Sunday, June 21, 2009
THE PATH OF THE SEIZURE OF POWER IN IRAN BY THE SARBEDARAN
“The seizure of power by force, resolving the problem through war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution.” Mao Tsetung.
The main problem for any revolution is seizing power through force of violence. The reactionary classes will never voluntarily hand over their state power. They resort to arms in order to suppress the revolutionary movement of the masses, and in this way they force armed struggle onto the agenda. Grasping the necessity of organised armed revolution against the reactionary state is among the basic principles of proletarian class-consciousness. The communist party must constantly bring this consciousness to the workers and other toiling masses.
Armed revolution is a general law of the proletarian revolution. The history of the working class movement teaches us that the recognition or the lack of recognition of this truth is a decisive line of demarcation between proletarian revolutionaries and the traitors to the proletariat, between true Marxism on the one hand and the various kinds of revisionism and opportunism on the other.
The aim of the vanguard communist party, in mobilising and organising the workers and toilers of both the city and countryside, is to rely on and rally this organised force to carry out the violent overthrow of the state and seize power. The most inspiring battles and the most glorious victories would not be that worthwhile for the emancipation of the working class and other toilers, if they did not serve to achieve this political aim. Once we speak of the seizure of political power by the working class, we must speak of the military strategy of the working class. As Lenin said, “an oppressed class which does not learn to use arms and acquire arms deserves to be treated as slaves.”
In order to win, the military strategy of the proletariat must correspond to the characteristics of the society. In our society the burden of oppression and exploitation is heavy and the majority of the people live in a desperate situation. The dictatorship of the ruling classes is implemented in a naked and harsh way. The workers, peasants, oppressed nations, women and revolutionary intellectuals rise in resistance and struggle in many ways. The economic, political, ideological and military power of the state is concentrated in the cities. As compared to the cities, the army and the other suppressive organs of the regime are less concentrated in the rural areas and are more scattered. The countryside and the regions far from the centre are the weak points of the central state; the military forces of the regime are basically aliens in the countryside. This is even more the case in the regions of the oppressed nations. Moreover, the ruling classes are often divided and can hardly stabilise and consolidate their rule. Overall, the country is marked by upheavals and crises. The sum total of these conditions gives rise to the situation that generally there is a revolutionary situation in this or that part of the country.
In this kind of society, the proletariat, under the leadership of its party, can start its war against the ruling state from the early stages of its revolutionary activities, with a small force in the rural regions. The fact that the enemy is strong, that revolution develops unevenly in different parts of the country and that the revolutionary forces, under the leadership of the working class, develop gradually, makes this war a protracted war. For the revolutionary forces to grow big and strong from a state of being weak and small, the strategic weaknesses of the reactionary state must be recognised and utilised. As is shown by the characteristics of the society, as well as the experiences of revolutionary armed struggles and just wars in contemporary Iran, the armed forces of the enemy have less scope for movement and manoeuvring in the countryside, as compared to the cities. The vastness of the countryside and other geographical features, the fact that the armed forces of the regime come from outside and are not locally born and the lack of a base among the masses make them vulnerable in the face of guerrilla warfare. These factors make it difficult for the state to establish a permanent presence of its armed forces in regions far from the centre. Therefore, it cannot easily bring into play its superiority in numbers, weaponry, technology and logistics against the revolutionary armed forces. This situation makes it possible for the revolutionary armed forces to carry out guerrilla warfare in the countryside, surprise and trap the enemy forces in one spot and destroy them, then retreat and carry out these actions in places where the enemy is not expecting it. The revolutionary armed forces will create a situation where they can wipe out the enemy forces from some areas, establish bases areas and develop the war to a wider area and to a higher level. This is the military strategy of protracted people’s war and “surrounding the cities from the countryside”. This war passes through three stages: strategic defence, strategic equilibrium and strategic offence.
The experiences of armed struggle by communist revolutionaries and the oppressed nations against the reactionary regimes in Iran show that those regions within which class contradictions have intertwined with some other important contradictions, such as national oppression, are more favourable for the initiation of this kind of a war. Moreover, when country-wide revolutionary crises shape up, like in 1979, the vanguard party of the proletariat can more rapidly than in “normal times” overcome the problems of initiation and can launch the people’s war; or if the people’s war has already been initiated, it can be developed in leaps and bounds.
