Centenary of the October Revolution: Let’s raise the red flag again!

Translation by Redspark

One hundred years ago the Great Socialist Revolution of October broke out – a thunderbolt in the middle of the First World War, an inter-imperialist war that led to the killing of the peoples of Europe for the interests of the various imperialist bourgeoisies wanting to divide the world’s wealth. It was in the midst of this war that the peoples of Russia lifted the red banner to reject the imperialist war and to overthrow tsarism and capitalism. The peoples of Russia led by Lenin’s Bolshevik Party turned their rifles against their exploiters and established the first socialist state in the world. They have shown to the proletarians of the world that it is not only possible to fight, even in the midst of the turmoil of the First World War, but that it is also possible to win and that this is the only answer the proletariat could give to the imperialist war.

This event has international significance. It showed the way to the proletariat and the oppressed peoples of Europe and the world. From the outset it made the bourgeoisie of Europe tremble, and they did everything, in vain, to crush this revolution which they feared would spread in the rest of Europe.

The Paris Commune in 1871, called the first dictatorship of the proletariat by Karl Marx, had already been a great victory for the international labor movement. The people of Paris chased the bourgeoisie to Versailles and had for three months organized its own power before being brutally massacred during the Bloody Week. It is from this experience that Karl Marx and then Lenin and the Bolsheviks learned valuable lessons to realize in their time the October Revolution, the work of the toiling masses of Russia.

The international significance of this event resonates as much in 1917 as today, one hundred years later in 2017. From the October Revolution the international proletariat has drawn immense lessons that still have an implacable validity today. Thus we affirm that celebrating the October Revolution should not be the result of nostalgia for an outdated era, nor should it be something folkloric, reduced to symbols of the past. To celebrate the Great Socialist Revolution of October is to grasp as firmly as possible its heritage to make it live today, to put it at the service of the proletariat — that is to say, to fight for socialist revolution today. Thus to celebrate the October Revolution is to study it in order to extract the universal aspects from the particular aspects (linked to historical circumstances). Each proletarian revolution contains a lot of universally valid lessons for the international communist movement, and the October Revolution has provided some of the most important lessons, along with the Revolution in China in 1949 and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Studying the October Revolution is not limited to the final insurrection that led to the capture of the Winter Palace, the imperial palace and symbol of tsarism. To study the October Revolution is to study the whole period preceding the seizure of power by the Social Democratic Labor Party of Russia, through the Bourgeois Revolution of 1905 and of February 1917. It is to study the mode of organization of the Bolsheviks, the ideological struggle which they carried out, and the conquests made on this plane. It is also to study what happened after the Revolution, the civil war and the construction of socialism that continued until the beginning of the restoration of capitalism in 1956.

 

Today, we must raise again the red flag of proletarian revolution!

Today again, as there are no more socialist countries, the need for a world socialist revolution is felt everywhere.

Today, the ten largest capitalist groups make more money than the 180 “poorest” countries. Capital has never been as concentrated as it is today, inequalities have never been so great, and the world has never known so many proletarians as today. 147 companies, extremely interconnected by cross-shareholdings, represent 40% of the world’s wealth and in this list the ten most interconnected are financial groups (among them, the French group AXA).

The statistics produced by Oxfam in 2015 once again revealed the incredible level of inequality in the world, with the richest 1% possessing more than 99% of the world’s population possess. While global wealth has never been greater, it has also never been so concentrated. A tiny minority, the parasitic class of the financial bourgeoisie, shares the profits and superprofits generated by proletarians around the world who face exploitation and oppression. As a result, under-nutrition and malnutrition as well as lack of access to safe drinking water continue to kill millions of people. In the world every year, capitalist exploitation causes more than two million deaths from work-related accidents. The destruction of the environment, i.e. the capitalist ecocide, causes immense damage to the health of millions of people every day; an incalculable number of workers are victims of industrial diseases, especially in the oppressed countries. Similarly, millions of people do not have access to education, do not have access to healthcare, nor to decent housing (we are talking about nearly a billion people living in slums) …

Regarding the situation in France, in 10 years there will be more than 600,000 additional poor folks according to official definitions. There are more than 6.7 million people unemployed. According to the Abbé Pierre Foundation, poor housing conditions affect 4 million people and more than 12 million people are in a “situation of fragility” with their housing (rent representing a 56% burden on the household incomes of the most poor), more than 140,000 people have no homes, and evictions with recourse to the police force more than doubled in15 years. At the same time there are nearly 3 million empty dwellings. While today the CAC 40 records record profits, workers know an increasing precarity with a Macron government on a war footing against social rights, and the XXL Labor Law pursuing and amplifying the anti-worker and anti-people PS [Socialist Party] government. In the face of these attacks on the working class, of course, the government makes gifts to the rich, for instance with the removal of the ISF [Solidarity Tax on Wealth] all the while reinforcing the repressive arsenal of the state.

We have attempted here to draw a very brief account of the situation in the world and in France. To understand these inequalities, to understand why they have only worsened and can only worsen without a socialist revolution, we must understand what capitalism is and what imperialism is, the origins of exploitation and misery that we find today in the world.

Lenin in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916), defined for the first time what imperialism and its five fundamental characteristics were, the first of which led to the four others being “the concentration of production and capital reached a degree of development so high that it created the monopolies, whose role is decisive in economic life”. By entering its imperialist phase, capitalism moves from liberal capitalism (where competition prevails between firms) to monopoly capitalism (where large monopoly groups formed around banks control most of the economy). Imperialism has divided the world in two: between imperialist countries (of which France is a part as well as today the United States, China or Russia for example) and the oppressed countries. The imperialist countries are the ones from which the big monopolies come; the latter need to export their capital to the oppressed countries to maintain their rate of profit. As the division of the world between the imperialists is already complete, the imperialists must use war to monopolize parts of the market, that is, to gain domination over oppressed countries. Thus the First World War was the consequence of imperialism, just as today the wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq etc. are the consequences of imperialism.

Lenin also teaches us that imperialism is the phase of capitalism in decay. In the time of imperialism, capitalism is moribund and the situation is ripe for the proletarian revolution. The three fundamental contradictions at the time of imperialism are: between imperialist powers and oppressed nations, between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, and between the imperialist powers themselves (inter-imperialist contradiction). The October Revolution broke out in a weak link among the imperialist countries (Russia was then a backward capitalist country) opening the era of the world socialist revolution and the struggles for national liberation, an era in which we are still today. And we see that today these three fundamental contradictions of imperialism only sharpen more and more, everywhere in the world.

So we see the importance of the October Revolution not only in its time but still today. The October Revolution opened a breach against the world imperialist system and from this first breach we inherited many lessons.

