and recurring crisis—constitute the material basis for Mao Tsetung Thought as the higher (quantitative) development of Leninism, i.e. Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.
Whether Mao Tsetung developed the three component parts of Marxism— philosophy, political economy and class struggle, whether this development is on the same level, of the same magnitude as that of Leninism or whether there are any possibilities for creation of a new ideology as there would be no objective basis for the emergence of any antagonistic contradictions in future society are the questions which are quite irrelevant. It is groundless to conclude that not to accept Maoism means not to acknowledge Mao Tsetung Thought as a science, and to ignore Mao's contributions to the arsenal of Marxism-Leninism and downgrade Mao. As Leninism can not be counterposed to Marxism, so also not be Mao Tsetung Thought to Leninism. Wherefrom have they drawn the conclusion that the quantitative development of an ideology can not be acknowledged as a science in case no new ideology arises in absence of the material basis for its qualitative development ? Lenin repeatedly mentioned the great contributions of Engels to Marxism, but never called Engelsism. The Nineteenth Congress of the CPSU declared, "Comrade Stalin has raised the fundamental tenets of the Marxian theory to a new and higher level," but did not call Stalinism. Mao said, "Comrade Stalin made an extensive and epoch-making development in the Marxist-Leninist theories. He raised Marxism to a new stage, Stalin was the representative of our new epoch." Yet Mao did not call Stalinism. Could it, therefore, be concluded that Engels and Stalin were "downgraded"? Is it, therefore, hollow phrase-mongering to mention their contributions? Certainly not. Despite great contributions of Engels and Stalin, Engelsism and Stalinism have no material bases. Likewise there is no material basis for Maoism, although Comrade Mao brought Marxism Leninism to a "new and higher stage".
CAN DIFFERENT IDEOLOGIES EMERGE FROM DIFFERENT SITUATIONS
IN THE SAME ERA?
We know, the New Democratic Revolution in
The protagonists of Maoism are trying to project the theory of protracted people's war and tactics of encircling the cities with the countryside as the basis of Maoism. Had it been so, wherein does the universality of Maoism lie? The application of 'Maoism', as described by them, just remains restricted to the conditions of only some semi-colonial countries dependent on agriculture, like the pre-revolution China, of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Do they, therefore, 'prescribe' Leninism for the countries of
CAN IDEOLOGY EMERGE WITHOUT ITS METERIAL BASIS?
The capitalist economy develops in the womb of feudalism. The bourgeois revolution generally comes to an end just with seizure of power, as the task of bourgeois revolution is to install a group of exploiters in place of another group. But the case of socialism totally differs. The question of emergence of socialist economy in the womb of capitalism does not arise at all. Here the seizure of power is just the beginning of revolution. Over-throwing all groups of exploiters, the proletarian revolution installs the working class, leader of the exploited and toiling people, in power. It is impossible for the working class to build the socialist economy without smashing the old state machinery, without establishing a new one in its place.
Socialist production system does not exist in a capitalist society. But does it mean that the material basis for socialist consciousness and socialist ideology can not exist there? Had it been so, not only Maoism but Leninism and even Marxism could not arise prior to the establishment of the socialist economy. Wherein does then the significance of Lenin's definition of imperialism as "the capitalism in transition to socialism" lie? Even an ordinary student of Marxism knows, the process of production assumes a social character, acquires a 'socialist hue' in capitalism. The private character of appropriation contradicts the social character of production, and collective labour must inevitably lead to collective property. In short, it is the inherent contradiction between the social character of production and private character of ownership that constitutes the material basis for socialist consciousness, and just the necessity of resolving this contradiction through acquiring the social character of ownership gives birth to the ideology of proletarian revolution.
In his philosophical article, On Contradiction, Mao said, "Some people think that.... in the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production, the productive forces are the principal aspect; in the contradiction between theory and practice, practice is the principal aspect; in the contradiction between the economic base and the superstructure, the economic base is the principal aspect; and there is no change in their respective positions. This is the mechanical materialist conception, not the dialectical materialist conception. True, the productive forces, practice and the economic base generally play the principal and decisive role; whoever denies this is not a materialist. But it must also be admitted that in certain conditions, such aspects as the relations of production, theory and the superstructure in turn manifest themselves in the principal and decisive role. When it is impossible for the productive forces to develop without a change in the relations of production, then the change in the relations of production plays the principal and decisive role.......When the superstructure (politics, culture, etc.) obstructs the development of the economic base, political and cultural changes become the principal and decisive."
Obviously, the protagonists of Maoism misuse Mao's philosophical proposition in the dialectical relation between thinking and being to confuse the idealistic concept of ideology without its material basis, that is, thinking without being, to dialectical materialism, and thereby turn the very Mao into an idealist. Which one does it manifest—their profound love for Mao or their ugly design to exhibit loyalty to Mao in their urge to dilute his teachings?
In fact, they are hawking the empirio-criticist theory of emergence of the era of Leninism 'within the contradiction of the era of Marxism', i.e., the development of one ideology from another with an ill-effort to sever the tie between ideology and the economic base of the society.
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Each of the five international leaders of the proletariat managed to make historic contributions—both in theory and practice—to the foundation and development of the ideology of building up a classless and exploitation-free society in his respective time. Mao founded the theories of protracted people's war and new democratic revolution by creatively applying the Leninist strategy and tactics in the Chinese revolution. Mao played an outstanding role in the development of Marxian philosophy and the style of work of the proletarian revolution. The Great Debate directed against the Khrushchevite revisionism and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution with the theory of continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat are the great contributions of Com. Mao to the arsenal of Marxism-Leninism.
