54th Anniversary of Necessity for Change Conference
August 15, 1967
A Historic Event for the Revolutionary Movement
August 15 marks the anniversary of the historic Necessity for Change Conference held in London, England in 1967 which elaborated and adopted the Necessity for Change! analysis. On this occasion, the Central Committee of CPC(M-L) sends warmest revolutionary greetings to all the Party organizations across the country, to all supporters and friends and to all those involved in the crucial work to open society’s path to progress.
The Necessity for Change! analysis (published as a pamphlet following the 1967 conference and republished in 1998 with a foreword by the author) is an important contribution to the development of the subjective factors for revolution. Necessity for Change! formed the ideological basis for CPC(M-L). It had great influence in its formative years in the working out of its program and theory, and the ideological remoulding of the activists who came forward to take up the task of revolution. By tackling the problems of the quality of thinking and quality of action, the Necessity for Change! analysis has infused the here and now from 1967 to the present. It is history making.
Comrade Bains wrote in 1997, “[The Necessity for Change analysis] lays down ideological remoulding as the key to the uninterrupted advance and victory of revolution. Basing themselves on the concrete contemporary situation and the problems of the working class movement, The Internationalists took up the questions of organization and the role of the individual in the revolutionary transformation within the context of the work of the collective.” The Necessity for Change analysis states decisively, “understanding requires an act of conscious participation of the individual, an act of finding out,” placing action in the first place and understanding in its service.
Establishing a new reference point and giving birth to the New demands revolutionary work and analysis. Revolutionaries cannot be bystanders describing the human condition if they are to enact change and bring in the New. Revolutionary practice exists in a dialectical relationship with revolutionary theory. Revolutionary practice cannot exist without revolutionary theory, and practice leads the way through actions with analysis. Revolutionary theory without revolutionary practice serves no purpose and can even become dogmatic renderings to block the New from coming into being. Revolutionaries cannot repeat the old analysis and reference points and expect to change the situation and give birth to the New. Actions to bring in the New within the concrete conditions of the here and now are strengthened and sustained with analysis of the existing objective and subjective conditions, activating the human factor/social consciousness and broadening the revolutionary practice.
The form and content of revolutionary work are in need of constant renewal and change in conformity with the changing subjective and objective conditions. The victories and theory of the past inform and guide the work in the present and give confidence to the people to march on.
As pointed out in the Foreward to the 1998 edition of Necessity for Change!:
“It is very exciting and necessary to establish what happened to this idea adopted thirty years ago. How has it evolved? How does it appear at this time? What relation does it have with the demands that basic organizations must be organs of class struggle at their level and constitute the mainstay of CPC(M-L)? What relation does it have with the demand of our times that all work must be based on the collectives of the people and on the modern definition of rights, which recognizes that all humans are born to society and that society is duty-bound to recognize their claims upon it?”
This perspective remains relevant today. Starting from the present, recovering what is relevant from the past, and placing the collectives of the people at the centre of all considerations our historiography can chart the course of the Necessity for Change consciousness that permeated sensuous material activity from 1967 and beyond. Both consciousness and matter can be studied but only if this is done with the interest of the working class movement and theory as a guide.
Social matter and consciousness leave no imprint on society if they are not a vital force received through the senses, reflected onto the brain, and in turn digested, analyzed and synthesized, from which the results are reflected in further actions. This reflection presupposes relations of humans within society and with nature. Since these relationships emerge from sensuous material activity, how humans relate to other humans and to nature determines their thought material.
For the human brain to focus attention on this history-making process, it must stake out for consideration a discipline within which to work. As a product of nature, the brain will reveal what is reflected onto it, as do all things and phenomena. If the brain does not discipline itself and work with fidelity to those matters that concern it, the brain falls prey to everything that bombards it, and will be subject to incoherence, chaos, extreme anxiety and despair.
