“For the Historic Initiative the main question is ‘What should be the aim?’ Many times in the past, various forces have set an aim based purely on the theoretical premise that we are for socialism. Can it be said that socialism is what people should take up? Should the working class take up socialism as its aim and put all its resources behind its construction? Of course, such a decision can be made. It is consistent with our strategic program but it will not stop the bourgeoisie from pushing its aims. Our consideration in launching the Historic Initiative is not merely theoretical and ideological. Our consideration is mainly how the working class must stop the bourgeoisie from squandering the national resources, the independence of the country and its well-being. What slogan should the working class present to defeat the bourgeoisie and rally the masses of the people to its side? The answer to this question is to use the country’s resources for the collective interest.
“The slogan of nation-building is appropriate not only because it opposes what the bourgeoisie is talking about — that everybody should create an environment for the success of businesses in the global market — but it also arouses the people to take into their own hands what belongs to them and to create a society which will favour them. Of course, when everything is said and done, nation-building today is equivalent to the construction of socialism, but to present matters in that way would be making a serious blunder.
Hardial Bains introduced the discussion by focussing on the organizations of CPC(M-L) and the institutions of the technical base. These organizations and institutions are crucial for the creation of the conscious factor, that is, the creation of the subjective conditions for revolution. The technical base includes all the institutions that facilitate the work of CPC(M- L): the national office, the research institutions, the institutions connected with the production of TML Daily, as well as the distribution of publications and the entire production process. CPC(M-L) has paid a great deal of attention to this work since 1968 when The Internationalists was reorganized and the decision was taken to create the conditions for the building of CPC(M-L).
How do these organizations of CPC(M-L) and institutions of the technical base contribute to the development of the conscious factor? On whose shoulders must these institutions lean to gain in strength? Are these shoulders not those of the working class as it is made more and more conscious of its responsibilities to itself and the society? For instance, can the national office develop its work without the women, workers, youth and students providing it with assistance? Where else is the strength going to originate to complete the work if not from making the working class conscious of the necessity of the national office and its tasks? It is only by mobilising women, workers, youth and students that the national office can make any headway.
The first institution of the technical base was the Necessity For Change Institute of Ideological Studies, established in 1967. The logic behind this Institute was that the work of study, investigation and research belongs to the working class and the broad masses of the people. The need for a professional research institute was necessary to fulfil the need of the people for scientific material, especially social science. The Institute was established based on the enthusiasm of the people for such work. At the same time, it was not a political organization in itself. This institute, as one of the enterprises of the technical base, played and continues to play a crucial role in raising the ideological and political level of the people.
To advance this work, to further develop its quality and quantity, it is absolutely necessary to organize and mobilize the people to support it in every way. This means to make the working class conscious that this work is crucial for its own cause of emancipation. Two ingredients are necessary for this qualitative development.
First is the human factor and the necessary material resources for its development. Put succinctly and directly, people working in such an institute have to eat and clothe and shelter themselves before they are able to do any work. Will the institute produce products that will become popular amongst the people, arousing them to willingly finance the people working there in return for its production?
The second ingredient is social consciousness. Are the people working in the institute fully dedicated to their product, that it must fulfil the needs of the people to raise their ideological and political level? In other words, the institute must produce materials needed by the people without putting the profit-motive in command. At the same time, people working in the institute have to be confident that they will elicit a definite response from the people for the materials they produce. The institute literally has to be run by the people, of the people and for the people, even though to put it this way may appear trite.
Hardial Bains called upon everyone to pay the utmost attention to and fully appreciate what it means in the objective sense to run the institute or other institutions of the technical base such as the national office, distribution enterprise, publishing houses etc. He said the only institution of the technical base in existence in early 1968 was the Necessity For Change Institute of Ideological Studies. Soon however, by August 1968, another institution was established quickly followed by many others. For over twenty-eight years, the Marxist-Leninists have had several important institutions. How should these institutions develop in 1996? Should grants be sought from the state as the bourgeois political parties have done since 1965-66? Or should a path be opened, eliminating the weaknesses of the existing institutions and developing them as real fortresses of communism?
Real fortresses of communism are those where people work on an unremitting professional basis, educate themselves constantly as to what is the purpose of their particular institution and strive to make the people conscious of the necessity and importance of the work. For instance, an enterprise distributing progressive literature has to deeply grasp that the people need such literature. They actually need it badly, even desperately one can say. Those in the enterprise have to let the people know that such literature exists, which will help them even while in the midst of creating the new. This is not just a matter of telemarketing. It is a matter of deeply responding to the need of the people to raise their ideological and political level, and making them conscious of the services the enterprise provides.
The accounting of these enterprises is done on the basis of sharing the income according to the kind of work a person does and the ability they bring to the work, as well as their individual needs, which are also taken into consideration to a certain extent. Most importantly and significantly, labour is not considered a cost. On the contrary, the total income minus costs belongs not only to the collective working there but also to the working class as a whole. Such a collective contributes not only through their own work but also by making it extremely successful so that it is able to support and even start-up enterprises if necessary. In other words, such an institution belongs to the working class in the true sense of the word. This kind of institution has a future at this time. It is this kind of institution that assists the growth of the human factor/social consciousness, an institution that produces individuals who not only look out for themselves but do so within the framework of the needs of the collective and the general interests of the society, and to open a path for progress.
Ideological and Political level
The Necessity for Change analysis begins with a determined and thoroughgoing offensive against ideological subversion and block to development through social forms.
As a vanguard of the class, it must be the highest expression of that class in the sphere of organization, in the sphere of political activity, in the sphere of theory and in the sphere of its ideological work.
Not a few people and organizations think that ideological struggle is merely to prove your adversary wrong.
The aim of ideological struggle for the working class is to arm itself with those ideas and those forms of consciousness that will enable it to build a system through revolution, and which will make it possible to protect that system under all conditions and circumstances. Those ideas can only emerge from the working class. They can only come from the activities of the broad section of the working class. They cannot be the preserve of the vanguard alone, they cannot be ideas conjured up and developed in isolation from the class.
“With the MCIP as a starting point, CPC(M-L) will provide people with all the knowledge available to it. Contemporary Marxist-Leninist thought will be put at the service of arming the people with the ideological, political and theoretical information about the struggle for the creation of a new society.
“When we begin from the basic thesis that our Communist Party is a modern arrangement with its own ideological basis, it is this which provides coherence to the polity; this is what makes people think about the direction in which society must go and this is what provides the working class with its leading role.
According to the July 20 thesis, if the institutions of the technical base are producing the anti-human factor/anti-consciousness and are not upholding the concepts of building a “fortress of communism” and that the assets belong to the collective, it means that the institutions are not being utilized to raise the ideological and political level of the people. Nay more, such institutions end up ruining themselves.
………. The greatest material asset is the working class and the broad masses of the people. If the organizations of CPC(M-L) and institutions of the technical base were to function on the basis of support from the working class and the broad masses of the people, they will contribute to the raising of their ideological and political level, and to the expansion and development of their asset.
The greatest asset, besides the working class and theory, is the ideological struggle, the organizing and mobilising power, the turning of the notion of a “fortress of communism” into reality.
The organizations of CPC(M-L) at various levels, and the institutions of the technical base must engage in resolute, irreconcilable ideological struggle according to their own concrete conditions, raising the image and profile of their own work in the eyes of the masses.
1. Set the Aim (Nation building)
2. The national office
3. The research institutions
4. The institutions connected with the production of the press hard copy and website
5. Distribution of publications
6. The entire production process
7. Raise social consciousness