Toilers’ Struggle, after responding to requests and working to better translate and transcript the suggested works, is publishing these writings of the late Comrade Harbhajan Singh Sohi. More to come soon.
Hold Aloft the Invincible Banner of Mao Tse Tung Thought
Today, powerful forces have sprung from within the international communist movement to derail or deviate it from its established general line and principles. In this great trial of strength between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism, the battle around the estimation of Mao Tse Tung and Mao Tse Tung Thought is crucial. Feverish attempts are being made in categorical as well as veiled fashions by various opportunist quarters to denigrate the name and teachings of Comrade Mao Tse Tung. Confronted with this temporarily formidable opposite, the revolutionary aspect of the international communist movement is being compelled to develop and supersede it through struggle. The gradually increasing number of genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and groups who boldly come forward against heavy odds, in defence of the glorious revolutionary practice of Mao Tse Tung and Mao Tse Tung Thought, are manifestations of this phenomenon and a testimony to the inexhaustible vitality of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought.
Mao Tse Tung grasped and applied the science of dialectical materialism in a masterly fashion and, in the process, greatly enriched it. Carrying forward Lenin’s observation that the law of contradiction is the kernel of dialectics, Mao Tse Tung definitely formulated that the law of unity of opposites is the basic law of dialectics. Thus, he specified the inter-relationship of various laws of dialectics. Consistently upholding the principle of universality of contradiction, he applied it to socialist society and the communist party as well. Not only did he further develop the concept of two types of contradictions, i.e. antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions to be resolved by two different methods, but, more importantly, he explored the identity of these two opposites under certain conditions, and recognized that antagonistic and non–antagonistic contradictions undergo transformation into their opposites. Thus, he provided the theoretical framework for conceiving the political phenomena of formation and dissolution of a united front between different class forces, and of alternating periods of milder and more acute forms of struggle in the development of socialist society as well as in the communist party under varying conditions.
Applying it to socialist society, he propounded the theory of continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Applying it to the Communist party, he put forth the organizational concept of ‘struggle between two lines”in the Communist Party, interlinking inner-party struggle and class struggle in society.
In his analysis of the law of contradiction, Mao Tse Tung laid special emphasis on the study of particularity of contradiction and underlined its great importance for guiding the course of revolutionary practice. Exploring the problem of particularity of contradiction, he ascertained a new dimension of contradiction, representing in its particularity the unevenness of forces that are in contradiction, i.e., the uneven character of development of various contradictions, and more importantly, the mutual transformation into each other of the principal and non-principal ones.
Mao Tse Tung applied this comprehension of the particularity of contradiction to such pairs of opposites which were generally considered to be undergoing no change in the respective positions of their aspects, namely the productive forces and the relations of production, theory and practice, and the economic base and the superstructure. Mao Tse Tung observed that the productive forces, practice, and economic base generally play the principal role but in certain conditions the relations of production, theory and the superstructure in turn manifest themselves in the principal roles.
Thus, he restored the true spirit of dialectical materialist outlook in the international communist movement, at the time suffering from a mechanical materialist outlook in its viewpoint, particularly in questions related to construction of socialist society. This provided the ideological basis of the recognition of prime necessity of revolution in the superstructure after basically completing the socialist transformation of the economic base.The Great Proletarian Cultural revolution was the result.
Grasping the uneven and dynamic character of various contradictions in the process of development of a thing and that of the two aspects of a contradiction, Mao Tse Tung observed that although the fundamental essence of a process remains basically unchanged until the culmination of the process, marked changes have their distinctive characters or particularities representing, respectively, qualitatively different states of contradiction in their inter-relationship. Thus, he crystallized the concept of definite stages in a process of development of a thing. Mao Tse Tung’s comprehension of the phenomenon of definite stages in a process of development of a thing, that is, the law of quantitative changes leading to qualitative changes. In this connection, he ascertained that, in the process of development of a phenomenon, along with uninterrupted quantitative changes, many partial qualitative changes also take place before the final qualitative leap occurs.
