Proletarians of all countries, unite!
Our Evaluation of The Stand of CPI (Maoist) on the Formation of International Communist League (ICL)
An article by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) entitled “The Stand of CPI (Maoist) on the Formation of International Communist League (ICL)” has recently been published. In this article, the CPI (Maoist) expresses its position on the proposed draft for the Unified Maoist International Conference (UMIC) – Proposal regarding the balance of the International Communist Movement and of its current General Political Line, published in 2021 – the organization of the UMIC and the political declaration and principles approved there, and the establishment of the International Communist League (ICL) in 2022.
In the first place, the ICL extends a communist greeting to the CPI (Maoist), its Central Committee, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army, the masses that struggle under your leadership in the invincible People’s War, and with special ardor to the immortal Heroes of the Indian revolution.
We also want to express, comrades, that we cannot agree with the given reason for your delay in expressing yourselves on a matter that is so dear to the World Proletarian Revolution today, as is the reversal on the dispersion of the International Communist Movement, especially due to being the position of a Party with such a long internationalist tradition as the CPI (Maoist). Therefore, we consider it important that the CPI (Maoist) clarifies its position on the ICL. We believe that the statement of the comrades will contribute to the two-line-struggle which is necessary for the development and unity of the International Communist Movement (ICM). It is through a lively discussion of our differences that we will be able to mutually purge erroneous ideas and, ultimately, realize higher and broader international unity in order to make a greater contribution to the Proletarian World Revolution. Discussing such criticisms and evaluations on public platforms has the benefit of enabling the ICM, in a broader sense, to be aware of the problems. But we should not be satisfied with such platforms alone. If our aim is to purify the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist movement from its mistakes and to ensure its more effective and powerful action in the class struggle, we must also use bilateral platforms where the development of problems is discussed more concretely, in more detail and more openly. The creation of such a platform between the CPI (Maoist) and the ICL is important and necessary.
Our views on some of the issues contained in the statement entitled “The Stand of the CPI (Maoist) on the Formation of International Communist League (ICL)“.
We advocate open struggle, two-line struggle, sincere and fraternal criticism and self-criticism as the only Marxist-Leninist-Maoist methods for resolving contradictions within the communist movement. Therefore, we give due weight to criticism and advice from sister Parties. Likewise, we are ready to engage in serious self-criticism when it proves necessary. However, the statement of the CPI (Maoist) raises some questions and requires some clarifications on the Unified Maoist International Conference, the establishment of the ICL, and the unity of the ICM.
In order to reach the right conclusions on any question, one must take the objective situation as a starting point. Not seeking the truth in the facts, following an idealistic method and thus substituting for the truth “the facts” we create in our minds or whose outcome is determined by ourselves in advance, as you can see, does not coincide with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. It is necessary to avoid following this style. Especially if we are speaking in the name of the international proletariat and serving its interests. If there is a problem in the way we obtain information, then the conclusions we draw from that information will be faulty from the outset.
The statement of the CPI (Maoist) is very much in this situation. What data and what efforts have led to the conclusions that mark the statements of the CPI (Maoist)? If a conclusion has been reached on the basis of the discussions reflected in the public opinion during the preparation process of the Unified Maoist International Conference and, as a result, on the basis of the statements of the Parties and Organizations that refused to take part in the ICL, it is clear that this is not correct and cannot be a scientific method of dealing with problems. We can draw this conclusion from the fact that the CPI (Maoist), in order to concretize the conclusions they draw in their statement, refer to the statements of Parties and organizations that do not take part in the ICL (for one reason or another) and are critical of the formation of the ICL, and that the comrades accept these criticisms as essentially correct: “Although not totally we agree to a large extent the critical assessments and arguments of MLM parties and organisations internationally on the formation of ICL”
It is clear from the comrades’ statements that this has been the basic method followed by them. We are not referring here to the ideological-theoretical criticism of comrades from the CPI (Maoist). What we mean is the process leading up to the formation of the International Communist League and the developments that took place during this process.
