Violence and Street Fighting: Who Says It Alienates the People? (Kasama Project)

[Part of our series on military strategy in imperialist countries.  Originally posted here.]

by Mike Ely

An anarchist wrote in a neighboring thread:

“i find it a little odd the way Marxists in the US always associate militant action with anarchists almost exclusively.”

That is a misunderstanding. I think you are talking to the wrong Marxists. The experience of the Maoist movement in the U.S. (to take just one example) is closely tied with many forms of militancy — starting with the Black Panther policies of armed self defense, and then also with the militant combativity of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). And denoucing militancy is (in my view) associated with very particular currents within the Left — whose strategic errors are closely tied up with those tactical views..

Learning and Practising Street-Fighting in 1968

Zengakuren 1967

While in high school, those of us attracted to SDS took classes at a local “Free University” in radical theory and the street fighting snake dances of the Japanese Zengakuren.

In Washington Square park squads of us practiced — using 5 foot cardboard tubing from the garment district — in how to unhorse “cossacks” sent against us. Over and over we would organize anti-imperialist feeder marches to the growing antiwar parades — and march in ranks through the main streets of Manhattan without permits, defying and confronting the cops. Continue reading “Violence and Street Fighting: Who Says It Alienates the People? (Kasama Project)”

Focoism vs. Peoples War: Problems of Exaggerated Universality (Kasama Project)

[Originally posted here.]

By Mike Ely

Tell No Lies posted a criticism of the article I wrote evaluating Che Guevara. And I think he gets at some important things.

Peru's Shining Path -- armed Maoist villagers, not special elites of "heroic guerrillas"

In this exchange, I hope to argue for  a few core ideas:

1) We should deepen our understanding of the importance of contrasting ideological and political line.

This means examining policies and ideas in terms of where they lead — toward what? Toward revolution and communism, or somewhere else?

Che was an important revolutionary figure who became a truly unique global symbol of armed struggle and internationalism. But we should pursue a critical evaluation of the LINE he represented as well.

2) We should embrace a deeper understanding of the mass line – the principle that revolution must be the act of the people themselves (and that a socialist revolution requires an embrace of communist organization and consciousness within a larger, active, emerging “revolutionary people” — an actual section of the people.)

3) We need a renewed materialist appreciation of particularity — the relative uniqueness of each moment and place. I.e. we need to be wary of that casual universalization of strategic ideas that often burdened previous generations of revolutionaries.

Continue reading “Focoism vs. Peoples War: Problems of Exaggerated Universality (Kasama Project)”

40 years of Philippine Society and Revolution

An interview with Comrade Jose Maria Sison (Amado Guerrero), by Ang Bayan.

It has been 40 years since the Central Publishing House of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) first published Philippine Society and Revolution (PSR). In the past 40 years, PSR has served as the CPP’s principal reference and guide in laying down the basic principles of the two-stage revolution in the Philippines based on the analysis of concrete conditions of the semicolonial and semifeudal system. To commemorate the anniversary of PSR and reaffirm the principles it laid down, Ang Bayan decided to interview Comrade Jose Ma. Sison who, as CPP founding chair Amado Guerrero, was the principal author of the PSR.

1. Can you relate to our readers certain historical facts about PSR? When did you start writing it? Who were involved in the research and writing? When was it first published and in what form? To your knowledge, how many times has the book been printed?

Jose Maria Sison (JMS): I wrote it soon after the launching of the people’s war and on the eve of the First Quarter Storm of 1970. I started writing and finished it in the third quarter of 1969. Some comrades in the EC/CC like Charlie del Rosario and Monico Atienza brought me the reference materials that I needed. When I finished the rough draft around August 1969, I gave it to Julie de Lima and other individuals and the members of the Central Committee to gather their suggestions and comments. Continue reading “40 years of Philippine Society and Revolution”

Sri Lanka: Lessons of the defeat of the Tamil Tigers

Sri Lanka: Lessons of the defeat of the Tamil Tigers

Tamil civilians held in concentration camps

[From A World To Win News Service]

The following article, originally entitled “The Liquidation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE): Lessons Paid In Blood”, was written by Comrade Surendra of the Ceylon Communist Party – Maoist. It was slightly edited for this publication.

