Dominican Republic

Communist Party of Labor – PCT

On Alliances and the Politics of Convergence

"Since they have been twinned by History, they present themselves twinned in the example...
They were two different men; but they were two men who complemented each other.
The one, Duarte, the man of thought and organization;
the other, Sanchez, the man of impulse and passion:
What the first saw before anyone else, the second put it into practice before anyone else.
What Duarte organized when no one dared even to think,
Sanchez did when no one else had done it.
What the one lacked to be implemented, the other implemented and provided it..."

(Hostos, Eugenio Maria de “Duarte and Sanchez as examples of unfortunate patriotism";
Vision of Hostos about Duarte, vol. CLXXVIII, General Archive of the Nation, Santo Domingo).

1. Alliances Are As Necessary As They Are Risky

In the Dominican Republic there are groups on the left who reject "on principle" alliances with sectors of the bourgeoisie and think that only agreements among the left are valid. That position has nothing to do with Marxism-Leninism; it ignores Dominican history and history in general. Further it does not take into account the fact that in the Dominican experience unity among groups on the left has ended up multiplying the divisions in this trend. Two or three groups have united and ended up becoming five groups or more. The worst is that the enmity, the rancor and the mutual in-fighting have also multiplied.

The PCT made specific, tactical agreements with the (social-democratic) Dominican Revolutionary Party at the time when that party was led by Dr. Jose Francisco Peña Gomez, and it did not give up any of its revolutionary principles and practice. Nor have its ranks shrunk; on the contrary it has become bigger and stronger.

It has also made agreements with almost all the tendencies of the left, and its unity has not been shaken. All this because from the beginning it had a school of theoretical and political training that laid the conceptual groundwork for its cadres and members to take up policies in accordance with the general laws of Marxism-Leninism.

If Juan Pablo Duarte and his political group, the Trinitarios [Trinity – the three main fighters for Dominican independence: Duarte, Sanchez and Mella– translator’s note], had not entered into alliances, the Independence and founding of the Republic would probably not have taken place on February 27, 1844. Neither the popular war for the Restoration of the Republic (1863-1865) nor the civilian-military uprising of April 1965 that attempted to reestablish the democratic constitution of 1963 that had been abrogated by the right-wing military coup on September 25 of that year, would have taken place.

There is no place on Earth nor any historical period in which a revolution has been made or advanced without some level of alliance between different classes and political forces.

In any alliance one must make concessions and there are risks of deviations to the left or the right. But as is required by the revolutionary process, what is relevant for any communist or revolutionary party is to start from a Marxist-Leninist theoretical conception, from the objectives that one seeks with such an agreement, and never to let down one’s ideological guard.

2. The Leninist Theory of Alliances

Every one, whether a person or political sector, addresses the problems of life, and therefore of politics, based on the principles and values ​​that they have as a reference. The PCT is active in the cause of the revolution and socialism, and bases itself on Marxist-Leninist theory. This provides an instrument of analysis of great value for understanding reality and how to transform it.

The Leninist theory of the revolution and alliances is a guide that has proved its reliability in many processes in different countries and epochs.

Leninism constitutes a development of Marxism in the imperialist stage of capitalism; it is known that Marx and Engels did not experience the mature stage of imperialism, because they lived under "free competition” capitalism. Therefore, their thinking had this mark; they considered that the revolution would take place more or less simultaneously in the developed capitalist countries.

But Lenin focused on the revolution in a different way; basing himself on the general theoretical conclusions of Marx and Engels, he analyzed the possibilities of the revolution in the imperialist stage and concluded that, since there were countries dominated by capital and imperialist countries, the revolution would take place wherever the link in the chain of domination was the weakest. Lenin did not negate Marx and Engels, but he developed the thinking under new conditions. This revolutionary attitude made possible the October Revolution of 1917.

Leninism focuses on four contradictions, which could not be focused on in the time of Marx and Engels. These are: 1. The contradiction between capital and labor; 2. The contradictions among the imperialist countries themselves; 3. The contradiction between the imperialist countries and the countries and nations dominated by them. Once the revolution triumphed in 1917, it was possible to focus on a fourth contradiction, that is, between the capitalist system on the one hand and the socialist system on the other.

Therefore, for Lenin, revolutionary political work developed starting from these contradictions.

