Interview with the Leading Lights of Poland
Interview with the Leading Lights of Poland
Recently a Monkey Smashes Heaven (MSH) representative had the opportunity to speak with our Polish comrades. The Leading Light Communists in Poland call themselves the Red Guards. Their journal is Trzeci Świat, or “Third World.” They hold the banner of Maoism-Third Worldism high. They are truly an inspiration to the world’s exploited and oppressed majority in the Third World. In this interview, our Polish comrades explain the unique problems they face in Poland, a “Second World” country. They also explain the history of the communist movement in Poland and the various twists and turns leading up to the breakthrough of Maoism-Third Worldism there. Our comrades prove themselves to be true Leading Lights, not only did they manage to introduce Maoism to Poland, but also Maoism-Third Worldism, the highest stage of revolutionary science today. — Monkey Smashes Heaven Editor, December 21, 2010
MSH: We are honored to have the opportunity to discuss these issues with you. The Polish Maoist-Third Worldist movement is playing a very important role in the world communist movement. Your movement is truly a leading light to the world’s oppressed and exploited majority in the Third World. As we know, Maoism-Third Worldism is the newest and highest stage of revolutionary science. How was it that Maoism-Third Worldism arose in Poland? How was the breakthrough made there?
Trzeci Świat: Poland is a very unique country in which to carry out a communist activism. Since 1956 we were deprived of correct leadership. Bolesław Bierut, first secretary of Polish United Workers’ Party died shortly after XX Congress of Communist Party of the Soviet Union in Moscow. He was probably killed by the revisionists because he was a strong supporter of Stalin and the Marxist-Leninist line. He was replaced by Władysław Gomułka, an open revisionist, who was jailed during the Marxist-Leninist period of People’s Republic of Poland’s history. From 1956 to 1989 Poland was a revisionist country.
When revisionism collapsed, the Polish radical left formed on the basis of Trotskyism and radical social democracy. Michał Nowicki established a new Trotskyist forum, Lewica Bez Cenzury (Left Without Censorship), after a split in the Polish Trotskyist movement. LBC was a different than other Trotskyist movements. The LBC website published articles on a variety of subjects, including non-Trotskyist ones. LBC also covered guerrilla activity in Latin America and Europe (RAF, Red Brigades, etc.), and even articles that recognized Stalin’s early revolutionary contributions. LBC was a bit different than the rest of the Polish Trotskyist movement, which was very sectarian. Although LBC tended toward Guevarism rather than Maoism, LBC was a important factor in fight against the Trotskyist mono-pole in Poland. Most of Polish Maoist-Third Worldists today were at one time members or sympathizers of LBC.
An LBC member, Comrade Koba, created a “Stalinist fraction” within LBC. This fraction within LBC and their supporters wanted to learn something more about Stalin and his theories. Among them were Alexander Iwanow and Michał Rakulski, who would later play a role in the emerging Maoist and Maoist-Third Worldist movement here.
Comrade Koba started to try to impose Maoism as LBC’s political line. This line was a RIM-version of Maoism, inspired by Prachanda and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and their electoral success in 2008. We were fascinated by Prachanda. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) seemed to be better than the Trotskyist-social democratic movements, which have only resulted in failure after failure. The Nepalese “Maoists” inspired the Polish “Stalinists” to study Maoism. It is quite ironic, because we could say, that Prachanda is a godfather of Polish Maoism-Third Worldism.
LBC was a very popular “communist” portal and organization in Poland. This popularity caused many troubles. Michał Nowicki, founder and leader of LBC was charged with “promoting totalitarianism” and vandalism (communist graffiti) by a Polish prosecutor. As a result, LBC was shut down.
Although LBC began as a Trotskyist organization, at the end, there were several contending lines within it: Guevarists/Castroist, Trotskyist, “Stalinist”, Maoist, even anarchist. All were linked by the strong personality of Michał Nowicki. After he retreated from activities because of the accusations by the prosecutor, and after LBC’s website was shut down by state, LBC’s organization fell apart.
The Trotskyists went their way. However, Comrade Koba with his friend Comrade Rakulski tried to establish new organization with “Stalinists” (Guevarists and Maoists) and centrists. Unfortunately, there was a police informer in our midst, the social democratic historian Dawid Jakubowski. This individual successfully led a split in the emerging organization. Comrade Koba ended up resigning from from activities, but Comrade Rakulski with help from Comrade Iwanow formed a new anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist organization, the Revolutionary Communist Left (RLK), which later became the Organization of the Red Guard (OCG), which is a Maoism-Third Worldist organization.
