More Debate over Maoism vs. Jihadism

red starMaz calls attention to the following essay written by "A Circle of Revolutionaries in Canada." It was originally posted on the Maoist Revolution List. It adds to the earlier discussion we have already over Maoism vs. Jihadism.

I thought the following passage (which is the closing of this essay) have general importance (including to the discussion of Obama happening on our other threads.)

The point, it hardly needs to be stated, isn’t that people can’t get free, but rather that it is not just any spontaneous random ideology that can free them.

As for some of the other criticisms, were unsure if they result from a genuine confusion of what we wrote or if they’re deliberately distortive. For the most part we’ll give people the benefit of the doubt. But to clarify: No one in this debate has suggested, as far as we’ve seen, that resistance to imperialism is wrong. That is a lie. Our disagreement rather, is with the panegyrical attitude some comrades have taken to the current leadership of some of the movements resisting. This line, as we explained in our article, especially point #6, is rooted in an economist outlook that downplays the importance of line and consciousness. The problem, as we see it, is that a failure to correctly explain the contradictory nature of the resistance to people will only lead to confusion, disorientation, and demoralization down the road. Here we are especially thinking of Ganapathy’s insistence that the Islamist forces are progressive. A quick reality check is in order: sometimes just causes are subverted to serve reactionary ends. This is nothing new.

To go off on a little tangent, and at the risk of sounding trite, we’d like to recall a scene from the film Million Dollar Baby, in part about a woman boxer’s (Maggie, played by Hillary Swank) rise through the ranks and her relationship with her trainer (Frankie, played by Clint Eastwood). In one scene, Maggie is getting beat in the late rounds of one of her first bouts. Sitting between rounds, she asks Frankie why she’s losing. Frankie responds pithily: Cause she’s a better fighter than you, that’s why….Now, what are you gonna do about it? Maggie then proceeds to get up and knock out the other fighter. Of course, Maggie knew that her old skills weren’t working, and that she was going to have to adjust her game and get real better real fast if she was going to win that fight.

We live in a time when even the possibility of universal emancipation is being questioned, where we’re being outmaneouvered by various political tendencies, and where we’re currently very weak, and other forces are very strong. The suggestion is even made that we should get behind whatever is out there now, or become legitimate targets ourselves. In short, it’s a nasty fight, and we’re behind on points. Now, what are we gonna do about it?

People in this conversation

  • Guest - Joseph Ball

    “If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle unless you set about the organisation of the socialist republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her finances, through the whole array of commercial and individual institutions she has planted in the country.” (Socialism and Nationalism, p25)

    Yes, but if you did nothing to kick the English out and just kept telling Irish people how desirable socialism was and tried to sell them left-wing literature you wouldn't achieve anything either.

    I would ask the Canadian comrades-if you don't thing the contradiction betweeen imperialism and the oppressed peoples of the world is the principal contradiction, what is? Are they seriously saying that the contradiction between the US and feudal Fundamentalist reactionaries is the principal contradiction in the world? What would be the scientific basis for this? 70% of the Islamists in the world are fellow-travellers with US imperialism anyway.

    I really don't know where this bizarre McWorld vs. Jihad line has sprung from. Frankly, it is seems very shallow and ill-thought out.

  • Guest - LikeARainbow

    I think that there is value in pointing out the way in which US Imperialist policy may fan the flames of Islamic fundamentalism--but this is such a simplistic view if you don't include different degrees of 'Islamist' fervor, the political situations of different groups and different countries, alliances with US Imperialism, etc.

    How did the McWorld/Jihad line arise to such importance that it is published as a gem, stand-alone, in Revolution--almost weekly? Isn't the phrase a reference to a book of a similar title? Which writing of Avakian's expounds on this theory, if anyone can recall?

    Oops, sorry--it is from: the talk, “Why We’re in the Situation We’re in Today… And What to Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution”. Hmm...

  • I think there may not be a "principal contradiction."

    There have been times when there were clearly major contradictions that overall defined world events.

    Clearly (imho) in the midst of both world wars -- the contradiction between the imperialist powers shaped dynamics on a world scale.
    In many ways from 1950-1970, the unfolding of the anticolonial struggles (and the aftershocks of the breakdowns of the european empires) was very powerful and a "storm center" of struggle.

    But who says that in the world as a whole, in the blizzard of interconnected contradictions there is always one thing defining the others?

    And what is this "imperialism vs. the oppressed people of the world"? where is it expressed as a contradiction? Clearly in a number of public moods, sentiments, and political movements. But is that really DEFINING AND SHAPING the OTHER contradictions of the world (the inter-imperialist one? for example).

    I think the idea that there are only three (or sometimes four) main contradictions in the world, and the assumption that ONE OF THEM MUST BE a "principal contradiction" is a formula lifted from a time almost half a century ago when that was true. The world is much changed, and first we have to ask if this framework of analysis even applies anymore. And if so, how.

    I don't see it.

  • Guest - Maz

    Joseph Ball asks about the Canadians: "Are they seriously saying that the contradiction between the US and feudal Fundamentalist reactionaries is the principal contradiction in the world?"

    It sure doesn't seem like it. From where are you drawing this?

    Some people have come under the wrong impression that this debate has been two-sided, with one side represented by the Sunsara Taylor/RCP line. This has been implied by some of the summations, like the WPRM(Britain) documents. But any real look at the debate will reveal that there's a whole lot more going on, lots of different approaches that reflect the many different trends in the world movement. It's worth keeping in mind, rather than crudely lumping together clearly different lines.

  • I want to underscore Maz's point that the supporters of the McWorld vs. Jihad analysis (including specifically the RCP) don't assume that this is the "principal contradiction on a world scale."

    In fact the RCP has generally held (since the fall of the soviet union) that there is no principal contradiction in any clear way, and that the world is in "a period of transition with the potential for great upheaval."

    What I have observed is that there is in some cases (not universally) a method in play that follows this logic (though often as <em>unspoken</em> assumptions):

    1) Mao said there are four main contradictions on a world scale (proletariat-bourgeois, oppressed countries-imperialism, inter-imperialist, and socialism-imperialism).
    2) The fourth contradiction doesn't exist (since there are no socialist countries).
    3) The contradiction between Jihadist and U.S. imperialism can't be an example of prol-bourgeois contradiction, it is not interimperialist, therefore it must (simply) be a manifestation of the "oppressedcountries-imp."

    This assumes that what Mao said (decades ago) still defines the main contradictions today. It assumes that ANY new phenomenon in the world MUST (somehow) fit into one of these four. And so on.

    But why couldn't we have a major contradiction erupt that is NOT one of those four contradictions. And I believe that, in fact, contradictions between various comprador or bureaucratic-capitalist forces and existing imperialist powers have become quite acute again -- and are not necessarily (or simply or mainly) a manifestation of one of those four.

