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Solidarity with the struggle of the Colombian people

By | 07/24/2021

On July 4th, 2021), the communists of Moscow – the Moscow Maoists, their comrades from UCP, “Workers’ compass”, and “The Communists of Russia” – as well as independent journalists – went to the Embassy of Colombia on Burdenko Street to express solidarity with the struggle of the Colombian people against the neoliberal “reforms” of President Ivan Duque.

Mass protests in Colombia have been going on for more than two months. In April of this year, President Duque decided to implement a tax reform, the essence of which was to raise taxes. It appeared as if the “reform” was done for a good purpose: to increase funding for the “Ingreso Solidario” social program. About 3 million Colombians receive payments under this program, and Duque wanted to expand it by another 1.7 million. The problem is that the financing of this program for the poor comes from the poor themselves: from excise taxes (taxes on consumer goods). Plus, this program covers only about one fifth of the total number of people in need of social benefits.

In addition to the tax reform, Duque also proposed a reform of the health care system, which is basically privatization. The Colombian government had been criticized for its inept fight against the pandemic, as a result of which the country ranked third in the number of deaths from coronavirus in Latin America. The Colombian economy fell by 6.8% in 2020, which is the worst performance in the last 50 years of its history, while unemployment rose to 14% of the working-age population.

As a result, on April 28, Colombian trade unions, led by the Central Council of Workers (CUT), formed a National Strike Committee, and mass protests began throughout the country.

The confrontation between the authorities, the police, the ESMAD (police special forces) on the one hand and ordinary Colombians on the other, claimed the lives of 77 people, with another 124 injured, 2808 detained. 304 people “disappeared”, and 106 women were raped. 74 people lost their eyes. President Duque withdrew the tax reform bill on May 2; however, he did not abandon the plans to carry it out in the future, so the protests continued. On June 15, the National Strike Committee decided to temporarily suspend the mass protests (in fact, they did not stop) until July 20, when the parliament session resumes to present its demands in the form of a petition.

The requirements formulated by the committee are as follows: to ensure the protection of the health of citizens and medical personnel during the pandemic; to carry out mass and timely vaccination of the population; to provide social benefits to 7.5 million people; to protect domestic producers in agriculture and industry; to ensure employment of the population; to ensure food independence of the country; to solve the problem of peasant debts; to increase wages and pensions; to ensure the availability of education; to pass laws that protect women; to abandon the policies of privatization.

The Moscow picket in support of the just demands by the Colombians was generally calm. Comrades lined up in a picket line in front of the embassy, which is located on a quiet street near the “Park of Culture” metro station. Comrades provided interviews and talked peacefully with the bypassing citizens. A cyclist said that a movie based on Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita” was being filmed further down the street. Soon, by some curious coincidence, one law enforcement officer appeared, and after that their number began to rapidly increase. Concentrating around comrade Sidorenkova, who was holding a poster, they apparently grew bolder and went on the offensive, demanding from her to leave. When asked: “On what grounds”? “Why a single picket should not be held”? – a police officer in the rank of captain refused to explain anything, and then said that the comrades had organized a “rally”, so they would all be taken away for “violation of sanitary standards”.

The policeman also tried to break the camera of the journalist who was filming his actions, but then he retreated. Upon that, the comrades finished holding the picket line.

The title of Ernest Hemingway’s book “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is taken from a quote from the English poet John Donne. Its meaning is that there is no separately standing person, as we are all part of humankind. Therefore, the American from his book went to the war in the distant Spain to stop fascism. The attack on the rights of workers and working people in any country also affects all of us, no matter we are. If such an attack works for the authorities in Colombia – it will also work for the authorities in Russia. And if it turns out that another wave of crazy “reforms” in Colombia is stopped – all of us will succeed. The problems around the world are mostly similar in their nature. Therefore, it is important to show solidarity with popular struggles in other countries. Together we will win! Hasta la victoria siempre!

Patriotism or National Betrayal? —On the Reactionary Film Inside Story of the Ching Court

By | 03/02/2021

“At no time since it was shown all over the country has the film ‘Inside Story of the Ching Court’ — described as patriotic though in fact a film of national betrayal — yet been criticized and repudiated.”

— Chairman Mao Tse-tung: “Letter on the Question of Studies on ‘The Dream of the Red Chamber’”

When that new day dawned over the east of the world in October 1949, the China that had been weighed down by calamities rose to its feet like a giant.

Guided by Mao Tse-tung’s thought, the Chinese people, after countless bitter struggles, finally threw off the three big mountains of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism and liberated the whole country.

The storm of the great people’s revolution was washing away the filth from the land of China. But the reactionary ruling classes, unreconciled to their doom, continued to mount frenzied, large-scale counterattacks in every field. The class struggle was very acute. On the cultural and ideological fronts it was especially complicated, and the reactionary films, plays, operas, songs, books, and journals that flooded the world of culture were important propaganda weapons in the big counterattacks carried out by the reactionary ruling classes against the revolutionary people. One of the most prominent examples was the reactionary film Inside Story of the Ching Court, which in 1950 was still being widely shown in Peking, Shanghai, and other cities.

What should be the attitude of the victorious Chinese people in face of these large-scale counterattacks by reactionary culture? Should they carry out a proletarian cultural revolution, or compromise, or surrender to the reactionary culture rampant in society? Every revolutionary comrade faced a new choice and test.

Around this reactionary film, the proletarian revolutionaries headed by Chairman Mao waged a serious struggle against a handful of Party people in authority taking the capitalist road. It was the first important struggle on the cultural and ideological fronts in liberated China.

Chairman Mao sternly pointed out: “The Inside Story of the Ching Court is a film of national betrayal and should be criticized and repudiated.” He also said: “Somebody called it patriotic; I consider it national betrayal, national betrayal through and through.” But the counterrevolutionary revisionists Lu Ting-yi and Chou Yang and a certain Hu, a standing vice director of the Propaganda Department of the Party’s Central Committee at that time, and others, as well as the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who was supporting them from behind, stubbornly clung to their bourgeois reactionary stand and openly opposed Chairman Mao’s directive. They asserted that this reactionary film was “patriotic” and refused to criticize and repudiate it.

Comrade Chiang Ching, then a member of a committee for guiding the work of the cinema under the Ministry of Culture, upheld the proletarian revolutionary line of Chairman Mao and at a number of meetings proposed that the film Inside Story of the Ching Court should be firmly criticized and repudiated. However, Lu Ting-yi, Chou Yang, Hu, and others vigorously opposed this proposal and did their best to advertise the “patriotic progressiveness” of this reactionary film. When Comrade Chiang Ching wanted to act according to Chairman Mao’s directive, they threw at her the reactionary talk of their boss behind the scenes, the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, and said: “Comrade so-and-so holds that it is a patriotic film.” Firmly upholding the truth, Comrade Chiang Ching stood her ground and in no uncertain terms refuting their reactionary and ludicrous statements insisted that the film should be criticized and repudiated. They had to give way, but perfunctorily appointed an historian of reactionary views to write a short fake criticism which was really aimed at shielding the film. They considered even such an article “too sharp,” and held up publication, thus smothering a major struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie on the cultural and ideological fronts.

In 1951, Chairman Mao personally led the struggle on the cultural and ideological fronts to criticize the reactionary film The Life of Wu Hsun. 1 In 1954, he initiated another major nationwide struggle, namely, the criticism of Yu Ping-po’s Studies on “The Dream of the Red Chamber” 2 and the reactionary ideas of Hu Shih. On October 16 of the same year, Chairman Mao wrote a letter to the comrades in the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party and other comrades concerned, sternly criticizing certain “important people” in the Party who suppressed attacks by newborn forces against the bourgeoisie and were its willing captives. In his letter, Chairman Mao again raised the question of the reactionary film Inside Story of the Ching Court. Referring to the article written by two young men criticizing Studies on “The Dream of the Red Chamber,” Chairman Mao pointed out:

This is the first serious attack in thirty years and more on the erroneous views of the so-called authoritative writer in the field of the studies of’ The Dream of the Red Chamber. The authors are two Youth League members. First they wrote to the Wen I Pao [Literary Gazette], to ask whether it was all right to criticize Yu Ping-po, but they received no reply. Ignored by the Wen I Pao, they wrote to teachers at their alma mater—Shantung University—and got their support. Their article refuting A Short Study of “The Dream of the Red Chamber” was carried in the university journal Wenshizhe /Literature, History and Philosophy/. Then the problem came back again to Peking. Some people wanted this article to be reprinted in the Renmin Ribao, to arouse discussion and criticism. This was not done because certain people opposed it, giving various reasons (mainly that it was “an article written by unimportant people” and “the Party paper is not a platform for free debates”). As a compromise, the article was allowed to be reprinted in the Wen I Pao. Later, the “Literary Legacy” page of the Kuang Ming Jih Pao carried an article by the two young men refuting Yu Ping-po’s book, Studies on “The Dream of the Red Chamber.” It seems likely that the struggle is about to start against the bourgeois idealism of the school of Hu Shih which has been poisoning young people in the field of classical literature for the last thirty years and more. This struggle has been sparked by two “unimportant people,” while the “important people,” usually taking no notice of it or even obstructing it, advocate a united front on idealism with bourgeois writers and make themselves willing captives of the bourgeoisie. It was almost the same when the films Inside Story of the Ching Court and The Life of Wu Hsun were shown. At no time since it was shown all over the country has the film Inside Story of the Ching Court— described as patriotic though in fact a film of national betrayal—yet been criticized and repudiated. The Life of Wu Hsun has been criticized, but the lessons have not yet been drawn; now comes the bizarre situation when Yu Ping-po’s idealism is tolerated and vigorous critical essays by some “unimportant people” are obstructed. This warrants our attention.

Yet class struggle is independent of man’s will. Even after Chairman Mao put the question forward so sharply, the handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists headed by Lu Ting-yi and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who supported them from behind, still continued to cling to the bourgeois reactionary stand and stubbornly opposed Chairman Mao’s instructions. Twelve years have elapsed since 1954, but the Inside Story of the Ching Court, which is a reactionary, out-and-out traitorous film, remains uncriticized.

The unprecedented Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution has once again brought this question up.

Debts have to be paid sooner or later. In the present movement of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, this reactionary and completely traitorous film, which has remained uncriticized since the liberation, must be subjected to thorough criticism and repudiation by the revolutionary masses. The handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists who opposed Chairman Mao’s directive and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who supported them from behind, must also be thoroughly criticized and repudiated by the revolutionary masses during this movement. Accounts must be settled with them in full for their crimes of flagrantly opposing Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line and of recklessly opposing the Party and Mao Tse-tung’s thought. The revolutionary masses must overthrow this handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists, remove the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road from his position, and make him stand aside.

The reactionary film Inside Story of the Ching Court is a film with a so-called historical theme. It deals with the Reform Movement of 1898 and the struggle of the Yi Ho Tuan [Boxer] movement in the last years of the Ching Dynasty. It openly takes the stand of imperialism, feudalism, and the reactionary bourgeoisie, freely distorts historical facts, and prettifies imperialism, feudalism, and bourgeois reformism. While eulogizing the royalists, it slanders the revolutionary mass movement and the heroic struggle of the people against imperialism and feudalism and advocates national capitulation and class capitulation.

This reactionary film was made by the Yunghua Film Company, a reactionary film studio whose first film was The Soul of a Nation. This conjured up the phantom soul of Wen Tien-hsiang to revive the soul of the dying Chiang Kai-shek regime. The Inside Story of the Ching Court was its second production. The scenario writer Yao Ke is a reactionary scribbler who holds stubbornly to the counterrevolutionary stand. He once edited the reactionary monthly Tien Hsia, opposed the Chinese revolution, and actively served British-American imperialism and the comprador-bourgeoisie. Later he went over to the Kuomintang reactionaries and wrote a series of vulgar, reactionary plays. He was a small running dog of the reactionary ruling classes. On the eve of China’s liberation, he escaped to Hongkong. There is nothing strange in a reactionary anti-communist, antipopular, literary man writing such a reactionary scenario as Inside Story of the Ching Court. But it is indeed strange that the director and certain vice directors of the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party who donned the cloak of “Communists” and “proletarian revolutionaries,” and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who supported them from behind, should show such favour to this extremely reactionary, thoroughly traitorous film, extol it as “patriotic,” and actively serve as spokesmen for imperialism, feudalism, and the reactionary bourgeoisie. Doesn’t this call for deep thought?

On the question of the attitude to be adopted toward this reactionary, thoroughly traitorous film, what are the major differences in principle between the proletarian revolutionaries headed by Chairman Mao on the one hand and the handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who supported them from behind, on the other hand? To sum up briefly, there are three differences: namely, what should be one’s attitude toward imperialist aggression; toward the Yi Ho Tuan revolutionary mass movement; and toward bourgeois reformism?

What should be one’s attitude toward imperialist aggression?

The contradiction between imperialism and the Chinese people is a principal contradiction in modern Chinese society. Imperialism is the first and most ferocious enemy of the Chinese people. What attitude should one take toward imperialist aggression is a question of first importance for the revolution.

The reactionary film Inside Story of the Ching Court, praised as “patriotic” by a handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who supported them from behind, is, on the question of imperialist aggression, a perfect reflection of an utterly shameful and servile attitude of fear and worship of imperialism and pro-imperialism [sic].

It reveals a mortal fear of the imperialist aggression committed by the so-called “eight-power allied expedition” organized by Britain, the United States, Germany, Russia, Japan, France, Italy, and Austria. It assiduously spreads fear of imperialism, crying that “since the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, China has suffered financial losses, her armed forces are poorly equipped and weak, . . . and she is far inferior to the enemy in strength,” that “it must not start hostilities with any foreign country.” Hsu Ching-cheng, a high-ranking mandarin, is so scared of imperialism that he wails aloud.

Chairman Mao teaches us that, before the wild beasts of imperialism, revolutionary people must not show the slightest timidity. But in the eyes of the scenarist and those who praised the film, there is no alternative but to surrender helplessly to imperialist aggression—all this is naked national capitulation, the philosophy of traitors.

Moreover, the film painstakingly advocates worship of imperialism and pro-imperialism; it goes all out to spread illusions about imperialism and openly peddles the theory of national betrayal. Through the mouth of the emperor’s concubine Chen Fei, 3 an agent of imperialism in the film, the scenarist openly welcomes the imperialist aggression against China. Chen Fei puts it bluntly: “The foreign powers will certainly not blame Your Majesty”; “I am sure that the foreign powers will not harm Your Majesty, but on the contrary will help Your Majesty restore the throne and regenerate the imperial regime.” Sun Chia-nai, a high-ranking mandarin, also asserts: “The envoys of both the Eastern and Western Powers are sympathetic toward Your Majesty.” A comparison of this with the counterrevolutionary propaganda of the imperialists who committed aggression against China at the time, shows clearly that the film advocates just what the imperialists advocated. To deceive its people, tsarist Russia, for example, alleged that it was “not fighting against China,” “but merely putting down a riot, suppressing rebels, and helping China’s legitimate government to restore order.” In The War in China, his first article on China written as early as 1900, Lenin mercilessly refuted such counterrevolutionary arguments put forward by the aggressors.

