The Teachings of Marxism-Leninism


On Illegal Party Organization and Secret Tasks

And How To Avoid Legal, Sectarian, Reconciliatory, and Centrist Mistakes



By Wolfgang Eggers

Original German text - May 6th, 2003

English translation - October 2018




Those who are serious about building the Bolshevik Party as an instrument of the working class in order to smash the state apparatus and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat must from the beginning combine legal and illegal work. The Bolshevik Party is the highest form of the secret connections of the proletarian class organizations. From the first day of its existence, the Party is in its first period (not only!) a formally secretive organization, as Lenin has clearly stated.

That is - to train professional revolutionaries and an illegal core, to create covert connections, etc. They can not do that without taking part in the daily struggles of the masses and checking the individual measures in practice. Only then can they fulfill the tasks step by step. But it would be a dangerous mistake to believe that these tasks could be done “incidentally” in the conduct of mass battles, or if you could wait because you think you have the situation under control until day X when the party is prohibited. The bourgeoisie will not send us a telegram before, which\ of course, does not stop us from analyzing on a daily basis how the bourgeoisie is tactically behaving towards its political opponents - not just against us Communists.

It involves the creation of a complex parallel in the apparatus, which has to be fully operational per shift lever in compliance with military - proletarian discipline for every second. In order to achieve this mobile condition, the illegal apparatus must be tried and tested in practice, otherwise, complications will occur and endanger the existence of the party. It is not about a kind of “emergency generator”, but about an illegal combat staff superior to the opponent WITHOUT WHICH the socialist revolution CANNOT be led to victory, and that is the meaning of every Bolshevik fighting party. History teaches that most revolutionary parties are not or were not insufficiently prepared for the illegality they were pushing for. This has always led to panic, irritations, and fluctuations and has not ended in a few cases even with the liquidation or degeneration of the combat party. Mind you, this is not just happening to small, weak parties. Stalin gave the Bolsheviks a major task, which they masterfully accomplished with the victory of the October Revolution. Today we Communists do not solve this main task "anyhow", but in a way that is no less masterful:

Our main tasks should be: (...) 3) Not to neglect any legal opportunities, for no counter-revolution can really drive us underground.” (Stalin: ‘Speeches at an Emergency Conference’ in: ‘Works’, Volume 3; Moscow; 1953; p.128; English Edition).

Any comrade may like to read that again and think about it in peace:

Not to neglect any legal opportunities, for no counter-revolution can really drive us underground.”

The illegal work of the party is thus a special way to exploit the possibilities of legal work under difficult conditions. But changes in these particular forms do not eliminate its content, not its irreconcilability with revolutionary class struggle. The Bolsheviks and the Albanian Communists proved that this works, thus creating the conditions for a flourishing socialism. We always have to keep that in mind with everything we do.

Communism cannot be forbidden. The counter-revolution is powerless against the social development that rolls over the most reactionary heads. The world revolution cannot be pushed into illegality, it will be unstoppable, and all obstacles will collapse. Why is the class enemy fighting us? Because it sees us as a serious danger, and this is the best proof that our revolutionary work has the right impact. The Communist Party may be forced to abandon one tactic or so and replace it with another, it may be forced to make the greatest sacrifices, but it will never abandon its principles under whatever conditions it faces in its struggle. It will remain faithful to the party program and the ideological-political principles of Marxism-Leninism and will, even in the most difficult crisis, put its revolutionary line into practice. Never should the tighter conditions of illegality and fascist persecution, cause a Communist party to abandon its revolutionary means and methods of struggle and renounce educating the masses to revolution. The revolutionary spirit of the class struggle must never be tarnished or abandoned.

No amount of perfected bourgeois surveillance can ever prevent the victory of the working class and its revolutionary vanguard party in the socialist revolution. That's not technical question, that's a political question. But for as long as possible, we must by all means - without becoming unprincipled - fight for the preservation of the legality of our party. And if the bourgeoisie tries to limit our legal options step by step, we will gradually expand and improve our illegal possibilities and methods of struggle. Prohibitions and persecutions will not divert us from our goal; on the contrary, our confidence in victory will only further strengthen our revolutionary will and resolve our actions.

We have to distinguish two things:

The counter-revolution tries to force the Communist Party into illegality, to cut off its connection with the masses and to better destroy them in isolation, i.e. to “legalize” them for their own purposes, to exploit their reputation among the masses to mislead, deceive, betray and discourage the masses from the revolutionary struggle, or to guide them into safe waters for the power of the bourgeoisie. The counter-revolution has learned and understood how to use a splitter organization against the reorganization of the true revolutionary forces under illegal conditions - i.e. an illegal camouflaged organization of counter-revolution to combat the illegal Bolshevik organization and its work. In particular, comrades who were fighting or are fighting in socio-fascist countries faced and are facing this situation.

This is not to be confused with the secret, illegal activity in the revolutionary battle tactics of the Communist Party. In this case, the illegal struggle is a kind of “stratagem” of the proletariat in the civil war, a necessary part of warfare, the maneuverability of the proletariat to crush the counter-revolution. It is about protection, the maintenance of the revolutionary organism, the creation of reserves, the securing of illegal connections and contacts, the organization of protection by the masses, it's defensive measures to ward off the bourgeoisie's blows, that is to say, requirements for the reorganization processes of the party.

Illegal work and organization thus have both an offensive and a defensive character, whereby - depending on the ebb and flow of the revolution - the focus can change, precisely in the situation of the organization of the attack or the organization of the retreat. That depends on the class warfare conditions and must be handled flexibly. The attack phase is about the party's illegal fighting staff, who lead the revolutionary class struggle under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.

Both are dialectically related and conditional on each other, but one must not equate or mingle things. Illegal is not equally illegal, there are big differences, nuances and facets. The more complex the class struggle is, the more differentiated the counter-revolution is against our organizations, the more sophisticated and effective our illegal work must be. In his writing “Revelations Concerning the Communist Trial in Cologne” (1853, this was written 150 years ago!), Engels wrote:

With the defeat of the revolution of 1848-49 the party of the proletariat on the Continent lost use of the press, freedom of speech and the right to associate, i.e. the legal instruments of party organisation (...) Consequently after 1849 a whole series of clandestine proletarian societies sprang up on the Continent, were discovered by the police, condemned by the courts, broken up by the gaols and continually resuscitated by the force of circumstances.

Some of these secret societies aimed directly at the overthrow of the existing state. (...) Other secret societies aimed at organising the proletariat into a party, without concerning themselves with the existing governments.” (Marx, Engels: ‘Relevations Concerning the Trial in Cologne’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 11; Moscow; 1979; p.445-446; English Edition).

The more consciously the world proletariat fights, the more counter-revolutionary the world bourgeoisie becomes.

It is serious about shattering the Marxist-Leninist parties and their international coalition with their global terror. The international class struggle is gaining in importance and sharpness. The world revolution is alive. The world revolutionaries are gearing up not only to bravely face and resist the counter-revolutionary apparatus of the world bourgeoisie but to one day defeat, crush and destroy the international counter-revolution. This is the great lesson of the history of “socialism in one country”: the world proletariat must bear the victory of the October Revolution throughout the world. This is the legacy of the classics of Marxism-Leninism. This is the combat mission of international communism.

Marxist-Leninist parties must move closer together and support each other in illegal matters and improve their illegal work. This requires basic knowledge, which one must acquire. Since these lines are also studied by the counter-revolution, the rules of secrecy cannot be openly taught here. Secretive training must be organized illegally. What this is about is an introduction to the fundamental doctrine of Marxism-Leninism on the question of illegality. There are no patent recipes; there is not a single illegal rule, not a single secretive behavior - "for all situations" and “all cases”. For every special situation and for every eventuality, new forms, means, and ways must be found again and again. Only so much can be regulated orally. But there are some principles that are listed here:

Cutting the reactionary fetters of illegality requires an illegal party with revolutionary tactics. Those who renounce illegality renounce the Marxist-Leninist party and its revolutionary tactics!”

A revolutionary is not the one who becomes revolutionary at the outbreak of the revolution, but the one who defends the principles and slogans of the revolution under the most severe illegal conditions, when fascism, reaction and war rage the worst. A revolutionary is the one who teaches the masses, especially in these difficult conditions in words and deeds, to fight in a revolutionary way for the liberation of the working class.”

The professional revolutionary will never - not even under the most difficult illegal conditions -  lose contact with the masses.”

In the illegal work, one must never tolerate half-measures, because they are punished severely by the counter-revolution!”

Secrecy can only be learned if they are tested on a daily basis.”

Each comrade should only know as much as is necessary to fulfill their mission.”

As illegal as necessary - as legal as possible!”

(By the way, this rule comes from Lenin, as does the saying: "The jail is the University of the Revolution!") and no cadres trained by the old Comintern lacked the Leninist principle: Tying your hands in advance to the enemy, who is now better armed than we are, is foolishness to say openly if and when we will wage war with them.”

Lenin teaches that under illegal conditions, for reasons of secrecy, even an outsider can expect no “comprehensive democratism” from the Communists:

As to the reader who is not initiated in all Party affairs, the only way in which we can discharge our duty to him is to acquaint him, not with what is and what is im Werden but with a particle of what has taken place and what may be told as a thing of the past.” (Lenin: ‘What is to be Done’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 5; Moscow; 1977; p.495-496; English Edition).

And to emphasize at the very outset the high significance of the secrecy which Lenin attached to the Bolshevik Party, the following sentence is quoted from his work “What is to be Done?”:

Secrecy is such a necessary condition for this kind of organisation that all the other conditions (number and selection of members, functions, etc.) must be made to conform to it. (ibid; p.475-476).

What is the whole art of secret organization?

Lenin answers this question as follows:

The whole art of running a secret organisation should consist in making use of everything possible, in “giving everyone something to do”, at the same time retaining leadership of the whole movement, not by virtue of having the power, of course, but by virtue of authority, energy, greater experience, greater versatility, and greater talent.” (Lenin: ‘Letter to a Comrade on Organizational Tasks’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 6; Moscow; 1977; p.240; English Edition).

The Classics have left behind a great legacy of their illegal and underground combat experiences, creating masterpieces of illegal theory and tactics that we must scrupulously study and properly apply to the present day. An illegitimate party that is not masterfully prepared to master illicit theory and tactics is compelled to wander about, as Stalin says, loses confidence in getting out of illegality, unable to lead the working class forward in the socialist revolution under the most difficult situations. Here only basic knowledge can be taught. It is not enough to read any books and novels about the illegal struggle (such as “The Crow is a Spring Bird”), it is not enough to memorize secrecy rules or to learn the encryption technique of the internet, but all that contributes to constantly enrich our knowledge in order to be able to orient ourselves in the respective illegal situation, to understand the internal connections of the counter-revolutionary tactics and the activities of our class opponent, to foresee the course of events. We need to recognize not only how and where the current illicit struggle is developing, but also how and where the illegal work has to develop in the future, not only within the party, but also on an international scale through the common umbrella organization of all Marxist - Leninist parties, which the Comintern/ML urgently needs to build. For mastering the theory and tactics of illegality and secrecy means helping one another generalize and enrich the new experiences of the revolutionary world movement, and to develop and continue them. The principles of secrecy and illegality are not a dogma, but a guide to revolutionary action for the revolutionary world proletariat.

If we learn about illegality and secret work here, then we learn that from the comrades who made great sacrifices for the Communist Party, then we learn from true heroes of the peoples, from the innumerable fighters for the revolutionary cause of the proletariat, then we learn great commitment and gratitude for those, then we also learn it for the completion of the victory of their struggle, for our struggle is the continuation of their struggle, which our generation will continue until the great work of world communism has become a reality.

It was the Classics themselves who learned from the revolutionaries of past generations and eagerly endeavored to uphold the traditions. As Stalin wrote about:

The end of the ’seventies and the ’eighties put the party to further tests. Alarmed by the growth of Social-Democracy, the German government issued the Anti-Socialist Laws, broke up the party and trade union organisations, suppressed all the Social-Democratic newspapers without exception, annulled freedom of assembly and freedom of association, and the Social-Democratic Party, which had been legal only the day before, was driven underground. By these measures the government wanted to provoke Social-Democracy into unsuccessful and fatal actions, and to demoralise and crush it. Exceptional firmness and unexampled foresight were needed to avoid losing one’s head, to change tactics in time, and wisely to adjust the movement to the new conditions, Many Social-Democrats yielded to these acts of provocation and swung towards anarchism. Others renounced all their ideals and sank to the level of the liberals. But Bebel staunchly remained at his post, encouraging some, cooling the excessive zeal of others and exposing the phrasemongering of still others, and skilfully guided the Party along the true path, forward, ever forward. Ten years later the government was obliged to yield to the growing strength of the labour movement and repealed the Anti-Socialist Laws. Bebel’s line of policy proved to be the only correct line.” (Stalin: ‘August Bebel, Leader of the German Workers’ in: ‘Works’, Volume 2; Moscow; 1953; p.210-211; English Edition).

Never before in history has one class given way to the other without resistance and violence, always have the chains of subjugation had to be broken by force, the uprising had to be prepared illegally and secretly. Illegality and secrecy is not an invention of the communists, but they have evaluated and generalized the historical experiences in the entire development of class society, thus not only drawing lessons from their own communist history of illegality and secret methodology. The Christians developed their illegal methods under the persecution of the Roman emperors, which ended with the Roman emperor making himself the head of the church. With the legalization of the Church, the Roman slave-owner empire had much greater control over its opponents. It is no different with the bourgeoisie today.