    If anyone wants to argue that ANY contradiction between bureaucrat capitalist forces in the third world (say Iranian mullahs, or Saddam Hussein, or Kim Jung Il) MUST be (inherently) part of the "oppressedcountries-imperialism" contradiction -- then they have shortcircuited the need for living analysis by solving it through "a priori" assertion.

    This casual identification of the bureaucratic-capitalist governments with the interests of oppressed nations (the very nations they plunder and pimp) is an error with a long history.
    I think we need to criticize and avoid these methods:</strong>

    We cannot and should not assume that important analyses by previous communists are either automatically correct OR automatically applicable in todays world. We need to critically build on the analyses (and especially the method, not just the verdicts) that were developed in the past.

    Mao said "Study critically, test independently." I think there is a lot to learn there.

    We can't START our investigations by erecting a set array of boxes (silos of models drawn from the past), and then assume that every new shell we find on the beach "must" fit into one or another of the "types" we have posited. That is a method of taxonomy, not living materialist analysis of dynamic contradictions. It ignores that new things happen in the world. It ignores that complex things often don't "fit" into simple boxes. And it ignores that all distinctions in nature and society are relative and conditional (i.e. there are gray areas, intermediate "types," exceptions to the rules etc.)

    This is the whole problem with the RCP's <a href="/" rel="nofollow">very apriori insistence</a> on "two types of countries, two roads."

    If we go back to the late twenties (the "third period" of the comintern) communists were told that there was one road (the October road) for ALL countries -- Mao (looking deeply into China's realities) thought that was dogmatic madness, and then carved a very different and distinctive path to revolution (full of stages and substages).

    Now we have people who look at that experience and say "Ok, Mao proved that there should be TWO roads in our worldview, not just one." Is that really the lesson to draw from Mao? Are such people applying Mao's method, or the dogmatic method of the <a href="/" rel="nofollow">"28 1/2 Bolsheviks."</a>

    In fact, each revolution (and the particularities of time and place) will imho carve out shockingly distinctive "roads" in each country that has a successful revolution (by the very nature of reality, revolution and the transition to communism.) And there are rather clearly not only two types of countries, or two roads posed by the diversity and complexity of countries today. (Do we really have to decide "is china imperialist or not?" It both exports capital in huge amounts, and yet the people there are heavily exploited by the foreign capital. Shouldn't we start with a living description, not by trying to apply one-or-another pre-existing category?)

    And it is the problem with the method of "there are three main contradictions on a world scale, and one of them MUST BE the principal one." Who says? How do we know that?

    It is also the problem with the argument that (almost this crudely) says "Mao once said 'revolution is the main trend in the world today,' and that the third world is the stormcenter of the worlds revolution, and what was true for him must be true for us." The idea that "revolution is the main trend" is so contrary to reality, that those who assert it (wisely) avoid any attempt to analyze the world around us -- but argue through assertions of orthodoxy.

  • Guest - Joseph Ball

    An invasion of an oppressed nation is not simply a contradiction between the 'bureaucratic-comprador class' running the country at the time (if such it be) and imperialism. It is an attack on the whole people of the country as the devastation and chaos in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon at the time of the Israeli invasion of 2006 and Somalia shows.

    Therefore, if the US is on the strategic offensive and is invading oppressed nations or encouraging its proxies and puppets to do so then this is good evidence that this is the major contradiction in the world.

    Of course inter-imperialist rivalry could be another contender
    for the main world contradiction but I think this it is actually secondary. After all, was the conflict between Russia and the US over the Iraqi invasion in any sense a determining factor? I see no real evidence of this, although I accept it was a real conflict between these two powers.

    On the 'what is an oppressed nation?' question-people have got very excited about the prospect of China and India becoming economic super-powers. Particularly in the case of the latter I think this is rather overdone. The former may be on stronger ground but the Americans do have ways of dealing with those that threaten their dominance-look at Japan's long-term declining role.

    Exporting capital on its own does not make a country imperialist, as otherwise Senegal would be imperialist because some of its citizens run bars in Gambia. The question is who dominates the world financial system and who benefits? I'm sure the Americans are very glad that the Chinese are so willing to prop up their trade deficit with all those low interest paying treasury bills. However, more recent moves by the Chinese to actually make some money on their foreign investments and accumulate a bit seem to be running into resistance.

    We here a lot about the need to 'Make It New!' when it comes to Marxism. However, you have to have good reasons for discarding the old first. Many people discard the old because they have swallowed distorted bourgeois accounts of the history and practice of communism. The 'new thing' they create then ends up being a re-tread of revisionism, Euro-communism, trotskyism, anarchism etc.

  • Joseph writes:

    <blockquote>"An invasion of an oppressed nation is not simply a contradiction between the ‘bureaucratic-comprador class’ running the country at the time (if such it be) and imperialism. It is an attack on the whole people of the country as the devastation and chaos in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon at the time of the Israeli invasion of 2006 and Somalia shows."</blockquote>

    Here is a method where you can "know" about myriad situations without studying any of them. The nature of "an invasion" is determined on a universal basis -- you can predict (using Joseph's version of Marxism) the nature of future invasions (before they even happen), and deduce what people should do.

    And the logic is that we can also deduce what stand communists should take toward various forces opposing the U.S. -- independent of the actual conditions, history, dynamics etc of the country, the region, that moment in time.

    I think this is the opposite of "concrete analysis of concrete conditions" -- and, in fact, things can't be determined that way.

    Not every situation is analagous to the U.S. invasion of Vietnam (in the 1960s), or the Japanese invasion of China (in the 1930s). History, society and nature are not made up of "classic forms" reproducing themselves in symmetrical ways already comprehended by an equally "classic Marxism."

  • Guest - Joseph Ball

    I have studied the invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Somalia. If Mike Ely can show that the misery and devastation these invasions have created are not the principal contradiction for the people of these countries, I would truly like to see the evidence!

    At the end of the day, you are either with the people or you are not. You either sympathise with their misery and you support their efforts to resist or you go off on your own subjective trajectory coming up with vacillations like 'McWorld vs. Jihad'.

    Britain and America are Fascist states. They are the main enemy of humanity at the current time. Everywhere they go they
    create oppression and spread destruction. Maoists can either get to where the people are and join in with the resistance or they can drift off into irrelevance. There is no other choice.

  • Joseph Ball writes:

    <blockquote>"Therefore, if the US is on the strategic offensive and is invading oppressed nations or encouraging its proxies and puppets to do so then this is good evidence that this is the major contradiction in the world."</blockquote>

    That is, I suppose, good evidence. But not in the complete absence of analysis of other contradictions (the oppressed people of the world and feudalism, the inter-imperialist contradiction, the contradiction among people all over the world expressed as forms of civil strife and ethnic cleansing).