What in fact is that “patriotism” in Inside Story of the Ching Court so extolled by the handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who supported them from behind? The “patriotism” they praised turns out to be the so-called “patriotism” of the Emperor Kuang Hsu and his ilk who did not hesitate to rely on imperialism to restore and consolidate their rule over the people, as is described in the film. After the Chinese people had overthrown the reactionary rule of imperialism and feudalism, they still continued to urge the people to learn the “patriotism” of becoming traitors in order to restore and consolidate the exploiting classes’ rule over the people. Such is their vicious intention!

Chairman Mao teaches us: “The specific content of patriotism is determined by historical conditions. There is the ‘patriotism’ of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler, and there is our patriotism. Communists must resolutely oppose the ‘patriotism’ of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler.” 4 Likewise, we must resolutely oppose the so-called “patriotism” (namely, an out-and-out theory of national betrayal) advocated by a handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road.

The traitorous argument about welcoming imperialism to help China “regenerate the imperial regime” advocated by the film is of the same stock as the gangster logic of U.S. imperialism. Singing the same tune as those imperialists did when they carried out aggression against China, ex-U.S. Secretary of State Acheson in his 1949 White Paper talked at length about U.S. “concern” for China and described aggression as “friendship.” In “Cast Away Illusions, Prepare for Struggle,” “‘Friendship’ or Aggression?” and other articles, Chairman Mao had already sternly rebutted such counterrevolutionary gangster logic. He pointed out that it is “the logic of the U.S. mandarins” to describe aggression as “friendship.” Yet a handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who supported them from behind, yielded to imperialist pressure and were mortally afraid of imperialism. They vainly hoped to arrange a compromise with imperialism, and get “understanding” and “help” from it. They were deeply dissatisfied with Chairman Mao’s great call “cast away illusions, prepare for struggle.” That they energetically boosted this reactionary, out-and-out traitorous film Inside Story of the Ching Court was in fact in open opposition to Chairman Mao’s criticism and repudiation of Acheson’s White Paper. This was an unbridled attack on Mao Tse-tung’s thought.

Obviously, the reason why this reactionary film company and reactionary scribbler made such a film on the eve of China’s liberation, a film that advocates imperialist “help” in “regenerating the imperial regime,” was that they wanted to use their film to arouse public opinion for their own reactionary purposes and openly advocate reliance on U.S. imperialism to suppress the revolutionary movement of the Chinese people, a stratagem they proposed to the Kuomintang reactionaries who were on their last legs. The film entirely takes the stand of imperialism and the Kuomintang reactionaries. It represents an attempt to help prop up the toppling reactionary regime to meet the needs of U.S. imperialist aggression against China and to serve U.S. imperialism and its lackeys. The handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists who paid lip-service to “opposing imperialism,” and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who supported them from behind, eulogized such a reactionary, out-and-out traitorous film and called it “patriotic.” Doesn’t this expose their true features as sham anti-imperialists and genuine capitulationists? What country do they love? What they love is a country belonging to the imperialists, a country belonging to the landlords and the bourgeoisie, but not our great motherland under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The “patriotism” they eulogize is nothing but a theory of national betrayal which all the revolutionary people of our country want to trample underfoot.

One thing in particular needs to be pointed out. It is by no means accidental that the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road should have praised a reactionary, out-and-out traitorous film as “patriotic.” As early as the first days of the victory of the War of Resistance Against Japan, he was frightened when faced with aggression by U.S. imperialism and its lackeys. Despairing of the future of the Chinese revolution, he actively promoted within the Party a line of national capitulation and class capitulation in what he described as a “new stage of peace and democracy.” Chairman Mao called on us to cast away illusions, to give the enemy tit for tat and fight for every inch of land, whereas this person energetically spread illusions about peace with U.S. imperialism and its lackeys and impudently wrote articles in newspapers in which he expressed gratitude for U.S. imperialist “help” to China and begged for “peace” from U.S. imperialism in an attempt to benumb the fighting will of the people. He even deceived the people by saying that “the main form of struggle in the Chinese revolution has become peaceful and parliamentary. It is legal mass struggle and parliamentary struggle,” “there should be a change in the whole of the Party’s work,” and “all political issues should be settled peacefully.” Chairman Mao said that as our enemies were sharpening their swords, we must sharpen ours too. Yet this person wanted the people to hand over the weapons in their hands. Energetically advertising the theory of national betrayal, he took the enemy as his father and wanted to be a willing servant of U.S. imperialism. He said: “Since the U.S. is bound to find compradors in China, we, too, may act as its compradors, red compradors!” Compradors are compradors. They are running dogs of the imperialists. What’s this about “red compradors”? It is a pure lie. With such a mean and shameless slave mentality, long ago eager to be imperialist compradors, they found the reactionary, out-and-out traitorous film Inside Story of the Ching Court extremely well suited to their taste. This was because the theory advocated by Chen Fei, the imperialist agent in the film, that imperialism might help China “regenerate the imperial regime” exactly reflected their traitorous mentality of eagerly wanting to become compradors of imperialism!

“Hearts which have a common beat are linked.” This is a line of verse the Emperor Kuang Hsu reads out in the film while looking dejectedly at a lake. This is an apt description of the fact that the handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road shared the feelings of Kuang Hsu, his concubine, and their ilk. On the question of serving as imperialist agents, the handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who supported them from behind echoed the views of the landlords and the bourgeoisie of over 60 years ago. This is the ideological and class root of their praise for the “patriotism” of this reactionary, out-and-out traitorous film.

What should be one’s attitude toward the Yiho Tuan revolutionary mass movement?

Chairman Mao says: “In the final analysis, the innumerable truths of Marxism may be expressed in one sentence: ‘rebellion is justified.’” 5 What should be one’s attitude toward the revolutionary movement of all-out rebellion against imperialism and feudalism launched by the revolutionary masses of the Yi Ho Tuan? Should one support it or oppose it? Should one praise it or hate it? This is a touchstone distinguishing genuine revolutionaries from fake, revolutionaries from counterrevolutionaries.

The Yi Ho Tuan movement which shook our vast land was a great anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolutionary mass movement in modern Chinese history. It was a great movement typifying the initiative of the Chinese people in history. At that time, the Yi Ho Tuan carried on revolutionary activities everywhere, in town and countryside, throughout most of the northern part of China. They set up more than 800 meeting places in the city of Peking itself, the political centre where the enemy exercised the tightest rule. Youths who had joined the Yi Ho Tuan drilled regularly every day under the palace walls behind Ching Shan.

At a crucial moment when our country was in process of being partitioned amongst the imperialists, the Yi Ho Tuan heroes stepped forth bravely, raised aloft the great revolutionary banner of patriotic struggle against imperialism, and carried on a heroic struggle against the imperialist robbers and their lackeys. They splashed the street corners with slogans of every description which gave expression to the firm resolve of the Chinese people to fight the imperialists:

Restore to us our land and rights! We’ll fight our way

Through seas of fire and over mountains of knives!

What does it matter if the Emperor has surrendered?

We’ll not rest till the last foreign invader is dead.

They held the imperialists in contempt; they strictly banned imported goods. The street bearing the name “Legation Street” they renamed “Block the Aliens Street” and the Yu Ho Bridge: “Stop the Aliens Bridge.” Demonstrating in the streets, the Yi Ho Tuan heroes often shouted the slogan “Kill the foreign devils!” in unison with the inhabitants, making the imperialists shudder. Some foreigners were so frightened that they put themselves into coffins and hired professional mourners to carry them out of the city.

In June 1900, Yi Ho Tuan revolutionary activities reached a climax. Day and night, in groups of 30, 40, or SO, the Yi Ho Tuan detachments from Peking’s outlying districts marched on the city. Scores arrived each day. The guards at the city gates stood at attention to salute them and shouted to the crowds to make way. Long columns of the revolutionary people in red turbans, red sashes, and shoes trimmed in red, armed with swords and spears, marched with great dignity in grand parades through the streets of Peking city. And the blacksmiths outside Chienmen worked through the night before their blazing furnaces making swords and spears for the Yi Ho Tuan.

Faced with the frenzied repression of the imperialist aggressor forces, the revolutionary masses of the Yi Ho Tuan pitted their primitive swords and spears heroically against the invaders armed with modern rifles and guns. They demonstrated the Chinese people’s militant, revolutionary spirit of fearlessness. In the famous battle at the railway town of Langfang to halt the enemy’s advance on Peking, the Yi Ho Tuan “blockaded in the train and heavily challenged with spears” an allied force of more than 1,500 men led by British Admiral Seymour. The enemy suffered casualties amounting to nearly 50 percent of his strength, and beat a panicky retreat to Tientsin. Later Seymour recalled his fright that had the “Boxers” been armed with western weapons, the allied force he led would have been annihilated. In the battle to defend Tientsin, the Yi Ho Tuan fought the aggressors’ army hand-to-hand. At the railway station, in one engagement alone they killed or wounded more than 500 men of an, opposing Russian aggressor force of 2,000. The imperialists were forced to admit that there had not been anything like the way the Chinese fought the western soldiers in the bitter battle at Tientsin which went on tenaciously for over a month. In the battle at Yangchun, the American imperialist aggressor army was mercilessly trounced by the Yi Ho Tuan fighters. From then on, the imperialist aggressor armies shuddered at the very bugle note of the Yi Ho Tuan. They wailed: “Those long brass trumpets that can make one’s blood curdle horribly. . . .”

Young people formed a most active and lively force during the Yi Ho Tuan movement. They performed immortal deeds in this great revolutionary movement. The Hung Teng Chao (Red Lanterns) that shook China and the world was an organization of young women from many places in northern China. They formed themselves into a well-disciplined force, did military exercises, and defended their homeland. They were dressed in red, wore red caps, carried red lanterns and red spears. They fought at the front and ferreted out spies in the rear. Playing an active part in the Yi Ho Tuan ranks and resolutely opposing imperialism and its lackeys, they displayed the heroic, anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolutionary spirit of China’s young women.

“The Hung Teng Chao (Red Lanterns), and the Yi Ho Tuan are like real brothers and sisters. They are united as one, and as one they fight the foreign officials.” This ditty expressed the resolute determination of the Hung Teng Chao to fight the imperialists.

Tales of the heroic deeds of the Hung Teng Chao have circulated widely among the masses of the people ever since. One saying was: “Those Hung Teng girls stare death fearlessly in the face when they charge the enemy positions. Their only worry is that they may lag behind in the fighting.” Another comment was: “Since the reigns of Taokuang and Hsienfeng all the battles at sea and on the land in coastal China against the alien invaders ended in defeat” but “now these girls are giving the foreigners such a trouncing that their victories have struck terror into the hearts of those foreign countries, and stirred the spirits of the Chinese people.”

The heroic struggle of the Yi Ho Tuan is the glory and pride of the Chinese people and one of the foundation stones of the great victory of the Chinese people fifty years later. It gave the aggressors a taste of the iron fists of the Chinese people and smashed the imperialists’ pipe dream of “partitioning” China. Waldersee, commander of the invading imperialist army, reported to the German kaiser: “Your Majesty may entertain the idea of partitioning China, but let it not be forgotten . . . there is still immense vitality in them. The Chinese have not lost all their bellicosity, which may be seen in the recent ‘Boxer Movement.’ Whether Europe or America or Japan, he said, no country is intellectually or militarily equipped for the job of ruling over this one-quarter of mankind. It is therefore an ill-advised policy to try dismemberment.

Real Marxists have always enthusiastically praised revolutionary mass movements of such a tremendous scale. In his great works, Chairman Mao highly appraises the Yi Ho Tuan movement and extols its heroic deeds again and again. He regards the Yi Ho Tuan movement as an important stage in the development of China’s bourgeois democratic revolution. Chairman Mao has pointed out: The Yi Ho Tuan war was a just war against the oppressors. Like other revolutionary wars of the Chinese people in the last hundred years, it “testifies to the Chinese people’s indomitable spirit infighting imperialism and its lackeys.” 6 It shows that “we Chinese have the spirit to fight the enemy to the last drop of our blood, the determination to recover our lost territory by our own efforts, and the ability to stand on our own feet in the family of nations.” 7 “Thanks to the Chinese people’s unrelenting and heroic struggle during the last hundred years, imperialism has not been able to subjugate China, nor will it ever be able to do so.” 8

But the reactionary and thoroughly traitorous film Inside Story of the Ching Court, praised by a handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road supporting them from behind, expresses a deep-rooted class hatred for the anti-imperialist revolutionary mass movement of the Yi Ho Tuan, and does its best to defame and slander it. The film portrays the revolutionary action of the Yi Ho Tuan against imperialism as a sort of barbarous turmoil. It tries its utmost to smear the Yi Ho Tuan, maliciously attacking it as “mad,” “mobs” who “committed murder and arson,” and as “ignorant people” who engaged in “witchcraft.”

These malicious slanders uttered against the Yi Ho Tuan by the film and those who praised it are completely in tune with the views of the imperialists. At that time Dean Acheson, a chieftain of U.S. imperialism, cursed the Yi Ho Tuan movement in his White Paper as “the anti-foreign disturbances in China” and “the Boxer Rebellion.” The hired intellectuals of U.S. imperialism in China were also unbridled in their attacks against the Yi Ho Tuan movement as an “offspring of ignorant superstition and hysterics of the mob,” as a “perpetrator of senseless acts,” and as “Boxers” who committed murder and arson.

Was it the Yi Ho Tuan organized by the Chinese people that went to the imperialist countries in Europe and America and to Japan to stage rebellion and “commit murder and arson”? Or was it the imperialist countries that came to invade China, this land of ours, to oppress and exploit the Chinese people and so aroused the masses of the Chinese people to resist imperialism and its lackeys and corrupt officials in China? This is a major question of right and wrong which must be debated and cleared up.

The real bandits who massacred people and committed arson were none other than the imperialists and their lackeys. According to the admissions of Alfred von Waldersee, head of the invading imperialist troops, these troops, after occupying Peking, burnt, massacred, plundered, raped, destroyed cultural treasures, and committed all manner of crimes. Following their occupation of Peking, the imperialist troops were granted special permission to loot openly for three days. This was followed by robbery on an individual basis. They plundered everywhere, from the imperial court and mansions of the princes to the homes of ordinary people. “The windows facing the lakeside were widely opened; court officials were alarmed to see a line of camels coming.” The historical relics stored in the Summer Palace, a treasure house of the feudal emperors, were carried away by the aggressors to Tientsin by camels, and this took many a month. Many relics preserved for centuries in China, including the Yung Lo Encyclopedia, were burnt or stolen by the imperialists. Waldersee also confessed that there were many cases of rape, brutality, willful murder, and senseless arson in the course of plunder. As for the massacre and suppression of the Yi Ho Tuan by the imperialists’ lackeys, it was even more brutal and callous.

With deep indignation, Lenin condemned the crimes of massacre and arson committed by the imperialist aggressors. He wrote:

The European governments (the Russian Government among the very first) have already started to partition China. . . . They began to rob China as ghouls rob corpses, and when the seeming corpse attempted to resist, they flung themselves upon it like savage beasts, burning down whole villages, shooting, bayoneting and drowning in the Amur River [Heilungkiang River] unarmed inhabitants, their wives, and their children. And all these Christian exploits are accompanied by howls against the Chinese barbarians who dared to raise their hands against the civilized Europeans. 9

But the film and those who praised it have turned things upside down and assisted the evil doers, portraying the imperialist aggressors who committed murder, arson, robbery, and rape as envoys of civilization while slandering as “barbarous rioters” the heroic and indomitable Yi Ho Tuan who resolutely resisted imperialist aggression. This is the genuine philosophy of quislings and traitors.

