Basanta on Proletarian Internationalism and the Nepalese Revolution
Posted by Ka Frank on February 21, 2010
This article appeared in Red Star on February 18, 2010.
The Proletarian Internationalism and Nepalese Revolution–Indra Mohan Sigdel (Basanta), PBM of UCPN (Maoist)
The proletariat class, which is deprived of means of production, is forced to sell his labour as a commodity into the market to those bourgeois who grab them. In a capitalist society, those who produce commodity with the expense of their labour are deprived of appropriating the very product while those who are not at all involved in production appropriate it. It is not particular to a certain country but a universal phenomenon where the capitalist mode of production exists.
The very essence of the capitalist mode of production is collective production but private appropriation. And the main content of Marxism remains in resolving this contradiction. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels had struggled all through their life to find a scientific way to resolve this contradiction and break the traditional reactionary chains They said it is the socialisation of means of production to do it. And on top of that they said it is the transitional socialist state that paves the way forward to communism in which the aforesaid contradiction does not exist and thereby the whole humanity enters into a phase where there is no oppression of man by man.
In their life time they did not rest content merely in ideological and political assertions rather they played a crucial role in organising Communist League, the first International of the working class people and latter they formed the International Working Men’s Association composed of various socialist groups and trade unions from different countries. The Communist Manifesto that the first congress in 1848 of the very International brought about continues to be an important ideological and political document of the international proletariat even today.
It asserted that The communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional relations. In the last paragraph it says, The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite! It is a matchless example of true proletarian internationalism.
Lenin was a true successor of Marx and a leader of the working class people who applied proletarian internationalism into real practice. He had to wage serious ideological struggle against the national chauvinistic leaders like Kautsky in the Second International to establish proletarian internationalism and develop it further in the international communist movement. Through his writings one can understand what he really meant by true proletarian internationalism. In one of his important theoretical works, The Task of the Proletariat in our Revolution, Vol. 24, page 76, he writes, \”There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism, and that is — working whole-heartedly for the development of the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in one\’s own country, and supporting (by propaganda, sympathy, and material aid) this struggle, this, and only this, line, in every country without exception.
In addition, in his another important work, Preliminary Draft Thesis on the National and Colonial Questions, Vol. 31, page 148, he writes, — proletarian internationalism demands, first, that the interests of the proletarian struggle in any one country should be subordinated to the interests of that struggle on a world-wide scale, and, second, that a nation which is achieving victory over the bourgeoisie should be able and willing to make the greatest national sacrifices for the overthrow of international capitalWhat is clear from the excerpts above is that to stand firm on the side of the proletariat class, develop revolutionary movement and class struggle in one\’s own country, fight internationally the alien ideologies that go against the interest of working class movement, extend ideological, political and material support to all struggles carried out by the oppressed class the world over and develop an international tactic with a view to do away with international capital is in a real sense the true proletarian internationalism.
The ideological struggle that Lenin in his lifetime carried out to strengthen proletarian internationalism in the international communist movement makes him an outstanding internationalist proletarian leader and the party led by him a torchbearer of proletarian internationalism. Along with this, the role that the Communist Party of Russia (Bolshevik) played, not only ideologically and politically but also materially, to help accomplish New Democratic Revolution in China and socialist revolution in the Eastern European countries is a brilliant manifestation of what Lenin meant by proletarian internationalism in the excerpts above.
Standing upon the foundation of proletarian internationalism that Marx and Lenin had established and developed, chairman Mao continued all through to his life with their legacy. Be it his ideological struggle in China against various wrong trends from the very beginning of the party formation to the last phase of the Cultural Revolution or be it in fighting alien ideologies in the international communist movement he never let it weaken till he was alive.
The ideological struggle that he carried out mainly against the capitalist roaders during Cultural Revolution and the Great Debate that he launched mainly against the Khrushchevite revisionism have had a paramount importance to develop Marxism-Leninism to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. On how he understood proletarian internationalism, in a letter to CPSU headed, A proposal concerning the general line of the international communist movement, he says, … the touchstone of proletarian internationalism for every Communist Party is whether or not it resolutely defends the whole of the socialist camp, whether or not it defends the unity of all the countries in the camp on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and whether or not it defends the Marxist-Leninist line and policies which the socialist countries ought to pursue.
Not only did Mao wage struggle ideologically against alien ideologies within the international communist movement but also, along with logistical support to the Korean comrades, he sent Chinese People\’s Volunteers to fight US imperialism in the Korean War. Noteworthy to mention here is that in this war Mao\’s son had attained martyrdom, which is a unique example of proletarian internationalism on the part of Chairman Mao and the great Communist Party of China led by him. In fact, a strong proletarian power in China under the leadership CPC led by Mao was as a strong base area for the proletarian revolutionaries the world over. However, Mao\’s death in 1976 and the counterrevolution that followed in China under Teng-Hua clique resulted in a serious setback in the international communist movement and proletarian internationalism as well. As a result, the working class the world over has now lost its leadership and the base area of the world proletarian revolution.