    And, further, I think it is quite possible for there to be major contradictions between U.S. imperialism and many countries -- WITHOUT that defining a single "major contradiction" on a world scale.

    The very idea that there is one "major contradiction" is tied to a strategic notion that communists in all countries should adjust (or focus) their political work to take that single global dynamic into account. It emerged at a time when the Soviet Union was the only socialist country, and when it was asserted that the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union defined and contextualized all communist work.

    No one doubts that you have looked at various U.S. invasions. And I am not arguing that the U.S. invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon or Somalia are not unjust -- or that they do not involve the oppression of whole nations by imperialism. They obviously do.

    Joseph Ball writes:

    <blockquote>"Britain and America are Fascist states. They are the main enemy of humanity at the current time. Everywhere they go they create oppression and spread destruction. Maoists can either get to where the people are and join in with the resistance or they can drift off into irrelevance. There is no other choice."</blockquote>

    Everything here is stated by assertion. Are Britain and the U.S. REALLY "fascist states"? Not just imperialist, but literally fascist? Where is that analyzed and documented?

    They (both of them?) are the "main enemy of humanity at the current time"? Ok. Some people think the U.S. alone is the "main enemy" of a "world wide united front against the U.S."? How did Britain get added (and where is the analysis that argues for that addition)?

    Now why would it be wrong to say "imperialism as a world system is the main enemy of the humanity"? Why MUST we focus the main enemy on one alliance or bloc operating within the imperialist system?

    Who can evaluate theories and verdicts announced without materialist analysis -- and then posed in a moralist way. i.e. that you either get with this unexplained analysis and then "join in with the resistance" ("join in" how? Which particular flavor or current of "resistance"?) or "drift off into irrelevance"?

    Since presumably these verdicts are based on analysis, where is it? Stating your opinion very emphatically, with threats of "irrelevance" really doesn't get closer to materialism or clarity.

    So I am arguing for challenging a form of self-satisfied and superficial Marxism that proceeds by formula and diktat -- that perceives events as analogies or repeats of earlier events, and that announces its verdicts (without bothering to present any real analysis).

    In other words, the evidence you provide (while real and important) rests on a whole network of assumptions (about how Marxist analysis is done and about how the world works). And it is those assumptions that are the focus of this debate (not the horrific and widespread nature of U.S. attacks).

  • Guest - Joseph Ball

    Mike Ely wrote: 'That is, I suppose, good evidence. But not in the complete absence of analysis of other contradictions (the oppressed people of the world and feudalism, the inter-imperialist contradiction, the contradiction among people all over the world expressed as forms of civil strife and ethnic cleansing).'

    I don't see how the contradiction between the oppressed people and feudalism can be the central contradiction in the world. Feudal forces are too weak internationally and too dependent on imperialism, on the whole, to be the main contradiction in the world.

    As I said the inter-imperialist contradiction exists but is not so sharp at the moment. Where is the threat of war? Where is the sharp economic contradiction between the West and other up and coming imperialist powers? As I said, I don't think China is imperialist so I don't think there is an inter-imperialist conflict here.

    'Civil strife and ethnic cleansing' are not contradictions, they are the symptoms of contradictions. Ethnic conflict is about access to resources by different groups. When it seems impossible to gain access to resources by breaking the yoke of imperialist exploitation, then it can happen that some of the oppressed peoples can fall under the influence of a reactionary leadership and turn on each other and fight over what is left to them after the imperialists what they wish.

  • Again: My question is "what makes you think there is a single 'central contradiction' in the world?"

    It is a circular reasoning: you assume there is such a central contradiction, you eliminate several that can't be it.

    It can't be the "people vs. feudalism." Interimperialist is "not so sharp at the moment"..... and so on. So then, what is left, but to assume that the contradiction you have left in your hands (which is a major one, without doubt) somehow must be "the central contradiction."

    And similarly, the contradiction between the Jihadis and U.S. imperialism obviously can't be an interimperialist contradiction, it obviously can't be the bourgeois/proletarian contradiction, it obviously can't be the contradiction between socialism and imperialism, so what is left? If you only think there can be 4 major contradictions on a world scale, and if you assume everything must be a manifestation of one of them -- then the Jihadis "must be" seen in the context (and category) of the contradiction of the people of the oppressed countries and imperialism.

    It doesn't seem like an analysis to me, but a fingering of impoverished apriori categories (lifted out of time and place from what-were-once living materialist analyses made by previous Marxists.)

  • Guest - Paul

    What are Jihadis? Do you mean mujahideen? All Islamists? Al-Qaeda? There are many Islamist
    forces, some pro-US, some anti-US.

    And there obviously are and have been non-Islamists in conflict with the US - Saddam's Iraq
    might come to mind. Presenting the war against Afghanistan as fundamentally different from the
    war against Iraq, or presenting the war against Iraq as a war against "Jihadis" means succumbing
    to the ideology that supports US aggression.

    Confused fears about a clash of civilizations do not make an useful basis for a "main contradiction
    in the world."

  • Guest - Joseph Ball

    Why do I think there is a central contradiction in the world? Because I believe there is a basic contradiction between socialism and capitalism that will inevitably result in the replacement of capitalism with socialism. Therefore every other contradiction in the world ultimately is dependent on this central contradiction. This viewpoint is correct because it is objective and scientific. The proof of this position was provided in Karl Marx's Das Kapital.

    Yes, the nature of the Jihadis must be seen in the context of the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations. Jihadis are essentially reactionary, essentially on the side of imperialism. However when an oppressed nation is invaded by an imperialist nation circumstances may force them to switch to the side of the people.

    This has also been the experience of other reactionaries. For example, after the US invasion, Saddam Hussein tried to organise resistance to US occupation.

    This doesn't mean we should come under the leadership of reactionaries in such circumstances. As the crumbling of the Iraqi military in 2003 shows, they are not really capable of leading serious resistance. Maoists should take the leadership in wars of national resistance.

  • thanks for responding Joseph....

    My understanding of this is rather different:

    Marx wrote:

    <blockquote>"At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure."</blockquote>

    This contradiction between the relations of production and the forces of production is the central, basic (or fundamental) contradiction of capitalism.

    Mao (with his usual humor) talked about how "tools suddenly talk through humans." Ok, but there are levels of mediation through which that basic contradiction manifests itself (it manifests itself as the struggle between classes --- between bourgeois and proletariat, between peasant and landlord, between slave and slavemaster, it manifests itself as the anarchy of capital and interimperialist war, it manifests itself as the contradiction between socialism and capitalism on a world scale.... and so one).