The patriotic, anti-imperialist struggle of the Yi Ho Tuan was closely linked with the anti-feudal struggle. The battle cries of the Yi Ho Tuan were: “Kill the foreigners and wipe out corrupt officials.” A ditty of the time runs as follows: “Slay the foreigners and kill the beastly mandarins; great hopes will shine before the common people when the foreigners and mandarins are gone.” “First kill the foreign devils and then beat up the corrupt officials.” Such were their simple and forthright anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolutionary slogans. They deeply hated the feudal ruling class. In 1900 when the Yi Ho Tuan controlled Peking, most of the offices of the mandarins of the Ching Dynasty in the capital and the mansions of princes, dukes, and aristocrats were watched over by members of the Yi Ho Tuan. The Yi Ho Tuan on many occasions caught officials who were notorious for their crimes, especially those subservient to imperialism, and forced them to kowtow and repent at the altar set up by the Yi Ho Tuan. Those who had committed the most heinous crimes were put to death.

Yet the film slanders the Yi Ho Tuan as a tool of the feudal rulers. The film portrayed Chao Shu-chiao, a high-ranking mandarin of the Ching Dynasty, as one who had said: “The Empress Tzu Hsi [the Empress Dowager] is begged to issue an order to organize the Yi Ho Tuan into an imperial army.” The empress gladly accepted this suggestion. In this way the Yi Ho Tuan was made out to be partisans of the Empress Tzu Hsi. This is an utterly vicious slander.

For a short period, the rulers of the Ching Dynasty adopted the policy of deceiving and softening up the Yi Ho Tuan. For a time, this policy had some effect and some members of the Yi Ho Tuan were misled into an erroneous understanding of the rulers of the Ching Dynasty. Some detachments of the Yi Ho Tuan put forward the slogan “Support the Ching Dynasty and wipe out the foreigners.” This reflects, on the one hand, the complicated nature of the class contradictions at that time and, on the other hand, the fact that people’s understanding of imperialism and its lackeys at that time remained at the stage of perceptual knowledge.

Chairman Mao has taught us that man’s knowledge develops from the lower to the higher stage and from perceptual knowledge to rational knowledge. “Similarly with the Chinese people’s knowledge of imperialism. The first stage was one of superficial, perceptual knowledge, as shown in the indiscriminate anti-foreign struggles of the movement of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, the Yi Ho Tuan movement, and so on. It was only in the second stage that the Chinese people reached the stage of rational knowledge, saw the internal and external contradictions of imperialism, and saw the essential truth that imperialism had allied itself with China’s comprador and feudal classes to oppress and exploit the great masses of the Chinese people. This knowledge began about the time of the May 4th Movement of 1919.” 10 Therefore it is absolutely impermissible to slander the Yi Ho Tuan movement as a tool of the feudal rulers only because it failed to see clearly the nature of imperialism and feudalism. As stated above, along with their anti-imperialist activities, the Yi Ho Tuan never for a moment ceased their activities against the Ching Dynasty. Even after the appearance of the slogan “Support the Ching Dynasty and wipe out the foreigners,” Chu Hung-teng [Red Lantern Chu], leader of the Yi Ho Tuan, worked out a plan for an attack on Peking and persevered in the anti-feudal struggle.

It was solely to meet the needs of imperialism and the feudal landlord class that the reactionary film the Inside Story of the Ching Court so unscrupulously slandered and attacked the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal struggle of the Yi Ho Tuan movement. Their slanders and attacks against the revolutionary masses of the Yi Ho Tuan movement reflect the bitter hatred of the class enemy for the peasants—the main force of the Chinese revolution—and the bitter hatred of the class enemy for the new democratic revolutionary movement led by our Party. The handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who was supporting them from behind were singing the same tune as imperialism and feudalism when they applauded this reactionary, thoroughly traitorous film which opposes the Chinese revolution and insults the revolutionary masses. When they did this they were simply serving as mouthpieces for the counterrevolutionary propaganda of imperialism and feudalism. This has completely exposed their counterrevolutionary class stand which is that of the landlords and bourgeoisie.

The fact that the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road so bitterly hates the revolutionary mass movements in history helps us to understand better why, in the current Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, he put forward, in collaboration with another top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, a bourgeois reactionary line in a vain attempt to extinguish the revolutionary flames set alight by Chairman Mao himself, why he confused right and wrong and turned things upside down, organized converging attacks against revolutionaries, suppressed the masses and carried out a white terror, and why he tried in a hundred and one ways to boost the arrogance of the bourgeoisie and crush the spirit of the proletariat.

What should be one’s attitude toward bourgeois reformism?

One’s attitude toward bourgeois reformism is, in reality, a question of one’s attitude toward the socialist road and the capitalist road.

With regard to this fundamental question which concerns the future of the Chinese revolution, differences of principle have long existed between the proletarian revolutionaries headed by Chairman Mao and the Party people in authority taking the capitalist road. These differences of principle became even more acute after China was liberated. The question of what attitude should one take toward the reactionary film the Inside Story of the Ching Court was a point at which these differences came to a head. This was the first fight at close quarters in the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and between the socialist road and the capitalist road on the cultural and ideological fronts. In this fight, in their evaluations of the film, the proletarian revolutionaries headed by Chairman Mao, on the one hand, and the handful of Party people in authority taking the capitalist road, on the other, gave completely different answers to the question of which direction should China take.

A handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, who was supporting them from behind, did their best to boost this reactionary film which opposes revolution and sings the praises of reformism. They aimed to get help from the dead souls of bourgeois reformism and using the latter’s names, robes, and slogans to spread capitalism in China.

The Reform Movement of 1898 which the film glorifies was a reformist movement of the Chinese bourgeoisie. This movement was launched by certain members of the feudal ruling class and a number of bourgeois reformers who were starting to break away from the feudal ruling class. They launched this movement under the threat of a revolutionary storm and the disaster of national subjugation and in the interests of the landlords and the bourgeoisie. This was an attempt to lead China onto the road of capitalism through reformist modernization and constitutional reform from above.

Under the historical conditions of the time, the 1898 Reform Movement was, to some extent, a blow against the ideological domination of the feudal ruling class and it played a certain enlightening role in the process of ideological emancipation. We have always taken note of this point. However, such recognition means making a critical assessment of historical personages and incidents from the viewpoint of historical materialism. It does not in any way mean an unprincipled glorifying of the 1898 Reform Movement and its representative participants. The representative persons of the 1898 Reform Movement were themselves rulers who exploited and oppressed the working people. Their reformist goal did not and could never serve the interests of the people’s revolution; they aimed at consolidating their rule and exploiting the people even more effectively.

What they wanted to change was not the essence but only some minor aspects of the old order. The illusion they cherished was simply the gradual transformation by devious means of the landlord economy into a semi-landlord and semi-capitalist economy (actually a semi-feudal and semi-colonial economy). This was an attempt to head off the people’s revolutionary movement and suppress the revolution in unapparent ways. Even at that time, therefore, reformism could never be the way out for the Chinese people.

At the end of the nineteenth century, there already existed two roads of social reform in China: one was the bourgeois reformist road which meant the attempt to get to capitalism by means of constitutional reform and modernization from above. In the historical conditions of China at that time, this could not be other than a false, impassable, and reactionary road because China lacked the historical conditions for reformist modernization such as existed in western Europe and Japan. China was then being gradually reduced to a semi-feudal and semi-colonial state under imperialist aggression. Yet Kang Yu-wei and Liang Chi-chao, leaders of the Chinese bourgeois reformists, placed their hopes for constitutional reform and modernization precisely on imperialism. They cherished the illusion that they could go over completely to the side of imperialism and rely on its strength to realize their aims of constitutional reform and modernization. The result of that could only be to bring a wolf into the house and accelerate the process of reducing China to a semi-colonial, semi-feudal state, in which the development of capitalism in China would be absolutely out of the question. The other road of social reform was for the broad masses to rise up and make revolution by armed struggle. Both the Taiping Revolution and the Yi Ho Tuan movement took this road. These revolutions did not achieve final victory because they lacked proletarian leadership. However, they dealt heavy blows at imperialism and feudalism and promoted China’s historical advance.

“I raise my sword to laugh at the sky.” A most tragic and moving episode of the 1898 Reform Movement was the death of Tan Szu-tung, a courageous and enlightening thinker. His death announced the premature end of this movement and the bankruptcy of the bourgeois reformist road. Half a century later, however, the reactionary film Inside Story of the Ching Court again advocated bourgeois reformism, which had long ago gone bankrupt. This film does its utmost to spread the nonsensical idea that “if China is to become rich and strong, there must be constitutional reform and modernization!” Through the mouth of the Emperor Kuang Hsu, the film gives high praise to constitutional reform and modernization, extravagantly lauding reformism in such words as “Meiji reforms,” “the imperial decree on constitutional reform,” and “if China continues to reform in this way, in less than 30 years it will become the richest and most powerful state in the world!” This is a crazy call for a bourgeois republic, for western bourgeois civilization and for the bourgeois reformist road, which will never be tolerated by the revolutionary people!

The film lauds to the skies the representative persons of bourgeois reformism, the Emperor Kuang Hsu in particular. It says that the emperor “wearied his brain and suffered much vexation. . . in the interests of the state and the people,” and pictures him as saying “as long as Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung Eng. ed., Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1966, p. 118.the affairs of state are going well. . . personal health is of little account.”

Especially vicious is the way that the film, while singing the praises of emperors, kings, ministers, and generals and prettifying bourgeois reformism, tries by every means to smear the working people and vilify the masses as a “mob.” Toward the end of the film, the scenarist, through distorted and slanderous images of peasants and village women, extravagantly glorifies the Emperor Kuang Hsu, praising him as a “good emperor,” “helping us, the people,” and saying that “we all think of His Majesty!” The villagers “offer” eggs and other refreshments to the Emperor Kuang Hsu. On his departure, the film shows “the people kneeling along the roadside to see him off.” The film gives currency to the slander that “the masses are most obedient and most easily satisfied.” Are the masses of people really such easygoing, obedient, base, and ugly mobs? It is absolutely impermissible to smear the working people! Chairman Mao teaches us: “The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.” 11 That the handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, who supports them from behind, have done so much to sing the praises of this reactionary film which glorifies emperors and kings, ministers and generals, smears the working people, and preaches bourgeois reformism only serves to expose their true colours of all-out opposition to Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tse-tung’s thought.

The Chinese people won revolutionary victory through protracted armed struggle under the leadership of Chairman Mao, and on the eve of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Chairman Mao himself summed up the revolutionary struggles of the past 100 years, criticizing and repudiating the bourgeois reformist road and proclaiming that “western bourgeois civilization, bourgeois democracy, and the plan for a bourgeois republic have all gone bankrupt in the eyes of the Chinese people.” What angers people especially is the fact that after all this the handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road should have described this reactionary, out-and-out traitorous film, which sings the praises of bourgeois reformism and advocates the capitalist road, as a “patriotic” film and put it on show in a big way in every part of China without criticism and repudiation. If this can be tolerated, what cannot be tolerated?

In his article, “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship,” Chairman Mao states: “From the time of China’s defeat in the Opium War of 1840, Chinese progressives went through untold hardships in their quest for truth from the Western countries.” Chinese who then sought progress maintained that “only modernization could save China, only learning from foreign countries could modernize China.” “The Japanese had been successful in learning from the West, and the Chinese also wished to learn from the Japanese.” But, “imperialist aggression shattered the fond dreams of the Chinese about learning from the West. It was very odd—why were the teachers always committing aggression against their pupil? The Chinese learned a good deal from the West, but they could not make it work and were never able to realize their ideals.” “The salvoes of the October Revolution brought us Marxism-Leninism.” “Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people, after driving out Japanese imperialism, waged the People’s War of Liberation for three years and have basically won victory.” “Bourgeois democracy has given way to people’s democracy under the leadership of the working class and the bourgeois republic to the people’s republic. This has made it possible to achieve socialism and communism through the people’s republic, to abolish classes, and enter a world of Great Harmony. Kang Yu-wei wrote Ta Tung Shu, or the Book of Great Harmony, but he did not and could not find the way to achieve Great Harmony. There are bourgeois republics in foreign lands, but China cannot have a bourgeois republic because she is a country suffering under imperialist oppression. The only way is through a people’s republic led by the working class.” 12

A handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road disregarded the historical facts as well as the warnings given by Chairman Mao. They continued to use the reactionary and out-and-out traitorous film, Inside Story of the Ching Court, to prettify western bourgeois civilization, prettify bourgeois democracy, prettify the bourgeois republic, and advocate bourgeois reformism and the capitalist road. This amounts to flagrantly opposing Mao Tse-tung’s thought and vainly attempting a restoration of capitalism in China. They put all their efforts into extolling the reactionary film, Inside Story of the Ching Court, precisely because this film, which opposes revolution and eulogizes reform, serves to beat the gongs and clear the way for them to stage a capitalist restoration. What they did was in effect to use people of former times to sing the praises of capitalism and the road of bourgeois reformism, to use this film to mislead the masses and prettify bourgeois reformism, their ultimate purpose being to overthrow the people’s regime, undermine our dictatorship of the proletariat, and place the fruits of the victory of the revolution in the hands of the bourgeoisie.

The serious struggle that developed around the reactionary film, Inside Story of the Ching Court, is by no means merely a question of one film, but a struggle between the two classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, a struggle between Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tse-tung’s thought on the one hand, and bourgeois reformist and revisionist ideas on the other, a struggle between an attempt at capitalist restoration and the efforts of the proletariat opposed to capitalist restoration. In the final analysis, it is a struggle to determine who will win, capitalism or socialism.

Under the leadership of their great leader Chairman Mao, the Chinese people fought hard, bloody battles, advanced wave upon wave, and finally carried the struggle against imperialism and feudalism to victory. With the whole country liberated, where should liberated China go? To whom should the fruits of victory belong? Which class was entitled to pick the peaches that had grown, watered by the blood and lives of thousands upon thousands of revolutionary martyrs? Such major questions were the focus of the struggle waged between various classes in Chinese society not only at that time; they remain so even today.

The bourgeoisie wanted to snatch the fruits of victory from out of the hands of the people. They wanted to pick the peaches. They wanted China, just liberated, to take the capitalist road. The top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road was the one to pick the peaches on behalf of the bourgeoisie.

Since liberation, the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road has gone on dreaming night and day of capitalist restoration, obstinately clinging to his bourgeois world outlook, zealously yearning for bourgeois reformism, and trying his utmost to stop the Chinese revolution halfway, thus giving a big boost to capitalism.

Chairman Mao has said that the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, marked the basic completion of the stage of new democratic revolution and the beginning of the stage of socialist revolution. The top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, however, harped on a contrary tune, painstakingly preached “consolidation of the new democratic order,” and campaigned for the development of capitalism in China.

