The Third International after Lenin

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rebuilding international communist leadership: RIM

from [** MAOIST_REVOLUTION **] Communist Party of India (M-L)

n.1 - June 2011 - The debate in the ICN

Communist Party of India (M-L) Naxalbari
On the Present Situation of the RIM and the Challenge of
Regrouping Maoist Parties at the International Level
The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) is
now defunct for all practical purposes. The only remaining
sign of its presence is the A World to Win News Service.
Even this is reduced to mere tokenism, incapable of providing
direction and at times misused as a mouthpiece of
sectarian views. This situation is both grievous and challenging.
The RIM used to present itself as the embryonic centre
of the worlds Maoist forces. Its formational process and
practice justified this. Foremost among these is its initiation
from a worldwide rebellion that emerged from among
Maoist parties and organisations against the capitalist coup
and restoration in China. Though a tiny minority and mostly
isolated, these Maoist forces dared to swim against
the revisionist, centrist tide. Most of them could be part of
an international process of regrouping that ultimately lead
to the formation of the RIM in 1984. Since then this movement
had been instrumental in promoting the proletarian
revolutionary cause with ideological consistency. It could
draw immense energy and greater clarity from the presence
in its ranks of parties leading the two glorious peoples
wars initiated in the later part of the last century. It could
bring out the authentic and united voice of Maoism on
major world developments. It initiated and led several internationalist
campaigns of solidarity and resistance. The
journal A World to Win inspired by the RIM acquired a
prestigious position. Most important of all, it advanced to
the height of adopting Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and
playing a key role in gaining wider adherence to this ideological
position within the international Maoist movement.
It is therefore extremely grievous that the international
proletariat and the oppressed peoples have been deprived
of this international weapon right at this time of global
imperialist crisis. The Maoist forces are once again faced
with the challenging task of seeking out principled, ideologically
consistent, unity amongst themselves and regrouping
at the international level. This broadly presents two
options - reorganise the RIM or build a new international
organisation. In either case, a summation of the RIM experience,
even if initial, is necessary. This should not be limited
to participatory parties of the RIM. It must strive to
draw upon and incorporate inputs from the greatest number
of existing Maoist parties.

Whatever maybe the limitations or even errors of the
RIM, it is an indisputable fact that it was the most advanced
one among the various international initiatives of
Marxist-Leninist forces. This is particularly true in the matter
of ideology. Therefore, regardless of whether one opts
for reorganising the RIM or prefers to build anew, its experience
must be struggled over and synthesised. In view of
the advanced position achieved by the RIM we hold that it
is appropriate to reorganise the RIM, rather than striving
to build something new. But such reorganisation must go
beyond an organisational regrouping of the participatory
parties and organisations of the RIM. We cannot simply
reactivate the RIM and continue as before, even with a
new CoRim. There are two reasons. First of all, the present
predicament of the RIM stems, in some measure at least,
from its very constitutive concepts and methods of functioning.
They must be addressed and a resolution attempted
to achieve meaningful reorganisation. Apart from this,
a number of Maoist parties, some leading peoples wars,
are outside the RIM. Reorganisation will be incomplete
without pooling their views and experiences.

No single party can arrogate to itself the task of summing
up the RIM. It must be done collectively. Yet a beginning
must be made, to initiate debate and struggle. The
following positions are being advanced in this spirit. They
are preliminary in nature and open to revision. We focus
on the drawbacks, since the positive features are broadly
known and already mentioned in brief. Besides, the pressing
need is to identify and resolve those negative factors
which have brought the RIM to the present stalemate.
The capacity of the RIM to function as a cohesive body
was grounded in its insistence on ideological unity. This
made it possible to proceed beyond a co-ordination and
achieve the formation of a committee to lead it and its centralised
functioning. The committee was conceived as an
embryonic political centre. This conformed to the stated
aim of working towards the formation of an International of
a new type. The qualification new type was incorporated
precisely to distance this future International from the Comintern
conception of being the world party of the world
proletariat. Hence the centralised functioning of the committee,
the CoRIM, was to be guided by the recognition,
explicitly mentioned in the Declaration of the RIM, that the
formation of a new International demanded an appropriate
form of democratic centralism, apart from a new General
Line. The CoRim was given the responsibility of carrying
out various ideological, political and organisational tasks.
It was to take guidance for this from the general positions
collectively adopted by the participatory parties and organisations.
Furthermore, it was allowed an active role in the
process of generalising and synthesising the experiences
of the individual parties by bringing these to the attention
of all the participants, through its circulars and reports.
Thus the ideological unity, lying at the foundation of the
Movement, was sought to be transformed into a material
force by manifesting it in an appropriate organisational
form and method of functioning. This was the distinctive
feature of the RIM. The positive gains achieved by the
international proletariat and the oppressed peoples through
this Movement are closely bound up with this feature.
Yet, the present situation of stagnation too is located precisely
in this, in the paralysis of the CoRim.

