CPC(M-L)’s Historic Initiative, January 1, 1995
A Nation-Building Project Like No Other
On January 1, 1995, on behalf of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), party leader Hardial Bains launched CPC(M-L)’s Historic Initiative. This initiative brings together all the different threads of the movement, which are developing across the country within the present national and international conditions, to divert them towards opening the path for the progress of society. It is a nation-building project like no other as required by the times to develop the human factor/social consciousness. This article explains the key references contained in this important nation-building project, based on conversations with Hardial Bains at the time the Historic Initiative was launched.
By human factor is meant the recognition that all people have rights by virtue of being human and on account of their concrete objective reality. Recognizing this as an approach to carrying out any initiative is the basis for social progress.
By social consciousness is meant the recognition that society must harmonize and reconcile the interests of its individual members with their collectives and the individual and collective interests with the general interests of society itself.
By human factor/social consciousness is meant that human sensuous and material action which is directed towards fully controlling the direction of society and its relationship with nature so as to humanize the natural and social environment to benefit society and all its members.
Present Canadian society is constituted so as to put individual freedom in first place by recognizing the sanctity of private property as the basis on which the relations between people are established. Such a society has sidelined the human factor/social consciousness, the human sensuous and material action which can harmonize the interests of the individuals with those of their collectives and the interests of the individuals and their collectives with the general interests of society. In sum, what has been marginalized is that which is directed towards the full control of society and its relationship with nature in favour of the people. The aim is to preserve the status quo and ensure that the door for the progress of the society is kept shut.
The individual interest of private property has been concentrated into a force of such gigantic proportions at this time that it has imposed a state of retrogression on the whole of society in the country and internationally. It claims that spontaneity and anarchism are normal traits of people and society as long as they serve its own interests. Organizing itself to the hilt in the form of coalitions and cartels which seek to control all decision-making powers, the narrow private interests claim that there is such a thing as an inherent human nature in its own image which is egotistical and self-serving. On this basis it claims that society must be organized accordingly and that nothing can be done to change the situation. Such a self-serving notion ensures that only that which facilitates its own existence and expansion and competition with others of its kind is planned.
By historic is meant that consideration which is based on a broad view of the entire development from time immemorial to the present, in general, and from the time of the Middle Ages in Europe to the present, in particular. It is the approach which takes into account all the forces engendered in the present day development and the gravitation inherent in them. It places fidelity to the ensemble of social relations and what they reveal in first place, which is not just the abyss and all the powers of destruction but the face of the New and humanity’s striving for empowerment.
By initiative is meant putting the human factor/social consciousness at the centre stage of all developments within the framework of concrete plans of action designed to achieve the successes required at any time.
By Historic Initiative is meant that action by the working class which will place the human factor/social consciousness at the centre stage of all development with a far-reaching impact on the direction of society, capable of determining its entire future form and content.
By pursuing this Historic Initiative and working out concrete plans of action, CPC(M-L) is responding to historic necessity. It is a plan by CPC(M-L) to ensure that human sensuous and material action is put at centre stage, controlling the direction of the society and its relationship with nature so as to benefit society and all its members. In other words, CPC(M-L) is calling on the working class to transcend the narrow aims imposed on society by a corrupt ruling elite and open the door to the progress of society.
By opening the door to the progress of society is meant the creation of all the factors which will lead to social emancipation by ending the exploitation of persons by persons. This requires an immediate conscious move on the part of the working class to set the direction of the economy, establish a modern constitutional foundation and carry out democratic renewal which will open the door to the progress of society.
By progress in this case is meant the creation of a society which cares and provides for all people and their collectives by virtue of their being human, a society in which the claims of all people are recognized according to their concrete objective reality. A conscious, rational and humane society is a requirement of history at this stage in the development of human civilization. Bringing it into being is the main content and thrust of the Historic Initiative until such a time as its aim is accomplished.
By Plan of Action is specifically meant the period of insistence in which the working class must put the human factor/social consciousness at the centre stage of the developments. No other aim must have priority for the working class during this period. A plan of action is adopted to consolidate the working class consciousness that it must fulfil its historic role as the emancipator of humankind. It must do so not just for its own sake but for the sake of the liberation of entire humanity, which is the condition for its own emancipation and vice versa.
