Adopted February 2022, by the national leadership of the Revolutionary Communists (Revolusjonære Kommunister, RK for short). Translation by the Editorial of Maoisme.no.
For information on RK’s view on Gonzalo, PKP and the tendency that calls itself “Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism” (MLMpM), see the article “Maoism vs. MLMpM” by the editorial of Maoisme.no. We also recommend “Why a new organisation?”.
Capitalism is an economic system. It is characterised by commodity production, and by the fact that the means of production (natural resources, tools, machines, etc.) are owned and controlled by private individuals. We call this owning class “capitalists”. What gets made is determined not by what people need, but by what creates the most profit for the capitalists.
Capitalists get their profit through workers creating more value than what they get paid in wages. We call this exploitation. Communists believe that capitalism is a bad system because:
- capitalism means a small group of people get their riches through other people’s labour
- a small group controls the state and the factories, while the majority work for them
- capitalism creates crises, environmental destruction, and war because capitalists always look for the greatest possible profit to be made in every situation
We say that under capitalism the production is social, while accumulation is private. That is to say; many must cooperate in order produce anything, but only the capitalists get rich out of it. This is the fundamental contradiction in the system, which can only be solved by the production being subject to a common plan.
This fundamental contradiction in capitalism makes it an unstable system with cyclical crises. When these crises hit, the capitalists will shift the burden of the crisis onto the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie, that is to say the vast majority. Communists’ duty is to organize and build resistance to overthrow the system in a revolution and replace it with socialism, and then, after a while, to a classless society: Communism.
Imperialism: Capitalism today
At the beginning of the 20th century, it got apparent that capitalism had changed its character. Instead of free competition, large monopolies arose that divided the markets between themselves. The banks and the industrial capital merged and became finance capital. A finance oligarchy, that controlled the banks and thus also controlled the industries, came to existence. This monopoly bourgeoisie has taken over the state directly or indirectly, and the state has taken an especially important role in the economy. We say therefore that imperialism is monopoly capitalism.
In capitalism’s imperialistic stage, capital export gets special importance; that is to say the imperialist countries get incomes through direct investments or loans to other countries, instead of exporting goods. Lenin defines the imperialistic stage of capitalism like this:
“Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.”
(From Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, chapter seven “Imperialism as A Special Stage of Capitalism”)
Lenin demonstrated that imperialism must inevitably lead to war. This is because the productive forces develop unevenly between companies, industries, and countries. Any “rising” imperialist power will sooner or later invade the territory of the established imperialist powers with their monopoly groups, which makes wars of redistribution inevitable.
Imperialism employs racism and national chauvinism to legitimise itself; we say that racism functions as an ideological superstructure for imperialism. When the European colonial powers divided Africa between themselves, they justified it by claiming that the African peoples were incapable of governing themselves, therefore it was the white man’s burden to civilise them. Today, for example, racism is used against Muslims to justify the West’s wars in the Middle East. It is our duty as anti-imperialists to combat all forms of racism and chauvinism, and strengthen proletarian internationalism.
The alternative to capitalism is communism. Communism is a society where:
- The community owns the means of production
- Goods are no longer produced to be traded on a market (as commodities), but to meet human needs
- One contributes according to their ability and gets according to their need
- People are no longer divided into classes
In such a society, everyone governs, and no one rules over another. Utilities are created and services are performed because there is a need for them, not because someone is going to get rich on other people’s work. Under communism, all hunger and poverty will be eliminated, and everyone will be guaranteed to have enough to live well. No society has reached communism, but the Soviet Union and China were on their way when they had socialism.
Communism does not mean the end of all contradictions, but it means that the class contradictions have been abolished. It is the start of a new chapter in the human history, where the entirety of the humankind can work together to improve themselves and their living conditions.
We cannot bring about communism overnight. Between capitalism and communism there has to exist a transitional society. Many call this society “socialism”. We build on Marx and Lenin who said that while the state under capitalism was the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, the state under socialism must be the dictatorship of the proletariat; that is, that the proletariat decides, dictates politics and the development of society.
In this transitional society there is still much of what was wrong with capitalism. Socialism is still a class society, both because the remnants of the old bourgeoisie continue to exist and want to return to capitalism, and because as long as there is commodity production, inequality will also arise. It is also possible that a new bourgeoisie will emerge in the leadership of the state and the Communist Party.
