by Joseph Mackenzie, Revolutionary Initiative
Perhaps it is true that history moves in spirals, because it seems our present looks down on the era preceding the Paris Commune. The great revolutionary arch of the late 19th and 20th centuries has ended in objective and subjective conditions somewhat similar to its beginning. Nowhere does a revolutionary Communist movement hold state power. We have no International. The working classes and oppressed around the world are restive, but the number of genuine revolutionary Parties is dwarfed by the number of opportunists. The bourgeoisie are firmly entrenched in state power, yet nervous, haunted by specters, and adopting new forms of repression. On the other hand, we are at a higher level. We have the benefit of the experience of revolutionary movements that smashed bourgeois and semi-colonial semi-feudal state powers, built socialism, and fought the restoration of capitalism and the profound revolutionary theories that emerged from those experiences. The absolute and relative size of the proletariat is much larger and their consciousness higher: almost nowhere is open colonialism or dictatorships (even so-called nationalist ones) acceptable to the people. It is a time of rebellions and Peoples’ Wars. Both nightmares and optimism are justified.
Let’s state it plainly: if we are going to make a revolution in Canada then we need a qualitative leap in our revolutionary theory and practice. We need to build a conscious revolutionary vanguard capable of functioning as the militant representative of all oppressed peoples, establish a project of universal liberation that sinks deep roots into our society, and develop the strategy and tactics necessary to shatter the existing social order.
For that it happen, we need the insights found in Maoism. It’s not that Mao was a prophet or an individual of such super human intellect that he created a perfect theory for all places and all times that we just need to take up and apply to our local conditions. It would make our jobs much easier if that were the case (“here’s the Red Book, memorize it!”) but that would be a departure from the reality of history and materialist dialectics. Rather, it’s that Maoism represents a radical development of Marxism, a vital contribution to a living science of revolution, that we need to engage with if we are to understand where we are in relation to our monumental tasks and how to move forward.
This article will not be a general overview of the historical development of Marxism or introduction to Maoism, as there is already the overall useful (if rather linear and non-contradictory) introductions from India: “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Basic Course” and “Marxism – Leninism – Maoism Study Notes” or some of the material in RI’s How To Study, How To Think study guide. Rather, this article will focus on the certain aspects Maoism that are distinct (but not separate) from Marxism-Leninism and that are particularly important to grasp at the current stage of the Canadian revolution. Continue reading “A Single Spark Can Light a Candle: Maoism in Canada Today”