Through the revisionists, the bourgeoisie succeeded in seizing socialism and converting it into bourgeois socialism with disguised exploitation and oppression and also as a bulwark against the reconquest of proletarian socialism through a renewed socialist revolution to overthrow bourgeois socialism. Illegal and secret forms of struggle are not only used by the revolutionary class, but are also used by the counter-revolutionary class, which as a communist, one must of course study, and from which one is also allowed to learn, in order to be able to fight them all the better.




The Solution of the Question of Illegal Work is the Task of the Proletarians of all Countries, it is an International Task

The traditions of the entire preceding Marxist-Leninist movement under the leadership of Comrade Enver Hoxha demand that Marxist-Leninists now concentrate all their energies on organizing the Marxist-Leninist parties, on strengthening the unity, solidarity and discipline of their comrades and on the developments of secretive techniques. If we rely on our own forces, help each other in solidarity in the world, and let ourselves be guided by the Five Classics of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Enver Hoxha, we are invincible - even and especially against a superior enemy who subversively works against us. What we need is the coordination of our secretive work in each country through a single, unified umbrella organization - the Comintern/ML. A good deal of theoretical work has already been done for a clear General Line as a guideline, and we have a viable program - although it was from the year 1928, we still live in the epoch for which it was written - the epoch of the proletarian world revolution. What we lack is an organization of the Marxist-Leninist world movement adapted to our present-day international conditions and conditions distinct from the neo-revisionists. Now it is the solution of the practical questions of organization. These solutions can be given neither by individuals, by groups, nor by a single Marxist-Leninist party, but only by the joint, coordinated action of all Marxist-Leninists in the world. This requires a global central organ that is linked to all Marxist-Leninists in the world and contributes to unifying and strengthening the Marxist-Leninist world movement as an international agitator, propagandist and organizer. This is impossible if we fail to take a united stand on all international issues of revolutionary politics. Without this condition, we will not succeed in creating an international fighting party made up of the sections of each country, united in action and thus giving blows to the class opponent. The improvement of international revolutionary organization and discipline, the perfection of conspiratorial technique on an international, perfected and highest level is urgently needed. The national isolation and encapsulation must be overcome. Only the international unification of all Marxist-Leninist forces into an umbrella organization will make it possible to systematically carry out the principles of international revolutionary division of labor and the transfer of power, and to bring about true world revolutionaries. The world bourgeoisie cannot be beaten any other way and that's what forces we have to focus on today. If the aim of the world bourgeoisie is to separate and isolate the Marxist-Leninists throughout the world, and to better disperse them one by one, then in return we must create our common international organization. Without putting this necessity into action IMMEDIATELY, a victory over international counter-revolution is out of the question nowadays. Only a Marxist-Leninist world organization can exert significant influence on the course of world political events today, and today it is the world political events that affect all Marxist-Leninist forces in the world equally and influence their political action. That must be 100% clear to all Marxist-Leninists in the world. A single Marxist-Leninist party today is powerless against the international counter-revolution. Marxist-Leninist parties are today only able to cope with the world revolutionary work of the proletarians of all countries if they join forces to form an international revolutionary combat community - that is, to organize themselves internationally, not only nationally but are also parallel to one another. Without this international union of all available revolutionary forces, the limited nature of the activities of the revolutionaries in the individual countries cannot overcome any more than the lack of their support by the world community of Marxist-Leninists. Every demand, every slogan, every struggle in every country where Marxist-Leninists are organized necessarily has to be linked to international demands, international slogans, international struggles. If there are strong links between the Marxist-Leninist parties, then every strike, every political demonstration, every communist action can be turned into a blow against the world bourgeoisie. The decisive battle is common for all of us the fight for the world revolution. We must take the INTERNATIONAL fortress if we want to complete and secure the historical victory of socialism in one country. And we will take this global fortress as we merge our forces in all countries into an international force to become a Marxist-Leninist world party of the world proletariat, to which everything that is alive and honest in Marxist-Leninist worlds will strive. The great, mighty world proletariat will raise its muscular arm of the world, and the yoke of world imperialist despotism supported by their soldiers’ bayonets will disintegrate in the dust!

The particular question of illegality is not nationally limited, but is a question that must be solved by the whole world proletariat, that is, internationally. The proletariat of all countries unites you in the fight against the international counter-revolution - this is unthinkable without mastering the global organization of illegal labor.

The illegal struggle is largely national but at the same time is an international struggle demanding great dedication and sacrifice for the internationalism of the world proletariat. International solidarity and support for the class brothers struggling in illegality - this is a great commitment and a huge organizational task. The Comintern/ML will urgently need a “Workers International Relief” (WIR), as it was launched on September 12th, 1921. The support of an illegal fighting party must be organized systematically and centrally if it is to actually help. How should the Marxist-Leninist parties systematically and effectively support one another in an illegal fight if they have not united in a single umbrella organization? For their part, parties with illegal combat experiences must pass on their experience to the other parties. How are they supposed to deal with the international counter-revolution alone? The international strategy of counter-revolution against communism must be opposed to the world revolutionary strategy of the united Marxist-Leninist parties, otherwise the struggle of any Marxist-Leninist party will sooner or later suffer defeat. It goes without saying that the central umbrella organization must be prepared for illegality at least as well as any section - if not more carefully. Neo-revisionism today is no less valued in its danger to us Marxist-Leninists and the protection of our revolutionary organizations than the danger of modern revisionism was at that time. The neo-revisionists today are the greatest threat to the international organization of the Communists. Neo-revisionists want the unity of the forces of disorganization and disintegration of international communism. They want to isolate individual Marxist-Leninists in order to better fight them, and they have joined forces against us for this purpose. They know that it is harder for Marxist-Leninists to fight illegally if they have to do this internationally. The neo-revisionists are trying to prevent the Marxist-Leninists in the world from joining together in illegal combat and from mutually supporting each other. Examples like Indonesia prove that we must protect ourselves together and realize our unity of mutual protection. The experiences of the illegal struggle are valuable not only for the Marxist-Leninists of the country concerned, but for the Marxist-Leninists throughout the world. This is particularly true of the bitter lessons learned from the mistakes and omissions of illegal work and organization, which is a tribute to the history of the Communist Party of Indonesia: nearly half a million Communists, revolutionaries and progressive people were murdered with the support of American imperialism. The events in Indonesia are therefore not an isolated phenomenon. They are a link in a chain, they are part of the attack on the international reaction against the communist movement and the revolutionary liberation struggle of the peoples. They are related to the aggressive activity of American imperialism in Vietnam and elsewhere, with the bloody intervention of imperialists throughout the world. Therefore, Marxist-Leninists throughout the world must seriously engage in the illegal struggle, carefully analyze it, learn the necessary lessons and take practical action. Lenin formulated what the working class of all countries needs:

Not anarchist phrase-mongering about revolution, but sustained, earnest, tenacious, persistent, systematic work of everywhere creating illegal organisations among the workers, of spreading uncensored, i.e., illegal, literature, of preparing the movement of the masses against their governments. This is what the working class of all countries needs!” (Lenin: ‘The Tasks of the Opposition in France’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 22; Moscow; 1974; p.130; English Edition).

In his “Theses on the Fundamental Tasks of the Second Congress of the Communist International” of July 4th, 1920, Lenin states in his 12th thesis:

In all countries, even in those that are freest, most “legal”, and most “peaceful” in the sense that the class struggle is least acute there, it is now absolutely indispensable for every Communist Party to systematically combine legal and illegal work, legal and illegal organisations. Notwithstanding their false and hypocritical declarations, the governments of even the most enlightened and freest of countries, where the bourgeois-democratic system is most “stable”, are already systematically and secretly drawing up blacklists of Communists and constantly violating their own constitutions so as to give secret or semi-secret encouragement to the whiteguards and to the murder of Communists in all countries, making secret preparations for the arrest of Communists, planting agents provocateurs among the Communists, etc., etc. Only a most reactionary philistine, no matter what cloak of fine “democratic” and pacifist phrases he may don, will deny this fact or the conclusion that of necessity follows from it, viz., that all legal Communist parties must immediately form illegal organisations for the systematic conduct of illegal work and for complete preparations for the moment the bourgeoisie resorts to persecution. Illegal work is most necessary in the army, the navy and the police because, since the imperialist holocaust, governments the world over have begun to stand in dread of people’s armies which are open to the workers and peasants, and are secretly resorting to all kinds of methods to set up military units specially recruited from the bourgeoisie and equipped with the most up-to-date weapons.

On the other hand, it is likewise necessary that, in all cases without exception, the parties should not restrict themselves to illegal work, but should conduct legal work as well, overcoming all obstacles, starting legal publications, and forming legal organisations under the most varied names, which should be frequently changed if necessary. This is being practised by the illegal Communist parties in Finland, Hungary, partly in Germany, Poland, Latvia, etc. It should be practised by the Industrial Workers of the World in the U.S.A. and by all Communist parties at present legal, should public prosecutors see fit to take proceedings against them on the grounds of resolutions adopted by Congresses of the Communist International, etc.

A combination of illegal and legal work is an absolute principle dictated, not only by all features of the present period, that of the eve of the proletarian dictatorship, but also by the necessity of proving to the bourgeoisie that there is not, nor can there be, any sphere of activity that cannot be won by the Communists; above all, it is dictated by the fact that broad strata of the proletariat and even broader strata of the non-proletarian toiling and exploited masses still exist everywhere, who continue to believe in bourgeois-democratic legality and whom we must undeceive without fail.” (Lenin: ‘Theses on the Fundamental Tasks Of the Second Congress Of The Communist International’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 31; Moscow; 1974; p.195-196; English Edition).

And in the “Conditions of Admission to the Communist International”, Lenin states under Point 3:

In countries where a state of siege or emergency legislation makes it impossible for Communists to conduct their activities legally, it is absolutely essential that legal and illegal work should be combined. In almost all the countries of Europe and America, the class struggle is entering the phase of civil war. In these conditions, Communists can place no trust in bourgeois legality. They must everywhere build up a parallel illegal organisation, which, at the decisive moment, will be in a position to help the Party fulfil its duty to the revolution.” (Lenin: ‘Conditions of Admission to the Communist International’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 31; Moscow; 1974; p.208; English Edition).

The Comintern made decisions on illegality at the III Congress to set up secret communist centers in each country that were in contact with the Comintern. A key role was played by the founding of the West European Bureau. In 1929, Dimitrov was appointed head of this illegal office. What it means when people are employed in the illegal centers of the Comintern and the Sections, who later betrayed everyone and everything, must be drawn from it serious lessons for the future. For example, the traitor Herbert Wehner, who had contacts with Dimitrov, as the central head of the KPD's illegal work, had many revolutionary German party leaders liquidated - not by the fascists but by the secret services of the Soviet Union - by declaring them there as a supposed party claim. Ulbricht and Pieck were among those traitors who systematically seized the party leadership under the “protection” of illegality and the revolutionary comrades around Ernst Thälmann - who was arrested by the fascists and later murdered after he was attacked by the right in the Comintern, but was defended by Stalin - and was shut down and it helped its revisionist course to power. All these truths come to light today with each archive door opening after the other. Dimitrov’s Trojan horse was directed against the international communists and not against the bourgeoisie, as it was faked. First of all, you have to understand everything correctly.

Our Marxist-Leninist consciousness of being the vanguard of the working class reveals itself in the face of these historical events, in that we not only recognize the need, but also understand it in practice to ORGANIZE against the bourgeoisie, including its influence both in the Marxist-Leninist movement, as well as more generally in the labor movement. And by organizing Marxist-Leninists as a preliminary troop, we also create a unified will. And this will shall become so strong that it will gradually become the will of the whole class. But the mediator between party and class is the layer of those who agree with our revolutionary line, the layer of helpers and sympathizers (broader than the party, but narrower than the class). Let's talk about Lenin's party organization, how he created it in Russia, and how it can be re-established in all countries of the world - although in different countries the party-to-class ratio differs depending on the historical and cultural context other conditions:


The construction of the illegal organization

1. In summing up the working-class movement and the Party’s work in 1912, this meeting finds that—the new wave of revolutionary actions by the masses that has begun has fully borne out the previous decisions of the R.S.D.L.P. (particularly those of the January 1912 Conference) as regards building the Party. The course of the strike movement in 1912, the Social-Democrats’ campaign in the elections to the Fourth Duma, the course of the insurance campaign, etc., have shown beyond doubt that the only correct type of organisational structure in the present period is an illegal party as the sum total of Party nuclei surrounded by a network of legal and semi-legal workers’ associations.

2. It is absolutely obligatory to adapt the organisational forms of illegal building to local conditions. A variety of forms of cover for illegal nuclei and the greatest possible flexibility in adapting forms of work to local and general living conditions guarantee the vitality of the illegal organisation.

3. The chief immediate task in the field of organisational work at the present time is to establish in all factories purely Party illegal committees consisting of the most active elements among the workers. The tremendous upswing of the working-class movement creates conditions in which factory Party committees can be restored and the existing ones strengthened in the vast majority of localities.

4. The meeting points out that it has now become essential in every centre to form a single leading organisation out of the disconnected local groups. In St. Petersburg, for example, a leading City Committee, formed by combining the principle of election by district nuclei and the principle of co-option, has emerged as a type of city-wide organisation. This type of organisation makes it possible to establish a very close and direct connection between the leading body and the primary nuclei, and at the same time to create a small, mobile, particularly well disguised executive body, authorised to act at any moment on behalf of the entire organisation. The meeting recommends this type for other centres of the working-class movement as well, with such modifications as may be prompted by local and general living conditions.