Under socialism, we will need a strong state with the ability to use violence, that prevents the old bourgeoisie from taking power again. But this state is fundamentally different from the old, bourgeois state. The dictatorship of the proletariat must mean as much democracy as possible for the working class and others who are not enemies of communism. The entire state power, including the armed forces, must be under the control of the workers. The violence apparatus of this new state (army and law enforcement) must be a part of the general armament of the people, and not a standing army and police force separate from the people.
The Soviet Union and China
The Soviet Union was the first country in the world where proletariat took power and brought about socialism. During socialism tremendous progress was made. From being a poor peasant country where the nobility and the landowners ruled through the Tsar’s dictatorship, workers and peasants created a socialistic society with education, healthcare, and enormous increases in the standard of living and life expectancy. The same thing happened in China under Mao. These were the humankind’s first experiences with socialism, and they were largely good experiences, even though significant mistakes were made. In 1956 in the Soviet Union and in circa 1978 in China, representatives of the bourgeoisie took the power back through coups d’état. Representatives of the bourgeoisie took power within the communist parties and continued to call themselves communists while reintroducing capitalism.
In the 19th century, Marx and Engels formulated a theory of communism that we call Marxism. They analyzed capitalism and concluded that the working class had to abolish it through revolution and introduce the dictatorship of the proletariat to transition into communism. Marxism is a science for us who want to create a better world. We need Marxism to understand how capitalism works and how we can abolish it. Marxism being a science means that it is constantly evolving. We use Marxism to summarize and draw lessons from all the world-historical revolutions of the working class, both victories and defeats.
By the turn of the 20th century capitalism had reached its highest stage, imperialism. It was Lenin who demonstrated that imperialism is the last stage of capitalism, that imperialism means war, and that imperialism is dying capitalism.
Under imperialism, the world has been divided between oppressive imperialist countries on the one hand, and oppressed countries on the other. Lenin saw this and found that revolutions could more easily take place in countries that were the weakest links in the imperialist chain, those countries that were not rich and highly developed capitalist economies. This was proved with the socialist revolutions in Russia and China, and the national liberation wars in the wake of World War II.
Around the First World War, the global socialist movement was split in two, between reformists and the revolutionaries. The Social Democratic parties took ministerial posts to administer the bourgeois state and supported the wars of their own bourgeoisie. Lenin fought an uncompromising struggle against reformism and social chauvinism, defending the revolutionary core of Marxism: the necessity of revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin developed the Marxist theory of how communists should organize. He advocated a party of a new type, capable of leading the struggles of the proletariat and surviving the oppression of the bourgeois state. We are Marxist-Leninists because we agree that we need a Communist Party organized for revolution, which:
- is tightly organised and disciplined,
- is only open to those who are willing to: study communism, be active in the party, and develop themselves into good leaders for the struggles we must wage
- is based on democratic centralism, that is to say that all members participate in making the party policy, but that the minority accepts the majority’s decisions and works for these
Leninism was synthesized by Stalin after Lenin’s death and is the second stage in the development of Marxism.
Mao spearheaded the Chinese revolution. His theories were important for leading the Chinese people in casting out Japan and the other great powers that oppressed China, and the successful seizure of power from the great landowners and the capitalists. This revolution was led by the proletariat in close cooperation with the peasants, and was carried out after twenty years of people’s war led by the Communists. After taking power, Mao led the masses in building a socialist economy, and in the struggle to defend socialism from those who wanted to reintroduce capitalism.
Maoism is not simply Marxism applied to China. Maoism is the third, latest stage of scientific communism, and contains serveral principles that apply to every country:
- The mass line as a method of organisation and leadership. That is to say that communists must have deep roots among the masses, especially the most oppressed masses.
- People’s war as a strategy for revolution. The revolution cannot be led by either a traditional standing army or a small gang of conspirators. The revolution must be the masses’ own war against the oppressors, and the people themselves must be armed. The three tools of the revolution are the party, the people’s army, and the united front, which is the germ of the new state.
