On the 23~24 September, the ILPS, PRISMM and NDFP organized an event to commemorate the October Revolution in Amsterdam. On behalf of Redspark Redaction, Christophe Kistler made an intervention on the question of the October Revolution’s continuing validity.
I. What does the October Revolution, and the other experiences of revolution in the world teach us?
We have 3 experiences of what Samir Amin called “world historical revolutions”, which are the: Paris Commune; October Revolution; Chinese Revolution. To those, we can add the experiences of the great peoples’ wars of India, the Philippines, Turkey, Peru and Nepal. These experiences are not just stories in history, but a critical history that we can share with our comrades. They have and continue to influence the lives of billions of people around the world.
While some people talk about the need for a “Socialism of the 21st Century”, or even of a “Socialism 2.0”, which would make a break from these experiences, we, as marxist-leninist-maoists, believe in the opposite – that we have to make a new return (J. Moufawad-Paul) to the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao to pave the way to revolutions around the world, especially here in the belly of the imperialist beast.
Thus, the question of what is particular in all these experiences, and what is universal needs to be answered. An insigntful study of these revolutions shows us that the 2 following aspects can be found in all succesful revolutions:
A protracted character. The Revolution isn’t an event that happens one day (or, as french anarchists say, “a great evening”), when masses decide spontaneously to rise up. The Revolution is a process that lasts a long time – sometimes years, sometimes decades. In Russia, Lenin analyzed that the October Revolution was a continuation of the failed 1905 insurrection, which was itself the continuation of the workers movement at the end of the 19th century in Russia. Thus, until the final insurrection, the Revolution developed over several decades. In the same way, today the Revolutions of India and the Philippines are also advancing and growing through decades of struggles.
The bourgeoisie won’t give up. As the revolution advances, the bourgeoisie will feel increasingly threatened and as a consequence will increase its repression of the Revolution. The illusion of a peaceful transition to socialism is a dangerous idea that cost millions of comrades’ lives in Indonesia and Chile. Modern revisionists continue to maintain these illusions, opportunistically running for elections, which they shamefully misrepresent as the “massline”.
II. What is the form of the Party?
All experiences shows us that the Revolution requires a vanguard cadre Party, build concentrically and militarized, working both underground and above ground through its mass organization, with democratic centralism and a discipline of steel.
This statement needs further explanation. What do these techinical words look like in practice?
A vanguard cadre Party, or as Lenin called it : “the enlighted vanguard of the proletariat”, means that the Party is not a Party that the first comer can join. It is a party that is composed of the working classes’ best elements, who have a role in the worker movement’s direction.
A Party build concentrically, means that the Party is building itself through what Mao Zedong called the “Three magical instruments of the Revolution”, namely: the Party, the Army and the Front. This point is related with the previous one: the potential recruit is first organized into the Front (or the Army), where they receive appropriate training and have the opportunity to develops their practice, and, in case they doesn’t come from the proletariat, remodel themselves to internalize a proletarian class standpoint through commiting class suicide (Huey P. Newton).
A militarized Party. The Party is oriented toward the overthrow of society, and therefore revolutionary violence, and so requires that it members work and function in the manner of the military – that they all be well-trained for illegal actions and ready to sacrifice for the cause of the People.
An underground Party and an above ground Front. This means that the Party should not work openly, or even worse: publicly reveal its membership (with the exception of some selected speakers) or it internal architecture. The Front should work and recruit largly among the masses, but not reveal it structural relationship with the Party.
Democratic Centralism. The concept of democratic centralism opposes both the ultra-democracy that anarchists pretend to follow, which actually leads to the collapse of organizations, but also opposes ultra-centralism such as authoritarian organizations which lead to making subjective decisions detached from the concerns and needs of the people. This does not means that the Party must silence contradictions – rather the opposite – the Party has to encourage criticism within. Mao Zedong described it as “Criticism inside, Unity outside”.
Discipline of steel. The decisions of the Party must be applied by and to all its members. This is not only a guarantee of democracy inside of Party, but also a way to strengthen its unity.
III. The People’s War today is the path to the Revolution
With the development of marxist theory, we can today say that the path to Revolution is protracted people’s war. Here, we also need to explain this concept, which is often used by different comrades to represent different things.
People’s war is a universal strategy, meaning it is applicable everywhere, with specific characteristics in each different country. When we speak of this theory, it’s not only based on the Chinese experience, but also on the writings of theoreticians such as Gramsci and Mariategui, who lived in countries with totally different material conditions than pre-revolutionary semi-colonial/semi-feudal China. Thus, People’s War is not a strategy only adapted for China.
People’s War is a strategy that aims to raise the level of consciousness of the masses, and at the same time deepen their understanding of the necessity of revolutionary violence. This translates into forming underground organizations carrying out semi-legal or illegal work, at every level of the society: in factories, in working class neighborhoods, in women’s struggles, etc…
Does this mean that comrades advocating for People’s War in imperialist countries are calling to immediately take up arms and start shooting the bourgeoisie and cops on sight? Of course not. It means that as the revolution advances, repression becomes stronger and the structure of the Party and it work must be oriented toward taking into account that the Party will, sooner or later, be made illegal and face the strongest repression (as we’ve seen in Indonesia, Chile, or closer to us: Italy, Spain,…). This is an inevitable step toward the revolution.
The October Revolution drew a roadmap to the Revolution, thanks to the genius of Lenin and Stalin, based on the teachings of Marx, Engels and the Paris Commune. Today, 100 years later, several other revolutions have shaken the world, some are still ungoing, and the synthesis of all those experiences formed an ideology known today as marxism-leninism-maoism (or MLM). Studying the October Revolution means studying MLM.
Thanks to these experiences, we have today a theory that is applicable universally and that can lead us to the Revolution. It is up to us to apply it correctly today taking into account the particularity of our local material conditions.
LONG LIVE MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM!
THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION PAVED THE PATH TO THE PEOPLE’S WAR!
LONG LIVE PEOPLE’S WAR IN INDIA, PHILIPPINES AND IN TURKEY!
PEOPLE’S WAR UNTIL COMMUNISM!