    But this Marxist view of a basic contradiction is not the same as YOUR assetion that there is a single main contradiction in the world (on a political plane) -- i.e. that the contradiction between oppressed nations and imperialism is the main contradiction on the world scale.

    these are two separate matters.

    On a methodlogical point, you write:

    <blockquote>"This viewpoint is correct because it is objective and scientific. The proof of this position was provided in Karl Marx’s Das Kapital."</blockquote>

    These formulations are a complete muddle, and at their core are idealist not materialist.

    A viewpoint is correct if it corresponds to reality. And this is never simply true (i.e. the correspondence is always imperfect and relative). So a viewpoint is more or less true -- depending on the degree to which it corresponds to reality. We should separate this question of "objectivity" from the matter of our method (i.e. whether it is "scientific" or not.)

    Further Marx's Kapital is a theory not a proof. The proof of the theory is in the real world. Practice is the ultimate criterion of truth.

    But in fact, this view that things are settled -- proven, freezedried -- in the past is precisely the basis on which people apply snippets of marxist analysis out of time and place. It is exactly the issue we are debating.

    On the political plane:

    There is a view that the resistance is happening, and the task is for communists to take leadership. (The Peruvian Maoists formulated that as "Put Maoism in command of the world revolution.") In other words, it implies that it is already happening, and what is needed is simply new leadership. This is, I believe, basically wrong. The revolutions are not happening without communist leadership. And it is a profound overestimation of the spontaneous, and a misreading of the various conflicts around the world to think that you can unplug their current leadership (which is "not really capable of leading serious resistance") and just plug in Maoists to "take the leadership in the wars of national resistance."

    Objectively, in most places, this will lead to a situation where the communist forces don't successfully establish themselves as an independent force (as was shown by the errors made in the early years of Khomenei in Iran, where the communist first "allied" with the Islamists and then were decimated.)

    The political content of the various forms of anti-U.S. struggle are highly contradictory and often rather reactionary. It is sometimes possible (and necessary) to unite with some vacillating allies IN THOSE PLACES WHERE THERE ARE COMMUNISTS LEADING REAL REVOLUTIONS -- and in ways that unfold out of the concrete political life of that revolutionary struggle. But the correct ways of operating in these anti-u.s. wars (or anywhere for that matter) emerge from the actual situation, from the analysis of the contradictions, from the stages in the work of the communists, etc. not from mechanical application of formulas treated outside space or time.

  • Guest - Joseph Ball

    All contradictions come down to the fact that, as Mike rightly says, there is a contradiction between the relations of production and the forces of production. This is the result of capitalism, the only way of ending the deepening contradiction is the establishment of socialism. A study of science and history shows that humanity adapts itself to new circumstances in order to survive and develop. Therefore the contradiction Mike says is fundamental does lead to a contradiction between capitalism and socialism. I prefer this formulation because it illustrates things more clearly and starkly, although it is not 'idealist' but scientific. Mike may feel it 'leaps a stage' from the contradiction between the productive forces and productive relations-but I am fine with that because I think it makes an important point and it is also logically and scientfically valid.

    Certainly, people may not identify this as the main contradiction. They may then engage in struggles that are objectively determined by this contradiction but misidentify what needs doing and end up fighting for reformism, racism, religion etc. This is not the same as saying that the contradiction between capitalism and the need for socialism is not primary.

    Mike points out that this contradiction manifests itself in class struggle. This is because there is a new class that emerges that is able to solve the contradiction by taking power and revolutionising production. This is the proletariat. Due to humanity's adaptability and survival instinct it gathers power and allies over time and eventually is victorious.

    The proletariat's power currently exists in the oppressed nations and it is weak in the imperialist nations. Hence my belief that the basic contradiction is between imperialist nations and oppressed peoples (lead by the proletariat of the oppressed nations).

    Karl Marx did prove his theory of the essential workings of capitalism. He studied empirical evidence and used this to demonstrate the truth of his theory. OK, we need to develop his theory as time has moved on and many have, e.g. Lenin's theory of imperialism (which explains why world revolution has not occurred as quickly as Marx implied it would). Not everything is 'just a theory', although I know this may be hard to accept in our post-modernist world.

    Revolutions do not happen without communist leadership, Mike says. Agreed, no-one is saying that e.g. the Iraqi resistance is a socialist revolution. It is people defending their own country against imperialism. It can objectively weaken imperialism. Under Fundamentalist leadership this resistance can never unite all the people, as Fundamentalists will alienate women, people of different sects and ultimately alienate the whole people who do not want reactionary leadership. However, we have to ask whether the Iraqi resistance is under Fundamentalist leadership-have the McWorld vs. Jihad brigade actually demonstrated this?. I would contend that the fact that some marginally less reactionary elements that Al-Qaeda are still dominant in the resistance is what has sustained it through the set-back of the surge and the (Al-Qaeda provoked) emergence of 'Awakening' collaborator groups.

    The point is not whether there needs to be communist leadership of resistance struggles. Everyone agrees on this. I think the essential point is whether, as Mike said before, US attack can be seen as providing some sort of opportunity for revolution in places like Iran. Like I say I've heard this idea from many sources, it worries me a lot and it worries other people, if what's being said on the internet is anything to go by. I became a Maoist because I opposed imperialism 100%. No-one in the world is going to argue me into a position where I end up tailing imperialism because I think it will provide some wonderful opportunity. This is not the first time in world history that all sorts of correct seeming Marxist arguments have been used to justify a position that is frankly very, very dubious.

  • Guest - Maz

    x-posted from Maoist Revolution:
    (By Harry Powell)

    In their latest contribution to the debate on current resistance to imperialism (15/03/08) the Circle of Canadian Revolutionaries question wheter or not the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations is the principal one in the world today. They criticise Harry Powell for not concretely arguing that this is in fact the case and lapsing into what they call "formulaic dogmatism". Also they criticise contributors to the debate for being too ready to see direct parallels between the United Front Against Japanese Imperialism in 1930's China and contemporary resistance to imperialist invasion There does seem to be a certain strain of agnosticism underlying these comments. It is almost as if we communists must put aside the lessons of theory and practice learned from the past of our movement and start afresh with a clean slate. This is not possible nor desirable. Our starting point in approaching any political problem is to begin analysing it by using our knowledge of past revolutionary theory and practice in order to understand the matter. As the struggle develops, both theoretical and practical, it may prove necessary to develop new concepts and methods to make sense of and concretely handle the particular problem. Yes, we do need to go forward, beyond Maoism, in order to regenerate the revolutionary communist movement. Unfortunately, for the last thirty years or so this has not been happening on the whole - with the notable exception of the Nepalese comrades - and we must strive to make a qualitative breakthrough.