The great legacy of the October Revolution

To study the legacy of the October Revolution is to study the gains made by the proletariat and the peoples of Russia in their struggle against tsarism and capitalism and in their struggle for the construction of socialism. These struggles were carried out under the leadership of the Bolshevik Communist Party and were synthesized in Leninism, the second milestone of Marxism, which Leninism develops in its three fundamental components: scientific socialism, Marxist political economy, and dialectical and historical materialism.

We present here some important lessons learned from the October Revolution; this does not exhaust all we can learn from the experience of the Bolsheviks, it is only to present some important conclusions which are still invaluable in our struggle for socialism. To study this subject in greater depth, we invite you to consult the latest issue of Drapeau Rouge, the theoretical organ of the PCM, devoted to the Centenary of the October Revolution.

A Party to lead the Revolution

The struggle of the Bolsheviks gave to the proletariat a precious tool in the conquest of power against the ruling class: the Party of a new type as theorized by Lenin. The Party of a new type is the form taken by the vanguard of the proletariat to lead the revolution.

When we speak of the vanguard of the proletariat we are not referring to an enlightened minority of intellectuals cut off from the masses who would like to impose their theory on the people. The vanguard of the proletariat is the most advanced and determined elements, those who have the highest degree of ideological and political awareness and who are ready to give themselves entirely to the revolution. The proletariat is objectively the revolutionary class as it is the class which leads the socialist revolution and it is the class that in freeing itself will free all the other classes; it is through the proletariat that class division is done with. This does not mean, however, that in the proletarian class every person is revolutionary. Class consciousness must develop in order for the proletariat to become aware of its interests as a class, and this development proceeds in an uneven manner. In the working class, therefore, we find communist workers and reactionary workers, the former are advanced elements while the others are backward elements in terms of class consciousness.

The Party must therefore bring together the advanced elements because they are the ones who direct and lead the revolution. Party members are forged in the fire of class struggle and ideological struggle. The Party of a new type is a party for making revolution, thus it must be strong enough to overthrow the bourgeoisie. It therefore needs iron unity and iron discipline. The Party’s organizational principle is that of democratic centralism. This simply means that before a decision is taken the debate is open so that the struggle between two lines can be short and the correct line can be adopted; but once adopted, everyone, regardless of their individual position, must implement the decision. If the decision leads to failure a criticism must be made to rectify.

The Party of a new type, Lenin tells us, is the general staff of the proletariat. It must have an overview of the situation to make the right decisions and it must be relentless to face down repression and lead the revolution to its conclusion.

This Party of a new type is still the kind of Party the proletariat needs today. How can one overthrow the ruling class, its army, its police forces and its government without having a Party prepared to do so? Determined and disciplined activists are needed, who link theory and practice, and who become increasingly connected to the masses. It is the Party that gives the structure to form such activists, to form combatants and revolutionary fighters.

Mao deepens the question of the Party and deepens the question of two-line struggle and its manifestations as well as the question of the mass line and the necessity of the three instruments to make the revolution: the Party, the United Front and, and the People’s Army.

The dictatorship of the proletariat and the construction of socialism

Lenin on the question of the State starts from where Marx left off with his important conclusions from the experience of the Paris Commune of 1871. Marx clearly defined the Paris Commune as the first example of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In his book The Civil War in France, by analyzing the Paris Commune, Marx draws a conclusion of universal validity for the proletariat: we cannot be content to take over the ready-made state machine and turn it to our purposes. One must destroy it from top to bottom. It is therefore a question of completely destroying the old bourgeois state to build a new one, a socialist state under the dictatorship of the proletariat. In The State and the Revolution, the most important Marxist text on the question of the state, Lenin explains that the state is always a class instrument, that the purest of the bourgeois parliamentary democracies remains a dictatorship of capital and against this state, the dictatorship of the proletariat will therefore always be infinitely more democratic.

This is opposed to all the electoral illusions that say one could take over the state by elections and suddenly direct it on behalf of the working class. As Marx and Lenin have asserted, and as the history of the class struggle has always shown, the only way to overthrow the ruling class is through violent revolution to strip it of power and to establish by force a new power, a proletarian power.

After the seizure of power, the Bolsheviks and the popular masses had to struggle to build socialism for the first time. It was first necessary to defend at all costs the revolution against the whites who, aided through imperialist intervention, wanted to restore the monarchy. The construction of socialism in the USSR lasted up to the 1950s and provided rich lessons for communists around the world. As the first socialist state in the world, the Bolsheviks did not have any manual to follow or experience on which to rest (except that of the Paris Commune), and so errors were thus necessary in order to learn. It is based on the experience of the USSR, in analyzing it critically, that Mao will deepen the question of the construction of socialism in China, rectifying important mistakes made in the USSR, especially apropos the relationship between heavy and light industry, the transformation of social relations through the transformation of consciousness, the continuation of the class struggle under socialism, etc.

In the light of the experience of the revolution and the construction of socialism in the USSR and China, it is clear that the dictatorship of the proletariat in France will necessarily take different forms. We draw important lessons from these two revolutions concerning the construction of socialism and we must put these lessons at the service of the construction of socialism in the concrete conditions of our country.

The fight against revisionism and opportunism

“Without revolutionary theory, no revolutionary practice,” says Lenin. And how is revolutionary theory established? In the heat of the class struggle, in the struggle for socialism and thus through its base in revolutionary practice. If the October Revolution was victorious in constructing the first socialist state in the world, it was because it was based on a strong, effective and tested revolutionary theory. A revolutionary theory which is synthesized in Leninism, the second stage of Marxism which went on to serve as an example to the proletariat and oppressed peoples of the whole world. This revolutionary theory, which allowed the victory of the socialist revolution in Russia and the construction of socialism, was forged in a constant struggle against revisionism and opportunism. That is, Leninism was forged in a struggle against those who rejected or distorted the basic principles of Marxism. It was an unfailing defense of Marxism against any deviation from the right or so-called “left”.

This was particularly evident in Lenin’s struggle against the social-chauvinists who, at the outbreak of the First World War, took their stand behind the bourgeoisie of each country, thus systematically betraying the interests of the proletariat. This was manifested in Lenin’s struggle against Kautsky’s and Bernstein’s erroneous conceptions which led to legalism, reformism, class conciliation, and thus to social-chauvinism. This struggle marked the end of the Second International and the creation of the Third International grounded firmly against opportunism and revisionism. This struggle was carried forward by Stalin against right-wing and “left-wing” opportunists such as Trotsky, Bukharin, and Zinoviev who all one way or another considered the construction of socialism impossible in the USSR.