5. With a view to establishing close links between local organisations and the Central Committee, as well as to guiding and unifying Party work, this meeting deems it imperative to organise regional centres in the principal areas of the working-class movement.

6. A system of authorised nominees is proposed as a most important practical factor in establishing a permanent living link between the Central Committee and local Social-Democratic groups, as well as in devising flexible forms of directing local work in the major centres of the working-class movement. Nominees should be recruited among workers in charge of local work. Only advanced workers can by themselves strengthen and consolidate the central apparatus of the Party locally, and throughout Russia.

7. This meeting expresses the wish that the Central Committee should confer as frequently as possible with local Party functionaries active in various fields of Social-Democratic work.

8. This meeting stresses the repeated Party decisions to the effect that the workers’ party cannot exist unless there are regular membership dues and contributions by workers. In the absence of such contributions, particularly in present conditions, the existence of a central (local or all-Russia) Party body, however modest, will be absolutely impossible.

9. (Not to be published.)” (Lenin: ‘Notification and Resolutions of the Cracow Meeting of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. and Party Functionaries’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 18; Moscow; 1978; p.458-460; English Edition).

As for the structure and composition of the party itself, Lenin insisted that the party must consist of two parts:

a) from a narrow circle of permanent senior cadres - that is to say, party workers, to which mainly professional revolutionaries should belong, that is party workers freed from all other work except party work, which has the necessary minimum of theoretical knowledge, political experience, organizational skill, and have a minimum of art to lead the fight against the Czarist police, the art of hiding from the police and

b) a broad network of peripheral party organizations, composed of a large number of Party members, surrounded and supported by the sympathy of hundreds of thousands of working people.”
(‘History of the CPSU(B); p.43; Translated from German).

4. Some Information on the Practice of Illegal Work

Again and again, in practice, there are gaps in the illegal structures, gaps that opponents within their own ranks could use to evade the revolutionaries and put themselves at the head of the party or, better still, to place them at the service of the bourgeoisie and use them as a counter-revolutionary instrument against the Party and its best, most loyal fighters. There are several examples in the story for this. What do we learn from this?

Our illegal protective measures must not only be limited to the defense from the external enemy, but must be no less, indeed even be more directed against the INNER enemy. In particular, if the party fails to bolster the party in legal times, that is, to exterminate the opportunists, they have an especially easy time in illegal times in cooperating with the counter-revolution against loyal and upright party members.


The greater the physical losses from counter-revolutionary terror, more of the best comrades are murdered or detained in prisons, the harder it becomes to fill in and close the gaps. Lines must be constantly replaced and renewed, relocated abroad or withdrawn from the field of fire for a certain period of time, quarters are constantly changed, instructors are employed and couriers are found. More inexperienced comrades must occupy unprepared responsible posts, which, of course, cannot hold strong enough against the cleverly operating opportunists and party leaders, whose numbers have obviously NOT decimated, let them out of the party under illegal conditions - i.e. without the statute and democratic centralism to clean it out. When the elimination of party affairs is a greater necessity than in illegality, where one must build more trust than usual among the comrades, which must be educated in time and gradually built up by joint work. In terms of illegality, it is of particular importance that every cell, every comrade personally feels fully responsible for the implementation of the resolutions and directives, for the policy and the program of the party. The principle of the party to strengthen itself by purifying applies above all in the illegality and must be consistently applied, in order to protect the illegal party organism from the inside.

It is effective to detach from the old organizational structures as quickly as possible, to form illegal organizational structures and to build smaller, independently acting, loose combat groups of no more than 3 to 5 comrades who need to wait, even without orders from above, are mobile and actively work independently until the contacts between lines and basic units are restored. Intact units take over the work of the destroyed units and create new centralized structures when the old structures are broken or destroyed. The fact that the party lives through their connections is especially true to their illegality.

A special instructor and courier system must be built and maintained illegally - even across the borders to foreign organizations and to illegal immigrants living abroad.

Special contacts need to be established and maintained among the political prisoners and, if possible, to get information encrypted or muzzled into and out of prisons, and to prepare the comrades for their new tasks - but not prematurely, because it is to be expected that they are heavily monitored.

The illegal methods of fighting are thus a sharp weapon of the revolutionary class struggle. Illegal behavior requires a high degree of responsibility and discipline and strictest adherence to centralism, as well as self-reliance when contact with headquarters is broken off. In such difficult situations, the party, endangering its unity, or risking the lives of comrades by recklessness and carelessness, would not only be unforgivable but also unscrupulous.

In moments of crisis, headlessness becomes a crime on the party that challenges public atonement.” (Marx, Engels: ‘Epilogue to: Revelations Concerning the Communist Trial in Cologne’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 8; Berlin; 1960; p.575; Translated from German).

The class opponent mercilessly exploits any misstep, any weakness, to the detriment of the revolution. If we want to smash the state apparatus armed to the teeth and escape the tightly knit nets of the bourgeoisie, then our illicit proletarian apparatus, connected with thousands of threads to the working class and the entire people, must reach a highest level of consciousness Communists and working masses are a hundred times superior to the bourgeois oppressive apparatus.

It is impossible to seriously announce to the bourgeoisie the plans of armed insurrection. This date is not even known to the party base. This decision must be strictly kept secret by the party leadership until day X. The betrayal in its own ranks has destroyed any real chance for the armed uprising. There are many historical examples of this. The illegal preparation of the October uprising by the Bolsheviks is instructive.

Obtaining forces of the party, creating reserves, being able to strike at the right moment, and being available when victory is gained and having forces used to keep the counter-revolution down.

Be sure to assert the support of the masses.

The Marxist-Leninist party can suffer defeat, it can be attacked by invading party factions, but it cannot be liquidated or destroyed if it holds firmly to Marxism-Leninism. The question of the illegal construction of the party is also a question of the social composition of the party. An illegal party cannot be formed unless the workers in the party have the lead. No other class is able to organize itself as a truly revolutionary one. Only the working class has the ability to create a revolutionary leadership that, in the most extreme conditions of illegality, continues and wins the battle for the socialist revolution.

As to how well the party actually works, it is also possible to draw conclusions about its ideological-political condition. And conversely, the ideological orientation is a basic requirement for the bolshevization of the party, that is not at the least, the protection against the destruction by the bourgeoisie, the disarming of the vanguard of the proletarian revolution by smashing or the slow decomposition and dwindling of the illegal organizational structures. How should the revolutionary party lead the revolutionary masses when the counter-revolution has destroyed the illegal structures? The anchoring in the masses is the basic requirement for the illegal party building. If this connection to the masses is neglected, one exposes the party to sectarianism.

The use of camouflage, camouflage material for agitation and propaganda, the use of a legal language of slaves, verbal consensual meetings and appointments, etc. all this is part of the day-to-day ministry about which Lenin wrote a great deal of useful things when he was exiled in late 1897:

The aspects of revolutionary work are extremely varied. Legal agitators are needed who can talk to the workers in a way that does not render them liable to prosecution, and can say just a, leaving it to others to say b and c. Literature and leaflet distributors are needed. Organisers of workers’ study circles and groups are needed. Correspondents are needed who can give a complete picture of events in all factories. People are needed who will keep an eye on spies and provocateurs. People are needed who will arrange underground meeting places. People are needed to deliver literature, transmit instructions, and to arrange all kinds of contacts. Fund collectors are needed. Agents are needed to work among the intelligentsia and government officials, people in contact with the workers and factory life, with the administration (with the police, factory inspectors, etc.). People are needed for contact with the different towns of Russia and other countries. People are needed to arrange various ways of running off all sorts of literature. People are needed to look after literature and other things, etc., etc. The smaller and more specific the job undertaken by the individual person or individual group, the greater will be the chance that they will think things out, do the job properly and guarantee it best against failure, that they will consider all the details of underground work and use all possible means of hoodwinking and misleading the gendarmes, the more will success be assured, the harder will it be for the police and gendarmes to keep track of the revolutionaries and their links with their organisations, and the easier for the revolutionary party to replace, without prejudice to the cause as a whole, agents and members who have fallen. We know that specialisation of this kind is a very difficult matter, difficult because it demands from the individual the greatest endurance and selflessness, demands the giving of all one’s strength to work that is inconspicuous, monotonous, that deprives one of contact with comrades and subordinates the revolutionary’s entire life to a grim and rigid routine. But it was only in conditions such as these that the greatest men of revolutionary practice in Russia succeeded in carrying out the boldest undertakings, spending years on all-round preparation, and we are profoundly convinced that the Social-Democrats will prove no less self-sacrificing than the revolutionaries of previous generations. We are also aware that the preliminary period envisaged by our system during which the League of Struggle will collect the necessary information about individuals or groups offering their services and give them something to do by way of trial will be a very difficult one for many people eager to devote their energies to revolutionary work. But without this preliminary testing, revolutionary activity in present-day Russia is impossible.

In suggesting this system of work to our new comrades we are expressing a view arrived at after long experience, being deeply convinced that it best of all guarantees successful revolutionary work.” (Lenin: ‘The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 2; Moscow; 1972; p.349-350; English Edition).

As far as the defense against spies was concerned, Comrade Lenin made the following critical remark:

We must get the workers to understand that while the killing of spies, agents provocateurs, and traitors may sometimes, of course, be absolutely unavoidable, it is highly undesirable and mistaken to make a system of it, and that we must strive to create an organisation which will be able to render spies innocuous by exposing them and tracking them down. It is impossible to do away with all spies, but to create an organisation which will ferret them out and educate the working-class masses is both possible and necessary.” (Lenin: ‘A Letter to a Comrade on Our Organizational Tasks’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 6; Moscow; 1977; p.243; English Edition).

Lenin also differentiated the degrees of secrecy according to the nature of the dangerousness of the party's tasks:

In all internal matters, members of all these circles are of course on an equal footing, as are all members of a committee. The only exception will be that the right of personal contact with the local committee (as well as with the C.C. and the C.O.) will be reserved solely to the person (or persons) appointed for that purpose by the committee. In all other respects, this person will be on an equal footing with the rest, who will also have the right to present statements (but not in person) to the local committee and to the C.C. and C.O. It follows that the exception indicated will not at all be an infraction of the principle of equality, but merely a necessary concession to the absolute demands of secrecy. A member of a committee who fails to transmit a communication of his “own” group to the committee, the C.C. or the C.O., will be guilty of a direct breach of Party duty. Further, the degree of secrecy and the organisational form of the various circles will depend upon the nature of the functions: accordingly, the organisations will be most varied (ranging from the “strictest”, narrowest, and most restricted type of organisation to the “freest”, broadest, most loosely constituted, and open type). For instance, strictest secrecy and military discipline must be maintained in the distributing groups. The propagandists’ groups must also maintain secrecy, but be under far less military discipline. Workers’ groups for reading legal literature, or for organising discussions on trade-union needs and demands call for still less secrecy, and so on. The distributing groups should belong to the R.S.D.L.P. and know a certain number of its members and functionaries. The groups for studying labour conditions and drawing up trade-union demands need not necessarily belong to the R.S.D.L.P. Groups of students, officers, or office employees engaged in self-education in conjunction with one or two Party members should in some cases not even be aware that these belong to the Party, etc. But in one respect we must absolutely demand the maximum degree of organisation in all these branch groups, namely, that every Party member belonging to such a group is formally responsible for the conduct of work in the group and is obliged to take every measure in order that the composition of each of these groups, the whole mechanism of its work, and the content of that work should be known as fully as possible to the C.C. and the C.O. That is necessary in order that the centre may have a complete picture of the whole movement, that the selection for various Party posts may be made from the widest possible circle of people; that all groups of a similar nature throughout Russia may learn from one another (through the medium of the centre), and that warning may be given in the event of the appearance of agents provocateurs or suspicious characters— in a word, that is absolutely and vitally necessary in all cases.” (ibid; p.244-245).

As a quintessence Lenin comes to the final result:

Under the autocracy we can have no other means or weapon of inner-Party publicity than keeping the Party centre regularly informed of Party events.” (ibid; p.250).




Lessons of the Albanians - Building the Illegal Party Organization with the Weapon in Hand

As Comrade Enver Hoxha stated at the 7th Party Congress of the Workers' Party of Albania:

...the organization of the illegal fight is the biggest guarantee for a sure victory. (...) If it is not organized, the beating power of the bourgeois dictatorship wreaks havoc as it considers it appropriate and eradicates any resistance from the proletariat and its vanguard.” (Hoxha: ‘Report to the 7th Party Congress’; p.253; Translated from German).

The experience of the Party of Labor of Albania, which was founded in the deepest illegality and worked during the whole period of the national liberation struggle illegally and yet knew how to connect itself closely with the masses of the people, refutes all legalistic ideas of the revisionists and opportunists over the legal forms of activity as the only ones through which one can connect with the masses. One of the most important means it used to connect with the masses was oral and written agitation and propaganda. The Central Committee regularly addressed calls and pamphlets that were illegally printed and distributed to the entire Albanian people or targeted workers or peasants, soldiers, women or youth. The newspaper played an important role as a collective propagandist, agitator and organizer. Of all forms of agitation and propaganda, oral agitation, face-to-face conversations, small group discussions, meetings of workers, peasants, soldiers, women and youth took the largest place. The communists went everywhere where the masses were. For this they used to a large extent every old and new acquaintance, national holidays, folk festivals, weddings, market days, familial relations, and above all, discussions in the workplace. Illegal, armed combat, which inflicted severe blows on the class enemy, the needle-sticking tactics of the guerrilla movement and acts of sabotage impressed the masses, aroused sympathy for the communists in the fight against the hated class enemy, aroused the confidence of the Albanian people, and granted the communists coverage and illegal protection and gave them financial and material assistance.

