Present advocacy of “Left Unity” is for the promotion of an unprincipled and spurious adherence to liberal opportunism which seeks to negate ideological struggle and combat the advancement of a revolutionary proletarian line. That is not to say there are tactical positions that “The Left” can unite around to accomplish specific goals, but we must regard this as strictly tactics and not a foundation for a permanent basis as there are lines of demarcations that separate the revolutionaries from the opportunists. Mao Zedong touches upon this point in his essay Combat Liberalism:
“But liberalism rejects ideological struggle and stands for unprincipled peace, thus giving rise to a decadent, Philistine attitude and bringing about political degeneration in certain units and individuals in the Party and the revolutionary organizations.”
Our comrades who call for “Left Unity” in terms of forming a united front to end capitalism are in fact as Mao said rejecting ideological struggle. To these comrades ideological debate should be shunned because “we are all Marxists”, they take an agnostic stand on revisionism and are completely unaware of the foundations of their errors in this regard. When we refuse to engage in ideological debate out of not seeking to offend the person or risk a quarrel, then we are not only taking a paternalistic attitude towards our opponent and treating them as if they were children, but also show our lack of confidence in our own revolutionary line and demonstrate our inability to articulate it coherently. To arrive at the point of unity from the standpoint that “we are all Marxists” or “we are all Leninists” or even that “we are all socialists”is to not take upon ourselves the tasks of making comradely criticisms which we as Communists have a duty to ourselves to make of others as well as ourselves. As Mao Zedong once again in his wisdom tells us:
“Be resolute, fear no sacrifice and surmount every difficulty to win victory.” – Mao Zedong, The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains
Against seemingly insurmountable odds both Marx and Lenin, unlike our comrades who shun criticism, were willing to take it upon themselves to fight against errors and outright opportunism in the workers movement. In fact Marx’s Critique of the Gotha Program is a perfect demonstration of Marx’s concerns over unification with opportunism. In this case the unification of the German Left represented by the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany (SDAP) or the Eisenachers as they were called, led by August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht, and the General German Workers’ Association influenced by the ideas of Ferdinand Lassalle to form the Social-Democratic Party of Germany. The Lassalleans can be regarded as the first reformist-revisionists and economists.
In a letter to August Bebel, Friedrich Engels goes into detail about the concessions to opportunism that the SDAP has already given to the Lassalleans and his frustration at a purely one-sided capitulation to opportunism:
“All these things have been done by our people to oblige the Lassalleans. And what have the others conceded? That a host of somewhat muddled and purely democratic demands should figure in the programme, some of them being of a purely fashionable nature — for instance “legislation by the people” such as exists in Switzerland and does more harm than good, if it can be said to do anything at all. Administration by the people — that would at least be something. Similarly omitted is the first prerequisite of all liberty — that all officials be responsible for all their official actions to every citizen before the ordinary courts and in accordance with common law. That demands such as freedom of science and freedom of conscience figure in every liberal bourgeois programme and seem a trifle out of place here is something I shall not enlarge upon.”
– Engels to August Bebel In Zwickau
Lenin also dealt with this in his criticism of Leon Trotsky‘s Borba, a “non factional journal”, i
n his essay Disruption of Unity Under Cover of Outcries for Unity. In this work Lenin deals with the question of superficial unity as a manifestation of opportunism:
“Trotsky, however, possesses no ideological and political definiteness, for his patent for “non-factionalism”, as we shall soon see in greater detail, is merely a patent to flit freely to and fro, from one group to another.
To sum up:
1) Trotsky does not explain, nor does he understand, the historical significance of the ideological disagreements among the various Marxist trends and groups, although these disagreements run through the twenty years’ history of Social Democracy and concern the fundamental questions of the present day (as we shall show later on);
2) Trotsky fails to understand that the main specific features of group-division are nominal recognition of unity and actual disunity;
3) Under cover of “non-factionalism” Trotsky is championing the interests of a group abroad which particularly lacks definite principles, and has no basis in the working-class movement in Russia.
All that glitters is not gold. There is much glitter and sound in Trotsky’s phrases, but they are meaningless.”
We should view the words “factionalism” as synonymous with sectarianism in this regard, and this is what those who seek to “unite” politically divergent groups base their thesis on, a manifestation of a superficial struggle against sectarianism. There is a distinct line between sectarianism and taking a principled stand against opportunism:
“You accuse us of being splitters when all that we see in front of us in the arena of the working-class movement in Russia is liquidationism. So you think that our attitude towards liquidationism is wrong?”
It is no sin to unite with real friends to attack real enemies, on the contrary it is a great error to unite with real enemies and expect them to be counted on as friends.