    In the 1960's the Communist Party of China identified four fundamental contradictions in the world:

    1. Between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp.
    2. Between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries.
    3. Between the oppressed nations and imperialism.
    4. Among imperialist countries and among monopoly capitalist groups.

    The CPC identified the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism as the principal one, i.e. the one mainly determing and influencing the development of the other three contradictions. This was at the time when national liberation struggles were on the upsurge in many parts of the world, e.g. Vietnam, and so the Chinese comrades claimed that the principal aspect of this contradiction was the oppressed nations. This analysis did conform with objective reality at that time but clearly the world situation has changed. In particular the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp no longer exists.

    I suggest that the main contradictions in the world today include:

    1. Between imperialism and oppressed nations.
    For example, between US and British imperialism and the people of Iraq.

    2. Between imperialist ruling classes.
    For example, between the US and European monopoly capitalist classes.

    3. Between ruling and subordinate classes.
    For example, between the British monopoly capitalist class and the working class in Britain.

    4. Between reaction and revolution.
    For example, between revolutionary socialism and Islamic fundamentalism.

    It is more than ever necessary to analyse the concrete conditions revolutionaries are faced with in any particular place with reference to the world situation because the process whereby capitalism tends towards one world system (sometimes referred to as "globalisation" ) has gone that much further since the Chinese comrades made their analysis. Here are some brief comments on each contradiction:

    Between imperialist ruling classes. These are sharpening. Only a few years ago some commentators claimed that following the collapse of the Soviet bloc US imperialism would establish a world-wide hegemony. But the anatagonism between rival imperialist ruling classes is sharpening, e.g. the USA and Europe, and emergent monopoly capitalist classes are making bids for foreign spheres of dominance, e.g. Chinese, Indian and Russian. Even so, the increasing imperialist rivalry in places such as Central Asia and Africa has not yet broken out into armed conflict or developed into some new type of Cold War. However in the future war between rival imperialist powers, perhaps over scarce natural resources, cannot be ruled out. Lenin's general analysis of imperialist rivalry inevitably leading to war unless prevented by revolution is probably still correct.

    Between ruling and subordinate classes. Here we must distinguish between this contradiction as it applies to the advanced capitalist countries and as it applies to the less developed countries.

    Although the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat remains antagonistic in countries such as America and Britain it is not very intense at present and the bourgeoisie constitute the principal aspect. The decline of social democracy means that many of the reforms achieved by the working class have been wittled away. None the less, the absence of revolutionary parties and the relative economic stability and prosperity in these countries, at least partly the result of unequal exchange with the less developed countries, determine that this contradiction is not very sharp at present.

    In the less developed countries the class contradictions are more complex and varied. For example, in Nepal the main class contradiction is between the ruling feudal landlord/comprador bourgeois alliance and the great mass of the people (peasants, workers, petit bourgeois) and clearly it is very intense and sharp. In China it is between the state bourgeoisie and the great mass of the peasants and workers and is probably intensifying. On the whole it is pretty clear that the class contradictions within these countries are sharper than in the developed capitalist countries and this is at least partly related to the role of imperialism in these countries bringing about uneven development. Unfortunately due to the weakness of the communist movement in many less developed countries the political struugle of the oppressed is at a relatively low level but there are exceptions, e.g. India.

    Between reaction and revolution. Revolution might have been the main trend in the world during the 1960's but clearly this is not the case today. In the imperialist countries Marxism of all varieties is rapidly disappearing. As we are only too aware, the main resistance to imperialist invasion and occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq is led by Islamists, fascists and nationalists. Any remaining communists in these countries barely dare to show their faces. This is hardly surprising given the lamentable behaviour of many of those who called themselves Marxists in these countries in the past. However we have to recognise that the growth in the strength of these reactionary elements is a response to imperialism in its various forms: economic, political-military and cultural and not a response to developing revolutionary movements inthose countries. In other words this development has been determined by the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations.

    Between imperialism and the oppressed nations. This contradiction is very sharp in its different aspects. One economic aspect is the unfavourable economic relations forced on the imperialistically- dominated countries by organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organisation. This both inhibits all-round economic growth and creates widening material inequalities within these countries thus sharpening class antagonisms. Political and military offensives by US imperialism and its allies have become much bolder since the demise of Soviet social imperialism and the end of the Cold War, e.g. the invasion of Iraq. Cultural imperialism has also strengthened as a result of the greatly increased penetrative power of media developments such as satellite television and the internet. Islamic fundamentalism is as much a response to this aspect of imperialism as it is to the other two mentioned here. People have their pride and dignity and they react strongly to being told that their whole way of life is a load of shit and the sooner they start eating Big Macs (ug!) and watching porno videos the better for them. (We comrades in the imperialist countries often overlook or minimise the significance of this aspect of imperialism. )

    This contradiction currently is the sharpest of these four as is indicated by its manifestation in the major wars of national resistance being waged in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is this contradiction that is conditioning the development of the other three contradictions rather than vice versa. Thus it is correct to state that the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations is the principal contradiction in the world today. In the main imperialism remains the principal aspect of this contradiction because it is still on the offensive rather than the defensive. Also the principal contradiction in a particular country can be one of the other three. For example, in Nepal at the present time it is the class contradiction between the ruling class and the mass of the people that is principal. This could change very rapidly if, for example, a Maoist-led new democratic regime comes to power and the imperialists try to crush it.

    So, Canadian comrades, I have tied to briefly state the case for asserting that the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations is the principal one in the world today. Of course, a more substantial analysis would fill many books. But Marxism-Leninism- Maoism is a very practical politics and communists need to respond to major world developments as they happen and not ponder over them for years before arriving at a position. It is possible to do this if we critically draw upon the accumulated knowledge of our movement and apply it to the flows of contemporary information information coming to us from various sources. If you consider that the above analysis is deficient in any way then please say so and explain why. It certainly needs further development. We should seek the truth to serve the people and this can only be done on a collective basis.

    There is another contradiction which is becoming stronger and could even become the principal contradiction. This is between capitalism and the natural environment, what some people call the "environmental crisis". It is increasingly obvious that the underlying economic dynamic of capitalism, as pointed out by Marx, determines that it continually grows or dies. It is the spread of capitalism across the world driven by the need to make profits which is bringing about the exhaustion of natural resources such as oil and unanticipated side effects such as planetary warming. ( What better example of this process that the effects of capitalist restoration in China!) This contradiction is certainly conditioning to an increasing extent the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nationsand it should be included in the list of main contradictions in the world today. If unchecked the growing contradiction between capitalism and the natural environment could lead to the collapse and disintegration of the existing world order, throwing the survivors back into earlier forms of social organisation such as feudalism. Yes, capitalism is killing the planet and it is about time communists took this issue seriously instead of leaving it to the environmentalists with their liberal political solutions.

