“All the revolutionary struggles in the world have the objective of taking and consolidating power.”
Summarizing the experiences of 100 years of working class struggle and world revolution, in 1948, Chairman Mao Tse-tung wrote:
“If there is to be a revolution, there must be a revolutionary Party. Without a revolutionary Party, without a revolutionary Party built on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and in Marxist Leninist revolutionary style, it is impossible to lead the working class and broad masses of the people to defeat imperialism and its running dogs. In the more than one hundred years since the birth of Marxism, it is only through the example of the Russian Bolsheviks in leading the October Revolution, in leading socialist construction and in defeating fascist aggression that revolutionary Parties of the new type were formed and developed in the world.
With the birth of revolutionary parties of this type, the face of the world revolution has changed. The change has been so great that transformations utterly inconceivable to people of the older generation have come into being through fire and thunder… With the birth of the Communist Party, the face of the Chinese revolution took on an altogether new aspect. Is this fact not clear enough?” (Mao Tse-tung, Selected Works, Vol IV p. 284. The highlights are by our Party)
Here we have condensed the question of the Party; its necessity and its construction as a Party of the new type which builds and gives precise direction to the world revolution and of each country as it functions for the working class and its emancipation.
There are three questions that need to be taken into account :
1) The necessity of the Party, which is the problem of taking power for the working class;
2) The building of the Party, which is the problem of its construction in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country in which the working class, and only it through its Party, can lead the democratic-national revolution; and
3) The internal struggle, which is the problem in which the Party develops itself in the midst of the struggle with two lines in its heart, struggle around which Party unity and cohesion are sustained.
These three questions demand that we take into account: first, Marxism in theory and practice, the experience of Marxism in the problem of Party building, the great teachings systematized by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Chairman Mao Tse-Tung; second, the building of the Party in our own country; and third, the current situation in which the building of the working class Party unfolds in our country.
MARXISM AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PARTY
In the midst of the nineteenth century, with the appearance of Marxism, the working class arose as a new class and the last one in history. With the Manifesto of the Communist Party the proletariat was furnished with the program which would take humanity towards a new world, to a Communist society, to a classless society. This is the program and the path which all must necessarily cross under the leadership of the proletariat materialized in its Party. There is no other path for the classes, there is no other path for humanity. World history easily proves this. The October revolution, the Chinese revolution and others, the rising national liberation movement, the persistent march of the international working class and its revolutionary parties are all part of this inevitable path. A path which in the coming 50 or 100 years will decisively develop in great earth shaking struggles, as Chairman Mao Tse-tung teaches.
MARX, ENGELS AND THE BUILDING OF THE PARTY
Marx and Engels founded the concept of the working class which is Marxism. They raised solid truths which we cannot abandon such as: the principle of class struggle to understand and transform the world; violence as the midwife of history; the dictatorship of the proletariat and the necessity of the revolutionary transformation of the old society through a long historical process, among others. But also, and at times it is not emphasized enough, Marx and Engels realized their thesis on the necessity of building the working class Party as an indispensable instrument to fight for its class interests. Thus, in the midst of arduous struggle against old anarchist concepts with a profoundly bourgeois essence, they were able to establish in the statutes of the International, in 1864 and 1872:
“In its struggle against the united power of the owning classes the proletariat cannot act as a class unless it constitutes itself into a political Party distinct and opposed to all the old political parties created by the owning classes.”
“This constitution of the proletariat into a political Party is indispensable to ensure the triumph of the social revolution and its ultimate goal: the abolition of the classes…”
“Given that the lords of the land and capital always use their political privileges to defend and perpetuate their economic monopolies and to subjugate labor, the conquest of political power has become the great duty of the proletariat.” (Marx and Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 23 P. 243)
Marx and Engels started from the idea that the workers themselves had to struggle for their own emancipation as a class, and that the economic emancipation of the proletariat is “the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means.” They proposed the need that the working class has in organizing itself as a political Party to struggle for its own class interests, to seize power and then, consequently, reach its goal, the realization of its historic objective: the abolition of classes and the building of a new society without exploiters or oppressors.
