December 1998

    We, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties waging people’s war, have taken the initiative to convene the International Seminar on Mao and People’s War in celebration of the 105th  birth anniversary of Comrade Mao Zedong.  On this occasion, we propose this declaration for adoption by the seminar participants and other parties that are unable to attend the seminar. 

    The objective of the seminar is to pay tribute to Comrade Mao Zedong for his teachings on people’s war and to uphold the significance and necessity of these in advancing the national liberation movements, the broad anti-imperialist movement and the world proletarian revolution. 

    The participants of the seminar include delegations of parties that wage people’s war, that prepare for it or that recognize its high importance and support its waging.  All participants stand on the common ground that people’s war, especially the strategic line of protracted people’s war, plays a crucial role in carrying out new-democratic revolutions as the prelude to socialist revolution in most countries of the world. 

    The participants recognize and espouse people’s war as a political necessity in relation to current and foreseeable circumstances in the crisis of the world capitalist system and the revolutionary struggles of the people of the world against imperialism and for socialism. 

    All the parties represented in the seminar express adherence to the science of Marxism-Leninism and the necessity of integrating it with the concrete conditions in their respective countries. 

    While respecting the right of independence and equality of all Parties, the overriding purpose of this seminar is to raise their level of common understanding, mutual support and cooperation among them in waging people’s war and other forms of revolutionary struggle, under the principle of proletarian internationalism and thereby strengthen the struggle against imperialism on a world scale. 

    We, in particular the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties waging people’s war, reaffirm the General Declaration on Mao Zedong Thought adopted to commemorate Comrade Mao’s 100th birth anniversary.  We regard Comrade Mao as one among the greatest thinkers and teachers of the international proletariat for his significant contributions related to philosophy, political economy, social science, Party building, new-democratic revolution through people’s war, socialist revolution and construction, and proletarian cultural revolution. 

    We uphold that Mao Zedong Thought or  Maoism represents a higher stage in the development of Marxism-Leninism in which the theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship is available in order to consolidate socialism, combat revisionism and  prevent the restoration of capitalism.  We adhere to the political line that all forces and all people must unite under the leadership of the proletariat against imperialism and all reaction in the course of new-democratic and socialist revolutions. 

    Wherever and whenever necessary to carry out the new-democratic revolution under the leadership of the advanced detachment of the proletariat, people’s war must be carried out in accordance with the revolutionary essence of Marxism-Leninism.  In such circumstances, the outright denial of the need for people’s war is revisionist.  It is likewise revisionist to delay indefinitely the commencement of people’s war. 

    Contrary to the view of the revisionists and reformists, there is no peaceful road to socialism.  It is necessary and advantageous for the revolutionary proletariat to wage armed revolution and carry out in quick succession the bourgeois-democratic and socialist stages of the revolution at the weakest links of the imperialist chain, in accordance with Lenin’s teachings on uneven development under imperialism.  The waging of people’s war in the semicolonial and semifeudal countries is favorable to the class struggle in the imperialist countries and to the eventual overthrow of the monopoly bourgeoisie by the proletariat. 

    The level of economic and technological development in imperialist countries is desirable for socialism but it is in these countries that the monopoly bourgeoisie have the most developed means for suppressing proletarian armed revolution.  Therefore when the proletariat and the people in the semicolonial and semifeudal countries wage people’s war it brings closer the day that the proletariat rises up to overthrow the monopoly bourgeoisie in the imperialist countries. 

    Comrade Mao pointed out that protracted people’s war was possible in a country like China because of its uneven development, turbulent political situation, its backward economy, and its decentralized system of communications.  He contrasted these conditions with those in advanced capitalist countries, which require protracted legal struggle to precede the armed revolution. 

    Under the present circumstances, the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties waging people’s war play a crucial role in upholding the Marxist-Leninist theory of state and revolution and carrying the world proletarian revolution forward through armed revolution.  If there were no people’s war in the semicolonial and semifeudal countries, the proletariat in the imperialist countries could be further weakened politically with a greater possibility to be further led astray towards reformism and revisionism. 