Comrade Iwanow is a curious and unrelenting scientist. When we were interested in Prachanda, that was not enough. He also discovered the Maoism of the Maoist Internationalist Movement and studied it thoroughly. MIM Thought led to Monkey Smashes Heaven (MSH). Comrade Iwanow and Comrade Rakulski began a study of Maoism-Third Worldism. We had always been interested in the reasons why the communist movements of Europe and the United States were so weak. The strongest self-described “communist” movement outside the Eastern Bloc in Europe, the Italian Communist Party, was the first party that openly rejected Marxism-Leninism. Why? We began to ask questions. We knew basics of Marxism, so we knew there must be a complex, material explanation, political and economic reasons for this. Only Maoism-Third Worldism gave us a real answer.
Of course we had to fight for our line within our organization. It was not easy, and we were even suspended from public speaking about Maoism-Third Worldism. We decide not to split, because we knew that we could win this fight. We established the Trzeci Świat (Third World) Journal, and we tried to persuade others to Maoism-Third Worldism. We were right. At Second Congress of RLK, after a long discussion, our organization decided to openly embrace Maoism-Third Worldism.
MSH: One of the key parts of Maoism-Third Worldism is global class analysis. Marxists today understand that there is no significant social base for proletarian revolution in the First World. How would you describe Poland? Is Poland First, Second, or Third World? Is there a revolutionary social base in Poland? Is the proletariat there large, small, or non-existent?
TŚ: Global class analysis requires the examination of both local conditions and their relation to the world. Poland is a country difficult to describe.
In Poland there are a significant number of proletarians. Unfortunately, the proletariat here is full of contradictions. On one hand, there are a lot of poor workers. On the other hand, they are very anti-communist and pro-First World. The anti-communist sentiment is the result, in part, of the complicated history of Polish-Russian relations. Partitions of Poland (from 18th century) caused anti-Russian sentiments. The Polish–Soviet War, shortly after we had become an independent country after 123 years as part of Russian, Austrian and Prussian empires, made anti-Communism here a continuation of the old anti-Russian moods. The period of the People’s Republic, when Poland was an lackey of Khruschevite-Breznhnevite USSR, only strengthened these attitudes. Solidarność, an organization which destroyed revisionist rule in Poland, was a proletarian movement with a petty-bourgeoisie leadership. Solidarność was and still is strongly influenced by Catholic Church. The Polish proletariat will pray at the demonstrations rather than wave the red flag and fight for their proletarian interests. In addition, Polish workers are richer than the proletariat of the Third World. They may not be as rich as a typical American, or Western-European worker, but they aspire to become part of the First World. Polish workers do not want socialism. They prefer to fight for the living standards of the First World. In Poland there is no revolutionary potential at all at the moment. Polish society worships the First World. Polish workers may not be a total labor aristocracy yet, but they think as one. Before our communist movement matures, we believe the Polish workers will become more completely bought off. The European Union is helping to transform Polish society into a typical imperialist one. However, we are still in the middle of this process. So we define Poland as a Second World country, which is still transforming into First World one. We doubt however that Poland will become a full-scale member of the imperialist camp. The Polish bourgeoisie is a faithful lackey of imperialism. It is not an equal partner with the European powers. It’s more like an obedient dog, ready to do everything his master says.
Our analysis of the Polish conditions is not yet complete. There are still ongoing studies and discussions. Nevertheless, Poland is clearly distinguishable from both the First and Third World. It is safest to placed it in the Second World.
MSH: Given the objective conditions in Poland, what is the state of the communist movement there? What is the state of the revolutionary movement? Has it difficult introducing Maoism-Third Worldism? Is their major opposition from revisionists there?
TŚ: The Polish communist movement is still in its infancy. As we have said, since 1956 it was dominated by revisionism, and since 1989, by Trotskyism. The Organization of the Red Guard is de facto the first organization to have introduced anti-revisionist thinking here, to Poland. We must do everything from the beginning. In the English-speaking, the internet is almost everything you need to begin your journey to communism. If you want to read something Mao wrote, you open book, look in the Marxist Internet Archive, or Marx2Mao, or many other websites. We cannot do that in Poland. We have to read Mao in English. We have to scan his works and publish them. In addition there are only Volumes I, II and III of Mao’s Selected Works available, the edition from the 50s. These are pretty much all the Maoist resources that we have. We have a lot of work: scanning, translating, publishing. The same applies to Stalin and others. And, of course, we cannot forget our own education. We study and try to spread Maoism-Third Worldism. It is a very difficult task.
It all began about one or two years ago. We went through a large transformation, from dogmatic Trotskyism to real communism. We are still in the initial stage of introducing Maoism-Third Worldism. Of course there is revisionist opposition to our work. At the forefront of this opposition is the “Communist” Youth of Poland, associated with so-called “Communist” Party of Poland. “C”YP is a typical “left Brezhnevist” group that loves everyone who waves a red flag, except Maoists. Their group is an extremely dogmatic and ultra-revisionist organization. They even describe us as “fascists”. They are schizophrenic. They are like Deng Xiaoping and Molodovian euro-”communists”, but at the same time, they call us “revisionist”. “Communist” Youth of Poland is our main enemy on the so-called “left”.