In the same manner they set forth that the working class organize itself “into a political Party distinct from, and opposed to, all the old political parties.” This is because the working class upon organizing itself into a political Party, does so taking as its sustenance its class consciousness: Marxism. Because it has its own program, which Marx and Engels set forth in the Manifesto, which makes Communists “point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality” and in which “the varying stages of development which the struggle of the working class and against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.” Constantly keeping hold of its class consciousness which can be summarized “in this single sentence: Abolition of private property.” (Marx and Engels, Vol. 6, pp. 497-498) In this manner they proposed the building of a “distinct and opposed” Party that would serve the class unity which the revolution demanded, or, in their own words:
“To ensure the success of the revolution, the unity of thought and action is necessary. The members of the international try to create this unity through propaganda, discussion and organization…”
In addition to the development of struggle in the Party of the proletariat they conceived the stage of revolution to be connected with other oppressed classes. Marx set forth that in Germany the working class revolution would depend on backing it “with a second edition of the peasant war,” while Engels maintained: “In an agrarian country, it is vulgar to rise up exclusively against the bourgeoisie in the name of the industrial proletariat without saying anything about the patriarchal ‘exploitation of the stick’ to which the rural workers are subjected to by the feudal nobility.” As such, Lenin would state:
“While in Germany the (bourgeois) democratic revolution was not finished, Marx focused all attention on what he referred to as the socialist proletariat’s tactic of pushing the peasant’s democratic energy.”
Finally, Marx and Engels carried out a great and intense struggle for the building of the proletariat’s Party. They invested long years in struggling against anarchism until converting Marxism into the recognized conception of the working class and in support of its political organization. Marx and Engels had to confront the machinations of Bakunin and his group who “covering themselves with the most extremist Marxism, did not direct their blows against the existing governments but against the revolutionaries who did not accept their orthodoxy and their leadership” and who “infiltrate the ranks of the organization… and at the beginning try to take over the leadership; and when their plan fails, they try to disrupt it”; who “organize… their small secret sects”; who “publicly attack in their newspapers all those elements who refuse to submit to their will”; and who “do not retreat before any means, before any disloyalty, lie, calumny, intimidation and betrayals which all serve them equally well.” (Marx and Engels, Vol. 23, P. 459) In summary, against anarchism which behind all its mascarades of high sounding radical leftism, hides its rightist essence and its economism which denies the class politics of the proletariat.Later, they carried out a struggle against rightist deviations and opportunism in the midst of the social-democratic parties, especially in Germany, because of its negations of class principles and with its bourgeois deformations of the political program. This, like the previous struggle, was carried out in defense of unity demanding that “we should have the courage to renounce immediate successes on the altar of more important things.” Teaching self-criticism and the serious judging of errors and what should be greatly highlighted, pointing out the root of the struggle and schism:
“As for the rest, in the past Hegel said that a Party showed its triumph by accepting and resisting schisms. The proletarian movement will necessarily go through diverse phases of development and in each one of these some people get stuck and no longer go forward. This is the only reason in which the practice of proletarian solidarity is carried out everywhere by different groups of the Party who struggle for life or death amongst themselves, like the Christian sects of the Roman empire during the period of the worst persecutions.”
These are fundamental questions which Marx and Engels taught us in relation to the necessity of the Party, its construction and development in struggle. This is a very important part of scientific socialism, of the very theory of the classic founders who many times are not remembered. If Marx and Engels had not raised these issues, their gigantic task would not have had reason or basis. But, as it is very necessary to reiterate, since its appearance the scientific conception of the working class, Marxism, set forth and resolved the problem of the Party. What has happened is that, as in other fields of Marxism, this revolutionary theory and practice on the necessity of the Party, its construction and the struggle of two lines within it, has been developed, synthesizing the later great experiences of the international working class, efforts which have been accomplished at a global level by Lenin and Chairman Mao.
