International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organisations



* Member of the leadership of the PCOF,
he has represented his Party at many international meetings,
particularly in the sessions of the ICMLPO.

The last plenary of the Conference charged me with drawing up an introduction to this special issue dedicated to the 20th anniversary of our Conference and its journal “Unity and Struggle.” I will not make an evaluation of all these years: that should be a collective effort. I will therefore limit myself to pointing out some elements of the situation that we experienced before making the historic decision that launched the process of the conferences, and to emphasize the aspects that in my judgment were the most important of this collective task.

In the article that our friend Nils Andersson wrote for this issue of our journal, he reminds us of the context in which, in the 1960s and 70s, the Marxist-Leninist movement emerged and the ideological and political struggle that took place. Nils emphasized the difficulties in achieving an organizational form that would take into account the reality of the movements and organizations that formed the International Communist Movement (ICM) in that period, and that would be faithful to the Marxist-Leninist principles, to the objective of the socialist revolution, to the struggle against imperialism and the need to fight on all fronts against the revisionist, reformist and opportunist tendencies. I will continue in broad strokes his testimony to the militant commitment involved in this fight. It was the ideological and political struggle against Maoism, a new form of revisionism that was added to Khrushchevite revisionism, to “Eurocommunism,” to the anarchistic thesis of self-management advocated by Tito, under which many parties and organizations were created and developed. Proletarian internationalism was one of the Marxist-Leninist principles that we defended and we struggled to apply concretely. That meant:

* To defend Albania, the only socialist country at that time; to make known its achievements and to support the Party of Labour of Albania (PLA), which was engaged in building socialism in the difficult conditions of embargo orchestrated by the imperialist powers, social-imperialism and Chinese revisionism.

* To defend and implement solidarity with the Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations; to make their struggles known, and to support them politically and materially for their development.

* To organize solidarity with the struggle of the workers and peoples for their social and national emancipation.

* To develop anti-imperialist solidarity with the peoples of the world in their struggle against the system of imperialist domination and plunder.

For a party such as ours, the PCOF, which is struggling for the socialist revolution in an imperialist country, it was an absolute necessity for us to develop solidarity in all forms with the Marxist-Leninist parties of the countries dominated by French imperialism, and particularly with the workers, the peoples, the revolutionary and democratic organizations in those countries. This is an aspect that we develop in our article written for this issue of the journal.

The Marxist-Leninist movement had few occasions to meet: the congresses of the PLA to some degree, those of the Albanian mass organizations (trade unions, women’s organization, youth organizations, etc.) allowed for these meetings. The congresses of the fraternal parties also favoured the discussions and exchange of opinions.

In the early 1980s, a certain number of parties took the initiative to meet once a year in the framework of “multilateral” meetings to which were invited all the parties and organizations considered as members of the International Communist Movement. We cannot forget that in November 1983, when she went to one of those meetings, Comrade Bernadette, leader of our party, lost her life.

Besides having no international organizational form, at that period we also had no defined norms that would allow us to say who formed part of the Marxist-Leninist movement. The basis was essentially ideological: the defence of Marxist-Leninist principles; the struggle against the revisionist currents; the support for socialist Albania and its recognition as the only socialist State. These ideological references allowed the Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations to build ties, to support each other in the common struggle and to carry out work to attract parties and organizations that distanced themselves politically and ideologically from the revisionist currents. That is, the mutual knowledge and recognition were the basis of the ties that were created.

These meetings served to exchange experiences of the parties in their work of establishing themselves, in their activity of applying the Marxist-Leninist principles to the reality of the class struggle and to develop common actions such as the international anti-fascist and anti-imperialist youth camps. Those multilateral meetings edited a journal “Theory and Practice” that appeared regularly. The first issue (of the French edition) is dated January 1983.

When the situation in Albania deteriorated, and in 1991 when the PLA collapsed, the ICM lost one of its principal supports.

The collapse of the revisionist States, particularly the USSR, provoked a serious crisis in the parties and organizations that considered that the USSR and the German Democratic Republic were still socialist States. That crisis had very important consequences for the workers and popular movement. Imperialism proclaimed its superiority and the “end of history.” It is true that the revisionist degeneration of the parties that were at the heads of those States and that usurped the name of communists was the main cause of this collapse, but they were not revolutionary processes that demolished them.

Obviously, the Marxist-Leninist movement has suffered the consequences of the violent anti-communist campaign, which made it feel the need to close ranks among the parties and organizations that called themselves Marxist-Leninist. At that time, some of the parties considered as part of the ICM, there was a tendency to bring together all the parties and organizations that called themselves communist. This tendency was echoed among parties considered until then as revisionist, which also spoke of the need to “reunite the communist family,” to “overcome the differences between the pro-Albanians and pro-Chinese,” thus reducing in a caricaturish manner the struggle against different forms of revisionism to a kind of tailism toward this or that “great party.”

