If you enjoy such hobbies as shooting fish in barrels or tripping the elderly then there is nothing quite as satisfying as misrepresenting your opponents ideas and then pontificating upon them. JMP’s Ten Theses on Regroupment Politics remixes the idea of left regroupment and proposes an artificial revolutionary stance to fit his pompous worldview. On a certain level I envy the certainty of JMP’s arguments. It must provide him a  fair amount of smug enjoyment, wagging his revolutionary index finger at forces he derides as rightists, basking in the fountain of truth he bathes in, defecates in, and drinks from.  In the age of the crisis of all Marxism(s), whether that be the Marxism-Leninism of Stalin worship or the codified Marxism-Leninism-Maoism which screams “People’s War!” without the ability to organize one, the quick witted and firm prose of JMP’s theoretical excrement has managed to produce a number of micro-cults which hang on his every word. Indeed, because humans are masochistic beings and my certitude in the tenants of JMP’s farcical version of Maoism is waning, I felt the need to immediately exude my own arrogance on the subject of regroupment, if only to match JMP’s cockiness.

Where is Waldo and what does he think?

THESIS 1: The left regroupment strategy is a rightist approach to organization with left costuming.  Although it likes to imagine itself as a “left” alternative to the supposed “rightism” of building the kernel of a revolutionary party that is united in theory in practice, in practice it is a generally conservative theory of organization. The fact that it dares to imagine itself as a strategy of taking state power, when it is simply a theory of developing an organization, demonstrates its conservatism: it cannot think beyond the baby-steps of building a movement and so pretends that these baby-steps amount to revolutionary strategy.

A thesis is a wager on the truth, a development upon scientifically acquired knowledge that when configured appropriately illuminates a pattern of a development. JMP’s Theses seem to defy this logic by postulating, ex nihilo, that “the left regroupment strategy is a rightist approach to organization with left costuming.” JMP does not define left regroupment, leaving the reader to assign the worst possible connotation to this idea. Is left regroupment, in the context of the United States, an idea which upholds worming one’s way into the left of the Democratic Party? Is left regroupment the process of building a big tent socialist coalition, filled with sectarians and ideologues just as mentally inhibited as JMP? Is left regroupment the process of reconceiving communist theory and practice according to modern social and political conditions? Is left regroupment building a broad Left Party like Die Linke in Germany or the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste in France? Is left regroupment the process of merging the Marxist left with the NGO? Is left regroupment exemplified by the foundation of the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV)? Is left regroupment exemplified by the merger of the Comunist Party of India (Maoist) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Naxalbari? Is left regroupment exemplified by the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), formed through the merger of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and minor parties which followed the ideological detour of Marxism-Leninism Mao-Zedong Thought? Is left regroupment a process Chilean marxist Marta Harnecker described as the merger of the party left and the social movement left? Can the Second and Third internationals be termed projects of left regroupment?

JMP’s inability to define left regroupment already sours his poor theoretical illuminations. There are numerous projects of left regroupment. Each can be criticized immanently, but left regroupment as a whole draws from a multitude of theoretical sources. If I were to submit to JMP’s argument and postulate that left regroupment is defined by taking baby-steps towards eventual Communist organization, drawing upon diverse currents in the Communist movement, but hesitating from declaring itself a Party, then, I would retort that the entire history of the Communist movement has been punctuated by such periods of left regroupment.

The Second International drew upon diverse, scattered currents in the Communist movement, some even advocating pro-imperialist, pro-colonial positions. The Third International benefited from the rigorous thought of Rosa Luxemburg who criticized Lenin’s theory of imperialism and championed council communism as an alternative to Bolshevism. Unlike our historically acquired false knowledge, not everybody in the Communist movement during the early 20th century was sold on state capitalist modernization led by the dictatorship of the proletariat. So much for disciplined ideological cohesion!

Reading the proceedings of the Third International from 1919 – 1922 reveals that Communist organizations internationally were divided on burning questions. In fact, some nations were represented by multiple organizations, rather than one monolithic Party, at the congresses of the Third International. Were these rightist, left-regroupment processes? Would JMP consider the international re-alignment of Communist forces something other than Communist regroupment?

If JMP retorts that these were fundamentally revolutionary organizations who debated lines of demarcation to advance the practical cause of revolution — sure — but the early 20th century was a revolutionary period dominated by crisis. Working class syndicalism was ascendent alongside the decay of colonialism, empire, and the advent of inter-imperialist warfare. If left regroupment projects today are unable to dedicate themselves immediately towards building a unitary Party, it is only because the very nature of our historical epoch provides difficulty in understanding the way forward and perhaps even suggests the possible development of a post-Leninist, post-Party epoch.