The powers-that-be put great emphasis on maintaining a state of incoherence, irrationality, mindlessness and aimlessness to cover up what the concrete conditions are revealing and to subject everyone and everything to the self-serving authority and discipline of the “various classes who have usurped power by force.” Resolute action is required to reject this pressure of mindlessness and aimlessness through conscious participation in an act of finding out what direct experience is revealing in the present situation.
Conscious participation presupposes there is something to talk about, to communicate. For this communication to happen, social reflection along with the brain, speech and its organs are required. Only through having a say-so can we argue out definitions for a perspective and vision, and pass judgment on what is relevant and what is not, and give voice to the motivation of this work to seek truth from facts to serve the people.
With social consciousness under assault from bourgeois culture and the promotion of narcissistic and egocentric individualism, it is difficult to maintain fidelity to what the concrete conditions are revealing and to argue out well-reasoned opinions and positions. The “act of finding out” through systematic and professional work entails social intercourse, which is first and foremost discussion. The reflection of the results of this systematic and professional work presupposes that it needs to be communicated.
Only to the extent that the systematic and professional work remains true to what the experiences and reality are revealing and reflecting on to the brain can the problems posed to be solved and the plans proposed for their resolution be taken up and brought to a successful conclusion. Without a firm connection to the actual conditions, the working class and its allies become forcibly detached from the problems confronting them and subjected to the prejudices and preconceived notions of the powers-that-be.
By taking up systematic and professional work and its communication, a contribution is made to the creation of a new discipline concerning the origin and development of the consciousness of Necessity for Change! This discipline is directly connected to the least studied issues today — the Communist Party and Revolution.
Those who feel the urge for change in their situation and the desire to take up the questions spontaneously emerging from the conditions and the numerous struggles and movements in which they are participating are inspired by the Necessity for Change! analysis. These questions revolve around what kind of a society is this, what kind of society do we need and how can we organize to achieve a new society.
Today it is all the more urgent to reject the aggressive and coercive thought of the powers-that-be, which declares history has come to an end and there is no alternative. Bourgeois notions of history as such, history out there, history beyond the reach of the working class and people, and history being the sole domain of the “various classes who have usurped power by force” suggest there is no possibility of developing a consciousness of the need to change and to bring in the new, and that all ideas have reached their final and perfect form whether in politics, philosophy, economics, culture, or any other field. They even argue that these ideas have existed as such from time immemorial. They assert that all material progress can only take place as long as the status quo remains as is without question. For example, they claim the scientific, technological and industrial revolutions can only continue within the type of system they dominate and control, and any problems that might arise can only be sorted out within the prevailing system. These contradictory notions of stagnation in the realm of ideas and relations among humans and with nature yet material change in the forces of production demand we accept a double consciousness, one consciousness for the ideas and relations imposed on us and the other for what takes place materially in a world beyond our reach, say-so and control.
CPC(M-L) opposes the anti-consciousness that no history is to be made. By studying the Necessity for Change! consciousness and analysis in its historical development and taking up the work, proof is offered against the dangerous thesis that no history is to be made. The aim behind the assertion of this thesis by the powers-that-be is to deprive the working class and its allies of their own outlook and perspective. Along with exploitation, wars of aggression, retrogression and fascism, depriving the people of their outlook is a crime against humanity committed by the “various classes who have usurped power by force.” The continuing work of the Necessity for Change analysis looking into the history of the Necessity for Change! consciousness and organizing on that basis are means to contest the bourgeoisie ideologically, and insist that our historiography is part of the new historical basis for going into action against “the forces who have usurped power by force.”
The aim is to elaborate modern communism so as to enable the advanced workers to provide themselves with guides to action, as practical ways forward under all conditions and circumstances. The aim is also to enable the youth to develop the enlightenment movement, which they require to build a bright future for themselves. Those who take up the study and discussion of the Necessity for Change and modern communism do so as concrete practical tasks. Opening society’s path to progress requires enlightened theory to illuminate the way forward within the complex situation we are living through today.