For the Marxist-Leninists, who had maintained the Marxist-Leninist principles against all odds, the situation was not simple: it was necessary to take into account the problem of unity and the desire to supersede the ideological and political divergences in order to resist and combat the offensive of imperialism and reaction without throwing away the struggle waged. It was also a matter of showing that the Marxist-Leninist movement was able to take initiatives, to influence the class struggle and to recover.

This was the reason to convene a meeting to continue the fight of the Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations collectively. This meeting was held in Quito in 1994, which was the beginning of the process of what we call the “International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations” (ICMLPO).

Continuity and the New Stage

The red line of combat of the Marxist-Leninists never broke. The process of the Conferences is both a sign of continuity and the mark of a new stage, which we will broadly characterize.

On the theoretical and political level, the conferences are a collective effort to analyze the situation of the class struggle in the world, to apply the principles of Marxism-Leninism to the concrete reality.

On the level of international organization, the process of the conferences marks an advance that is leading to the establishment of an embryonic collective leadership – the Coordinating Committee – elected at each conference; the formulation of norms of working, and joining a permanent organization, which relies on annual sessions and regional meetings, an organ of expression, our journal “Unity and Struggle,” which is translated into various languages and distributed in many countries. The Conference has also provided a more sustained impulse for the International Anti-Fascist and Anti-Imperialist Youth Camps; it supports various international meetings of trade unionists in Latin America and Europe, etc.

One of the lessons that we have drawn from these years, both in the field of international organization as well as on the development of political positions and initiatives launched by the Conference, is that “the path is made by walking.” That is, each step taken has been the result of collective discussion and commitment that takes into account the limits of our movement and of each one of its components. Only we, that is, each member of the Conference and the Conference as an organ for discussion and decision, are responsible for the decisions taken and their implementation. The steps taken over the last twenty years have shown that we have grown in our ability to lead ourselves, and we have learned – and we must continue in this way to set objectives that allow our movement to advance – closely linked to the class struggle; with the necessary development of communist leadership in the revolutionary process and the development of the conscious element: the communist party, to reinforce and introduce it among the working class and the popular masses, to bring ever more sectors into the struggle for the revolutionary transformation of society.

This is necessary for each party and organization in its own country. However, we must look at this question dialectically. Indeed, Marxism-Leninism emphasizes the importance of the weak link in the imperialist chain, the links which can be broken, which can cause the breakup of the chain of oppression, domination and plunder that is weighing ever more heavily on the backs of the working class, of the working people of the city and countryside, of the peoples of the world.

In these last twenty years, there have been various “weak links,” specifically in Latin America, in Africa. In some cases there have been Marxist-Leninist parties with a certain influence that have acted in such a way as to transform the potential break into a real break. We are thinking of Ecuador, of Tunisia, and now the conditions are maturing in other countries such as Burkina Faso, etc. One of the tasks of the Conference is, in addition to knowing how to analyze the situations and to see the possibilities, is to also develop tasks that are applicable for all the parties and organizations that are members of the Conference, to act as a collective force, to “strike jointly at the weak link” in order to help break it. This is one of the fundamental tasks of the Conference.

Finally, I want to emphasize the role played by the Conference in helping the Marxist-Leninists to unite, to organize into a single party wherever there exist several groups, circles and individuals who have understood that without the communist party, one cannot organize the revolution. I have had the honour to participate, as a delegate of my party, in discussions and activities that have led to the creation or re-creation of one Marxist-Leninist party. These are very rich experiences that contribute to tempering the communist convictions.

I have referred to the “processes of the Conferences” in order to emphasize the dynamic aspect, to emphasize the need to attract new parties and organizations. The Conference has an experience, it has political and organizational tools that allow it to take initiatives in this regard.

For in this old capitalist world, which only manages to survive by destroying more and more productive forces and means of production, that rotten capitalism that Lenin already spoke of, there is a race between the forces of revolution and those of reaction. We must strengthen our parties, become more and more rooted in the working class and the popular masses; we must strive to attract more forces to the revolutionary struggle, we must learn to lead ever growing sectors of the exploited and oppressed. To do this, we need a Conference that is active in the class struggle, wherever we are as Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations, and wherever the class struggle sharpens, where the question of a revolutionary break is maturing.

Long Live the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations!

Paris, May 12, 2014

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