Three Fundamental Tools of Revolution: Communist Party, Revolutionary United Front and People’s Army
War is the continuation of politics by other means; every war, necessarily, has a politics that rules it: bourgeois politics or proletarian politics. In order to guarantee that war is the continuation of proletarian politics, the communist party must command the armed forces, and communist politics must command the gun. Only a war that is under the leadership of a proletarian party and line can play a revolutionary role and really transform the old society and build a new one instead. The proletariat cannot do anything without its revolutionary Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party. If the centralised leadership of the communist party is not exerted over the process of the war, then the people’s war will undoubtedly deviate from its path in the twisty course of class struggle. That is why strengthening the correct ideological and political line of the party and its organisation are the most important organisational tasks of the party in the course of the preparation for, and the carrying out of, the people’s war.
A communist party that is seriously preparing to seize political power will inevitably be faced with the questions of close and remote allies and uniting the oppressed masses. In our society, from amongst the classes and strata that have different degrees of contradiction with the domination of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and semi-feudalism, the poor and landless peasantry are the closest allies of the working class, because they have deep interests in the new-democratic revolution and the establishment of socialism. They are the main force of the revolution. Without this force, it would be impossible for the working class to seize power. The working class must lead this enormous force and not let the bourgeois and feudal forces seize the leadership of the peasants and cynically use them to gain more power under the same semi-feudal, semi-colonial system. In order to lead the peasantry, the working class must fan class struggle in the countryside. The land question and the agrarian revolution are at the centre of class struggle in the countryside. Without unleashing this class struggle in the countryside it would be impossible to carry out people’s war, unite the landless and poor peasants and mobilise them for the red army. The worker-peasant alliance is the backbone of the United Front under the leadership of the proletariat. Only when a firm alliance is established between the working class and the poor and landless peasantry, will the urban petite bourgeoisie heed the leadership of the working class and its party in a persistent manner.
Armed proletarian revolution requires a revolutionary army under the leadership of the proletariat. The seeds of this army are laid through small guerrilla units, which are formed to initiate people’s war. As the war develops, this army will develop in terms of its quantity, as well as its forms of organisation, ability to fight and weaponry.
The red army fighters join the people’s war on the basis of becoming conscious of their class interests; they do not join on the basis of force or as a means of livelihood or on the basis of false promises from the war leaders. Even though many of them are not communists, the party makes them conscious of the politics and programme of the people’s war for building a new society. This is the basis of their joining the red army. The communist party, as the leader of the war, does not hide its ideological and political line from the masses. Rather it propagates it amongst the masses.
In addition to the red army fighters, who are directly engaged in the war, masses of workers and peasants help to carry out the war in many different forms. The people’s army recruits its fresh and increasing forces from amongst these same masses; bread and information and other logistical needs of the people’s army basically come from amongst these same masses.
Base Areas and New Political Power
The establishment of base areas and new political power from the early stages of the people’s war is a basic principle of people’s war, i.e. as a region is cleansed of the armed forces of the state and reactionary elements, the initial forms of the new political power are established.
The new political power constitutes the representatives of the workers and poor and landless peasants, but it also includes other allies of the working class as well. The establishment of this new power against the ruling reactionary power shows a bright future to the masses of the whole country and adds to the political and ideological influence of the working class and the communist party all over the country.
The new political power deals with questions such as who in the base areas should be overthrown and punished, who should be neutralised and who should be united with, and how and to what degree to implement the agrarian revolution and the programme of the party overall.
In the base areas, the new political power, under the leadership of the working class, is built step by step. In the course of the gradual development of the base areas, new laws, new practice, new culture and even new relations of production take shape, and the power of the masses is expressed ever more concretely. Specifically the slogan of “land to the tiller” is implemented and turns into a living reality; it becomes a rallying call for the whole country. In this way, when the working class seizes country-wide political power, the revolutionary state has already planted roots in the most deprived areas of the county. This is a point of strength for the proletarian state in the face of any imperialist invasion. When the working class and its vanguard party build their own army and establish base areas, even in small areas, they can effectively compete with the political forces of other classes for gaining the leadership of the people.
Sustaining and developing the protracted people’s war is dependent on the establishment of base areas. Relying on these areas, the people’s army can lure the enemy deep into its own land, deal with it from a powerful position, and destroy it. With the establishment of base areas, the red army can develop in leaps and can become truly an army of the masses. The base areas serve as the support front for developing the war, weakening the enemy and finally overthrowing it and seizing country-wide political power. Without establishing base areas, it is not possible to implement the path of “surrounding the cities from the countryside”.