This struggle against revisionism and opportunism was continued and deepened by the communists in China with their struggle against the modern revisionists who advocated and implemented the restoration of capitalism in the socialist countries such as Khrushchev in the USSR and Liu Shaoqi in China. This struggle is one of the basic principles that every communist must take up with the slogan “in defend Marxism, fight against revisionism”. It is a constant struggle, one that does not stop until the establishment of communism.

Today this struggle manifests itself both in the struggle against the old revisionists–the communist pseudo-parties having completely reconverted themselves into social-chauvinist and reformist parties such as the PCF–and in the struggle against Trotskyist revisionism, unable to unite the communist movement and carrying with it only failure. But this struggle must also take a particularly acute form against the highest forms of revisionism. What is the highest form of revisionism? It is revisionism that attacks the Marxism of our time, that is to say Maoism, so these are the false Maoists, people who call themselves Maoist in words but who are revisionist in deed. This is the case with prachandism that ended the People’s War and its achievements in Nepal; this is the case with Bob Avakian and his so-called “new synthesis”; this is the case with all those who reject Maoism as the new, third, and higher stage of Marxism.

The fight for the liberation of women

Socialist women played a crucial role in the October Socialist Revolution. From the start they contributed to the construction of socialism and the struggle against tsarism and capitalism. They proved by establishing their own organizations that what men can do, women can do as well.

The October Revolution teaches us that revolution cannot be complete and cannot achieve its goal without women’s participation. Lenin declares that “The success of a revolution depends upon the degree of participation by women”. The proletariat cannot be liberated if women are not freed from patriarchal oppression at the same time. And vice versa as well: a complete liberation from patriarchy cannot take place without ending the class division of society, and this can only be accomplished by overthrowing capitalism.

With the October Revolution, a new era opened up for women in Russia. They conquered through the struggle many new rights, gaining legal equality with men. Nevertheless, the legal framework is not everything and it is the practice and the movement of women itself for their emancipation that is central.

Lenin explains this clearly:

“Laws alone, of course, are not enough, and we are by no means content with mere decrees.
In the sphere of legislation, however, we have done everything required to put women in a position of equality and we have every right to be proud of it.
The position of women in Soviet Russia is ideal as compared with their position in the most advanced states. We tell ourselves, however, that this is, of course, only the beginning.

Woman as a house worker is still oppressed.
To effect her complete emancipation and make her the equal of the man it is necessary for the national economy to be socialised and for women to participate in common productive labour.
Then women will occupy the same position as men.”

The Tasks Of The Working Women’s Movement In The Soviet Republic, September 22, 1919

“We say that the emancipation of the workers must be effected by the workers themselves, and in exactly the same way the emancipation of working women is a matter for working women themselves.”

The Tasks Of The Working Women’s Movement In The Soviet Republic, September 22, 1919

In the USSR, women’s rights, as well as the role of women in society in general, were considerably advanced compared to the capitalist countries. It is notably in the USSR that the 8th of March, the International Women’s Day, became a vacation day and was officially celebrated for the first time. Nevertheless, despite the advances, many setbacks would also take place later which cannot be neglected.

The question of women would be raised to a higher level during the construction of socialism in China where women waged an uncompromising struggle against patriarchy to participate fully in the construction of socialism.

Today, to be a communist is necessarily to defend and by all means to apply revolutionary proletarian feminism.

To be a Marxist today is to be a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist!

We have seen how invaluable the legacy of the October Revolution is in guiding us on the revolutionary path today. The revisionists and opportunists always take only what they want from the legacy of the October Revolution by pretending that the great principles that emerged from it were done in particular and historical conditions, thus liquidating the concept of violent revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat, or democratic centralism. The communists do not deny an iota of this legacy and fully take it up it to apply it to the concrete conditions we face today, seeking thus to seriously advance towards the socialist revolution.

Nevertheless, the construction of socialism in the USSR, as previously stated, was a historical first – it therefore had its share of errors and limitations due to it historical circumstances. The Revolution in China succeeded in passing beyond these limits, as the Chinese Communist Party under the leadership of Mao Zedong brought important victories to the proletariat in the struggle for socialism and took a new step forward with Maoism, the third stage of Marxism. Among these new contributions to Marxism, we must note the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution to prevent capitalist restoration, as took place in the USSR; we must note the theorization of bureaucratic capitalism and the need for the New Democratic Revolution in oppressed countries as a necessary step towards socialism; there is the deepening of the dialectic with the unity of opposites as the fundamental law of the dialectic from which all the other principles derive; there is also the prolonged people’s war as a military strategy of the international proletariat.

No Marxist today can ignore Maoism as the third stage of Marxism after Leninism. No one can stop history at Leninism and pretend that nothing happened afterwards; to act in this way is to practice revisionism and not Marxism. To be Marxist, to be Leninist, also means to be Maoist.

One can not grasp Lenin’s legacy without grasping Mao’s legacy. To be a Marxist today, to be a communist, is to be a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist.

To continue on the path of the October Revolution today is to develop the revolution in our country, it is to build a Party of a new type by applying the Marxism of our time, that is Maoism, endowed with the universal strategy of proletariat: protracted people’s war. Those who continue on the path of the October Revolution today are the Communist Parties leading People’s Wars, such as those in India, Philippines, Turkey or Peru. These are the ones who everywhere rebuild Communist Parties on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as a militarized Party and prepare the Protracted People’s War, according to the conditions of their country.

In the French state, to continue on the path of the October Revolution means to join and strengthen the Maoist Communist Party to advance towards the Protracted People’s War!

Long live the Centenary of the Great October Revolution!

Long live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!

To defend the life of Chairman Gonzalo is to defend Maoism!

affgonzalo

Translation done by Redspark

On the day of the 25th anniversary of the arrest of Chairman Gonzalo of the Communist Party of Peru, leading the Protracted People’s War in Peru, the OCML-VP decided to publish a long statement presenting Chairman Gonzalo as a liquidator. This article’s intentions, entitled “On the People’s War in Peru, the betrayal of the leadership of the PCP and the surrender of Chairman Gonzalo”, are clear.

The essence of this statement is:

– After his arrest, Chairman Gonzalo would have capitulated and collaborated with the enemy more or less directly to end the People’s War and reach peace agreements.

– Chairman Gonzalo would be in full collaboration with the Opportunistic Right Line (LOD) represented by MOVADEF

– Peru’s People’s War would have failed because of a “cult of personality” around Chairman Gonzalo

We will see how this statement, far from being a criticism of the Communist Party of Peru and its experience, acts instead as a complete attack on the whole line of Maoism. This statement is the result of a fundamentally erroneous ideological and political line based on a wide distortion of Maoism, the result of which is that the OCML-VP has taken a stand supporting both the right-wing and “left-wing” opportunist lines in Peru, an international position which of course is reflected in their practice locally.

Criticism or Attack?

