Questions of ideology and strategy in the communist movement of Latin America in the framework of the counterrevolution.

Pável Blanco Cabrera, First Secretary of the CC of the PCM.

We are almost at the 30th anniversary of the critical moment in the counterrevolutionary process that led to the overthrow of the socialist construction in the USSR and other European countries, Africa, Asia, but especially in the USSR.

This process was not spontaneous, it didn’t appear from night to morning, or wasn’t the result of the time lapse between the Plenary of the CC of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party in April 1985 and the USSR dissolution. the banning of that Party and the lowering of the red flag on the Kremlin in 1991. A conclusion which have been reached by some communist parties; is that the politics as reflexion of the economy in this period reflects that the gradual implementation of the market relations, Wich, incompatible with the socialist economy, deteriorate the conquests of the socialist revolution to the point where the reactionaries, in synchrony with the exterior permanent imperialist aggression from abroad and its instruments such as the anti-Marxist currents of Trotskyism and other anti-Marxist diversionist expressions. And of course that has a strong incidence in the international communist movement, in the common strategy and in the particular of each Communist Party.

Therefore it is not an exaggeration to assure that after the opportunist platform in the XX to XXII Congress of the Soviet Communist Party decreased the international communist, very affected already, reflexions in front of the perestroika platform, openly counterrevolutionary. Of course the scarce resistance to those opportunists also has a precedent in the strategy and tactics of the VII Congress of the Comintern that promote a classes’ conciliation, in collaboration with the social democrats and other bourgeois forces.

All that mined the character of class and the revolutionary positions, letting open the field to reformists deviations, which we are studying. Is for that very instructive the elaboration of terms in strategy and tactics of the Latin-American communists parties in the time of the perestroika, and it continues nowadays. Is to say three decades later, as part of the defeated communist movement in the region, despite that in this moment exists critic and confronted positions; for example. There is not an agreement for the Consensus of Our America and the open polemic against the Declaration of Montevideo of the Communists Parties of South America.

1. The critic of the cadres of the Communist International against Aprism and other manifestations about collaborating with the bourgeois.

The time period that opens with the foundation of several sections of the III International in Latin America and the caribbean is of heavy agitation; because of, besides the emancipatory ideas and influences of the Great Socialist October Revolution, were also present those of the Mexican Revolution, a democratic-burgoise revolution and the National Liberation Processes of Central America and the caribbean. Seen in perspective the 20’s position, and that between 1935-1936, it has a firm clasist and revolutionary orientation, for example; the polemics of the Mexican and Peruvian Communists with Haya de la Torre, The misunderstanding between the PCM and Sandino, and the correct opposition of the PCM against Lázaro Cárdenas, which were, no doubt, moments with a lot of pressure for the Communist Parties in the region.

Haya de la Torre expressed the ideological phenomenon of the petit-bourgeois radicalized and under the wing of the revolutionary wave that led to the takeover by the proletarians in Russia and the formation of the USSR. Same as M.N. Roy, they are temporarily travel companions, but relentlessly their political positions lead to misunderstanding and confrontation, because they express content that don’t belong to the proletarian interests. 

Haya de la Torre sought a buried labour in the immediate peripheria of the Comintern Sections, talking about a intermediate period or in other words, a third way between capitalism and socialism, that propose as anti-imperialist struggle the strengthening of capitalism and bourgeoisie in each country and with the demagogic pretends to envelope the proletarians and communists in such position. Painted as “Marxisms” the Aprism of Haya de la Torre defends the specific character of América (Indoamerica in his lexic) and alludes the non-viability of marxism-leninism for being eurocentric, keeps a national capitalist development program as anti-imperialist platform and “Unic Front'' or several classes’ party as political instrument. These conceptions build the programmatic platform that the bourgeoisie require to fight against the influence of the October Revolution and the increase of the masses against the effects of the 1929 economic crisis. The communists faced and showed the truth in those positions. From the pages of El Machete (Organ of the Communist Party of Mexico Section of the Communist International), Julio Antonio Mella (despite being Cuban, dirigent and militant of the PCM) openly polemicized for the class’ ideology and its universal character, for the Communist Party as Revolutionary Party in that time period and with clear arguments for the socialism as solution to the social problematic,even in the 20’s of the last century. Mariategi also chained the resolution of the agricultural workers, the originary people, and of course the worker class, for the construction of socialism, foresaw the non-viable trust in capitalism to fight against the contradictions that the same capitalism generates. In those days the forces of Haya de la Torre were ridiculous, a small peruvian group in Mexico, but his platform expresses the capitalist development interests and because of that it projects itself as the governmental management in the following decades in the region. Since then the communists position themselves firmly to the principles and interests of the class.