Forming, preserving and developing base areas passes through a process with lots of twists and turns; these areas will change hands many times between the revolutionary armed forces and the forces of the enemy. This process will be marked by suppression and encirclement campaigns by the enemy forces to restore their reactionary power in these areas and by counter-suppression and encirclement campaigns by the revolutionary army to preserve the new political power in these areas.
The fact that the people’s war is faced with a strong enemy, which is armed to the teeth, makes the task of establishing base areas difficult. Modern methods of warfare, and specifically the ability of the enemy to use helicopters and other quick means of transporting their soldiers, make all regions “penetrable” by enemy forces. Therefore, the stability of the base areas is only relative. But this is only part of the truth. The situation is such that even if the enemy invades one of the base areas, it does not have the ability to occupy vast areas of the countryside in a permanent manner and bring it under its control. When the enemy faces the development of the people’s war, it will have to retreat to its centres of power. It is not possible to predict the development of base areas. This will be influenced, to a large degree, by overall developments in the country, as well as in the region and the world.
The people’s war cannot rely on borders and reactionary neighbouring states or the armed and technological aid of the world powers. As Mao said on the role and position of the base areas:
"If the revolutionary forces do not want to compromise with imperialism and its lackeys, but are resolute to continue their struggle; if they aim at preserving and steeling their forces and avoid decisive battles with this kind of strong enemy before their forces are strong enough, they should turn backward rural areas into progressive and solid bases, into big military, political, economic and cultural fortresses in order to rely on them and struggle against the rapacious enemy, who, by relying on the cities, attacks the rural areas, and in the course of protracted struggle, achieve final victory."
Preparation for the Initiation of People’s War
Preparation for the initiation of people’s war is a process that has its own particular contradictions. The party should define these and persevere in solving them within a definite time limit, with the aim of successfully initiating people’s war. Questions such as what degree of initial organisational ability, mass base and logistical ability are needed and what is the best time for successfully initiating people’s war are the questions that decide the direction of the preparation. Overall, all party activities before the initiation of the people’s war should serve its initiation and after that should serve to develop it towards the country-wide seizure of power.
But what is the meaning of the successful initiation of the war? It means the people’s war should withstand the initial blows of the enemy and grow and develop. In this way, the people’s war will become a political pole in the political scene of the country and reach a position that its destruction will become a strategic problem for the enemy. Achieving this position would be a great leap in the process of seizing political power. If the enemy succeeds in destroying the people’s war with its initial blows, then the party will have to return to the starting point and has to build anew some basic elementary links among the masses and strengthen its lost organisational and logistical abilities.
For the successful initiation of the people’s war, in addition to a correct and clear ideological, political and military line, the party must have a solid organisation. The organisation of the party must be built in close connection with the carrying out of class struggle, and its membership must be constituted of people who have ideological and political solidity and are ready to do anything for the initiation of people’s war. In order to solve the contradictions of the process of preparation, the party must rely on the revolutionary consciousness and initiative of the masses and their organised force; it must pay specific attention to secretly mobilising and organising the masses in the regions that are favourable for the initiation of people’s war.
Dislocation of the Rural Population and the Growth of the Cities
In the past few decades, important changes have occurred in the structure of the cities and countryside. As a result of the implementation of imperialist plans after the Second World War, the pace of capitalist development and the trend for city dwelling, generally shantytown dwelling, accelerated. This meant huge dislocation of the rural population, shattering the closed structure of the countryside, and the dissolution of important aspects of feudalism. The reduction of the rural population, the increasing integration of the rural economy into the world capitalist system and the extension of the state organs of power into the countryside created new contradictions in relation to the initiation of the people’s war and complicated the problem of establishing base areas. But these changes did not mitigate the contradictions within the countryside, which concentrated around the land question. In fact they intensified it. With the growth in agricultural workers and the formation of a vast stratum of semi-proletarians, the social base of the revolutionary proletariat has developed in the countryside. On the other hand, these changes have created many contradictions for the ruling state. This state can hardly achieve long term and country-wide stability. The continuous crisis and increasing influence of international and regional events on the political and social scene of the country has created a situation where periodically after short intervals the masses rise up again against the brutal suppression. A vast dispossessed population from the countryside has migrated to the cities but they have not completed the proletarianisation process; this is an explosive force, which is like a “poverty belt” around the big cities, and it plays a very important role in destabilising state power.