Before and after the showing throughout the country of the reactionary film, Inside Story of the Ching Court, he campaigned everywhere, making many sinister speeches, issuing many sinister directives, energetically praising the so-called “progress” and “glory” of the capitalist system, and spreading the absurd idea that “exploitation is no crime,” “to rebel is not justified.” Marx said: “Capital comes [into the world] dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt.” 13 But, the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road had this to say: “In China, there is not too much capitalism, but too little”; “It is necessary to develop capitalist exploitation for such exploitation is progressive”; “Instead of being an evil, capitalist exploitation today is a contribution.” He loudly stated that “the working people do not oppose exploitation, but welcome it”; and that “the more the capitalists, the more the exploitation, the more satisfaction we will have.” He even shamelessly told a number of capitalists that “the agony of the workers is unemployment. What they fear is that no one will exploit them. Therefore, they feel it better to be exploited than not.” “The workers want you to exploit them. If you do not exploit them, they will be miserable.” “The capitalists are also serving the people.” “If you are able to exploit more, you will be benefiting both the state and the people.” “The more you exploit, the greater will be your merit and glory.” “Exploitation by the capitalists has its merits in history and such merits are immortal.” He energetically spread the idea that “exploitation is legal,” saying: “It is legal to make [a] profit, however great it may be. “It is also legal to indulge in beautiful clothes, rouge and powder and wining and dining.” Talking like a clown, he addressed capitalists: “Messrs. capitalists! I beg you to exploit me! If you exploit me, I shall be able to feed myself and my wife and children will be able to live. If you do not exploit me, that will be terrible.”

When the workers did not accept his stinking reactionary theories, he slandered them as “lacking political understanding and having a low level of political consciousness.” Speaking like an accomplice of the capitalists, he maliciously threatened the workers: “If the workers are unruly, it is legal (for the capitalists) to struggle against (them).”

At the same time, he also vigorously advocated the development of capitalist economy in the rural areas, clamouring for “long-term protection of the rich-peasant economy,” advancing the “four freedoms” (freedom of usury, of hiring labour, land sale, and private enterprise). He advocated vigorous efforts to foster the type of peasant “who owns three horses, a plough, and a cart” so as to develop the rich-peasant economy. He talked such nonsense as: “At present, exploitation saves people and it is dogmatic to forbid exploitation. Now there must be exploitation and it should be welcomed. If the refugees from south of the Great Wall who go to northeast China are exploited by the rich peasants there, these refugees will be very grateful for such exploitation.” “Hiring hands is not exploitation; it increases the wealth of society.” He also proposed that there should be “no limitation” on hiring hands to till the land. “It is legal to hire hands to till the land; this benefits the masses too.” He claimed that “those who exploit can also be socialists” and that “there is nothing to be afraid of, should there be 10,000 rich-peasant Party members in northeast China.” He tried to get the capitalist economy to swiftly flood the rural areas.

In singing the praises of the man-eating capitalist system of exploitation, not even the hired scholars of the bourgeoisie and the motley crew of apologists for old and modern revisionism could catch up with this top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road.

Each plant yields its own particular fruit; each class speaks in its own terms. The top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road thinks and loves capitalism and talks capitalism too. The cannibal philosophy that he peddles serves entirely to develop capitalism and safeguard the bloody system of exploitation of man by man. His voice is the voice of vampires and parasites. This thoroughly exposes his filthy, ugly bourgeois soul.

In trying to justify himself, the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road said that his case was one of “a veteran revolutionary meeting new problems.”

What a “veteran revolutionary meeting new problems”!

Could there be a “veteran revolutionary” so frantically carrying out activities to restore capitalism?

Could there be a “veteran revolutionary” who would so wildly oppose our great leader Chairman Mao and the great thought of Mao Tse-tung?

If he really is a “veteran revolutionary,” then let him explain:

Why is it that, on the eve of the outbreak of the War of Resistance Against Japan, you preached so vigorously the philosophy of survival, a capitulationist philosophy, a traitor’s philosophy, and directed some people to make confessions and surrender to the Kuomintang and betray the Communist Party, openly publish “anti-communist statements” and vow “firmly to oppose communism”?

Why is it that, after the victory of the War of Resistance, you advanced the capitulationist line of “a new stage of peace and democracy”?

Why is it that, after liberation, you did your utmost to oppose the socialist transformation of capitalist industry and commerce, oppose agricultural cooperation, and slash the number of agricultural cooperatives?

Why is it that, after the completion of the transformation of capitalist industry and commerce, agriculture and handicrafts, you painstakingly propagated the dying out of class struggle and actively advocated class collaboration and the liquidation of class struggle?

Why is it that, during the three difficult years, you echoed the ghosts and monsters at home and abroad in viciously attacking the three red banners [the Party’s general line for building socialism, the great leap forward, and the people’s communes], while advocating the revisionist line of “the extension of plots for private use and of free markets, the increase of small enterprises with sole responsibility for their own profits or losses, the fixing of output quotas based on the household,” and “the liquidation of struggle in our relations with imperialism, the reactionaries, and modern revisionism, and reduction of assistance and support to the revolutionary struggle of other peoples”?

Why is it that you republished in 1962 that poisonous weed, that deceitful book on self-cultivation of Communists which does not advocate revolution, class struggle, the seizure of political power, and the dictatorship of the proletariat, which opposes Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tse-tung’s thought, preaches a decadent bourgeois world outlook and the reactionary philosophy of bourgeois idealism?

Why is it that in the socialist education movement you put forward and pushed through the opportunist line which was “Left” in form but Right in essence to sabotage the socialist education movement?

Why is it that in the course of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution you have colluded with another top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road in putting forward and carrying out the bourgeois reactionary line?

There is only one answer: You are not at all a “veteran revolutionary”! You are a sham revolutionary, a counterrevolutionary. You are a Khrushchev lying right beside us!

During the past seventeen years, a handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists, with the support of the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, has launched a frenzied, all-round attack on the proletariat, spreading a great deal of poison in the fields of politics, economy, culture, and education.

In this Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, we must follow Chairman Mao’s teachings, organize a mighty cultural army of the proletarian revolution, thoroughly smash the frenzied attacks by this handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, dig out the main root of revisionism in our country, overthrow careerists and conspirators like Khrushchev, prevent such bad elements from usurping the leadership of the Party and the state, and guard against the restoration of capitalism, so as to guarantee that our country will never change its colour!

“With power and to spare we must pursue the tottering foe.” This Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution initiated and led by our great leader Chairman Mao himself is aimed precisely at mobilizing the hundreds of millions of people to pursue relentlessly the handful of counterrevolutionary revisionists and the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road who supports them from behind, to recapture all the citadels they usurped and ensure that Mao Tse-tung’s thought occupy all positions. It is precisely as Comrade Lin Piao said in speaking about this Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution: “It is a big campaign; it is a general attack on the ideas of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes.” We must respond to the great call of Chairman Mao to hold high the revolutionary banner of criticism and repudiation, plunge bravely into the struggle, thoroughly criticize, repudiate, and eliminate in all fields the noxious influences of the bourgeois reactionary line represented by the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road, we must vigorously destroy the old ideas of the exploiting classes and establish the complete ascendancy of Mao Tse-tung’s thought.

The road of struggle is tortuous and its development is uneven. There is resistance along the road of advance. We must overcome all difficulties, break down all resistance and carry the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution through to the end; we must not give up halfway.

Unfurl the red banner of the great and invincible thought of Mao Tse-tung all over China; may it shine for ever in splendour!

Long live the victory of the movement of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution led personally by our respected and beloved leader Chairman Mao!

Notes:

  1. The Life of Wu Hsun was a most pernicious counterrevolutionary film which fervently praised the landlord class and its lackeys, frenziedly advocated the most shameless slavishness and capitulationism, and maliciously slandered the peasants’ revolutionary struggles. Wu Hsun (1838-1896) was a landlord’s toady whom the film turned into a “great man” willing to sacrifice himself to provide poor peasant children with a chance to study.—Tr.
  2. Studies on “The Dream of the Red Chamber” is a book which evaluated this classical novel from the bourgeois idealist point of view and used bourgeois methods of textual research.— Tr.
  3. Chen Fei (1876-1900), concubine of Emperor Kuang Hsu.
  4. “The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War,” Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Eng. ed., Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965, Vol. II, p. 196.
  5. Mao Tse-tung, Speech at the Meeting of People From Various Walks of Life in Yenan Celebrating Stalin’s 60th Birthday Anniversary.
  6. “The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party,” Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Eng. ed., Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965, Vol. II, p. 314.
  7. “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism,” Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Eng. ed., Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965, Vol. I, p. 170.
  8. “The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party,” Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Eng. ed., Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965, Vol. II, p. 314.
  9. V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1960, Vol. IV, p. 374.
  10. “On Practice,” Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung. Eng. ed., Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965, Vol. I, p. 301.
  11. “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship,”, Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Eng. ed., Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1961, Vol. IV, pp. 412-44.
  12. K. Marx, Capital, Eng. ed., Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1954, Vol. I, p. 760.

Let ‘Em Send Me to the Bughouse Again!

By | 02/01/2021

I wanna live back in the USSR,
I vote for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
And let the buggers send me to the bughouse again –
There they give you downers—and free of charge, that’s the best of all!

— Russian shitkicker radical commie underground poetry.

It’s a quiet night here, by Shchukinskaya metro station. If you look out the window, you can see the twin towers of the swanky Aliye Parusa apartment complex, painted a really eerie shade of turquoise, looming in the distance. In fact, they look so uncannily like a downsized copy of the Twin Towers of 9/11 fame that one wonders why the Chechen guerrillas don’t hijack some kukuruznik (a pathetic-looking little plane used for spraying fertilizer and pesticides on fields) somewhere in the wilds of Ichkeria and reenact here in Moscow the valorous deed of their co-religionists in NYC. Would look very hip and postmodern—plus, with any luck, the wreck and ruin caused by such an explosion would stop just short of the borders of the neighborhood I live in, taking away the worthless lives of the rich scum who can afford an apartment in Aliye Parusa and leaving righteous cheapo revolutionaries like myself—and the proletarians and oppressed masses living in my filthy ghettolike neighborhood—unscathed and rejoicing.

I’m quite comfy here, by the computer. A cup of hot coffee is steaming before me, I have just popped three tranquilizers to allay the nasty combined effects of my ongoing depression and the hell of a hangover I’m having and Gerry Mulligan’s sax is harmoniously blending with Art Farmer’s trumpet on My Funny Valentine in my headphones. I’m getting older and tamer, hence the preference for jazz. No more avantgarde Belarus punk bands with lyrics like “I’m walking sober, like a Hitler monument” or Kazakhstani Moslem ones with entire songs composed of the phrase “I love pork! I dig pork!! Eating pork gives me a motherfucking kick!!!” for me. Or pseudo-proletarian anthems like the one quoted above. Jazz, sobriety, conjugal fidelity and my old ragged and worn snot-green sweater to keep out the cold.

The guy spotted by the militia on Ustyinsky Bridge in Moscow on Tuesday night, February 4, must have felt very differently from me, in my present idyllic circumstances. Shivering from the bitter cold in his threadbare coat. Fidgety, nervous and on the verge of hysteria. And, as likely as not, intoxicated with counterfeit vodka or some nauseating chemically-synthesized alcoholic drink from a plastic bottle. Concealed under the threadbare coat of the 22-year-old chemistry student Igor Fedorovich (nicknamed “the Sapper”)—who made the headlines in the Russian media that week and riveted the nation’s attention to the political group he belonged to, the Vanguard of Red Youth (AKM)—was no less an object than a homemade time bomb. His alleged target was the Moscow City Public Transportation Administration (Mosgortrans) building on Raushskaya Quay, which he allegedly intended to bomb in a protest against the recent raise in gas prices and the corresponding raise in public transportation fares. The FSB and militia are reported to have been aware all along of the bombing plot brewing in AKM milieus, allegedly keeping surveillance of the group’s activities for several weeks, so a cop ambush was waiting for the Sapper by the bridge. He installed his bomb and set the timer ticking. When the cops emerged from hiding and demanded that he defuse the device, he said it was impossible to stop the timer once it had been launched and then asked to send for his mother. She was duly brought to the scene and, after a short talk with her, Igor gingerly carried the ticking bomb to the quay’s parapet, where it exploded, causing no other harm than a few damaged stones. Igor Fedorovich, under psychiatric care and recently discharged after a course of treatment in a mental hospital, is also supposed to be implicated in some other bombing activities, particularly the September 11, 2002, explosion of the plastic toilet down which Putin’s Hitlerjugend, the Idushchiye Vmeste (one possible translation could be “Coming Together”), used to symbolically flush the books of avant-garde writers.

That’s the official story, culled from various news agencies. How much of it is true, I don’t know and I don’t care to know. Throwing bombs or hurling jet planes at symbols of authority sucks as a method of overthrowing the Shitstem, only making it nastier and more virulent—but, then again, there is the righteous wrath of the oppressed and the downtrodden and the plain damn losers and no Marxist wiseacres like me or my friends can do shit to hold it back. Working out your existential neuroses (I’ve heard of a lady terrorist who was initially drawn into the Struggle by—I’m not kidding—her ignorance of the joys of masturbation) by posing as the new Charlie-Manson-cum-Red-Brigades is pathetic—but it’s surely better and worthier of a human being than the mindless routine of a pseudo-Westernized cog in the wheel of the Society of the Spectacle, who earns just as little below the salary of a garbageman in LA as to be able to look down upon 99.999 per cent of his compatriots and whose only joys in life are waking up Saturday mornings with a condom on his cock and a strange body in his bed plus his masochistic hatred of the Chechen Terrorists. And, for all I know, there might have been no bomb, no terrorist plot, no nothing. Our charming powers that be are more than capable of framing whomever they like for whatever they’ve got a mind to. You, gentle reader, may one day find yourself accused of being an operative of the CIA or, say, the security services of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. The girl that you pick up at the Hungry Duck or wherever you filthy foreigners flush with ill-gotten bucks seduce our  naïve and trusting girls, leaving no chance to us cheapo Russians, and that you wake up together with the next morning with a condom on your cock, may, if she is a physics or engineering major, be accused of industrial espionage for Western intelligence agencies. And if she reads Chomsky or Marx, she may be framed for a bombing case like the one described above. It’s all a fucking lottery. But more of that later.

Another thing I’d like my readers to understand. For all the irony and grisly sexual detail, this article is about friends. They are comrades—erring comrades, alcohol-soaked comrades, no-brain comrades—but comrades anyway, fellow dissidents in the same boat with us, walking, like us, under the imminent danger of being impaled on the “vertical power structure” or trodden under the heel of the “dictatorship of the law.”

And now for the irony and the grisly sexual detail.

Communism Is Not Communism

Five years ago, a stocky youth with a wild look on his face and unwashed long blond hair lumbered into my obshchaga (hostel) room in my hometown of Obninsk, Kaluga Region. Hung over as hell, I was printing out a draft of my dissertation on my antediluvian dot-matrix printer that was going “Tsk-tsk-tsk-HRRR!” in an especially irritating brand of industrial psychedelic ambient trance music and, to cap it all, my cat Anaxagoras had just shitted on a freshly printed-out and especially important part of the dissertation. The guy turned out to be a young physics graduate called Denis (a.k.a. Den, Dennis and the Deng Who Is Not Xiaoping) who’d found out I was into Leftist politics and sort of wanted to join forces with me. Understandably, I was somewhat gruff in my replies at first, but soon we found out we agreed on every political issue under the sun. When Den touched upon an especially abstruse issue (I forget whether it was the dialectic of productive forces and production relations or the Althusserian theory of overdetermination) that I didn’t have a ready answer to, I said, using a familiar Russian metaphor: “You know, Den, this is a tough one. It can’t be solved without a half a liter [of vodka].” “Half a liter? Just half a liter? Oh, I’ll be back in a sec,” said the literal-minded Den, vanished and returned five minutes later with a bottle of Smirnov. This smoothed our political discussion a lot, so Den fetched another and then another.

Much later in the evening, at party with some friends, Dennis stopped dead in the middle of an argument, exclaimed: “Communism is not Communism!”, puked into my plate and passed out.