- The cultural revolution as a method to continue the class struggle all the way up to communism. Because socialism will for a long time be characterized by the remnants of the old society, and even new sprouts of capitalism, bourgeois ideology will emerge in new forms. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China involved mobilizing the masses against party bigwigs and capitalists inside and outside the Communist Party, and fighting for communist production relations. For ten years, the capitalist dangers were driven on the defensive, with hundreds of millions of Chinese fighting to change society and seize power themselves. In all countries, it will be necessary to unleash cultural revolutions to drive the transition from socialism to communism.
- New Democratic Revolution as a method to liberate the oppressed countries from imperialism and feudalism. It involves class collaboration in the first phase of the revolution. This theory was a rupture with dogmatic thinking in the International Communist Movement. One of Mao’s most important contributions were his concrete analyses and creative adaptation of Marxism to Chinese conditions. Learning from Maoism implies an understanding that we must adapt the map to the terrain, not the other way around.
That we are Maoists also means that:
…we work to serve the people, that the people’s interests always come first
…we recognize that there are contradictions in all things, and that oppression takes many forms. There is not only conflict between workers and capitalists, but also between poor and rich countries, between city and country, patriarchal and racist oppression. We fight not only against oppression based on class, but against all oppression.
Mao summarised and criticized several mistakes made in the Soviet Union under Stalin, from which we can learn. These include:
- Lacking use of the mass line and a lack of trust in the masses, combined with an excessive belief in technocratic state leadership in the revolution. When it comes to the fight against counterrevolutionaries, the focus was on the secret police rather than the masses’ own help.
- A view that contradictions in the Communist Party are an expression of hostile influence from outside, instead of an inevitable reflection of the fact that socialism is still a class society. Contradictions were therefore tried to be resolved through repression instead of line struggle.
- A lack of understanding that contradictions among the people and contradictions between the people and the enemy must be treated differently. This led to excessive use of prisons and executions. Bourgeois elements who managed to avoid repression were allowed to grow strong in the alleys.
- A lack of understanding that the class struggle continues under socialism, and that one must let loose the masses to prevent counter-revolution both in society in general and in the Communist Party in particular.
At the same time, we agree with Mao’s assessment of Stalin as mostly good. Under Stalin’s leadership, we gained the first experiences of building a socialist economy, and these were mainly good experiences. The rapid build-up of the Soviet economy under Stalin’s leadership made it possible to defeat Hitler’s fascism. We agree with Mao’s analysis that the Soviet Union became state capitalist after Stalin and believe that Mao’s critique of the Soviet Union applies also to the system that was created in China after Mao’s death.
Struggle against patriarchy
The patriarchy arose together with the private property. As long as class societies have existed, women have been extra severely oppressed and exploited. We support the women’s fight against discrimination, against low wages for women, against bad jobs and fashion/beauty hysteria. We can only get full liberation if we create a communist society, but women’s liberation does not come by itself. Women must organize together and fight for liberation both today under capitalism and under socialism. The long-term goal is a society where the economic and social differences between women and men are completely gone.
In addition to the oppression of women, patriarchy oppresses other groups that break with traditional gender patterns: trans people, non-binary people, and anyone with a non-heterosexual orientation. We recognize and support the fight of the queer people against social oppression and for dignified living conditions and view the queer liberation movement as a potentially important ally of the women’s movement and the socialist revolution. The queer liberation movement and the women’s movement have a common interest in crushing patriarchy and building a world where there are no economic and social differences based on gender.
The bourgeoisie is not going to give up power voluntarily. Every time people tried abolishing capitalism, those who control the state and capital used their powers to stop them. In Norway as well, we have many experiences with the state and capital using enormous resources against the people, including violence. If the people want communism, it is necessary to wage revolution. We say that armed revolution is the only way to reach socialism. Not because we like violence or arms, but because the history is full of examples that the rulers will use violence and arms against the people when they rise up. Just as the bourgeoisie needs its monopoly on violence to rule, the proletariat needs its own violent arm to seize power. The revolutionary army cannot be organized according to the bourgeois model, but must have deep roots in the masses.
Revolutions are different from country. In semi-feudal countries where the military power is concentrated in the cities and where the majority live in the rural areas, one can use the strategy of gradually building up a people’s army in the countryside, and ultimately take over the cities. This strategy is probably not possible in the urbanized capitalist countries. Nevertheless, there are some commonalities that are universal, and that makes it possible that we can talk about people’s war in the imperialist countries, even if it is necessarily something else than the protracted people’s war as it appeared in the semi-feudal countries. The revolution cannot be brought to reality by an elite or professional army, it must be carried out and secured by a people’s army consisting of broad strata of the proletariat and lower parts of the petty bourgeoisie.