The killing of the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Velupillai Pirapaharan, has brought an end to a stage in the development of the Tamil national liberation struggle. There are many crucial lessons to be learned from this experience, lessons paid in blood. It is imperative that we learn from them with a deep scientific perspective, if we are to charter the path of liberation for the people of Lanka.

Origins of the demand for a separate Tamil state

The demand for a separate state of Tamil Eelam arose in response to the Soulbury Constitution drafted by the British as a basis to transfer state power to its local lackey comprador capitalist ruling class before independence in 1948. This constitution was established upon the foundations of the Westminster system of parliamentary government, tried and tested in Britain for centuries as the most effective form of deceiving, dividing and ruling over the workers and oppressed masses and nationalities, while entrenching the state power of the capitalist ruling class. Parliamentary democracy functions as a way of deceiving the people to believe that they are sovereign in deciding their true political representatives, and thereby their life and future.

The truth is that this system deprives them of the political power to rule over their life and future. In effect, throughout the world, this system of government is designed to hide the dictatorship of the capitalist ruling classes. Under this system, the exploited and oppressed masses are compelled to choose between capitalist parties, who take turns in wielding state power in order to perpetuate the capitalist system and the exploitation and oppression upon which it is based.

Continue reading “Sri Lanka: Lessons of the defeat of the Tamil Tigers”

How Imperialists Fight: CPP Reviews COIN Strategy

US Counterinsurgency Guide 2009: Guide to imperialist intervention and aggression and counter-revolutionary war

Executive Committee-Central Committee, Communist Party of the Philippines

The US COIN Guide was issued by the US government in January 2009. It  presents US imperialism’s current official doctrine in fighting revolutionary armed struggle in colonial and semicolonial countries.

It is allegedly the product of summed-up experiences in implementing “counterinsurgency” in various parts of the globe for the past 40 years and was the result of collaborative efforts of nine US government agencies and/or offices led by the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Department of State.

The agencies involved in writing the US COIN Guide 2009 are the Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Department of The Treasury, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the US Agency for International Development.

Through the document, the US government speaks as a sole superpower and self-appointed international policeman. It unabashedly presents the various types and levels of interference and intervention, which are undertaken with or without the permission of the targeted subject of ‘assistance’ or client government, in the name of fighting “insurgency.”

US imperialism estimates that it is armed revolutions that pose major and growing threats to the US’ international power in the 21st century. With the crash of the international capitalist system in the Long Depression since 2008, the US anticipates the explosion of widespread people’s dissent, armed revolutions and upheavals. US planners also anticipate only a remote possibility that the US will be embroiled in a thoroughly conventional war against other governments in the immediate future.

Continue reading “How Imperialists Fight: CPP Reviews COIN Strategy”

Four main issues to be debated in the International Communist Movement

Revolutionary Initiative is reposting this piece from the (new) Communist Party of Italy [(n)PCI] for the significant questions and debates it raises concerning the reconstitution of genuine communist parties in the imperialist countries. The translation is not perfect, but none of its essentials points are lost in translation.

The (n)PCI has made some rather original contributions, if not creative developments, of MLM in the area of: (1) conceptualizing the nature of the state in the imperialist countries, which they refer to as the Preventive Counter-Revolutionary Regime; and (2) their understanding of Protracted People’s War, namely, its universal significance and its particularities as a strategy for revolution in the imperialist countries, which they refer to as Protracted Revolutionary People’s War..

This posting does not express an endorsement of the lines in this document, but rather an intention to more deeply explore the question of revolutionary strategy in the imperialist countries at a time when revolutionary communists are regrouping in the imperialist countries. The Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada / Parti Communiste Révolutionnaire (Canada) also upholds PPW as a strategy (click here and here for their documents on this debate) for the imperialist countries, but we believe that it is a rather distinct conception from the one upheld by the (n)PCI.