Overall, and despite all these changes in the past few decades, it is possible to initiate and develop people’s war against the central state in Iran. The countryside and regions far from the centre are still weak spots of the state, and the big cities are the centres of political, military and economic power of the reactionary classes. Perseverance in initiating people’s war from the countryside and developing and expanding it is the pivot for successfully carrying out the country-wide activities of the party. Without such a pivot, the party will suffer from left and right deviations, will repeatedly suffer enemy blows and will lose all of its gains obtained during previous periods.
The Place of the Cities in People’s War
in developing its tactics, the party must take into account all of the previously mentioned changes. More importantly, it must accumulate experience in order to be able to understand how the people’s war should be developed in the big cities. Here, we do not mean the small cities in rural areas, which, in the course of the people’s war, can become the battle ground or can switch hands between the people’s army and the reactionary army.
The place of the large cities in the war for the seizure of power is important for two reasons. First, in the whole process of people’s war, the countryside is the principal stage of the war, but political and military struggles in the cities play an important part in reinforcing the war. Political mobilisation and organisation among the workers and toilers of the shantytowns and other popular classes and strata, organising and leading different fronts of the struggle against the ruling state, have an important role in successfully expanding the people’s war. Secondly, the seizure of country-wide political power will be completed with the defeat of the military forces of the state, in its centres of power, in the large cities. The country-wide seizure of power will be possible only when the balance of forces between the red army and the reactionary state has qualitatively changed and the revolutionary forces can launch strategic offences against the enemy. During this stage, the centre of gravity of the war will shift from the countryside to the cities, and the task of organising armed insurrection in the centres of power of the old state will be an urgent task for the people’s war.
With all this in mind, the communist party should carry out the task of mobilising and organising the workers and basic masses in the shantytowns, as well as all the popular strata. In all these activities the workers should be given the consciousness that for the seizure of power it is necessary to establish red power against the reactionary power, through people’s war; they have to grasp that the process of revolution is a protracted and complex process, which encompasses many forms of class struggle; but the strategy which channels all these struggles in the service of overthrowing the reactionary state is protracted people’s war. It is through this process that the communist party can wipe out the ideological and political influence of the reactionary classes on the workers and the allies of the working class (principally the poor and landless peasants in the countryside and the semi-proletarians and poor petite bourgeoisie in the cities) and rally them under its flag for overthrowing the reactionary state and establishing the new-democratic state and socialism.
Nation-wide Revolutionary Crisis
Contemporary Iran has witnessed small and large crises, which at times have developed into a country-wide revolutionary crisis. The formation of these crises and the emergence of a revolutionary situation extremely weakens, disintegrates and divides the reactionary state. At such points, the regime unavoidably gathers its armed forces in the cities. In this way, the domination of the reactionary state weakens in the rural areas and a very favourable situation emerges for developing people’s war in leaps and bounds. Experience shows that under such conditions, even though the large cities turn into boiling centres of political struggle, a vacuum of political power develops, especially in the countryside and in the regions far from the centres. In this situation, the immediate task of the party is to initiate people’s war in these regions and fill the power vacuum by establishing a new political power (even if in its very embryonic forms); if the people’s war has already started, the party must use the opportunity to develop it, in leaps and bounds, to other areas. Again, experience shows that the initiation of revolutionary war in one part of the country exerts tremendous influence on political developments in the cities. The initiation of people’s war increases the ability of the revolutionary proletariat and its party to exert leadership over the political events in the cities, a hundred fold.
On the Strategy of Urban Insurrection
Insurrection in the cities is a military offensive against the centres of power of the bourgeois state, the immediate outcome of which is the establishment of the proletarian state and the formation of a mass proletarian army. On the basis of these immediate outcomes, a civil war is developed in order to completely destroy the state forces in the entire country and establish proletarian power in the whole country. This military strategy can be a point of reference for the communists in the imperialist countries for developing the path of revolution in those countries.
But in the dominated countries, such as Iran, because the number and concentration of the working class is relatively small and the close allies of the working class (poor and landless peasants) are not in the cities, the outcome of resorting to the strategy of insurrection in the cities would be defeat. Moreover, constant suppression of the communist forces by the enemy does not allow the party to develop its forces and its social base through protracted political and organisational work in the cities in order to launch a successful armed insurrection, seize political power and start a civil war on that basis. The experience of the 1979 revolution showed that even at the height of a country-wide revolutionary crisis, when the masses of people in vast quantities and on a country-wide basis are in tumultuous motion and the state is in a situation of disintegration, if the revolutionary communists have not already gained enough strength through waging people’s war, the programme and class interests of the bourgeois forces will mark the political scene in the cities. We must also combat the incorrect and current notion that the masses themselves can launch an “insurrection” and the communists with some preparation and some skilful manoeuvring can lead this insurrection. Revolutionary communists should cast away any illusions that they can seize power like Khomeini and his cohorts in the 1979 uprising; they should cast away these illusions and prepare the forces of the working class and its allies in the cities and countryside for a difficult, bloody and protracted, but possible and liberating, war.