The Communist Party of Peru, led by Chairman Gonzalo launched the Protracted People’s War (PPW) in Peru in 1980. When the PPW was initiated, the international communist movement was weakened and in decline: in 1976 the coup and counterrevolution in China put an end to the last socialist bastion, in the 1980’s the People’s War in India was weakened by repression and the movement’s geographical and organizational divisions. In the Philippines, the People’s War suffered successive failures following major strategic mistakes, which were rectified in the 1990s with the Second Rectification Campaign, reaffirming Maoism and the strategy of PPW. Thus the outbreak of the People’s War in Peru was an initiative of major importance for the international communist movement and was for that reason immediately the target of imperialism, which sought to crush it by all the means at its disposal.

Despite brutal repression and massacres, including the massacres in prisons as in June 1986, the People’s War developed rapidly reaching the vast majority of the territory, including the capital city of Lima. It reached the highest development experienced by People’s Wars in the period after the 1976 counter-revolution in China. Even after the capture of Chairman Gonzalo in September 1992 and with him being in the hands of the enemy, the People’s War continued throughout the 1990s before diminishing in intensity.

During this People’s War the international communist movement realized major victories against imperialism. These victories are especially important in understanding the Maoism today. It is against these victories that the OCML-VP attacked and against the communist movement of Peru.

Why do we say this statement is an attack and not a criticism? Within the communist movement criticism is not only permitted, but actually encouraged – the process of criticism, self-criticism is indispensable to rectify our mistakes and to advance. What distinguishes criticism from attack is its non-constructive character: its destructive character. In the case of OCML-VP it is not an ideological and political criticism of the communist movement of Peru on errors that it committed, rather, resuming the unsubstantiated lies and defamations broadcast by the enemy and by the liquidators to unilaterally attack the Communist Party of Peru and its leader, Chairman Gonzalo.

The attack of the OCML-VP is based on the assumption that Chairman Gonzalo would have betrayed the People’s War by acting as a liquidator after his arrest by the enemy. According to the OCML-VP, he was a liquidator consciously or subconsciously, but in any case let himself be played by the imperialists. What is the basis of this grave allegation, an allegation that has always been rejected by the Maoist movement and whose only supporters are right and “left-wing” opportunists?

This theory of Gonzalo as liquidator is the thesis presented by the Peruvian State, a thesis elaborated by the SIN (the Peruvian secret services) with the CIA’s complicity. These are all of the OCML-VP’s sources, as it admitted in the article. Admitting that the peace agreement letters and the video “interviews” were false, how could the OCML-VP still claim that Chairman Gonzalo was a traitor? It does so by pretending that he was playing their game, by consenting to the filming for example or by failing to raise his fist at his last trial!

Thus the OCML-VP knows a something that the entire Maoist movement does not, for it knows that Gonzalo did not raise his fist during his last trial.

It is obvious that this makes no sense. Chairman Gonzalo has been kept in total isolation for 25 years. The Peruvian state is trying to make him die a slow death because his direct elimination would only intensify the People’s War. Chairman Gonzalo has never been able to give any interviews with the international press, except during his speech from where he was caged on September 24, 1992, where he called for the People’s War to be pursued, saying that his arrest was only a bend in the road. Chairman Gonzalo has no contact with the outside world.

And what exactly is MOVADEF from which OCML-VP makes their defamations? The Movement for General Amnesty and National Reconciliation (MOVADEF) is an organization set up by the right opportunist line (ROL). The ROL is composed of former members of the PCP who rejected the prolonged People’s War and called for disarmament; they are the liquidators of the People’s War. The ROL generated MOVADEF thanks to the work and support of the SIN. The only lawyer associated with Chairman Gonzalo today heads MOVADEF. MOVADEF is directly a tool set up and put in place by the imperialists in their counterinsurgency program.

One year after Chairman Gonzalo’s arrest in 1992. In 1993, Peru’s Chairman, Alberto Fujimori (now imprisoned for crimes against humanity, responsible for a genocidal policy against the revolutionary movement, including the forced sterilization of thousands of indigenous women accused of procreating communists!) presented false letters of peace attributed to Gonzalo and soon after, counterfeit videos (this was evident to all communists and was revealed later by the secret services). The entire international Maoist movement led an intense campaign for the release of Chairman Gonzalo after his arrest. All requests by prominent progressive personalities to visit Chairman Gonzalo were rejected.

The only ones who believe that Chairman Gonzalo called for peace agreements are former PCP leaders who have become liquidators, opportunists on the right, as well as a militaristic, opportunist “left” line, which demanded that Gonzalo be released to be judged by them. Thus the OCML-VP effortlessly continues the defamation directly emanating from the imperialists and their local lackeys who are supported only by right-wing and “left” opportunists. As in the past, the OCML-VP sails between the right and the “left” opportunism.

No worthy revolutionary grants credence and importance to the words of an imprisoned revolutionary leader in the hands of the enemy who cannot express himself directly to his Party. To accept the enemy’s slander and to take them up as their own is to become a transmission tool of the imperialists in the Maoist movement.

If the OCML-VP conceals the shame of taking up such allegations, it is because it underestimates and does not at all understand the enemy’s counterinsurgency tactics and techniques. The OCML-VP has always contemplated the revolution as an event in the distant future and has never seriously prepared for it. It does not study the issues of clandestine work and repression in the event of a People’s War. Yet history shows how much the enemy has invested in and perfected its psychological warfare and counter-insurgency tactics. This was particularly the case when French imperialism led a fierce struggle against the Algerian national liberation movement, at which time many counterinsurgency tools were developed and then exported to South America by French military directly employed by South American military dictatorships. Among these methods, one of them is to fabricate the betrayal of leaders so that they are eliminated by the movement itself and in order to demobilize the masses.

The People’s War in Peru in the ‘80s and ‘90s represented the only communist movement to go against the current in a period of total restoration of capitalism and a generalized offensive of the bourgeoisie against communism, which was presented as a thing of the past. The Communist Party of Peru thus constituted a target of particular importance for imperialism, in particular Yankee imperialism. To understand this, it is enough to do some research on the impressive number of studies carried out by the US military and its schools, US strategic organizations and the secret services concerning the PCP in order to establish counterinsurgency strategies. Many of these studies came to the conclusion that the victory of the People’s War in Peru was almost inevitable. The Peruvian State and its secret services, thanks to the collaboration with the United States, put a brutal end to the People’s War through massacres and through intensive psychological warfare.

In short, the OCML-VP forgets one of the essential lessons of the revolutionary struggle: that the enemy is tactically strong, but strategically weak. It is strong tactically because it has immense military resources, expertise, and brutal and sophisticated know-how in counterinsurgency and low-intensity warfare; weak strategically because the enemy does not have the support of the people, it represents a minority and is an oppression, it is on the side of injustice and it will be necessarily reversed. The OCML-VP underestimates and completely forgets the tactical strength of the enemy and gets caught in its game.