Mao Tse Tung’s conceptual grasp of the law of contradiction in things, especially the uneven and dynamic character of contradiction, the possibility under certain conditions of mutual transformation of principal and non-principal aspects of a contradiction, of partial qualitative changes, etc. permeates all his important military concepts, which constitute the most developed form of proletarian military thought to date: the strategy and tactics of protracted people’s war. For instance, at a strategic plane, the concept of a revolutionary base area under people’s state power amidst the country-wide counter-revolutionary state power; and at a tactical plane, the concept of miniature counter-encirclements by the people’s armed forces within the overall encirclement by enemy forces, and the concept of ‘ten against one’ in tactical operations.
Mao Tse Tung, overall, integrated the universal truths of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the Chinese revolution. In grasping and solving the complex fundamental problems of national democratic revolution of semi-colonial and semi-feudal China and of its transition to socialist revolution.
Carrying forward the teachings of Lenin and Stalin on the colonial revolution, he dissected the native bourgeoisie, studied the characteristics of its segments, drew a clear cut demarcation between the big bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie, treating the former as a target and the latter as a former ally of the revolution in its first stage preceding the socialist stage; he concretely solved the peasant question by providing proletarian leadership to the agrarian revolutionary movement and relying on the peasantry as a main force in the national democratic revolution; he ensured the consummation of the national democratic revolution and the transition to the socialist revolution by charting out a course of maintaining the independence of the proletariat as a political force, forging the worker-peasant alliance under the leadership of the proletariat, establishing the hegemony of the proletariat over all the political forces engaged in the revolution, including the national bourgeoisie, thus making it a new democratic revolution in its political character.
Mao Tse Tung critically absorbed the first experience of the proletariat in building socialism in the USSR and the loss of proletarian state power there, and drew illuminating conclusions for steering the development of socialist revolution in China. He saw that “in the historical period of socialism, there are still classes, class contradictions and class struggle; there is the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road.” Hence, he brought forward the foremost position occupied by class contradictions in propelling social development throughout the historical period covered by socialist society, and laid down the cardinal precept that for properly appreciating and tackling problems of the development of socialist society, proletarian revolutionaries must proceed by taking class struggle as the key link. He stressed the great significance of thoroughgoing changes in the relations of production and the superstructure for greatly boosting the development of productive forces during periods of revolutionary transition of society. He pointed out that socialist society, being a long historical period of revolutionary transition, calls for unrelenting revolutionary effort to adapt the relations of production to the constantly emerging requirements of the development of productive forces, and to transform the superstructure to bring it in tune with the socialist economic base so as to consolidate and develop the latter. He further observed that every socialist transformation in the relations of production and the superstructure corrodes influence and power of the old exploiting classes and new bourgeois elements, which inspires ever more frantic resistance on their part. This class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie finds intense expression on the political front. Hence the paramount importance for political revolution. Mao pointed out that after the smashing of the bourgeois political resistance, the chief representatives of the bourgeoisie are found to be hiding within the communist party itself – the party persons in authority taking the capitalist road – against whom the sharp class struggle has to be directed. To achieve all-round socialist revolution in the ideological, political, and economic spheres, and to defend and consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat, Mao exhorted the proletarian revolutionaries to rely on the revolutionary masses of the people and revolutionary mass movements, bringing into full play their creative initiative and genius. The glorious decade of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, led by the proletarian revolutionaries headed by Mao Tse Tung, witnessed the practice and maturing of this theory of continuing revolution under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, marking a great leap forward in the revolutionary experience and achievements of the international proletariat.
We do not subscribe to the notion of infallibility of great revolutionary persons, for nor true Marxist does. Mao Tse Tung, like the other great teachers of the international proletariat – Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin – cannot be free of errors and inadequacies. But such errors and inadequacies, if noticed, are to be analyzed in a total and historical perspective, on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought and with the purpose of enriching it. Whosoever ventures to challenge the validity of Mao Tse Tung Thought as an inalienable part of Marxism-Leninism must come to grips with this ideological edifice as a whole, especially Mao’s contributions to Marxist philosophy.
– Harbhajan Singh Sohi
The Leadership of the Party of Labor of Albania’s Struggle against Mao Tse Tung Thought
The leadership of the Albanian Party of Labor has launched an attack on Mao Tse Tung Thought in a most irresponsible manner, without a real theoretical refutation of a single tenet of Mao Tse Tung Thought. Not only have they taken a 180 degree turn from their own previous estimation of Mao Tse Tung Thought and his teaching without any convincing explanation or self-criticism, but they have also resorted to gross misrepresentations of Mao Tse Tung’s views to suit the convenience of their attack. Apparently, they cross swords with Teng-Hua revisionist clique, but in actual fact they are proving of great help to it by conferring upon it the sought-after legitimacy as successors to the ideology and cause of Mao Tse Tung, causing confusion and diversion in the struggle of genuine Marxist-Leninists against this clique and complementing the latter’s sophisticated attempts to discredit Mao Tse Tung thought with their wanton attacks on it.
