Revolution in South Asia

An Internationalist Info Project

Sri Lankan Maoists’ Thousand Flowers: Open Letter to Communist Forces

Posted by Rosa Harris on February 23, 2008

ranweli-75.jpgKasama has received a new theoretical journal “Thousand Flowers” created by Maoist forces in Sri Lanka We plan to publish a few articles from it here online, and work with others to make the whole issue available. (Thanks to Maoist Revolution list.) Read over the table of contents and share with us which essays you think are most important to post and discuss.

Open Letter To Genuine Communist Revolutionary Forces.

By Comrade Surendra, Chairman, Ceylon Communist Party-Maoist

We have all experienced the disintegration of the proletarian revolutionary movement in our country. This is a tragic development given the historic challenges and opportunities facing the international proletariat and the oppressed people of the world. While many have abandoned revolution and sought secure pastures, others have stayed on the high road of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Socialism and Communism, upholding the crimson path of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. Some of us, along with the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM), have adopted Maoism as the highest stage in the development of Marxism-Leninism, while upholding the path of the new democratic revolution and protracted people’s war. Some have formed rival parties claiming the legacy of the CCP-M and of Comrade Shan. Some have formed small groups to sustain their own class limitations and personal needs. However, all these trends remain divorced from scientific revolutionary practice, from the masses, and from concrete reality. Their activity has no link to advancing the revolutionary class struggle towards the goal of Communism. It can be said with confidence that only a very few of us are working actively and seriously to turn the crisis of our movement into a forward leap and advance by building a Maoist Communist Party of a new type as the principal task. At the heart of turning this crisis around is the task of rebuilding the Ceylon Communist Party- Maoist, on solid scientific foundations. The CCP-M built by Comrade Shan is our common historical legacy. We all owe our revolutionary origins and traditions to the CCP-M. It enshrines the legacy of uncompromising struggle of the proletarian revolutionary forces against Imperialism, Trotskyism, Modern Revisionism, Chauvinism, Opportunism and Reaction, based on defending and advancing the science of Marxism-Leninism- Maoism. The CCP-M, above all else, has protected the red the banner of the world revolution and the path of Communism concentrated in the science of Marxism-Leninism- Maoism, internationally and in the Land of Lanka.

At the same time, it is admitted that the CCP-M has disintegrated internally, over a protracted period of time. It has disintegrated principally due to the inability to forge a correct revolutionary line, leadership and organization in accordance with the concrete conditions of the Lankan revolution. It has disintegrated due to the failure to build a professional Leninist revolutionary party with the central aim of organizing the revolutionary armed struggle of the masses towards accomplishing the central task of the seizure and exercise of people’s democratic state power through the path of protracted people’s war. Although the objective conditions have long been ripening for such a breakthrough in the class struggle, the subjective forces- particularly the collective leadership of the party- have been lagging behind. The collective leadership of the CCP-M have had serious class limitations in approaching the problems of the Lankan revolution. Many opportunities have been lost. Many serious political and organizational deviations have been made. The lack of a correct revolutionary line, collective leadership and organization has been, and continues to be, the principal reason for the internal disintegration of the CCP-M. As a consequence, the CCP-M had got infested with non-proletarian, bourgeois and petit-bourgeois tendencies and remained trapped in the mire of opportunism and revisionism. Organisational lethargy had fed into the gloom of political slavery, until it simply disintegrated with the accumulated rot. All that remains today is the conscious will and determination of a core of genuine Maoist revolutionary forces dedicated to rebuilding the CCP-M on new scientific foundations.

However, the CCP-M, throughout this period, has exerted efforts to live up to its internationalist responsibilities as a founding member of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, while carrying out sharp, sometimes bitter, two-line struggle inside the party to forge the correct revolutionary line, leadership and organization. The CCP-M lives in the untiring efforts of the few Maoist revolutionary forces who are determined to rebuild it against all odds. The roots of the CCP-M lie deep in the soil of our class. The legacy of Comrade Shan, of the CCP-M and of Marxism-Leninism- Maoism are the same. To claim one, you have to claim the others. All else is sheer deception. Let us rise to the occasion. Let us unite to rebuild the CCP-M. Let us engage in open and frank summation and discussion and bring our rich experience together, even while we sharpen the blades of criticism and self-criticism in order to slice away the revisionist rot that has accumulated through the past. Comrades, the need of the hour is to forge our principled unity to rebuild the Ceylon Communist Party-Maoist as the vanguard detachment of the International Proletariat, so we may rise to our tasks and responsibilities in these the most momentous times faced by the people.