The people’s army cannot appear overnight. The precondition for a people’s army to be built is that the communists have won the trust of the masses, that both the communists and the masses have been hardened through class struggle, that the masses are fighting for red power and that the masses are subjectively ready to struggle militarily. The objective conditions do not lead automatically to revolutionary consciousness – we cannot expect that a revolutionary situation will spontaneously happen. On the other side we must make use of crises when they appear. The task of the communists is to facilitate the subjective conditions, that is, work to make the masses ready to fight. There is a dialectical relationship between the subjective conditions (the consciousness of the masses and the strength of the communists) and the objective conditions.
The Communist Party: The Party of the Proletariat
There can be no revolution without a leadership that can point at a direction and organize the revolutionary masses. The party must be of a new type, organized after these principles:
Our organizational principle is democratic centralism, which consists of two sides; democracy and centralism, where democracy is the main side. The democratic side is that higher bodies in the organization are elected by the lower bodies; that political issues are openly discussed among members; that the masses both inside and outside the party are involved in the development of the party; and that decisions are made by a simple majority. Centralism consists in the fact that lower organs are subject to the higher organs; that the minority subordinates itself to the majority; that criticism of the organization by the members is conducted in internal forums.
The class contradictions in the society expresses itself in different political lines. In the Communist Party this will unavoidably lead to struggle between right-wing and left-wing lines; on the one side, lines that stand in the way of the revolution and serve the bourgeoisie, and on the other side, lines that serve the proletariat and the masses and that drive the revolution forward towards communism. As Maoists we understand that the line struggle is not a fault or defect of the party, but an inevitable reflection of the class society. It is the duty of all communists to use the method of criticism and self-criticism to struggle for the left-wing line and drive back the right-wing line.
The right-wing line comes to express itself in different ways, also in ways that may appear to be “left-wing” at first glance. Commandism is an example of this; when the party goes in to decide over the masses, instead of using the mass line as a method of leadership. Another example is adventurism; when activists launch violent actions without the support of the masses, thus driving a wedge between the party and the masses. These deviations are truly expressions of a right-wing line because they forget that the masses are the real heroes. It is therefore important that line struggle is also conducted publicly outside the organization, so that the masses are directly involved in developing policy.
As revolutionaries we must always critizise incorrect lines, including in ourselves. The method to correct our own praxis we call self-criticism. The criticism must be made based on the party’s unity and aim to create a new unity after criticism has been made. Only through unity and common action can the party put itself in the leadership of the proletarian struggle. Therefore, criticism and self-criticism must follow the formula, unity – criticism – unity.
The Communist Party must be a party of a new type and cannot be organized by the bourgeois principle where the leadership is active, and the membership is passive. The party of a new type is a party of leaders. It is the duty of all party members to be active in a party organization and contribute to the party’s work to the best of their ability; make thorough studies of the society and the conditions for the revolution, study the revolutionary theory, pursue criticism and self-criticism and work among the masses. This is a prerequisite for democratic centralism to work.
The Maoist party uses the mass line as the method of leadership, and we act according to the principle “from the masses to the masses”. In order to develop correct political lines, it is absolutely necessary that the masses are involved in shaping the party’s politics. Communists cannot be afraid of criticism from the masses but must welcome it and use it as an opportunity to learn and develop.
The mass line is about going out to the masses, collecting their ideas, using Marxism to summarize and systematize these ideas, taking these ideas back to the masses, and mobilizing the masses to struggle to realize their ideas.
However active the leading group may be, its activity will amount to fruitless effort by a handful of people unless combined with the activity of the masses. On the other hand, if the masses alone are active without a strong leading group to organize their activity properly, such activity cannot be sustained for long, or carried forward in the right direction, or raised to a high level.
– Mao, from “Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership”
The purpose of the Revolutionary Communists
The task of the Revolutionary Communists is to prepare for the founding of the Communist Party in Norway, which will be at the forefront of the socialist revolution in Norway, as an integral part of the proletarian world revolution. The leading ideology of the Communist Party is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.