Marx’s First International developed critical theory in the absence of concrete plans to systematize revolution and yet JMP doesn’t reproach Marx and Engels for not throwing themselves immediately into Party-building. Are we in a revolutionary moment or in a moment of confusion? JMP seems to think we have all the answers inherited from our revolutionary past and therefore all attempts at left regroupment merely reinvent the wheel at best or become inept scholarly debating societies that can only amount to reformism at worst. I want to pose the following question to JMP: Do we have enough information and critical insight into the contemporary world to build a Party capable of seizing power? If so, what new insights into the world situation were instrumental in developing such a party and does such a Party exist in North America?

JMP classifies left regroupment projects as rightist. In the context of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, rightists were those figures, both inside and outside the Party, who opposed, either objectively or subjectively, the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and inhibited the mass movements. To be a rightist is to objectively hold back the tide of Communist movement through theoretical errors or outright revisionism. In what sense does left regroupment today, even in its most diluted form which calls for an entry into electoral politics alongside respectable bourgeois candidates and in some cases advocating for a politics of lesser-evilism, inhibit the development of a Communist movement and obstruct the actions of any insurgent masses in North America? Have the masses in Ferguson obeyed the establishment left’s repeated calls for peace and calm? Labeling left regroupment projects as rightist suggests that there is an already existing leftist platform which has solved the problems of left regroupment and has tested its merits in struggle. Does such a leftist platform exist and has its efficacy been tested in struggle?

Additionally, do left regroupment projects consider Party building a rightist affair? In the United States, the Proletarian Unity League published an incisive book in 1977 titled TWO, THREE, MANY PARTIES OF A NEW TYPE? Against the Ultra-Left Line, one of the first polemics illustrating left regroupment thought. Indeed, the PUL considered the immediate act of Party building a leftist, rather than a rightist error. The PUL also considered the history of the Communist movement as a process of left regroupment:

The unification of all serious Marxist-Leninists usually takes place through the formation of a party, but it need not; it all depends upon the concrete conditions. [emphasis added] A lower form of organization–a central pre-party formation, for example–can serve the same purpose, as one did for a time in Viet Nam.

The Proletarian Unity League polemicized against the erroneous thinking of JMP’s argument more than thirty years ago, yet Communists in North America have resisted acknowledging that the anti-revisionist and pro-Maoist movements in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in disaster precisely because of extreme voluntarism in Party building. This point still holds today, even though the idea that a single monolithic Party representing the proletariat in toto is discredited.

Though we have no vanguard party, there do exist three or four factionalist parties, each claiming it alone represents the interests of the class vanguard, and that it alone can function as the guiding nucleus for the construction of a full-fledged Communist Party. Yet the very multiplication of these parties indicates that none has successfully analyzed the conditions necessary for Marxist-Leninist unity, and therefore none has successfully united all forces dedicated to the communist cause. And precisely because of the profusion of parties, each reserving for itself the mantle of “party of the working class,” if not vanguard of the proletariat, the prospects for uniting Marxist-Leninists into a single party and actually building a powerful communist presence in the workers’ movement seem more remote today than they did only a few years ago.

 Uphold the ‘orthodox’ party-building approach, just ‘cause.

THESIS 2: Proponents of left regroupment begin with the proposition of a project wherein a vague communist pole is hypostatized as a magnet, a position in which to draw in all the fragments of a shattered left who will agree with this project.  The point is to initiate a process, the end goal of which might be a party, and to reject those approaches that begin by hypothesizing a party ethos.  These germinal party projects are rejected as “rightist” because of their supposed affiliation with a traditional Leninism; regroupment is a “left” alternative because it bucks Leninist conservatism.  Here it is forgotten that the regroupment project is not as heterodox as it imagines: it has always been one of the traditional alternatives to the “orthodox” party-building approach, from the days of the First International, and is thus not as formally “left” as it assumes.

This is an odd, conservative thesis. It appears that JMP’s argument against left regroupment presupposes that the correct idea of Party building has already been established and left regroupment is as old as the First International. Yet, “orthodox” Party building was only codified as of 1921 and further systematized by Stalin in The Foundations of Leninism. Even though Lenin was part of the ill-fated attempt at developing a Party-building manual, Lenin quipped that he wished Communist parties and organizations internationally would creatively apply these suggestions to national conditions, rather than applying them mechanistically.