The Marxist-Leninist parties, who are daily more confronted with the reality of brutal bourgeois and revisionist oppression and courageously stand on the barricades of the class struggle at the head of the working masses, are increasingly perfecting the forms and methods of struggle in action. In doing so, they see illegal work as the main and most effective form of party action, guaranteeing the victory of their revolutionary struggle. A truly revolutionary, fire-struck, illegal party may be far more capable in the epoch of civil war of exerting a wide influence on the masses than some legal party. This was proven by the Party of Labor of Albania, while at the same time drove the occupying imperialist powers out of the country.

The illegal organization of the revolutionary party of the working class means that the organizational structure of the party in its entirety and in each individual cell and party member is not known to the enemy, that there is strict secrecy and that the most appropriate methods and forms of organization are applied and constantly changed; whose basis is the principles and norms of Marxist-Leninist as well as the concrete conditions and different situations that can be created.

The Albanian communists also had to deal with enemies inside and outside the party, who wanted to prevent the party from joining the masses. The factional-liquidator flows, e.g. the thesis of the “impossibility of armed struggle”, and thus the CP was declared superfluous, was destroyed and the unity of the party against these legalistic forces established and consolidated. The National Liberation Front was formed to unite and centralize the armed struggle in the occupied territories and to operate in the liberated areas as an organization of people's power. The Conference of Peza, led by Comrade Enver Hoxha, the leading role of the Communist Party of Albania was placed in the national liberation struggle. With the help of the thesis of Comrade Enver Hoxha, National Liberation Councils were created, which mobilized the people to fight for the uprising and which developed as a basis for the formation of a government. These councils also became the most important link to the peasants whose territories were first liberated. Illegal councils were also formed in the city, which were still occupied by the enemy. Parallel to this, the historically grown partisan organization (voluntary corps) was expanded as guerilla units against the foreign occupiers. The main source of partisan units were the peasants and the village the base. In each unit there was a party cell that formed the nucleus. In addition, reserve units (people’s soldiers) were used, which, as territorial armed self-protection units, supported the regular partisan units in certain operations. From the organized cooperation of these various armed units, the CPA led the Albanian people victoriously in the people's revolution against the fascist occupiers. But in Albania, armed anti-party and anti-grassroots groups conspired against the communist party as the so-called “National Front”. Their illegal gangs, serving the rich classes, attempted to sabotage the partisan struggle in the mountains rather than fight against the occupiers. And the people were advised by the capitulatory “National Front”: "”Wait until the time has come!” This expressed the traitorous pactierertum [collaboration] with the imperialist occupiers to later take over power in Albania. The KPA organized the armed alliance of workers and peasants, the harshest weapon in the national liberation struggle. With this alliance, the entire people were led to the uprising, without being impressed by the view that the CPA had to dissolve. The CPA, however, did not abandon its leadership position to the satisfaction of the liquidators, but on the contrary, strengthened its position as the leading and organizing force of the entire revolutionary people's liberation movement with the slogan: “The Party above Everything!”. With the voluntary partisan units, the CPA created the regular national liberation army with a solid general staff - the Albanian revolutionary people's army. The main source for construction and supply were the depots of the occupants. The partisans had a high, stable morale. Military discipline was associated with political-democratic working and fighting styles, which constitutes the character of a true people's army, and thus created the conditions for defeating the technically superior opponent. The party sent its best cadres/commissars into the army to organize political work there. The CC led the entire strategy and tactics of the military struggle among the combatants. This not only made it possible to defeat the external enemies, but also to counter the internal reaction that increasingly came closer to the occupants and, at the same time, removed all the more from the peasantry. This did not remain hidden from the peasants and so more and more joined the People's Army and the CPA. When fascist Italy capitulated in 1943, the German aggressors replaced the Italian occupiers. In a leaflet of the CPA it said: “How does the Albanian people answer the meeting of the Gestapo? With CANNONS!” The CPA heroically crushed the enemy's winter plans of 1943-44, thereby securing the decisive confidence of the entire Albanian people. The precondition for the successful fight against the German occupants was the armed destruction of the inner reaction, which collaborated with the enemy. The interference in the affairs of the national liberation struggle was not tolerated. The Anglo-American machinations received a rebuff. The National Liberation Councils gained state power. The Congress in Permeti laid the foundations for the founding of the People's Democratic State, when half of Albania's territory was in enemy hands. Enver Hoxha, Commander-in-Chief of the National Liberation Army, gave the order for the general offensive to completely liberate Albania and lead the people's revolution to victory. That was May 28, 1944. The stormtroop brigades and divisions destroyed the enemy and disintegrated his remains. As soon as the German troops were defeated, the British tried to invade the country. He was immediately advanced. On November 17, 1944, the banner of victory was hoisted in Tirana. The fight went on to the liberation of Kosovo.

The Albanian Party of Labour has also supported the Kosovo Albanians against the Yugoslav social-fascists in illegality. The works of Comrade Enver Hoxha and the revelations about the social-fascist dictatorships in this world have created the ideological prerequisites for the development of Marxist-Leninist parties in these countries. The GDR Section of the KPD / ML is a shining example. Despite persecution and almost complete destruction, it has succeeded in creating important conditions for the victory of the anti-social fascist revolution in the GDR. The storming of the Berlin Wall is thus thanks to the support of the Party of Labour of Albania with Enver Hoxha at the helm.

It is no exaggeration to estimate the number of communists murdered by social-fascism in the world at over one million. Under social-fascism in the Soviet Union, it was 100,000, under Yugoslav social-fascism, it was 10,000. Many hundreds of thousands are added in the other social-fascist countries. Especially in social-fascist China, we suspect the murder of hundreds of thousands of communists. In the fight against the social-fascist counter-revolution in Albania, the comrades have militantly resisted and developed and prepared the highest illegal forms of struggle, from which it is extremely valuable to learn how to reconquer proletarian socialism.

Marxism-Leninism is the camouflage dress of social-fascism. Therefore, the Marxist-Leninists must tear this camouflage dress, which is possible only under the protection of illegality. New forms of illegal party building are developing, their experiences generalized and lessons learned. Above all, the experience must be evaluated on the anti-social-fascist revolutions in order to gain insights on how we succeed in the future anti-social-fascist revolution in the socialist revolution, so that they can be secured rather than betrayed and destroyed in their achievements again to become. The social-fascist counter-revolution can only be eliminated in the long run on the revolutionary basis of Marxism-Leninism and through the creation of illegal Marxist-Leninist parties in the social-fascist countries.

The history of Albanian socialism shows that even social-fascism can “quietly make psalms”, as Enver Hoxha vividly put it, and “suddenly it turns the dictatorship of the proletariat in Albania upside down,” the Albanian people “listening and seeing” it passed away, “because you have neither trained stormtroops nor created the conditions for illegal work, places where you can hide yourself, or you have not secured the means to fight. We have to prevent such a tragic eventuality.” This is what Enver Hoxha would have advised the comrades of the traitor Ramiz Alia if he had still lived. The new bourgeoisie lulls you into socialism, puts you under revolutionary watchfulness, hunts down and murders the best of the Marxist-Leninist leaders and drives others out of the party, occupying posts with representatives of the new bourgeoisie, and counter-revolutionary violence against the working class and the people, tear down the monuments of Stalin and Enver Hoxha and plunge socialism into the abyss, to bring down the barbarism of capitalism over the land.

The counter-revolutionary force, the violence of social-fascism, must be opposed by the revolutionary resistance of the Marxist-Leninist party, confronting terror with the armed struggle of workers, peasants and soldiers, in order to not only defend freedom and democracy from the attacks of social-fascism. but to lead the people in the struggle against the inevitability of social-fascism, which means nothing more than to crush the dictatorship of the socialist bourgeoisie and rebuild the dictatorship of the proletariat. In other words, the fight against social-fascist terror must be transformed into the struggle for the socialist revolution and the reconquest of the dictatorship of the proletariat.


Prohibitions, Arrests, Counter-Revolutionary Terror, War, Reaction and Fascism

- Signs of weakness within the bourgeoisie and of the strength of the revolutionary forces

Even under legal conditions of “democratic liberties,” a violent class struggle takes place between reaction and revolution, between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, a struggle for life and death. If the proletariat fights for the consolidation of its legal positions, the bourgeoisie and the reaction do not sleep. The bourgeoisie and reaction use the opportunity of legality to get to know and study the entire activity, the members, the working and fighting methods of the Marxist-Leninist parties and the revolutionaries. That's why we communists would make a fatal mistake if we were to open everything under legal conditions and not keep our organization and plans secret. We communists must consolidate and expand our legal positions for broad propaganda, agitation and organization work, for broad movements and mass actions, but at the same time we must also be prepared for illegality in order to continue our communist work smoothly, despite difficult conditions.

The bourgeoisie and reaction use the state apparatus, the police, spies, corruption and diversion, class justice and, if necessary, even the armed forces, and at the same time, opportunism and illusions of peaceful reformism to strengthen their positions and prepare for the moment that revolutionary forces to crush the Marxist-Leninist party and its mass organizations. The course of events after World War II is a reminder of how the revolutionary movement of the working class and the communist parties have been degenerated and liquidated. The bourgeoisie quickly recovered from their defeat, systematically consolidating their positions, driving legal communists out of public office or governments, armies, etc., or throwing them into jail if they did not allow themselves to be corrupted. Regardless of when it happens, the bourgeoisie will play their last trump card with 100% certainty if their power is threatened by revolutionary movements: they set the armed forces in motion, organize pogroms to liquidate the revolutionary movement and the Marxist-Leninist parties. In such actions, the bourgeoisie always has the world response to support directly through the intervention of foreign intervention forces or indirectly through support from the CIA, material support, etc., etc. Any means of destroying the revolutionaries is right to them, even if they ruthlessly override their own laws.

The bourgeoisie fears the illegality of the revolutionaries because it makes them more difficult to fight and not easily destroy their organization. In a legal party, the bourgeoisie can more easily exert its influence on the proletariat in order to keep it from socialist revolution.

For the bourgeoisie, the prohibition of the communist party is a double-edged sword, as far as its tactics of optimally combating communist influence among the masses are concerned. With a ban, the bourgeoisie uses the camouflage mask of bourgeois “democracy” against the masses. With a ban, the bourgeoisie openly admits its weakness and its fear of communism, and that it wants to avoid it as much as possible because the shot can backfire against them. It is first prohibition, then demagogic: “both against the left-wing extremists and against the right-wing extremists,” in order to keep the democratic image “in balance” and protect against the accusation of being blind in the right eye and thus makes itself unpopular with the masses.

The bourgeoisie also gets into trouble when it has a well-functioning revisionist party that acts as a counterbalance and catch-basin to progressive people, to dissuade them from stepping into revolutionary activity and membership of the Marxist-Leninist party. If these bourgeois revolutionary lightning attack organizations are missing, then progressive people will find their way directly to the illegally operating revolutionary organizations. If the communist party was banned while revisionist parties and organizations are not prohibited, it would help workers see through differences more quickly, and immediately without detours, consciously opt for the revolutionaries.

The bourgeoisie is often deterred by a ban because it is better able to observe and spy on a legally operating revolutionary organization, to collect names and addresses more easily, etc. For these reasons, as few comrades as possible should publicly appear in legality. Marxist-Leninist parties have decided to do without lists of names and addresses or other personal documents, although under the fascist terror the revolutionaries have to reckon with it in principle - whether with or without a party book - on the wall.

In regard to the attempt of the Russian government to smash the St. Petersburg “League of Struggle”, Lenin wrote in 1902:

With deep satisfaction we declare that the wholesale arrests are doing their job—they are a powerful weapon of agitation among the workers and socialist intellectuals, that the places of the fallen revolutionaries are being taken by new people who are ready, with fresh energy, to join the ranks of the champions of the Russian proletariat and of the entire people of Russia. There can be no struggle without sacrifice, and to the brutal persecution of the tsarist bashi-bazouks we calmly reply: Revolutionaries have perished—long live the revolution!” (Lenin: ‘The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 2; Moscow; 1972; p.348; English Edition).


The Right Danger of Liquidationist Legalism

Legalism is the path of revisionism - the peaceful way and peaceful coexistence - the road to surrendering to the bourgeoisie, the way of liquidating the Bolshevik party and the disarming of the working class, the path of class reconciliation and the subjugation of the working class by the bourgeoisie.

Lenin always opposed any degradation and curtailment of the role and importance of the illegal fighting party and consistently exposed legalism as a theoretical and tactical revisionism, especially when it came to protecting the Bolshevik party organizations created in the years of the highest upswing of the struggle from the raging reaction and far-reaching decay of the proletarian class struggle:

On the one hand, the former fellow-travellers of Social-Democracy took quite definite shape—those fellow-travellers, who, on leaving the Party, transferred all their activities into various legal organisations (co-operatives, trade unions, educational societies, advisory committees for the Duma group), where they not only did not carry out the policy of the Party but, on the contrary, fought the Party and strove to wrest these organisations away from it and pit them against the Party. Making a fetish of legality, and elevating to a principle the narrow forms of activity imposed by the temporary decline of and state of disunity in the working-class movement, these elements—avowed liquidators of the Party—quite obviously took their stand upon the ground of theoretical and tactical revisionism.” (Lenin: ‘Conference of the Extended Editorial Board of “Proletariat’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 15; Moscow; 1977; p.446-447; English Edition).

