Rebellion Is Justified!: Cult of “Leadership” Is Anti-Marxist

Monday, April 17

Cult of “Leadership” Is Anti-Marxist

Communists must protect and respect their leading cadres. In particular, there are times that a single individual is in a key position leading a communist party, and that leadership is of a decisive nature. Mao Zedong, for instance, gained leadership in 1935 over the Communist Party of China, and corrected the left and right errors of the Party, and laid the basis for nationwide victory. Lenin led the decisive split with the Second International which enabled the foundation of the international communist movement in opposition to the pro-imperialist social democrats. Stalin defended the revolution against subversion by defeatist Trotskyites and the right-wing Bukharinites who would restore capitalism.

On the other hand, there have also been moments in which reactionary, rightwing, and counterrevolutionary leadership has been of key importance, transforming socialist countries and communist parties into their opposites. Khrushchev eliminated the revolutionary forces in the Soviet Communist Party, for instance. Though capitalism had already been restored, Gorbachev had a key role in the liquidation of the socialist veneer of the systems in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Every communist must have a correct understanding of the principle of leadership. The most striking example of an error in this regard is found among certain forces supporting the Communist Party of Peru (PCP). Numerous PCP documents refer to its Chairman Gonzalo as the guarantee of victory. This is unscientific in two levels. First, there cannot be such a thing as a so-called guarantee in class warfare. That is counter to Marxism. Second, one individual may provide the correct and necessary leadership in a revolutionary struggle, but a party and its forces must as an entity uphold and defend this line, or it is not meaningful. If anything, it is the party which must be a so-called guarantee. The problem with the slogan of Gonzalo being the so-called victory guarantee, is that when he was taken prisoner of war, the PCP was indeed deprived of its so-called guarantee. If there is no guarantee, and one had but lost such a guarantee, by what principle are further lives to be lost in the peoples war? One wrong conception leads to another, which is capitulation.

Mao Zedong himself spoke against unscientific views of leadership in the aftermath of Lin Biaos death in 1971. Lin had formulated the ridiculous notion, for instance, that one sentence of Maos was worth ten thousand sentences of any other individual. That is nonsense, and Mao said so.

This question is closely related to the question of training revolutionary successors, inter-generational transfer of leadership, and also of preventing capitalist restoration. One individual must never, ever be understood to be the guarantee of revolution and continued dictatorship of the proletariat. The whole party must be a training ground for true revolutionary leaders. If a whole central committee is wiped out through enemy attacks, there must be another prepared to come forward. And if these are wiped out, yet more leaders must be brought forth. The organizational structures and security measures must be in place to allow for such contingencies, but at least as important as these are the Marxist view of leadership and the full political development of the leadership qualities of all constituent members of the vanguard working class political party.