    Significance and Necessity of People’s War 

    We honor Mao Zedong as the great exponent of the theory and practice of people’s war in the new-democratic revolution in China against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.  It is necessary to study Mao’s teachings on people’s war in connection with the past, current and future circumstances in order to wage it.  Carried out correctly and given full play under the leadership of the revolutionary party of the proletariat, people’s war is an invincible weapon in new-democratic revolutions. 

    Mao’s theory and practice of people’s war is in consonance with the teachings of Marx that the class struggle must lead to the class dictatorship of the proletariat.  It is also a further development of Lenin’s theory and practice of the two-stage revolution, in which the socialist revolution follows the bourgeois-democratic revolution of a new type. 

    We acknowledge Mao as the master strategist of people’s war.  His development of the strategy and tactics of people’s war remains unsurpassed to this day.  His works on people’s war involve the application of materialist dialectics and the revolutionary class line in the process of revolutionary war.  Mao’s theory and practice of people’s war consistently carries forward the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism.  It constitutes a component in the development of Maoism and lays the basis for the advances made by Mao in socialist revolution and construction, up to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. 

    Mao’s teachings on people’s war continue to be a rich and powerful source of knowledge on the relationship of social and political analysis with various forms of warfare (guerrilla, regular mobile, positional and uprisings) under various conditions and the development of these forms of warfare through stages and phases in the course of civil war or national war against foreign aggression. 

    The strategic line of protracted people’s war, involving the encirclement of the cities from the countryside, is the revolutionary expression of the fundamental democratic alliance of the proletariat and peasantry.  It is applicable in most countries of the world, where the peasant masses are in the majority among the basic producers and fight for agrarian revolution as the main component of the democratic revolution. 

    The strategic line of protracted people’s war allows the revolutionary forces to build a people’s army and accumulate strength in the countryside until it becomes possible to seize political power in the cities.  The countryside provides the revolutionary forces the room for maneuver to grow from small to big and from weak to strong in the course of self-reliant revolutionary struggle.  By relying on the masses as the inexhaustible source of strength and launching successful tactical offensives, the people’s army can advance from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate and then finally to the strategic offensive to seize power in the cities on a nationwide scale. 

    In some countries, where there is a certain amount of industrial capitalist development but where the proportion of poor peasants and farm workers is still significant, it is also necessary to take into account and give full play to their revolutionary role in combination with that of the working class.  Even after the seizure of political power through city uprisings in Russia, the Bolsheviks had to undergo the test of revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside during the civil war and the war against foreign intervention. 

    The overwhelming majority of the countries of the world are still mired in feudal and semifeudal backwardness.  In these countries, the worst forms of oppression and exploitation are carried out by the imperialists and local exploiting classes against the working class and peasantry.  It is clear and urgent that in these parts of the world the revolutionary party of the proletariat must lead the broad masses of the people to wage armed struggle as the principal form of revolutionary struggle and to pursue the strategic line of protracted people’s war. 

    Revolutionary armed struggle is the principal form of struggle because it responds to the central question of revolution, which is the seizure of political power.  In line with the Marxist-Leninist theory of state and revolution, Chairman Mao teaches us that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.  He also teaches that, without a people’s army, the people have nothing.  The people can hope for and lay the basis for social revolution only when they have a people’s army. 

    The strategic line of protracted people’s war is not applicable in industrial capitalist countries.  But the general theory of people’s war is undeniably of universal significance.  It is likewise of universal significance that the class struggle in the imperialist countries and the protracted people’s war in semicolonial and semifeudal countries are dialectically interconnected. 

    It is always a requirement for the revolutionary party of the proletariat to rely on and trust the masses and to arouse, organize and mobilize them in overthrowing the enemy in a protracted people’s war under agrarian conditions or in workers’ uprisings in the industrial capitalist countries.  Mass organizations and organs of political power must be built as the solid core of the broad masses of the people.  Tactics of the united front are employed to arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses of the people in their millions.  All possible forms of revolutionary struggle are carried out with the strategic aim of seizure of power by armed force. 

