We are constantly told that the revolutionary momevent now needs unity, and not more splits. Those who are stating this will wonder why we are preparing to establish yet another communist organisation. There are after all several organisations in Norway programmatically committed to communism, or even to maoism. Wouldn’t it be better to join forces with one of these?
We don’t take it lightly to found a new organisation in an already disorganised movement. When we are nevertheless doing it, it is because we believe that Norway today does not have any communist party that is capable of directing the existing forces towards a revolution.
In order to elaborate on our position, we will present a handful of organisations that are politically near to us and explain why these can not fill the role as revolutionary vanguards.
1) Tjen Folket
Within the international communist movement, there is a divergence between different interpretations of Maoism. One of these tendencies is known as “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism” to indicate a distancing from others who recognize themselves only as Maoists. In 2018 the communist organisation Tjen Folket has oriented itself in this direction. The supporters of the “principally Maoism” base themselves on the Communist Party’ of Peru’s elaboration of Maoism. First, they stand fast in considering protracted people’s war as a universal strategy for revolution, including in imperialist countries. They also believe that there are some contributions from Gonzalo Thought (after Gonzalo, the leader of the Peruvian people’s war) that are universal. These include the militarisation of the party, a guiding thought for each revolution and the construction of the three instruments of the revolution (party, army and people’s front) in «concentric circles».
As for the militarisation of the party, we believe it to be a wrong line at the present time. Every communist party must have security measures, but this can not be an obstacle for engaging in public agitation, legal activity and non-military mass work. Building the party is the primary task, and then the popular front. Building a people’s army becomes relevant at a later stage, when the party and the front have deep roots among the masses and the revolutionary ideology has won over large sections of the people, in particular the proletariat. As a consequence we can not apply the theory of concentric circles, where the popular front is built around the people’s army.
We have elaborated on our critique of the «principally Maosism» in the article “Maoisme mot MLMhM“.
2) Norwegian Communist Party (NKP)
NKP is calling itself communist and acknowledges Marxism-Leninism, yet has has long abandoned revolutionary communism. It is part of the general revisionist trend of the old Comintern parties that neither engage in active struggle among the people nor prepare themselves seriously for the revolution, but mobilise the whole party apparatus to contest the elections. There are several places where they side with the state and the armed forces’ against revolutionary groups and parties. One example is in India((The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is against the Naxalite movement: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/CPI-M-against-Naxals-and-Maoists-Sitaram-Yechury/article15904152.ece It is also allied with the Chinese Communist Party: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/yechurys-call-on-xi-jinping-signals-strong-cpccpi-m-ties/article7783317.ece)). In the Indian districts where the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has won political power via elections, they have actively repressed and cracked down the revolutionary Naxalites. NKP participates in international conferences with this party that oppresses and kills revolutionaries((http://solidnet.org/meetings-and-statements/imcwp/21st-international-meeting-of-communist-and-workers-parties/)).
We interpret this as being a consequence of NKP’s political line: that communist parties should participate in the elections, administer the bourgeois system, and suppress communist uprisings and revolutions against the state and capital. If this is not the case, we hope NKP will stand principled against the parties that take part in the brutal repression of communist revolutionaries, and refuse to participate in conferences with them.
The NKP has not embraced the lessons of the Chinese revolution, but it supports the Chinese Communist Party of today((https://www.nkp.no/nyheter/runas-rode-rad/883-vi-er-ikke-i-samme-bat-om-det-er-arbeiderklassen-som-ma-ro-den?highlight=WyJraW5hIl0=)). Despite cautious criticism, NKP’s analysis is that China is socialist because a party that calls itself communist holds power, as well as because state ownership is widespread. Mao, on the other hand, emphasized that public ownership under socialism must be socialist in both content and form. Lack of understanding of state capitalism leads to a completely erroneous analysis, by which NKP considers China to be mainly socialist with some necessary capitalist elements. Chinese imperialism is completely overlooked.
