Dialectical materialism is a concise doctrine, a complete ideological system. It is not a method, not a source of inspiration. It is not something that should be “applied” on something else; it is the world itself synthesized in a theory guiding the mind and the practice.
This is the main thesis of any genuine Communist Party, that can only exist with a guiding thought indicating the path of the revolution in a given country, with a correct interpretation of its economy, its culture, its history, its society, its material reality.
It has nothing to do with the Leftist conceptions of a “Party of the struggle”, a Party “built in the fire of class struggle”, a Party as product of local struggle federating themselves in their revolt, which are in total contradiction with the teachings of Lenin on the nature of dialectical materialism, notably in “What is to be done?”.
In France, the revolution de facto always suffered from a deep deviation which can be summed up with the concept of “revolutionary syndicalism”. Strong contempt for the theory, denial of the systematic approach of dialectical materialism, spontaneist economism, scorn for the cultural aspects, oscillation between pragmatic electoralist reformism and ultra-leftist anti-political radicalism... these are its characteristics.
The Charter of Amiens, adopted in 1906 at the 9th Congress of the French trade-union Confédération générale du travail (CGT), is a famous expression of it, as it formalized the total separation between the union movement and the political parties. The French Communist Party was in practice, with its leader Maurice Thorez, a kind of social-democratic “revolutionary syndicalist” Party.
It is not a surprise that, in this context, this opportunism celebrated the French revolution as a kind of idealized model to follow – people descending to the streets, in a linear mass uprising automatically breaking the reaction – and never analyzed the history of our country in itself.
We can particularly see how there never was a dialectical materialist study of the progressive aspect of protestantism in the history of our nation, of the progressive unifying role of the absolute monarchy. The bourgeois positions were taken as “correct”, be it on the “materialist” view of Descartes or the cultural movements since the 16th century, for example in the field of arts or literature.
Of course, with that in the background, it was not possible to unify the working class. It was only able to build a Left as an economist and social opposition, with some progressive aspects, but in a submission to the bourgeois political system. There was even a total capitulation to the authoritarian constitution of the fifth Republic, born from a military putsch in 1958 and the “rescue” by De Gaulle.
In fact, we can say that since 1968, the revolution in France was blocked by the oscillation between an openly institutional Left (the socialists and “communists”) and leftist revolts led by the Trotskyists and the Anarchists. All the energies given by the masses were wasted. That's why we say that dialectical materialism must be well understood, applied, defended. The Right opportunism supporting the bourgeois Left and the Left opportunism supporting the Trotskyists and Anarchists are two social tendencies which exist only to brake the revolution. Both pretend to be the only “practical” form, saying that all the rest apart them is just an illusion.
One person played here an important counter-revolutionary role: François Maspero, whose death was announced yesterday.
With the ideological collapse of the French Communist Party in the second part of the 1950's, there was a huge space to produce something new – either in going back to the roots assuming dialectical materialism, or in liquidating all the experience of the Soviet Union under Stalin.
François Maspero helped the second perspective, helping the formation of a Leftist ideology and its promotion. From 1959 to 1982, Maspero was so the publisher of the all anti-communist literature of the “leftists”, through cheap little books, and owning also a bookshop in the Parisian Latin Quarter which helped the massive diffusion of Leftism through different series.
In the “Socialist library”, for example, we find all the traditional leftist authors who are used to reject Leninism, the dictatorship of the proletariat, dialectical materialism: Bukharin, the Austro-marxist Max Adler, Rosa Luxembourg, Trotskyists like Michael Löwy and Victor Serge, revolutionary syndicalists like Pierre Monatte, etc.
In the “Texts in support” collection, we find more than 150 books in all the intellectual fields, all supporting an anti-communist “socialism”, based on different currents of existentialist, trotskyist, left catholic leftism.
In the “Small Maspero Collection”, we find mostly the same authors, always in a anti-Soviet and anti-dialectics line, with intellectuals like Charles Bettelheim, but also a lot of authors presented so that they are used in the “third worldism” ideology: Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Giap, different authors connected to the Algerian FLN, with of course Mao Zedong integrated in this “perspective”. In this context, he also published the review “Tricontinental”.
François Maspero himself was also close to Aimé Césaire and Léopold Senghor, existentialist thinkers of the “negritude”; he went in Cuba in 1961.
