Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party wrote an article entitled “Win the Masses in Their Millions for the Anti-Japanese United Front,” in 1937.
This article by Chairman Mao placed great emphasis on the significance of party cadres in the struggle against the Japanese invaders at the time and the struggle for national liberation and socialism in general.
We quote Mao because he led one of the greatest, successful revolutionary movements in history and because his theoretical significance has also been proven in real practice in the real world.
Mao’s real world success is critical to emphasize during this era of social media militancy when revolutionary practice has been thrust to the rearview mirror of history.
“Our Party organizations must be extended all over the country and we must purposefully train tens of thousands of cadres and hundreds of first-rate mass leaders. They must be cadres and leaders versed in Marxism-Leninism, politically far-sighted, competent in work, full of the spirit of self-sacrifice, capable of tackling problems on their own, steadfast in the midst of difficulties and loyal and devoted in serving the nation, the class, and the Party. It is on these cadres and leaders that the Party relies for its links with the membership and the masses, and it is by relying on their firm leadership of the masses that the Party can succeed in defeating the enemy. Such cadres and leaders must be free from selfishness, from individualist heroism, ostentation, sloth, passivity and arrogant sectarianism, and they must be selfless national and class heroes; such are the qualities demanded of the cadres and leaders of our Party.”
Mao’s words are recognition that a political line and organization are not sufficient unto themselves to win our freedom, to liberate and unite Africa and African people under the revolutionary leadership of the African working class.
These words remind us that if we are to be successful it will be because we have within the ranks of the Party the necessary dedicated women and men, for whom there is no sacrifice too great in pursuit of the liberation of our continent and people - and the emancipation of our class.
Revolution is not something that can be wished into being. It must be pursued and won through very serious practical activity that is guided by advanced revolutionary theory in the possession of a revolutionary party.
Le Duan was the General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party, the ruling party of Viet Nam. Years later, after the success of the Chinese Revolution and the Vietnamese Revolution that was fought with Chinese and Russian support against the French and later the U.S. imperialists, Le Duan also wrote of the critical significance of cadres.
From his selected writings under the title of “Some Problems of Cadres and Organization in Socialist Revolution,” Le Duan wrote:
“After the Party has worked out a correct political line, organizational work in general and cadre work in particular, are decisive factors for success in the revolutionary tasks.”
Elaborating, Le Duan spoke of the relationship between cadres and organization. This is important to us because as some leaders and members of our Party are aware, one serious contradiction that had to be overcome in our Party is confusion on this issue, when one comrade became extremely disruptive because of disunity with the Party’s line on an area of work to which he was assigned.
Le Duan continues:
“A wise political line produces good cadres. Cadres are trained and mature under a wise line. On the other hand they take part in the making and development of the line.
“They ensure the realization of the line. Without competent cadres, even though we have worked out a line, it will be useless. If cadres are bad, they will damage the line itself. If cadres are good and able, they not only help to carry out the line creatively but also contribute to its development.
“The problem of cadres is posed under the premise that the line has been worked out. That is why a wise political line is the pre-condition for the existence of good cadres. It is quite impossible to have good cadres if the line is wrong. Of course a wise line alone cannot exclude the possibility of wrongdoing and degradation on the part of cadres because whether a cadre acts rightly or wrongly, is good or bad, depends on many other factors than the line, including his person attributes…”
This issue of Party cadres is something that has been thrust upon us with great urgency. This is because after more than two generations of lethargy induced by the defeat of the Black Revolution of the Sixties and the ensuing counterinsurgency, Africans within the U.S. and worldwide are rapidly entering the struggle against imperialism in its various forms.
Many of these Africans are coming to our Party, but many are not. These newly mobilized Africans, in either case, have no experience in revolutionary political life.
We must show the way to those who are not coming to our Party, for it is true that movement for its own sake is not necessarily helpful.
For some the movement is everything; the revolution is nothing. For our Party, all movement must lead and contribute to revolution.
We must be prepared to transform those coming to our Party into the cadres needed to win more and more members to the Party and the revolution.
In the recent period, struggles within our Party have revolved around the willingness of Party leaders to adopt a genuine cadre stance that will influence the practice of both Party members and the masses in general.
In the Political Report adopted by our Fifth Party Congress and quoted in the Political Report to the Sixth Party Congress, we wrote of the meaning of cadres and cadre development at this moment:
“More than anything we must give the greatest significance possible to the task of development of Party cadres. By this we do not mean simply filling the ranks of the Party with new forces or having sterile political education classes that will simply allow them to memorize text that can be regurgitated on command.
"We mean that members of our Party must be prepared to lead.
“In practical terms this certainly means that they should be able to lead the particular areas of work for which they may be responsible. Their leaders must give them complete understanding of this work. But they must also be able to lead the masses in general—in their communities and on the campuses, in prisons and at their workplaces. They must be won to a love for the revolution and an undying love for the Party that is the instrument through which the revolution will be pursued and won…
“No matter how great or genuine the problems or significance of individuals, they cannot be allowed to undermine the responsibility to place the interests of the revolution and the Party first, above all else. This means that within the Party all our members must aspire to becoming cadres.
“Cadres must be taught to understand that the Party is everything, without which our people will be left with another 500 years of misery, should we survive the desperate aggressions of this imperialism in crisis at all. If there is to be independence, unification and socialism in our lifetime it will be because our Party, deeply united in our mission, is successful. This cannot happen with an organization of whining, self-serving, individualistic members incapable of seeing beyond their own real or perceived pain or genius.
“Our cadres recognize the value of democratic centralism as the main organizational principle of the Party. They recognize why this is so and how this reflects the fact that we are an organization of unity of will and action, something that is absolutely necessary for making the revolution that will end the misery of our people.
“Our cadres understand that to come into the ranks of our glorious Party is to submit to its will, to make the will of our Party our own will as opposed to the tendency of attempting to make our own will the will of the Party, as has been occasionally demonstrated by some Party members, past and present…”
Our Party is committed to revolution. This is no simple task and it cannot be accomplished by just any kind of organization comprised of just any kind of membership.
The organizational principles of our Party mean that every African will not desire to be a member of the African People’s Socialist Party. It also means that the African People’s Socialist Party does not desire everyone to join the Party.
But for those leaders and members of our Party and those who are interested in joining our ranks, it is necessary for us to continue this struggle to develop the instrument through which the liberation of our nation and the emancipation of our class can be achieved.
We are preparing now to win and to govern.
Cadres to the forefront!