Today, we reaffirm, as the international Maoist movement has always affirmed, that the last valid instructions of Chairman Gonzalo concerning the People’s War in Peru are those given in his speech from where he was caged on September 24, 1992. In this masterful discourse, he affirmed the need to continue and intensify the People’s War, and he stated that his arrest did not constitute a defeat but just a bend in the road.

Öcalan and Gonzalo: the same thing?

In its statement, the OCML-VP ventures to compare Chairman Gonzalo with Öcalan, the pillar of the PKK imprisoned for more than 18 years.

The statement starts from the assumption that both are be capitulators and that they should be defended in a similar way.

First, there are fundamental differences between Chairman Gonzalo and Öcalan. Chairman Gonzalo is one of the most important Marxist leaders in history. The People’s War that he led with the PCP in Peru had deep international value and served as a model for the outbreak of the People’s War in Nepal in 1996. On the other hand, Öcalan is the leader of the Kurdish national movement, which opposes the Turkish reactionary state, a state under US domination. From a class standpoint, Öcalan is the representative of the Kurdish national bourgeoisie. They are therefore two enemies of a very different value for imperialism.

Similarly, and contrary to the total isolation of Chairman Gonzalo, Öcalan has had means of publication and communication which are recognized by the Kurdish national movement.

The OCML-VP states that a political prisoner, even if he becomes a liquidator and put himself at the service of the enemy, must be defended, and that we must demand his release. This position demonstrates their opportunism on all points, and is exactly the opposite of revolutionary movement practice. If it becomes clear that a comrade arrested, and once in the enemy’s hands begins to collaborate, to give up information – if he becomes a liquidator and therefore a traitor, then there is no longer any duty to defend him. This individual, whatever his past may have been in the movement, falls into oblivion and the only thing that the movement would want is his liberation to pass a sentence for treason. If we defend the prisoners who collaborate with the enemy and liquidate our movement, then we encourage all comrades arrested to do the same. This is unacceptable.

The revolutionary position consists in not believing the words of a comrade locked up or in enemy hands, because it is not possible to check its authenticity nor to know what is suffered by the comrade. If a comrade is proven to be a traitor to the movement, his Party must judge him accordingly.

The position of the OCML-VP on political prisoners in general is thus completely erroneous and in contrast to the international communist movement’s experience.

On the “Cult of Personality”

The OCML-VP states that one of the main reasons for the People’s War’s failure in Peru is the practice of the PCP’s “leadership cult”. The OCML-VP had identified this as a problem in one of its 1990 documents.

Accusations of the “cult of personality” against the communist movement are not new. They were used against Lenin, Stalin and Mao. The most blatant example is that against Stalin by Khrushchev at the CPSU’s 20th Congress: this attack on the so-called “cult of personality” around Stalin was only a pretext for liquidating socialism in the USSR and for the restoration of capitalism.

Let’s look at what Chairman Gonzalo said about the accusation of the “cult of personality” in his Interview for El Diario in 1988:

“Khrushchev raised the issue of the cult of personality to oppose comrade Stalin. But as we all know, this was a pretext for attacking the dictatorship of the proletariat. Today, Gorbachev again raises the issue of the cult of personality, as did the Chinese revisionists Liu Shao-chi and Deng Xiaoping. It is therefore a revisionist thesis that in essence takes aim against the proletarian dictatorship and the Great Leadership [Jefatura] and Great Leaders of the revolutionary process in order to cut off its head. In our case it aims specifically at robbing the people’s war of its leadership. We do not yet have a dictatorship of the proletariat, but we do have a New Power that is developing in accordance with the norms of new democracy, the joint dictatorship of the workers, peasants and progressives. In our case they seek to rob this process of leadership, and the reactionaries and those who serve them know very well why they do this, because it is not easy to generate Great Leaders and Great Leadership. And a people’s war, like the one in this country, needs Great Leaders and a Great Leadership, someone who represents the revolution and heads it, and a group capable of leading it uncompromisingly. In sum, the cult of the personality is a sinister revisionist formulation which has nothing to do with our concept of revolutionary leaders, which conforms with Leninism.”

In light of Chairman Gonzalo’s remarks, one understands perfectly the purpose behind the OCML-VP’s accusation of the “cult of personality” against Chairman Gonzalo.

The OCML-VP affirms that the Gonzalo Thought was one of the main factors of the People’s War’s failure in Peru, because it contributed to “depoliticizing the masses” and let them think that it is only great men who make history. First of all let us see what Chairman Gonzalo himself says about Gonzalo Thought:

“EL DIARIO: Speaking of ideology, why Gonzalo Thought?

CHAIRMAN GONZALO: Marxism has always taught us that the problem lies in the application of universal truth. Chairman Mao Zedong was extremely insistent on this point, that if Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is not applied to concrete reality, it is not possible to lead a revolution, not possible to transform the old order, destroy it, or create a new one. It is the application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to the Peruvian revolution that has produced Gonzalo Thought. Gonzalo Thought has been forged in the class struggle of our people, mainly the proletariat, in the incessant struggles of the peasantry, and in the larger framework of the world revolution , in the midst of these earthshaking battles, applying as faithfully as possible the universal truths to the concrete conditions of our country. Previously we called it the Guiding Thought. And if today the Party, through its Congress, has sanctioned the term Gonzalo Thought, it’s because a leap has been made in the Guiding Thought through the development of the people’s war. In sum, Gonzalo Thought is none other than the application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to our concrete reality. This means that it is principal specifically for our Party, for the people’s war and for the revolution in our country, and I want to emphasize that. But for us, looking at our ideology in universal terms, I emphasize once again, it is Maoism that is principal.”

Thus Gonzalo Thought, far from being a “cult of the leader” or depoliticizing the masses, was formed by and in the struggle of the masses; it was formed in the heat of the People’s War.

To assert Gonzalo Thought would have depoliticized the masses constitutes a total negation of the Peruvian masses’ high ideological and political level the during the People’s War in Peru – a rarely achieved ideological level that manifested itself in all fields. We can see it demonstrated in the documentary translated by La Cause du Peuple: “People of the Shining Path”. The PCP has always put ideological training at the heart of its trainings, as the most central and most essential thing for PCP activists and the masses of Peru.

To assert that the constitution of a guiding thought would be accompanied by a depoliticization of the masses is simply anti-historical – it goes against the history of Maoism. It was during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China that Mao Zedong Thought was more asserted than ever. Would the OCML-VP also affirm that during this period the Chinese masses depoliticized themselves? This obviously makes no sense, as the period of the Cultural Revolution is when the masses became the most politicized!