First of all, it should be made clear that we also attach importance to criticism from the Parties and organizations that are not part of the ICL but are critical of it. We can also clearly state that there are aspects of these criticisms and evaluations that we take into account and that serve us to stronger and sharper self-reflect. That was the case yesterday, and it will be the case today and in the future. Throughout this entire process, we have certainly had our shortcomings. We are talking about a platform process in which dozens of bilateral and multiple meetings have been held over the years, with Parties and organizations that have differences on many points, even if they are united on basic points. We have not and will not pretend to say that we have done everything perfectly and completely. In the process leading up to the formation of the ICL, it is of course possible to criticize the form and content of the discussions that took place, or that there was not enough discussion. In this sense, we are not closed to evaluations and criticisms. We have no problem with the CPI (Maoist) giving importance and taking seriously the criticisms and evaluations of parties and organizations critical of the ICL. The main problem of the CPI (Maoist) comrades here is that they limit themselves to the criticisms and assessments of those who are critical of the ICL. Here, the fact that the comrades adopt a position and formulate criticisms without conferring with the ICL in the organization and conduction of the process, and without being informed by the ICL of the course of the process, denotes unilateralism. Unilateralism is undoubtedly an error-prone method. Comrades of the CPI (Maoist) have essentially made this mistake. It is very important to understand and master the situation as a whole. This approach will lead to the realization of the criticism. In this respect, criticism of the organization of the process is one based on prejudices. In the same way, drawing conclusions only on the basis of publicly available documents is problematic. Throughout this entire process there have been many bilateral and wider participatory meetings. The UMIC process and the problems experienced were discussed in these bilateral and multiple meetings, including parties and organizations that did not see it right to take part in the ICL due to differences. The points of discussion at these meetings and the attitude to the issues of the parties and organizations involved are documented. What we hope and expect is to have concrete discussions with comrades from the CPI (Maoist) on these documents and to listen to their criticisms after these discussions and briefings. It is unacceptable to attempt to define the process independently of what has just been mentioned, based solely on public documents, and thus discard the efforts made.
Secondly. Throughout the entire process, the comrades of the CPI (Maoist) did not feel the need or responsibility to contact the parties and organizations involved in the process of either the Committee organizing the UMIC or the UMIC itself. The former Coordinating Committee of the UMIC and its constituent parties tried in every way to establish direct and secure channels with the CPI (Maoist). Through these channels we could have directly informed and discussed all the important issues of the ICL and the preparatory work for the organization of the UMIC. But the CPI (Maoist) has ignored all these efforts. Like all Parties and organizations, the CPI (Maoist) undoubtedly has its own reasons which it is not obliged to make public. But we are talking about a process of non-engagement that has continued for years. At the end of this process of non-engagement, the comrades chose to make a statement without contacting the former UMIC organizing Committee, nor the leadership of the International Communist League, nor any of the Parties and organizations that are integrated in the ICL, nor did they request any information. It is an astonishing situation!
Thirdly. We take the CPI (Maoist) criticisms of the ICL’s theoretical, ideological, organizational and political formation seriously. These points of criticism could be debatable based on unity on the 3 basic pillars: 1. the defense of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism; 2. struggle against revisionism; and 3. to be for the World Proletarian Revolution. They are also necessary for the development of the ICM on a more solid ideological-theoretical-political and organizational basis. The two-line-struggle should be preferred to opportunist compromise. In the discussions during the UMIC organization Committee process, similar criticisms and evaluations came from different Parties and organizations, and even from some parties and organizations that are currently in the ICL. Contrary to the CPI’s (Maoist) explanation, the ICL is an organization that exists with these differences. These are not ignored, they are being discussed and will continue to be discussed. In the process of discussion, they have also been reflected in the public opinion. But what is important here is how we will handle the differences on the basis of the needs of the Proletarian World Revolution, by which methods we will move forward in the line of unity-struggle-unity. A unity of understanding has been established on the basic principles. An attitude based on these basic principles and endeavoring to develop unity through discussion is being followed. We think that this method is much more appropriate considering the process the class struggle is going through worldwide and the needs of the Proletarian World Revolution.