The book that influenced here the most Leftism was Régis Debray “Revolution in the revolution”, where he theorized the negation of the Party, the necessity of voluntarism and spontaneism, the lack of necessity of ideology, etc.
It was published in the “Cahiers libres” collection, a name which is an allusion to the “Cahiers” of the reactionary Christian « socialist » Charles Péguy. We find here the same concern as the French Uriage school of the 1940's, the “quest” for the “third way”, against capitalism and communism, forming a “new man”.
The ideology promoted by the French Leftism, through Maspero, was indeed the one of the “new man”. Voluntarism and revolution's mysticism were a way to promote a existentialist way of regeneration.
An important space was given here to the question of psychology, which is a French traditional question since the 17th century; François Maspero promoted the ultra-leftist Wilhelm Reich, the renegade of the French Communist Party Charles Nizan, Célestin Freinet, Ronald Laing, Félix Guattari, etc.
One important set of books here consist in “Lire le Capital” (“Reading the Capital”), under the supervision of Louis Althusser, which described in a “philosophical” manner the first book of the Capital, and had a strong influence in the students near or in the French Communist Party.
This was a way here to influence it, which Maspero joined once it became openly revisionist, publishing the review “Partisans”, but he left it quickly and joined the most important product of this Leftism : the “Ligue Communiste” of the beginning of the 1970's. François Maspero's ideology was indeed the one the Trotskyist Fourth Internatonal.
And interestingly here, if we take a look at the fake Maoists in France today, they defend precisely the same ideology, which is a mix of “anti-imperialism”, pseudo-activist “dialectic of areas of intervention”, existentialist cult of the individual “rebellion”, negation of the ideological questions, etc.
François Maspero ceased his activities in 1982, his publishing house becoming “La découverte”, now in the hands of the Spanish trust Planeta, the eight largest book publisher in the world. He “helped” then “dissidents” in Eastern Europe, going himself in Poland and Czechoslovakia.
Leftism transformed itself, during the 1980's until the 2010's, stopping to pretend to make any revolution, but still explaining in vain that it is revolutionary. Anarchists and Trotskyists are nowadays the direct product of this, of Maspero's activites.
Maoism was then not able to reject these currents, this Leftist trend, because it was itself not well understood by the vanguard in France, mainly the “Gauche Prolétarienne” (“Proletarian Left”), which rejection of Leftism was transformed in an anti-theory stand and so logically in “revolutionary syndicalism”.
In fact, against the petty bourgeois leftist trend, a deep study of the national history was necessary, associated with a deep study of dialectical materialism. This is what have done Gonzalo in Peru, Akram Yari in Afghanistan, Ibrahim Kaypakkaya in Turkey, Siraj Sikder in East Bengal – in doing this they produced a guiding thought.
Leftism is here a counter-revolutionary trap. Its nature is the same as the “council communists” in Europe and Russia in the 1920's, the Trotskyists of the 1930's, and all their variants like the POUM or the “Friends of Durruti Group” during the Spanish civil war, or the “Ultra Left” during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China.
Leftism pretends to be more radical, when in fact it negates the history of the working class, so that any revolt becomes merely symbolic, until capitulation under the flag of individual existentialism.
Leftism says that the ideological questions are secondary, that “revolt” is the main key which resolves all the problems, and that therefore an ideological Party is not necessary, as it would be formed “in the course” of the revolution.
Nowadays, French leftism negates the ideological and cultural questions; it promotes anti-capitalist “action” as the answer to everything, and condemns as such the antifascist Front, as it would be reformist.
The emptiness of the “anti-capitalist” line of Leftism is nevertheless obvious. It is only a trap, a step to help the next “anti-capitalist” line: the one of fascism.
To defend dialectical materialism as the mere doctrine is the communist task against Leftism, and this can only be done in the frame of the Communist Party, because no one can be communist outside a Communist Party.
Leftism is full of vanity and pretensions; it gives itself an image of “activism” and of “struggle”, but in fact, it is only a trend of the decadence of capitalism: it is a fifth column in the ranks of the Left, to disorganize it, to dismember it.
Defend the traditions of the working class, defend the socialist values!
Reject the fake revolutionary “anti-capitalist” claims of Leftism!
Unity of the progressives to unify the masses under the Anti-fascist flag!
Communist Party of France (marxist leninist maoist)