7 Responses to “Sri Lankan Maoists’ Thousand Flowers: Open Letter to Communist Forces”

  1. ramachandra said

    Ooooops this is the first time i heard about a ceylon communist party-maoist,all though I’m a sri lankan citizen.Actually the prolem of maoism as far as we concern is their favour in class collabaration(the theory about the alliance of four classes).No idea how u people insert the theory in to the specific situation in sri lanka

  2. n3wday said

    Perhaps you could expand upon your point for those not familiar with the class dynamics of Sri Lanka.

  3. TellNoLies said

    I don’t know how relevant this is, but Sri Lanka had (has?) one of the strongest Trotskyist movements in the Third World. The objection to Maoism expressed here seems consistent with a Trotskyist stance. I want to make clear that I say this not to dismiss the objection, only to possibly illuminate it. Trotskyist or otherwise, we should welcome critical analyses and I’d personally like to see a somewhat more in-depth elaboration of Ramachandra’s views.

  4. Nando said

    yes. this is true. And the maoist party quoted here is rather small. It is one of the splinters that emerged from the previous party (that also adopted this same name).

    Trotskyism’s common critique of Maoism is that the breadth of united front envisioned for New Democracy would inevitably lead to capitalism not socialism (in part because sections of small domestic business owners are sometimes considered potential allies in the anti-feudal and anti-imperialist stage.)

  5. Jose M (JJM+) said

    Nando, its a good thing that you brought this up. I have argued a lot, particularly on Revleft, that what the CCP did in China during the resistance to Japan was not ‘class collaboration’ in a capitalulationist sense, but necessary in order to smash imperialism and hence continue the internal class struggle.

    The other thing about the Trotskyist’s arguments against Maoism is that there were no workers in the party and that the workers were not leading the revolution, that the peasantry was. I have my replies to this (because i think they are wrong), but, what do you think on this Nando, or TNL?

  6. Nando said

    the view of workerists (economists and anarchosyndicalists etc.) is that this world is defined by a war of “class against class” — between “the workers and the bosses.” And that between these forces conflict goes on until one eliminates the other, and (as we all know) the “bosses” can’t eliminate the workers.

    But in fact this is not how the world, or the class struggle exists.

    There are more classes than “workers and bosses,” — there are peasants, and semi feudal forces.

    And further, there are very ocmplex and real contradictions between nominally bourgeois forces: between imperialist powers, between small capitalist and the big ones (who literally eat them alive). The conflict between monopoly forces and the small produces who they drive out of existance is rather sharp.

    So our world view is not the view of a “worker identify politics” person, who says “if you exploit another, you are an enemy. If you are exploited, you are one of us.”

    Because the world is full of small employers who employ (and yes also exploit) a farm laborer, or their own kids, or a part-time waitress. Are they then enemies of radical change?

    Saying yes, is a very simplist world view. And it is one that often sees the workplace antagonism of “employee vs. bosss” as the key one in the “class struggle.”

    In fact: in a country like nepal, small employers have a complex position. First they are brutally punished by the advantages of huge foreign companies (like in India and U.S.). They are undersold, they are unable to compete with research and development, and they are often driven to poverty that is similar to the working people.

    Chu Teh talked about living in his village in remote rural china, and having the ruined artisans come, fleeing the coast, reduced to being rural peddlers by the flood of cheap foreign manufactured goods, and stopping in each village to hustle for a few coppers, and spreading (at each stop) their intense bitterness toward “the foreign devils” and their fervent desire for a strong, united, independent China. Their outlook and position was not “the workers vs. the bosses.” Many of them had been small owners (of artisan shops). But their position (in the class struggle) put them in opposition to foreign imperialism (and in some ways domestic feudalism which caused china’s “weakness”) — and even their spontaneous political utterances had a huge positive impact in congealing the kind of national and rebel consciousness that china needed. That such agitation brought forward a Chu Deh was revealing.

    so it is the tradeunionist or the economist or syndicalist view of class struggle that assumes “any working with a capitalist is collaboration with the enemey.” it is a simplistic view, drawn from trade union consciousness (the conscousness developed in the immediate struggle of workers with “their” boss, where snitches, and suck-asses and such are considered “collaborators” with the immediate enemy/oppressor.)

    But as a strateigic view, it is terrible (and fails to understand the potential role of peasants and smaller employers in the struggle against foreign domination and domestic feudalism).

    And in fact, as a strategic view, it is very rightist: because these same forces don’t view the social democrats as a “bourgeois party” (since the social composition and public self-identificaiton of social democratic forces is often quite workerist too, and pro trade union etc.) And so the united front advocated by Trotsyists is between the various “workers parties.”

