Revolutionary Communist Party (Brazil): “How to Advance Our Work With the Masses?”

How to Advance Our Work with the Masses?

“They [the Bolsheviks], like Antaeus (a hero of Greek mythology), are strong because they maintain connection with their mother, the masses who gave birth to them, suckled them and reared them. And as long as they maintain connection with their mother, with the people, they have every chance of remaining invincible.”

  1. Stalin, at the Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, March 1939

Luis Falcão*

Revolutionary Communist Party – PCR Brazil

Among those fighting for an end to the exploitation and oppression of the capitalist system and for a true socialist revolution in our country, there is no doubt that the Workers Party, the PT, has become a social-democratic party and that its objective it is only to minimize the evils caused by capitalism. Proof of this are the last interviews of former President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, affirming that the PT has no self-criticism to make and that its objective is to govern “for all the people, both for the banker and the bank worker, for the landowner and the rural worker. What people have to know is that I will govern like the heart of a mother” (UOL – Universo On Line, January 26, 2020). He doesn’t know that both the bank worker and the rural worker, as well as the whole of society, would live much better if the banker and the landowner were expropriated, that is, if the banks, the land and the main means of production were under the control of the workers instead of belonging to a minority.

In addition, as we know, many PT leaders began to make enriching themselves one of their life goals and got involved in deals. The telecommunications company Oi and Gamecorp, a company of Fábio Luís Lula da Silva, the son of former president Lula, is involved in one of these deals. From 2004 to 2016, in the period in which the PT was in the government, Oi invested a total of 82.8 million reales [about $15 million US] in Gamecorp and won 6.8 million reales [about $1.2 million US] in court for a loan made ten years ago.

The Communist Party of Brazil (PC do B) is also following the same path. In addition to proclaiming that its model of socialism is the super-exploitative Chinese capitalism, it decided to take off the mask that it used to hide its betrayal of the working class, removing the word “communist,” as well as the hammer and sickle from its emblem. This is just consistent with what it had already abandoned in practice, Marxism-Leninism. When it occupied the Ministry of Defense, it did not tire of praising and paying tribute to the Armed Forces, the same ones that tortured, murdered and hid the bodies of the Araguaia guerrillas.

Stopping the struggles

As a consequence of this policy of class conciliation, in the past two decades these parties have acted as a brake on the advance of the struggles of the working masses. Their housing movements were no longer carrying out any more occupations and the CUT {United Workers’ Federation] and the CTB [Workers’  Federation of Brazil] preferred to associate with Força Sindical [Trade Union Force] to defend the subsidy for the employers and negotiate voluntary layoffs instead of organizing strikes. Even the peasant movements were affected and land occupations were decreasing year by year. Even worse was the National Union of Students (UNE) and the Brazilian Union of Secondary Students (UBES) that, from organizations that were representative of and recognized by students, are today bureaucratized and are losing the leading role in the struggle of the Brazilian youth.

For all this, the victorious strike of the oil workers organized by the United Federation of Oil Workers (FUP) and by the Unions takes on extraordinary importance. After 20 days of paralysis and despite the fact that the bourgeois press concealed it, they defeated the intransigence and intolerance of the director of Petrobras and the Higher Labor Court, winning some gains.

But despite having suffered electoral defeats and working to prevent the advance of the workers and popular struggles (the strike against the Pension Reform, last year, lasted just one day), the PT continues to have a relative influence over the masses, a consequence of the struggles that took place in the 1980s and 1990s, and of having control of the country’s main trade union organizations.

However, there is no point in regretting or recognizing this betrayal. It is necessary to act and work daily to win over the masses and attract them to revolutionary positions. Only with the revolutionary work among the masses will these sectors emerge from inertia and transform disillusionment and frustration with social democracy into the fight against the bosses, the exploitation by the bourgeoisie and the immediate end of the fascist government.

How to link with the masses?

So how should one overcome that influence of social-democracy over the masses? Lenin’s notes in The Role and Functions of the Trade Unions1 provide important lessons for revolutionary communists on how to carry out work among the people. He says:

“Contact with the masses:

– Live right among the workers

– Judge their mood

– Know all about them

– Understand the masses

– Know how to approach them

– Win their boundless confidence

– Leaders must not be isolated from the masses or from the army of labor.”

We note that Lenin presents as the first question something apparently simple: “Live right among the workers”. This is the first step to link oneself with the masses, because, living among the people, we will be closer to them and we will have a concrete idea of their difficulties and their lives. The place where we live is not, therefore, an issue without importance or that has no relation to our work among the masses. This decision will bring us closer or lead us further away from the masses. On the other hand, living among the people must also be understood as working in a factory enterprise and living daily among the workers.