In the situation, when communist revolutionaries the world over were short of internationally recognised leadership and a strong base area of the world communist movement the role that the revolutionary communist parties played to organise the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) deserves special mention. In spite of their inability to bring together all the revolutionary parties in its fold this initiative was definitely an inspiring event and a great achievement for the communist revolutionaries the world over. Among others, mainly the document, Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism that the RIM adopted has helped to deepen the ideological contribution of Chairman Mao and unite the communist revolutionaries under the banner of Maoism.
In fact it created a strong ideological base to help the initiation of and preparation for people\’s war where parties existed and build revolutionary parties where they did not. In total, RIM has played an important role as an international centre in defence of communism and the proletarian internationalism. Struggling against the limitations and weaknesses of sectarianism it has, to activate it further is the need of the day.
When the world communist movement was very much defensive and the entire reactionaries were, with the collapse of Soviet social imperialism in the 90s, propagating the failure of Marxism and socialism, people\’s war was initiated in our country. The initiation of people\’s war and its development in leaps has on the one hand proved once again the validity and inevitability of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and on the other it has encouraged the proletariat class internationally.
Initiation of people\’s war was in fact a true example of proletarian internationalism on the part of Nepalese proletariat.
However, after our party has entered into peace process and signed the comprehensive peace agreement our fraternal parties are critical of our political line. Some of them have even placed criticism in open to the extent that the political line we are practicing now does not comply with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and proletarian internationalism. Certainly, there are some elements of truth behind such criticism on the part of fraternal comrades and we must correct them. And on the other, a strong tendency in the ICM that makes ideological judgement from within the known concepts of past revolutionary class struggles has also played a role in it.
It is not that a debate has been launched from here on this question and nor is it possible in this short article. But, what we must admit is that a way of thinking that our party sought to find strength of revolution from within national tactic and diplomatic manoeuvring than from the ideological, political and organisational unity and valuable experience of the international proletariat was and is still trying to pull party back from our duty of strengthening proletarian internationalism.
Lenin had sharply criticised this trend. In page 54 of his renowned work, Left Wing Communism an Infantile Disorder, he writes, To refuse to take this experience into account and at the same time to claim affiliation to the Communist International, which must work out its tactics internationally (not narrow or one-sided national tactics, but international tactics), is to commit the gravest blunder and actually to retreat from real internationalism while paying lip service to it.
Recently held Central Committee Meeting of our party has correctly assessed that the New Democratic revolution in Nepal is at a crossroads of great potentiality of victory and serious danger of defeat. In the present world situation, it is only our country Nepal where New Democratic revolution is possible. However, whether or not the Nepalese proletariat can seize this opportunity depends upon whether or not our party can develop a correct ideological and political line, consolidate party unity based on it and rally the world proletariat around it. If we succeed to achieve this, no one in the world will be able to stop us from establishing People\’s Federal Republic of Nepal.
We should keep in mind that sustenance of the proletarian power in a single country is in the present world situation equally difficult to or more challenging than the seizure of political power. Sustenance of people\’s power is inseparably related with the expansion and development of revolutionary class struggles in other countries. Right in this context, the international proletariat class has twofold duties. The Nepalese proletariat must emphasize firstly on the seizure and then sustenance of power as a base area of the world proletarian revolution and at the same time pay attention to the expansion of revolutionary class struggles and anti imperialist movements all across the world.
While the proletariat in other countries must lay emphasis on developing revolutionary class struggles in their respective countries and pay attention to the defence of people\’s power in Nepal. It is the true proletarian internationalism we need today. In order to achieve this, our party should carry out the following tasks. Firstly, we should take up serious initiative to deepen the ideological and political struggle with those revolutionary parties that uphold Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as their guiding ideology.
In addition, we should also carry out ideological and political debate with the parties that uphold GPCR and Mao Tse Tung Thought as universally applicable. All this should be done keeping in view of establishing a new type of International in the twenty first century. Secondly, we should take initiative to develop comradely relation with Marxist –Leninist forces all over the world. And, thirdly, we should build up relation with all the nationalist forces that are waging national liberation movements against national chauvinistic regime of the respective countries. All this should be done as to develop a worldwide anti-imperialist front to fight imperialist globalisation, colonial domination and to support just struggle of the people.
At the present juncture, which is full of opportunities and challenges, only by developing a correct ideological and political line, party unity based on it and pushing forward the aforesaid international tasks in a planned way will we be able to establish People\’s Republic in Nepal. This and this will be a service to world revolution and genuine proletarian internationalism too.