Taimur Rahman Political Archive

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Archive for August 20th, 2006

About ML and MLM

Posted by Taimur Rahman on August 20, 2006

Dear comrade,

Thank you for your response. Nothing would make me happier than to
discover my mistakes. You wrote:

About Poland
————

You wrote: “the RIM did not think that it was ok to ally itself with
one imperialism againt one other. Saying that the RIM supported
Solidarnosc is merely a lie. What they would do today in the same
case is another point 🙂

My response: As history has shown, the Soviet Union was not a
capitalist country (and certainly not an imperialist country). It
was a socialist society, ruled after Stalin by modern revisionists
but nonetheless not a capitalist or imperialist society (the latter
cannot exist without the existence of private property and finance
capital unless one wants to make a complete mockery out of Marxian
political economy). Therefore, neutrality in the conflict between
the USA and USSR is an equally opportunist position.

If one cannot be ‘neutral’ in the conflict between bourgeois
democrats and bourgoeis fascists or between a bourgeois national
government and an invading imperial army, as the actions of Stalin
and Mao in the Second World War respectively testify, than one
cannot be neutral in the struggle between the infinitely more
progressive USSR in relation to US imperialism.

About Solidarity
—————-

I provided the quotation. You read it. Here is my evidence again:

“In the capitalist and imperialist countries of the Eastern bloc
important cracks and fissures in the relative stability of the rule
by the state-capitalist bourgeoisie are more and more apparent. In
Poland the proletariat and other sections of the masses have risen
in struggle and delivered powerful blows to the established order.
In these countries, also, possibilities for proletarian revolution
are developing and will be heightened by the development and
intensification of world contradictions.”
http://www.csrp.org/rim/rimdec.htm

Anyone in the least familiar with recent polish history knows that
the force delivering “powerful blows to the established order” in
the early 1980s was none other than Solidarity (keep in mind that
the RIM document was written in March 1984).

You wrote: “What they would do today in the same case is another
point :)”
My response: I have no idea what you mean by that statement. Please
explain.

“New Democratic Revolution”
—————————

You wrote “you made a huge error in putting imperialist Russia (that
had feudal elements) and oppressed Cuba. It is a fact that Stalin
put forward the new democratic revolution…”

My response: Obviously then you have misunderstood entirely my
critique of RIM’s views. I am not saying that third world countries
are not standing at the stage of a New Democratic Revolution or a
People’s Democratic Revolution. What I am saying is that “preached
a line of combining revolutionary stages into one single “socialist”
revolution” is not an anti-Leninist position—Lenin, Stalin and Mao
all upheld that degree of separation of the stages depends on the
subjective and objective conditions of every society and more
specifically on the level of development of the class consciousness
of the proletariat. RIM errs when it claims that “preaching” a
program of “socialist revolution” is tantamount to appealing to
workers on the “narrowest of bases”.

What stage was the historical evolution European society during the
time of Karl Marx? With the exception of a few countries (France,
Britain, Holland) most European countries were either approaching or
undergoing the bourgeois-democratic stage of the revolution. Marx
and Engels fully understood that there was only an extremely remote
possibility of a socialist revolution in their own lifetimes. Did
that stop them from developing or “preaching” the socialist
program? Did they for a moment think that the development of a
Communist League should be abandoned because it would be tantamount
to appealing to the workers on the “narrowest bases”?

We thus learn from the great historical example of Karl Marx that
even when the stage of the struggle is purely bourgeois-democratic
communists must work to create an independent workers party whose
objective is a socialist revolution. If the Cubans “preached a line
of combining revolutionary stages into one single “socialist”
revolution” they did nothing that runs against the grain of
Marxism.

Hoxhaism
———

You wrote: “Maoist criticize Hoxha as trotskyist for example for
saying that all countries in the world are capitalist (like the
trotskyists), i.e. for rejecting the thesis of bureaucratic
capitalism : for maoists oppressed countries are semi-colonial semi-
feudal.”

Hoxhaists are Trotskyists because they reject the thesis of
bureaucratic capitalism? I’m completely stumped. Is the rejection
of the “thesis of bureaucratic capitalism” defining features of
Trotskyism? The defining features of Trotskyism are:

1) The rejection of the thesis of the possibility of socialism
in one country
2) The thesis on bureaucratic deformations and the rise
of “Stalinism”
3) The thesis of Permanent Revolution

If a party does not uphold these views it is not a Trotskyite
party. Is that so hard to grasp?