  • Guest - Paul

    Contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, contradictions among the imperialists,
    and contradictions between imperialism and the oppressed nations are fundamental to Lenin's
    analysis of imperialism. Lenin's analysis remains valid because imperialism remains central to the
    world system: capitalism is still a "world system of [neo-]colonial oppression and financial
    strangulation of the overwhelming majority of the people of the world by a handful of 'advanced'

    There also may be contradictions among other classes, for example, between the proletariat and
    semi-feudalism. Which contradiction is primary in a given circumstance can only be discerned by
    concrete analysis.

    It is important to emphasize that these contradictions are among material categories and forces.
    Contradictions in the superstructure ought not be elevated to the status of main
    contradictions in the world. The Chinese CP did not for example include the contradiction
    between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism or between Marxism-Leninism and other bourgeois ideologies
    among the main contradictions in the world, since these contradictions are conditioned
    by the material contradictions already mentioned.

    Moreover, these contradictions are interdependent: the development of one is conditioned
    on the development of the other.

    The claim that the contradiction between McWorld and Jihadis is a main contradiction in the world
    is erroneous because it seems to imply incorrectly that imperialism has been replaced by a
    globalist system (McWorld) and confuses an ideological category (Jihadis) with a material category.
    It exaggerates and elevates in importance the role of Islamism and incorrectly amalgamates disparate
    movements. The premise that the development of imperialism or globalism is interdependent with
    development of Islamism is also highly questionable. It reinforces the dominant, misleading and
    harmful bourgeois ideology that the imperialist countries are in fundamental conflict with Islam and
    that Islam is a primary cause of the conflicts in western Asia. On the contrary the conflicts are
    primarily struggles for control of oil and other resources.

    Ideologies, including religious ideology, can be a material force, and religion arguably has
    been a determining factor, for example in feudal Europe. However, asserting that a religious
    ideology constitutes part of a main contradiction in the world amounts to an assertion that it
    is essentially autonomous and not primarily determined by material contradictions.

  • Guest - Anton

    i think we need to assess broad categories of contradiction in the particulars. For instance whatever the principal contradiction on a world scale is, the imperialist vs oppressed nation contradiction is certainly principal in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the form of intense occupation vs resistance warfare. This in turn raises the intensity of the imps vs the oppressed contradiction on a global scale. These wars occupation have raised the level of contradiction especially betwwen the U.S. and Iran. The U.S. setbacks in the Middle East have also likely raised the level of open opposition to the U.S. in Latin America and elsewhere.

    In the event of a U.S. war on Iran-- the imperialist vs oppressed nation contradiction will immediately become the principal contradiction facing the people of Iran in an extremely sharp and massively violent way.

  • Guest - wprm (britain)

    Summary Of Debate On Resistance To Imperialism (Part 2)

    This summary is of the second part of an ongoing debate concerning the correct Maoist line on resistance to imperialist aggression against oppressed countries.

    The second summary covers the period October-November 07. It takes in some important contributions. It summarises debates 16-23, although it also includes Debate 14, which wasn't included in the previous summary of the debate.

    The debate began following an article by Comrade Sunsara Taylor in Revolution the organ of the Revolutionary Communist Party (USA) published on June 10th 2007, which was a reply to an article by American Trotskyists entitled "Standing Up To Islamophobia'". This debate was described in Part I of the summary. People debated the question of whether or not Maoists should support the Iraqi Resistance. They also discussed the line of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) that the Iranian regime would remain the principal enemy of the Iranian people, even in the event of US military attack or invasion.

    It was stated in the first part of the summary: 'Two lines developed. One, proposed by the RCP (USA) is termed the ‘McWorld vs.Jihad’ line which argues that the world increasingly faces a choice between US imperialism and Islamic Fundamentalism and that both should be opposed, even when Islamic Fundamentalists are involved in resistance to US imperialism.'

    The other line is termed ‘The National Resistance’ line. This line stresses the importance of wars of national resistance. In particular it promotes the line that, based on the objective situation, Maoists should form a broad national united front, which could include reactionaries, to oppose an invasion of an oppressed nation by an imperialist country.'

    In this part, the debate deepens and takes in issues such as Lenin's line on anti-imperialist struggles and whether the contradiction between Crusading McWorld and Reactionary Jihad represents a contradiction of a new type between different reactionary forces.

    Imperialism And The Principal Contradiction

    The Crusading McWorld Vs. Reactionary Jihad Line

    An article from Revolution newspaper attempts to relate the 'War On Terror' to the USA's history of imperialism ('If You Want To Understand The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism and the "War On Terror," You Need To Know:' September 26 2007-Debate 14).

    It states that the US is grounded in a history of slavery, genocide against Native Americans and the seizure of territory from Mexico. It states that after World War 2, the US presided over a system of 'neo-colonialism' whereby nominally independent countries were dominated and exploited by the US. The article states that 'It is impossible to understand the real reasons for the growth of Islamic Fundamentalism, and the deep hatred for the U.S., in the Middle East and other parts of the world, without being aware of and fully taking into account this whole bloody history of plunders and repression which the U.S. has carried out, and continues to carry out.'

    A group of Canadian revolutionaries sent a post in which they gave their comments on the debate (see Debate 18). They argued against Comrade Harry Powell's support for Stalin's line on national resistance (see Debate 13). Harry had characterised Stalin's line on anti-imperialist struggles as focusing on their objective impact on the political situation and only looking secondarily at their subjective intentions.

    The Canadian revolutionaries argued that Stalin's approach to the national question 'leaves out much of Lenin's nuance and complexity'.

    They point out that Lenin spoke of the need for a struggle 'against the clergy and other influential reactionary and medieval elements' in oppressed nations. He also spoke of 'the need to combat Pan-Islamism and similar trends' which combined a liberation movement against western imperialists with attempts to strengthen the position of feudal and religious forces. They also quote Lenin as saying 'we, as Communists, should and will support bourgeois-liberation movements in the colonies only when they are genuinely revolutionary, and when their exponents do not hinder our work of educating and organising in a revolutionary spirit the peasantry and the masses of the exploited'.

    They summarise that Lenin 'sees the struggle for national liberation as being linked to the proletarian revolution, where each pole must reinforce the other.'

    The Canadian revolutionaries question the approach that states that the principal contradiction in the world today is the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations. They say that the Iraq war represents a contradiction between an imperialist country and an oppressed country but also reflects a contradiction between imperialists. Also, it represents a new type of contradiction which does not fit into the four contradictions that Mao identified in the world. This is the contradiction between 'certain imperialist states and Islamic fundamentalism'.

    They argue further that Islamic resistance forces may strike a blow against some imperialists but this does not necessarily weaken imperialism as a whole or in the long-run because Islamists in power are capable of serving imperialism.