Lenin’s second point is to judge the mood of the masses. It is not possible to give an order, propose a particular action and we cannot expect it to be carried out only on the basis of our will; it is necessary to know the disposition of those who are the really fundamental force for the transformation of society. Therefore, to be successful in working with the masses, we need to know their disposition, their state of mind, have a precise idea of their living and working conditions, their desires and state of mind.

Understanding the masses and knowing how to deal with them are other important points emphasized by Lenin. In fact, it is impossible to approach the masses correctly if we do not understand them. Therefore, it is essential to deeply understand their needs and difficulties, what worries them and concerns them.

But that knowledge will only be valid for our work if we know how to approach the masses. In fact, knowing how to approach them is perhaps the main concern of a revolutionary communist when he carries out his work with the rank-and-file. To reach out to the masses and gain their attention requires that we be deeply human, be aware that the people are intelligent, have the ability to discern, think, reflect, and have opinions, and we will not change them simply because we want them to. For these changes to occur, one must present facts, elements, identify what leads them to think in this way and have self-control in order to present our arguments and ideas.

Many people believe that since the party is the vanguard of the working masses, what its activists defend in a beautiful speech will automatically be accepted by the people. To act like this is to fail to be the vanguard and not understand that only with persuasion we will be able to convince the masses and lead them to action. To educate and raise the consciousness of the masses, it is necessary, first of all, to establish an identity or, as some prefer, a connection, between the vanguard and the masses.

Without the direct participation of the masses, there will be no revolution

Lenin always made it very clear that, in order to carry out a revolution, the vanguard must be decisive and firm, but he has also stressed that it is not possible to carry it out if the oppressed and the exploited do not want it, if there is no raising of the consciousness of millions and millions of workers. In other words, for the victory of the revolution it is necessary to have the sympathy and support of the majority of the oppressed and exploited. Now, that goal can only be achieved through the experience of the masses, through speaking with the people, hearing them, listening carefully to their complaints, establishing a relationship of equality, with people of the same class and who have a common interest.

Furthermore, the role of the popular masses in the transformation of society is greater than that of any individual; therefore, the task of the communists is not to replace what is irreplaceable, but to reveal to the workers the contradictions of capitalist society, to explain why the boss is rich and the worker or peasant is poor, the causes of unemployment and low wages, to spread the ideas of socialism and revolution and to contribute to the development and organization of the workers and popular movement. In other words, we will not achieve our objectives except through persuasion, fraternal and respectful conversation with the people, burying all vanity, arrogance and communist vainglory2.

The last element, winning the boundless confidence of the masses, will only come if we strictly go along with the points presented by Lenin. That is, if we live in the midst of the people, if we know how to approach the masses correctly and fight alongside them, we will win the boundless confidence of the masses.

It is also important to emphasize that the connection with the masses must be developed before, during and after the struggles have taken place. Indeed, it is common that there are comrades who do a good job of persuasion, who manage to win the confidence of the masses and develop the struggles, achieving important victories. However, after the triumph of these struggles, they stand aside or disengage themselves from the masses, cease to live together with them and act as if the struggle of the communists was not to transform society and make the revolution, but simply for partial demands and reforms. As Lenin says in his article “On Confounding Politics with Pedagogics”: “It is our duty always to intensify and broaden our work and influence among the masses… for weakness in this work is always one of the causes of the proletariat’s defeat”. Thus, the work of the party among the masses is a permanent work and its continuity is fundamental for the success of the revolution.

To fulfill these tasks, our party must have prepared, self-sacrificing, and ready cadres, cadres who are trained in party meetings, in the study of Marxism-Leninism, in practical work with the masses, in the preparation of their meetings, assemblies, mobilizations and struggles. Cadres who can overcome over-confidence and arrogance and who are willing to learn from the masses and not just teach them.

Of course, we should not expect the influence of social-democracy to evaporate overnight or to come to an end after the social democrats lose one or another election. We cannot and should not feed this illusion, because only when our link with the masses deepens and there is absolute confidence in the revolutionary alternative that we defend and represent, will the reformist and revisionist parties be crushed. In other words, if we go hand in hand with the people, sooner or later, depending on the tempo of our work, the working class and people will believe in their own strength and the popular revolution.

We are confident that by following these correct and important points of Lenin, we will take decisive steps to deepen our ties with the masses. It is a work that requires love for the people, self-denial and confidence in the victory of the revolution, but without a doubt, when we succeed, this work will make our Revolutionary Communist Party strong and invincible.

* Lula Falcão is a member of the Central Committee of the PCR and editorial director of the newspaper A Verdade.

¹ V. I. Lenin. The Role and Function of the Trade Unions under the New Economic Policy,” Collected Works, Vol. 33 [translated from the Spanish].

² Communist vainglory means, says Lenin, that a member of the Communist Party imagines that he can solve all problems by issuing Communist decrees. Foundations of Leninism, J. Stalin.

Categories: Brazil

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