Soviet Social Imperialism
————————-

You wrote: “people upholding Mao or Hoxha both consider the Soviet
Union as “social-imperialist”.”

My response: What matters is not who holds these views but whether
they can be corroborated by facts. If a thesis cannot be proven by
facts, we would reject it even if it was held by Karl Marx. The
thesis about “Soviet Social Imperialism” opened the door within the
anti-revisionist movement to opportunist and revisionist tendencies
of all shapes and stripes.

Cuba
—-

You wrote: “the thesis of Bhagat Singh is quite strange on this
level if we compare to the ones of the international communist
movement. Defending stalin and cuba, as cuba never upholded Stalin
in any way, is onlye defended by some rare groups : the DHKP/C of
Turkey or some french marxists-leninists that recently left the CP.”

My response: Yes but unlike the Maoists and Hoxhaists, we do not
subscribe to the view that a communist leader has to be correct on
every single question every single time in order for us to consider
him/her a Marxist-Leninist. Lenin’s attitude towards Rosa Luxemberg
is very instructive on this issue. Lenin wrote about Rosa:

“We shall reply to this by quoting two lines from a Russian
fable, `Eagles may at times fly lower than hens but hens can never
rise to the height of eagles’. Rosa Luxemburg was mistaken on the
question of the independence of Poland; she was mistaken in 1903 in
her appraisal of Menshevism; she was mistaken on the theory of
accumulation of capital; she was mistaken in July 1914, when,
together with Plekhanov, Vandervelde, Kautsky and others she
advocated unity between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks; she was
mistaken in what she wrote in prison in 1918 (She corrected most of
these mistakes at the end of 1918 and the beginning of 1919 when she
was released). But inspite of her mistakes she was and remains for
us an eagle. And not only will Communists all over the world cherish
her memory, but her biography and her complete works will serve as
useful manuals for training many generations of communists all over
the world. `Since August 4, 1914, German social-democracy has become
a stinking corpse’ — this statement will make Rosa Luxemburg’s name
famous in the history of the international working class movement.
And, of course, in the backyard of the working class movement, among
the dungheaps, hens like Paul Levi, Scheidemann, Kautsky and all
their fraternity will cackle over the mistakes committed by the
great Communist”. (Lenin, Notes of a Publicist, Vol. 33).

Lenin upheld that Rosa was an “Eagle” (that is a great Marxist
leader) because despite her mistakes her overall contributions were
great and perhaps most importantly because she fought and gave her
life against the most important question of her time: The World
War. On this crucial question Rosa and Karl Liebnecht struggled
against the opportunism of the second international that supported
imperialism under the slogan of “defence of the fatherland”.

Similarly, we uphold that Fidel Castro is a great Marxist-Leninist
because despite his mistaken position on Stalin and Gorbachev he
defended and even advanced socialism in Cuba and Latin America at a
time when the entire socialist block disintegrated from the
corrosive influence of revisionism. Despite all the difficulties
around him, he successfully steered Cuba against the longest
standing embargo in history by the largest military and economic
power in history in a period of complete international isolation.
He fulfilled the promise he made in 1962 that he would remain a
Marxist-Leninist until the day he died. Is that not true? Despite
the enormous historical defeat of socialism is he not defending the
essential ideas of socialism till his very last breath?

More importantly since our evaluation pertaining to the economic and
political foundations of a society (i.e. whether it is capitalist or
socialist) is not `exclusively’ tied to the political position of
its leadership (as is the case with Maoism and Hoxhaism) but is
rather based on an objective assessment of the economic & political
structures of that society, we uphold that a society may be
socialist even while we disagree, even sharply, with its political
leadership.

Both Maoism and Hoxhaism uphold that when the “leadership” of a
socialist state falls into the hands of revisionists the socialist
state becomes a capitalist state. That was the basis upon which it
was asserted that the Soviet Union was capitalist after the death of
Stalin. Similarly, it was the basis upon which it was asserted that
China was capitalist after the death of Mao (or the defeat of the so-
called Gang of Four and Lin Piao). I wouldn’t be surprised if after
Hoxha came to the conclusion that Mao was a revisionist he
pronounced China a capitalist country.