No successful Communist Party in the twentieth century originated entirely via orthodox methods. The Chinese Communist Party, for example elected a Central Bureau rather than a Central Committee in order to maintain contact with the scattered Marxist nuclei in China. Is this an orthodox Party building approach or one situated in concrete conditions? What would have happened to the Chinese Revolution if Mao mechanistically applied the Foundations of Leninism to Party building?

Why is building a magnetized Communist pole, a phallus with such attraction that it embodies the lost object of desire for scattered Communist bureaucrat hopefuls such a bad thing? Was not Lenin’s St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class such a magnetized pole?

In brief, JMP’s second thesis amounts to: Shut up.

THESIS 3: The rightism of communist regroupment can be located in its failure to understand that any party must also be a process.  Once you assume, as the regroupment theory does, that one is engaged in a process that might eventually discover a completed party, one ends up endorsing the assumption that the party is, in itself, a moment of completion.  The end result: another party that is the “general staff” of the proletariat simply because it took the time to “properly” figure this out through the process of regroupment––a completed formation, discovered through a process, that only pretends that is not conservative because it came about this discovery in a more “left” manner.  What is far less conservative, and thus more properly left, is to begin with the understanding that the party itself is a process, and its own “communist pole”, developing and/or declining in either its successes or failures to prove that it is a vanguard force.  A process to become the party, which is the communist regroupment formula, supposes that the party is the completed form because it places theprocess outside of the party.  A party project that assumes it is also a process is the kind of “new return” that, despite these regroupment claims about its “traditionalism”, is opposed to traditionalist ossification from its very inception.

More straw-man arguments from JMP. Which communist regroupment project fails to understand that the Party is also a process? Which communist regroupment project assumes that through refoundation that the Party will arrive a priori completed? I am struggling to understand the detours of JMP’s grammatical circus in this thesis, but the difficulty of his contrived writing is almost insurmountable. If JMP is claiming that a Party-building process emerging outside the Party form is rightist, then how does one develop a Party at all? In order to develop a Party, which originates as a disciplined nucleus of individuals or combines scattered Communist nuclei under a common program, there needs to be an outside of the Party. Subsuming all politics into the figure of the Party has proved disastrous and unsustainable, yet JMP refuses this lesson in favor of an ideological purity that no successful Communist organization has adopted. This logical perversion assumes that Party building as a process can only be verifiable revolutionary if it is propelled within the Party form itself.

This thesis is bankrupt and provably incorrect on both counts.

bullshitFirst, Communist regroupment starts from the understanding that even the very minimum level of ideological cohesion necessary to build a Communist Party or militant organization is absent. Communist regroupment organizes discussions and co-operation around both historic tasks and modern struggles in order to develop theory and practice which would make a Party possible. This does not mean that Communist regroupment efforts understand the Party as the ultimate and static form of organization, but that Party building requires an actual movement of theory and practice which, at this point, is insufficient to organize the scattered Communist nuclei. This in itself is conjecture, I admit. Communist regroupment efforts are many and each hesitates before Party building for different reasons. But, to claim that Communist regroupment does not envision Party building and Party organization as a process is basically wrong.

Secondly, there are numerous examples of pre-Party or non-Party organizations transforming themselves into successful Parties that seized state power. The Paris Commune lacked a Party altogether but affected Communist revolution in Paris longer than the Shanghai Commune, established with the fleeting support of the left in the Chinese Communist Party. The PSUV emerged from the primarily electoral left refoundation project the Movement for the Fifth Republic (MVR) in Venezuela. The Communist Party of Cuba originated from the merger of one Party and two non-Party movements: The July 26th Movement, The Popular Socialist Party and the Revolutionary Directory March 13. JMP’s assertion that left refoundation efforts which originate outside the Party form amount to rightism is wrong. Indeed, Communist revolutions have been made without Parties!

JMP’s arguments amount to a fetishization of the Party-State and the historical period where Communists were organized into a monolithic, single-party. Indeed, JMP seems so hyper-obsessed with the term “Party” that he fails to recognize that the term “Party” originates from the word partisan. Communists do not necessarily need to organize themselves into a hyper-disciplined Leninist party in order to affect revolution. The failure of Socialism in the 20th century proves that the Foundations of Leninism are merely a corollary for the dictatorship of the value form. Excessive centralization, one-man management, and stakhanovite discipline compose the left veneer of capital accumulation, but, as the Cultural Revolution expressed, the Party form must be overcome and vanquished altogether in order to undermine capitalist relations of production.