There is nothing in NKP’s practice to suggest that it is a revolutionary party, even though it calls itself Marxist-Leninists. It has little or no security measures, and a large part of the party’s political work is concentrated on participating in the elections. Its political analysis lacks the understanding that the bourgeoisie can regain power in a socialist society, and the party lacks serious analysis and activity to set the course for a revolutionary movement in Norway.
3) Rød Ungdom (RU)
The reason Rød Ungdom (Red Youth) receives a special treatment here, even though it is only the youth organisation of Rødt (Red Party), is due to several reasons:
– RU claims to be the leading communist youth organ in the country, despite its mother party Rødt not being a communist party
– Leading members of RU will often claim that the organ is “more radical”, “more revolutionary” and “more communist” than Rødt
– The organ has a certain degree of independence from the mother party. This is used to spare RU from criticism leveled against Rødt
– There are sincere communists in RU, who can make a useful contribution to the revolution. We want to invite them to build the Communist Party
Peaceful transition to socialism
Rød Ungdoms’s party platform has this to say about transition to socialism:
[It takes] a revolution to establish socialism. A socialist revolution will involve a radical change in the balance of power in society. The majority of the population will take away from the owners of capital the control over the most important companies and institutions, and by doing so gain control over the state apparatus and the economy. Rød Ungdom works for a peaceful transition to a socialist society.
We agree that a revolution is necessary for establishing socialism. Beyond this, we find little value in this party platform. Nothing is said about who will lead the revolution or what forces the revolution needs in order to win. Nor is anything said about the way the bourgeoisie and the old state will act to prevent a transition to socialism, regardless of whether a large majority will support this transition or not.
The only concrete thing that is said about how the revolution will actually take place is that “Rød Ungdom works for a peaceful transition to a socialist society”. No revolutionary can oppose the desire for a peaceful transition to socialism, but the collective experience of the labour movement of the last two hundred years shows that the bourgeoisie is reluctant to relinquish power peacefully. To base one’s strategy on the principle of a peaceful transition, without saying anything about the conditions that are necessary for the revolution to take place with the least violence possible, is utopian wishful thinking.
Rosa Luxemburg, which is held in high esteem by Rød Ungdom (perhaps as a “harmless” revolutionary alibi?), had this to say about the “peaceful transition to socialism”:
They imagine the course of the most profound social revolution in human history by way of different social classes coming together, having a calm and “dignified” discussion with each other and going to the polls – perhaps even by walking through yes and no doors . When the capitalist class discovers that it is in the minority, admits it with a sigh like a well-disciplined parliamentary party: Nothing we can do about it. We’re seeing that we have been voted down, we let go. We are compliant and are handing over all our country estates, factories, mines, all our fireproof safes and all the profits to the workers.
Even in periods of legality must the Communist Party take action to protect the organization from surveillance and infiltration, as well as form its members in a security culture. Such a security policy does not exist in Rød Ungdom. The organization keeps detailed membership lists, and members are encouraged to discuss political issues under their real names via insecure online channels. This must be interpreted as meaning one of these three things:
1. That one does not expect to be subjected to repression as soon as the bourgeoisie and the state see it as a threat.
2. That one does not want to be a threat to the old state and the bourgeoisie, and thus has broken with all revolutionary ambitions.
3. That one expects repression sometime in the future – when a revolutionary situation spontaneously arises – but does not see the need to prepare the organization and the cadres for this.
These may seem as very different points of view. On the one hand, there is the theory of peaceful transition to socialism, and on the other, the theory of a sudden crisis sometime in the future which spontaneously leads to a successful uprising. Common to these is that one does not direct the organization on organizing the people to revolt here and now, and on building up a revolutionary force that in the long run can challenge the old system.
The Proletariat – a «target group» for electoral campaigns, or the revolutionary subject?