LENIN AND THE BUILDING OF A NEW TYPE OF PARTY
The twentieth century brought us imperialism as the last and highest phase of capitalism. Lenin reestablished the old revolutionary theories of Marx and Engels, which the old revisionists had tried to destroy, and elevated them to the level of Marxism-Leninism. What implications does this development of Marxism have for the construction of the proletariat’s Party? Lenin, conscious that they had reached the stage of seizing power and of the dictatorship of the proletariat, repeated the necessity of the Party to transform society. His great point is shown:
“Give us an organization of revolutionaries and we’ll shake Russia to its foundations.”
For Lenin, to change the world requires a Party and this has a program which, according to his own words, “consists of the organization of the proletariat’s class struggle and the leadership of this struggle whose final objective is the conquest of political power for the proletariat and the organization of socialist society.”
Understanding, like no one else in his time, the necessity of the organization of the proletariat in whose organization their strength resides, Lenin set forth the following principle which no Communist can forget:
“The Proletariat, in its struggle for power, has no weapon other than organization. The proletariat, disunited by anarchic competition within the bourgeois world, crushed by forced labor at the service of capital, constantly thrown in the abyss of the most complete misery, brutality and degeneration, can only become, and will inevitably become, an invincible force when its ideological union by means of Marxist principles secures itself through the organization’s material unity, which gives cohesion to the millions of workers in the army of the working class. Before this army neither the decrepit power of the Russian aristocracy nor the decaying power of international capitalism will be able to sustain itself. Each day this army will extend its ranks farther, despite all the zigzags and steps backwards, despite the opportunist phrases of the puppets of contemporary social democracy, despite the fatuous eulogies of the backward circular spirit, despite the tinsel and the intellectual’s own anarchist bankruptcy.” (Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 7, p. 415)
We Communist and revolutionary Peruvians must pay attention to these words which are today more precious than ever. In them we reiterate: In the first place, the struggle for power demands the organization of the proletariat, and its importance is such that it composes its only weapon. In the second place, despite all the difficulties imposed by exploitation, if it takes Marxism as its guide and base of ideological unity and solidifies it by tightening their ranks in organization, the proletariat will be invincible. In the third place, against the organized army of the proletariat the reactionary power will be unable to stay in power in any country nor will imperialism or social imperialism on a global level. In the fourth place, the organized working class will close its ranks more and more against the sinister plots of contemporary revisionism, advancing despite the evidently decrepit group and sectarian spirit, and will march on despite the organizational renunciation and the declamatory verbiage of the “intellectual’s own anarchism.”
In that manner Lenin set forth the problem of the construction of the Party, of its necessity and development in struggle and of its ideological, political and organizational construction.
But this is not all. In One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, Lenin set forth the organizational theories of the Party, whose majestic summary we take from the old and great History of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of the USSR by Stalin, pp. 48-49.
1) The Party is a military detachment of the working class, a part of it. But it is a vanguard detachment which goes ahead, which leads. It is a conscious detachment who knows the laws of the revolutionary process, and it is a Marxist detachment which firmly sustains itself in the working classes’ revolutionary conception.
2) The Party is an organized detachment, it is a system of organizations which “as a vanguard detachment of the working class, combines the maximum organization possible and only brings within it those elements who admit, at least, a minimal level of organization” for which it has its own obligatory discipline for all its members.
3) The Party is the proletariat’s “highest form of organization” called on to lead the other class organizations for which goal it counts on being composed of the best children of the class (steeped in Marxism, learned in the laws of the class struggle), and with their own experience and that of the global working class.
4) “The Party is the incarnation of the ties that unite the vanguard detachment of the working class with the masses.” As such, it will not live or develop separated from the masses and, on the contrary, its life and development demand that it “multiply its links with the masses and win the masses’ trust.”
5) The Party should be organized along the principle of democratic centralism, with single statutes and with an equal discipline for all and “with a single leadership organ at its head, to be known as the Party congress. And in the intervals between the congress and the central committee’s congress, with the submission of the minority to the majority, of the district organizations to the central organisms, and of the inferior organizations to the superior.”