Almost by those years happened the breaking up between Sandino and the PCM. Sandino, same as Farabundo Martí, were cadres that emerged with the work of the Mexican section of the Communist International that worked for the foundation of communist parties in Central America. All of them were PCM militants, and received unconditional support for the struggle in their countries. When Sandino took the armed fight against the tyranny in Nicaragua and against the northamerican intervention, he did it with a PCM carnet, and in his headquarters were prominent cadres, like Andrés García Salgado (responsable of the self-defense of the PCM, later international brigadist in Spain and Political Commissar of the 14th. International Brigade.) and Gustavo Machado (who later will be a foundational member of the CP of Venezuela). As no one in the PCM dedicate completely to the nicaraguan cause, without leaving aside their responsibilities in the class struggle in Mexico, reason because came the crash against the government that banned El Machete, and the PCM, the jailing of several communist cadres in the Marias Islands and the assassination of several militants, among them, J. Guadalupe Rodriguez, member of the Central Comitee.

At the same time in Mexico the government began a terror campaign against the working class and the communists, The bourgeois government decided to make a ridiculous gesture in support of Sandino, by giving to him a laughable amount of armament, him then gave declarations of support for the President who was repressing his comrades of the PCM, in consequence he was expelled from it. Until today many without knowing this situation, keep criticising the PCM for that determination, that was loyal to the principles.

Keeping the historical distance, that opportunist position repeats itself when some CP’s remain in silence in front of the progressism and its anti-worker and anti-people policies under pretext of the “Anti-imperialist” foreign policy of them. As the time went by the Mexican goverments with ferocity repressed the Mexican working class, assassinated cadres of the syndicalist movement, agricultural workers and students. At the same time making declarations about the Cuban sovereignty or Nicaragua’s, Cuba and Nicaragua; what continues today when expressing sympathies for the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, capitalist management of neoliberal continuity in essence, when it makes a certain demagogic disregard before the OAS or in allusion to Simón Bolívar, and despite the fact that it is a management favorable to the monopolies and therefore ratifies the Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada (T-MEC), it practices an aggressive anti-immigrant policy, deepens the militarization of the country, carries out a program that deepens the concentration and centralization of capital, as well as expands the profitability of capital at the expense of unemployment, precariousness and exploitation for the working class in North and Central America.

Another moment with notorious autonomy in the class policies of the communist parties in the region was the position of the PCM against the government of General Lazaro Cardenas (1934-1940). The 1929 crisis and its consequences generated interburgoise disputes in the dominant class, they expressed the communist slogan “No with Calles, no with Cardenas!”, fighting in favor of the proletarian interests in the frame of the class struggle, letting the communists become one of the leading forces in the worker and unions movements. In general, the Communist Party was in front of the political and ideological front against the bourgeoisie (Not only against their progressist expressions but also against the more reactionary supporters of fascism), the social-democrats, opportunism and trotskyism in a successful way, affirming itself as the working class Party and the class position of exploited vs exploiters. The PCM was growing, it rooted itself in the proletarians, agricultural workers and intellectuals, with strong ties in the worker union’s and with a central worker union without being majority but not at marginality, but with the capability to grow until conquer the direction.

