September 14, 2000: Touchstones for the MLPD's Support for an International League of Struggle

For some years, various democratic, anti-imperialist and revolutionary organizations and movements have taken efforts to prepare the founding of an International League of Struggle; from the onset, the MLPD was among these organizations and took an active and constructive part. Meanwhile, an important process of clarification has emerged in the founding preparations (see also Rote Fahne, No. 36, 2000). Due to the great need for discussion and clarification, the MLPD made the proposal to postpone the date of the Founding Assembly which was scheduled for December 16/17, 2000. It felt that this would make sense so that the founding of the League can be backed by a lively and open international discussion, broad consensus and persuasion of all participants. In an Internet message of September 8, 2000, representatives of the International Initiative Committee (IIC) announced a possible postponement of the Founding Assembly to spring 2001. As a contribution to the necessary process of discussion, we now publish "Touchstones for the MLPD's Support for an International League of Struggle," developed by Stefan Engel, the MLPD's Chairman:

It is fundamental, that the International League of Struggle promotes the unity of all democratic, anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces, which stand up for the liberation from exploitation and oppression or struggle against certain forms of this exploitation and oppression. Whether they consider themselves anti-imperialist or not is not the decisive point. This struggle is, in any case, objectively directed against the machinations of imperialism and its rule. The MLPD has supported the idea of building up an International League of Struggle for Liberation from the very beginning as a broad union of all international forces which play a positive role in the struggle for liberation. It promoted the development of a broad international democratic discussion.

On the basis of our ideological-political line and in agreement with the resolution of the Sixth International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations, we hold the following conditions to be crucial enabling us to give support for the further building of the League of Struggle:

1. Inclusion of all anti-imperialist, democratic and revolutionary organizations which acknowledge and are willing to support the objectives and the character of the League of Struggle

The League of Struggle must be open to all organizations and movements that belong to the spectrum of the struggle against exploitation and oppression and for liberation. It may not exclude any force which supports the foundations of the League. On the basis of the ueberparteilich character, we reject an exclusion of Marxist-Leninist parties or other parties with a militant-democratic or anti-imperialist character. In the International League of Struggle, openness in terms of world outlook includes the respect of Marxism-Leninism and those organizations and movements which are organized on this basis.

An International League of Struggle must promote all the forces of struggle for liberation from imperialist exploitation and oppression.

By excluding political parties in accordance with the IIC's amendment of the statutes in February and with the IIC decision of August 19, 2000, particularly revolutionary working-class organizations are expelled from the League of Struggle, thus giving priority to the anti-imperialist struggle in the developing countries.

2. Democratic and coordinating organizational structures, cooperation on an equal basis and rejection of any centralist structures of leadership with ideological-political pretensions

From the onset of its internationalist rank-and-file work, the MLPD has stressed the necessity that the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement must find again and develop organizational forms in which it can cooperate, accumulate forces, cultivate an exchange of ideological-political positions and organize practical cooperation. The Revolutionärer Weg, No. 26, says on this:

"In form, the class struggle had to be waged against capitalist rule from the start in a national framework. The revolutionary parties were organized accordingly, though being internationalists as far as the content of their work was concerned. With the development of capitalism into imperialism, the international unification of the proletariat became an absolute necessity. 'Capitalist domination is international,' Lenin said. 'That is why the workers' struggle in all countries for their emancipation is only successful if the workers fight jointly against international capital.' ('Draft and Explanation of the Programme,' in: Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 2, p. 109)

It is a principle of Marxism-Leninism that revolutionary worker parties form an international alliance. How they unite, what shape this takes, depends on the particular objective and subjective conditions of class struggle." (The Struggle Over the Mode of Thinking in the Working-Class Movement, pp. 261-262)

Today, it is imperative that an international union of revolutionary organizations, parties, anti-imperialist movements and of mass organizations and political parties adopts a broad democratic character.

The League of Struggle must be built up on the basis of a democratic structure. In this connection, we think that a democratic culture of debate and a settlement of questions on the basis of consensus is very significant in preparing the League's founding. Decisions on the structure, the tasks and working methods of the League of Struggle can only be made by the founding participators of the League of Struggle themselves, i.e. the following general meetings. To ensure democratic construction, a corresponding democratic statute, democratic guidelines, democratic coordination through the Initiative Committee and a corresponding democratic method of work of the League of Struggle must exist. This is the only way to prevent that, for example, political parties or other forces can dominate and violate the ueberparteilich1 character.

The International Initiative Committee must organize the democratic preparatory process and coordinate the democratic discussion. The IIC is accountable to the Founding Congress. Its task ends with the Founding Congress which elects its own presidency.

Anything else would restrict the Founding Congress's powers for decision-making from the start.

3. The relationship between independence and unity of organizations

The coordinating character of the union must be ensured. That demands equal rights and independence for the participating organizations. Therefore, there must not be any subordination of the joint organizations to the decisions of any body or acknowledgment of the line of individual organizations or a group of participants in the League of Struggle.

It is in accord with the current level of the process of unification of the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement that there can be no leading center for this process adopting a prominent function and which, in agreement with democratic centralism, can speak or decide on decisions, resolutions and other principles for the participating organizations. Opposed to this, coordinating and organizing measures in which the process of unification can advance in theory and practice of the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement must be characteristic of a joint organization.

4. Democratic process of preparing the founding

Founding the League of Struggle requires a broad democratic discussion on the character of the organization before the Founding Assembly takes place. For this, the materials on the different positions must be accessible to the delegates.

5. Democratic and representative elections

The last criterion is the guarantee of a democratic election of the bodies in which the entire spectrum of the member organizations is actually brought to bear.

Due to the necessary process of discussion and clarification, it is recommendable to have a period of time to think and discuss. Otherwise, there is the danger that the founding will more likely deepen the split in the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement.

Stefan Engel

Contribute to the process of discussing the founding of an International League of Struggle!

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