We’ve been good friends and inseparable political partners ever since.

For the last two years and a half we’ve been running an outfit called the Russian Maoist Party (RMP). Being composed of orientalists, physicists, mathematicians, economists and other true sons of the sod and representatives of the oppressed toiling masses, our chief function is to act as jackals of our Russian commie movement, preying on the anti-Semites, Brezhnevites, lovers and connoisseurs of the Jewish-Masonic conspiracy and plain damn nuts that infest that movement and, to tell the truth, compose the quasi-totality of it. Everybody hates our guts, but everybody reads us, including such backwoods and asshole-of-the-fucking-universe places as Yakutia, the Far East, Serbia and New York City.

We are a quiet, bookish, Web-oriented sect of Maoist dogmaticists. I, for one, almost never leave my Shchukino pad at all, making junior Party members run errands for me: fetch cigarettes, coffee, vodka, take my son from school and so on. So it is a wee bit hard to understand why the FSB wanted to frame us for two terrorist attacks in the course of half ayear, including the famous 2000 underground passage bombing in Pushkin Square—on the latter occasion arresting Den and me and taking us to headquarters handcuffed together, as if we were Mafia killers or something. Thanks to some of our foreign connections, we have also been written up by News of the World and (if I remember correctly) The Guardian, using the epithets “fanatic,” “madcap” and “known terrorists.” So here is a recipe for you if you want to acquire the kind of sexy reputation we have: sit on your butt, publish a sedate and academic Marxist-Leninist paper and post in Internet forums using such sexy and racy words as “the right of nations to self-determination” or “the dictatorship of the proletariat.” The rest is assured. Tells a lot, if you ask me, about the politico-cultural climate in today’s world in general and in our long-suffering Russia under the heel of the fascist motherfucker Putin dictatorship in particular. Has some bearing, too, on the immediate subject of my ramblings here, which is

The Vanguard of Red Youth (AKM)

Needless to say, the AKM is neither a vanguard (to be a vanguard you have at least to be headed somewhere, a virtue these guys most conspicuously lack) nor red (pink, light brown, mauve or burgundy might be more descriptive of the group’s political coloration), though it does indeed contain some youth. “Wackos,” “nutters,” “counterfeit-vodka-soaked degenerates, “hypersexual no-mind FSB dupes” and other endearing terms often used of them in the Left tusovka may be more accurate, but they are not terribly effective as an explanation—not much more helpful than the “Stalinist fanatics” and “implacable supercommunist intransigents” of the mainstream media. So let me try to explain.

Neither the AKM nor its parent organization, the Trudovaya Rossiya (“Labor Russia”), popularly known as the “Anpilov babushkas,” are really about Communism. Nor are they about fascism, anarchism, antiglobalism or Soviet patriotism, though each of these ideologies does play a part. What these two groups are really all about is a totally nonthinking and visceral reaction of bewildered people to a hostile environment. In the microbiological world, if you drip some acid into a test tube filled with a solution with amoebas and infusoria in it, the critters will naturally drift to the section least affected by the acid. In the animal kingdom, you have the familiar Russian aphorism: “Flip the horse on the nose, it will wag its tail.” In the Russian political world, you have the Trudovaya Rossiya and the AKM.

The hostile environment is, of course, what a pedestrian Marxist-Leninist like me would define as Russian capitalism, period. A fascist-influenced aesthete like the eXile’s own Dr. Limonov (may he breathe the air of freedom as soon as possible!) might say the colonialistic plutocratic Elders-of-Zion globalist occupation. And some Berezovsky-funded libertarian democratic Russophobe human rights junkie will call it the totalitarian Stalinist dictatorship of the murderous KGB colonel Putin. But they’re all different names for the same thing. And this environment is hostile to anything that lives and thinks. The TR and AKM are certainly alive (and kicking, in a convulsive sort of way)—but their top priority seems to be to avoid thinking and acting intelligently at all costs.

The nonthinking and visceral reaction of the “adult” (not to say superannuated) Trudovaya Rossiya is trash culture. Its fuehrer, the notorious Victor Anpilov, is no yahoo. Far from it. He’s got a degree in journalism from a really good Moscow school, speaks Spanish like Che Guevara and has served as a reporter for various Soviet media in several Latin American countries. But I defy anyone who has seen or heard him todetect the faintest traces of any of this. He acts the part of the paradigmatic Dumb Guy from the Sticks, the Ultimate Greaser, to perfection.

With Anpilov personally, this may be a matter of personal preferences. An old army buddy of his told me that, when in the ranks, the young Victor used to drink aftershave lotion—not out of any innate perversity or because of a lack of more conventional alcohol where they were stationed, but in order to, you see, improve the smell of his breath.

But it’s really in the format of his movement. Despite its name, “Labor Russia” doesn’t contain a lot of workers and has very feeble links with the labor movement. Whom it does contain is losers. Losers from all walks of life, no matter what social or personal circumstances have made them losers, gravitate naturally towards the TR and there embrace trash culture and start thinking and acting like yahoos. And I’m not just talking foul-smelling loud-mouthed short-tempered babushkas or Cossacks in faux-historical costumes here. An ultra-sophisticated scholar of dead Oriental languages, if he finds himself out of sync with his academic milieu and gravitates towards the Anpilovites, will, after a short stint with them, begin to proudly call himself a “lumpen,” painstakingly dress like one and spout all kinds of nonsense about “kikes” and the evils of oral sex. I’ve seen this happen.

The nonthinking and visceral reaction of the youthful and sprightly AKM is existentialism. In fact, that’s about the only feature the members of that movement have in common.

In Internet discussions following the bombing episode on the bridge, I’ve seen the AKM’s social base characterized both as “bespectacled geeks erroneously believing they will make more girls if they pretend to be Communists” and “pimply-faced vocational-school students from the working-class slums.” And, from personal experience, both statements are true—there are many guys and girls of both types in the group. There are also some wayward adolescents (practically children), a lot of glue-sniffin’, counterfeit-vodka-swillin’ punks, some more or less serious college students and young professionals plus a large proportion of nondescript girls who believe (quite correctly) that they will make more boys if they pretend to be Communists and … hang around a lot with a lot of boys. In fact, there was this girl one summer night, with whom I got drunk on Baltica No. 9 … but no, who the hell knows those weirdo AKMers, she may turn out to be able to read English after all. Well, ahem, yes … a common social base for the movement is hard to determine.

Ideologically… Well, there is in Moscow this Trotskyite madhouse called the Revolutionary Workers’ Party, famous for the size of the cockroaches infesting the pad of its leader and the coal-black hue of the once pink bed sheets they give visitors. They are also dedicated working-class activists and generally nice guys. So those Trotskyites decided to do this very Trotskyist thing called entryism, when you enter some totally alien organization and start subtly perverting its members to the Trotskyite orthodoxy. And they chose AKM, as AKM, despite all its vices, is, I believe, the largest Leftist youth organization in today’s Russia. And the Trots would come to every AKM meeting, have long talks with members and, sipping counterfeit vodka, they would start preaching their subtle and hidden message: “Workers’ democracy … permanent revolution … deformed workers’ state…” And the AKMers would nod and, sipping counterfeit vodka, comment: “Wow, man, that’s deep! Workers’ democracy! And a deformed workers’ state. Yep, that’s what it must have been: a deformed workers state! Gee, that’s cool!” The Trots, staggering from the effects of the counterfeit vodka, would go home very happy.

Then, one warm summer night, I came to the AKM lair and, though we Maoists disclaim the evil and revisionist Trotskyite practice of entryism, I just wanted to have a good talk with some members and, what the hell, try and convert some of them to Maoism. So, after the meeting was over, we installed ourselves comfortably on a bench, opened a bottle of counterfeit vodka and I began: “The revisionist Trotskyite theory of permanent revolution is a load of wank. On the other hand, Chairman Mao’s theory of continuous revolution is a glorious contribution… And this wasn’t no friggin’ deformed workers’ state: a social-imperialist state-capitalist superpower, that’s what it was. Now, concerning the Three Worlds Theory…” And they began nodding as wisely as a treeful of owls and commenting: “Wow, man, that’s deep! This … whaddayacallit … state-imperialist social-capitalist superpower! And the Three Worlds Theory! Gee, that’s cool!” The guy nodding especially wisely and agreeing with everything I was saying was a passing-by member of Dr. Limonov’s National-Bolshevik Party and, by his own admission, a nazi.

Organizationally… The acronym AKM is deciphered as the “Vanguard of Red Youth” (Avangard Krasnoi Molodyozhi), but it coincides with another Russian acronym: “Modified Kalashnikov Submachine Gun” (Avtomat Kalashnikova Modifitsirovanniy). The AKM’s rhetoric is full of such militaristic overtones: they’re all regimented into “platoons,” “companies” and the like, they have not chapter secretaries, but “platoon commanders”, etc. It doesn’t go beyond the rhetoric, though. A Ukrainian Leftist friend of mine once ran into my apartment steaming with rage. “I mean, just what do those FSB stooges, the AKM, think they are? Such an unashamed secret services provocation!” “Hey, man, hold on a sec,” I said, “What makes you think they are FSB?” “Why, their stickers in the metro, announcing the exact date of their meetings, giving the full address of the headquarters and all. It’s tantamount to saying ‘You are most welcome to come see us on Lubyanka!’” And though this ultra-cautious foreigner has yet to learn a lot about our local free-an-easy Leftist ways, in a sense he was right. Anyone is free to walk into their headquarters and take part in the debates. There is very little accountability. The movement must be infiltrated to its ears. And they couldn’t care less. They aren’t existentialists for nothing.

I don’t mean existentialist as in Jean-Paul Sartre. I mean existentialist as in “Do It!”, “Ona Move!”, “Too Drunk To Fuck” and so on. These are the real guiding principles of the movement and not any fancy frills written in their program like “the dictatorship of the proletariat” or even “Soviet patriotism.” If their elder comrades find consolation in being uncouth trashy greasers and in their Tolkienesque nostalgia for the Blessed Realm of the Soviet Union, then the AKMers get their kicks by being spontaneous and acting on the spur of the moment. Hence the high percentage of punks, hence the counterfeit vodka, hence the anonymous Baltica-No.-9-stained sexual relationships, hence the style of their political work. Take this guy Alexander Shalimov who was walking to (or from—I forget the details) the AKM headquarters after some rally in the fall of 2001 and spotted a Church of Scientology building on the way. “Fuck the bastards, this L. Ron Hubbard guy was a really mediocre sci-fi writer plus the Scientologists are a friggin’ zombie cult and all that…” These or similar thoughts must have raced though his head as he hurled a bottle of Molotov cocktail into the window. He was convicted of hooliganism and is now serving a two-year sentence. His trial was a farce, he is undoubtedly a political prisoner and we demand his immediate release, and, come to think of it, the Church of Scientology is a friggin’ zombie cult. But you get the picture. The AKM were also one of the most militant sections at the “Anticapitalism-2002” rally last fall. Nine members of the movement were arrested by OMON and two of them, including the recent bombing hero, Igor Fedorovich, were given a savage beating.

Russian punk icon Egor Letov was for a long time a close associate of the AKM and gave many concerts under the group’s auspices (however, I don’t believe he is or has ever been an actual member). It is easy to see why. Though Letov has a degree of sophistication that most AKM members can never hope to attain, the basic “Do It!“ ethos, the basic existentialism is the same. When Letov was a budding anti-Communist (what else do you expect? “I’ll always be against” is a programmatic line from one of his songs) punk singer in the late eighties, the evil Sovok authorities locked him up in a bughouse. This was in a cold windswept Siberian town. Opposite the mental hospital there was an apartment house under construction. And the only dream in Egor’s life at that period was to escape from the asylum. He didn’t hope so survive for long in the bitter frost in the thin hospital clothes—and the first militiaman would have stopped him. What he wanted was to run as quick as he could to the top of the house opposite and jump down from it, thus ending his misery. That’s a story any true-blue AKMer will have no difficulty in relating to.

The AKM has also nourished an interesting rock singer in its own bosom, somewhat in the Egor Letov vein, only more naïve. His name is Ivan Baranov and his stomach-twirling ultra-romantic anthems are about red stars and hammers and sickles flaming in the sky, the grass swept by the wind in the boundless steppes, about how the red sun of Revolution will rise for all of us… When drunk, I’m literally moved to tears.

Let’s Get Serious for a Moment

If I go on for much longer (and if the long-suffering eXile editors decide to publish my piece), I’m afraid I’ll exhaust the paper’s none-too-plentiful royalties fund with these endless thousands upon thousands of words. So let’s wind up with some conclusions and the aftermath of the events.

The whole story sucks. I mean, absolutely. It’s a shame and a sin that the largest Leftist youth group in the country should be so disoriented and fuzzy (as in “fuzzy from too much counterfeit vodka” and as in “fuzzy logic”). It’s a shame and a sin that a guy under psychiatric care should have been allowed to run round unsupervised within a self-proclaimed revolutionary organization and that he should even now be widely regarded by the AKMers as a hero. It’s a shame and a sin that the number of political prisoners in Russia should be rapidly growing each year, the absolute majority of them being Leftist political prisoners. It’s a shame and a sin that we’ve got such a proto-fascist police state here in Russia that the idea of the whole thing having been cooked up (or stage-managed) by the secret services comes most naturally to one’s mind. It’s a shame and a sin, the kind of evidence Igor Fedorovich the Sapper is now giving to his interrogators.

Whether it is his mental illness (as suggested by some observers) or the beatings he’s being subjected to in detention (as suggested by others), but the picture painted by the Sapper is truly grandiose. He speaks of a mammoth terrorist plot in which he was just “a pawn.” He says that ideologically the terrorist network is a “Trotskyite—Stalinist bloc” headed by Victor Anpilov and the above-mentioned Trotskyite leader, Sergei, the one with the cockroaches and the weird-colored bed linen. The latter, Fedorovich alleges, recruited him last summer “under threat of brutal physical punishment” and had allegedly promised him $1,000 for the Mosgortrans bombing. Hey, bleeding-heart human rights junkies and connoisseurs of the 1937 show trials, rings any bells?

These allegations have resulted in numerous searches and interrogations in Leftist milieus in Moscow. Sergei, who, bar the cockroaches and his Trot dogmaticism, is a serious, progressive and valuable comrade, had his apartment searched on Feb 11. Confiscated from him were prescription drugs, fertilizer for his window plants, papers and diskettes, not to mention the hard disk of his computer. He himself was detained as a suspect and taken for interrogation to the Moscow City CID.

“This whole affair smells of shit,” he told reporters afterwards.

You’re right, Comrade Sergei, it does. As does the entire framework of the Russian Federation. It stinks of shit and blood and filthy lucre and injustice and the sweat of workers treated as subhumans—all sorts of intolerable smells.

High time to deodorize the place.

Statement by the Russian Maoist Party: “For a Belarus without Lukashenko and capitalists!”

By | 08/20/2020

Alexander Lukashenko’s regime is neither “red” nor progressive. Objectively, it expresses the interests of state-monopoly capital, linked with Russian imperialism and trying to maneuver between it and the West. The hopes that were pinned on Lukashenko in the mid-1990s as a “man of the people” did not come true. Today it is a regime of the Putin or Nazarbayev (ex-president of Kazakhstan) type. He is just as liberal in economics (he carries out privatization, restricts the rights of workers, raises the retirement age) as he is repressive and undemocratic in politics (he purged the political field from both the liberals and the nationalists, and from both the leftists and the real – not controlled by his administration – communists). Lukashenko makes nods towards the Soviet past, but in modern Belarus what has remained of it is at best an outer shell with a bourgeois content. And supporting someone out of nostalgia for the USSR is a big mistake.

