Mao: Problems of War and Strategy

Mao at Yenan.

[Final part of our series on revolutionary military strategy in imperialist countries.  While it mainly deals with revolutionary war in China, it contains many important insights into revolutionary strategy in general and how it’s application changes for different countries in particular.]

November 6, 1938

I. CHINA’S CHARACTERISTICS AND REVOLUTIONARY WAR

The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution. This Marxist-Leninist principle of revolution holds good universally, for China and for all other countries.

But while the principle remains the same, its application by the party of the proletariat finds expression in varying ways according to the varying conditions. Internally, capitalist countries practice bourgeois democracy (not feudalism) when they are not fascist or not at war; in their external relations, they are not oppressed by, but themselves oppress, other nations. Because of these characteristics, it is the task of the party of the proletariat in the capitalist countries to educate the workers and build up strength through a long period of legal struggle, and thus prepare for the final overthrow of capitalism. In these countries, the question is one of a long legal struggle, of utilizing parliament as a platform, of economic and political strikes, of organizing trade unions and educating the workers. There the form of organization is legal and the form of struggle bloodless (non-military). On the issue of war, the Communist Parties in the capitalist countries oppose the imperialist wars waged by their own countries; if such wars occur, the policy of these Parties is to bring about the defeat of the reactionary governments of their own countries. The one war they want to fight is the civil war for which they are preparing.[1] But this insurrection and war should not be launched until the bourgeoisie becomes really helpless, until the majority of the proletariat are determined to rise in arms and fight, and until the rural masses are giving willing help to the proletariat. And when the time comes to launch such an insurrection and war, the first step will be to seize the cities, and then advance into the countryside’ and not the other way about. All this has been done by Communist Parties in capitalist countries, and it has been proved correct by the October Revolution in Russia.

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The necessity to revise the experiences of the past and to work out the present experiences by the light of the theory of the long lasting popular revolutionary war

Article from La Voce del (nuovo) Partito comunista italiano, n. 18
mercoledì 19 luglio 2006.

R.I. Editorial Note:
Another article in our series on revolutionary military strategy in imperialist countries. This article from the (new) Communist Party of Italy reviews past experiences of armed struggle in the imperialist countries in light of their theory of Protracted Revolutionary People’s War for imperialist countries. The translation, like many from this organization, are not perfect, but the ideas are comprehensible. -R.I. -13 March 2011

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PPW, Italian style…

[An excerpt from the Manifesto Program of the (new) Italian Communist Party.  It lays out their strategy, which they call Revolutionary Protracted People’s War.  Despite the very similar terminology, it is quite different from the PPW strategy as laid out by RCP Canada.  See also the (n)ICP article “The necessity of distinguishing between the universal and particular laws of the protracted popular revolutionary war“.]

3.3. Our strategy: the revolutionary protracted people’s war

Our strategy, the way for making Italy a new socialist country, is the revolutionary protracted people’s war. This is the conclusion of the balance of the experience of the communist movement, of the struggle of the working class against the imperialist bourgeoisie, in particular during the first wave of the proletarian revolution. By its nature the struggle of the working class against the imperialist bourgeoisie for establishing socialism is a revolutionary protracted people’s war. The communist party has to recognize this reality, understand it through the end and utilize this consciousness for directing the revolution. At the conclusion of the balance of the experience of the struggles the communist movement carried out against imperialist bourgeoisie in the last 130 years we have to repeat, paraphrasing what Mao said in 1940 regarding the proletarian revolution in China: “For more than hundred years we used to do the revolution without having a clear and right conception of it. We acted blindly: this is the reason of our defeat”. (127)

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RCP (Canada): More on the question of waging revolutionary war in the imperialist countries

[Part of our ongoing series on revolutionary military strategy in imperialist countries.  Originally posted here.]

First published in Arsenal magazine, No. 5, May 2005. Arsenal is the voice of the RCP(OC).

“Policy is the starting-point of all the practical actions of a revolutionary party and manifests itself in the process and the end-result of that party’s actions. A revolutionary party is carrying out a policy whenever it takes any action. If it is not carrying out a correct policy, it is carrying out a wrong policy; if it is not carrying out a given policy consciously, it is doing so blindly. What we call experience is the process and the end-result of carrying out a policy. Only through the practice of the people, that is, through experience, can we verify whether a policy is correct or wrong and determine to what extent it is correct or wrong. But people’s practice, especially the practice of a revolutionary party and the revolutionary masses, cannot but be related to one policy or another. Therefore, before any action is taken, we must explain the policy, which we have formulated in the light of the given circumstances, to Party members and to the masses. Otherwise, Party members and the masses will depart from the guidance of our policy, act blindly and carry out a wrong policy.” – Mao Zedong, On the Policy Concerning Industry and Commerce, 1948

We are publishing these working notes that have been produced at the RCP(OC) Politburo’s request, in order to pursue the study of the protracted people’s war as a strategy for the imperialist countries. [1]

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