Dear Communists on the Internet,
Sorry it’s been so long, but we thought we should touch base because we need to talk.
There’s a misconception that’s quietly spreading about Maoism and the so-called universality of Mao Zedong’s strategy of Protracted People’s War (PPW) ie. can it be practiced everywhere, including “First World” countries or is it particular to certain kinds of societies?
It’s true that there are some Maoists who claim that PPW is a universal strategy. But to claim that universal PPW is the official Maoist™ line is another matter. The first is debatable, while the second is simply false.
The Maoists in China, the Philippines, Nepal, and India – the ones who have actually practiced PPW and put armies in the field – do not uphold PPW as universal.
Meanwhile those who currently uphold PPW as universal are not practicing it, unless we count decade-plus-long-with-no-end-in-sight “accumulation of forces” as war. It’s not.
Granted, Chairman Gonzalo said in an interview once (in a nuanced and qualified way) that people’s war could be practiced in the imperialist countries as well but he’s spending the rest of his life in prison and his movement was crushed, so the point remains.
While you may want to lend credibility to a political project by associating it with actually existing revolutionary movements, ultimately you have to stand on your own. You’re not them. They’re not you. That much is obvious to most, so it gives our movement an unfortunate air of LARPing.
To be fair, it’s important to note that Maoist parties that uphold PPW as universal in their programs do not generally uphold that universal PPW is constitutive of Maoism in our epoch. They do acknowledge it’s a debate, although they tend to frame it against straw men at least partly of their own creation, such as “insurrectionism” and “movementism.”
However, that nuance is not always apparent in their propaganda, or when their members pretend that their current is the only revolutionary one that exists.
“Maoism = PPW is universal” is also showing up in the criticism of Maoism by Trotskyists, Left Communists, or other leftists who are not familiar with Maoism in general. While some of it is opportunism it doesn’t help that they’re being given the wrong impression.
Communism is a bush with rich roots and many branches, some that are dead and need pruning, others that show budding promise. Let’s investigate deeper to see what we can nurture and cultivate. This will involve more than just laying down bullshit.
Anyway, we’re glad we got this off our chest. We hope you’re doing well. Say hi to your moms for us.
P.S. While we’re at it, Third Worldism is not Maoism. It’s misanthropic lunacy for people that can’t do math. Every time a Third Worldist refers to themselves as a Maoist a Filipino guerrilla stubs their toe. True fact.
P.P.S. This letter was pretty meta so let’s post material from the military strategic line debates in the comments.