6) To maintain unity in its ranks the Party requires a single discipline applicable to all, a unity which demands great attention because, as Stalin would say, “Comrade Lenin gave us the legacy to care for the unity of the Party like children care for their eyes.”
This thesis and the previous ones we should bear in mind as Communists and Peruvian revolutionaries, since all of them are vital. Another problem of extraordinary importance discussed by Lenin is that of clandestinity, a question which amongst ourselves is confused with hiding, with ostrich policies. Lenin set forth the need for a clandestine Party as a system of highly centralized organizations with the goal of being able to constantly count on, in all circumstances, with a “high command” capable of leading the revolution, maintaining its flags and sticking by them despite repression and persecution. Thus clandestinity serves so that the Party becomes a “war machine” which will indomitably persevere until accomplishing its goal of taking power in order to change the world without ever separating itself from the masses. Due to the necessities of the very struggle in our country we should highlight some points on this complex problem. Here it is particularly important to have a clear idea of what the art of conspiratorial organization consists of. Lenin, in his own words, in Letter To a Comrade On Our Organizational Tasks, a booklet which is cited but whose principles are not understood much less applied, tells us:
“All art of conspiratorial organization should consist of knowing how to use everything and everyone, to give ‘work for everyone’ and at the same time maintain the leadership of the entire movement, not by the force of power it must be understood, but by authority, energy, greater experience and variety of knowledge and talent.” (Lenin, Vol. 6, p.240)
In the same booklet, against those who understand clandestinity as something rigid and mechanical, Lenin states:
“Besides, the level of clandestinity and the organic form of the diverse circles will depend on the nature of its functions. As such it follows that the forms of organization shall be the most varied depending on the type of organization, from the ‘strictest’ tight and closed to the ‘freest’ broad, open and with little structure.” (Lenin, Vol. 6, p. 245)
We consider this question to be of the utmost importance for our current revolutionary situation as there is, we reiterate, too much mechanical and non-dialectical thought in considering these problems. Lenin’s theories regarding clandestine work are further set forth in The Clandestine Party and Legal Work:
“The problem of the clandestine Party and the legal work of social democracy within Russia is one of the Party’s principal problems. It occupies the attention of the P.O.S.D.R. during the entire period following the revolution (he refers to 1905) and has given place to the most violent struggle within its ranks.”
“It is around this problem that the struggle of the liquidationists against the anti-liquidationists has developed… The December 1908 conference… focused with clarity on a special resolution, the Party’s criterion on organizational questions: the Party is composed of clandestine social democratic cells who should create ‘points of support for work amongst the masses’ in the form of a net, as broad and branched off as possible, of legal workers’ societies.” (Lenin, Vol. 18 p. 386)
And highlighting the relations between legal and clandestine work:
“The main conclusion of the appreciation which our Party has at the moment is that Revolution is necessary and getting closer. The forms of development which lead to revolution have changed, but the old tasks of the revolution continue to stand. From there we draw the following conclusions: the forms of organization should change, the ‘cells’ should adopt flexible forms in such a manner that their expansion will not occur at the expense of the cells themselves but rather of their legal ‘periphery’, etc.”
“But this change of form of the clandestine organization has nothing to do with the formula of ‘accommodating’ the legal movement. It is something completely different! The legal organizations are the points of support which allow taking to the masses the ideas of clandestine cells. That is to say that we modify the form of influence to the objective of which the prior influences continue in the sense of clandestine orientation.”
“By the form of the organizations the clandestine ‘accommodates itself’ to the legal. By the content of our Party’s work, legal work will ‘accommodate itself’ to the clandestine ideas.” (Lenin, Vol. 18, p. 392)
“The social democratic Party is clandestine ‘in its entirety,’ in each one of its cells and, what is of greatest substance, by the entire content of its work which proposes and prepares for the revolution. Because of this, the most open work of the most open cells cannot be had as the ‘open work of the Party.'” (Lenin, Vol. 18, p. 393-4)
This citation is lengthy but we consider it to be of great importance for all revolutionary work in our country and it deserves special attention as does the preceding on clandestine work.