The opposition to the Lukashenko regime, for the time being united by the figure of Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya (of course, she is only a symbolical figure), represents the interests of a part of the bourgeoisie dissatisfied with the existing regime. Both Tsikhanovskaya and the Belarusian opposition enjoy the support of the European Union and the United States, and orient themselves towards them. They also have business ties with Russia, with, for example, one of the contenders for the presidency of Belarus, Viktor Babariko, from 2000 to 2020 heading a subsidiary bank of Gazprom – Belgazprombank 1. According to local communists, the bulk of the protesters on the streets were initially students, schoolchildren, and the petty and middle bourgeoisie. According to media reports, workers’ rallies have also begun at industrial enterprises 2. The “single presidential candidate” program 3 is a program of neoliberal reforms that directly requires large-scale privatization, deregulation of the economy, attraction of capital from TNCs, “optimization of the number of old jobs” (in other words, mass layoffs), etc. The program of the “single candidate” and the program of Tsikhanovskaya also contain progressive demands for democratization (to limit the powers of the president and the term of office at that post, etc.), to hold free elections. All other things being equal, competitive and open elections are better, but it should not be forgotten that “freedom” and “honesty” under capitalism are conventions that are meaningful to the extent that they can serve the socialist movement in eliminating exploitation and oppression. On the other hand, among the opposition there are also extreme right-wing forces advocating decommunization and so forth. With the available forces and in a matter of days, this situation cannot be reversed – this is clear theoretically and can be observed in practice.

The proletariat and semi-proletarian strata are almost not represented in Belarusian politics, as elsewhere in the former Soviet republics. The so-called left movement, split into many small organizations, tries to defend their interests. The creation of workers’ councils and the victory of people’s democracy, as an alternative to “Lukashism” and the liberal-nationalist opposition, are possible only if there is a powerful vanguard communist party relying on the proletarian and semi-proletarian masses of workers in the city and countryside. There is no such structure in Belarus yet, in particular, due to the long domination of revisionism of the Khrushchev-Brezhnev type, and also due to the state-capitalist regime, which destroyed the institutions of bourgeois democracy and the possibility of creating uncontrollable political structures, although it would be naive to hope that liberal democracy in itself will automatically open the paths for development for the communists. The current moment may become a chance for Belarusian communists to exit this fragmented state if they can use the social upsurge in order to mobilize, strengthen ties with workers and maintain themselves in the legal field. When the proletariat again becomes a political entity, then and only then will the bourgeois-liberal forces no longer be able to use the workers in their political games as cannon fodder.

The task of defining the strategy and tactics of the proletariat in modern Belarus belongs to the Belarusian communists. We welcome their promising work in this direction, including participation in the organization of rallies and strikes with demands that express the interests of the working class and the working masses. For our part, we condemn the violence on the part of the current Belarusian authorities and support the democratization of the political system – not, however, in doing so supporting Tsikhanovskaya and the Belarusian liberal opposition – we are in favor of nationalization instead of privatization, and against interference in the affairs of Belarus by the imperialists, whether Russian or Western. We must also develop international proletarian solidarity and communist cooperation in our common cause of propaganda, organizational construction and the preparation of socialism.

Long live the Belarusian people!
Long live independent, democratic and socialist Belarus!

P.S. While we were working on this text, the situation continued to develop, and information appeared about the possible intervention of Russia in the state crisis in Belarus. On August 15, Lukashenko, after negotiations with Vladimir Putin, said that “at our first request, comprehensive assistance will be provided to ensure the security of Belarus”. The Kremlin does not rule out this either, hinting at “its readiness to provide the necessary assistance in resolving the problems that have arisen on the basis of the principles of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State.” 4. The wording is rather vague, because Russia is playing a cautious game, supporting Lukashenko, while at the same time leaving open the possibility of agreement with the opposition if it comes to power. In a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on August 18, Putin said that Russia is against “any attempts to interfere from outside in the republic’s internal affairs, leading to a further escalation of the crisis.” This can be interpreted both as a warning to the European Union (which has still limited itself to the threat of sanctions), and as a promise not to interfere itself. Of course, the imperialists always lie, they will and do interfere in the affairs of relatively weak countries, dictating their will to them. In the case of Belarus, this is especially true of Russian imperialism, which dominates the republic. It is naïve to hope, as some do, that when “Russia comes” or “we will be in the European Union” life will spontaneously improve. Workers, not without reason, fear that a break with Russia will lead to the collapse of industry and unemployment, but another scenario is no less likely: in the case of concessions to Russia, it will demand a high price – the privatization of Belarusian state-owned enterprises, to which Russian “effective managers” will come, who will in fact will carry out Lukashenko’s threat, who frankly spoke about the “excessive number” of workers at the factories. It is necessary to appeal not to Russia or the European Union, but to the masses. Only they can show real solidarity and put pressure on their governments to respect the independence of other countries.

Notes:

  1. Gazprom is the biggest Russian monopoly controlled by the state.
  2. On August the 16th, a rally of supporters of Alexander Lukashenko and opponents of the liberal opposition took place in Minsk, and on August the 17th, Lukashenko arrived at the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant (MZKT) to talk to the workers.
  3. That is, the program uniting Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya, Valery Tsepkalo and Victor Babariko.
  4. Russia and Belarus together are officially “the Union State”.

Marxism, Mariátegui and the Feminist Movement

By | 07/05/2020

Publisher’s Note

Marxism, Mariategui and the Feminist Movement (CPP)Surpassing number of bends in the road, the People’s War in Peru is continuing since more than twenty years under the glorious leadership of Communist Party of Peru [PCP]. For the first time in the international communist movement, under the leadership of Chairman Gonzalo, it is the Party that scientifically analysed, explained and stubbornly upholds Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism, at present as the guiding principle of revolutionary proletariat of all countries. Upholding Maoism, PCP had built up People’s Army, base areas and initiated People’s War in 1980. The impact of this People’s War can be well understood from the fact that despite capturing Chairman Gonzalo in 1992 and Comrade Feliciano – the chief of PCP after Comrade Gonzalo’s arrest – in 1999 and by keeping them into two separate underground cells at a naval base without allowing anyone to meet them and putting them into complete isolation, Fujimori, then the President of Peru as well as the present President Toleredo could not contain the People’s War. Consequently, Fujimori has to flee from the country. As the President of Peru, he had gone to Japan in a state-visit and there he had asked for the citizenship of Japan under the pretext that he is having a Japanese ancestor and stayed there. Very recently, immediately after the US’s Afghan War the US-President Bush’s Peru visit was also marked with massive violent demonstration and protest in the capital Lima itself.

PCP, a participant-member of Revolutionary Internationalist Movement [RIM], is always holding high the red banner of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Communist Internationalism.

Apart from other aspects that made PCP a strong Maoist Party that continuously is standing stubbornly and bravely against the US-backed local reaction and narcotic-warfare organised and executed by the US and disguised deployment of the US-army; one of the major aspect is PCP’s position on women and particularly the application of its policy on women. Consequently, at the level of Central Committee of PCP, even numerically, women have already become a significant force. During the Days of Heroism, the women war-prisoners of Callao Women’s Prison had set an example of how in the quest of actual emancipation of Woman can fight against the system that tries to subdue Her, crush Her by staunchly and ardently upholding correct political and ideological position.

We are happily publishing this document of PCP with this hope that assimilating the vital lessons from such a distinguishable document, the Indian Maoist Revolutionaries would take their movement to a qualitative height.

José Carlos Mariátegui

(1895 – 1930)

José Carlos Mariátegui, had founded the Communist Party of Peru in 1928 and died at the age of only 35 years. Shortly before his death, he led the Party in affiliating with the Third Communist International of Lenin and Stalin. When the Party became revisionist, Mariátegui’s teachings – the basis of the Party – were kept aside.

Dating the period of the Great Debate between Mao’s CPC and revisionist CPSU, the ideological issues that came up in the forefront as well as the revolutionary upsurges in Peru, the revolutionary section of the PCP had taken up the study of Mariátegui’s teachings to settle the political and ideological line of the Party, the basic line for the revolution in Peru, its targets and goals and tasks of the Communist revolutionaries.

Under the leadership of Comrade Gonzalo, rebuilding the PCP took 15 years In 1975, a document “Retomemos a Mariátegui y Reconturyamos Su Partido” [Reclaim Mariátegui and Rebuild His Party] was published by the Central Committee of the PCP under comrade Ganzalo’s leadership. The completion of this process was marked by a 1979 Central Committee meeting that approved the initiation and continuation of People’s War, which began a year later, i.e., in 1980 and is still continuing throughout the country.

I. The Woman Question and Marxism

The woman question is an important question for the popular struggle and its importance has become greater today, because actions are intensifying which tend to mobilise women; a necessary and fruitful mobilisation from the working class viewpoint and in the service of the masses of the people, but which promoted by and for the benefit of the exploiting classes, acts as an element which divides and fetters the people’s struggle.

In this new period of politicisation of the masses of women in which we now evolve, with its base in a greater economic participation by women in the country, it is indispensable to pay serious attention to the woman question as regards study and research, political incorporation and consistent organisational work, A task which demands to keep in mind Mariátegui’s thesis that teaches: “Women like men, are reactionaries, centerists or revolutionaries, they cannot therefore all fight the same battle side by side in today’s human panorama in which class differentiates the individual more than sex.” That way, from the beginning, the need to understand the woman question scientifically undoubtedly demands that we start from the Marxist concept of the working class.

1. The theory of women as “deficient feminine nature”

Through the centuries the exploiting classes have maintained and imposed the pseudo-theory of the “deficient feminine nature”. It has served to justify the oppression that still women are experiencing in societies by which exploitation continues to prevail. That way, the Jewish men’s prayer: “Blessed be God, our Lord and Lord of all the worlds, for not having made me a woman” and conformity by the Jewish women who pray: “Blessed be the Lord, who has created me according to his will,” clearly expresses the contempt which the ancient world had for the woman’s condition. These ideas were also predominated in Greek slave society. Famous Pythogoras said: “There is a good principle which has created order, light and man and there is a bad principle which has created chaos, darkness and woman”. Even the great philosopher Aristotle pronounced: “the female is female by virtue of certain qualitative fault,” and “the character of women suffers from a natural defect.”

These proposals passed on to the final period of Roman slave society and to the Middle Ages. Christian thinkers intensified the contempt of Woman by imputing Her as being the source of sin and the waiting room of hell. Tertulian claimed: “Woman, you are the door of the devil. You have persuaded Him whom the devil did not dare to attack frontally. By your fault the Son of God had to die; you should always go dressed in mourning and rags”. And Augustine of Hipona told: “The woman is a beast who is neither firm, nor stable.” While they condemned, others had passed sentence on feminine inferiority and obedience. Thus, Paul of Tarsus, the apostle, preached: “Man was not taken from Woman, but Woman from Man;” and “Just as the church is subject to Christ, let Woman be submitted in all things to Her Husband”. And hundreds of years later, in the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas followed with similar preaching: “Man is the head of the Woman, just as Christ is the head of Man” and “It is a fact that Woman is destined to live under the authority of Man and that She has no authority by Herself.”

The understanding of the feminine condition did not advance much with the development of capitalism. As Candorcet pointed out its social root when he said: “It has been said that women … lack a sense of justice, and that they obeyed their feelings rather than their conscience…. that difference has been caused by education and social existence, not by the nature”. The great materialist Diderot wrote: “I feel sorry for you women,” and “in all customs, the cruelty of civil laws joined the cruelty of Nature against women. They have been treated as imbeciles”. Rousseau, advanced ideologist of the French Revolution, insisted: “All education of women must be relative to that of men…. Woman is made to yield to Man and endure his injustices.” This bourgeois position is carried on to the age of imperialism, became more reactionary as time goes on, joined the Christian positions, by reiterating the old theses sanctioned through John 23: “God and Nature have given women various chores, which perfect and complement the chores entrusted to men.”

Thus, we see how all through the exploiting classes have preached the “deficient feminine nature.” Sustaining their idealist concepts, they have reiterated the existence of “feminine nature”, independent of social conditions, which is a part of their anti-scientific “human nature” thesis However, this so-called “feminine nature,” in its eternal and invariable essence, is also called “deficient” to show that the condition of Woman and their oppression and patronage is the result of their “natural inferiority compared to Man” With this pseudo-theory, it is intended to maintain and “justify” the submission of Woman before Man.

Finally, it is convenient to point out that even an outstanding materialist thinker like Democritus had prejudices with respect to women (“A woman familiar with logic: a fearful thing”, “Woman is much more prone than the male to think evil!”). Moreover, the defence of women is based in metaphysical or religious arguments (Eve means life and Adam means land: created after Man, Woman was finished better than he was). Even, when the bourgeoisie was a revolutionary class, it only conceived of women in reference to men, not as independent beings

2. The Development of capitalism and the women’s movement

With the development of capitalism women are getting incorporated into labour, providing the basis and conditions for them to develop; that way, with their incorporation into the productive process, women are having the opportunity of more directly joining the class struggle and in combative actions. Capitalism carried out the bourgeois revolutions and in this, it forges the feminine masses, especially working women, to be advanced.

The French Revolution, the most advanced one of the revolutions led by the bourgeoisie, was a great nourishment for feminist action Women were mobilised together with the masses, and participating in the civic clubs, they developed revolutionary actions. In these struggles they organised a “Society of Revolutionary and Republican women,” and through Olimpia de Gouges, in 1789 they demanded a “Declaration of the Rights of Woman” and created newspapers like “The Impatient“ to demand for the improvements in their condition. In the development of the revolutionary process, women won the suppression of the rights of the first born male and the abolition of the masculine privileges, and they also obtained equal rights of succession with males and achieved divorce. Their militant participation rendered some fruits.

But once the great revolutionary push was halted, women were denied access to the political clubs, their politicisation was suppressed and they saw themselves blamed and urged to return to the home, they were told: “Since when has Women been allowed to renounce their sex and become Man? Nature has told Woman: be a Woman. Your chores are to tend to infants, the details of the home and the diverse challenges of motherhood.” Even more, with the bourgeois reorganisation initiated by Napoleon, with the Civil Code, a married woman returned to be subjected to patronage, falling under her husband’s domain in her person and goods; she is denied the questioning of paternity. Married women, like prostitutes, lost their civil rights and they were denied divorce and the right to transfer their properties.

In the French Revolution we can clearly see how the advance of women and their setbacks are linked to the advances and setbacks of the people and the revolution. This is an important lesson: the identity of interests of the feminist movement and the people’s struggles, how the former is part of the latter.

Also this bourgeois revolution shows how the ideas about women follow a process similar to the political process; once the revolutionary upsurge was fought and halted, reactionary ideas re-emerged about women. Bonald maintained: “Man is to Woman as Woman is to a child”. Comte, considered as the “father of sociology,” proposed that femininity is a sort of continued infancy and that this biological infancy is expressed as intellectual weakness, Balzac wrote: “The destiny of women and their only glory is to make the hearts of men beat. The woman is a property acquired by contract, a mobile personal property, because the possession is worth a title; in all, speaking properly, woman is but an annex to man”. All this reactionary ideology is synthesised in the following words by Napoleon: “Nature wanted Women to be our slaves. … They are our property. … Woman is but a machine to produce children”. A character for whom feminine life should be oriented by “Kitchen, Church, Children,” – a slogan endorsed by Hitler in the 20th century.