There was a lot of pressure by measures by the capitalist government under Cardenas as it was the agrarian distribution or the State control of the industry, those increased when Cardenas proclaimed that the education was “socialist” (a nonsense because the processes of the capitalist relations in the economy, the centralization process and the centralization of the economy). The PCM was sturdy, but with the VII Congress of the Communist International turned around drastically and disastrous. When the Mexican delegation returned from the VI Congress of the International Communist Youth, and the VII Congress of the Comintern, the policies against the bourgeoisie and supporting the popular front were modified totally. The ideological struggle went down, and looked for mix itself with the ideology of the Bourgeois revolutions of the XIX Century taking its content down, loosing the revolutionary edge; The Party ceased to fight temporarily for being the vanguard, for being an autonomous force; the clasist worker’s movement was relocated in the anti-fascist unity in a Central directed by the yellow unionist Lombardo Toledano who himself was a platform for that objective, to catch the clasist unionists in Latin America in one controlledby the socialdemocrats in the CTAL. (Latin American Worker’s Central); in programmatic matters for the PCM was a step back from the Socialist Revolution objective, it was changed for a step by step development of the Bourgeois-democratic revolutions. If we observe other parties in the region like the Chilean,the Cuban, they were in the same defeatism, in the Colombian case, with the “Duranism” it has experienced an early post-war expression of the latter called Browderanism. Communist Parties like the Cuban and Colombian before the CPUSA with Browder abandoned the communist denomination, and modified the Leninist organization; In many cases as Mexico or Cuba they participated in the bourgeois government. Browder and his platform of liquidation wasn’t a surprise, all the decade 1935-1945 he was cementing his theory and practice to the point of expecting to project in the long term the collaboration with the United States, considering that gradually the transformation from capitalism to socialism will be to exist, while supporting the idea that the marxist-leninist party wasn’t needed and had to be replaced by ideological-educational clubs inside the democratic-bourgeois parties. We make this recount of known facts only to explain that despite the communist parties in the region were recuperating from the opportunist corrosion, Ideologically they were trapped in strategic conceptions of the Pluriclassist front and the socialism as far objective that needed to perfect capitalism.

2. The opportunist platform of the XX CPSU in Latin America

The strategic way proposed in 1956 product of the pacific coexistence and the abandon of the revolutionary road to socialism, as the so-called national ways, pacific and parliamentarian to socialism, find fertilland and no resistance in the communist movement in the region, and when they tried , they were solved without the leninism as it was in Uruguay and Mexico where the directions and their substitution cannot be consider under the democratic centralism or the communists’ ways.

The point is that in general manners it was installed a programmatic conception of intermediate steps and a policy of alliances with the bourgeoisie under the concept of anti-imperialist alliance, or democratic front. Despite the Cuban Revolution opens a debate about the power question and the socialist character of the revolutionary process, what ends up being more prominent is the affair of the way to fight and no the programmatic objectives in such a way that they end in the armed reformist process, like Sandinism or others in South and Central America which have very little to be with the working class, socialism, the marxist leninist revolutionary ideas, despite they could be misunderstood because they wear olive green or practice an armed fight. 

In a dogmatic way they didn't study with the marxist theory or ideology the capitalist development in the region, and they kept without considering the change of the dependent and semicolonial character of the capitalist economy in America. Inside the programs of the communist parties in the region in that period of time it appears the objective is a so-called “Second Independence”. Is important to say that with the leftist appearance of the Pro-China positions that led some CP of Latin America to the cleavage neither gave them a socialist character of the revolutionary process, they still have coincidence in the goal of the intermediate step in the national liberation, far away only from the way to fight.

The tragic consequences of the chilean way to socialism don’t hide that the process of the national ways to socialism in other latinoamerican countries was pyrrhic, that the relationship of forces wasn’t disturbed and despite the increase of the class struggle a weakening process began in the communist parties. The programmatic flags of democracy, national liberation, and the improvement of the living of the people without disturbing the capitalist framework, lead to the possibility of changing the communist party for other political formation. So it was in 1981, 4 years before the beginning of the Perestroika, a liquidation current inside the Mexican Communist Party that in name of renovation and eurocommunism created a social-democrat party in its denomination, programmatic objectives and organizational forms.

3. Perestroika impact, the new mentality and counterrevolution.

Without exception the communist parties in the region saluted the perestroika process and added themselves to the opportunist courses of open alliances with the social-democrats, thus to the destructive critic of the period of socialist construction, an unfounded attack against the history of the communist movement, and the rehabilitation of opportunists as Trotsky and Bujarin, besides that also included to attack the history of each Communist Party. All the platforms that were configured in the conception of a “humanist democratic socialism”, are considered by many relevant and experienced cadres like Rodney Arismendi, as the “New revolutionary leap”. It only takes to review the International Magazine or the newspapers and magazines of the communists parties of those years to understand the predominant focus. When this attacks were openly anticommunist the CP of Cuba inform in the Granma that ended the distribution of Sputnik in Cuba. That moment was the strongest in the counterrevolutionary process, this is in 1989-91 when the overthrow of the socialist construction was evident, the critics were that it was a deviation of the perestroika objectives, a treason.