And Lenin goes deeply to the root of the first paragraph of the Statute, the basis of partiality, when he writes in his “Notes of a Publicist”, about the differences of opinion on the question of legalism:

What we differ on is not the question whether “new forms are necessary”, whether it is necessary to conduct legal work, or to found legal societies; we do not differ on this at all. What we differ on is whether it is permissible for legalists conducting such work (...) consider themselves Social-Democrats while being independent of the Party of the Social-Democrats, or whether Social-Democratic Party members are obliged to recognise the Party, to advocate the need for it, to work in it, to work on its organisation, to set up illegal Party units everywhere and in all unions for regular communications with the Party, etc.” (Lenin: ‘Notes of a Publicist’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 16; Moscow; 1977; p.257; English Edition).

Lenin even speaks of the decisive fight of the party against the legalists:

Thus our Party has begun a decisive fight against groups of independent legalists who wrongly call themselves Social-Democrats. In reality they are wrecking the cause of the Social-Democrats, they are destroying the Social-Democratic organisation of the working class, changing it into amorphous legal groups which have no principles and which are in fact making the working class dependent on the ideology of the liberals and on liberal political leadership. (...) But the working class (...) will undoubtedly overcome all these deviations from the Social-Democratic path.” (Lenin: ‘The Jubilee Number of Zihna’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 16; Moscow; 1977; p.263; English Edition).

For Lenin, party building means consolidating and multiplying the illicit cells and surrounding them with a network of legal and semi-permanent bases, by means of which the revolutionary theory of the party is spread deeper and wider among the masses. Lenin provided a precise definition for this:

In terms of the form of the organisations, the illegal “adapts itself” to the legal. But in terms of the content of the work of our Party, legal activity “adapts itself” to illegal ideas.” (Lenin: ‘The Illegal Party and Legal Work’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 18; Moscow; 1978; p.392; English Edition).

But this Leninist change in the forms of illegal organization is by no means in keeping with the “adaptation” to the legal movement that the right-wing liquidators had in mind. Liquidationism is precisely the adaptation of the proletariat and its revolutionary illegal party to the bourgeois ideas of legalism, serves to poison the proletarian class consciousness with bourgeois-liberal ideas. Liquidationism is the entry of bourgeois consciousness into the proletariat and its party.

The liquidators are petty-bourgeois intellectuals, sent by the bourgeoisie to sow liberal corruption among the workers. (...) The slogan of “a struggle for an open party” in their case (as in the case-of the liberals and the Narodniks) only serves to camouflage their renunciation of the past and their rupture with the working class.” (Lenin: ‘Controversial Issues’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 19; Moscow; 1977; p.162; English Edition).

From the piecemeal legalization, from the creeping adjustment of illegality to legality, the road to an open legal party is only one step. But the “legal party of the working class under capitalist conditions”, the “legal revolutionary organization” does not exist and can not exist. Whoever asserts this propagates empty phrases for the sole purpose of linking the party of the working class to capitalism. And indeed, all revisionist parties are anxious to persuade the working class to come to power legally, peacefully.

Lenin puts it in a nutshell by drawing the demarcation line between the legal activity of the Marxist-Leninists (the defense of Marxism-Leninism) and the legal activity of the revisionists (the revising and combating of Marxism-Leninism), which are both diametrically opposed:

Two kinds of open activity, in two diametrically opposite directions, are possible (and are to be seen)—one in defence of the old and entirely in the spirit of the old, on behalf of its slogans and tactics; and another against the old, on behalf of its renunciation, of belittling its role, its slogans, etc.” (Lenin: ‘Controversial Issues’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 19; Moscow; 1978; p.164; English Edition).

For the revolutionary movement, the opportunist influence of the “peaceful road to socialism” is a great danger. The legalists are pacemakers of bourgeois influence on the proletariat. History teaches that even big and powerful communist parties can come under the influence of revisionism, slip into legalistic waters, and be transformed from revolutionary parties into bourgeois social reformist parties, thus irrevocably changing to the enemy camp. What the Twentieth Party Congress of the CPSU did negatively affected many of the revolutionary parties in the world, which were slid into the legalistic channel. The Communists and the revolutionary workers have historically paid dearly for the consequences of the revisionist illusions about the peaceful way to socialism. However favorable the opportunity may be to minimize the victims of the revolution and to avoid unnecessary violence, one should never indulge in the hope and deception that the bourgeoisie can be “voted out” by the “millions”, The decision to ban or legalize a communist party is a matter of opportunity for the bourgeoisie. Sometimes it is more useful to get along without a ban to take the wind out of the sails of the communist party, and sometimes it is necessary to push aside an iron bar if the long line leaves too much room for maneuver. So it does not help if the necessity of illegal party building is on paper, but in reality is not implemented concretely. These are signs of revisionist deviations, and they must be eliminated from the outset by taking the necessary illegal measures. Regardless of how the bourgeoisie behaves on the question of acquiescence in legal communist activity, the communist party must be prepared for illegality at any moment of its existence. The victory of the proletarian revolution, the victory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, is impossible without a revolutionary, illegally built party of the proletariat, a party free of opportunism, which aggressively opposes pactierism and capitulation, and does not bow to the bourgeoisie and its state power but to opposes it as a revolutionary force.

The bourgeoisie and with it the revisionists talk a lot about the so-called democratic freedoms. In fact, there is a “democracy” in every bourgeois state used to deceive the masses. But these are only relative democratic freedoms that have their limits. As liberal as the bourgeoisie is, it is not. Where the bourgeoisie sees its power endangered, it is completely finished with “democracy.” Then they brutally beat all revolutionary forces to maintain their power. Of course, we communists are not indifferent to the conditions under which we fight for the revolution. The best options are provided by the legality. Communist ideas and communist actions can be propagated and carried out to a high degree, the preparation of the revolution to overthrow the exploiting class, the revolutionary mass movement can be enormously promoted, we communists can make great progress in building a party, we have means and time to carefully and thoroughly prepare for the difficult times of illegality. But legality is also a trap when it tempts us Communists to carelessness and makes us feel safe. Following on from the experiences in the fight against Hitlerite fascism in Albania, Enver Hoxha admonished that:

The bourgeoisie can let you sing psalms, but then it will suddenly strike a fascist blow on your head, that hearing and seeing will pass you by, because you have neither trained storm cadres nor the created conditions for illegal work, you have neither created places where you can hide and work nor have secured the means to fight. We must prevent such a tragic contingency.” (Enver Hoxha: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 19; p.220; Translated from German).

Under the blows of reaction, the fluctuating elements of the party, the intelligentsia and petty bourgeois elements in particular, retreated. The bourgeois intelligentsia fled from illegality first:

The flight of some people from the underground could have been the result of their fatigue and dispiritedness. Such individuals may only be pitied; they should be helped because their dispiritedness will pass and there will again appear an urge to get away from philistinism, away from the liberals and the liberal-labour policy, to the working-class underground. But when the fatigued and dispirited use journalism as their platform and announce that their flight is not a manifestation of fatigue, or weakness, or intellectual woolliness, but that it is to their credit, and then put the blame on the “ineffective”, “worthless”, “moribund”, etc., underground, these runaways then become disgusting renegades, apostates. These runaways then become the worst of advisers for the working-class movement and therefore its dangerous enemies.” (Lenin: ‘How Vera Zasulich Demolishes Liquidationism’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 19; Moscow; 1977; p398; English Edition).

Lenin drew the following conclusion from the time of the angry counter-revolution:

The period of rampant counter-revolution has left us a heritage of ideological disorder and disruption, organisational disintegration in many centres of the working-class movement, primitive methods and forced isolation from the Party on the part of some, and a scornful, or even malicious, attitude to the “underground” that preserves the behests of the revolution and elaborates revolutionary tactics, on the part of others. The liquidators’ break-away from the Social-Democratic Party, their virtual isolation, and in some cases departure from Social-Democratic principles and disintegration of the non-Russian Social-Democratic organisations have all accentuated the demand for unity to the utmost degree.” (Lenin: ‘Notification and Resolutions of the Cracow Meeting of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. and Party Functionaries’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 18; Moscow; 1978; p.453-454; English Edition).

The revisionists are enemies of the illegal party organization principle. In deeds, neo-revisionists are also enemies of the illegal work, although they do not have the courage to admit it openly and therefore cowardly hide behind revolutionary phrases as long as we insist on these principles. However, in situations of party weakness and party crises, the revisionists cheekily crawl out of their holes and adopt an ultimate stance on legality - “legality at all costs!” To crawl to the bourgeoisie and destroy the party's illegal structures. Then they are even ready to throw the program, the tactics and organization of the party, and its principles overboard. Khrushchev had scoffed at illegal work and tried to banish it to the museum: “Why do you need illegal organizations? WE protect you!” While Khrushchev said that, he betrayed and sold the Communist parties to the bourgeoisie in many countries, they became instruments of the bourgeoisie against the revolutionaries. Heaven protect us Marxist-Leninists from the “protection” of the revisionists!

Since its inception, the Marxist-Leninist parties have fought hard against anti-Marxist views who denying the absolute necessity of conspiratorial organization of the party, defending the illegal struggle with the legal struggle. The bourgeoisie has an interest in the fact that the party of the proletariat is open in its organization, because then it has the entire activity of the party under its control and is able to take the appropriate countermeasures. The revisionists are advocates for the liberalization of the party in order to better disperse and eliminate them. Everything is running under the guise of creating more “intra-party democracy”, which of course means the revisionists are free to establish their bourgeois influence in the party. With liberalization, parties should be given more freedom of action in the party and nothing else.

The fight against revisionism is a fight against legalism and the liquidation of our illegal organizational structure. The only correct attitude is the principled attitude. One must fight revisionism not only on the ideological-political front, but also what is linked to it on the organizational front and smash its influence in the party. Those who do not deviate from the revolutionary path of illegal protection of the party and defend it with perseverance will win the victory of the proletarian revolution and the national and social liberation of the people. The break with revisionism means a break with legalism at the organizational level.

The armed proletarian revolution can never be carried out without illegal organizational structures. The bourgeoisie will never voluntarily withdraw by legal means. As long as the communist party struggles, it is exposed to the counter-revolution, it must protect itself, it must master the tactics of illegality. Illegality is therefore indispensable for the entire period of party history. To renounce the illegal protection of the party, to renounce the illegal preparation and execution of the proletarian revolution, means to renounce the proletarian revolution itself and surrender to the bourgeoisie by the state of disarmament.

The Communist Parties reject any absolutization of legal communist activity. Our parties are neither free inserts of the unions nor of the parliaments, nor are they any water carriers of the capital and the bourgeoisie. The reformists and revisionists can see in us Marxist-Leninists only people who are, e.g. “against the unions”. Of course, us Marxist-Leninists are not “against the unions” but are against revisionist and reformist unions fighting the demands of the revolutionary workers' and chase away the revolutionary workers.

According to the teachings of the classics of Marxism-Leninism, ALL forms of legal struggle must be considered as a means of preparing and carrying out the violent proletarian revolution. Everything else is opportunism, “legal Marxism”, bourgeois socialism. We are resolute opponents of those opportunist forces, which try to lead the masses into the impasse of the bourgeois legalism, in order to keep them from the socialist revolution. Experience shows that the path to legalism has been followed by capitalism and liquidationism, that is, opportunists were not even ready to take advantage of existing legal opportunities and stopped all activity, which meant the end of party life. Lenin even demanded that in the struggle for legality, collisions with the armed forces of the government should not be shunned.

The party of the working class, irrespective of whether it has the favorable legal conditions and positions in a given period, must not for a moment reduce its revolutionary vigilance, either externally or internally. It should not recklessly overestimate its legal capabilities and the legal powers of its allies and underestimate the forces of the enemy, the bourgeoisie and the counter-revolution. That would correspond to a right deviation from the correct party line.

The legal struggle of the mass organizations of the workers - like the trade unions for example - must not be equated with the legal struggle of the communist party.

Under illegal conditions, where not only the communist party is forbidden, but also the trade unions and other associations of workers and other labourers, 99% of the revolutionary forces cannot be absorbed for the pure economic and democratic struggle - we cannot be absorbed in this work. If we fight for the legalization of the workers' movement, the end will be of use to us, we will separate the wheat from the chaff. But if there is no place left in our legal activity for the continuation of the political struggle for socialist revolution, for communism, then the fate of the Comintern will be historically repeated. Illegality must not transform us into mere democrats or mere trade unionists. We conduct the legal struggle under illegal conditions as a communist party and not as a trade union substitute. The goal of the world revolution is still relevant even under the conditions of illegality, a task that needs to be solved. We do not limit the goal of overcoming our illegality to the restoration of legality under capitalist conditions, we do not want to accept the old state in which our Marxist-Leninist parties fought under legal and semi-legal conditions, that is not our ultimate goal, but we fight exclusively for legality that ultimately brings us closer to the socialist revolution, because only legality under the dictatorship of the proletariat can ensure true and lasting legality for the communists. We fight against the inevitability of illegality by eliminating the causes of our illegality, the bourgeois exploitative and oppressive state. This is the decisive factor in the struggle to overcome illegality. We Marxist-Leninists must never lose sight of this and we must not let the neo-revisionists talk us into it. This cannot be achieved by repainting a popular front policy similar to that of the VII World Congress of the Comintern. The struggle for legality, which the VII World Congress of the Comintern conducted, was historically a revisionist path, a path into a dead end, a way to social-fascism, which tries to push us back into illegality as well as the original fascism, and we Marxist-Leninists of today will not let today's neo-revisionists force us on this way again. Lenin clearly showed the way to the goal:

As long as we have no political liberty, we carry on the fight in secret, hiding from the police, who prohibit the publication of all leaflets and associations of workers. But when we have won political liberty, we shall carry on the fight on a wider scale and openly, so that working people all over Russia may unite and defend themselves more vigorously from oppression. The larger the number of workers who unite in the workers’ Social-Democratic Party, the stronger will they be, the sooner will they be able to achieve the complete emancipation of the working class from all oppression, from all wage-labour, from all toil for the benefit of the bourgeoisie.” (Lenin: ‘To the Rural Poor’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 6; Moscow; 1977; p.405-406; English Edition).

