A generation and a half ago Bolshevism’s successes finally caused the world communist movement to split apart and disintegrate. The contradictory elements comprising Bolshevik theory and practice had all by then developed to the fullest. The old relationships between these now-matured contradictory parts were impossible to contain within a single movement.
All that originally had been carried over into communist theory and practice from the social democratic movement; all that was idealist, fatalist, reductionist, mechanical; all that expressed and promoted the interests of the old nationalist bourgeoisies and the new state capitalist elites, was at war with all within the movement that was egalitarian, all that was dialectical, all that was in the interests of the non-privileged masses of people.
Obviously something had been wrong with the ideas of the old movement. Obviously a renovation within Marxism-Leninism was required to rebuild a new international social revolutionary movement to fight for the interests of the exploited and oppressed. The old movement’s successful experiences in liberating the oppressed had confirmed the truth of Marxism-Leninism’s egalitarian, revolutionary, dialectical core just as it exposed the falseness of its anti-egalitarian, nationalistic, communism-by-stages strategy.
This rebuilding process began in the 1960s in many countries. PROGRESSIVE LABOR was one of its initiators.
The major event in the international split and attempted rebuilding of the 1960s was the civil war fought in China during what was called the Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Briefly a mass-based, millions-strong egalitarian Left, the largest such movement in the world, contended for power. But, hog-tied by wrong ideas still carried over from the old movement, it was crushed and repressed by the elite’s army. Wrong ideas matter. The Chinese Left’s failure showed communists they needed a thorough reorientation.
In the years that followed PROGRESSIVE LABOR shouldered this ideological task, transformed itself, slowly grew and spread its work to many countries.
Meanwhile, the corpse of the former movement rotted away. State capitalist elites, nurtured by and within the ruling communist parties, matured as fully-fledged new exploiting classes, proclaiming “market socialism” as their newly-discovered ideal. Marxism-Leninism became the victim of gang rape. Political and ideological confusion was fostered, cynicism and apathy spread, anti-communism strengthened.
Now a new period has opened. Now the socialist exploiters demand legitimacy as a class of private owners of society’s wealth. (Achieving this legitimacy is Gorbachev’s mission.) Their communist origin now embarrasses and impedes them. The very word “communist” now is as odious to them (since it means equality produced by workers ruling society in their own interest) as they tried to make it to the workers they exploited in the name of “communism.”
Now they run from the name “communist,” and reject the proletarian dictatorship, which previously they dishonored. Now they abandon the traditions of comradeship and proletarian internationalism, which previously they perverted. Now they openly renounce revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, which previously they corrupted and falsified. All this has a good side. Now the situation is finally clarified. Now their essence is also apparent.
In this new period we launch THE COMMUNIST. Its mission is to assist the unceasing world-wide struggle for equality and freedom for the masses of people against their exploitation and oppression. Its job is to promote dialectical, revolutionary egalitarian Marxism-Leninism. Its method is to provide a place where the ideas and experience of our worldwide movement can be analyzed and debated.
We will publish in as many languages as we are able to, and distribute in every country we can. We invite every Marxist-Leninist, every revolutionary minded person, everyone committed to the ideal of a communist world of freedom and equality to join us in our work. We need your thoughts in letters and articles, your money, your translating skills, your help in organizing our distribution.
The moderator is not a PL member; this community was created to explore PL’s views. To avoid possible misunderstandings, responses will only quote PL.
At a glance
PL is an international Marxist-Leninist party, “active in 27 countries”, which in “fall of 1961” “convened a small collective that would soon leave the CPUSA”. “Our [PL’s] policies are based squarely on Marxism-Leninism.” According to PL, Trotskyism was “the vanguard of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie”, “On the right stand the Khrushchevs, the Brezhnevs and the Gorbachevs”, Gonzalo-type Maoism “endlessly quot[es] Mao’s words, while consistently opposing their meaning”, and the GPCR Left’s “failure to break with [Chinese] Maoism, ideologically and organizationally, led to their defeat” while the GPCR has been “the period of China’s history most attacked and slandered by the capitalists who now rule China.” PL was referring to the “restoration of Russian capitalism” by 1966 and characterizes the GPCR as “the first revolution in history to attempt to take power back from the fake ‘communists,’ known as revisionists” while “[t]he defeat of the GPCR and the reversal of the Chinese revolution signaled the end of the old communist movement. These setbacks plunged the international working class into the Dark Night”.
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Who can be involved?
“Our Party’s experience in the mass movement shows that a growing number of workers, soldiers and students are looking for a way out of capitalism’s house of horrors…”
Current Party line
“For the most accurate representation of our [PL’s] line available in writing at this time, please consult Road to Revolution IV, which may be supplemented to some extent with the article Dark Night Shall Have Its End.”
PLP Glossary (to be updated)
Principles to moderate by: (1) “Our four incoming leaders are multi-racial, mainly women, international and inter-generational, and will divide the tasks of the chair and lead as a collective.” (2)…