In our country it is common to think that clandestine work separates us from the masses. But we shall recall what Lenin said with regard to this:
“But Sverdlov, this always professional revolutionary, did not become separated from the masses for even a moment. When the conditions of czarism condemned him to carry out exclusively illegal and clandestine activities, like it did to all revolutionaries of his time, Comrade Sverdlov also knew how to always march shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand with the vanguard workers under these conditions.” (Lenin, Vol. 29, p. 91)
These are Lenin’s fundamental theories which we should keep in mind in the building and development of the proletariat’s Party and correctly apply them in the reconstitution of Mariategui’s Party.
To conclude, it is sufficient to recall that these principles of the building of the revolutionary Party of the proletariat, of the Bolshevik Party, of the Party capable of taking power, did not fall out of the sky but were established in the midst of a great and hard struggle against the Mensheviks, the right opportunism of the time in Russia. Besides carrying out the struggle for the Party’s organizational principles Lenin had to do so with a precise background: a right opportunist political line. It was from there that he wisely concluded that problems of organization would not change in 24 hours nor in 24 months. To finish, we recall that Lenin established that the parties advance in the midst of struggle, almost always under enemy fire. In his own words:
“We march together, arms linked, united, as a small group along a steep and difficult path. We are surrounded by enemies on all sides and must almost always march under fire. We have united ourselves by virtue of a freely adopted decision, precisely to struggle against enemies and not fall or stumble into the neighboring swamp whose dwellers criticize us from the beginning that we separated ourselves into another group and that we have chosen the path of struggle and not conciliation.” (Lenin, Vol. 5, p. 355)
Are those theories of Lenin not important for us? Should not we revolutionaries and Communists really adhere to them? Are we doing it like we should? It is now time to set aside complacency and seriously judge our revolutionary reality.
MAO TSE-TUNG AND THE BUILDING OF THE PARTY IN THE SEMIFEUDAL AND SEMICOLONIAL COUNTRIES.
To conclude our topic, Marxism and the building of the Party, we will use Chairman Mao Tse-Tung’s thesis on the necessity of the Party, its construction and the struggle in its midst. In this article’s initial citation we precisely quoted his thesis on the necessity of the Party. It would be pointless to repeat it.
Going on to the problem of the party’s construction we start out by noting that in Problems of War and Strategy, Chairman Mao sets forth the construct based on the universal principle of revolutionary violence. Thus he teaches us:
“The central task and the highest form of all revolution is the seizure of power by means of the armed struggle. That is to say, the solution of the problem by means of war. This revolutionary Marxist-Leninist principle has universal validity in China as well as in other countries.” (Mao, Vol. 2, p. 219)
Starting out from this Marxist-Leninist principle and differentiating between the revolution in the capitalist countries and in China, he established in the same work:
“In China the main form of struggle is war and the main form of organization is the army. All the other forms, such as the organizations and struggles of the popular masses are also very important and absolutely indispensable, and by no means should they be left aside. The goal of all these is to serve the war: before the outbreak of a war all the organizations and struggles have the duty of preparing for it,… After the outbreak of a war, all the organizations and struggles coordinate themselves in a direct or indirect manner with the war.” (Mao, Vol. 2, 221)
Developing the problem of the building of the Party, Chairman Mao Tse-Tung in Concerning the Appearance of ‘The Communist’ Magazine sets forth and resolves fundamental problems. There he sets forth that, in the first place, the Communist Party of China carried out great and numerous struggles in which it forged its militants, its cadres and its organizations, which obtained great victories and also suffered serious defeats. And to understand the laws of the Party’s development requires an analysis of its own history and extracting from it the solution to its problems of construction.