This paralysis is related to sharp ideological and political
differences among the parties in the CoRim on the Nepal
issue. No doubt these differences are widely present
within the Movement itself. But we highlight those in the
CoRim because it is primarily responsible for the present
stalemate. However, the problem of the present situation is
not rooted in such differences as much as it is in the methods
adopted to deal with it and arrive at a resolution. This is
not the first time that sharp differences have come up. The
RIM and its Committee have been marked by wranglingism
from the very beginning. But, in the past, this was
overall handled in a manner ensuring collective participation.
This allowed the RIM to identify points of unity and
advance on that basis, without papering over differences.
When deviations from this correct method took place, ideological
struggle tended to get diverted into secondary
issues and unprincipled methods. It needed the collective
intervention of the Movement to check this. The sharp
differences on the Peru issue, the problems of handling
associated with this and the achievement of a level of unity
in 2000, through collective struggle, may be recollected.
But in the present instance the CoRIM failed to discharge
its responsibility of consulting and involving the whole
Movement. The reasons for this must be sought in the
current outlook of the concerned parties, not just on the
specific issue of difference, Nepal, but on the whole range
of ideological, political and organisational positions. An
analysis of these matters is beyond the scope of this note.
What is to be noted is that the present paralysis of the
CoRIM leading to the RIM becoming defunct is not an
inevitable consequence of its structure that granted the
role of an embryonic political centre to the CoRIM. It is the
unavoidable product of deviations from the points of unity
in the understanding that led to the formation of the

Yet this does not absolve the embryonic centre concept
from all blame. A tendency of promoting the central role of
the CoRIM at the cost of bilateral relations among parties,
even to the extent of discouraging such direct ties, existed
within the CoRIM and the Movement from the very beginning.
This tendency emerged from the failure to rethink the
issue of international organisation in the light of the initial
criticism made of the world party concept made in the
Declaration. It was squarely rooted in visualising a new
International more or less in the pattern of the Comintern.
More and more, political exchanges and contacts became
routed through the CoRIM. This lead to a situation where
bilateral contacts among the participating parties were
weakened, and often abandoned. As a result we have the
present predicament where the freezing up of the CoRIM
has caused immobility of the whole Movement. This is
more than an organisational, structural, problem. Let us
recollect that the initial contacting of the late 1970s and
early 80s was actualised through various initiatives of individual
parties, in circumstances far more adverse than
those existing today. The present stagnation is mainly an
ideological problem, one of outlook. The extent to which
this stems from the embryonic political centre concept
remains to be assessed, but its role is undeniable.
The tendency of absolutising the central role of the
committee was opposed and criticised by some parties precisely
on the grounds that it was tending to go beyond the
points of unity leading to the formation of the RIM and the
CoRIM. It was even pointed out that this reflects an outlook
of recreating the centralisation seen during the Comintern
period, in one or another manner. At each instance
these parties demanded that bilateral ties must be promoted
and that the tendency within the CoRIM that opposed
this must be rectified. But this was not taken up with the
importance it really demanded. And it did not get due recognition.
Quite often such matters were posed and dealt
with as issues solely concerning the style of functioning
of the CoRIM or deviations from the Maoist methods of
leadership. Given the differences on the vision of a new
International, it was inevitable that the very concept of
'embryonic political centre' would be a site of unity and
struggle from the very beginning. Yet this was not explicitly
recognised and dealt with as such.

This is an important lesson that should be taken and
applied in the present initiative. We must therefore review
the position on embryonic political centre and deal with
the structural form of leadership accordingly. The Declaration
of the RIM has correctly observed, The concept of
world party and the resultant over-centralisation of the
Comintern should be evaluated so that appropriate lessons
from that period can be drawn as well as from the
positive achievements of the First, Second and Third Internationals.
It also is necessary to evaluate the overreaction
of the Communist Party of China to the negative aspects
of the Comintern that led them to refuse to play the
necessary leading role in building up the organisational
unity of the Marxist-Leninist forces at the international
level. Both these aspects must be addressed in any attempt
to build an international organisation of the proletariat,
even in its preliminary forms or stages.

Since the adoption of the Declaration, the thinking and
practice of Maoist parties, within and outside the RIM, has
changed significantly. New parties have been founded. In
this situation, the Declaration, though still correct and relevant
in many aspects, can no longer be the basis, even
for a reorganisation of the RIM. It is therefore necessary to
initiate a process of debate on various ideological, political
and organisational issues. This must necessarily be broad
enough, in the topics selected as well as participation, so
that the present reality of the international Maoist movement
is properly represented. Through this process the
points of unity and differences can be identified and a
relatively advanced platform can be arrived at, to become
the basis of reorganisation. We once again clarify: such
reorganisation must go beyond an organisational regrouping
of the participatory parties and organisations of the
RIM. We cannot simply reactivate the RIM and continue
as before, even with a new CoRim. In this sense it will be a
new initiative. But this new initiative must build off from
the advanced positions attained by the RIM, taking lessons
from its experiences, both positive and negative.

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