    They argue later that 'The common element of Islamism is its reactionary and stupid world-view.'

    The National Resistance Line

    Anti-Imperialist Action have written a leaflet about resistance to imperialism which was distributed in Britain (see Debate 16).

    It stated that 'It is obvious that the main enemy at present of the Iraqi people is not Islam-as claimed by the WCPI [Worker Communist Party Of Iraq]. and their Western supporters-but American and British imperialism.'

    In Comrade Maoist 1's response to the statement by the Canadian revolutionaries, Maoist 1 stated that Stalin in the 'Foundations of Leninism' does not have a different line from Lenin. Both Lenin and Stalin agree that the key question about any national liberation movement is 'whether it is progressive from a global point of view'. Maoist 1 points out that Lenin was arguing that the Communist International should use its power to try and ensure communists led anti-imperialist struggles. Maoist 1 point out that communists in the 21st century are not in a position to make such a demand. Also, Maoist 1 stated that Lenin was stressing this point because western powers were giving 'independence' to some oppressed countries while ensuring that they remained under neo-colonial control by western powers and with an anti-Soviet foreign policy. The point Lenin was making, according to Maoist 1, was that those leading national liberation struggles who followed such a pro-imperialist line should only receive Soviet assistance when they were prepared to change their line.

    In 'Methodological Issues' (see Debate 21) Comrade Harry Powell also responds to the statement by the Canadian Revolutionaries. Harry says that Lenin in 'A Caricature of Marxism and "Imperialist Economism" ' argues that communists should not support an uprising by 'reactionary classes' against imperialism but then goes onto qualify this by saying : "[we cannot] withhold support from any serious popular struggle against national oppression."

    Comrade Powell refers to the uncertainty of the Canadian revolutionaries about whether the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations is the correct one in the current time. Powell argues that in Afghanistan and Iraq this contradiction indeed determines the nature of the conflicts that are occurring. In Iran, Powell argues that a contradiction between the Islamic regime and the people exists also. If this is the Principal contradiction then Maoists must argue that the people should struggle to overthrow the regime as their main task. However, at a certain point mounting imperialist aggression against Iran will become principal and then the emphasis of Maoists should be opposing this aggression 'without abandoning their aim of overthrowing the IRI.' He states that if imperialists attack then 'it would be correct to call for national unity against the common foe. Imperialist occupation is likely to be more difficult to get rid of than the IRI.'

    Comrade Powell goes onto state that a materialist analysis of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan would establish what class forces and political forces are active in the struggles in these countries. On the basis of such analysis it will develop tactics to advance communism. Powell argues that such a materialist analysis would lead Maoists to 'call for qualified support for the existing reactionary movements leading the armed struggle against imperialism in these countries. At the same time we call for communists in those countries to get organised and engage in armed struggle against imperialism and in the case of Iran against the Islamic Republic.' Powell says this is not about tailing reactionaries but simply recognising the blows that the armed resistances in Iraq and Afghanistan are making against the imperialist powers, blows that are to the advantage of oppressed peoples across the world, he believes. However, Powell does not advocate 'qualified support' for the Iranian regime, instead calling for armed struggle against it.

    Powell contrasts his 'materialist' analysis of the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran with what he describes as an 'idealist' analysis. This analysis begins not from the actual situation but from what some Maoists would like to see-anti-imperialist fronts under communist leadership. He states that invasion makes the situation in oppressed countries much worse and that a line that states that imperialism and reactionary resistance are equivalents does not take this material fact into account.

    Crusading McWorld vs. Reactionary Jihad

    The Crusading McWorld vs. Reactionary Jihad Line

    In 'If You Want To Understand The Rise Of Islamic Fundamentalism and the "War On Terror," You Need to Know:" (Debate 14) in Revolution newspaper, the writer states: 'It is impossible to understand the real reasons for the growth of Islamic Fundamentalism, and the deep; hatred for the U.S., in the Middle East and other parts of the world, without being aware of and fully taking into account this whole bloody history of plunder and repression which the U.S. has carried out, and continues to carry out. And it is impossible to break out of the current very bad and potentially even more disastrous dynamic-where U.S. imperialism and reactionary Jihadism continue to reinforce each other even while opposing each other-without a mass movement that challenges this whole dynamic.'

    The Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)-CPI (MLM) sent a congratulatory message to the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada (M-L-M) on its founding (see Debate 19). In this message the CPI-MLM stated that 'In the process of colonising and consolidating its hegemony, the United States enters into conflicts with other imperialist powers and reactionaries such as the Iraqi, Iranian and Afghanistan regimes. However, these conflicts are nothing but contradictions between imperialists and reactionaries. They have nothing to do with the contradiction between capitalism and the working class or the contradiction between imperialism and oppressed peoples.' They also state 'Communists and revolutionary forces should not, under any condition, take sides in the conflict between imperialism and reaction.'

    Bob Avakian in 'Why Religious Fundamentalism Is Growing In Today's World And What Is The Alternative' (Debate 28) states:
    "What we see in contention here with Jihad on the one hand and McWorld/McCrusade on the other hand, are historically outmoded strata among colonized and oppressed humanity up against historically outmoded ruling strata of the imperialist system. These two reactionary poles reinforce each other, even while opposing each other. If you side with either of these ‘outmodeds,’ you ended up strengthening both."

    The National Resistance Line

    Comrade Bahadur in his comment on the congratulatory message sent by the CPI (MLM) to the Canadian Party (Debate 19) challenges the CPI (MLM)'s statement that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the possible invasion of Iran have no bearing on the contradictions between capitalism and the working class or imperialism and the oppressed peoples.

    Comrade Bahadur states that 'Once the U.S. imperialists and their allies directly invade and occupy these countries, they come into direct conflict with the people of these countries.'

    He goes onto develop this point by talking of the death and destruction that the Iraqi and Afghan people have suffered due to invasion and occupation.

    Mao's Theory Of National Resistance

    The Crusading McWorld vs. Reactionary Jihad Line

    Comrade Paul Newton (Debate 17) talks about Mao's doctrine of building a united front to fight a war of national resistance. He asks how the CPI (MLM) could make a united front with the Iranian regime given they do not have enough of a power base in the country and given the history of brutal repression of communists by the Iranian regime.

    The National Resistance Line

    Comrade Maoist 1 (Debate 17) agrees that the Iranian Maoists could not form a military alliance with the Iranian regime in their current situation. However, Comrade Maoist 1 queries why this leads the CPI (MLM) to declare that the Iranian regime should remain the main enemy of the Iranian people in the event of an attack by the US.