There is no ground zero in ideological foundations. All tendencies whether they are revolutionary or revisionist and opportunist have basis in the material world and are but mere expansions of previous knowledge. In this essence nothing is completely “new” so to speak, and neither is the notion of “Left Unity”. With this in mind, in the 21st Century we are seeing a sort of reincarnation of the old battles of revolutionaries against opportunism take place. In Greece the KKE formed a human shield to protect the State from anarchists. In Brazil the Communist Party of Brazil which has aligned itself with the ruling Workers Party and remained complicit in it’s neo-liberal policies has labeled the protests there as “fascist”. In Ecuador the opportunists remain apologists for the growing authoritarianism of the Correa regime, even as it targets and imprisons members of the PCMLE, UNE, FEUE, and even former Assembly members for the MPD as “terrorists”.
In the United States these opportunists manifest themselves in the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO-Fight Back), Workers World Party as well as the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). All have shown through statements support for the ruling cliques in Brazil, Iran, Syria, Russia, the revisionists in Greece and Turkey, as well as the slavish support for the rest of the “pink tide” in Latin America. Ultimately their politics manifest themselves as an upholding of the status-quo, a genuine conservative attitude and skepticism towards the rising of the masses and limit themselves to strictly legalist means. These are the lines of demarcations revolutionaries stand from in opposition to the revisionists, to unite with this lot would drag ourselves to support their “struggles” and “campaigns”. This is not sectarianism, to be sectarian would be to stand in firm opposition to the uprising of the people which is no further demonstrated by the revisionists. As is the case of the CPUSA and CPI(Marxist) in its call for state violence to suppress the Communist Party of India(Maoist). In a Facebook post the CPUSA condemned the assasination of Mahendra Karma, the leader of the Salwa Judum death squads in the state of Chhattisgarh, India via a statement from the Communist Party of India (Marxist). In this statement there was no mention of the concentration camps that the Salwa Judum rounded up villagers into, the rapes, murders and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people that the Salwa Judum and Mahendra Karma were responsible for. In fact the statement actually calls for “democratic[sic] forces to fight the politics of violence by the Maoists.” One finds no greater sectarians than the Right Opportunists.
In contrast, a correct stand against sectarianism would be to support the Peoples’ Wars in India, Nepal, and the Philippines which the Hoxhaists of the ICMLPO have done despite their ideological aversion to Maoism. As the Workers Communist Party of Denmark states:
“Where Maoist parties, as in Nepal and the Philippines, are heading this revolutionary struggle, and have obtained considerable progress, it would be not only sectarian, but also positively reactionary, not to support them.”
Coming back to the United States once again we see the sectarianism present more so in the ranks of Right Opportunism in the PSL’s backing of Roseanne Barr, as opposed to any other socialist candidates who cling to the fantasy of socialism through a ballot box. This same group along with most of the other Right Opportunists have apologized for the atrocities committed by the Derg in Ethiopia, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere including the revisionist regime in China. The CPUSA’s historic “anti-monopolist”stance is also in line with the opportunistic stand taken by FRSO (Fight Back)in the 2008 Presidential elections, where a “Defeat McCain” line was adopted, and the election of Barack Obama as one that would “create a better political climate for the anti-war, immigrant rights, labor and national movements.”
In similar ways the “anti-revisionist” or rather Anti-Webb factions of the CPUSA which present themselves in the online journal Marxism-Leninism Today and National Council of Communists, USA (NCCUSA) also are token supporters of international revisionism, historical Soviet social-imperialism as well as upholders of the now deceased Right Opportunists Gus Hall and his mentor William Z. Foster.
Our answer to revisionism must be clear and direct as Marxist-Leninist-Maoists, we must take a stand which recognizes this is not a uni-polar world, that while America imperialism is indeed the primary imperialism that it today it has been severely weakened for the past 40 years. It has been losing ground in Africa, Asia and Latin America to China, which aspires to be an imperialist power in its own right. The U.S. in it’s invasion of Iraq was opposed by Russia as well as its allies in France and Germany with Spain later withdrawing. By taking the stand of U.S. imperialism being the only monolithic force in the world the Right Opportunists take a position in defense of the status quo, in opposition to change anywhere outside of the centers of capital. There are already fundamental differences here with our movement and that of opportunism. That which seeks to overthrow all existing conditions which sees another world as possible and those which play the role of cheerleader for bureaucratic capitalism and authoritarian despots in the periphery nations. Lines of demarcations must be drawn and a principled two line struggle against opportunism must take place as a prerequisite for any talks of “unity” on the Left.