The main question is that practically all the CP’s in the region were transformed into social-democratic currents as a consequence of the opportunist positions and revisionists ones, that put as their objective the transformation of the parties in other political formations openly social-democratic or the liquidation. As it is the liquidation of the PCM in 1981, followed by the CP of El Salvador that joined the FMLN, the Guatemala Work Party dissolved in the URNG, the PVP of Costa Rica in favour of the Partido Pueblo Unido, the Dominican CP, the Unified Party of the Haitian Communists, and others that failed in shameful acts of transfuguism; cases like The CP of Uruguay, the Brazilian CP, CP Equator, meanwhile the CP of Argentina and the CP of Chile were suffering divisions. Maybe the only exception was the Cuban Communist Party.

In favour of the communist identity was born a resistance in the ideological confusion, for some communists,it was enough to quit the policy of Mijail Gorbachov, without an analysis that shows it was a consequence of the prior strategy, with it we must break so that the communist party resurfaces with its revolutionary characteristics and revolutionary objectives.

4. Key Ideological Affairs to overcome the still existing crisis

30 years after those counterrevolutionary events the crisis is not yet over, that can be only achieved by using the Marxist Leninist base and its creative development,but anchored in the clasist’s and internationalist’s positions.


A. The socialist construction question.

It results from first order a scientific focus over the causes that gave birth to the counter-revolutionary process. The majority of Parties in America sustain that necessary explanation in partial aspects, for example the subversive activity of imperialism, treason (some against Gorbachov and others against Stalin), or integrate elements of trotskyist criticism as the bureaucratism affair, absence of democracy, absence of political pluralism etc, etc. Of course it is only an inexact rhetoric because it doesn’t grasp the essence of the problem, that is the affair of the essential characteristics of socialism that we know, such as the socialization of the means of production, central planification, workers’ power and the constant fight against the mercantile relations. The base of counterrevolution precisely was in the non-compatibility of the socialist construction with the mercantile relations and there precisely we found the main problem and it has a lot to do with the promotion of the Chinese Market Socialism by several Communist Parties, this is the promotion of the capitalist development. Those parties not only forget the negative role of the CP of China in the past, they also take it as a model, and they are not conscious about China as the protagonist of antagonisms with the USA in imperialist manners, that to bid for the multipolarity is to take sides with a shark band who disputes the control of the markets. Without clarity in the contents and forms of socialism-communism, of the indispensable characteristics of this new way of production, it is difficult to find an explanation of this vital question for our political activity inside the working class. 


B. The ideological affair of the Communist Party.

One of the aspects of the process that prelude a crisis is the attack against the fundamentals of our cosmovision, as a gradual process but constant and corrosive, to the point that is inevitable a mutation. With the pretext of fighting dogmatism, ceases the ideological combat, and it goes into a dialogue with reactionary currents of thinking, conservative and in favour of the order with a progressist envelopment, as it is the liberation theory, the so-called new left, the occidental marxism, and other phonies that uses renovation ideas, they go back and forth against the basic positions of the marxism-leninism. Today some CP take their distance with the theories of Marx, Engels and Lenin, despite formally reclaiming themselves into their political positions, this is reflected in their publications, their analysis method and programmatic objectives, editorial labour and in the political education and formation of their cadres. The revolutionary theory does not guide their action, because it is considered by them as dogmatic. The reality presents new affairs that must give as result new theoretical and ideological elaborations because the movement is constant, and therefore marxism-leninism is the scientific framework for the contemporary analysis and the revolutionary praxis.


C. The economy affairs.

It is more than a century since the proletarian ideology was enriched with Lenin about imperialism, as capitalism of the monopolies, and there is one of the Aquiles Heel in the analysis of the CP’s in America. Is sustained dogmatically the dependant character of the capitalism in the region and even a semi-colonial character, without noticing the intense development of the capitalist relations, the concentration, centralization and monopolization of the economy. From this it keeps the mistaken political focus of the struggle for sovereignty and independence as the main political task, leaving aside the conflict of capital/work that is the main antagonism in the class struggle. To think that the USA’s imperialism or that from some European capitalist countries is to reduce in a shameful way the marxist-leninist theory. When we study the capitalist development, the majority of latin america have an intermediate position in the imperialist system, in which Brazil and Mexico are among the 20 main countries of the imperialist economy; and in the region between Rio Grande to the Patagonia there is a intense dispute for markets, natural resources and handwork by monopolies, not only american and european but also chinese, mexican, brazilian, and also is to show how the interstate alliances of the capitalist class: In the north the T-MEC (between 1994 to 2020 known as TLCAN), the Mercosur, the Unasur, etc. A principle mistake is to consider as anti-imperialist the dispute against the USA by powerful capitalist-imperialist blocks such as the BRICS, forgetting that it is an inter- imperialist conflict.


