The PMD, a revolutionary fortress at the heart of the nexus of the first and second general crises

In the revolutionary process, we know that there are phases, whose dynamics were clearly illustrated by Mao Zedong through the schema of strategic defense, strategic balance and then strategic offensive. In this scheme, there is a dialectical dynamic through the offensive, then counter-defence, counter-offensive, etc., in a spiral path that continues uninterrupted until Communism.

When we look back at the experience of the First General Crisis, which began in 1917 and ended in 1989, we need to highlight an important ideological element for our times.

At each historical interval that presented itself as ‘strategic defense’, specific theoretical work was carried out, not for the immediate tasks of the revolution, but for its universal consolidation. This formed the proletarian counter-offensive to the bourgeois counter-offensive, a kind of counter-counter-offensive.

When Friedrich Engels published his analysis of the ‘Dialectics of Nature’ in 1883, it took place in a rather unfavorable historical context. We were in the ashes of the failure of the Paris Commune, the First International had collapsed and the Second had not yet been founded, and the political conditions of the struggle in Germany had been particularly hardened by Bismarck’s anti-socialist laws of 1878.

With such an emphasis on ideology, the retreat of the Revolution became relative, as it continued its momentum by consolidating its foundations, in a movement of reflection with practice. Indeed, the ‘Dialectics of Nature’ corresponds to a context of repression, but at the same time to the stabilization of a social-democratic centre whose political core is consolidated.

Similarly, when Lenin published ‘Materialism and Empirio-criticism’ in 1908, the Revolution in Russia was confronted with the ‘Stolypinian reaction’, but also with the solidification of the majority faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party. Here too, the retreat of the revolution became relative, because this work shattered the idealistic wanderings and other ideological opportunisms present even in the social-democratic camp.

So it is no coincidence that ‘Materialism and Empirio-criticism’ is historically placed in continuity with Engels’ “Dialectics of Nature”, which was unknown to Lenin. It had in fact been recuperated by the revisionists of German social democracy, who had been careful to put it aside. It was not until 1925 that it was republished by the Russian Communists.

In reality, there is a process of enrichment, like a staircase with steps that are compiled to reach ever greater heights of vision. This is why we read in the famous ‘History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik) – short course’, published in 1938, that:

“In order to appreciate the tremendous part played by Lenin’s book in the history of our Party and to realize what theoretical treasure Lenin safeguarded from the motley crowd of revisionists and renegades of the period of the Stolypin reaction, we must acquaint ourselves, if only briefly, with the fundamentals of dialectical and historical materialism.

This is all the more necessary because dialectical and historical materialism constitute the theoretical basis of Communism, the theoretical foundations of the Marxist party, and it is the duty of every active member of our Party to know these principles and hence to study them.

What, then, is

1) Dialectical materialism?

2) Historical materialism?”

This was followed in the short course by the great classic ‘Dialectical Materialism and Historical Materialism’, written by Stalin especially for the occasion. It was at the same time, in 1937, that Mao wrote ‘On Contradiction’, a classic which, in addition to protecting and defending the gains made, would also become a new beacon illuminating and deepening the dialectical materialist understanding of the world.

During this period, the World Revolution also had to contend with the strengthening of the counter-revolution in the fascist regimes, and its objective ally in the revolutionary camp – Trotskyism – but also with the stabilization of the first socialist state, the USSR.

When the Revolution knows moments on the defensive, then idealistic, mechanical and regressive conceptions are inevitably reflected at the very heart of the revolutionary camp. This led to apathy and demoralization, as the 1938 short course noted:

“The defeat of the Revolution of 1905 started a process of disintegration and degeneration in the ranks of the fellow-travelers of the revolution. Degenerate and decadent tendencies grew particularly marked among the intelligentsia.

The fellow-travelers who came from the bourgeois camp to join the movement during the upsurge of the revolution deserted the Party in the days of reaction (…).

The offensive of the counter-revolution was waged on the ideological front as well.

There appeared a whole horde of fashionable writers who « criticized » Marxism, and « demolished » it, mocked and scoffed at the revolution, extolled treachery, and lauded sexual depravity under the guise of the « cult of individuality. »

In the realm of philosophy increasing attempts were made to « criticize » and revise Marxism; there also appeared all sorts of religious trends camouflaged by pseudo-scientific theories.”

This is why the four classics cited above form, albeit at different times, one and the same truth: that of the reaffirmation of the ideological foundations of the Revolution in a context marked by the subjective depletion of its forces.

This makes it possible to temporize the strategic defense in the sense that the universal, scientific principle underlying the Revolution is affirmed, and consequently to safeguard revolutionary subjectivity.

And we know to what extent revolutionary subjectivity is the driving force behind the Revolution itself.

There is an extension and enrichment of ‘Dialectics of Nature’ (1883) to ‘Dialectical Materialism and Historical Materialism’ (1938), via ‘Materialism and Empirio-critism’ (1908) and ‘On Contradiction’ (1937). The last ‘inverted’ word in the revolutionary counter-counter-offensive is naturally to be found in the writings of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China.

Between 1883 and 1938 (but also up to 1966), we are at the heart of the first spiral movements of the revolution (offensive, defensive, counter-offensive, etc.) in the context of the first general crisis of capitalism: the texts cited here affirm and stabilize theoretical elements taken for granted by previous practice.

What we have here is a work of synthesis. If we understand precisely this, we can see that the emphasis on the Dialectical Materialist Party (DMP) corresponds to an obvious historical situation: that of the nexus between the first general crisis and the second general crisis.

To put it another way: the Revolution is in strategic defense in relation to past dynamics, but tends to be on the offensive in relation to the future.

It is a question of corresponding to this situation on a general level, in the ideological affirmation itself, in order to counter despondency and demoralization, and to affirm the general offensive and optimism.

There is a need to re-impulse revolutionary subjectivity in a context of the crushing of the Revolution, not merely conjunctural like the Bismarckian, Stolypinian, Hitlerian repressions, etc., but in a general way.

We are talking here about a situation marked by the general crushing of the first wave of the World Revolution and the creation of the conditions for the deployment of the second wave.

The DMP signifies precisely this reading of things, and stands at the heart of the nexus as guardian of the temple (that of the achievements of the previous century) and vanguard of the future revolutionary movement.

This is the meaning of the DMP’s affirmation, because it appears in such a historical context that there is a need to affirm the world view not just as a ‘theoretical basis’ for practical revolutionary commitment, but as revolutionary commitment itself, its very subjective substance. The times now make this possible.

We are not simply affirming the continuity of the classical texts mentioned above, in the idea of a cumulative heritage, but rather their universal synthesis, or rather their universalization in a synthetic way.

This is not a new step in the staircase, as the previous theoretical elements were, but the arrival on a landing before the ascent of a new staircase.

This is materialized by a new cerebral, synaptic connection with a subjectivity developing a total vision of the world, that of dialectical materialism.

The DMP is the revolutionary expression in the nexus itself, and by this very fact it must protect and systematize the dialectical materialist worldview while at the same time extending it, because the revolution can only take a relative step backwards.

Anyone who does not understand this is immediately on the outside of the world revolution that is about to take place.

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