Communist Party of Labour (PCT)

On reform and revolution

The correct handling of the relationship between reform and revolution is one of the issues of greatest importance to the Communist Party in its efforts to be at the vanguard of the process and to lead the working class to power. This is a matter that is extremely complex and any improper treatment of that relationship is destined to cause losses and setbacks, often colossal ones, for the revolutionary cause. The discussion on this matter has run through the history of international proletarian revolution like a thread.

There are two main dangers. One is to refuse to fight for limited, specific gains, in the name of a verbal worship of the ultimate aims of the movement. The other is to forget the final objectives, in the name of the importance and need to achieve concrete and immediate demands. This condemns the Communist Party or any other revolutionary organization to certain death in the stagnant waters of social-reformism.

The movement is everything, the final aim is nothing. This was the axiom with which, from the early days of the process of the proletarian revolution, those who fell into the latter type of deviation were critically shown up.

Both errors are harmful and it is essential to place clear boundaries in front of them and even more, to directly criticize those who make them. To deny the struggle for reforms is to believe or try to make people believe that the revolution will arrive at once, as if such a thing was possible with a mechanical leap from the starting point to the final goal; to think and act in that way violates the postulates of one of the fundamental laws of dialectics, that of quantitative changes becoming qualitative ones. This teaches that one can only arrive at qualitative change by an accumulation of quantitative change. Likewise it establishes an antagonistic contradiction between political activity and the day-to-day work, tactics, on the one hand; and long-term orientations, the supreme objectives, strategy in the clearest terms, on the other.

And if that is the case, from the point of view of the doctrine in the field of practical work the negative consequences are soon proven. We would have a party that preaches general truths and clings to immutable and abstract formulas, while political life goes on regardless of such preaching. One does not even think about winning the oppressed and exploited masses and would have to be satisfied with the joining up of small nuclei of dilettantes and pundits, some of whom are fanatical and fiery, with no or very poor relations with the people.

No matter how radical one wants to appear and how much loyalty one wants to swear to the final goals, such a party will never succeed in concealing the fact that the essence of its conduct lies in the weakness and impotence from which it suffers. Impotence, because this preaching usually covers up the lack of courage and determination to devote oneself to the patient and organized work that the preparation of the objective and subjective conditions requires for the revolutionary leap towards the final goal which such a dilettante worships.

The most that can be said of those who form such a grouping, putting them in the best light, is that they are revolutionaries at a time of upsurge, of good times for the movement. And the value of such behavior is very doubtful. Because revolutionary merit and valor lie elsewhere. It is in times of difficulty when the tempering and determination of the Communist Party and its members to fight are tested. It is fitting to again quote this teaching of Lenin in “Left-Wing” Communism, an Infantile Disorder:

“It is not difficult to be a revolutionary when revolution has already broken out and is at its height, when everybody is joining the revolution just because they are carried away, because it is the fashion, and sometimes even out of careerist motives.... It is far more difficult – and of far greater value – to be a revolutionary when the conditions for direct, open, really mass and really revolutionary struggle do not yet exist, to be able to champion the interests of the revolution (by propaganda, agitation and organization) in non-revolutionary bodies and often enough in downright reactionary bodies, in a non-revolutionary situation, among masses who are incapable of immediately appreciating the need for revolutionary methods of action.”

At the extreme opposite error are the social-reformists, those who in the name of achieving immediate demands sacrifice the supreme principles and objectives of the cause. As harmful as the former are, this deviation, although with different symptoms, leads at the end of the day to the same tragic fate, to the bankrupt of the party and the movement. This type of negative experience abounds in the history of the proletarian revolution, being perhaps the more painful because of the losses caused, that of the social-democratic labor parties of the Second International, from the end of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th century.

They were then justly accused of having sacrificed the fundamental principles and supreme aims of the movement for short-term benefits, of betraying those principles in exchange for the benefits of the moment. Therein lies the essence of opportunism, Lenin declared while fighting against them.

They won legality but blindly worshiped it and became legalists; they fully used the parliamentary road, but they adapted themselves to the norms of bourgeois parliamentarism and became parliamentary cretins; under the correct slogan of the struggle for peace they renounced the revolutionary war against the bourgeoisie of their respective countries and became social-pacifists.

In short, this is social-reformism of all shades and right opportunism in its most degenerate forms.

It was Lenin himself to whom corresponded the historical task of leading the theoretical and political struggle against the ringleaders of the Second International and, basing himself entirely on the doctrine of Marx that these ringleaders ended up revising, Lenin successfully accomplished his task. In many of the works that he wrote in the midst of this demanding task, he left enduring lessons that still serve today as general references when it is a matter correctly handling the relationship between the struggle for reforms and the general fight for the revolution.

One of his most important teachings is the idea that the communists always include in their sphere of activity the struggle for reforms, and that their art consists in knowing how to light for them with determination, but without losing sight of the highest goals and, moreover, subordinating as the part to the whole the struggle for immediate gains and reforms to the general interests and maximum program of the proletarian revolution.

By acting in the concrete reality of the Dominican Republic, the Communist Party of Labor – PCT – has its modest experience to contribute to the historical heritage of our movement. Since its foundation on June 20, 1980, it has made consistent efforts to not deviate from the Leninist teachings on the relationship between reform and revolution.

Its history is characterized by the determination to always stay within the invariable framework of the ultimate aims and supreme goals of the revolution, but it has never ignored the fact that those final goals are reached step by step and if one can sometimes make leaps, it will always be as a result of the gradual accumulation of revolutionary factors. Like the communists in other countries we assume that the revolution will be built in the daily political and general life.

It is likewise characterized by the constant effort to forge ties with the masses and not ignore the fact that one of the ways to achieve this is by interacting with them in the daily battles for gains of various types, for economic, social, cultural and political reforms.

We have struggled tenaciously for the economic gains and social demands of the workers and all those oppressed and harmed by the government policies and bosses’ exploitation. For political reforms and demands for increased political liberty, for the democratization of national life, including the struggle for constitutional reform by way of a constituent assembly, a demand that our party pioneered and for which it has struggled in the most varied fields, in the streets, in the battles of ideas and opinion and in the very parliament of the ruling system.

Corresponding to these economic, social and political struggles, it has brought due importance to the creation of the most appropriate organizational forms possible for each type of movement. From the trade unions to the youth, from the political organizations of the broad front to the committees for neighborhood struggle, and so on, without losing sight of the fact that the final victory of the revolution is reached by the accumulation of forces, by the gradual advance and the uninterrupted march and the patient and organized work; this daily and dull work to which the communists of different countries so often refer.

The key in all cases, as the fathers of Marxism established since the writing of the immortal Manifesto of 1848, is what, they stated, in more or less the following words that the communists participate in all movements of the present, as long as while they participate in these struggles of the present, they always take into account the great objectives of the future.

From then on they laid the bases for the proper relationship between these two categories of political science, reform and revolution

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