All-out War and Not Limited War
Because the working class fights to destroy capitalist society and establish a socialist society, the exploiting class will fight this effort to seize power with all its might and power. The working class cannot seize political power like the bourgeois classes. The proletariat cannot hope to resort to a limited war to force the enemy to hand over political power to the proletariat, or to paralyse and make the enemy surrender through political and economic levers, such as a general strike. There are many petit-bourgeois and bourgeois forces that have their armies and “wars”. They utilise the lever of limited armed struggle in order to achieve limited and reformist goals. Their goal is to become a strong political force in order to be allowed into bourgeois alliances and to be given some tokens within the framework of the same old system. They usually paint their fundamentally bourgeois programmes with “left” colours and usually use armed struggle as a backing for their peaceful reformist struggles. The proletariat, on the other hand, launches its war with the aim of destroying the armed forces of the enemy and the old state apparatus, because only in this way can it implement its political, economic and social programme. The proletarian war is a total, all-the-way war for the destruction of the old state.
The communists declare and emphasise the truth of Mao’s statement that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”; for this reason the bourgeoisie accuses us of warmongering. But Mao’s truth is only a lesson drawn from the thousands of years of rule of the exploiting classes. The ruling classes burn the whole world, but when the people light up the flames of armed revolution, they curse. The working class declares that the final goal of the proletarian war is to do away with class distinctions, classes, states and, along with that, war itself. Only in this way will human society experience a real and lasting peace. As Mao Tsetung said: "In order to do away with the gun, first we must pick up the gun."
STEP FORWARD AND DARE TO FIGHT FOR A NEW WORLD!
The programme and path that the party is putting forward is a concentration of the precious experiences of our class during the last 150 years in Iran and throughout the world. This Programme uses Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to analyse the basic contradictions in society and in the world. On the basis of this science, it defines the obstacles standing in the way of the emancipation of the working class and peoples in Iran and clarifies the solution. This Programme and strategy has risen from the victories and defeats of the international communist movement and the attempts of the proletariat and toilers to build a society free from exploitation and oppression. This Programme is the independent banner of the working class that is hoisted, the red flag that carries the footprints of the fighters of the Paris Commune, the rebels of the October Revolution in Russia, the warriors of the Chinese Revolution and the torch-bearers of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. This Programme and strategy is specifically put forward by the Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran) and draws on its experience. But at the same time it is indebted to the path-breaking of the Communist Party of Iran in the 1920s, the intense struggles of the workers, toilers and oppressed nations in the years 1941-53, the rupture with the revisionism and reformism of the Tudeh Party, the foundation of the new communist movement in Iran in the 1960s, the experience of the 1979 revolution and the struggle of the workers, peasants, women, revolutionary intellectuals and oppressed nations.
In this country, crises arrive one after another, and new waves of struggle arise. The reactionary ruling classes and their imperialist backers, in order to save their hellish system and maintain their domination, put forward reactionary solutions; the masses inevitably rise up in resistance and struggle and the bourgeois forces present the proletariat and the masses with false and half-way measures. The question is: will a totally different kind of flag be hoisted up high or not? Only a proletarian revolution and a revolutionary party armed with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism can lead the revolution to final victory.
The programme and strategy of this party lights up the scene for the workers and toilers in the cities and countryside and provides the correct path to their movement. The party strives to widely open up the revolutionary horizons of the masses and continuously and tirelessly mobilise and unite them as a mighty conscious revolutionary force.
History has put a great responsibility on this party. In order to fulfil this responsibility, every advanced worker, conscious of her/his class interests, must step forward and join this party. Revolutionary intellectuals and the advanced revolutionaries among the masses must support this party and join it, in order to help blaze a path for the protracted people’s war and for the party Programme to be materialised, in order to carry out every single one of these lofty aims and liberating tasks, and in order for the party to become the recognised leadership of the working class and the people. On this protracted and proud path the powerful words of Mao Tsetung echo and strengthen the communist forces more than ever:
We must carry out a mighty struggle!
Nothing is impossible in this world, if you dare to scale the heights!
Posted by nickglais on 6/21/2009 01:18:00 PM