THESIS 4: The very fact that the proponents of the regroupment “strategy” imagine they are left, and that proponents of any kind of begin-with-the-unified-party politics are right, speaks to a failure in imagination.  Specifically, it speaks to the ability of movementism to infiltrate the terrain of communists who take Leninism seriously and to incorporate its rejection of Leninism in a manner that smacks of bad faith.  While it is correct to grasp movementism as one of the responses to the sins of Leninist orthodoxy, it is a confirmation of these “sins” to endorse a movementist practice as a way of achieving Leninist orthodoxy: the fully completed party will emerge, like a revelation, once we indulge in a vague process.

JMP has still yet to articulate which left regroupment forces posit Party-building as a rightist undertaking. This appears to be a complete figment of his own perverted imagination. JMP’s obsession with movementism vis a vis Party building is also erroneous. To what extent do movements also embrace the popular discipline necessary to affect Revolution? JMP uses the term ‘movement’ as pure slander and neglects movements which have taken up arms and affected structural change, while also fetishizing the very notion of ‘movement’ such that it appears as if movements have no organization and embody no partisanship. All movements are organized and staffed by cadre. All movements are political actors which can and sometimes do seize power. Was the Russian Revolution solely the Bolsheviks undertaking, or was the Communist Movement in Russia composed of Mensheviks, Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, and even Anarchists who struggled to establish the Dictatorship of the Proletariat? A hard distinction between movement and Party is a relic of Marxist-Leninist thought which fails to recognize the practical unity of these organizational forms.

THESIS 5Left in essence and right in form: this old charge applies to the regroupment approach.  While some of its proponents like to use the binary of right/left to rhetorically code their “Leninist” opponents as right, the fact that they lack any argument beyond words is telling.  They cannot describe why they are “left” and why other communists who still care about beginning with some form of party building are “right” aside from the way they choose to conceptualize this distinction––it must be the case because they have named it so!  Caught on the formal level, they are incapable of realizing that they themselves have proclaimed loyalty to the most rightist understanding of reality.  Why?  Because they attempt to prolong capitalism with the refusal to build anything that can theorize its end beyond vague pronouncements designed to produce their communist pole.  The process must be vague, and sometimes even blanquist, because the masses must not be alienated by a communism dedicated to a party politics!  Strategy is nothing more than organization: build that communist pole slowly and vaguely, in the most conservative way possible, so as to generate a vague regroupment.  Hence leftism is accomplished in doing nothing––formally left because it refuses to immediately endorse a party interested in overthrowing the state (not unless it has emerged through a process), and this is what defines it as left?  Clearly this is right in form: again, communist regroupment is a rightist theory.

JMP be like: I got this
JMP be like: I got this

JMP’s fifth thesis appears to degenerate even further as he wags his surely revolutionary index finger at left regroupment efforts he dares not name. Yet, I do not know of one left regroupment effort which does not at least posit the desire to build a Party as one of its primary goals. Could JMP’s anxiety over the multitude of left regroupment formations actually conceal his stronger anxiety before the failure of the Party-State or perhaps that the masses rightfully avoid any Party that JMP might unite with? Is JMP frustrated that other Communist nuclei in Canada refuse to participate in his histrionic Stalinist dream of disciplined ideological unity?

THESIS 6: Regroupment is entirely traditional, and thus rightist, by the very definition of the term regroupment: it seeks to pull in the already-converted left, who would search out a regroupment project to begin with, rather than find ways to locate and organize those outside of this pre-established left.  What sort of communist pole can be operationalized for those who really do have nothing left to lose but their chains but aren’t part of some mainstream leftwing ethos developed amongst students, the intelligentsia, those invested in some form of semi-radical social work?  Only a pole that is competing with other poles with contrary radical definitions, a limited population.  Since locating this proletarian hard core requires something more than a vague regroupment strategy––due to the fact that such a practice is not at all a regroupment but a development from the ground up––then something that more resembles a party orientated towards these masses, with a coherent programme, is required.  But since this is a terrifying proposition, and since it is always more comfortable to enact one’s politics and line struggles within a small population that is already mobilized against capitalism, regroupment theories of organization are a safe, and thus conservative, bet.

Here JMP cites a definition he hasn’t made to then assign a strategy that doesn’t exist to a range of different groups and tendencies he doesn’t name. Does he honestly believe that any left regroupment project would say that their audience is exclusively the already-converted left?