If the OCML-VP attacks Chairman Gonzalo, the PCP and the Gonzalo Thought so forcefully, it is because it basically rejects all it contributions.

The Communist Party of Peru and Chairman Gonzalo Contributions

The OCML-VP has never claimed to be Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. They prefer to propose an eclectic version of “Maoism”, which they call “Marxism-Leninism and Maoism.” At first glance it might seem close: is it be only a difference in form? A vulgar debate about some words rather than substance?

Far from it. Despite the closeness in names, the fact is that the OCML-VP rejects essential concepts of Maoism, concepts that have been affirmed in particular by the Communist Party of Peru through an intensive line struggle on an international scale. These ideological issues have, of course, impact on their practice.

The PCP affirmed that Maoism forms the third milestone of Marxism, that it is the third, newest and highest stage of Marxism. It was a necessary demarcation from those who saw in Mao Zedong Thought as only a few additional contributions to Marxism-Leninism, and that it was mainly valid for semi-feudal semi-colonial countries, but not for imperialist countries. By asserting that Maoism is a new stage means that it has developed Marxism in its three essential components: dialectical and historical materialism, Marxist political economy, and scientific socialism. In these three areas a qualitative leap was made.

But the OCML-VP does not recognize all these contributions of Maoism to Marxism, and for this reason it refuses to identify itself as Marxist-Leninist-Maoist.

One of the essential contributions of Maoism that the OCML-VP rejects is the Protracted People’s War. The PCP asserted that the People’s War is an essential and universal component – that is, applicable everywhere – of Maoism.

“The People’s War is the military theory of the international proletariat; in it are summarized, for the first time in a systematic and complete form, the theoretical and practical experience of the struggles, military actions, and wars waged by the proletariat, and the prolonged experience of the people’s armed struggle and especially of the incessant wars in China. It is with Chairman Mao that the proletariat attains its military theory; nevertheless, there is much confusion and misunderstanding on this issue. And much of it springs from how the People’s War in China is seen. Generally, it is considered derisively and contemptuously simply as a guerrilla war; this alone denotes a lack of understanding. Chairman Mao pointed out that guerrilla warfare achieves a strategic feature; but due to its essential fluidity, the development of guerrilla warfare is not understood as it exists, how it develops mobility, a war of movements, of positions, how it unfolds great plans of the strategic offensive and the seizure of small, mid-sized, and big cities, with millions of inhabitants, combining the attack from outside with the insurrection from within. Thus, in conclusion, the four periods of the Chinese revolution, and mainly from the agrarian war until the people’s war of liberation, considering the anti-Japanese war of resistance between both, shows the various aspects and complexities of the revolutionary war waged during more than twenty years amidst a huge population and an immense mobilization and participation of the masses. In that war there are examples of every kind; and what is principal has been extraordinarily studied and its principles, laws, strategy, tactics, rules, etc. masterfully established. It is, therefore, in this fabulous crucible and on what was established by Marxism-Leninism that Chairman Mao developed the military theory of the proletariat: The People’s War.

[…]

A key and decisive question is the understanding of the universal validity of people’s war and its subsequent application taking into account the different types of revolution and the specific conditions of each revolution. To clarify this key issue it is important to consider that no insurrection like that of Petrograd, the anti-fascist resistance, or the European guerrilla movements in the Second World War have been repeated, as well as considering the armed struggles that are presently being waged in Europe. In the final analysis, the October Revolution was not only an insurrection but a revolutionary war that lasted for several years. Consequently, in the imperialist countries the revolution can only be conceived as a revolutionary war which today is simply people’s war.”

On Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, Communist Party of Peru, 1988

For more details on the PCP’s contributions in the affirmation of Maoism, we refer you to the international declaration on the 30th anniversary of the Day of Heroism recently translated into French.

Thus, it is understandable why the OCML-VP is spreading the reactionaries’ slander against Chairman Gonzalo and the PCP. Behind this attack on Chairman Gonzalo and on the PCP, is actually an attack against Maoism and all what the PCP has been able to do to synthesize, defend, and apply Maoism. It is an affirmed rejection of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, of the Protracted People’s War, made not by the means of ideological struggle, but in the most cowardly way – by taking up the broad lies spread by the enemy. This is clearly a practice that is profoundly opposed to the very essence of Marxism and which should cause revulsion in every revolutionary.

To those who still had some doubts about the nature of the OCML-VP, this statement should sweep away those doubts once for all!

Defend, apply, and develop Maoism!

Let us fight revisionism and opportunism!

Defend the life of Chairman Gonzalo!

senderista-logo

 

On the Situation in Catalonia

What is happening in Catalonia? This nation, located in several regions where the culture is Catalan (Valencia, Baleares, Andorra, …), mainly in the Spanish State and partly in the French State, has a quickly evolving political situation with an unprecedented political crisis. Since 2015, the Generalitat Government (the political organization holding regional executive and legislative power in this “autonomous community”, which was integrated centuries ago into the Spanish State) has promised to move towards independence. To this end, the Generalitat convened a referendum on October 1, 2017.

(more…)

One Year From the Death of Adama Traoré

On July 19 2016, on his birthday, Adama Traoré died of asphyxiation during a stop by the gendarmes of Beaumont. Very quickly, bourgeois “justice” denied the crime of the gendarmes; the public prosecutor declared that Adama had a “cardiac malaise” following a “very serious infection” adding even that there were “traces of cannabis” in Adama’s blood, all in order to blame the victim. Up against a united family and close friends who demanded justice for their son, brother or friend over a year, the steamroller of bourgeois justice has not ceased in piling on intimidation after intimidation to silence them and stifle the case of Adama Traoré’s murder.

Complaints, arrests, police custody, imprisonment, and threats have been part of the daily reality of the Traoré family and their relatives since the death of Adama. In December, Bagui Traoré, Adama’s brother, was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment with detention and a two years’ ban from Beaumont sur Oise. He and his brother Youssouf must also pay the gendarmes a total of 7,400 euros!

In March, Yacouba, Cheikne, Dooums, and Youssouf were arrested by Beaumont gendarmes. Cheikne Traoré was arrested at 6 am by two gendarmes in plain clothes who had posted up on the bus he takes to work. They were supported by ten colleagues who shouted the bus to a stop on a roundabout. A police measure worthy of the arrest of a leader of high banditry, permitting the criminalizatino of Cheikne Traoré but also used to keep the inhabitants of the working-class districts in fear of repression.

Dooums, a friend of Adama and a young rapper who had made a tribute to his friend, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and two years ban from Beaumont. The young man was in rehab, had just obtained his license, and was preparing for training as a stretcher bearer in September 2017. Yacouba was also sentenced to a two year ban from Beaumont as well as 18 months in prison.