In its statement, the CPI (Maoist) accuses us of having a sectarian attitude and a wrong method of work which is supposedly capable of hindering the two-line-struggle. In making this allegation, they do not explain on what objective facts and information such an assessment is based. Chairman Mao Tse-tung defined sectarianism as the policy of “closed doors”. A brief objective analysis is enough to see that this statement has no objective basis. The launch of the UMIC and the creation of the ICL was not an overnight event. On the contrary, it is the result of more than a decade of intense internationalist efforts, especially and most intensely in the decade from 2012 to 2022, during which ideological, political and organizational preparation was heightened, resulting in a significant upsurge of the two-line-struggle in the ICM. During this period, in addition to the formulation and publication of numerous documents, theoretical journals and public statements, dozens of large meetings of Parties, dozens of gatherings and hundreds of working meetings were held. These meetings and gatherings, which discussed issues on the basis of documents and declarations, taking into account the preparation time involving thousands of pages of documents, coordination, exchange of experiences, educational work and united action campaigns, required a considerable material effort and were held face-to-face. These events included seven meetings of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Parties and organizations in Europe, five meetings of Parties and organizations in Latin America and the First Conference of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Parties and Organizations in the Americas. Of these, the CPI (Maoist) participated in person, in the III Meeting of Latin American Parties, and informed the fourth one of its impossibilities to be present and requested the agenda to send a contribution. These requests were inadvertently received by a specific group determined to obstruct the UMIC process by all means and did not arrive due to information sabotage. This process involved all Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations with whom there were direct channels of communication, both those participating in the process and those outside the process, and who were always invited to participate in the process. All of them were directly and personally invited to participate in the UMIC. It should also be emphasized that this was the only collective initiative that systematically advanced and worked on the preparation of the UMIC, and the only one that managed to partially overcome the serious and protracted dispersion in the ICM. This process, in contrast to sectarianism, is indicative of a real, not symbolic or only rhetorical, effort for communist unity. If such a “sectarian position” was really true, how would one explain the significant changes made to the version of the Political Declaration and Principles (PDP) approved by the UMIC in the “Balance of the International Communist Movement” and the “Draft Proposal on its Current General Political Line”? Such changes are explained by objective facts. All those who wanted to take an active part in the UMIC were able to put forward their views, wage an open and sincere struggle, express a solid unity of will and achieve real unity at the highest level. Almost every stage of the UMIC process was realized through the two-line-struggle. Important ideological and political differences between the members of the ICL have been and continue to be discussed throughout the entire process. But this has not prevented the participating Parties from uniting around the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the axes of the general political line for the ICM. This is as it should be. Of course, as the UMIC is not based on eclectic agreements, but on the two-line-struggle which seeks to unite as broadly as possible on the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, not all the criticisms of the “Basis of Discussion” formulated during the preparatory process have been taken up in the “Political Declaration and Principles”.
The result of the creation of the ICL; “So, the ICL formed in the name of ‘unified’ reflects only the attitude of one kind of Marxist-Leninist-Maoists. It does not represent the unified understanding of several parties”, deserves to be evaluated on several points. First of all, our problem is not only which understanding marks the position that has been taken or is likely to be taken, but also whether the ideological-theoretical, organizational-political line that emerges has a counterpart in the class struggle. Secondly, the determination that “it does not represent the unified understanding of several parties” is a subjective evaluation, not an objective one. According to what and according to whom does the ICL “not represent the unified understanding of several parties“? The Marxist-Leninist-Maoists members of the ICL has agreed that the current conditions of the class struggle require communists to take a unified position and to form a central platform. Some of the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist forces, for various reasons, did not take part in realizing this formation. Naturally, roughly two different understandings and two different orientations have emerged. No position or platform that can or would be formed represents the “whole”.
Representing the whole always takes the form of agreeing on general lines, basic principles and general orientation. This is what has been done in the specific case of the ICL. Of course, it is preferable to unite as large a part as possible. However, it is not preferable for us, under the pretext of uniting with a wider component, to leave the creation of an international united center of communists, which establish itself in terms of the period we are going through and the process ahead, to an unknown date. Moreover, as stated in the ICL’s founding statement, it is an organization open to all Marxist-Leninist-Maoists. On the way to the Unified International Maoist Conference, no approach was taken that “those who accept the discussion draft presented by the preparatory Committee can come, others cannot“. On the contrary, it was stated that those who were critical of the UMICOC’s political draft should express their views and criticisms in the UMIC, try to make their ideas dominant, and form a stronger unity of struggle together with those who decided to join UMIC but were critical of the UMICOC’s political draft, etc. If, despite all these efforts, the preference is to remain distant, who should be criticized? It is revealing that among those that did not participate no one has put forward that they were not invited to participate nor that they have been prevented. In other words, who are the obstacles to a broader unity? The approach of a “kind of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist” position is undoubtedly linked to criticism of ICL sectarianism. This approach is based on the unity of the political-ideological-organizational line of an essential part of the ICL’s components. We are fundamentally opposed to the division of Maoist currents into “different types and blocs”. The fact that there are Communist Parties closer to each other doesn’t lead us to consider them as the same “type”. This approach would serve to mask the political-ideological differences between Maoist movements in different countries, conceal the two-line-struggle within Maoist movements and ignore the unique and independent structures of Maoist movements in each country. It is not correct for the CPI (Maoist) comrades to consider the ICL as “some kind of” monolithic current within Maoism. The ideological-political affinity of the majority of the ICL’s constituents leads comrades to this illusory conclusion. Possibly the source of the criticism “sectarianism” might be shaped by the assumption that the majority of the members impose their positions due to their closeness, which in fact is not the case. The ICL rejects the monolithic “one-size-fits-all” critique of which the comrades speak. It is in line with reality and with the ICL’s approach, which is based on and practices the two-line struggle.