Not to accept Mao Tsetung Thought with Marxism-Leninism in the proletarian revolution in the post-World War II world situation is identical to virtually abandoning Marxism-Leninism to embrace right opportunism and revisionism, thereby rejecting revolution. Just with holding high the banner of Mao Tsetung Thought and drawing clear demarcation with revisionism was born Naxalbari in our country. Whatever merits the Indian revolution has so far achieved have bee.n achieved with holding high the banner of Mao Tsetung Thought alone. Those who have capitulated to the ruling class and taken the path of electioneering denounced the international significance of Mao Thought much earlier despite paying leap service to it.
Had there been no difference in essence between Mao Thought and Maoism, why this hasty change—why taking up Maoism, why giving up Mao Thought? Had it been scientific to say Maoism in place of Mao Tsetung Thought in order to draw a demarcation with revisionism, why there are so much differences in questions of the present era, principal and secondary contradictions, style of work, and over and above these, strategy and tactics among those parties and organisations themselves in the national and international arena who have taken up Maoism? With such basic differences in outlook within their own circle can they differentiate themselves from the revisionists only by exhibiting loyalty to 'Maoism' and showing differences between the 'Stalinists' and 'Maoists' in communism? As a matter of fact, they are virtually practising right opportunism under the cover of 'left' phrase-mongering of Maoism, splitting the revolutionary struggles and organisations by initiating a new 'Great Debate' in the name of the creativity of Marxism in the 21st century, and strengthening the hand of Trotskyites, Titoites, Khrushchevites and Dengites by upsetting the basic propositions of the Great Debateled by Mao himself. It is just, in addition to state repression, the latest method adopted by imperialism to destroy the revolutionary people's war going on in different countries.
The hard and tortuous path of revolutionary class struggle and ideological struggle, as taken by Mao, is no longer necessary for installing the revolutionary leadership! Only the loyalty to 'Maoism' is sought to establish the leadership and authority of the 'leader', to develop the 'Guiding Thought' of the Party after the leader's name, to earn something more ......
But what have the people got to do?
The people must continue their struggle,
As they have their backs on the wall.
For them are awake at night the five starts—
Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao;
And the dreams of the thousands of millions of martyrs to accompany.
Editorial Board Janamuktikami
Janamuktikami. 2nd Year 5th Issue November 2001
INSEPARABLE IS THE RELATION BETWEEN ERA AND IDEOLOGY
We are in deep concern to notice a dark shadow gradually engulfing the communist movement in our country and the world. Let us speak it frankly. We know, the guiding ideology of the struggle for emancipation of the proletariat in the present time is Marxism-Leninism-Mao Thought. But recently some intellectuals and communist revolutionary groups in the national as well as international sphere are seen to adopt Maoism in place of Mao Tsetung Thought. And to show the reason behind such change, i.e., conversion of Mao Thought into Maoism, they are giving prime importance to the personal contributions of a genius. They are expounding 'the genesis of ideology'on the basis of man's personal activities. We think, it is totally unscientific; it may render a catastrophe in the communist movement of both national and international spheres and lead the revolutionary movements and organisations to the blind alley of right opportunism under a 'leftist' garb. Under the circumstances, we think we should firmly stand by what we believe. In this context, we reprint some articles from the classical Marxian literature in order to show that without the economic conditions, that is, the modes of production and exchange of a society no ideology can emerge; that the root of a scientific ideology lies planted at the deep of the society; so to speak, ideology is related to the contemporary epoch.
In his article, The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism, Lenin showed in what social production system, in what stage of social-political-philosophical development the ideology of scientific communism was founded by Marx and Engels. In this historic article Lenin explained why the genesis of the ideology of scientific communism was not possible prior to the beginning of the era of capitalism although a number of great men had been born before Marx and Engels. He showed, if the capitalist society did not evolve, if the English political economy and German philosophy did not develop and without the French Revolution having taken place, Marxism could not emerge despite the birth of Marx and Engels. What he means is that ideology can not emerge if its material basis does not exist or no genius can give birth to an ideology independently without its material basis.
It is the social being that gives birth to social thinking. Abandoning this originality of materialism, the protagonists of Maoism are now trying to bring forth an imaginary social being by thinking, although they can not say what that social being is. Instead of becoming the successors of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, they have adopted the discipleship of idealist philosopher Sankaracharya, and are indirectly preaching his philosophy of 'Brahma (the "Supreme Being") is true while false is the material world.'
In the preface to his Contribution to the Critique to Political Economy, Marx wrote, "In the social production of their life men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production, which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness." So, consciousness, ideology and whatever it might be called must have a material basis. Those who are now propagating Maoism can not, however, show any fundamental changes in the era. The contradictions in the era of imperialism and the modes of production and exchange which gave birth to Leninism have undergone no qualitative change, yet they have brought forth a new 'ism'!
Those who are hawking 'Maoism' today are virtually fighting the five international leaders of the proletariat and their thoughts, philosophy, ideology and teachings. No sooner had they declared Maoism than they stood in opposition to Mao himself. The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Com. Mao ascertained Marxism-Leninism-Mao Thought as the guiding ideology of the proletariat in the present era. It is not the case that they are propagating Maoism as because they are too much fond of Mao. They have, in fact, imposed, and some of them are still trying to impose, their own 'Thoughts' abandoning Mao Tsetung Thought.
We are afraid the ill-efforts for creating ideology totally on the basis of an idealistic outlook leaving aside the teachings of the five great teachers will cause severe damage to the communist revolution in
Janamuktikami, 2nd year 2nd Issue August 2001