Today two members of the Traoré family, Bagui and Yacouba, are still in prison along with one of Adama’s friends, Dooums, while the gendarmes who killed their brother and their friend still walk free, are still on duty, and have not been charged!

More recently, Cheikne Traoré was put into custody at 5:40 in the morning for “contempt”. The mayor of Beaumont, Nathalie Groux, accused him of contempt from July 22, 2016 — 11 months late! It should be noted that from the beginning Nathalie Groux, the Union of Democrats and Independents mayor of Beaumont, showed her support to the gendarmerie and only spoke up for repression.

Soon after, a second complaint was filed against Yacouba who was taken out of the cell where he is serving his sentence to inform him that he was accused of malicious acts against the gendarmerie of Beaumont-sur-Oise on the evening of his brother’s death — because he put his foot in the door to prevent it from closing to get information!

Despite these intimidations and threats, the Traoré family and their relatives did not bend and thanks to a very strong mobilization and the important work of Assama Traoré, Adama’s sister, the family obtained a medical second evaluation. This second opinion confirmed at the beginning of July 2017 that Adama had died of asphyxiation and not of infection. This counter-evaluation clearly shows that the public prosecutor lied to protect the gendarmes. If Assa Traoré and the other members of Adama’s family had not struggled and faced down the pressures of the justice system, this counter-expertise would never have been found and published and the matter would have been snuffed out. How many families of victims are in this situation? How many have not had the time and the strength, in the middle of mourning, to engage in the roller-coaster of bourgeois justice and have had to accept that the assassins of their child or brothers and sisters were cleared?

The solidarity and the important mobilization of the family, the friends of Adama and the inhabitants of the Boyenval district, which this year established itself through discussions and football games in Boyenval, but also encounters in other neighborhoods, showed that the working-class neighborhoods could unite in the struggle and thus helped the Traoré family to not bend in the face of bourgeois justice.

Since the murder of Adama by the gendarmes, in less than a year the working class neighborhoods have had many new victims of police crimes in the specific context of a state of emergency. Among them were Jean-Pierre Ferrara, Theo, Liu Shaoyo, Angelo, Curtis, Jérôme Laronze, raped or murdered by police officers who quietly continue to perform their duties protected by the justice system that conceals such crimes.

And lately, not a surprise for the summer, police violence has exploded as Macron and his government plan a new anti-terror bill which allows none other than a state of emergency, and worse, that can be used by the French State without justification. The list of victims killed or gravely wounded grows — with Elvis, Whaid, Akram, Yassine, Foued and now recently Marina in Mantes-la-Jolie, who have been talked about only minimally on social media.

As Assa Traoré says, to change this situation –where the French imperialist bourgeois state and its police daily attack the proletariat–we must concentrate on the working-class neighborhoods.

The police are the instrument of ruling class—that is, bourgeois—domination. Their role is to maintain the social order and thus to maintain the exploitation and oppression of the capitalist system. The police cannot be reformed to be at our service; talking about “Republican police” makes no sense. The only way to put an end to police violence is to destroy this system, to overthrow the ruling class in order to establish the power of our class, i.e. the power of the proletariat. It is for this reason that all our struggles, including the fight against police violence, must be directed towards the objective of revolution. In order to carry out the fight against police violence now, we also have the duty to promote and develop people’s self-defense, self-defense of our neighborhoods, so that from now on we will no longer let it go, we will not just react and denounce afterwards, but we will protect ourselves now.

Popular, working-class districts are the stronghold of the proletariat. Our task as Maoists is to concentrate day-to-day political work on working-class neighborhoods; to serve the people concretely, in a creative way, on all fronts which interest the masses and which go in the direction of the revolution; to set an example by this daily work of propaganda, agitation, organization and action, proving that the Maoists are disciplined, firm, and attentive to the proletariat, proving that the masses can at all times rely on the Maoists.

“A communist should be broadminded and be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the revolution as one’s very life and subordinating personal interests to those of the revolution; always and everywhere adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against all incorrect ideas and actions so as to consolidate the collective life of the Party and to strengthen the ties between the Party and the masses; be more concerned about the Party and the masses than about any individual, and more concerned about others than oneself. Only thus can one be considered a communist.”
“Combat Liberalism” (September 7, 1937), Selected Works of Mao Tsetung, Volume II.

It is only through the organization of the masses by the armed Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Party and the construction of the three instruments for revolution i.e. the Party itself, the United Front, and the People’s Army that the fight against police violence will be able to achieve its ultimate goal, enabled through the mobilization of the people and the offensive struggle linked up with the masses. The objective is the total disruption of police violence and the overthrow of the bourgeois state which this violence serves. At the same time as posing the question of police violence within the French imperialist state, communists must pose the question of internationalist support for the oppressed peoples victimized by the French army, as in Syria, Mali, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon … along with the oppressed peoples of the French colonies who were victims of French police violence.

Let’s commemorate the 1 year anniversary of the assassination of Adama Traoré and demand Justice!

Justice for all victims of police violence!

Freedom for Bagui, Yacouba, Dooums and all political prisoners!

Strength to the family of Adama and all other families of the victims!

Against police violence, let’s prepare people’s self-defense!

Everyone and everyone at the protest Saturday 1pm in Beaumont-sur-Oise!

Source: http://www.pcmaoiste.o

From London to Portugal: the Fires of Capitalism

In London, a 24 floor tower with more than 400 inhabitants caught fire, an enormous fire whose images where seen all over the world. A few days later, in the midsts of a heat wave, 64 people were killed when the forests of Portugal were set ablaze.

These two fires of course were not directly linked. Nevertheless, they have often been presented by the bourgeois media as tragedies, as something “sad but couldn’t be helped” with sn accidental fire in London and a simple natural disaster in Portugal .

We must beware the term of “natural disaster”. If cyclones, typhoons or even droughts belong without a doubt to natural disasters, capitalism only aggravate its effects.

For instance in the case of two countries located on major seismic faults, Japan has far fewer victims in the event of earthquakes or typhoons than the Philippines. This is due to the nature of these two countries and their relationship to imperialism.

Japan is an imperialist country with a highly developed capitalist economy, and its buildings have solid anti-seismic foundations. This does not mean that the capitalist mode of production doesn’t have extremely damaging consequences in the event of natural disasters. This was seen in the typhoon of 2012, notably with the Fukushima nuclear power plant: the Japanese bourgeoisie turned largely to nuclear power as a source of energy – despite the obvious danger posed by geographical conditions, some nuclear power plants have even been built next to volcanos (such as reactor 1 of the Sendai power plant located 50km from the Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan’s most active volcanos).

