Preliminary response to ‘New Synthesis’

Rishi Raj Baral
(Revolutionary Communist Party (America) has publicized a document entitled ‘Letter to participating Parties and Organizations of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement’. The Next Front had got this document already through mail and it was under study within our team. This document advocates the meaning and significance of New Synthesis by Comrade Bov Avakian- Chairman of RCP (America).
New Synthesis is the short and symbolic name of the document -‘Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage : A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA,’ which was published in Revolution- a mouth organ of RCP(America) in 2008. Up to now it has produced lot of debates and discussions among the parties participating the RIM and other Maoist organizations and Marxist intellectuals outside the RIM. There are a lot of writings for and against this document. Here we are not going to point out the list of those parties, organizations and persons, who are for and against New Synthesis. The document ‘Letter to participating ..’ itself has mentioned the name and comments of those parties, who disagree with the concept of New Synthesis. But, as we know, outside the RIM participating parties and organizations, there are other Maoist parties, organizations and a large number of Marxist intellectuals, who disagree with this document. In this current juncture we can’t avoid the role of these organisations and intellectuals, who are actively participating in the Maoist Movement. In fact, New Synthesis should not be the matter of concern only for those participating organisations and the parties of the RIM.
Yes, we agree. Things have changed. Now we are in the second decade of 21st century. We have the history of Peru and Nepal. We have no lack of materials to learn positively and negatively from the Maoist Movement, specially from the People’s War of Peru and Nepal. We must review the history of Peru and Nepal with dialectical point of view. We have also the revolutionary history of India. We know the oppressed People of India are fighting against the Indian fascist regime raising the flag of CPI(Maoist). Instead of to waste time in worthless argument and throwing stones to each other, it is necessary to build a strong Proletariat Solidarity to advance the People’s War of India in its height. In this regard, we always appreciate the work of PCM-Italy. We all know at present, building a New Revolutionary International the role of CPI(Maoist) will be decisive. And it is natural to be so.
We must start our journey from the new point. To advance the Proletariat Movement in the new direction and to achieve our goal, we must have new debate, discussions and new synthesis. The beginning of RCP-America is praiseworthy. But it does not mean that new stage has begun and time has come to go beyond Mao and Maoism.
What is New Synthesis? Does this document enable to understand international Communist Movement? Does it enrich Marxism-Leninism-Maoism? Or it is just the reinterpretation of MLM? Or it is a document covered with intellectuality and jargon? These are the questions to be answered. In New Synthesis there are some notable assessments to appreciate- particularly the analytical survey of Peruvian and Nepalese Maoist Movement and the issue of K. Venu.
Yes, Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage : A Manifesto from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, is an analytical document and no doubt, Comrade Bov Avakian is a leader of creative mind. He has deep knowledge on the theoretical aspect of MLM.. But New Synthesis does not generate sufficient rational ground to declare as ‘new synthesis’. While reading the whole document we are unable to find out the answer: what is new in New Synthesis ? Indeed, after gone through the whole document, it is hard to ascertain and identify that the ‘new stage’ has begun, and Comrade Avakian has discovered a new way out to advance the Proletarian Revolution. In fact, New Synthesis is the analytical survey of the Maoist Movement of the past decades.
We have comments from Maoist Party Afganistan to PCM Italy. We have comments from ‘The Workers Dreadnought’ to CPI (Naxlbari), We have comments from Mike Ely to Joseph Ball . We have comments from Raymond Lotta to Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe of Ceylon Communist Party( Maoist) . I would like to cite some words from Joseph Ball’s article:
Bob Avakian’s works such as ‘Democracy Can’t we do Better That?’ and its sequel are important contributions to revolutionary thinking. The debate between the Revolutionary Communist Party (USA) and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is of utmost importance. But when we study the ‘New Synthesis’ and try to ascertain what it is here that is meant to ‘save’ the communist movement we can only scratch our heads in puzzlement.
We might have differences with Joseph Ball in various issues, but above mentioned text is not irrational and irrelevant. No one can deny this.
What the Nepalese Maoists have made their opinion on this document? Do they have made any official opinion on this? It is interesting and surprising too. In the 6th extended meeting of UCPN(Maoist), Prachand had declared- RCP (America) as the party directed by American regime and Comrade Bov Avakian as the agent of CIA. Nothing to say about Prachand and his Party UCPN(Maoist). Now they are busy throwing chairs ( a funny scene of 7th extended meeting of UCPN) on each other. We all know Prachand and Baburam have turned themselves into the real agent of American imperialism and Indian expansionism.
Now we have another Maoist party CPN-Maoist. But it is the matter of surprise that the leaders of this party also have not shown deep concern on ICM, particularly on New Synthesis. To be very frank, firstly, I would like to mention that most of the CC members of the CPN-Maoist have not gone through this New Synthesis and the ‘Letter to participating Parties…’. Secondly, most of the senior leaders of CPN-Maoist look exhausted and they are not enthusiastic to study new documents and materials. They want readymade answer in ‘yes or no’. Perhaps they don’t have enough time to study. And thirdly, Bov Avakian’s writing is very vague and complicated like him.
But we think these are not the problems to make opinion on New Synthesis. The main problem is the determination to come out with bold and concrete decision. CPN- Maoist has reorganized the International Department and there are the members who have more or less knowledge in ICM as well as New Synthesis. Albeit, CPN-Maoist has not come out in any official decision. But as we know, most of the members of the party CC and the members of International Department, who have gone through New Synthesis are not agree with RCP’s conclusion.
We always respect and appreciate the contribution done by Comrade Avakian in the past. Comrade Indra Mohan Sigdel ‘Basant’ in an article entitled-‘The International Communist Movement and Nepalese Revolution’ has appreciated the role of Comrade Bov Avakian, played to develop the revolution in Nepal. As he has mentioned:
However, along with unity our party had serious differences with RIM parties including RCP on various ideological and political issues and we have now too. Particularly, there are problems with the RCP on the question of understanding the dialectics between theory and practice. Among others, our party does not agree with the one-sided emphasis they lay on the development of theory. In spite of this dissension, it will be a blunder to minimise the positive role the RIM and RCP played to develop the revolution in Nepal.
Yes, Comrade Basant is quite right. But it is not only the question of Nepal, we can’t deny the role of Comrade Bov Avakian played in the International Maoist Movement after the death of Comrade Mao. After the death of Comrade Mao, the work of RCP(America) to bring together all revolutionary parties and organizations, was very important. RCP (America) has the merit of this successful work, which led in 1984 to the International Conference that founded the RIM on the basis of its Declaration. New foundation was laid down in the initiation of RCP(America). We always admire RCP(America) and Comrade Bov Avakian for this utmost contribution. But it does not mean that we are forced to support New Synthesis.
We welcome ‘Letter to participating Parties and Organizations of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement’ But we are not agree with the conclusion of New Synthesis. What is new in New Synthesis, is hard to understand and to follow. In fact, what New Synthesis wants to convey us is not clear. The basis is not sufficient and does not create any rational ground for the ‘new stage’, that going beyond Mao and Maoism. It is the matter to note that, all those who are advocating the significance of ‘social practice’ are not pragmatists, empiricists, instrumentalists, nationalists and so on. Why the Comrades of RCP (America) are so aggressive in ‘social practice’, it is hard to understand. Their tendency to limit Marxism into the narrow boundary of intellectual activity, has worried us.