We must apply the lessons that Comrade Lenin drew from the victorious Bolshevik struggle for the organization of professional revolutionaries in Russia to the conditions and needs of the Comintern/ML because, first, we do not have a world revolutionary center that builds socialism and second, because we must say goodbye to the conception of the legalistic deviation of the Comintern under the influence of Dimitrov and the revisionists of the Western parties.

Lenin pointed out the two different ways of legalization in his book “What is to be Done?” by first asking the question:

How is the contradiction between the need for a large membership and the need for strictly secret methods to be reconciled? How are we to make the trade unions as public as possible? Generally speaking, there can be only two ways to this end: either the trade unions become legalised (in some countries this preceded the legalisation of the socialist and political unions), or the organisation is kept secret, but so “free” and amorphous, lose* as the Germans say, that the need for secret methods becomes almost negligible as far as the bulk of the members is concerned.

(...) And the only step that can be a real step forward is a real, if small, extension of the workers’ field of action. Every such extension will be to our advantage and will help to hasten the advent of legal societies of the kind in which it will not be agents provocateurs who are detecting socialists, but socialists who are gaining adherents. In a word, our task is to fight the tares. It is not our business to grow wheat in flowerpots. (...) Thus, we cannot by means of legalisation solve the problem of creating a trade-union organisation that will be as little secret and as extensive as possible (...) There remain secret trade-union organisations, and we must give all possible assistance to the workers who (...) are adopting this course. Trade-union organisations, not only can be of tremendous value in developing and consolidating the economic struggle, but can also become (...) Social-Democracy=“executive groups” in relation to the economic struggle of the workers! It would be difficult to show more glaringly how the Economists’ ideas deviate from Social-Democracy to trade-unionism, and how alien to them is any idea that a Social-Democrat must concern himself first and foremost with an organisation of revolutionaries capable of guiding the entire proletarian struggle for emancipation.” (Lenin: ‘What is to be Done?’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 5; Moscow; 1977; p.454-457; English Edition).

And finally, Lenin comes up with a solution to the question of how to resolve the contradiction between the need for broad membership and strict secrecy:

A small, compact core of the most reliable, experienced, and hardened workers, with responsible representatives in the principal districts and connected by all the rules of strict secrecy with the organisation of revolutionaries, can, with the widest support of the masses and without any formal organisation, perform all the functions of a trade-union organisation, in a manner, moreover, desirable to Social-Democracy. Only in this way can we secure the consolidation and development of a Social-Democratic trade-union movement, despite all the gendarmes. (...) and from the very outset ensure a solid connection between our future trade unions and socialism.

The moral to be drawn from this is simple. If we begin with the solid foundation of a strong organisation of revolutionaries, we can ensure the stability of the movement as a whole and carry out the aims both of Social-Democracy and of trade unions proper.” (ibid; p.459-460).

So Lenin distinguished the struggle under illegal conditions as a struggle for the organization of workers and a struggle for the organization of revolutionaries, and a famous phrase of Lenin’s was,

that it is far more difficult to unearth a dozen wise men than a hundred fools.” (ibid; 464).

And Lenin immediately explained why:

I assert: (1) that no revolutionary movement can endure without a stable organisation of leaders maintaining continuity; (2) that the broader the popular mass drawn spontaneously into the struggle, which forms the basis of the movement and participates in it, the more urgent the need for such an organisation, and the more solid this organisation must be (for it is much easier for all sorts of demagogues to side-track the more backward sections of the masses); (3) that such an organisation must consist chiefly of people professionally engaged in revolutionary activity; (4) that in an autocratic state, the more we confine the membership of such an organisation to people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activity and who have been professionally trained in the art of combating the political police, the more difficult will it be to unearth the organisation; and (5) the greater will be the number of people from the working class and from the other social classes who will be able to join the movement and perform active work in it.” (ibid; 464).

"Centralisation of the most secret functions in an organisation of revolutionaries will not diminish, but rather increase the extent and enhance the quality of the activity of a large number of other organisations, that are intended for a broad public and are therefore as loose and as non-secret as possible, such as workers’ trade unions; workers’ self-education circles and circles for reading illegal literature; and socialist, as well as democratic, circles among all other sections of the population; etc., etc. We must have such circles, trade unions, and organisations everywhere in as large a number as possible and with the widest variety of functions; but it would be absurd and harmful to confound them with the organisation of revolutionaries, to efface the border-line between them, to make still more hazy the all too faint recognition of the fact that in order to “serve” the mass movement we must have people who will devote themselves exclusively to Social-Democratic activities, and that such people must train themselves patiently and steadfastly to be professional revolutionaries.” (...)

When we have forces of specially trained worker-revolutionaries who have gone through extensive preparation (and, of course, revolutionaries “of all arms of the service”), no political police in the world will then be able to contend with them, for these forces, boundlessly devoted to the revolution, will enjoy the boundless confidence of the widest masses of the workers. (...)" (ibid; p.466-473).

Lenin fought decisively against the disorganizing effect which has a mixture of party and class. That's why he tried to illustrate the matter vividly:

Depending on degree of organisation in general and of secrecy of organisation in particular, roughly the following categories may be distinguished: 1) organisations of revolutionaries; 2) organisations of workers, as broad and as varied as possible (I confine myself to the working class, taking it as self-evident that, under certain conditions, certain elements of other classes will also be included here). These two categories constitute the Party. Further, 3) workers’ organisations associated with the Party; 4) workers’ organisations not associated with the Party but actually under its control and direction; 5) unorganised elements of the working class, who in part also come under the direction of the Social-Democratic Party, at any rate during big manifestations of the class struggle.” (Lenin: ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 7; Moscow; 1977; p.264).

Today it is the task of Marxist-Leninists throughout the world, according to the conditions of their country, to apply and implement these basic principles of Lenin concretely in order to create the conditions for the victory of the October Revolution in their own country and for the world revolution. Today we need those troops set up by Lenin internationally, international troops that enjoy the boundless confidence of the world proletariat and the oppressed peoples.

Today it is the task of the Comintern/ML to create the opportunities for the workers trained by the Marxist-Leninist parties to become professional revolutionaries to develop their international abilities to the full - for example the professional agitator who took the step from the VW factory in Germany, The workers of the world revolution will become world revolutionary professional agitators, who, in order to agitate the workers for the common international class struggle, for the world revolution, makes contact today with the USA and tomorrow with Korea with the Marxist-Leninist parties, which can inaugurate him “on the spot” and grant him illegal protection. It is clear that the skills and knowledge of illegal work at the international level presuppose a higher level of quality than the conspiratorial rules of agitation in the “own” enterprise. It becomes clear that the Marxist-Leninist parties need an umbrella organization that knows how to train and deploy proletarian professional revolutionaries.


The "Left" Danger of Sectarianism in Illegal Party Building and Illegal Party Work

Conversely, the party of the working class, irrespective of having a well-functioning illegal party-building, must not disregard legal work or refuse to do the necessary work in the opponent's reactionary organizations. The Marxist-Leninist party is opposed to any absolutization of the illegal struggle and organization. We are not a guerrilla organization, nor an anarchist organization that rejects the struggle among the masses. We have always been opponents of all forms of conspiratorial and revolutionary play by the petty-bourgeois “revolutionaries”.

Us Communists must not underestimate the legal possibilities and must not avoid or surrender to the laborious, tough and patient struggle for legality. The party must not overestimate the opponent either - that would be a “left” deviation from the correct party line, as if one would allow themself to be pushed into illegality without resistance and would not be prepared to fight for every inch of legality. It is not as if we are longing to be driven into illegality in order to present ourselves to the people as great guys. But if they try to impose illegality by force, then we will fight against it with all our might, even with illegal means. Us communists have always solved the question of illegality in a revolutionary way, and we will continue to do so today and in the future! Marxist-Leninists are fighting against the sectarian views, which are aimed at protecting the party and the cadres under the pretext of using any possibility of legal work. We do not cowardly hide from our opponents, we don’t only attack them openly, but from cover, from ambush, in order to wear them down and one day defeat him on the open battlefield through the revolution of the masses. The question of illegality is for us communists only a question of a particularly difficult way to revolution, which we will solve accordingly with the help of our illegal and legal organizations.

What is the final paragraph of the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels?

The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.” (Marx, Engels: ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’; Moscow; 1977; p.74; English Edition).

So hide from the class opponents and hide from the workers, the working people, the people, these are two things that you have to keep apart. The purpose of secrecy is to protect the organization from the enemy; it is an instrument of the struggle of the proletariat and of the whole people. But when it begins to obstruct this struggle, it turns against us. Therefore, secrecy is beneficial to the extent that it is associated with the politics of the broad masses and does not bring the party into four walls and moves it away from the masses. In illegality, one must not lose contact with the masses. We are not a sect preparing the revolution in our studies.

So we must not act like a submarine, or even stop fighting as communists. To act as a communist, for example for our comrades in the factory, does not mean saying: “Look, I am a communist, a member of the communist party,” means acting like a communist. To act as a communist means supporting one's colleagues with advice and action, to take care of their worries and needs, to stand at their side in action, in strike, not only side-by-side, but at the head, to win them over to do opposition work in the company and trade union and to gradually and cautiously introduce them to the positions of the party, in order to finally win them over to the party and convince them of communism.

But there are times of the ebb and flow of the revolution: in times of low tide, when reaction with an iron hand suppresses the unfolding of the revolution, the number of party members, even through the wave of arrests, torture and murders of the best comrades and on the other side, there is a departure of intellectual followers, who shy away from the victims of the illegal struggle and fear the persecution of the counter-revolution and become intimidated.

Lenin pointed out that in such situations,

revolutionary parties must learn at such moments. They have to learn to attack in the period of the upswing of the revolution, they have to learn that in the period of reactionary violence, how to correctly carry out a retreat, how to go into illegality, how to maintain and strengthen the illegal party, how to use the legal possibilities, the different legal organizations, especially the mass organizations, to strengthen the connections with the masses. The Mensheviks withdrew in panic because they did not believe in the possibility of a new upswing of the revolution, they ignominiously denied the revolutionary demands of the program and the revolutionary slogans of the party, they wanted to liquidate, destroy the revolutionary illegal party of the proletariat. Therefore such Mensheviks were from now on called liquidators.” (Lenin: ‘History of the CPSU (B)’; p.167; Translated from German).

At the time of Stolypin's reaction, the Bolsheviks changed their tactics towards the revolutionary period of 1905, because one

Couldn’t call on the masses for a political general strike or an armed insurrection in the near future (the author could) because a decline of the revolutionary movement, a deep fatigue of the working class, a significant strengthening of the reactionary classes were recorded. The party had to take the new situation into account. Offensive tactics had to be replaced by the defense tactics, by the tactics of gathering the forces, by the tactics of transferring the cadres to illegality and by the tactics of illegal party work, of combining illegal work with work in the legal workers' organizations.” (Lenin: ‘History of the CPSU (B)’; p.170).

This tactic could only be enforced in an implacable struggle against the disguised liquidators, the Otsovists, who rejected any work in legal organizations, such as the unions, under the pretext of “revolutionary” phrases. They also tried to recall the Bolshevik deputies in the Duma in order to prevent the Bolsheviks from setting up their grandstand to revolutionize the peasant masses. They wanted to isolate themselves in an illegal organization, thereby endangering the party even more because they would be deprived of their connection to the masses and their protection. How should an illegally isolated party be able to create legal coverage without which it would turn into nothing!? Thus it would be impossible to gather new strength for the next expected revolutionary upswing. With their renunciation of their revolutionary work among the masses, taking advantage of legal possibilities, the Otsovists also renounced the construction of the party and were therefore called “inverted liquidators”. The Bolsheviks excluded the Otsovists from the party. In difficult situations, the party and the proletariat recognizes the real face of the liquidators who abandon the party to save their skin who admit that they are too cowardly, but are bold enough to tear the party into the liquidation swamp. The Otsovists, “the liquidators on the downside,” the heroes in the “left” phrase, the bourgeois adulterers of Marxism, denied the necessity of a revolutionary exploitation of legal possibilities. They tried to break the Bolshevik party from the working class and transform the proletarian party into a sectarian circle of intellectuals.