    Comrade Bahadur talks about Mao's theory of contradiction. He quotes Mao who states that in the development of a thing there are many contradictions, 'one of them is necessarily the principal contradiction whose existence and development determine or influence the existence and development of the other contradictions.' Comrade Bahadur further quotes Mao to show how it is the job of revolutionaries to discover the principal contradiction. As an example he states that when Saddam was a puppet of the West then the principal contradiction in Iraq was between the people and their repressive ruler. However when the US and Britain invaded Iraq the death and destruction this created meant that the contradiction between the invaders and the people became principal and the contradiction between the people and Saddam's regime became secondary.

    The Iraqi Resistance

    The Crusading McWorld vs. Reactionary Jihad Line

    The Canadian revolutionaries argue that in Iraq 'there are many different trends, some of who focus on opposing the occupation while others attack other Iraqi forces to manoeuvre for a greater share of power in the new puppet regime.' They argue that the defeat of the US in Iraq would not automatically lead to advances for peoples struggles. They argue that, depending on the circumstances, it could just strengthen other imperialists or strengthen reactionaries across the world.

    They state that the only thing which can guarantee a positive outcome in Iraq is 'an organized 'third pole' aside from the Islamists and the imperialists.'

    The National Resistance Line

    Anti-Imperialist Action in their leaflet 'Resistance Or Collaboration?' states that the Baathists are aiming for 'a strong Pan-Arab state while Islamists dream of a Muslim world.' They state that these conscious aims are reactionary but their resistance objectively weakens imperialism. Anti-Imperialist Action condemns the Iraqi Communist Party for working with the occupiers. It criticises the Worker Communist Party of Iraq for denouncing the armed resistance in Iraq and states that both these parties have been calling on the imperialist forces to crush the resistance.

    In 'Methodological Issues', Comrade Harry Powell talks about Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, noting that proletarian parties are weak in such countries. He states that these parties could only be brought forth with 'a protracted process of political and military struggle'. He goes on to state that 'At present the proletariat in these countries is a "class in itself"-divided by religion and ethnicity-and not yet a "class for itself". The task of communists is to bring about such a transformation and not to speak as if this is already the case.'

    Comrade Harry Powell then argues that if communists in these countries condemn the resistance in these countries then they will be seen 'as stooges of imperialism and thus legitimate targets for the resistance.'

    In 'The Hidden Facts: Statement By The 1920 Revolution Brigades, Iraq' (Debate 22) : the 1920 Brigades state that important ministries in the puppet occupation government, such as the Interior and Defence were handed over to Iranian backed militias. The 1920 Brigades see this as part of a 'secret agreement' between the US and Iran to foment sectarian violence to weaken the resistance.

    They state that despite the 'reservations' people may have about the Iraqi Resistance they have taught the world that oppressed nations and societies can sustain a self-sufficient resistance movement.

    They predict that capitalist economies orientated towards high consumption will fail after a period in which they try to sustain themselves through global exploitation and slavery. They see the Iraqi Resistance as part of a process by which the fall of capitalism will be achieved. They express support for the anti-globalisation and peace movements.

    They say that after Bush leaves office there will be an opportunity for the US to negotiate with the Iraqi Resistance for a withdrawal of troops.

    The Threatened Attack on Iran

    The Crusading McWorld vs. Reactionary Jihad Line

    The Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) in their greeting to the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) in Debate 19 discusses how the Islamic regime came to power with the suport of the imperialist powers as a means of crushing the 'democratic revolution of 1978-79.', including repression against workers, peasants and national minorities. The CPI (MLM) states that the Islamic regime in Iran maintains military and economic relations with the United states.

    The National Resistance Line

    Bahadur in Debate 19 agrees that the Iranian regime like other reactionaries in history have killed large numbers of revolutionaries and ordinary people but he implies that their brutality will not safeguard their position. Bahadur predicts that when the imperialists attack Iran part of the reactionary ruling class will try to hang onto their position by siding with the US. Others will take a more patriotic line.

    Bahadur argues that a 'Maoist dynamic armed United Front' should be formed which will unite against the invaders and unite with everyone that can be united with. The Maoists should insist on leadership in the United Front and the War of Resistance against the invaders. Comrade Bahadur deals with the objection that the Maoists have no army by stating: 'The correct line will bring forth the people's resistance and people's soldiers and much more, everything!'

    The Maoist Task

    The Crusading McWorld vs. Reactionary Jihad Line

    The Canadian revoutionaries argue that to really resist imperialism, oppressed countries need to free themselves from feudal oppression and the oppression of women. Otherwise the economy will not be able to develop independently and will remain dependent on imperialist capital. Also, the people will not support the regime and will not be prepared to defend it against imperialist domination. They argue that Islamists, fail to follow such an approach and therefore act as an obstacle to self-determination, even if self-determination is what they advocate. They argue that Maoists should unite with the disgust of the masses towards such practices as stoning women, in countries where Islam is influential .

    The Communist Party Of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) in its congratulatory message to the Canadian revolutionaries states that

    'Under the conditions of a serious crisis in the world when imperialist powers and reactionaries are in disarray, we witness the rise of innumerable spontaneous struggles throughout the world. These resistances are fragmented. The historical mission of the communist movement is to unite and lead these struggles in order to carry out proletarian revolutions.'

    The National Resistance Line

    Comrade Harry Powell in 'Methodological Issues' (Debate 21) argues that the central task is 'in uniting and mobilising the people to oppose imperialism and local reaction. Furthermore we know from past experience that only a disciplined revolutionary party is capable of carrying out this task....It is all very well to talk, as some of the American comrades do, about "bringing forward the role of the proletariat" but this cannot be done except through a process of political and military struggle.'

    Comrade Bahdur writes in Debate 19 that as the era of imperialism emerged, the contradiction between colonial and non-colonial powers intensified, along with the contradiction between capitalists and workers and the contradcition between capitalist countries owing to their uneven development. Comrade Bahadur states that:

    'Thus, resistance against the invaders is a matter of concern to all Iraqis and first and foremost the revolutionary Maoist Iraqis. Resistance must be their element!'


    The supporters of the Crusading McWorld vs. Reactionary Jihad line continue to ask how reactionary resistance to imperialism can lead to an objectively progressive result. They argue that it will strengthen reactionaries internationally or strengthen other imperialists instead.

    Comrade Harry Powell believes that resistance led by reactionaries can lead to the weakening of imperialism but points out that the people need a proletarian party that can unite the whole people. Comrade Bahadur argues that the Maoist party should demand leadership of any United Front against foreign attack that is made with reactionaries.

    A difference has emerged between those who argue that an attack by imperialists on a reactionary regime has no bearing on the people and they should not take sides in it and those who argue that when an imperialist country attacks an oppressed nation, this constitutes a direct attack on the people, irrespective of the reactionary nature of the regime.

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