The CPI (Maoist) statement reads: “Our party already released its policy document on the formation of International Organisation in 2017 and this was published in Maoist Road as a part of the international debate. […] Prior to this our party published a document in which it clearly wrote about the experiences of International Communist Movement, synthesised the present international situation and of the movement and about the formation of International communist organisation appropriate to it, it means about a proletarian international organisation comprising Maoist parties, organisations and the related ideological, political and organisational aspects. ICM published this too. Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary Maoist), Tunisia, PCR-RCP Canada-Isra, Communist Party (Maoist) of Afghanistan, Union Obrera Communista (MLM) made responsible study and observation, wrote critical notes and sent to CUMIC for debate. But there was no response from the organisers and supporters.”
One can argue on what grounds the discussion of the platform proposed for the International Communist Movement in the CPI (Maoist) statement (CPI (Maoist) Central Committee resolution of 2017) was not put on the agenda. In our opinion, the most important reason for this is that the CPI (Maoist) has not made a special effort to put this document on the agenda of other parties and organizations. We are talking about a document transmitted over the internet or “through intermediaries”! As can be seen from the passage quoted above from the CPI (Maoist)’s article, “others” have tried to put this statement on the agenda. Therefore, this document has remained a statement that many parties and organizations have written from time to time about in the International Communist Movement. It is clear that every statement made by every Party or organization does not necessarily have to be on the agenda of other Parties and organizations. The approach of the CPI (Maoist), which does not make any special effort for this, “why didn’t you discuss our document” while evaluating the ICL has no equivalent. However, it should be noted that a Maoist movement like the CPI (Maoist), with a long and solid 60-year tradition, a persistent, determined and sustained Maoist movement in its revolutionary strategy, occupies a special place for all Maoist forces. The ICL also adopts this approach. The document published by the comrades has been analyzed and evaluated by each member of the ICL in accordance with this approach. It would be incorrect to say that this document has not received the attention it deserves. On the contrary, it was one of the member Parties of the ICL, by request of the CPI (Maoist), which distributed the document through internal channels, and encouraged the debate on the document, before it was published on Maoist Road or any other website.
In that sense, it has had an indirect impact on the process. Beyond that, the process progresses, matures and organizes itself through discussions and exchanges of ideas. In conditions where the comrades were not present at this stage of the process, the fact that they are asking for a particular evaluation of their texts is contrary to the spirit of these processes. Another aspect of this question needs to be clarified. In the CPI (Maoist) statement, the CPI (Maoist) was one of the parties involved in the beginning of the process that culminated in the ICL. The CPI (Maoist) took part in the discussions on the unification of the International Communist Movement and in the bilateral and multiple meetings where such discussions took place. Therefore, the ICL did not suddenly “fall out of the sky”. Nor is it the result of a process that began with the control and planning of “a certain group”. The CPI (Maoist), which was at the beginning of this process, put all this aside and drew a different line for itself.