The French Revolution raised its three principles of liberty, equality and fraternity and promised justice and to meet the demands of the people. Very soon it showed its limits and that its principled declarations were but formal declarations. At the same time, its class interests were counterpoised to those of the masses; misery, hunger and injustice kept on prevailing, except under new forms Although due to historic conditions the Utopians could not reach the root of the evil, but they launched a sharp and demolishing criticism against such an order of things Utopian socialists also condemned the condition of women under capitalism. Fourier, representing this position, pointed out: “The change of an historical age can always be determined by the progress of Woman … the degree of emancipation of Woman constitutes the natural path for general emancipation.”

Confronted with this great assertion, it is worth to counterpoise the thought of the anarchist Proudhon about women – and keep in mind his ideas, particularly in today’s context, when there are attempts to propagate anarchism to the four winds by presenting them as examples of revolutionary vision and consequence Proudhon maintained that Woman was inferior to Man physically, intellectually and morally, and that represented together numerically, Woman have a value of 8/27 the value of Man. So for this ‘hero’, Woman represents less than a third of the value of Man, which is but an expression of the petty-bourgeois thought of its author, a root that is common to all anarchists.

Throughout the 19th century, with their increasing incorporation into the productive process, women continued to develop their struggle for their own demands joining the workers’ unions and revolutionary movements of the proletariat. An example of this participation was Luisa Michel, a fighter at the Paris Commune of 1871. However, the feminist movement, in general, oriented itself towards suffragism, to the struggle to get the right to vote for women, in pursuit of the false idea that in getting the vote and parliamentary positions, their rights would be respected. These feminist actions were channelised towards parliamentary cretinism. However, it is worth to remember that the right to vote for women was not achieved free – during the last century and the start of this century, women fought openly and determinedly to get it. The struggle for the feminine vote and its achievement show once more that though it was indeed a victory, but it is not the means that allows genuine transformation of the condition of women.

The 20th century implies a greater development of the feminist economic action. Women workers increased massively, as well as women employees, to whom were added strong contingents of professionals. Women enter all fields of activities. In this process, World Wars are having significant importance, because they incorporated millions of women into the economy to substitute the men mobilised to the front. All this pushed ahead the mobilisation, organisation and politicisation of women. And starting from 1950s the feminist struggle starts again with greater force, amplified in the 1960s with great perspectives for the future.

In conclusion, through the economic incorporation of women, capitalism sets the basis for their economic autonomy. But capitalism by itself is not capable of giving formal legal equality to women. In no way it can emancipate them. This has been proven throughout the history of the bourgeoisie – a class that even in its most advanced revolution, the French Revolution of the 18th century, could not go further than merely a formal declaration of rights. Further, the later development of the bourgeois revolutionary processes and the 20th century, show that not only the bourgeoisie is incapable in emancipating the masses of women, but with the development of imperialism the bourgeois concept as regards the feminine condition becomes more reactionary as time goes on and, in fact, confirms the social, economic, political and ideological oppression of women, even when it disguises and paints the women question in myriad ways.

3. Marxism and the Emancipation of Women

Marxism, the ideology of the working class, conceives the human being as a set of social relations that change as a function of the social process. Thus, Marxism is absolutely opposed to the thesis of “human nature” as an eternal, immutable reality outside the frame of social conditions; the thesis belongs to idealism and reaction. The Marxist position also implies the overcoming of mechanical materialism (i.e., of the old materialists before Marx and Engels) who were incapable of understanding the historical social character of the human being as a transformer of reality, so irrationally it had to rely upon metaphysical or spiritual conditions, such as in the case of Feuerbach.

As Marxism considers the human being as a concrete reality generated historically by society, it does not accept the thesis of “feminine nature,” which is but a complement of the so-called “human nature” and therefore aggravated a reiteration that Woman has an eternal and unchanging nature. And we have already seen that idealism and reaction understand by “feminine nature” as a “deficient and inferior nature” compared to Man.

For Marxism, Woman, as much as Man, are but a set of social relations, historically adapted and changing as a function of the changes of society in its development process. Woman, is a social product, and Her transformation demands the transformation of society.

When Marxism focuses on the woman question, therefore, it does so from a materialist and dialectical viewpoint, from a scientific concept, which indeed allows a complete understanding of the question. In the study, research and understanding of women and their condition, Marxism treats the woman question with respect to property, family and State, because throughout the history the condition and historical place of women is intimately linked to these three factors.

From this viewpoint, an extraordinary example of concrete analysis of the woman question is seen in Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, by F. Engels, who pointing to the substitution of mother-right by father-right as the start of the submission of women, wrote:

“Thus, the riches, as they went on increasing, on one hand provided Man with a more important position than Woman in the family, and on the other planted in Him the idea of taking advantage of this importance to modify the established order of inheritance for the benefit of His children…. That revolution — one of the most profound humanity has known — had no need to touch even one of the living members of the gens. All its members could go on being what they had been up to then. It merely sufficed to say that in the future the descendants of the male-line would remain in the gens, but those of the female-line would leave it, going to the gens of their father. That way maternal affiliation and inheritance by mother right were abolished and replaced by masculine affiliation and inheritance by father-right. We know nothing of how this revolution took place among the cultured peoples, since it took place in prehistoric times. … The overthrowing of mother-right was the great historic defeat of the female sex throughout the world. Man also grabbed the reigns of the house; woman saw herself degraded, turned into a servant, into the slave of man’s lasciviousness, in a mere instrument of reproduction” (Our emphasis)

This paragraph by Engels sets the fundamental thesis of Marxism on the woman question: the condition of women is sustained in property relations, in the form of ownership exercised over the means of production and in the production relations arising from them. This thesis of Marxism is extremely important, because it establishes that the oppression attached to the female condition has its roots in the formation, appearance and development of the right of ownership over the means of production, and, therefore, its emancipation is linked to the destruction of the said right. In order to have a Marxist understanding of the woman question, it is indispensable to start from this great thesis And today when supposed revolutionaries and even self-proclaimed Marxists pretend to have feminine oppression arising not from the formation and appearance of private property, but from the simple division of labour as a function of sex which had attributed less important chores to Woman than those of Man, reducing Her to the sphere of the home, it has got further importance. Despite all the propaganda and efforts to present it as revolutionary, this proposal is but the substitution for the Marxist position on the emancipation of women with bourgeois proposals — which, in essence, are variations of the supposed immutable “feminine nature.”

Developing this materialist dialectical starting point, Engels teaches us how on this basis the monogamous family was instituted, about which he says:

“It was the first form of family not based on nature, but on economic conditions and concretely on the triumph of private property over spontaneously originated, common primitive property.” And: “Therefore, monogamy in no way appears in history as a reconciliation between Man and Woman, and even less as a higher form of marriage. Quite the contrary, it enters the scene under the form of the enslavement of one sex by the other, as the proclamation of a war between the sexes, up to then unknown in prehistory.” (Origin … Our emphasis.)

After establishing that private property sustains the monogamous family form, which sanctions the oppression of women, Engels establishes the correspondence of the three fundamental forms of marriage with the three great stages of human evolution: savagery and marriage by groups, barbarism and pairing marriage, civilisation and monogamy “with its complements, adultery and prostitution.” That way, the Marxist classics developed the thesis about the historically variable social condition of Woman and Her place in society, pointing out how the feminine condition is intimately linked with private property, the family and the State, which is the apparatus that legalises such relations and imposes and sustains them by force.

The scientific proposition systematised by Engels is a product of the Marxist analysis of the condition of Woman throughout history, and the most elementary study fully corroborated the accuracy and actuality of these proposals, which are the foundation and starting point of the working class for the understanding of the woman question. Let us make a historical recount allowing us to illustrate what Engels and the classics set forth.

In the primitive community, with a natural division of labour, based on age and sex, men and women developed their lives on a spontaneous equality and participation of women in the social group decisions. Later women were surrounded with respect and consideration, a deferential and even privileged treatment. Once riches began to grow, which heightened the position of men in the family, pushing forward the substitution of father-right for mother-right, women began to move to the background and their position deteriorated Echoes of this reach the times of the great Greek tragic Aeschillus, who in his work Eumenida, wrote “It is not mother who engenders that which is called her son: she is only the nurse of the embryo deposited in her womb. Who engenders is the father. The woman receives the seed as a foreign depository, and she preserves it if so pleases the gods. ”

Thus, in Greek slave society, the condition of women is that of submission, social inferiority and object of contempt. Of them it is said: “The slave absolutely lacks the freedom to deliberate; woman has it, but in a weak and inefficient manner” (Aristotle); “The best woman is she, of whom men speak the least” (Pericles), and the answer by the husband who investigates public affairs “it’s not your thing. Shut up lest I hit you… keep on weaving” (Aristotphanes: Lysistrata). What power of their tutor, whether the father, the husband, the husband’s heir, or the State, their lives passed under constant tutelage. They were provided a marriage-dowry, so they had something on which to live and do not go hungry, and in some cases they were authorised to divorce. For the rest, they were reduced to misogynism in the home and in society under the control of specialised authorities. Women could inherit when there was no direct male heir, in that case she had to marry the oldest relative within the paternal gens; that way she would not inherit directly, but was merely a transferor of inheritance; all to preserve the family property.

The condition of women in Rome, which was also a slave society, allows a better understanding as it was derived from property, family and the State. After the reign of Tarquinius once patriarchal right was set up, private property and therefore the family (gens), became the basis of society: women would remain subject to patrimony and the family. She was excluded from every “virile job.” and in public affairs, she was “a civil minor” – she was not directly denied inheritance, but was subjected to tutelage. Gaius, the Roman jurist, on this point said “Tutelage was established in the interest of the tutors themselves, so the woman of whom they are supposed to be heirs cannot wrest their willed inheritance from them, nor impoverish it by alienation or debts”. The patrimonial root of the tutelage imposed upon women was, therefore, clearly exposed and established.

After the Twelve Tables, the fact that women belonged to the paternal gens and to the conjugal gens (also strictly for reasons of safeguarding property) generated conflicts which were the basis for the advancement of the Roman “legal emancipation”. The sine manu marriage appears: her goods remain dependent on her tutors and her husband only acquires rights over her person, and at that shared with the pater familias, who retains an absolute authority over his daughter. And the domestic tribunal appears, to resolve discrepancies which may arise between father and husband, thus the woman can appeal to her father for disagreements with her husband, and vice versa: “it is no longer the matter of the individual.

On this economic basis (her participation in the inheritance, even if it was tutored), and the conflict between the rights of the paternal and conjugal gens for the woman and her goods, despite the legal restrictions, a major participation of Roman women in their society developed: the “atrium” was set up, the centre of the house, which governed work by the slaves, conducted education of the children and influenced them until a rather advanced age She shared the works and problems of her spouse and was considered as co-proprietor of his goods. She attended parties and on the street, even consulted and magistrates gave her preferential crossing. The weight of Roman women in their society was reflected by the figure of Cornelia, mother of the Gracchi.

With the Roman social development, the State displaces the contention among the gens and assumes the disputes about women, divorce, adultery, etc., which went to be heard in public tribunals, abolishing the domestic tribunal. Later, under imperial rule, tutelage on women would be abolished, answering to social and economic demands. Women got a fixed dowry (individual patrimony) which was hot to be returned to the agnates (parental relatives) nor belonged to husband, that way she was given an economic base for her independence and development. By the end of the Republic, mothers had been given recognised rights over their children, receiving custody of them due to the father’s misconduct or his being placed under tutelage.

Under emperor Marcus Aurelius, in the year 178, a great step was taken in the process of property and family: children were declared heir to their mother in preference to agnates, that way the family was based on a link of consanguinity and the mother emerged as equal to the father before the children, the children also were recognised as children of the wife and derived form the above, the daughter inherited just as her male siblings.

But, while the State “emancipates” women from the family, it submits them to its tutelage and restricts their acts. And simultaneously to the social rise of women, an anti-feminist campaign was initiated in Rome invoking their inferiority, their “imbecility and fragility of the sex” to legally reduce them.

In Rome then, socially women had it better than that in Greece and acquired respect and even greater influence in social life, as shown by the words of Cato: “Everywhere men govern women, and we, who govern all men, are governed by our women.” Roman history has outstandingly exalted women – from the Sabines, through Lucretia and Virginia to Cornelia. Criticisms of women, not as women, but as contemporaries, developed by the end of the First and Second centuries of our era. In this way Juvenal reproaches them: lasciviousness, gluttony, to dedicate themselves to manly occupations and their passion for hunting and sports.

Roman society recognised some rights of women, especially the right to property, but did not open to them civil activities and much less public affairs, activities – which the women developed “illegally” and in a restricted way. Due to this reason, Roman matrons (“having lost their ancient virtues”) tended to seek other fields to employ their energies.

To consider the feminine situation in the decline of slavery and the development of feudalism, one must keep in mind the influence of Christianity and the Germanic contribution. Christianity contributed quite a bit to the oppression of women. Among the fathers of the church, there was definite demeaning of women, whom they considered inferior, servants of men and sources of evil. To what has been said let us add the condemnation by St. John Cnrisostomus, a saint of the Catholic Church: “No savage beast is as damaging as woman.” Under this influence, the advances reached under Roman legislation were at first mitigated and later denied.

Germanic societies based on war gave women a secondary situation due to their smaller physical strength However, they were respected and had rights which made them an associate of their spouse. Let us remember that on this subject Tacitus wrote: “In peace and in war, She shares His luck, She lives with Him and dies with Him.”

Christianity and Germanicism influenced the condition of women under feudalism Women were in a situation of absolute dependence with respect to the father and husband and by the time of king Clovis “the mundium weighs over her during all her life”. Women developed their lives completely submitted to the feudal lord, although protected by the laws “as property of Man and mother of children”, Her value used to increases with fertility, being worth triple of the value of a free man, a value she used to loose if she could no longer bear offspring: woman was a reproductive womb.

Under feudalism we can see an evolution in the condition of women, in the function of curbing of feudal powers and increase of royal powers, as it had happened in Rome: the mundium was transferred from the lords to the king; the mundium became a burden for the tutor, yet the submission by tutelage was kept.

At the convulsive times when feudalism was formed, since the rights to sovereignty and property – public as well as private – were not well specified, the condition of women was uncertain. The condition of women was changing, heightened or lowered, according to social contingencies.

Because women had no public rights, first, they were denied private rights. Until the 11th century, force and arms impose order and sustain property directly. To jurists, a fiefdom “is a land possessed with charge of military service”. And women could not have feudal right since they could not defend it with arms nor render military service. When fiefdoms turned into patrimonies and were inheritable (according to Germanic norms women could also inherit), feminine succession was admitted. But this did not improve their condition: woman was just an instrument through whom dominion was transferred, as in Greece.

Feudal property is not familial as in Rome, but of the sovereign, of the lord, and women too belong to the lord; it is she who chooses her husband. As it was written, “an heiress is a land and a castle: suitors contended to dispute that prize, and often the young woman is only 12 years old, or younger, when her father or lord gives her as prize to any baron.” The woman needs a lord who “protects” her and her rights; thus, a Duchess of Burgundy proclaimed to the king: “My husband has just died, but what good is mourning … ? Find me a husband who is powerful, because I much need him to defend my land.” In this form, her spouse had great marital power over the woman, whom he treated without consideration, mistreating her, beating her, etc. and whose only obligation was to “punish her reasonably” – the same codes required today to correct children.