As for the conflict with Trotsky on the question of the secret organization, Lenin said:


Comrade Trotsky completely misinterpreted the main idea of my book, What Is to Be Done?, when he spoke about the Party not being a conspiratorial organisation (many others too raised this objection). He forgot that in my book I propose a number of various types of organisations, from the most secret and most exclusive to comparatively broad and “loose” (lose) organisations.* He forgot that the Party must be only the vanguard, the leader of the vast masses of the working class, the whole (or nearly the whole) of which works “under the control and direction” of the Party organisations, but the whole of which does not and should not belong to a “party”. Now let us see what conclusions Comrade Trotsky arrives at in consequence of his fundamental mistake. He has told us here that if rank after rank of workers were arrested, and all the workers were to declare that they did not belong to the Party, our Party would be a strange one indeed! Is it not the other way round? Is it not Comrade Trotsky’s argument that is strange? He regards as something sad that which a revolutionary with any experience at all would only rejoice at. If hundreds and thousands of workers who were arrested for taking part in strikes and demonstrations did not prove to be members of Party organisations, it would only show that we have good organisations, and that we are fulfilling our task of keeping a more or less limited circle of leaders secret and of drawing the broadest possible masses into the movement.” (Lenin: ‘Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 6; Moscow; 1977; p.500-501; English Edition).

Lenin could only smile at the “conclusion” of his opponents if they tried to prove to him that he wanted to “limit the total number of party members to the sum of the conspirators”. Lenin replied:

Organise!” It should not be imagined that Party organisations must consist solely of professional revolutionaries. We need the most diverse organisations of all types, ranks and shades, beginning with extremely limited and secret and ending with very broad, free, lose Organisationen. Its endorsement by the Central Committee is an essential condition for a Party organisation.” (Lenin: ‘Second Congress’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 6; Moscow; 1977; p.498; English Edition).

In order to be a Social-Democratic party, we must win the support precisely of the class. It is not that the Party should envelop the conspiratorial organisation, as Comrade Martov thought, but that the revolutionary class, the proletariat, should envelop the Party, the latter to include both conspiratorial and non-conspiratorial organisations.” (Lenin: ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 7; Moscow; 1977; p.261; English Edition).

Us Marxist-Leninists are unceremoniously accused of “sectarianism” by the neo-revisionists, as soon as the term “conspirator organization” leave our mouths. However, dear neo-revisionists, we are indeed much worse than you think - yes, if you like this insult word, we are proud to be “world revolutionary ultra-sectarians,” because we not only use the word “international conspirator organization,” but have already begun to develop the Comintern/ML in this direction, and we will make this international conspirator organization the powerful, revolutionary fighting party of the world proletariat! Neither the Russian Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Stalin nor the Communist International under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin was sectarian, which you of course agree with, but if we apply their teachings today, it is of course “sectarian”. Sectarian, however, was and is the Trotskyist Fourth International, the international intellectual discussion groups are also sectarian. Their mistake is not only to be incapable of leading the international class struggle, but also to reject it theoretically in the face of the “omnipotence” of world imperialism. The spontaneous world proletarian mass movement does not relieve us of the duty to create a Bolshevik world party in the spirit of Lenin and Stalin, i.e. an organization of world revolutionaries. On the contrary, this duty is imposed on us by the world proletarian mass movement because this spontaneous struggle of the proletarians of all countries will never become a world proletarian class struggle as long as this struggle is not led by a strong world organization of revolutionaries. Of course, we Marxist-Leninists oppose the theories that preach conspirator organizations that restrict the political struggle. Nor do we renounce this criticism when it comes to narrowing the political struggle at the international level. But to be against the narrowing of the political struggle does not mean that we fundamentally reject a world organization of professional revolutionaries because it has to work conspiratorially. Secrecy means nothing else than secrecy, and so we repeat here Lenin's quote, which was to be read in the “Introduction”, but this time, it is an argument for the world organization of the professional revolutionaries:

Secrecy is such a necessary condition for this kind of organisation that all the other conditions (number and selection of members, functions, etc.) must be made to conform to it. It would be extremely naïve indeed, therefore, to fear the charge that we Social-Democrats desire to create a conspiratorial organisation.” (Lenin: ‘What is to Be Done?’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 5; Moscow; 1977; 475-476; English Edition).

The arguments of our opponents does not count that the revolutionary development of the proletarian movements varies in different countries, and by a top-secret organization that concentrates and centralizes all the international threads of conspiratorial work in their hands, which risks being defeated. Listen to what Lenin used to answer such arguments:

Speaking abstractly, it cannot be denied, of course, that a militant organisation may thoughtlessly engage in battle, which may end in a defeat entirely avoidable under other conditions. But we cannot confine ourselves to abstract reasoning on such a question, because every battle bears within itself the abstract possibility of defeat, and there is no way of reducing this possibility except by organised preparation for battle. If, however, we proceed from the concrete conditions at present obtaining in Russia, we must come to the positive conclusion that a strong revolutionary organisation is absolutely necessary precisely for the purpose of giving stability to the movement and of safeguarding it against the possibility of making thoughtless attacks.” (ibid; p.476).

And if we take the concrete conditions of today's world imperialism, then we will have to draw the positive conclusion, as it were, and in the words of Lenin, that a strong world revolutionary organization is absolutely necessary just to give resistance to the world movement and to it to protect against the possibility of making ill-considered attacks.

What has the Marxist-Leninist world movement suffered most since the dissolution of the Comintern?

We respond that the Marxist-Leninist world movement has suffered incessantly since the dissolution of the Comintern, that the Marxist-Leninist parties were too preoccupied with the events in their own country; that it is therefore absolutely necessary to shift the focus a little to common world-revolutionary work; that such a shift will not weaken our firm connection with the proletariat of our own country and revolutionary work on a national scale, but will strengthen it through more intensive work on a world scale. This does not apply only to purely international questions or to individual tasks, such as the central organ, but applies to all areas, to any revolutionary work. A daily online central organ of the Comintern/ML in all languages of the world, which in every country in the national language can be daily reprinted and distributed by all Marxist-Leninist parties, would not only enormously reduce the fragmentation of the forces, but would have a high political, ideological and organizational value in order to practically unite the proletarians of all countries in the world-revolutionary struggle. Either we solve this task or the proletarians of all countries will hunt us down with shame and disgrace: “Beautiful internationalists you are - stunted in your own country!” Of course, the central organs of the Marxist-Leninist parties in the individual countries are important and remain so important, but the Siemens workers in India also want to learn something from the Siemens workers in Germany or China, unify their common struggle, enrich their international knowledge, and support the movement in those countries where support is most needed. This can be done much better by a revolutionary world organization with the Sections together than any section itself - any class-conscious worker will confirm, whether this worker is from Istanbul, São Paulo, Seoul, Chicago or Magnitogorsk. However, if 10 Marxist-Leninist parties united to produce a common international online newspaper, that would be a huge advantage for all other countries, especially for those countries where the Marxist-Leninist parties are still under construction or where the Marxists-Leninists are organized only individually or in local groups. That would be proletarian internationalism of action. Us Marxist-Leninists have to gather, train, mobilize and send a world army of omniscient people - but that has to be tackled first. It is a bad thing if even the realization of this necessity is still lacking in many of us. What is deemed necessary for the Marxist-Leninist parties in their own country and is taken for granted is far from self-evident on international territory. The Marxist-Leninists of the world still have to learn that, and they will learn that because the necessity of international struggle will inevitably be met with, and they will brilliantly solve their common international tasks. There is no doubt about that.

What is most urgent for all Marxist-Leninist parties today is the principled discussion of the fundamental issues of the world movement, and international agitation which exceeds the power of a single Marxist-Leninist party. Let's just take world unemployment as an example. There is a lot to read about unemployment in the central institutions in the individual countries. That's good, but which central organ deals with unemployment as a world problem, let alone which central organ can become the collective agitator, propagandist and organizer of the unified world unemployed movement? None can do that. However, this collective work of the Marxist-Leninist parties is necessary to lead and guide the world's unemployed movement. However, the insight into this necessity alone is half the way to the solution of this problem, namely, that one must establish a common world umbrella organization for this purpose. The parties must think and cooperate with their common international central organ. As long as that does not happen, we will make no headway of the Marxist-Leninist world movement. If this happens, then a normal relationship between the central organ of the Comintern/ML and the still necessary central organs of the sections will emerge completely by itself. But for this we need not only a principled, but a practical decision of this question. We wholeheartedly wish that, for it would be a hard blow to the common enemy - against world imperialism and for the world proletariat of great interest and benefit. It may be a great step forward on the way to the world revolution if the neo-revisionists brand this as pure sectarianism, for us Marxist-Leninists, for the world proletariat.

If we resist the allegations of sectarianism by the neo-revisionists, that does not mean that we need to stop fiercely fighting neo-sectarianism, the neo-revisionist aide. We fully acknowledge the need to fight sectarianism no matter how much we are littered with sectarianism. If we avoid future sectarian errors and remain alert to the sectarians, then neo-revisionists will continue to accuse us of sectarianism. Our fight against actual sectarianism will benefit us in the fight against neo-revisionism. In the struggle against modern revisionism, us Marxist-Leninists have never made it so easy for us to dismiss any legitimate criticism of our sectarian mistakes as bogus of the revisionists. Those who do not fight their sectarian mistakes blunt the Marxist-Leninist weapon against revisionism and, whether they like it or not, contribute to the strengthening of revisionism. The social base in the party for leftist opportunist tendencies and deviations are often intellectuals and the petty bourgeoisie. They have a troubled relationship with the masses and adventurous notions of the revolutionary class struggle. That is why, in our organizations as well, we will make sure that sectarianism does not receive a social base.

The views of the supposedly crucial role of a guerrilla herd are also adventurous. They lead to defeats and disappointments; they remove the working class and the working masses from the revolution. So even Chinese revisionism is an opponent of the Marxist-Leninist parties on the question of legal and illegal struggle, we will expose and combat the misconceptions of Maoism, especially in guerrilla tactics and popular warfare. If we are subjected to the looseness of the masses - pushed into illegality - the sectarians make of it a virtue, instead of intensifying mass work at all costs in daily routine work and in the struggle for the hardships and worries of the masses to overcome the breadth and depth. If the sectarians persistently try to stop us, if they refuse to support party work among the masses, they must be removed from the party. We are consistent. One can not fight sectarianism with party sectarians.

Illegal work should not restrict and hinder the party, but on the contrary must promote, improve and strengthen it. Not only a petty bourgeois intellectual exaggeration of conspiratorial work ("Agenteritis" - alarmism - illness of fearing unduly the activities of political police and foreign agents - with the result of paralyzing the party activities), a retreat in the class struggle, the hiding of the party behind its mass organizations, which is firstly, due to the fear of the bourgeoisie, to the excessive overestimation of the power of the bourgeoisie. Secondly, it’s caused by its lack of confidence in the revolutionary working class and the protection of the masses. Thirdly, illegality can almost stifle the party if it has been in illegality for too long and can not cope with the end of illegality , In such situations, the party must stretch its weary limbs, rally itself to new deeds, absorb fresh blood, and revive the revolutionary momentum if it does not want to lag behind the revolutionary events and go into night-time bailouts.

Stalin taught in the work “History of the CPSU (B)” that:

  "We may take it as the rule that as long as the Bolsheviks maintain connection with the broad masses of the people they will be invincible. And, on the contrary, as soon as the Bolsheviks sever themselves from the masses and lose their connection with them, as soon as they become covered with bureaucratic rust, they will lose all their strength and become a mere cipher." ( History of the CPSU (B) - Short Course).



The Concilatorist/Centrist Danger in Linking Legal and Illegal Work

Conciliarists can never reconcile what cannot be reconciled with what cannot be reconciled. One cannot bury illegality “a little” and replace it with “a little” bit of a legal party. Therefore, the result of reconciliation is always the bankruptcy of the liquidatorship and not the really necessary reconciliation for the unity of all forces involved in the construction of the illegal party. Neither the principles of illegal party building - and the revolutionaries who apply them - may be scattered to the winds in an open, legal cardboard house during the first reactionary storm, nor may they be forced into the narrow shell of sectarianism, where they become their own prisoners. The party would atrophy if it encapsulated itself in its narrow, partisan housing, if it allowed itself to be rendered incapable of fighting illegality and if it detached itself from the masses. Nor can the conspiratorial work sweep in and out of both houses and serve neither one master nor the other master.

The “leftists” hit us Marxist-Leninists on the head with a stick of the battle cry: “Down with the legalists!” - only because we want to continue our work among the masses. And the right swing against us with the club of the “cult of illegality, of underground revolt and conspiratorial cat and mouse games” and try to drive us out of the legal organizations just because we don't want to renounce our revolutionary goal in the legal work. And what do the conciliators do? They force us to an opportunistic “party unit" and to lazy “party peace” and demand in all seriousness that we have to reconcile ourselves with those who attack the party, they even expect us to continue to hold out our heads.

Workers are being hounded, organizations wrecked, the peasants cheated, soldiers and sailors arrested, leaders of the proletarian party slandered and libelled, and at the same time the counter-revolutionaries have grown insolent and are jubilating and calumniating—and all this under the guise of “saving” the revolution. Such is the pass we have been brought to by the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik parties.” (Stalin: ‘Victory of the Counter-Revolution’ in: ‘Works’, Volume 3; Moscow; 1953; p.140-141; English Edition).

Having intimidated and entrapped them (the Mensheviks and the Social-Revolutionaries- author’s note), and having tamed them and won them over to their own side, the counter-revolutionary ringleaders... launched a campaign against the revolution. Wrecking and suppression of newspapers, disarming of the workers and soldiers, arrests and manhandling, lies and slanders, vile and despicable calumniation of the leaders of our Party by venal police sleuths—such are the fruits of the policy of compromise.” (Stalin: ‘What has Happened?’ in: ‘Works’, Volume 3; Moscow; 1953; p.135-136; English Edition).