It is true, New Synthesis has produced a lot of questions. But we must be clear that Comrade Bov Avakian is not a renegade and RCP (America) is not a ‘counter revolutionary’ party. Basically we appreciate the spirit and essence of the document of Maoist Communist Party of Italy entitled-‘Intervention by PCM-Italy at the Hamburg Conference.’ And we also appreciate the main spirit of the Resolution by the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan; Communist Party of India (M-L) [Naxalbari] and Maoist Communist Party–Italy, released on May 1st, 2012. But we the members of Revolutionary Cultural-Intellectual Front Nepal disagree with the following conclusion -mentioned in that press statement.

To build this new international organization we must break with revisionism in all its aspects and particularly with those that have led to the current crisis and collapse of the RIM, namely the post-MLM ‘new synthesis’ of Bob Avakian in the Revolutionary Communist Party,US and the revisionist line established by Prachanda/Bhattarai in the UCPN(M).

No doubt, UCPN(Maoist) led by Prachand-Baburam has damaged the world proletariat revolution. They are against Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and they have betrayed the Nepalese revolution. They are the real renegades of 21st century. But we can’t place and address Comrade Avakian and RCP–America like this. We think this is a hasty and prejudiced conclusion. We are not agree with the conclusion of New synthesis. But we can’t place Comrade Bov Avakian and RCP(America) with Prachand-Baburam and their Petofi Club.

We must have new synthesis to build the New Revolutionary International. We know RIM is an embryonic centre to unite the genuine Maoists and communists and a step towards a genuine Communist International. For this, first of all we have to come out from the tunnel, that we have made in our territory. New forces are emerging in the Maoist Movement and we can’t avoid them to participate. For the new synthesis we need more and more participation and discussions from the new point. Today we need a further step that should draw on the positive and negative lessons of our Movement. We have left behind the positive and negative history and now we have to complete the new course to move ahead.
I would like to remind the press statement released by CoRim on the occasion of May Day 2005. And it was posted also in on May1, 2005. It states:
We need to advance further in our goal of building a communist international of a new type, and unite with all of the genuine Maoist forces the world over in this process, as well as reaching out to revolutionary activists who are yet to be won to the liberating truth of communist ideology.
We must think over this statement sincerely. New synthesis should not be the demarcation and certificate that defines the revolutionary and non revolutionary line. It should not be the great wall for building the Communist International of new type. It should be the proposal to study, not the final decision. It means we are not minimizing the question of ideology and the significance two line struggle. There must be fierce two line struggle within Maoist Movement. But debate for debate and prejudiced attitude must be abandoned. This type of attitude does not enable to achieve our goal.
Yes, we need new synthesis to build a new Revolutionary International. And we have to follow Comrade Mao’s following statement: Where do correct ideas come from? Do they drop from the skies? No. Are they innate in the mind? No. They come from social practice, and from it alone; they come from three kinds of social practice, the struggle for production, the class struggle and scientific experiment.
Let us move ahead. Debate and discussions are not prohibited.


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5 Responses to “Preliminary response to ‘New Synthesis’”

  1. zgerv says:

    The RU/RCP-USA played a positive role during the ’60s-’80s. Avakian’s critique of K. Venu was also good.

    I feel that the RCP-USA has had a very hegemonist tendency in international affairs, such as its opposition to forming a co-ordination committee in Europe, claiming that Abimael Guzmán wrote peace letters despite RIM decision not to make claims such as that, and saying that people’s war is not universal despite the RIM statement “Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!” saying so and other statements from PCP and CPN(Maoist) reiterating this. Apparently, the RCP-USA was above collective RIM decisions.

    Booting the TKP/ML out of the RIM was an outrages act. Despite them having committed errors here and there, as a party engaged in people’s war they are a thousand times more valuable than the RCP-USA which is an intellectual think-tank with no concrete plan for smashing the bourgeois state and establishing proletarian dictatorship outside of 20th century “October Road” dogma. According to Mohan Bikram Singh of NCP(Mashal), the PCP protested this decision and claims that RCP-USA was behind it. But his words need to be taken with a grain of salt since he is a renegade.