In the second place, in the judgment of his own Party in its relations with the bourgeoisie and its relations with the united front and the armed struggle, he establishes the following great thesis:
“Through these complicated relations with the Chinese bourgeoisie the Chinese revolution and the Communist Party of China has developed. This is a historical particularity, a characteristic of the development of revolutions in the colonies or semi colonies, a characteristic absent in history of revolution in any capitalist country.” (Mao, Vol. 2, p. 286-7)
This question is basic for we Communists and Peruvian revolutionaries as our society is also semicolonial and semi-feudal from which it is derived that our revolution will also be bourgeois-democratic just like the first stage of the Chinese revolution, and in which, in consequence, “The principal target of the revolution shall be imperialism and feudalism.”
In the third place, the Chinese revolution presents two particularities, in Chairman Mao’s own words:
“Thus, the formation by the proletariat into a revolutionary national united front with the bourgeoisie or the forced rupture of this front in the first place, and the armed struggle as the principle form of the revolution in the second place, have become the two fundamental particularities in the course of the democratic-bourgeois revolution in China.”
In the fourth place, the preceding emphasizes that the building and development of the Communist Party of China cannot be understood on the margin of these two particularities which are basic questions of the democratic revolution’s political line. The same great leader teaches us:
“The defeats and successes of the Party, its retreats or advances, the reduction or growth of its ranks, its development and consolidation cannot stop being linked by the Party’s relationship with the bourgeoisie and with the armed struggle. When the political line firmly resolves the questions of establishing a united front with the bourgeoisie or of the forced rupture of said united front, the Party takes a step forward… In the same manner when the Party approaches the armed revolutionary struggle in a correct form it takes a step forward… The course of the Party’s construction and its Bolshevikization has thus been tightly linked to its political line, to its correct or erroneous resolution of the united front and armed struggle questions.”
In the fifth place, it unfastens the problem from a direction set in the Chinese revolution. In the cited writing the following thesis should make us think very seriously to see to what extent we are on the correct path:
“The united front, the armed struggle and the construction of the Party thus constitute three fundamental questions of our Party in the Chinese revolution. A correct understanding of these three questions and of its mutual relations then signifies an accurate direction for the entire Chinese revolution.”
And finally, marking out the role of the Party he states:
“Experience… shows us that the united front and the armed struggle are the two basic weapons by which to overcome the enemy. The united front is a front united to maintain the armed struggle. And of the Party’s organizations it is the heroic combatants who wield these two weapons–the united front and the armed struggle–to assault and destroy the enemy’s positions. Such is the mutual relationship existing between these three factors.” (Mao, Vol. 2, p. 295)
It is here, to our understanding of the ideological and political basis of the construction of the Party in a semicolonial and semifeudal country which was established by Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, that the importance of these questions cannot be obliquely slanted in any manner. Because as he himself teaches us: “the ideological and political basis must be correct, that not will decide everything.”
It is on this ideological and political base that Chairman Mao Tse-tung rests his plan of the Party’s organizational construction, of its tactics and principles of struggle. This problem is set forth in point 6 of his article Audaciously Expand the Anti-Japanese Forces (Volume II, Page 425). We shall analyze the problem. In the first place, it establishes the policy of organizational construction in the areas dominated by reaction:
“In the beginning (the dominated ones), our policy is to maintain the Party’s organization clandestinely and make it compact, selective and efficient. To remain underground for a long period, accumulate forces and await the correct moment and not precipitate or expose ourselves.”
In the second place, he establishes the tactical principle that should guide:
“In accordance with the principle of struggling with reason, advantage and without overextending oneself, our tactic in the struggle against the recalcitrants is to fight on secure terrain and accumulate forces utilizing everything that is allowed by the laws and decrees of the Kuomintang and social customs.”
In the third place, he establishes the penetration of the reactionary organization and the work of revolutionaries within the same.