JMP's on that sizzrup
JMP’s on that sizzurp

Either JMP is entirely ignorant of the actual strategies and tactics of these groups, in which case he should refrain from giving his opinion until he’s done some actual investigation, or he is being deliberately dishonest, or maybe he’s just been drinking.

Even if we accept the premise that none of the regroupment projects seek to recruit the unaffiliated is this necessarily a problem? If there exist various scattered study groups, activist cells, and/or other forms of communist nuclei why not attempt to consolidate them if possible? If this were to remain a permanent feature of a project, of only relating to the already organized, then this would raise the issue of how they define the “advanced” that they are attempting to consolidate. Sometimes the advanced reveal themselves by refusing to join or even resigning from pre-Party or Party organizations. Persistent line struggle is worthless if Communist organizations in the U.S. and Canada are all part of the same festering swamp. Yet the fact remains: to make orienting towards the pre-existing left always an error is atemporal and dogmatic.

The thesis ends by insinuating that all left regroupment projects have social anxiety disorders yet itself demonstrates contempt for the masses that the Party-builders are supposedly so down with. The assertion that only a Party with a “coherent” program can locate the “proletarian hard core” assumes a demographic that is uninterested in socialism as an open ended science. In other words, this section of the people is uninterested in petty things like investigation, research, debate, line struggle, or thinking. It exists to passively receive the wisdom of the Party and is unwilling to be part of its construction or the development of its politics. It doesn’t want questions, only to be supplied with answers.

THESIS 7: Although regroupment is not the same as refoundationalism in that it provides a more coherent politics––an ideological pole that is clearer than some common denominator anti-capitalism that seeks to “rebuild the left”––it is still marred by a general vagueness.  Proper coherence will come later, once the process is complete, and all that matters is putting forward the most general aspects of a communist pole that broadly delineate this pole from social democrats and other marxist/anarchist tendencies.  A programmatic appreciation of reality––that is, a concrete analysis of a concrete situation––will manifest as a revelation, like lightning amidst a storm, once the regroupment is accomplished.  Until then, nothing but the promise of a programme: delay thorough social investigation and the demand for coherent theoretical unity into a future perfect scenario.  Again: the completed form at the end of the process, as if this completed form could ever exist in the first place or persist as completed throughout the vicissitudes of struggle.

sosimpleHere JMP wants the sausage but can’t stomach to see how it’s made. He wants to have the complete program, the concrete analysis of the concrete situation, and the Party form, but without any of that boring social investigation stuff, or having to actually wrangle with contending ideas, or doing the work of building higher levels of theoretical and organizational unity based real experience and collective investigation.

Such work is only a “delay” of the inevitable: the acceptance of his program and his Party form. These things are apparently already known and obvious so it will only be necessary to actually think about them after their adoption at which point our plucky band that has been trained in dogmatism shall reveal their true colours as open ended and creative thinkers. Questions and flexibility are revolutionary after there’s a Party but not before because… shut up. Why are you delaying?

We can dismiss his prattle about “revelations” and “perfect scenarios” as they’re just another example of assigning a stupid argument that nobody is making to avoid dealing with real differences of substance.

THESIS 8: The regroupment theory of organization imagines that there is a left that needs to be regrouped rather than another left that needs to be built.  The necessity of rallying the most advanced elements of the masses is misunderstood as a practice of winning over the most amenable elements of the already-existing left.  While it is correct to recognize that these factions of the mainstream left can and should be won over, the theory of regroupment is thoroughly conservative and limited in that it treats this is as the primary, rather than parallel or secondary, task.  In this way, it might as well just admit that it is a theory that results in the most limited practice: a leftwing talk-shop.

In JMP’s construction, regroupment and Party-building politics appeal to entirely different demographics and the former is doomed to being nothing more than a talk shop while the latter will be surging ahead with the hard-core of the proletariat. Okay. Let’s accept all of these assertions. So what’s the problem? These projects won’t be competing or interfering with each other and since only a tiny fraction of the masses are organized politically into any form of socialist grouping this leaves the field wide open. So why not welcome regroupment warmly, wish them luck, and proceed in your own area of work?