  2. Harsh Thakor says:

    Bob Avakian makes an important contribution in his analysis that dissent is required within a Socialist Society.This was valid as in U.S.SR and even in China in the period of the Cultural Revolution,sufficient scope of debate or dissent was not promoted.This was particulalry true when you analyze the attacks on musicians,artists and poets in the G.P.C.R period.I respect Avakian’s role in asserting that we have to refute all trends that negate the concept of proletarian dictatorship but silmuntaenously combat dogmatic trends and be more critical of mast mistakes in Socialist Societies in U.S.S.R.and China.

    However it is ridiculuos to evaluate that Bob Avakian has taken Marxism-Leninsm to a higher stage or Maoism.Mao Tse Tung Thought or Maoism as a higher stage was only esatablished afer Mao launched the Cultural Revolution where he implemented his theory of continuous revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.Lenin’s leading the Bolshevik Revolution and Mao’s new democratic,Socialist and Cultural Revolution gave them the right for their thesis to be converted into an ism or higher stage.Infact the RCP,has declined in the last 2 decades,not able to establish any heeadquarters in the working class or building revolutionary mass structures.THe concept of solid core with great elasticity hardly defends Lenin and Mao’s contributions to the defending of the concept of the dicataorship of the proletariat or continuous revolution in a Socialist Society.Without implementing the polemics of Lenin and Mao we will destroy the backbone of the Communist Movement The RCP in recent times is hardly supporting the peoples Wars worldwide.

    Infact the very defects lay in the foundation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement that was formed pre-maturely.Unfortunately the looseness of the refuted from a rightist trend like Kasama project.Although it promotes the concept of debate and dissent,it advocates multi-party system,rejects Leninist ideology and analyses Maoism as something different from Leninism and virtually negates the legacy or contribution of Stalin.Bob Avakain’s concepts have to be refuted from a Marxist-Leninist stand.Can Avakian’s concepts be applied to the Peoples Wars of the world today in Phillipines or India?

    Revolutionary cadres have to defend the backbone of Marxist Leninist ideology as Com.Harbhajan Singh Sohi of India did through his writings on Comrade Mao in 1979,defending his contribution to the dictatorship of the proletariat.Com.Sohi made a great contribution in combating the wrong trends within the International Communist Movement .

  3. Harsh Thakor says:

    The Revolutionary Internationalist movement contributed to the setback of the Shining Path Movement and Nepal by launching attacks on Stalin and some of the fundamental Marxist Leninist Tenets.It was premature to form such an organisation with inadaequate development of proletarian parties worldwide and the Communist Movement.Some of the most significant writings opposing the R.I.M.were of the late Comrade Harbhajan Sohi in his writings on ‘Invincibility of Mao Tse Tung Thought.’

    Remember the Chinese Communist Party never advocated the formation of an International learning the lessons of the experience under Stalin.Since the fall of proletarian power in the C.C.P. there is no Socialist base in the World. History remembers that despite the achievement of C.P.C under Mao ,the party did not go towards establishing he Communist International or establishing an International Organisation. Instead it stressed for he Communist Parties of the camp to apply he universal truths of Marxism-Leninism in the concrete situation of their country. It emphasized that other countries should not copy the Chinese Experience to-to but apply the Chinese experience in accordance to their own condition.

    The main reason for the C.P.C’s caution was Imperialism was devising through its local regimes new forms of neo-colonial rule and only a native communist party could analsye and review such situations. An outside force could not grasp the concrete reality. Thus the necessity of political independence of each country’s communist party.

    Chauvinistic tendencies may also develop under Communist Parties .The more developed and advanced may act chauvinistically and deliver big-brother treatment to the less developed or successful parties.

    The victory of a revolution in a country under the leadership of a Communist Party indicates that certain crucial contemporary problems of he revolutionary movement have been resolved by it ,and thus the experience can be passed on to Communist Parties of othe Countries.At present there is no such party in the World.The ideological political struggle against Oppurtunism within the revolutionary Camp is firce and bitter in each country.