In the fourth place, he states the basic policy:
“In all the areas dominated by the Kuomintang, the Party’s basic policy equally consists of developing progressive forces (the organizations of the Party and mass movements), win over the intermediate forces (national bourgeoisie, sincere shensi, ‘heterogeneous’ troops, intermediate sectors of the Kuomintang, the intermediate sectors of the central army, the upper level of the petty bourgeoisie and the minority political groups and parties (a total of seven categories)) and isolate the recalcitrant forces with the goal of overcoming the danger of capitulation and being able to change the situation.”
In the fifth place, he points out the need to prepare for contingencies:
“At the same time, we should be plainly prepared to confront any emergency situation at the local or national level.”
In the sixth place, he highlights clandestinity:
“The Party organizations in the Kuomintang zones should keep themselves in the strictest clandestinity.”
In the seventh place, he emphasizes the scrutiny of the committee members:
“In the southeast bureau and in all the special, provincial, district or territorial committees, each one of the staff members (from the Party secretaries to the cooks) should be subjected to a severe and minute scrutiny. It is absolutely impermissible that any person susceptible to the slightest suspicion remain in these leading organisms.”
“Much care should be given to the protection of our cadres.”
All of these are true and valuable instructions on the Party’s struggle and organizational life.
As to the internal struggle, it is worth remembering that it was precisely Chairman Mao Tse-Tung who has magnificently developed the understanding of the struggle within the Party as a reflection of the contradictions of the class struggle and between the old and the new in the social world. More so, he proposes that the struggle within the Party is the struggle between two lines which covers its entire process of development and if such contradictions and struggles did not take place “the life of the Party would end.” In the same manner, he is the one who, for the correct development of the struggle within the Party proposed the thesis of “learning lessons from past errors to avoid them in the future and to treat the illness to save the patient.” Today more than ever we must apply this great theory, remembering its content: “We must put into the open without consideration for anyone, all the errors committed and analyze and criticize in a scientific manner all the bad in the past so that in the future, work will be carried out better and more carefully.” That is what he means by “learn lessons from past errors to avoid them in the future.” But, in denouncing errors and criticizing defects, we do it in the same way as a doctor treating a patient with the sole goal of saving the patient, not killing him.
Chairman Mao has summarized the great historic experience of the CPC as to the two line struggle, with the following words: “We must practice Marxism and not revisionism, unite and not divide ourselves, be frank and honest and not foment intrigues or machinations.” We subject ourselves to this great lesson. Nevertheless, we must never lose vigilance, as he himself taught in 1964: “We must be alert against those who foment intrigues and machinations. For example, Kao Kang, Yao Shu Shi, Peng Te-Huai, Huang Keching and others have appeared in the central committee. Everything divides into two. Some devote themselves to creating intrigue. What are we going to do if they want to act like that? Even now there are people disposed to plot. That conspirators exist is an objective fact and not a question of whether we like it or not.”
But what is the struggle within the Party for? In the end it is to maintain unity and persist in Marxism, to reject schisms and repudiate revisionism because, as he himself teaches us, unity is raised over struggle and is relative while the other is absolute. Thus, in consequence, the struggle is to maintain the unity within Marxism, since unity is important. “The internal unity of the Party and the unity between the Party and the people are two weapons of incalculable value to overcome difficulties. All Party comrades should appreciate them.”
Here then are Chairman Mao’s substantive theories on the necessity of the Party, its construction and the struggle within it. We should study them because they are decisive in guiding the construction of the proletariat’s Party in our country.
With the foregoing, we have set forth what to our understanding are the basic themes of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Chairman Mao, on these questions which we, as we said, consider to be crucial in the construction of the Party in our actual situation: the necessity of the Party, the theory of its construction (in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country) and the struggle between two lines within it. We maintain that the problem of the construction of the Party of the proletariat does not receive the attention it deserves and does not appreciate the complexity or the importance of such a question. We have returned to re-summarizing the fundamental theories of Marxism on the construction of the Party, at risk of reiterating things already known, for the simple reason that only by truly absorbing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism will we have a correct guide, to fuse its principles with our reality, as Mariategui would show us.
Bandera Roja, No. 46 August 1976.