The Philippines is a semi-colonial semi-feudal country. Natural disasters cause massive damage to both human and material resources. This is due to the fact that many slums are located near the seas and rivers. The imperialist exploitation of the country has the effect of intensifying the consequences of “natural disasters”.  The massive deforestation caused by imperialists destroyed an important natural barrier, which was particularly felt during typhoon Pablo in Mindanao in 2012.

What does the fire of London’s Grenfell Tower tell us?

Brutal gentrification directed against the proletariat

The fire of the Grenfell Tower on June 14 caused the death of at least 79 people, wounding 74. It was the most deadly fire in Britain since the end of the Second World War. It took more than 60 hours for the fire to finally be extinguished. Today it is known that the origin of the fire was a defective refrigerator. But the real question is how such a fire could spread at such speed all the way up the tower?

This 24 floor tower in the North Kensington district was an important social housing complex with 127 apartments and 227 rooms, built in the late 1960s. It was the home to more than 400 residents, mostly proletarians, many of whom were migrants.

Although residents have long complained about the precariousness of the building (including inadequate fire protection systems, inadequately protected gas pipes, and flammable materials), particularly at the borough council, their warning cries remained unheeded.

One of the reasons for the rapid spread of the fire was the insulated coating put in place during renovations between 2014 and 2016. A strange renovation turned the tower into a real torch. This type of renovation is also well known in France in the working-class districts. There are the layers of paint on our bars and towers that aim to hide the misery that is inside. It is to look clean in areas open to incoming gentrification.

What is Gentrification? To put it simply, it is policies to replace the proletarian population of a neighborhood by upper classes. The North Kensington neighborhood is a perfect case, with the construction of Kensington Row’s luxury residences, which include a private cinema in the complex and a 24-hour concierge service!

Gentrification is inherent to capitalism. The same phenomenon is found in Île-de-France with the famous “Greater Paris”. A “Greater Paris”, was the suject of a lot of marketing, explaining to us that the suburbs would have better access to public transport. But in reality, all the suburbs near Paris are gradually being gentrified by policies of so-called renovation, urban rehabilitation or the construction of pseudo-eco-neighborhoods. This is particularly visible in cities like Montreuil or Saint-Ouen.

After the gentrification of Paris, largely completed, the bourgeoisie now mainly targets the suburbs

In the United Kingdom, according to Prime Minister Theresa May herself, it is estimated that 600 towers have the same insulated coating as the Grenfell tower. These are all potential torches! In France the situation is not less alarming – how many HLM are there where fire alarms do not work, where there are no fire extinguishers or insufficient quantity? How many social housing units in our neighborhoods are unacceptably unhealthy? Rotting homes are in addition to many poorly housed and homeless. The struggle for housing rights is therefore a neccesary struggle to be pursued everywhere.

People’s solidarity and immediate mobilization

After the fire, a great burst of solidarity took place around the case. Solidarity came directly from the masses who immediately opened their doors to the victims of the fire, who prepared food and gave stuff to the victims. For instance, a filipino workers organisation, the Filipino Domestic Workers Association, organized help immediately for the evacuees in a church near the tower by providing food, clothing, toys for children and all kinds of basic necessities.

In addition to people’s solidarity, in the face of such an injustice, mobilization was quick to demand the truth about the reasons for the fire and to denounce unhealthy housing. Thus, on June 21, the first demonstration, Day of Rage, was organized.

What do the fires of Portugal tell us?

Three days after the burning of London’s Grenfell tower, Portugal ignited on June 17, with a forest fire in the Pedrógão Grande municipality. The fire, which lasted until June 22, killed 64 people and left at least 254 wounded. This fire is the most deadly natural disaster in Portugal’s recent history.

The reasons for this fire include the combination of a strong heat wave with temperatures above 40 degrees and a dry thunderstorm. But again, we must not limit ourselves to the natural causes of the fire, we must understand how it was able to spread so quickly and be also cause so many fatalities.

One of the reason for the rapid spread of the fire is in the important eucalyptus monocultures used primarily in the paper industry. Indeed, plantations of eucalyptus  ignite very easily. These eucalyptus plantations have seen a boom in Portugal since the 2008 crisis. The Portuguese bourgeoisie, faced with the crisis of capitalism, chose to liberalize and dismantle its forest protection services (in Portugal more than 90% of forest land is private) to extend the massive cultivation of eucalyptus that began in the 1980s in Portugal. Eucalyptus is an environmental disaster for Portugal – coming from Australia it has largely replaced local trees and now covers 900,000 hectares, which represents a quarter of Portugal’s forest territory.

The fire hazards associated with the cultivation of eucalyptus in Portugal have been known and studied for a long time – there is no shortage of scientific publications on this subject and yet no serious measures have been taken to deal with it, for the simple reason that this is a particularly lucrative industry for a country that has been hit hard by the 2008 crisis. The Portuguese bourgeoisie has deliberately jeopardized the lives of the rural population who live surrounded by these eucalyptus trees in order to preserve and increase profits!

First Lesson: Revolutionaries have a role to play in cases of disasters

During natural disasters, revolutionaries must not wait for authorities or NGOs to act – they must take the lead and put themselves at the service of the people in order to develop genuine people’s solidarity. We must not let the victims of natural disasters simply wait for their torturer’s help. We must encourage mutual aid and solidarity, we must point out the responsibility of the bourgeoisie and its criminal attitude towards the people.

First of all, it is necessary to help the victims of disasters by all means, by promoting and developing people’s solidarity at the base, and then pointing the finger at those responsible, the capitalist system and its agents, and mobilizing to demand justice and reparation.

The following report (subtitled in French) on the actions of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its army, the New People’s Army after Typhoon Yolanda, provides a good example of the role that the revolutionaries must play in cases of disasters:

(TN: The film is available with english subtitles here)

Second lesson: only the revolution and the construction of socialism will lay the foundations for preserving life in cases of disasters

Capitalism is incapable of coping properly with natural disasters because of the anarchy of production and the political power monopolized by the bourgeoisie. Capitalism greatly aggravates the effects of natural disasters through its totally unequal development of land and by the precarious living and living conditions it imposes on the proletariat.

Whether it be natural disasters (typhoons, fires, floods, etc.) or industrial catastrophes (as in AZF, Bhopal or Tianjin), imperialism and the capitalist mode of production play a criminal role against the working class and the oppressed people who are the first to be affected.

Thus, only the revolution and the construction of socialism will make possible to establish a system that will really take into account the security of all people in the face of natural disasters. Only a system which is not based on the search for maximum profit, only socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat will enable the establishment of a planned economy that truly takes into account the interests of the people.

Justice for the victims of Grenfell and Pedrógão Grande!

Long live people’s solidarity!

Down with the world imperialist system! Long live the proletarian revolution!