What is sectarianism?
Most liberals consider criticism of other groups to be the definition of sectarianism. These liberals favor unity at all costs. Liberals of this type think that just because a group waves a red flag that it is on the side of the oppressed. In the end, these liberals end up disarming the proletariat and oppressed by advocating unity with reformist, bourgeois trends.
This is, of course, not how Marxists understand sectarianism. Marx was engaged in non-stop criticisms of other trends that claimed to be socialist. The last part of the Communist Manifesto, for example, is a catalogue of all the fakes of his day. Lenin, like Marx, polemicized with all the major parties of the Second International when the groups of the Second International turned social imperialist. In the Czarist empire, this meant that the Bolsheviks ended up splitting from the Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks set themselves against almost every party in the world calling itself Marxist at that time. Similarly, Stalin purged the Trotskyists, who had become social imperialists. And, Mao broke with the majority of those calling themselves communist when he broke with the Soviet Union’s social imperialism. Those who call us sectarian are the same liberals who once said the same of all the great leaders of the proletariat. Marxists do not seek unity at all costs. Rather, Marxists put politics in command. This means that Marxists unite on the basis of political line, not on the basis of vague feelings of commonality.
“Sectarianism,” as used by Marxists, means the putting of one’s organization above the interest of the proletariat and oppressed. Once one understands the Marxist use of the term, one can see why Mao called sectarianism and opportunism two sides of the same coin. This is because to be “sectarian” or “opportunist” is to prioritize one’s own interests over the interests of the proletariat. The Leading Light Communist Organization is the furthest thing from being sectarian. If we were to put ourselves ahead of the proletariat, we would pipe down and keep our criticisms of the fakes to ourselves. Movements like ours are the opposite of sectarian because we seek to win people to us on the basis of political line. We are very unpopular in the First world because we are so unsectarian. In fact, the real sectarians are those organizations that refuse to state their differences with other organizations. Those organizations that paper over differences are sectarian because they are doing a disservice to the proletariat in order to win popularity and recruits. After all, if the proletariat is to make revolution, then the proletariat should be presented with the clear differences between organizations. Those who refuse to tell the proletariat the truth are the real sectarians.
Just like with everything, the First Worldists have everything backward. For the First Worldist black is white, white is black. They call First World exploiters a “proletariat.” And, they call Leading Lights “sectarian.” When critics raise the bogy of sectarianism against us, it is really just the old liberal attack on Marxism rearing its ugly head.