The theory of the weakest link, in turn, allowed for focusing on a specific way of dealing with the contradictions in those countries dominated and exploited by imperialism. It should be noted that in these countries, the presence of imperialist capital in areas of the economy, and even the fact that imperialist capital imposes economic models that allow them to plunder the wealth of these countries, leads sectors of the bourgeoisie itself to feel affected by the presence of such capital. This can be the basis for a temporary contradiction that communists and revolutionaries can and should take advantage of, in order to move forward towards the defeat of imperialism and its local allies. In this case, the contradiction between the nations oppressed by imperialism on the one hand, and the imperialist oppressor on the other, constitutes the immediate contradiction to be resolved, even if the contradiction between capital and labor, or in terms of class, between the bourgeoisie and the working class and working people runs through the whole process.

This approach necessarily leads to the policies of alliances, agreements or compromises between classes or sectors of classes, which come together to fight a common enemy.

Along the way, the October Revolution passed first through a bourgeois revolution, in which the Bolshevik Party made an agreement with the bourgeoisie and other classes to overthrow tsarism. But months later, this alliance was broken to make way for the socialist revolution. But if the proletariat and its party, the Bolsheviks, had not made an agreement with the bourgeoisie, led by Kerensky in February of 1917, they would not have overthrown tsarism and therefore would not have opened the way for the October Revolution and the seizure of power by the working class and working people.

The working masses would not have known the inconsistencies of the bourgeoisie, if they had not gone through the experience of February 1917.

This is an experience from which one can generalize concepts regarding political leadership.

The development of the socialist experience beginning with October of 1917, surrounded by imperialist countries, with internal forces that confronted the actions of Soviet power, is also a source of experience from which theoretical concepts can be generalized.

The New Economic Policy, known as the NEP, was a policy put forward by Lenin after the victory of 1917, by which economic measures were reversed that affected certain social sectors, including the expropriated bourgeoisie itself, in order to strengthen the domestic front and put the country in a position to confront its external enemies, which at that moment were stronger.

This is political maneuver, the logical thing in the framework of a certain correlation of forces, in order not to confront two enemies at the same time.

One can only imagine what some members of the Dominican left would have said or done if, in their ignorance, abandonment or forgetfulness of revolutionary theory, such a tactical maneuver had been carried out in that country.

The October Revolution was accomplished as a fact in 10 days. But it was the result of many vicissitudes, of long- and short-term defeats, of the implementation of various slogans and forms of struggle, according to the political circumstances, a process in which Lenin and the Bolshevik Party developed a theoretical framework, a part of which remains valid today. The subsequent development of the revolution also provides an broad source of theoretical lessons.

Lenin elaborated on the importance of politics for the struggle for power. He developed the connection between reforms and alliances and the accumulation of forces, and how these reforms can contribute to the revolution. He summed up the revolutionary experience in a number of concepts. Among these he emphasized, the "revolutionary situation", making clear what are the circumstances that shape it, thus providing the communists and revolutionaries with a tool of analysis to understand political reality and to appropriately define the slogans, the political and military tasks and the tasks of the masses.

The understanding of this vital Leninist concept of revolutionary political leadership would have saved a part of the left from all the havoc in the mass work and organizations that the proposal of the "imminent revolution" formulated in the 1980s, establishing a mechanical, linear relationship between the economic crisis and the revolution. With this view every protest strike was seen as an insurrectionary outbreak, and tasks were rushed into in line with that vision.

Leninism sums up a wealth of revolutionary experience that we revolutionaries and communists often must turn to, not as dogma but as a science, to guide our activity.

Engels said nearly 200 years ago that "without a revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement," and he said more bluntly: "Marxism, since it has become a science, demands that it be pursued as a science, i.e., that it be studied."

3. The Orientation of Dimitrov and the Communist International

If one analyzes the current situation, in his report to the Seventh Congress of the Communist International, Comrade Dimitrov stated that "The imperialist circles are trying to put the whole burden of the crisis on the backs of the toilers," adding: " They are trying to solve the problem of markets by enslaving the weak nations, by intensifying colonial oppression and repartitioning the world anew by means of war."

In the years since the Second World War until now, the search for the accumulation of capital in times of crisis has always been based on three components: First: the dominance of finance capital over any other form of capital; Second:  the boost to military industry and Third: the search, exploration for and control of natural resources, oil, gas and minerals in general.

In this perspective, the policy of the Popular Front, or whatever name it takes in each country, is pertinent, but as a front, it is a coalition of different political groups that make a programmatic agreement and a line of action in search of a common objective.