The bases upon which these pronouncements are being made are not
merely common to Hoxhaism and Maoism but also belong exclusively to
them.

I hope that clarifies our position further. Look forward to hearing
from you on these questions.

In solidarity
Taimur Rahman

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Posted in International Communist Movement | Comments Off on About ML and MLM

Contributions of Mao Tsetung

Posted by Taimur Rahman on August 20, 2006

Comrade Mansoor, with all due respect I think you have completely misunderstood the question under discussion. Let me begin by telling you what the debate is NOT about.

1) The debate is not about whether the contributions of Mao Tsetung to Marxism-Leninism were quantitative or qualititive. Niether is the debate about the philosophical, political, or economic contributions of Mao TseTung. They are of world historic proportions whether
parties attach his name or not.

2) The debate is not about the differentiation between “Maoism” and “Mao Tsetung Thought”. Although these are distinct tendencies, but this distinction is largely irrelevant given what we are discussing.

3) The debate is certainly not about denominations within Marxism. Marxism is a science not a religion.

4) The debate is not about whether or not to support the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). We unconditionally support the CPN(m) against the Monarchy.

The debate is about the political position with respect to the international communist movement of the organizations that claim to uphold the legacy of Mao.

Clear I hope.

You wrote “I profoundly disagreed with Mao’s negative stance on the creation of Bangladesh and did not hesitate to criticise the CPC in 1971 in open publications.”

My response: The impression in Pakistan was that China did not support the independence of Bangladesh. Can you please provide evidence. This is extremely interesting. This information will bring a completely new twist to debates within Pakistan.

I support the right of self-determination of the people of Bangladesh. What the people of Bengal wanted was crystal clear from the election results of 1970. If the CPC supported the right of the people of Bengal to create their own state, the only thing they are
guilty of doing is following Lenin’s views on the national question.

You wrote “While I agreed with the characterisation of the USSR as social-imperialist, I did not agreee that it was to be treated as more dangerous than the USA, and thus disagreed with several harmful but unnecessary manifestations of that characterisation.”

My response: If the USSR was indeed an imperialist state, support for the nationalist movements in Eastern Europe, Central Asia follow as a logical necessity. In other words, critical support for Solidarity of Poland, Sajudis of Lithuania, the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, Prague Springs in Czechoslovakia, and so on in relation to the USSR. Naturally if the USSR was an imperial power it follows quite logically that these were the equivalent of bourgeois national
liberation movements.

Strange then that the living conditions of people were so much better under the ‘imperial’ influence of the Soviet Union than in the period of ‘liberty’. Ironic no?

Strange that in this Soviet ‘imperalism’ the colonies (i.e. Eastern Europe) actually enjoyed a better standard of living than the people of the imperial country (i.e. Russia). Ironic no?

Strange that the colonies like Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea, Egypt and so many others were subsidized by the imperial power. That surplus moved from the imperial capital to the periphery. Ironic no?

‘Liberty’ from Soviet imperialism was wonderful because it finally gave real and meaningful ‘liberty’ to the people of the Soviet Union, that is the ‘liberty’ to sell their labour-power to the highest bidder (i.e. Western Capitalism). How strange that ‘liberty’ condemned millions of poverty, prostitution, and the whims of the mafia. Ironic no?

How strange that this ‘capitalist’ ‘imperalist’ power experienced an event in 1991 which was pronounced the world over as the “death of socialism”. But according to the analysis of ‘soviet social imperialsm’ the bourgeoisie was already in power. Apparently millions of people were making a fuss about nothing. Ironic no?

It is time to bury the hatchet Comrade Mansoor. The entire ‘soviet-imperialism’ analysis is about as worthy as a soiled diaper.

In solidarity
Taimur Rahman

P.S. Dear comrade Mansoor, none of my remarks should be interpreted as attacks against you personally. I’m poking fun at the theory of soviet social imperialism and not at you as an individual. I respect you as a comrade.

Posted in International Communist Movement | Comments Off on Contributions of Mao Tsetung