The PMD analytical grid

To transform a country through revolution, you need a strategic analysis. Without a strategy, there’s nothing; you can take as many tactical initiatives as you like, they’ll still come to nothing, because quantity is not quality.

Likewise, it’s futile to hope that through a lot of initiatives, quantity will be transformed into quality, because scattered initiatives, with no common thread, are not just a matter of quantity, but of individual quality, with very poor quality.

Only a long-term vision shall enable us to see what this or that thing wants, what impact this or that initiative can have. To get a clearer picture, we need to look at things in terms of periods, historical development, and the requirements specific to those periods and that development.

So, when we do something, we calibrate it according to objectives, historical expectations; if we observe a phenomenon, we assess whether or not it’s in line with historical expectations.

You always have to evaluate what you do, what you observe, by means of a two-lines analysis: what’s the red line, what’s the black line, where does the thing, the phenomenon, stand in relation to these lines.

It’s opportunism to rush into the slightest demand, the slightest strike, the slightest protest. In any case, modern France, from 1945 to 2023, has been full of protests, strikes and protests, without ever leading to a mass protest against capitalism. Civil servant strikist ideology and students spirit of revolt have never led to anything concrete.

French decadence

Let’s take a concrete example. France is a country in decadence. The level of science, culture and ideas among its people has collapsed. There’s a general laissez-faire, idle attitude that reflects France’s parasitic position in relation to the Third World. The French want to keep what they’ve got, and that’s as far as it goes.

If we turn our attention to the modalities and state of mind of the movement against pension reform in 2023, or the Gilets Jaunes before that, then we see very clearly that we’re dealing with reactionary initiatives aimed simply at keeping French capitalism as it is. Nothing good could come of it.

So how should we view the red line? It has to be said that France is a country that is losing positions on the world market; the standard of living cannot be maintained. There is already a real fracture between a bourgeoisie living in a pronounced bubble of conspicuous consumption and the broad masses living on the go, with home ownership as a central consideration. This divide is set to widen, mechanically producing bitterness and resentment.

This last aspect represents the major moral difficulty, since we are in the retrograde attitude of the proletarian of rich countries. Nevertheless, the positive aspect is that it is now possible to affirm civilization as socialist.

In the 1960s, 1980s, 2000s… the bourgeoisie was still educated, well-bred and capable of framing things. It had the prestige of tradition, of moral and civilizational continuity. Who was going to trust leftists or trade unionists to go off on their own adventures? Nobody, of course.

The proletariat no longer faces such a strong enemy. But it still has to transform itself, massively and profoundly, to assume its role as the ruling class.

Do the syndicalists of 2023 or the Gilets Jaunes converge with this need for proletarian self-criticism, with the idea of a socialist civilization? Not at all. The syndicalists and the Gilets Jaunes aligned themselves with the illusion of capitalism as infinitely redistributive, as long as you can “scrape away” gains.

Instability and war

How should the PMD see things? It must start from the premise that French capitalism is not static, but evolving. It’s evolving because of its internal contradictions, and it’s also evolving in relation to the global competition between powers, large and small. The internal evolution is decadence; the relationship with global competition is war. France goes to war because it has to in order to maintain its position in the global balance of power, and also to try and strengthen its own positions.

The internal shrivelling thus combines with a tendency towards war, which will bound to provoke upheavals in society. We tend to a revolutionary situation, which Lenin describes as follows:

“The fundamental law of revolution, which has been confirmed by all revolutions and especially by all three Russian revolutions in the twentieth century, is as follows: for a revolution to take place it is not enough for the exploited and oppressed masses to realise the impossibility of living in the old way, and demand changes; for a revolution to take place it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way.

It is only when the “lower classes” do not want to live in the old way and the “upper classes” cannot carry on in the old way that the revolution can triumph. This truth can be expressed in other words: revolution is impossible without a nation-wide crisis (affecting both the exploited and the exploiters).

It follows that, for a revolution to take place, it is essential, first, that a majority of the workers (or at least a majority of the class-conscious, thinking, and politically active workers) should fully realise that revolution is necessary, and that they should be prepared to die for it; second, that the ruling classes should be going through a governmental crisis, which draws even the most backward masses into politics (symptomatic of any genuine revolution is a rapid, tenfold and even hundredfold increase in the size of the working and oppressed masses—hitherto apathetic—who are capable of waging the political struggle), weakens the government, and makes it possible for the revolutionaries to rapidly overthrow it.”

Analytical grid and criteria

For each thing or phenomenon, the PMD must ask not simply for a “class position”, but how it relates to the New or the Old. In what way does the thing or phenomenon contribute to decadence, or, on the contrary, hinder it? In what way does the thing, the phenomenon, contribute to the tendency towards war, or, on the contrary, hinder it?

Then comes the question of placing ourselves historically: in what way does the thing, the phenomenon, converge with and reflect proletarian consciousness, the dialectical materialist worldview? For without dialectical materialism, there is no sufficient solidity.

It’s an analysis of the two lines first, then of alignment with the historical demand for socialist civilization. This is the driving force of the Party, which is why Mao Zedong says that holding a class position is not enough in itself. You have to align yourself entirely with the Party, which expresses the new in its historic, complete character.

“We stand on the positions of the proletariat and the masses of the people. For Communist Party members, this implies the need to stand on the Party’s position, to conform to the Party spirit and Party policy.”

The new drives out the old, the Party carries the future.

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