“Rød Ungdom does not engage in the electoral process because we believe that capitalism can be voted out through elections, but because we can use the opportunity to engage in revolutionary agitation among the masses.” Anyone who has been active in RU for some time will have heard this trope in one form or another. But in practice the organization is campaigning like any other bourgeois-socialist party, albeit interspersed with some radical phrases. In the last strategic period (RU’s strategy is renewed every 4 years, and follows the election cycle), one of Rød Ungdom’s main issues has been the campaign «Vocational uprising», perhaps to focus on the working class as the target group in the election campaign. It is not so clear what makes this campaign a revolt; it is first and foremost a list of political reforms that would increase recruitment to vocational schools within the bourgeois school system.
The name “Vocational uprising” would have been well suited if it referred to vocational students who rebel – and we hold fast to the slogan it is always right to rebel against the reactionaries. But to go out to vocational students with demands for reform that they themselves have devised, with the intention of getting them to vote for Rødt, is quite the opposite of rebellion. If there is a seed of revolt among the vocational students, it is the task of communists to organize this revolt, not to divert it into the bourgeois system.
4) Relationship between radical organisations
Although we disagree with these organizations about the path towards revolution and communism, we wish for a friendly relationship with them all. We know that there are good comrades in all of these groups, and we hope that the relationship between the organizations can consist of camaraderie and cooperation on relevant issues. We also believe that some disagreements can be resolved through common practice and open debate. As the revolutionary movement grows, more and more situations will arise in which it will become clear who is on the side of the revolutionaries and who on side of the state. Our goal will be for as many people as possible to take the side of the revolutionaries against the state, and we will be clear about what this means.
5) Our revolutionary theory
We base our theory on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. We believe this is so far the highest stage of revolutionary science. The theory developed by the victorious revolutions and by the struggling communist parties around the world is the best tool for a communist party in the fight for revolution.
To be a Maoist means to adapt the revolutionary struggle to the specific conditions. Lenin adapted the struggle in Russia to its conditions, to the outrage of dogmatic “Marxists.” Mao adapted the struggle in China to its conditions, to the same outrage of dogmatic “Marxist-Leninists”. To be a Maoist means not only to recognize Mao’s contribution to the international communist movement, but to understand which experiences from previous communist revolutions are universal and must be continued, and in which areas a new path must be carved based on the local conditions of each country.
Lenin pointed out in 1917 that “only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” We hold fast to this. It is the historical mission of the proletariat to supersede the bourgeois state and establish its own class rule. All our work must include creating the conditions for the proletariat to being capable to achieve the revolution and carry on the class struggle all the way to communism.
We believe that the foremost task for revolutionaries in Norway right now is to build the seed of a real, communist party guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. By conducting social investigation and participating in the struggles of the masses, we will connect with the most advanced sections of the masses, and win over as many of them as possible to the communist ideology. The task after that is to build the popular front, which consists of mass organizations in which the communists participate, and which is independent of the bourgeois state. These constitute the embryo of the new state. The third of the three tools of the revolution, the people’s army, cannot be built without a strong mass base, but it will be necessary for defending the revolution against attacks by the bourgeois state and for seizing power and establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The subjective and objective conditions for the revolution are not present right now, in this period of relative social stability. The revisionists will use this as an argument for conducting exclusively reformist work, while “Third Worldists” will claim that there is simply no proletariat in Norway and that we must therefore settle for supporting revolts in the oppressed countries. We disagree with both these lines.
There exists a real proletariat in Norway, as opposed to the labour aristocracy where social democracy has its social basis. The theories that the subjective conditions are determined solely by the objective conditions, and that there are no mutual interactions between these, are an excuse for passivity. It is our task to organize the revolutionary proletariat here and now, build strength in the organization, and work actively to create the subjective conditions for a revolutionary situation to develop. This requires active action on the part of the communists.
Comrades who agree with the criticism and the line we’ve presented here, are welcome to contacting us.
1 The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is against the Naxalite movement: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/CPI-M-against-Naxals-and-Maoists-Sitaram-Yechury/article15904152.ece It is also allied with the Chinese Communist Party: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/yechurys-call-on-xi-jinping-signals-strong-cpccpi-m-ties/article7783317.ece