In unity and struggle, Revolutionary Initiative

Four main issues to be debated in the International Communist Movement
15 March 2010
(new) Communist Party of Italy

This document deals with:

1. The issues we think important for carrying out the struggle for getting a higher unity in the International Communist Movement,
2. Our positions about those issues,
3. The documents in common languages (English, French, Spanish) where our position are explained in a thorough way.

Issues about which to carry out the discussion

The issues about which we think it is necessary to carry out the discussion in the ICM are four:

1. The evaluation of the communist movement (first wave of proletarian revolution and first socialist countries, crisis of the communist movement and modern revisionism, new birth of the communist movement on the basis of Marxism Leninism Maoism);

2. The theory of the (first and second) general crisis of capitalism in imperialist epoch and the connected developing revolutionary situation;

3. The regime of preventive counter-revolution established by the bourgeoisie in the imperialist countries;

4. The strategy of the protracted revolutionary people’s war. Continue reading “Four main issues to be debated in the International Communist Movement”

Veteran Maoist Resigns from Communist Party of China

My declaration of withdrawal from the Party
A letter from July 19, 2001.

My name is Zhang Laushi, born in 1928 April to a common peasant family on Gaozhou Peninsula, Shandong Province. At age 14, as a youth brigade leader, I joined the war to resist Japanese aggression and in the mid of the Huihai campaign when I was 20, I joined the Chinese Communist Party.

It has been more than half a century now. In the eyes of today’s young generation, I also can be counted as an old revolutionary.

After the Huihai campaign, I again participated in the Cross Yangzi River Campaign (Against KMT forces). At that time I was a corporal. In the Anti-US-Help-Korea War, I served in the 68th Army as a communication corporal, got wounded, transferred to western Henan Province a mountainous county to be Director of Post and Telephone Department and Party Secretary. I held that post for 20 years and retired as a technical category cadre.

Several decades of life in revolution and war have allowed me to do a little work for the people and the Party. The Party and the people gave me more than a little honor. During the liberation war and the Korea War I have several times served with distinction and merit, received commendations and military medals which decorated my chest of my uniform. Even now I treasure my uniform of war, often taking it out to reminisce with deep emotion.

I say this not out of self satisfaction or self aggrandizement. Thinking of my comrades in arms, half of whom were sacrificed. Their lively faces still fresh in my eyes, getting stronger as time passes. Erbi, Anxum, Yuedi and there was another one we called Older Brother, were all lost to us forever in one minor action. The Huihai campaign was victorious, but our minor action in it was very tragic and our sacrifice huge. During the Korea War, in the Battle of Flying Tiger Mount, our unit became lost from division headquarters because of dense fog and headed for the wrong direction and suffered over 50% loss. I was wounded in that battle. Compared to the sacrificed comrades, I was much more fortunate. I have lived 50 some years longer than they. Compared to them, I feel ashamed that I was not together with them. What good fortune it would be to be with my life death comrades, to talk about our aspirations, our beliefs, our struggles. What else do I have to be self satisfied? I only regret that I contributed too little to the Party and the people, unworthy of the sacrifice of my departed comrades. So why Am I withdrawing from the Party? Continue reading “Veteran Maoist Resigns from Communist Party of China”

On Violence: Reactionary vs. Revolutionary

Street fighting in Paris, 1968

A statement of Revolutionary Initiative.

[Note: A Norwegian translation of this article by Serve The People is available here.]

Regardless of what people want, political violence is a factor in social and class struggle. Despite the fear mongering of the monopoly corporate media, almost all political violence is not carried out by black clad demonstrators, but by the state against the people. It is heaped upon proletarians on a daily basis, most especially the racialized, lower strata of the proletariat in the imperialist countries, and even more so upon the people of the colonial and neo-colonial nations living under the boot of imperialism. It should be no surprise then that the people forcefully defend their rights and sometimes engage in open fighting. Violence is a reality. The question is what form must revolutionary violence take?

Continue reading “On Violence: Reactionary vs. Revolutionary”