A message from the National Secretariat for Political Education & Research of Black First Land First (BLF)
“From 1942 to 1944 the central organ and senior cadres of the Communist Party of China held discussions on the history of the Party, especially of the period from the beginning of 1931 to the end of 1934. These discussions greatly helped in bringing about ideological unity in the Party on the basis of Marxism-Leninism. The enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee at Tsunyi, Kweichow, in January 1935, had corrected the erroneous “Left” line pursued from early 1931 to late 1934, changed the composition of the central leading organ, established the leadership headed by Comrade Mao Tse-tung and set the Party line on the corre Marxist-Leninist track; nevertheless, many Party cadres had not yet reached a thorough understanding of the character of the erroneous lines of the past. In order to raise the Marxist-Leninist ideological level of Party cadres still higher, in 1942-43 the Political Bureau held several discussions on the history of the Party, and then led the senior cadres of the whole Party in holding similar discussions during 1943-44. These discussions were an important preparation for the Seventh National Congress of the Party in 1945, enabling it to attain an ideological and political unity without precedent in the history of the Communist Party of China” Extract from the head note of “Our Study and the Current Situation”, a speech made by Mao Zedong in Yenan on 12 April 1944 at a senior cadreship meeting.
In his reflections on the above subject matter Mao deepens the analysis of the crisis in the Party. To this end three questions are equally relevant to Black First Land First, namely:
1. On what approach should we take in studying our historical experience
Mao Zedong points out that members should be enabled to obtain ideological clarity on the questions which arise in the historical experience of the movement while at the same time we should also adopt a lenient approach in making decisions about comrades who have committed wrong. This will create the conditions for:
– on the one hand, for members to thoroughly understand the historical experience of the movement and avoid repeating previous wrongdoings;
– and on the other hand for members to be united towards the common strategic objective.
The history of a revolutionary movement, would indicate ideological battles against the backward lines of those who are expelled, suspended, leave the movement as well as those who still remain in the movement. These battles are absolutely necessary. The experience of the Chinese Communist Party gives us great lessons because in that context mistakes were committed in the methods employed in those ideological battles. Firstly, members were not schooled in the ideological understanding of exactly what caused the errors committed, the context in which they were committed, the conditions under which they were committed, and the comprehensive ways of rectifying those errors. Consequently, errors of a similar nature were repeated by these members. Also too much emphasis was placed on the responsibility of members to rise to the required politics and to renovate their mind-sets. To this end the party failed to unite as many members as they could have done for their common end.
BLF should take lessons from Mao’s counsel regarding the way we should deal with errors committed within the movement. In dealing with questions of our own history we should put the spotlight not entirely on the responsibility of certain individual members but rather on the analysis of the context in which those errors were committed, on the substance of the errors and on their political roots. This should be done with a view to learning from our previous errors so as to avoid similar errors from being repeated in the future. In this way we will be able to create the conditions so as to obtain ideological clarity as well as unity and solidarity amongst members.
2. On what approach should we take in dealing with questions
Mao indicates the necessary clarity here. We need to treat all questions analytically, without negating everything.
Conducting a concrete analysis of the concrete conditions is indispensable to arriving at practical solutions to practical problems. Many comrades have an ingrained aversion to adopting an analytical approach, refusing to go deeply into complex questions and to study and enquire into them repeatedly – they prefer instead to draw simple conclusions that go either one way or the other. We need to remedy this state of affairs by cultivating in the movement the habit of analysis.
3. On how to get rid of bad baggage
Mao elaborates as follows:
– Many members having made mistakes may feel that they are condemned with these mistakes and consequently become very despondent, while those who have not made mistakes may feel that they are beyond committing errors and thus become conceited.
– Failed attempt(s) or no achievement in revolutionary work may breed pessimism and emotional setbacks while success in revolutionary work may result in feelings of pride and arrogance.
– A comrade who has recently joined the revolutionary party and or who has a brief record of struggle may abandon or neglect responsibility flowing from this context, while a comrade with a long record in struggle may consequently become very opinionated.
– Worker and unemployed comrades, for example, because of their pseudo ‘class origin’ may look down upon intellectuals, while intellectuals, because they have a certain amount of knowledge, may look down upon workers and the unemployed.
– Comrades possessing any specialized or scarce skill may use this skill to exercise and impose a monopoly of ideas over other comrades and in so doing create a sense that other comrades are being undermined.
The list here is too long to catalogue. If there is no critical awareness of the above realities, those realities could become baggage. An important pointer as to why some comrades possess a sense of being very self important or why some even isolate themselves from other comrades or from the masses and make repeated mistakes, is that they carry such baggage. Hence, in order to maintain close links with comrades and the organizational structures of the movement as well as with the masses and to make fewer mistakes, it is important to examine and get rid of one’s baggage.
Guided by the above lessons the task of properly addressing errors resulting in ill discipline must now proceed on an informed basis.
Issued By Black First Land First
National Secretariat for Political Education
5 January 2017
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National Secretary for Political Education
Cell number: 0814167288
“Our Study and the Current Situation” by Mao Zedong, see link: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-3/mswv3_18.htm