    There are a number of communist parties successfully carrying out the strategic line of protracted people’s war in accordance with the teachings of Comrade Mao.  They avail themselves of the inexhaustible participation and support of the people. They have built democratic organs of political power.  They have consolidated and expanded the organized strength of the masses in the course of fierce revolutionary struggle. 

    The people’s war being waged under the leadership of the revolutionary parties of the proletariat stand out in preserving and expanding revolutionary strength in the course of fighting against the imperialists and the local reactionaries.  They are highly significant for holding aloft the great red banner of armed revolution, for grasping the essence of revolution and  responding to the central question of revolution. 

    Marxist-Leninist parties waging people’s war are tried, tested and tempered in fierce revolutionary struggle against the enemy. They sum up their experience, learn from positive and negative lessons, take stock of their strengths and accomplishments, rectify errors and weaknesses, set the tasks for raising the revolutionary struggle to a new and higher level and march forward from victory to victory.  They pursue the mass line in waging people’s war.  They arouse, organize and mobilize the masses.  They trust and rely on them. 

    They have overcome all kinds of enemy offensives, including the enemy’s use of “low-intensity conflict” strategy, the anticommunist ideological and political offensive related to the fall of the revisionist regimes, the misrepresentation of armed revolutionary movements as terrorism and, in certain cases, offers of peace negotiations and the sham calls for “peace and development”.  In maintaining the revolutionary position, they have outlasted the armed movements previously enjoying the support of revisionist-ruled countries as well as bourgeois mass media hype.  Such movements have been betrayed by opportunist leaders and led astray to capitulation and neocolonial compromise. 

    The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties, now waging protracted people’s war, play a crucial role in the transition of the revolutionary proletariat and people from a period of revisionist betrayal and temporary setbacks, following the great victories of socialism and national liberation movements, in the second half of the 20th century to a new period of great struggles and great advances in the world proletarian-socialist revolution of the 21st century. 

    They hold high the torch of armed revolution.  They light up the road of revolution and inspire the proletariat and people of the world, in both imperialist and oppressed countries, to wage ever more resolute and militant revolutionary struggles against the imperialists and the reactionary forces of darkness.  The current victories of people’s war are the victories of the proletariat and people of the world. 

    It is therefore the internationalist duty of all communist parties, all revolutionary forces and people to give all possible forms of support to parties and peoples that wage protracted people’s war now and in the future.  The victories of people’s war strengthen and support all other forms of revolutionary struggle in the world. 

    Heightened Significance and Necessity of People’s War 

    The objective conditions for waging people’s war are excellent more than ever before.  The gravity of the crisis of the world capitalist system is unprecedented since the Great Depression.  The new world disorder is daily becoming worse.  The current crisis exposes once more the parasitic, destructive and moribund character of monopoly capitalism. We are in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. 

    In this era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, the imperialist powers use structures of states and business corporations to oppress and exploit the people, aggrandize national and ultranational interests, form international combines against the people and yet compete with each other.  Likewise, in this era of proletarian revolution, the proletariat and its revolutionary parties lead the broad masses of the people in the struggle for socialism against imperialism in specific countries and on an international scale. 

    The rapidly rising social character of production through the adoption of higher technology is in sharp contradiction with the monopoly capitalist character of capital accumulation.  This has resulted in the rapid concentration and centralization of capital in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie in the imperialist countries. 

    The accelerated accumulation of capital under the imperialist policy of “free market” globalization involves not only the concentration of productive capital but more importantly also the unregulated growth of finance capital, which includes among others the overvaluation of assets, speculative mergers and the flagrant use of international usury at the expense of the oppressed peoples. 

    The overaccumulation of capital and unbridled superprofit-taking by the monopoly bourgeoisie at the expense of the proletariat and people in both imperialist and oppressed countries entail chronically rising levels of mass unemployment, worsening wage and living conditions and unbridled attacks on the democratic rights and social gains of the working people.  These have constricted the global market and have resulted in an ever-worsening crisis of overproduction in all types of goods. 