D. The validity of the Communist Party

With the counterrevolution, it took force the approach that the communist party wasn’t indispensable for changes and can be substituted by other political formations. They are well known the cases of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala. In the last years the Communist Party of Venezuela was under pressure, even by other communist parties, to join the PSUV. Other CP’s by the way of the facts have moved their political intervention to the pluriclasist political fronts, practicing a double militancy. But the CP is necessary, because it is the subjective factor in the revolutionary struggle and the Headquarters of the working class.

5. Leave behind the reformist strategy and to put in the center of the reorganization of the CPs a clasist and revolutionary strategy.

When we dialogue with the CPs of Latin America about the need of a joint strategy it is common to find the answer -That belongs to the past, that it is required a self analysis and the general line will forget about the richness of particularities. This vision predominates since 60 years ago, when they created the ideas of a national way to socialism. Nevertheless 30 years ago there was a general line and a dirigent center that has political action in the continent but looking forward to alliances with the European Left Party and other opportunists: The Sao Paulo Forum.

This political and organisational center was created in 1990 and has been the forum where they design the strategic line for the left, understanding by this the social- democrats, the new left, the old national liberation movements, trotskyist and a good portion of the CPs. It is needed to mind about the concept of left that does not expresses today what it used to, when it contained the partidaries of socialism, nowadays is reduced to those interested forces in manage the capitalism in a different way to the neoliberalism, this is the impossible task of humanice the capital.

The Sao Paulo forum stated a strategy followed by several CPs: The antineoliberal fronts, as we already said, they oppose a way to administrate capitalism, but they aren’t anti-capitalists, their alternative is a keynesian capitalism. This is the one way route, because by opposing the neoliberal administration, as it is in the antineoliberal governments, denominated the center administrations, they are a continuation of capitalism,its stability. More than two decades after this proggresive current began to conquer governments the balance is evident: Despite a “socialist” rhetoric, even calling themselves “socialism of the XXI century” they kept the exploitation and dominance of the bourgeoisie class. They weren’t socialist alternatives to capitalism and also demonstrated that there is not a third way, even when they exposed that they took a distancing from socialism or capitalism, at the end they were stuck in the capitalist way of production, also they developed new mechanisms for the Bourgeoisie States. 

About the bases of the “left”, “anti-neoliberalism”, “progressism” no communist party can fulfill the revolutionary tasks that are sustancial, because to be in the logic of that route is to give continuity to the power of the exploiters. That strategy is reformist and contrary to the basic objectives of the communist party as the revolutionary party of the working class. 

Because of that it can be stated that with counterrevolution grows the communist movement crisis in Latin America that is rooted in the opportunist deviation, but also answer processes are given, in first place there is a manifestation against the liquidation of the CPs in Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras. Now those processes will be incomplete if they don’t go to the bottom of the problem. It is not only to fight against the period of the perestroika, an affair where today opportunist tendencies will agree. It is not only to recover the communist identity but also to put in the center of the reorganization of each communist party the affair of the contemporary revolutionary strategy, talking about the development of capitalism, the place of the capitalist countries in the region in the imperialist system,the question of the historical limits of capitalism,the working class as the main protagonist, and the objective of socialism conceived not as a system to experiment, but the inalienable experience of its construction in the XX century have inherited to us: socialization of the means of production, central planification, scientific economy and workers’ power.

The Communist Party is fundamental and is not expendable, is the organizer and also the main subjective factor of the revolutionary changes that belong to the epoc of transition from capitalism to socialism, and to diminish its role is to delay, to torpedo the possibility of true changes and necessary that urges the workers of latin america and the world. 

It is our duty to crash against the strategy that prevailed hegemonically for more than half a century, and the  PCM has tried to do so by dissociating itself from the Sao Paulo Forum in 2015, when our Central Committee stated that the FSP was constituted an instrument of social democracy; retaining wall for the class struggle; incompatible with the strategy, activity and political-ideological objectives of the communist parties; and therefore resolute promoter of the interests of certain monopolies, of interstate unions —as Mexico insists today with López Obrador to the detriment of the peoples—, of the exploitation and management of capitalism. This trajectory of the Communist Party of Mexico has continued with a debate before the sponsors of the Consensus of Our America, at the Meeting of Communist Parties that took place in Lima, making no-viable to present it as unitarian strategy of reformism by closing rows with progressism despite the anti-worker and anti-popular policies. But there is a lot to do and we must put all effort into that debate.