Besides, even if we accept his prediction, what’s wrong with a talk-shop? The bourgeoisie makes extensive use of non-Party organizations — research institutes, think tanks, polling firms, public policy foundations, etc. — to produce many schools of strategic and political thought within it’s overall hegemony. Couldn’t we use a few of those in our camp? Or is the expectation that all politics shall be practiced through the Party, with no room for independent groups to create their own schools of thought and forms of leadership while supporting the development of a new socialist mainstream? The only way all this anxiety about incoherence and delay and debate makes sense is if it is in actuality a call to return to the Peruvian theory of militarized “concentric circles” around the Party.

THESIS 9: While it is correct to recognize that left regroupment is necessary, to elevate this particular necessity into a general strategy demonstrates a poverty in thought.  Why can’t the germ of a party politics, with a programme and concrete analysis of a concrete situation, cannot also accomplish this regroupment while also bringing in those who were never grouped in the first place?  Because they are somehow “rightist” by beginning with the programmatic conception of a party!  (The answers are ready made, more rhetorical than critical, demonstrating that regroupment is little more than a convention designed to protect a talk-shop politics.)  But those of us who believe that a party-as-process can also serve as a pole for regroupment, as well as some form of magnet for a communist pole, believe this because such a project is primarily orientated towards those masses who would not gravitate towards a communist pole unless someone made contact with them in the first place.  We regroup while attempting to engage with those who were never grouped in the first place; it is entirely conservative, and thus rightist, to focus only on regroupment

It’s unclear where JMP came up with the idea that anyone thinks regroupment is a general strategy. Even the term “regroupment” implies the beginning of something else, a fresh start before launching a qualitatively different organizational form and practice. If anything, the various regroupment projects tend to be quite obsessed with strategic questions and the various roads or models of revolution, if and how different experiences are relevant to current conditions or not. They are pointing to the moon while JMP looks at their fingers.

The rest is just empty assertions, supported only by his own previous assertions.

THESIS 10: If the promised party of a new type is ever to be built, it will not be through a regroupment strategy that can only, in its understanding of process/party, result in the static form of the party of the old type: the assumption of a completed “general staff” of the proletariat.  This new type of party––the MLM rather than ML party––will be one that regroups through being a party in the first place, and developing as a process by the very understanding that it cannot be completed.  It will do so by rejecting a regroupment of an already grouped and divided left as its main audience; it will develop a strategy oriented towards those who exist outside of this pre-converted left.  Regroupment is not a theory of organization; it should be understood as the result of a radical party project.

obama-ballWait, earlier regroupment could only result in a talk-shop. Now it could result in a Party of the old type. Is JMP’s crystal ball somehow malfunctioning? Apart from the general sloppiness and embedded contradictions in JMP’s argument, there is the theoretical assertion that the party of a new type will be an Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party, rather than a Marxist-Leninist party. Stalin codified the Marxist-Leninist party model in Foundations of Leninism, as I specified before. The Bolshevik Party was not a Marxist-Leninist party in the sense JMP refers to, but is redefined in the future anterior as Marxist-Leninist by its proteges. While successful revolutionary organizations built parties using Marxist-Leninist methodology, not all revolutionary parties built revolutionary organs along schematic Marxist-Leninist lines.

If JMP claims we are in the era of the properly Maoist party, what differentiates a Maoist party from a Marxist-Leninist party? JMP appears to argue that the Maoist party establishes itself as a Party immediately upon inception and organizes left regroupment around itself as the nucleus. However, I do not see how this conception substantially departs from the Marxist-Leninist party framework. Indeed, JMP’s Maoist party appears even more rigid than the Marxist-Leninist party. JMP’s Ten Theses are tantamount to an abandonment of the united front and is plagued by an inability to determine friends from enemies.

JMP rails against Leftists who dare regroup the Left or regroup Communists outside of the mythical Maoist party, yet, historically, Marxist-Leninist and Maoist organizations relied on democratic and left forces outside of the Party to build a united front and create public opinion to seize power. JMP has not only derided political thought outside the Party form, but has demanded that democratic forces accede to Party discipline as well. In JMP’s world, the united front becomes a rump organization forming a concentric circle around the Party, rather than a broad and deep organization or network of organizations, with a political life of its own. Wasn’t Mao’s final lesson that the Party is an inadequate vehicle to achieve Communism? Why else did Mao support and encourage independent mass organizations during the Chinese Cultural Revolution? JMP disregards these lessons, while ironically claiming to have a unique insight into the organizational form of Maoist party building!

Has JMP smashed Communist or left regroupment with his Ten Theses? No, hardly. His rigid and ahistorical thought only highlights the desperate need for the Communist left to reconceive as they regroup.

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