Revolutionary Strategy: Uniting All Who Can Be United

From Fighters For One to Fighters For All

by Bob Avakian

At every point, and throughout the entire revolutionary process, we have to be good at applying our line and strategic approach of United Front Under the Leadership of the Proletariat (UFuLP), including the aspect of independence and initiative for the proletariat and its vanguard.

We have to be good at doing this all in a way that, proceeding from the strategic interests of the proletariat, we draw the dividing lines so that we can unite the broadest numbers of people in a way that moves them--objectively and, to the maximum degree possible without rupturing that unity, subjectively--in accordance with and in the direction of the proletariat's strategic interests, and which advances those strategic interests overall. Now, that last sentence was a "mouthful," but this is an extremely important point.

What I mean by "objectively and, to the maximum degree possible without rupturing that unity, subjectively" is that we draw the dividing line so that the way the battle is developing is objectively in accord with the interests of the proletariat, and we also try to win the maximum number of people within that to more consciously fighting in that way, without rupturing the unity that's correct for the particular struggle and the particular circumstances.

"The Party at the core" of all our efforts, which is an important principle we have stressed, must be understood in these terms. The Party at the core is essentially and above all a political and ideological question. It is not essentially a question of the Party exercising direct organizational leadership in the broad mass movements and various broad mass organizations at any given time--in many circumstances, even at a more advanced stage of the revolutionary movement (prior to the seizure of power), it would not be correct for us to attempt to do that. However, in the final analysis, in order to carry out the seizure of power and the socialist transformation of society as part of the advance to communism worldwide, the Party will have to establish its direct and acknowledged leadership of the revolutionary movement and of socialist society.

And in carrying out our Central Task today and preparing for the emergence of a revolutionary situation and the all-out struggle for power, it is also crucial to build mass organization in which the Party is at the core organizationally as well as politically and ideologically. This must be done in dialectical relation with building broad mass struggles and organizations and overall developing the revolutionary movement toward our strategic objectives.

Dividing One Into Two

Another way of saying this is that we have to correctly handle this contradiction--between the United Front aspect and the Leadership of the Proletariat aspect--by dividing one into two and not by combining two into one. This is an important philosophical principle.

(And we can also see the importance of those philosophical debates and struggles that took place in China in the period leading up to the Cultural Revolution. There was a pamphlet that came out in China, "The Three Great Struggles on China's Philosophical Front," and the struggles it summarizes had a very important role in preparing the ground for the Cultural Revolution as well as within the Cultural Revolution itself as it was battled out. The reactionaries, the capitalist roaders within the Party, called for combining two into one--combining contradictory aspects, contradictory forces and interests, in other words, reconciling fundamental differences through compromises, which actually meant subordinating the proletariat to the bourgeoisie. The Maoists, who were leading the revolutionary masses on the socialist road, insisted upon the opposite line, the correct method of dividing one into two, recognizing the contradictory aspects of all things and the necessary struggle between these contradictory aspects--even in contradictions among the people, where the struggle should be non-antagonistic, and definitely in terms of the necessarily antagonistic contradiction and struggle between the people and the enemy--in order to uphold the dictatorship of the proletariat and continue on the socialist road, continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.)

How all this applies to our strategy is that we must strive for the broadest possible unity, but we must also base ourselves firmly on and boldly put forward the outlook and interests of the proletariat and no other class or group. The application of one divides into two, as opposed to two into one, means we don't merge the outlook and interests of the proletariat with other classes and strata in order to be able to unite with them. We divide one into two, so that we seek the broadest possible unity, while also basing ourselves on and boldly putting forward the outlook and interests of the proletariat and no other class.

We must draw a very clear and firm distinction and dividing line between this outlook and interest and all others, and on that basis unite as broadly as possible. "On that basis" doesn't mean people have to agree with the outlook of the proletariat in order for us to unite with them--that would be sabotaging and undermining the united front and in fact sabotaging and undermining the interests of the proletariat--but it does mean that we uphold and boldly propagate that outlook and that we apply it, including through uniting broadly, in particular battles and in the overall struggle against the imperialist system.

It means uniting with many people who, at any given time, may not embrace, and in some cases may even strongly oppose, the proletarian world outlook. And it means (as that earlier "mouthful" sentence said) consistently striving to win as many people as possible to the outlook of the proletariat and its strategic objectives, but doing this in a way that does not rupture the necessary unity that corresponds to those objectives, at any given time and in an overall sense throughout the whole struggle.

As I said straight-up at the beginning of this series on our strategy of the United Front Under the Leadership of the Proletariat--if we are serious about winning, if our desire for proletarian revolution is sincere and not feigned, firm and not weak, deep and not shallow, we will struggle to firmly grasp and apply this strategic orientation.

In all this, we must base ourselves on the materialist understanding--on the understanding that dialectical materialism and historical materialism alone can give us--that all the contradictions that bring various sections of the people into motion against the system are objectively rooted in the fundamental contradiction and basic nature of the capitalist-imperialist system; and that these contradictions can only be finally resolved through proletarian revolution. This is the material basis for our strategy of the United Front Under the Leadership of the Proletariat, and it is the underlying basis for developing fighters on one front into fighters on all fronts and winning people to wage that fight more consciously against the common source--the basic problem--the capitalist-imperialist system. To quote from Bullets*:

"The more firmly we grasp the correct line, including on building the united front as our revolutionary strategy, the more broadly we should not only seek to but be able to unite with other forces in motion. This is because the deeper we grasp this line, and the basic principles of MLM on which it is based, the more we will be able to understand how each particular struggle arises from the fundamental contradiction of capitalism and represents a part of the overall struggle against the capitalist system, regardless of the degree to which the people spontaneously involved in these struggles are conscious of this." (p.144)

This is another way of expressing Lenin's point that communism springs from every pore of society. Applying our strategy of United Front Under the Leadership of the Proletariat is the way to direct all these springs toward the final destination of communism.

* Bullets: From the Writings, Speeches & Interviews of Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. RCP Publications, available at Revolution Books & Outlets.