Without a flexible attitude, it is difficult if not impossible to reach agreements with other political forces of different ideological persuasions and political objectives from those of the Communist Party.

In this regard, Comrade Dimitrov states the following:

"... organizations, political as well as economic, are still under the influence of the bourgeoisie and follow it. The social composition of these parties and organizations is heterogeneous .... This obliges us to approach the different organizations in different ways, taking into consideration that not infrequently the bulk of the membership does not know anything about the real political character of its leadership. Under certain conditions, we can and must try to draw these parties and organizations or certain sections of them to the side of the anti-fascist People's Front, despite their bourgeois leadership...."

Usually in a policy of the Popular Front the party enters into political collaboration, not class collaboration, with other parties based on certain agreements, in circumstances that can be short- or long-term, to seek an objective that is common to these forces.

Moreover, it is a matter of principle that the party never renounces its revolutionary character and objectives. The communist party must never renounce its mission, and it must always remember that it must build itself up as a force destined to be leading and fighting vanguard of the process. The active existence of the party is a condition for the emergence and development of the front.

4. The Validity of the Establishment of the Politics Convergence Through Recourse to the Absurd

The policy has a broad variety of analyses that allow the politicians to make appropriate decisions. The analysis of the situation with emphasis on the correlation of forces, seen through the dialectical category of possibility and reality;the concept of tactics and the elements that make it up, are just some of the resources at our disposal to control political reality and take appropriate decisions.

But even if these instruments are useless, we still have own experience and common sense to guide us as well as we can.

The politics of Convergence that various of our political and social sectors are promoting is more than justified, starting from any of these resources when one looks at the current political reality of the country and its possible projection in the short term.

"The monster is on the front page," as was more or less the name of an old Italian political film starring Gian Maria Volonte. The two-headed monster is: one, the absolute power of the PLD in the State, and two, the possibility of the re-election of the current president, a fact that lets us recall that in Dominican political history the re-election of an incumbent president has taken place on the basis of the political repression of his opponents and a tax surcharge on the workers and people, which always financed the waste of public money with which the governing party buys the consciences to stay in power.

All the sectors of the opposition, each in their own way and manner, have characterized and identified the strength and intentions of the "monster on the front page" as the principal aspect of the contradiction in the political situation in the country.

And if neither the instrument of analysis nor past experience and common sense serve to warn us about the need for a grand alliance to oppose the PLD government, to defeat it in 2016 and to propose to change the course of the country, then we must develop another manner to argue that policy.

It is worth remembering the experiences of exceptional elections, such as those of 1962, 1978, 1990 and 1994-96. In each of these we almost always took a direction contrary to the logic of what was convenient in order to open more and better channels for the process of accumulation of revolutionary forces, and not to do so would have meant regretting the results that could easily have been foreseen.

If the politics of convergence cannot be understood and taken up in the light of theory, experience and common sense, then let us resort to the absurd. There are experiences in this same science on the use of this resource. Euclidean mathematicians, who concentrated their knowledge and practice on geometry, often resorted to the demonstration of the validity of their theorems through it.

Well. Let us imagine the impact it would have on the system of dominant values ​​ if, by omission or commission, suffice it to say, by the division of the opposition, the PLD would be in power until 2044, as the leaders of that party have proclaimed. Would that be absurd?

This would affirm the feeling of historic defeat that affects a large part of the popular masses. Because it would be a bad message if the party whose government is the most corrupt in the country's history were to "win" the elections for the fourth time; the party that has privatized public enterprises; that handed over the national territory in concessions to foreign capital; the party that makes it easy, as a result, for foreign capital to take over the large companies of local capital that were emblematic in the country; the party that dominates all branches of government, that is trying to become the only party and that has become a "constitutional dictatorship."

 The PLD in government is the concrete expression of the hegemony of the ruling classes and of the domination of imperialist capital in the country. Bipartisanship in the traditional sense, which was a guarantee of the hegemony of the ruling classes, is absent at this historic moment in the country, because the main competition for power takes place within that same party.

This is the way things are: the main political issue of the moment in the Dominican Republic is to break the continuity in power of the PLD and this to create political conditions that would open the floodgates to the discontent of the popular masses, and for the revolutionaries to accumulate forces. For this tactical purpose it is necessary to conclude alliances that would include affected sectors of the bourgeoisie itself.

September of 2015

Click here to return to the Index, U&S 31