The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries had abandoned the path of revolution, hence they were inevitably bound to fall under the sway... of the counter-revolutionaries.” (Stalin: ‘The Victory of the Cadets’ in: ‘Works’, Volume 3; Moscow; 1953; p.143; English Edition).

And the centrists then drive a systematically elaborate game of intrigue out of the absurdity of the situation by means of the whole liquidation process to form factions, fragments, and splits against the party. As is well known, Trotsky was a great master of this. The party is only stronger than all of its liquidators if it fights against ALL currents in such a way that it makes ANY field of activity within the party IMPOSSIBLE for them, that it cleanses out these class alien forces and other hostile elements along with them and especially without hesitation, without even sparing a single one of them for a reason or another. The Marxist-Leninist party must either completely rid itself of all these currents, or it will perish itself. It goes without saying that the party cannot exist if it leaves those who do not recognize its existence in its ranks.

Whoever renounces illegality, say goodbye to the party! Whoever renounces the legal fight, say goodbye to the party! Anyone who renounces both illegal and legal work - says goodbye to the party!

If the Marxist-Leninist forces are defeated, then they MUST reconstitute themselves as the supreme party organ at a conference by declaring all the liquidatorial currents to be outside the party in the future and for all time:

The Party cannot exist unless it defends its existence, unless it unreservedly fights those who want to liquidate it, destroy it, who do not recognise it, who renounce it. (...) Anyone who renounces the existing Party in the name of some new party must be told: try, build up a new party, but you cannot remain a member of the old, the present, the existing Party.” (Lenin: ‘Controversial Issues’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 19; Moscow; 1977; p.151; English Edition).

If, in combining legal and illegal work, one side is overemphasized and exaggerated and the other underemphasized and neglected, the enemies of the party can misuse justified criticisms that certainly emerge as arguments against the party. You have to be vigilant. Not everyone who criticizes or supports the illegal work of the party must do so with an honest heart: If the "leftist" deviation of the isolation from the masses is criticized, then the party enemies naturally use this argumentation to smuggle in their legalist line through the conciliators, whereby sectarianism can form again if the party permits this. This interplay of anti-party forces must be seen through by the party and prevented in good time before damage is done.

Conversely, if the deviation of legalism in the party is criticized, the party's enemies use this argumentation to go beyond the correct Marxist-Leninist positions, if possible, to the complete renunciation of all legal work, which in turn gives the legalists a breathing space for regeneration. Thus, a correct Marxist-Leninist critique of the direction of illegal party work is always misused by the party's enemies in order to turn it on its head or at least to weaken it - sometimes from one side, sometimes from the other, and always most of all from the side where our weaknesses are greatest. The enemies of the party use the means of reconciliation and centrism. How? The conditions of class struggle? The conditions of class struggle are not the same at all times, they change constantly and these changes have to be met tactically, i.e. the party has to adapt to the changed conditions of class struggle, i.e. also to the changing fighting tactics of the bourgeoisie towards the party. Especially in acute situations, where decisions have to be made, which have influence on the change of the legal and illegal weighting, on the change of the forms of the legal and illegal struggle, one must also to correctly deal with divergent points of view. This is precisely where opportunism comes in, in order to influence the necessary decisions in its own way and to harm the party in one way or another. If, for example, the party does not adapt a correct line in illegal party work to the changed conditions, then the correct measures will turn into less effective measures; indeed, they can even turn into the opposite if they are not fundamentally changed. Not changing them is right for the right. Changing them too far is right for the “left” because they can then overshoot their mark and also do harm.

Half heartedness and half measures towards the illegal principles of the party, and indifference, carelessness or vigilance - paired with oversensitivity and exaggeration in the handling of conspiracy on the other hand begins to become a deviation if one does not analyze and eliminate the errors in time with the help of criticism and self-criticism. If one begins to reconcile one's inconsistent attitude to the question of the iron discipline of the illegal party - or even that of one's comrades - if one begins to justify it and then even makes a wrong line out of it, which one still praises as virtue, if this is then gratefully received by party enemies and consciously driven in a harmful direction, then serious consequences for the party's existence and such defeats can result, which can become fatal for our revolutionary cause. It is not enough to adopt a correct attitude to the illegal construction of the party only in its general line, one must adopt it in everything one does - there is not a single action of the party that is not carried out from the point of view of conspiratorial measures. What is decisive is the assessment of the degree of secrecy, because there are legal and illegal actions of the party.

There are also gradations between legal and illegal work. One often speaks of semi-legal work when it is possible to hold open party meetings or to propagate communism openly to a certain extent. While in the countries of sinister reaction and fascist terror, any communist activity is forbidden from the outset. The communist press under semi-legal conditions is persecuted when the bourgeoisie feels attacked in one way or another and pursues a policy of attrition and pinpricks. Under semi-legal conditions, the communist party is not yet banned for reasons of opportunism, although there are already finished legal operations that can be pulled out of the drawer at the right moment to ban the party and arrest its comrades in one fell swoop.

In combining legal and illegal struggle, priority is always given to the illegal organization and the illegal struggle, since it is essentially a struggle that serves the revolutionary overthrow of the ruling regime and therefore cannot be legally prepared and carried out. In civil war, one cannot play with open cards against the enemy. A party that does not do illegal work, despite the persecutions and arrests, is a party of traitors and villains who cheat the workers by paying lip service to the revolution. The neo-revisionists are such parties today. Lenin determined the face of a genuine Bolshevik party according to the form of its systematic illegal activity.

For the “combination” of illegal and legal actions Lenin wrote in the dispute with Struve:

Every illegal party “combines” illegal with legal activities in the sense that it relies on the masses, who do not participate directly in illegal activities, that it supports legal protests, utilises legal opportunities for propaganda, organisation, etc. This is generally known, and it is not this that is meant when the tactics of an illegal party are discussed. The point in question is the irrevocable recognition of struggle by this party, elaboration of methods of struggle, the duty of party members not to limit themselves to legal protests, but to subordinate everything without exception to the interests and demands of the revolutionary struggle. If there is no systematic illegal activity and revolutionary struggle, then there is no party (...) And no greater harm can be done to the cause of the struggle than by confusing revolutionary work, which is based on the broad masses, makes use of mass organisations, and facilitates the political training of legal party functionaries, with work restricted within legal bounds.” (Lenin: ‘Mr. Struve Exposed by his Colleague’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 6; Moscow; 1977; p.358; English Edition).

If Marxist-Leninist parties put the illegal organization and work at the forefront and regard them as the basis, that does not mean that they will renounce the organization of legal struggle and legal forms of struggle. On the contrary, as Marxism-Leninism and the revolutionary experiences of the working class teach, legal struggle is an integral part of the Marxist-Leninist party. Therefore, the right combination of legal and illegal struggle is absolutely necessary and essential.

Part of the activity of the Marxist-Leninist parties is the legal work using the so-called "democratic freedoms" to expose these alleged freedoms as in essence and in practice reactionary and bourgeois in order to brand the bourgeois social order. Comrades who work in this field must be particularly careful of errors of legalism, because they are constantly exposed to the poison of revisionist influence and are politically under strong pressure from the bourgeoisie. This is particularly extreme the case in the imperialist trade unions, where comrades appear as revolutionary trade union oppositionists and are exposed not only to the drumbeats of bosses and fat cats, but also of the “left” phrase mongers. These comrades cannot act in isolation, they must build up the organized protection of their colleagues around them in order to find cover from which they can launch their attacks, but also withdraw again without being dismissed. If the revolutionary leaders are thrown onto the streets after the first offensive, the wrong tactics would be a bitter disappointment for the colleagues in the company and a damage that would be difficult to repair. Conversely, comrades involved in illegal party work must avoid sectarian aberrations and make intensive efforts to keep in touch with the masses in one way or another so as not to run the risk of “going up” in isolation. Legal and illegal work must not be alienated from each other, but both must be coordinated centrally. There must be no contradictions between them. The respective relationship, the respective priorities in one and the other given area must be constantly adapted to the worsening or diminishing class struggle situation. One must not be neglected at the expense of the other. All the illegal and legal work of the Marxist-Leninist parties can be successful if it is organically linked to each other and results in a complementary whole with at the same time different but also common tasks and directions. It must be clear that there cannot be one legal and one illegal line, i.e. two different lines in the party, just as there cannot be a legal communist party and an illegal communist party side by side and independently of each other. But one cannot sit between the two stools - like the opportunists, that is the essence of opportunism in the question of legal and illegal work.

In order to combine the legal with the illegal work, consciousness is presupposed, which distinguishes both working forms from each other. Both must be strictly separated, because half measures or mixing can have fatal consequences. To combine illegal and legal work while at the same time strictly separate them from each other, is to be understood dialectically and must be kept that way.

You have to know how far you can go and from where and when it can be dangerous. For example, if we fight for free communist agitation and propaganda under illegal conditions, and we have a duty to do so, we must always be careful enough to go the limit. What can one say openly and no more. So one has to do it step by step, word for word, and sentence by sentence, but also - if it gets too dangerous - they must take it back word by word and sentence by sentence and start the retreat into the slave language and try again. If in the course of the upswing of the movement, the legal and semi-legal possibilities of the party increase more and more, they must be used in time, the old conspiratorial apparatus must be prepared and changed for the open appearance of the party, without even a second in the phase of the opening of the party, the creation of new legal and half-party party organizations, neglecting in any way the secretive activity and the CONSTRUCTION of the conspiratorial apparatus. Not keeping up the conspiratorial party apparatus in such a situation would certainly be very convenient for the police. We must not enter the legal trap.

The Marxist-Leninist parties create their own forms of communist activity - broad legal press, agitprop groups, ground support, workers’ theaters, literature and art, workers' associations, sports clubs, combat groups, etc., or work in legal mass organizations such as workers, peasants, women, youth, anti-fascist, anti-imperialist and anti-war groups, etc. All these legal forms of organization offer a wide field of activity for exposing and combating the bourgeoisie and its revisionist lackeys. Everything serves the broad preparation of the socialist revolution. And everything also serves as an anchor in the mass organizations in the event of being pushed into illegality. The best protection is from the masses and can be repeated it for the umpteenth time.

Another form of legal work of the Marxist-Leninist parties is the work in the trade unions, which are directly and indirectly under the dictates of the bourgeoisie and are dominated by reformists and revisionists. The communists also use the leadership of the strike movement of legal and illegal forms of struggle. They endeavor to break trade union legalism, these fetters of the economic struggle of the proletariat, and to organize independent, “wild,” illegal strikes in order to emphasize legitimate demands of their colleagues, and to educate them in independent class struggle against the pressure of yellow unions who of course, try to prevent this with social-fascist violence. Marxist-Leninist parties use RUO organization, firstly to systematically and organizedly attack the yellow unions from within, to reduce their influence on their colleagues and, secondly, to create the conditions for the creation of independent class unions, which are an important lever for the socialist revolution and represent a school of communism. It is precisely here that an irreconcilable struggle against opportunism must be waged in its own ranks, both against trade union legalism, against sectarian refusal of legal work in the trade unions, but also against the concilatorist/centrist fluctuations between the two positions or their eclectic mixture at the expense a clear, Marxist-Leninist line linking the communist party's legal and illegal trade union and operational work. The RUO must not replace the illegal operating cell. Above all, the party must turn to economism and trade unionism and align the economic struggle with the proletarian revolution.

What has been said here about the right combination between legal and illegal work in the trade unions also applies in principle to the struggle against bourgeois parliamentarism, whereby the assessment of the particular situation always plays an important role as a basis for sounding out legal and illegal forms of struggle. Us communists use parliament as the tribune of the revolutionary class struggle if we have the means, the forces and the possibilities to do so. The aim is to smash the parliamentary system and to establish a democratic council system based on the social form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the by-product being the defence of democratic rights.

We will LEARN to organize all forms of our revolutionary work in such a way that fluctuations on one side or the other will make wavering in the first place IMPOSSIBLE. That is our goal and we must reach that goal! This can only be achieved in daily combat and not in pin-pristine resolutions.

We will LEARN to take advantage of the legal possibilities just as we will LEARN to work illegally; and we will also LEARN to correctly connect the legal with the illegal work according to the conditions of the class struggle. As Marxist-Leninists unite, we will bring the solution of this problem to world victory. Despite all the efforts and sacrifices that come with this difficult journey, we will win through our perseverance.

The illegal party of the working class exists, and even the fact that it has, in our days, been extremely weakened, and that most of its organisations have fallen to pieces, does not militate against its existence.” (Lenin: ‘A Conversation between a Legalist and an Opponent of Liquidationism’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 17; Moscow; 1977; p.188; English Edition). This was what the great Lenin said in 1911, and only six years later he led the party victoriously to the October Revolution!

One can dissolve mass organizations, ban trade unions, force the party into illegality, arrest and murder revolutionaries, but they can not do one thing:

One cannot eliminate the mass aggregation of workers in a capitalist country. In one way or another, whether it is legal, semi-legal, or illegal, the working class will legitimately find and use some opportunity to join the resistance. And there will always be new upstanding revolutionaries at their head so that the clenched fist of the proletariat hits the exploiters and oppresses in the face and cuts them down. It will always be preceded by the party of the most class-conscious workers. It will always understand how to organize itself as a vanguard, directing the forces of the proletariat to revolutionary power - this party will win, come what may!


(There is nothing in between!)