Response to Adolfo Olachea on "revolutionary violence" and "accumulating revolutionary strength"
u961680 at student.canberra.edu.au
Mon May 6 23:39:07 MDT 1996
On Fri, 3 May 1996, Adolfo Olaechea posted a contribution to this list
under the subject heading "Re: Marxism in Australia: any MAOIST
thoughts?" which was in response to two previous postings from Gary
MacLennan and C.
I thank Adolfo Olaechea for this and indicate that his comments and
criticisms will be given the fullest consideration. There were two points
raised by Adolfo Olaechea which I take issue with now.
1. REVOLUTIONARY VIOLENCE
> Comrade from CRCPA talks about the validity of People's War in a developed
> country, and I have heard him before stating that "a dividing line between
> Marxist and revisionists is the question of revolutionary violence".
> Yes, People's War is a concept of universal validity and application. Yes,
> those who eschew revolutionary violence can in no way be regarded as
> marxists. However, such a dividing line is only a relative one, and a very
> weak one at that, because armed struggle by itself is not THE dividing line
> between Marxism and revisionism.
But the argument was not, "armed struggle by itself is not THE
dividing line between Marxism and revisionism." C never said "THE
dividing line...". Is it true as Adolfo Olaechea states, that revolutionary
violence is only a relative and weak dividing line between Marxism and
revisionism? No it is not.
During the Chinese Communists great polemic against Khrushchov's
revisionism the Chinese comrades stated:
"In the history of the international communist movement
the betrayal of Marxism and of the proletariat by the revisionists
has always manifested itself most sharply in their opposition to
violent revolution and to the dictatorship of the proletariat and in
their advocacy of peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism."
"The entire history of the working-class movement tells us that
the acknowledgement or non-acknowledgement of violent revolution as
a universal law of proletarian revolution, of the necessity of
smashing the old state machine, and of the necessity of replacing the
dictatorship of the bourgeoisie by the dictatorship of the proletariat
has always been the watershed between Marxism and all brands of
opportunism and revisionism, between proletarian revolutionaries and
all renegades from the proletariat."
(See "The Proletarian Revolution and Khruschchov's Revisionism," Eighth
Comment on the Open Letter of the CC of the CPSU, in "The Polemic on the
General Line of the International Communist Movement" Peking,
(English edition) 1965, pp.361 and 366-367 respectively.)
There is nothing relative and weak about revolutionary violence
being a dividing line between Marxism and revisionism. Certainly the
phenomenon of armed revisionism exists and it too must be exposed and
opposed. Certainly revolutionary violence is not the only dividing line
between Marxism and revisionism as the Australian experience testifies.
The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) was formed in
1964 out of struggles in the CPA against Khrushchovite revisionism. But the
CPA(ML) incorporated many of the wrong views of the CPA whilst correctly
criticising others. For example, the CPA(ML) correctly upheld the
necessity of armed revolution but at the same time it wrongly asserted
that US imperialism held state power in Australia.
The CPA(ML) was never constructed along Leninist lines as it was
all centralism and no democracy. The CPA(ML) carried forward the CPA's
wrong ideas on the structure of the working class in Australia. Despite
Lenin's clarity on the split in the working class, the CPA(ML) ignored it
and like the CPA, became consumed in trying to split the labour
aristocracy and better-off workers from the thoroughly bourgeois
Australian Labor Party. Thus it was that the CPA(ML) was never able to
properly take advantage of the rebellions and revolutionary upsurges
(such as the Penal Powers struggle of 1969) it found itself in.
2. ACCUMULATING REVOLUTIONARY STRENGTH
> Comrade talks about the task of "accumulating revolutionary strenght" and of
> the necessity of establishing and building up a Communist Party. However,
> the theory of accumulation of forces is a revisionist theory and it is not
> linked to the question of the building of a communist party, unless you may
> be building a Trotskyst or Avakian style party geared to waiting around for
> "these exceptional moments in history". Is this a marxist point of view?
I do not agree with Adolfo Olaechea on this point. I prefer the
position of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China which stated in point
11 of its 1963 PROPOSAL CONCERNING THE GENERAL LINE OF THE INTERNATIONAL
"The proletarian party... should concentrate on the painstaking
work of ACCUMULATING REVOLUTIONARY STRENGTH (emphasis added -- C),
so that it will be ready to seize victory when the conditions for
revolution are ripe or to strike powerful blows at the imperialists
and reactionaries when they launch surprise attacks and armed assaults.
"If it fails to make such preparations, the proletarian party
will paralyse the revolutionary will of the proletariat, disarm itself
ideologically and sink into a totally passive state of unpreparedness
both politically and organisationally, and the result will be to bury
the proletarian revolutionary cause."
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