The CPI (Maoist) stated: “Instead of the process followed for the formation of the ICL, our Central Committee opines that there is a strong need to mobilise into a common forum that works basing on the approval and unanimity of all parties, so as, in addition to the parties in ICL, all the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist revolutionary parties and organisations that are ideologically close to these, can mutually exchange their experiences and ideological and political stands’’. By condemning the ICL with a subjective evaluation of the ICL’s formation process and ignoring the ICL organization, the proposal of “to mobilise into a common forum that works basing on the approval and unanimity of all parties…” is not understandable for us. You can say that the ICL has shortcomings and inadequacies and even some mistakes, which have already been said. Why avoid unifying the International Communist Movement with a wider membership around the existing organization by making an effort to eliminate the shortcomings, mistakes and insufficiency of this organization? While a central organization of 15 Parties and organizations from 14 countries has been formed as a result of a long and labor-intensive process, the effort to create another platform by almost ignoring it is an unacceptable approach for us.
Uniting Under Maoism
The preparation, development, and finalization of the UMIC was guided by the struggle of the two lines. As a result of the discussions, it was decided that uniting around three main pillars was the main point of unification and development for the Marxist-Leninist-Maoists: 1) Defending Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, 2) The Struggle Against Revisionism, 3) Proletarian World Revolution.
These principles are embodied in the slogan “Unite under Maoism”. This slogan is also the spirit and guide that guided the work of the UMIC and the founding of the ICL on the basis of the unswerving defense of the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. That is why we believe that it must remain in the ICL as a guiding principle separating Marxism and revisionism.
The fact that these ideological-theoretical and political-organizational problems are being widely discussed by Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Parties and organizations, the successful progress of the long years of preparation of the UMIC and the eventual establishment of the ICL have an important meaning in the struggle of the international proletarian movement. This long and difficult process, despite its shortcomings, was carried out with intense labor and effort. Instead of blocking the two-line-struggle, the founding of the ICL has raised the two-lines-struggle, which continues to develop in the International Communist Movement, to a higher level.
In March of this year, in 2023, the ICL made a public statement through a Resolution on the unity of the ICM. It stated unequivocally its position on this issue and a number of issues related to the unity of the ICM after the UMIC. The CPI (Maoist) does not refer to this resolution. We will therefore include a few excerpts from this important document:
“The International Communist League will spare no efforts towards establishing a direct relation with all the M-L-M Parties and Organizations that want to work toward unity and not splitting and that defend the three basic principles: 1. the defense of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, 2. struggle against revisionism, and 3. to be for the World Proletarian Revolution. The ICL will work holding meetings, reunions, and forums aiming at raising the two line struggle and promoting ideological and political unity. Therefore, it will support all the propositions, initiatives, forums, that serve to develop unity-struggle-unity. Just as it was affirmed in the Political Declaration and the Principles:
The new international organization is a center of ideological, political and organizational coordination, based on democratic centralism and the solution of problems through mutual and permanent consultation among the parties and organizations that conforms it, and it will extend this procedure to all those who – while participating with the same principles and purposes – are outside of it.
Therefore, the foundation of the ICL does not close the process of struggle for unity, but it opens a whole new stage of the “organized struggle for the reconstitution of the Communist International, under the command and guide of Maoism” and we are available and committed to move heaven and earth to struggle for the reconstitution of the glorious Communist International.” We are ready and determined to fight for the re-establishment of the glorious Communist International.
If an active and significant part of the International Communist Movement (ICM) can unite on the basis of the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, why can’t these parties do so? Why does your statement characterize this progress as a problem for unity? Can such unity be achieved only if the entire ICM unites at the same time? Is it not a paradoxical conclusion to think that the subjective factors for revolution are too weak, that the ICM is too bad, and at the same time to claim that the tight and conscious unification of 15 parties and organizations on the ideological basis of the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the advanced axes of the general political line for the ICM is a negative thing? Has not the historical experience of the international proletariat shown the opposite, that the struggle for the international unity of the proletariat is realized through unification and secession (I, II, III International)?
We consider that the criticisms and evaluations made by the CPI (Maoist) of the General Political Line contained in the “Political Declaration and Principles” are relevant issues that need to be clarified in an organized manner, in accordance with revolutionary proletarian methods and criteria, in the midst of a two-line-struggle. We hope to have the opportunity to discuss each of these issues in a bilateral, direct and organized manner. We stress, however, that these differences do not represent any difference of ideological principles that formed the basis for the unity of the 15 parties and organizations at the founding of the International Communist League. We are convinced that the International Communist Movement, reunited under this red banner, will move forward and deal a powerful blow to imperialism, reaction and all revisionism and opportunism.
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST LEAGUE (ICL)