Polish “communists” are extremely dogmatic. They do not approach classics with dialectical materialism, but rather with scholasticism. This makes discussions with them difficult and frustrating. They are book worshipers. If Marx or Lenin did not write something, then it is wrong. They must be right on every issue. If a Soviet economist wrote that unproductive labor is necessarily exploited, then unproductive labor must necessarily be exploited. There is no room for discussion.
On the other hand, there is a strong anti-Stalinism in Poland that is not limited just to Trotskyists. Anti-communist propaganda argues that Stalin was a murderer. For the so-called “left” this is a enough to reject Stalin, and by extension, Mao. Poles do not have the habit of scientific thinking. Rather, they are tied to religious thinking. They do not understand that the world is not black and white. For some, Stalin is absolutely good, for others, he is completely wrong. It works both ways. One defect and they reject him totally. Thus Mao’s conversation with Nixon is for them an unforgivable crime.
We have problems with cadres. We have not enough people to work effectively. This is our main problem. Our work is therefore less efficient than the work of our enemies. We need to increase the quality of our work.
MSH: What are the most important Polish Maoist-Third Worldist articles? What leaders and writers have influenced or played an important role in your movement?
TŚ: We are just beginning our activity. We still have a lot to learn. Our most important articles will be written in the future. However, at present we have some important articles, which could enrich Maoism-Third Worldism. For example, there is “The Class Membership of Individuals” (O klasowej przynależności jednostek) written by Comrade Michał Rakulski. This article is struggling with the vulgar, one-sided perception of the proletariat narrowly construed as simply waged workers. Michał Rakulski has written another great work, “The Collapse of Socialism From Science to Utopia” (Upadek socjalizmu od nauki do utopii). This work considers the process of degeneration of communism to revisionism. Another great work of Comrade Rakulski is “On the Origin of the Labor Aristocracy” (O powstaniu arystokracji pracy). Maoism-Third Worldism is also being developed by Comrade Iwanow. He has written “Notes on Nationalism” (Notatki o nacjonalizmie). In Poland, there was an unscientific, vulgar Luxemburgist outlook on nationalism. Nationalism was confused with chauvinism. The First Worldists denied it a revolutionary role at all. Comrade Iwanow set the record straight. He pointed out that nationalism can be and is revolutionary, especially Third Worldist nationalism. Another notable work of Comrade Iwanow is “Three Constantly Read Articles” (Trzy nieustannie czytane artykuły). In it Comrade Iwanow discusses the attitude of revolutionary communist in daily life. But the most important texts of Comrade Iwanow are “Other Things are also Important” (Inne rzeczy też są ważne) and “The Class Struggle also Relates to Culture” (Walka klas dotyczy także kultury), which are part of a polemic between Comrades Marchwicki and Iwanow on the superstructure and the priorities of revolutionary work. Comrade Marchwicki made a self-criticism and has also contributed excellent articles. For example, “About the Benefits of Bloodshed” discusses the Maoist theory of war and and how it relates to the period of peace. Also worth noting are the works of Comrade Hetmański on anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism. The general views of the leaders of the OCG can be found in an interview conducted by the website konserwatyzm.pl with Comrades Rakulski and Iwanow. The interview is entitled “The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is Considered By Us To Be The Furthest Leap For Mankind Toward Communism” (Wielka Proletariacka Rewolucja Kulturalna jest uważana przez nas za największy krok ludzkości w kierunku komunizmu). Our leaders provided answers to many questions about our organization, about Maoism, about internationalism and nationalism, and many other topics.
As we’ve mentioned, we are pioneers of Maoism and Maoism-Third Worldism in Poland. The development of our movement was inhibited by forty years of revisionism. Only Comrade Mijal and his comrades tried to fought back, but he wasn’t a consistent Maoist. Despite this, he was the most important leader whose work has brought many to the revolutionary breakthrough. But he was not acting politically after 1989, due to his age. Comrades Iwanow and Rakulski had to build the foundations of Polish Maoism alone. Now OCG aspires to be a worthy successor to the Polish and international revolutionary tradition.
MSH: We thank you very much for taking time to answer these questions. The last great wave of revolution was defeated. We stand before the next great wave. The burden is on true communists everywhere to recreate, to reinvent, the proletarian movement. It is our duty to hold the red flag of Maoism-Third Worldism high, to guide humanity out of the darkness. It warms our hearts to see that there are true communists, Leading Lights in Poland.
TŚ: We must thank you for all your great work, which inspires us. Marxism will surely triumph again as Maoism-Third Worldism. Leading Light Communism is our future.
MSH: Red Salute!
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