    A dialectical process involving unity of Communist Parties is required. Mutual exchange has to take place Actual experience should be shared, which would pave the way for more advanced forms of collective positions on issues and ralying of more forces worldwide. Mutual Exchange and Common stands, bilaterally and laterally,and multilateral platforms on the basis of the general line are required

    Today in India and in other Countries the reorganization of he Communist Party is still in the process of being realized It is crucial to struggle to implement the correct line and establish its content with opportunism. In this process Communist revolutionaries have to strive to achieve unity on the basis of settling various line questions in connection with the revolutionary practice of the masers of the Indian people.

    A 2 line struggle should be struggled against the trend of the formation of R.I.M itself to advance the International Communist Movement.Remember even the C.P.I.(Maoist) or erstwhile P.W group were never part of the R.I.M,nor The Communist party of Phillipines,who are still positively struggling as a revolutionary force.

  4. zgerv says:

    Comrade Harsh Thakor,

    The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement was not a Communist International, but the “embryonic center” of the world’s Maoist forces”. It never claimed anything else, but laid the groundwork for the formation of a Communist International when the objective conditions were right.

    The RIM as a movement did not contribute to setbacks in either Peru or Nepal.

    In the case of Peru, the RIM launched an international campaign against the Right-Opportunist Line which emerged there and struggled ardently against it. Notable amongst these is the document It’s Right to Rebel! by the Union of Iranian Communists (Sarbedaran), which later became the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist).

    However, the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA and Bob Avakian did contribute to confusion in Peru by claiming that Chairman Gonzalo had denounced the People’s War and called for peace accords when the RIM had collectively decided not to make such statements, which is an especially important position to take since he is locked behind bars and has been in solitary confinement for an extended period of time.

    In the case of Nepal, Communist Parties from the RIM criticized and denounced the ROL which emerged there as well which liquidated the People’s Army, abandoned the base areas and ended the People’s War.

    Your position against the formation of a Communist International, even in embryonic form such as the RIM, are made by appealing to the authority of Chairman Mao. However, Chairman Mao was not an omnipotent figure and he may have been incorrect not to form a Communist International to give guidance to the International Communist Movement, as is evident from the widespread confusion and setbacks of the ’70s and especially so after his death.

    Your attacks on the RIM are one-sided and ignore the important contributions which the Movement made, such as:

    (1) Uniting the world’s Maoist forces on a higher level of unity in 1984 with the Declaration, and again in 1993 with the document Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!;

    (2) Fighting the ROL in Peru and launching an international campaign in support of the People’s War there;

    (3) Supporting the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) against the Nepal Communist Party (Mashal)’s ROL which negated the necessity of launching People’s War;

    (4) Contributing towards peace in India when the Maoist Communist Centre and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [People’s War] were engaged in a fratricidal conflict;

    (5) Assisting Maoist forces in Afghanistan towards unity, culminating in the formation of the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan;

    The RIM did make mistakes but the positives outweigh the negatives. We should not backpedal into a time where there is no international organization. Marxist-Leninist-Maoist forces should struggle for the reunion of the RIM and hail the efforts of the C(m)PA and other organizations which fight for this.

  5. Sedrik says:

    Thank you Comrade zgerv for your answer because I was stunned by what Harsh Thakor was advancing.

    We have to realize that the RIM played a very important role regarding the affirmation of maoism as the third stage of marxism-leninism (even though some particular parties played a predominant role in this process like the PCP).

    Today we have to face our reality and not just look at the past saying ‘Mao did that so we should do so’.

    Saying that we shouldn’t go in the direction of forming a new international organisation regrouping the maoist on the basis that there could be deviation of one party imposing its views etc. is like saying that we shouldn’t build the communist party because we know that there are possibilities of deviations, that the bourgeoisie will try to rise up inside the party after the revolution, etc.

    This position is tantamount to not wanting to work because of the efforts it requires !

    And to be clear, as zgerv said, RIM was not the International but “the “embryonic center” of the world’s Maoist forces”. So will be any new regrouping.

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