The shallow and unfair polemical stand of the leadership of the APL against Mao Tse Tung and Mao Tse Tung Thought at present is disappointing and quite out of character realizing its reputation as a principled and mature Marxist-Leninist Party which boldly withstood the tremendous pressures of modern revisionism under testing conditions in the sixties. The less said the better about the so many rag-tag organizations decked in Marxist´Leninist colours, gathering under the ‘protective umbrella’ of Albanian ‘centre’ and covering their political bankruptcy of Marxism Leninism with vociferous denunciations of Mao Tse Tung and Mao Tse Tung Thought. Their presumptuous conduct reminds one of a line of Mao poem: “Flies Lightly Conspire to Topple the Banyan Tree.”
The objectives of the Albanian leaders, in presenting a distorted version of Mao Tse Tung’s views and practice apart from their own metaphysical and mechanistic approach to the study of concrete contradictions of the present day world, are linked to their inability to grasp the dialectical materialist content of Mao Tse Tung Thought, especially Mao’s exposition and handling of the particularity of contradictions. They reiterate the basic contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, but fail to examine the various specific manifestations of this basic contradiction at various stages of its process of development, in the uneven accentuation of the four fundamental contradictions of the present world, and the changes in their inter-relationship. They reiterate the historically ripe situation for socialist revolutions in the developed capitalist countries of Europe, North America, Japan, etc. in the era of emergent proletarian revolution, and note the increasing social discontent and turmoil under the impact of the intensifying economic crisis of world imperialist system, but yet fail to examine these factors of the situation in connection with the state of development of conscious revolutionary factors, in other words, specific political situations. They reiterate the common, essential character of all imperialist forces and also emphasise struggle against the two particular imperialist superpowers, without laying bare the distinctive features of the latter. They reiterate the decisive significance of hegemony of the proletariat for successful consummation of national democratic revolutions but fail to recognize the peculiar form of its realization in an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution wherein the national bourgeoisie displays its incapability of leading the revolution through the end but retains, in some measure, revolutionary potentialities, while all the while the proletariat, establishing its credibility as the most staunch and consistent champion of national and democratic aspirations of the masses of the people by dint of the programme and practice of revolutionary struggle, strives to win over and carry along all those social forces whose revolutionary potentialities are not totally exhausted, such as the national bourgeoisie. They emphasise the revisionist nature and defection to capitalism of Soviet rulers and emphasise their military nature and great-power-hegemonic role. But, in both cases, they miss the specific state of development of a phenomenon and divert the Marxist Leninist attack from the relevant focus, and so on and so forth.
Despite the revolutionary phraseology of their documents and statements, and along with their ‘left’ opportunist positions regarding the orientation of the national democratic revolutionary movement in the East, the present situation and the tasks of proletarian revolutionary movements in the West, the practice of the Albanian leaders is also seriously right opportunist in its tendencies. For instance, their political stand on the developments in South East Asia. Criticism of revisionism from ‘left’ opportunist standpoint is by now a familiar experience for the communist revolutionary movement, especially of India. In the case of Albanian polemics, it seems, their bombast against the Teng-Hua clique and real attack on Mao Tse Tung Thought are both meant to service a smokescreen for their own retreat to right opportunist course of action. The leadership of the APL has facilitated the exposure of its own opportunism by it’s all out, contrived, spurious attack on Mao Tse Tung and Mao Tse Tung Thought. Hereafter, its capacity for causing confusion and disruption in the international Marxist-Leninist movement, especially the Asian contingents is, considerably reduced. Still, so long as the experience of the great reversal in China that occurred with the defeat of proletarian revolutionary line and forces after the death of Mao Tse Tung is not properly summed up and placed in the overall perspective of the zig zag course of transition from capitalism to communism, the negative approach to Mao Tse Tung’s revolutionary achievements in theory and practice shall sustain the traumatic effects of this historic event.
– Harbhajan Singh Sohi