This Historic Initiative is the continuation of the initiative of the people of the Renaissance and of the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, at which point human beings and their sensuous material life were put at the centre of human enterprise in all fields, culminating with the birth of the modern European nation-state and the ascent of the bourgeoisie on one hand and its nemesis, the working class, on the other. This gave rise to the system of governance based on definitions and institutions which defended private ownership of the means of production and civil liberties on this basis. With the release of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels further revolutionized the thinking on this question and put the working class at the centre stage of history.
The liberal democratic institutions no longer perform the function they were established to accomplish. The Authority no longer contains the police powers. It is no longer guided by a duty to uphold the public good, and its institutions no longer serve to sort out differences in the ranks of the owners of private property and control rebellion and insurrection. Today these forms have passed away and the private interests of the oligarchs accept no limitations. This main content of the Historic Initiative is thus to establish an Authority in accord with the Conditions which enables the people to exercise control over their lives.
The Historic Initiative was launched by CPC(M-L) within the very definite framework of nation-building. By nation-building is meant fulfilling the need to lay down a modern constitution, change the direction of the economy, carry out democratic renewal of the political process and organize the entire affairs of society in a manner which reconciles individual interests with the interests of their collectives and harmonizes the individual and collective interests with the general interests of society. Internationally, it means establishing peace and harmony between nations by guaranteeing their sovereignty and developing trade and other relations on the basis of mutual benefit.
Just as the period of the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment affirmed the man of property and the twentieth century socialist revolution and socialist construction affirmed the working class and other working people, the present period must affirm the rights of all people by virtue of their being human and their collectives by virtue of their objective reality. The affirmation of all individuals and all their collectives requires that all exploitation of persons by persons be ended.
By affirmation is meant the act of recognizing that all individuals and their collectives are free to exercise their rights by virtue of their being human and on account of their objective reality. Affirmation is that state of being of all individuals and collectives that accepts no limitation to its own development. It is an act of bringing forth that which is most human in the present society and building a modern society as a guarantee to its unfettered development.
The 20th century went down in the chronicles of human development as a century in which the working class was placed at the centre stage of development. The concrete expression of that success is the outlook of the working class, the theory of Contemporary Marxist-Leninist Thought, and all the attributes of a truly humane society without any exploitation of persons by persons. What is needed now is to go from success to victory, an irreversible development in which there is no turning back.
By success is meant the recognition of the victory of socialist revolution and socialist construction, the concrete objective reality of a new system which has not disappeared. It is to fully appreciate — the period of retrogression and reaction which has set in notwithstanding — that there has been an advance and a success and that this concrete objective reality is demanding that the human factor/social consciousness transform this success into victory.
By victory is meant the stage at which people will have taken up the centre stage of all developments by virtue of their being human and on account of their concrete reality. This is the condition for a truly modern democratic personality to emerge and forge modern forms of governance which block retrogression by virtue of vesting decision-making power and accountability in the people. To accomplish this there is a need to develop the human factor/social consciousness, the human sensuous and material action which ensures that people are placed at the centre stage of history by virtue of their being human and on account of their objective reality.
Analyzing the developments during the last thirty and more years on the basis of facts, CPC(M-L) has concluded that this is a particular period, characterized by the old forms having passed away and the new forms having not yet been brought into being. There is not a single country on earth where people are not demanding an end to neo-liberalism and its attendant schemes to pay the rich, corruption, anarchy and violence. People have claims on society based on the recognition that they are born to society and society is duty-bound to look after them.
By society is meant the modern conditions at its base in which the entire process of production is social while the ownership of the means of production is private, blocking the vast majority of the people — who have no other way to make their living except by depending on society — from having a say in the direction of the economy and matters of concern. The working people are striving to eliminate the block to the progress of society. CPC(M-L)’s Historic Initiative is dedicated to the elaboration of what is required to eliminate this block.
(Hardial Bains Resource Centre archives. Photos: TML)