1920s CCP class collaboration

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Fri Aug 13 15:24:57 MDT 1999

>I see official communism in countries like China as a force for parallel
>development to capitalism, with the party-state apparatus substituting
>itself for a barely or non-existent bourgeoisie, using a semi- or
>non-market economy as a means to modernise the country.
>Paul F

So does Adam Ulam. The real question is why it takes a Communist Party to
modernize the country. If the national bourgeoisie was "doing its duty",
there would be no need for CP's. But for nearly the entire 20th century the
non-Communist elites have collapsed like a cardboard suitcase every time
imperialism challenged them economically or militarily. Take Duarte for
example. Everybody remembers the late dictator as the US puppet who waged
war against the FMLN and the people of El Salvador. But Duarte ran for
president in 1972 as part of a moderately leftist coalition. It is widely
held that he was near victory when the army stopped the vote count and
declared its candidate the winner. He was arrested by the army, jailed and
severely beaten before being sent into exile. In other words, his early
trajectory was like Venezuela's Chavez. So why didn't Duarte join with the
leftist guerrillas? If he believed in national bourgeois economic
development, why didn't he use every ounce of strength to fight for
breaking up the large plantations? Over 80 percent of El Salvador's land
was owned by a dozen oligarchic families. If the USA promoted land reform
in Japan (supposedly), why wouldn't it do the same thing in El Salvador?
Although one can quote Trotsky's theory of the permanent revolution, it
goes much deeper than that. The basic problem is that imperialism has
blocked the development of a national bourgeoisie. It is a stunted class.
The central question of the bourgeois revolution is land reform. In every
single country in Latin and Central America you have a form of combined and
uneven development in which very modern plantations--using the latest
methods in aerial spraying, computers, etc.--go hand in hand with feudal
domination of the campesino. The campesino is forced to borrow money from
the patrón, who then forces the campesino to provide labor in kind. So when
the Communist Party busts this system up, it is not "socialist" in terms
described by Marx and Engels, but it certainly is the number one socialist
task facing humanity in the late 20th century. Throughout Latin America,
Asia and Africa there is intense land hunger while the economies of
underdeveloped countries is geared to export agriculture. What Paul perhaps
does not understand is that the Baku conference of 1920 was important
because it reached out to these disinherited masses. Lenin said this to the

"Next, I would like to make a remark on the subject of peasants' Soviets.
The Russian Communists’ practical activities in the former tsarist
colonies, in such backward countries as Turkestan, etc., have confronted us
with the question of how to apply the communist tactics and policy in
pre-capitalist conditions. The preponderance of pre-capitalist
relationships is still the main determining feature in these countries, so
that there can be no question of a purely proletarian movement in them.
There is practically no industrial proletariat in these countries.
Nevertheless, we have assumed, we must assume, the role of leader even
there. Experience has shown us that tremendous difficulties have to be
surmounted in these countries. However, the practical results of our work
have also shown that ‘despite these difficulties we are in a position to
inspire in the masses an urge for independent political thinking and
independent political action, even where a proletariat is practically
non-existent. This work has been more difficult for us than it will be for
comrades in the West-European countries, because in Russia the proletariat
is engrossed in the work of state administration. It will readily be
understood that peasants living in conditions of semi-feudal dependence can
easily assimilate and give effect to the idea of Soviet organisation. It is
also clear that the oppressed masses, those who are exploited, not only by
merchant capital but also by the feudalists, and by a state based on
feudalism. can apply this weapon, this type of organisation, in their
conditions too. The idea of Soviet organisation is a simple one, and is
applicable, not only to proletarian, but also to peasant feudal and
semi-feudal relations. Our experience in this respect is not as yet very
considerable. However, the debate in the commission, in which several
representatives from colonial countries participated, demonstrated
convincingly that the Communist International’s theses should point out
that peasants’ Soviets, Soviets of the exploited, are a weapon which can be
employed, not only in capitalist countries but also in countries with
pre-capitalist relations, and that it is the absolute duty of Communist
parties and of elements prepared to form Communist parties, everywhere to
conduct propaganda in favour of peasants’ Soviets or of working people’s
Soviets, this to include backward and colonial countries."

I don't know if Mao read this speech or not, but it certainly was reflected
in his deeds.

Louis Proyect

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