    And so you got the very strange situation I saw in France, where the trots were maknig demands that the CP and the SP form a joint government. (And in their world view this would have been a “workers united front” government — and would have helped expose the “misleaders” within “the workers movement” when they either refued to form such an alliance, or proved to be unable to represent “the workers” (reform) interests once in power.)

    In other words, this view doesn’t evaluate various parties by their objective situation (in the key moments of history and the stage of rev), but by their degree of rhetoric about being “for the workers.”

    In fact, in places like china the trotskyists followed that line to make a number of assumptions: trade unions were a prerequisite for any higher political struggle, the key arena was in the city (where workers were concentrated), and china had little chance of a socialist revolution at all because the demographics of the working class were so small within the population. (And, for them, socialism requires ‘a workers state’ — which is unlikely in a country with less than 2 percnet industrial workers.)

    Like much of the Trotskyism of the 1920, this was, in essense, a form of “can’t do’) pessimism, justified by promoting a rather mechanical and dogmatic view of classes and class struggle.

    But, in fact, china was rotten ripe for revolution — of a particular kind. And the international working class (in the sense that it was represented by key parts of the CCP) could lead the peasants in a historic agrarian revolution — and from that force could create a political and military alliance that could drive out all foreign predators and create a unified china, that was moving on the socialist road.

    This possibility was completely in visible to those with a “workerist” set of eyeglasses.

    And it required seeing the quite radical potential of non-working class forces (peasants, but also small employers). And it involved having a sense to which domestic capitalists could be won to the goal of driving out foreign concessions, and creating a strong domestic economy (with defacto protectionism and state support for weak fragile industries, whether state-owned or private).

    the fact that Mao united with sections of the domestic chinese capitalists (those who were “progressive” and “patriotic”) was/is viewed as “class collaboration.”

    Those making those claims don’t like to deal with the (rather overwhelming and central fact) that this so-called “class colaboration” led to the second great socialist revolution of the twentieth century (one that liberated a quarter of humanity). some class collaboration!

    the ability to make political allies of some domestic capitalist forces did not (in any fundamental way) prevent china from moving onto the capitalist road. That is the fact that disproves the charge of “collaboration.”

    And all the talk about “crossing the class line” is a confession of dogmatism, by those proposing a simplistic, black-white, view of classes and class struggle in a complex, dynamic world of highly stratified classes and class relations.

    This is all important, but not mainly because of modern trotskyist statements (which are not particularly influential) — but because even among Maoists, this history and political analysis is not well known. And when the Nepali Maoists talk about working with domestic capitalists (who are very small in Nepal), some people (who think they are Maoists, not Trotskyists) assume this must be an abandonment of the socialist road. they don’t know (and sometimes don’t care to know) that Mao spoke exactly this same way, and was denounced (in his time) by those who had a rigid view of classes and politics.

    Yes the Nepali Maoists talk of “mixed economy” in the first stage of transition. (Just as Mao CREATED a mixed economy in China in the wake of th 1949 seizure of power.) And the remarkable thing about those events was not that they included capitalism (how could they not!) but that they include the seeds of new socialist form — in the country side (in the form of cooperatives) and in the industrial areas in the form of an early socialist sector.

    Revolution is not where the workers line up on one side, and the capitalists line up on the other — after which they introduce something utterly new. it is fought out between sections of the people, in complex and living alliances, and it necessarily moves through states (both economic and political) out of which new and radical forms emerge and take root, and are further superseded.

  7. Jose M (JJM+) said

    Nando, thanks A LOT.

    That was actually very helpful, indeed. If anything, i am glad I am a Maoist.

    When I debate with trotkyists, then usually come and say things like, “well, it wasnt socialist according to marx” and shit like that. It is dogmatic, and it is wrong. First of all, marx based his theories of ‘workers revolution’ (did he ever say those words?) on europe and the large working class population that it had.

    lol, and I also get shit from Hoxhaists! They quote hoxha saying how Mao was a class collaborationist because of the class unity after the seizure of power.

    (do you have an AIM nando?)

    What I try to explain in terms of china, is that, even though there were very few proletarians within the CCP, the proletariat was the leading class because its line was leading! The peasantry was the main force, how could it not be!

    And then our trotkyists say, ‘well, look they were peasants, not workers, how could they be communists! How can they understand socialism or achieve a proletarian consciousness?”

    Well, I think this ties into the workerist and economist conception of class struggle. They think that only workers can have a proletarian line, and, in the process, incorrectly reduce proletarian class consciousness to INDIVIDUAL workers, when it really is the ideology of the proletariat as a class.

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