The prevailing warlike conception made the medieval knight pay more attention to his horses than to his wife and the lords preached: “damned be the knight that seeks advice from a woman when he should participate in a tourney”. While women were commanded: “get into your apartments, painted and gilded, sit in the shade, drink, eat, weave, tint the silk, but bother not of our affairs. Our affairs are to fight with sword and steel. Silence!” That is how the medieval world of the lords demeaned and cast their women away.

The 13th century saw the development of a movement of literary women, which travelling from south to north increased their prestige, the same one which was linked to chivalry, love and the intense Marianism of that era. It did not modify it deeply, as S. de Beauvoir said in The Second Sex, a book in which abundant information – useful data, of course, apart from the existentialist concepts of its author, which is not the idea that can fundamentally change the condition of women, nor the economic basis sustaining it – about the history of women is found. When the fiefdom goes from a right based on military service to an economic obligation, since they were perfectly capable of fulfilling a monetary obligation, we can see an improvement in the condition of women. That way the seigniorial right to marry to his vassals was suppressed and women’s tutelage was extinguished.

Thus, whether single or widowed, women had the same rights as men in possessing a fiefdom, she governed it and fulfilled its administrative duties and even commanded its defence by participating in battles. But to survive, feudal society, like all those based on exploitation, requires the submission of women in marriage and marital power “the husband is the tutor of the wife,” was preached, or as Beauvoir said: “As soon as marriage was consummated, the goods of one and the other are common by virtue of the marriage,” justifying marital tutelage.

In feudal society, as in others ruled by exploiters – slavery or capitalism, what has been described about the condition of women has governed and still governs – but we must highlight that only in the condition of poor women can we see a different and softer condition in the face of marital power, the root of this situation must be seen in the economic participation by women of the popular classes and in the absence of great riches.

The development of capitalism takes feudalism to its decomposition, a situation that impresses its marks on the condition of women, as we have seen already. It suffices to emphasise that in the beginning and development of the burgs, women took part in the election of deputies to the General States, which shows feminine political participation as well as the existence of rights over family goods, since the husband could not alienate real properties without the consent of the wife. However, absolutist legislation would soon fetter these norms to fight off the diffusion of the bad bourgeois example.

This historical exposition exemplifies the thesis by Engels and the classics on the social roots of the condition of women and its relationship to property, family and State, it helps us to understand its certainty and see its actuality more clearly All this carries us to the conclusion: the need to firmly adhere to the working class positions and apply them to understand the woman question, participate in its solution, and reject – constantly and decisively – the distortions of Marxist theses on the subject and the so-called superior developments which are but attempts to substitute bourgeois ideas for proletarian concepts on this front, to disorient the women’s movement on the march.

Having exposed the social condition of women and the historical outline of its development linked to property, family and State, what remains is to treat the question of the emancipation of women from a Marxist viewpoint.

A Marxist holds fundamentally that the development of machinery incorporates women, as well as children, into the productive process and thereby multiplies the number of hands to be exploited, destroys the working class family, physically degenerates women and materially and morally sinks them into the miseries of exploitation.

Analysing women and children at work Karl Marx wrote:

“In so far as machinery dispenses with muscular power, it becomes a means of employing labourers of slight muscular strength, and those whose bodily development is incomplete, but whose limbs are all the more supple. The labour of women and children was, therefore, the first cry of the capitalist application of machinery. That mighty substitute for labour and labourers was forthwith changed into a means for increasing the number of wage-labourers by enrolling, under the direct sway of capital, every member of the woman’s family, without distinction of age or sex. Compulsory work for the capitalist usurped the place, not only of the children’s play, but also of free labour at home within moderate limits for the support of the family.”

The value of labour-power was determined, not only by labour-time necessary to maintain the individual adult labourer, but also by that necessary to maintain his family. Machinery, by throwing every member of that family on to the labour market, spreads the values of the man’s labour-power over his whole family. It thus depreciates his labour-power. …”

“Thus we see, that machinery, while augmenting the human material that forms the principal object of capital’s exploiting power, at the same time raises the degree of exploitation,” “By opening the factory doors to women and children, making them flock in great numbers to the combined ranks of the working class, machinery finally breaks down the resistance of the male worker to this, despite the despotism of capital within manufacturing.” (Capital, volume I, pp. 394-395, Economic Culture Fund, 1966. Emphasis in original.)

Continuing his masterful analysis, Marx himself describes to us how capitalism uses even the virtues and obligations of women for its advantage:

“Mr. E., manufacturer, told me how in his textile mills he employed exclusively women, preferably married ones, and above all those who had at home a family living from or depending on her salary, since these were much more active and zealous than single women; besides, the need to procure sustenance to their families forced them to work harder. In this way, the virtues characterising women are turned against them: all the purity and sweetness of their character are turned into instruments of torture and slavery.” (Note 57 of above quoted volume and edition of Capital, p. 331)

But just as by incorporating women into production, capitalism increases exploitation, simultaneously with this process it provides the material basis for women to struggle and demand their rights And it’s a starting point for the struggle for their emancipation, as Engels taught in Origin…:

The freeing of women demands as a first condition the re-incorporation of the entire female sex into social industry, which in turn requires that the individual family no longer be society’s economic unit.” (our emphasis).

And evidently capitalism, with its own future interests, sets the basis for the future emancipation of women, as well as creating the class that will destroy it as it develops: the proletariat.

On the other hand, their economic participation and the development of the class struggle pushes forward the Politicisation of Women. We already highlighted how the French Revolution pushed forward the political and organisational development of women and how, by uniting them, mobilising them and forcing them to fight, it set the basis for the feminist movement. We also saw how feminist demands were reached through the rise of revolution and how their rights were abolished and their conquests swept away when the revolutionary process was fettered and thrown back. However, with all the positive aspects that the incorporation of women into the French Revolution had, the resulting politicisation of women was but elementary, restricted and very little compared with the major advances represented by the politicisation of women by the working classes. What does this politicisation imply? When capitalism massively incorporates women into the economic process, it wrests them away from inside of the home, to attract them mostly (o factory exploitation, making industrial workers out of them. Thus women are forged and developed as an integral part of the most advanced and latest class in history. Women initiate their radical process of politicisation through their incorporation into the workers’ union struggle (the great change implied by this is observed concretely in our country by the transformation seen in women workers, peasants and teachers of Peru, amidst the union struggle). A woman arrives at more advanced forms of organisation, which goes on building her up and shaping her ideologically for the proletarian concepts and, finally, she arrives at superior forms of struggle and political organisation by incorporating herself, through her best representatives, into the ranks of the Party of toe working class, to serve the people in all forms and fronts of struggle organised and led by the working class through its political vanguard. This politicisation process, which only the proletariat is capable of producing, and the new type of women fighters it generates has materialised in many glorious women fighters whose names are recorded in history: Luisa Michel, N. Krupskaya, Rosa Luxemburg, Liu Ju-Ian and others, whose memory the people and the proletariat keep.

Like today, for Marxism of yesterday, the politicisation of women was the key-issue in her emancipation and the classics dedicated special attention to it. Marx taught: “Anyone who knows something of history knows that the great social changes are impossible without the feminist ferment. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the weak sex.” (Letter to Kugelmann, 1888.) And to Lenin, the participation of women was more much urgent and important to the revolution:

“The experience of all the liberation movements confirms that the success of the revolution depends on the degree in which women participate.(Our emphasis)

Thus the development of the class struggle and its ever greater sharpening, within the specific social conditions of the revolutionary struggle under conditions of imperialism, sets forth and demands more decisively the politicisation of women. That is why, Lenin himself, in the middle of World War I and foreseeing the future battles for the working class which required preparedness, called to fight for:

“17. Abolition of any and all limitations without exception to the political rights of women in comparison to men. Explaining to the masses the special urgency of this transformation at moments in which the war and scarcity disquiet the masses of people and awaken interest in and attention to politics, particularly among women.”

And he proposed:

“It is necessary that we fully develop systematic work among these feminine masses. We must educate those women we have managed to wrest away from passivity, we must recruit them and arm them for the struggle, not just the proletarian women who work in the factories or toil in the home, but also the peasant women, the women in the various layers of the petty-bourgeoisie. They too are victims of capitalism.”

With these words. Lenin demanded the politicisation of women, the struggle for demanding their political rights, the need to explain to the masses the urgency of politically incorporating women, the need of working together with them, to educate them, organise them and prepare them for all forms of struggle. Finally, he emphasised orienting themselves towards working women, but without forgetting the importance of peasant women and remembering the various classes or layers of women being exploited, since all of them could and should be mobilised for the people’s struggle.

From the above, we see how the politicisation of women was proposed by Marxism from its beginnings, considering women’s struggles as being in solidarity with the struggles of the working class. That is why, last century Bebel said that “woman and the worker have in common their condition as oppressed,” and why the Socialist Congress of 1879 proclaimed the equality of the sexes and the need to struggle for it, reiterating the solidarity of the revolutionary feminist women and the working class struggle. On the other hand, as China proclaims today, following Mao Tse-tung’s thesis:

“The emancipation of women is an integral part of the liberation of the proletariat.” (Peking Review, No. 10.1972)

This brings us to consider. How can the emancipation of women be achieved? Investigating capitalist society and societies, in general, where exploitation and oppression prevail, Engels verified that misery, inequality and submission exist among men. But emphasising the woman question he pointed out: “The state of affairs with respect to the equality of men and women is no better than their legal inequality, which we have inherited from prior social conditions, is not the cause but the effect of the economic oppression of women.” And he continued “Women cannot be emancipated unless they assume a large socially measurable role in production and are only tied insignificantly by domestic work. And this has only been possible with modern industry, which not only admits feminine labour in a large scale but fatally demands it,”

This assertion by Engels, if taken out of context and unrelated to similar ones from Origin… helps some people, pseudo-Marxists and distorters of Marxism. They stretch his idea to claim that the mere participation of women in the economic process is sufficient for their emancipation. Engels proposed that the incorporation of women into production was a condition, that it is a base upon which women act in favour of their emancipation, and that this demands to socially end domestic work which absorbs and annihilates women, which to Engels implies destroying private ownership of the means of production and developing large-scale production based on the social ownership of the productive means. We repeat that it is good to be very clear about this thesis by Engels, because today some are attempting to hide themselves in this classic to distort the Marxist position on the woman question and to preach the simple participation of women in the economic process for the sake of the exploiting classes. Thus they are hiding the root of women’s oppression which is private ownership by avoiding large-scale social production based on destroying private property of the means of production.

Foreseeing this distortion, as in other cases, the classics analysed the problem of whether the incorporation of women to the productive process, which capitalism began, was capable of making men and women truly equal. Mao Tse-tung gave the concise and powerful answer once more in the 1950s:

True equality between men and women can only be achieved in the process of the socialist transformation of the whole of society.

Lenin researched the situation of women in bourgeois society and compared it with how it was under the dictatorship of the proletariat, an analysis that led him to establish:

“From remote times, the representatives of all the movements of liberation in western Europe, not for decades, but during centuries, proposed the abolition of these antiquated laws and demanded the legal equality of women and men, but no democratic European State, not even the most advanced republics, have managed to achieve this, because wherever capitalism exists, wherever private ownership of the factories is maintained, wherever the power of capital is maintained, men go on enjoying privileges.

“From the first months of its existence, Soviet power, as the power of workers, realised the most decisive and radical legislative change with respect to women. In the Soviet Republic, no stone was left unturned which kept women in a position of dependence. I am referring precisely to those laws which used the dependent situation of women in special way, making her victim of the inequality of rights and often even of humiliations, that is to say laws on divorce, on natural children and on the right of women to sue the father in court to support the child.” (Tasks of the Women Workers in the Soviet Republic.)

From this comparative analysis the conclusion is taken that only the revolution which places the working class in power in alliance with the peasantry is capable of sanctioning, and even further, in enforcing the true judicial legal equality between men and women. However, as Lenin himself taught, this true legal equality initiated by the revolution is but the beginning of a protracted struggle for the full and complete equality in life of men and women:

“However, the more we rid ourselves of the burden of old bourgeois laws and institutions, the more clearly we see that we have barely cleared the terrain for construction, yet construction itself has not begun.”

“The woman continues to be a slave of the home, despite all the liberating laws, because she is overburdened, oppressed, stupefied, humiliated by the menial domestic tasks, which make her a cook and a nurse, which waste her activity in an absurdly unproductive, menial, irritating, stupefying and tedious labour. The phrase, emancipation of women, will only begin for real in the country at the time the mass struggle begins (led by the proletariat already owning the power of the State) against this petty home economy, or more precisely, when their mass transformation begins in a large-scale socialist economy.” (A Great Initiative: emphasis in original.)

Thus, Lenin and Mao Tse-tung answered the anticipated opportunist distortions and pseudo-developments of Marxism, which today attempts to distort the theses of Engels and confuse the working class position on the woman question.

Marxism conceives the struggle for the emancipation of women as a protracted but victorious struggle: “This is protracted struggle, which requires a radical transformation of the social technique and of customs. But this struggle will end with the full victory of communism.” (Lenin, On the Occasion of International Working Women’s Day).

The above, in essence, shows there is an identity of struggle between the revolutionary feminist movement and the working class struggle for the construction of a new society; and, besides, it helps to understand the sense of Lenin’s words calling women workers to develop the institutions and means which the revolution placed at their disposal:

“We say that the emancipation of workers must be the work of the workers themselves and likewise THE EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN WORKERS MUST BE THE WORK OF WOMEN WORKERS THEMSELVES.” (The tasks…)

These are the central theses of Marxism on the emancipation, politicisation and the condition of women – the positions which we prefer to transcribe for the most by quotations from the classics, because these positions are not sufficiently known. Besides that, because they were masterfully and concisely expressed by the authors themselves, which relieves us from the task of pretending to give them new editing, more so after seeing their full and complete actuality. On the other hand the distortions of the Marxist positions attempted today on the woman question also demand the dissemination of the words of the classics themselves.

Finally, it is indispensable, even if it is in passing only, to make note that Marx, Engels, Lenin and Mao Tse-tung set forth the thesis of the emancipation of women and not that of women’s liberation, as can be appreciated from the cited quotations. On this particular, it suffices to say that the analysis of the condition of Woman through history shows Her as subject to tutelage and in a situation of submission with respect to the male, which makes Woman a being who, while belonging to the same class as Her husband or the man She has a relationship with, finds Herself in a situation of inferiority with respect to Him, an inferiority which the laws bless, sanctify and impose. Consistent with this situation of undervaluing throughout history we see the need to demand Her rights to achieve a formal equality with Man under capitalism and how only the revolutionary struggle under the leadership of the proletariat is capable of setting up and fulfilling a genuine legal equality of men and women, though, as we saw, plentiful equality in life, as Lenin said, will develop as large-scale socialist production develops. These simple observations show the certainty of the thesis on women’s emancipation conceived as part of the liberation of the proletariat. While the thesis of women’s liberation historically surfaces as a bourgeois thesis, hidden at the bottom of which is the counterpoising of men and women due to sex and camouflaging the root of the oppression of women. Today we see how women’s liberation is exposed more and more in each passing day as bourgeois feminism, which aims at dividing the people’s movement by separating the feminine masses from it and seeking mainly to oppose the development of the women’s movement under the leadership and guide of the working class.