Liberalism is extremely harmful in a revolutionary collective. It is a corrosive which eats away unity, undermines cohesion, causes apathy and creates dissension. It robs the revolutionary ranks of compact organization and strict discipline, prevents policies from being carried through and alienates the Party organizations from the masses which the Party leads. It is an extremely bad tendency.
Liberalism stems from petty-bourgeois selfishness, it places personal interests first and the interests of the revolution second, and this gives rise to ideological, political and organizational liberalism.
People who are liberals look upon the principles of Marxism as abstract dogma. They approve of Marxism, but are not prepared to practice it or to practice it in full; they are not prepared to replace their liberalism by Marxism. These people have their Marxism, but they have their liberalism as well--they talk Marxism but practice liberalism; they apply Marxism to others but liberalism to themselves. They keep both kinds of goods in stock and find a use for each. This is how the minds of certain people work.
Liberalism is a manifestation of opportunism and conflicts fundamentally with Marxism. It is negative and objectively has the effect of helping the enemy; that is why the enemy welcomes its preservation in our midst. Such being its nature, there should be no place for it in the ranks of the revolution.
We must use Marxism, which is positive in spirit, to overcome liberalism, which is negative. A Communist should have largeness of mind and he should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the revolution as his very life and subordinating his personal interests to those of the revolution; always and everywhere he should adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against all incorrect ideas and actions, so as to consolidate the collective life of the Party and strengthen the ties between the Party and the masses; he should be more concerned about the Party and the masses than about any private person, and more concerned about others than about himself. Only thus can he be considered a Communist.
I have a problem. I am resolutely opposed to liberalism, am very good at sniffing out a liberal when I sense one, and also efficient in identifying and attacking the offending liberal positions, tendencies and character deficiencies that lend the liberal to his rightist deviance. My problem is this: I don't engage the liberal, which is reasonable, I think, and instead attack him or her without mercy or hesitation, and with no regard for saving appearances. I live a petty bourgeois life, 99% of my peers are counter-revolutionary and I myself am hardly revolutionary in anything but ideals. I do not participate in any sort of revolutionary action, so I am essentially a liberal myself. However, whatever my failings there, I still feel compelled to argue against those self-satisfied liberals who argue reactionary apologism with a level of dishonesty directly proportionate to the intensity of their superiority complex. I may be a liberal in practice, but I am then a liberal who attempts to combat liberalism. This personal contradiction of mine is not the problem, this is simply a matter of moral commitment and will of which little needs to be said. The problem concerns my engagement with liberals. I am unsure that vicious criticism unimpeded by any sort of social nicety, which I see mainly as a defense of bourgeois argument, is productive. I do believe that unapologetically firing all rhetorical cylinders in attacking liberals from a position of revolutionary anti imperialism opens up the impossible possibility of revolution for those sympathetic to the cause, and that to cede ground any ground to the liberal is a tactical mistake. To do so renders one a liberal. The position of the liberal is constant and eternal compromise with the right, to act as a sort of broker between the internal crisis of capitalism and the class that perpetuates it. To concede any rhetorical ground to the liberal--usually this means conceding that the liberal is in some way on the same side as the revolutionary--is to function as a liberal to the liberal, to broker between the revolution and those ambassadors of reaction. My question is this: is it a mistake to insist resolutely on a disciplined rhetorical anti imperialist position at all times and maintain an assault on any and all liberal attempts to fly into the revolutionary camp, or is there some more fluid strategy wherein the liberal can be invited to his own rhetorical demise. It is always the stronger strategy to invite the enemy to his own suicide than it is to try to fight off them off yourself. I feel that some sort of inclusionary rhetorical position that negates the false leftism of the liberal somehow by its very nature would be preferable, I just haven't been able to formulate it. So build with me a little bit here my brogues.
The more detached one is from a role, the easier it becomes to turn it against the enemy. The more effectively one avoids the weight of things, the easier it is to achieve lightness of movement. Comrades care little for forms. They argue openly, confident in the knowledge that they cannot inflict wounds on each other. Where communication is genuinely sought, misunderstandings are no crime. But if you accost me armed to the teeth, understanding agreement only in terms of a victory for you, then you will get nothing out of me but an evasive pose, and a formal silence intended to indicate that the discussion is closed. For interchange on the basis of contending roles is useless a priori. Only the enemy wants to fight on the terrain of roles, according to the rules of the spectacle.