    The crisis of the world capitalist system falls most heavily on the oppressed peoples in Asia, Africa and Latin America.  They suffer the worst forms of oppression and exploitation in the hands of the imperialists and their reactionary stooges.  A number of oppressed peoples are waging people’s war and they are bound to increase.  Thus, the storm centers in the present-day world continue to be the backward countries of the world.  The crisis in Russia, East Europe and other former Soviet republics has further deepened, driving the vast majority of the people of these countries to the mercy of monopoly capital’s rapacious greed.  The imperialists’ chain will break at its weakest links, where both the objective factors and subjective forces have matured for the seizure of political power. 

    The overwhelming majority of the countries dominated by imperialism have been depressed by the crisis of overproduction in raw materials since the late ’70s.  They have been subjected to deteriorating terms of trade, crushing debt burdens and a series of structural adjustment and austerity programs imposed by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization. 

    In the current aggravation of the world capitalist crisis, the so-called emerging markets (countries whose export specialties have been promoted by imperialism) have plummeted economically and socially due to the global oversupply of their exports and their incapacity to pay for colossal foreign debts.  Russia and the East European countries have also plunged from one level of economic and social degradation to another due to the rapacity of the ruling classes, the falling prices of their few exports and the mounting foreign debt. 

    The number of countries, where national industrial development is being prevented, stunted or destroyed and where the oppressed peoples  suffer the severest forms of exploitation, have increased.  Chronic mass unemployment ranges from 30 to 60 percent.  Poverty afflicts the overwhelming majority of the people. 

    The contradiction between the monopoly bourgeoisie and the proletariat has also intensified in imperialist countries.  The proletariat and the people are launching legal forms of struggle to make protests and demands.  Under these circumstances, revolutionary parties of the proletariat can be built and can grow in strength in order to advance the revolutionary cause of socialism.

    Under the great red banner of proletarian internationalism, the class struggle of the proletariat in imperialist countries can make further advances in concert with the anti-imperialist and class struggles in the semicolonial and semifeudal countries.  The resistance of the oppressed peoples  to the policy and efforts of the imperialists to shift to them the burden of the imperialist crisis conjoins with and supports the class struggle for socialism in the imperialist countries. 

    The imperialist powers collude in oppressing and exploiting the people of the world.  But the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system leads to cutthroat competition, further crises, fascist currents and wars on a wider scale.  These are inherent to imperialism. 

    At the moment, the imperialists, especially the US, and their local stooges are unleashing counterrevolutionary violence against the people.  They are also busy expanding and reinforcing their military alliances and instigating regional and local wars. 

    However, with more Marxist-Leninist parties waging people’s war on a wide scale, the people of the world can either avert a world war, or if any war breaks out upon the instigation of the imperialists, convert the war into a revolutionary war against the imperialists and their reactionary stooges.  The worsening new world disorder is the prelude to social revolution on a global scale. 

    Background, Actuality and Potential of People’s War

    It is urgent to reaffirm the study and practice of Mao’s teachings on people’s war against the “low-intensity conflict” strategy of US imperialism as well as against the revisionist and petty-bourgeois obfuscation of these teachings since the mid-’70s. 

    These teachings resounded from the great victories of the Chinese and Indochinese peoples in people’s war.  But from the late ‘70s onward, the Chinese revisionists sought to liquidate the people’s wars in Southeast Asia under the slogan of “regional stability, peace and development”.  They maneuvered from an anti-Soviet and anti-Vietnam position to a pro-US position and ultimately compelled the Khmer Rouge to submit to a “peace settlement” under UN auspices. 

    On their part, the Soviet revisionists boasted of their strategic military parity with the US and spread the notion that Soviet military assistance is the decisive factor for national liberation movements to win victory.  Thus, revisionist and petty-bourgeois ideas of quick military victory, that depend on foreign assistance, gained ground in these movements. 

    The Carter and Reagan regimes took up the Kennedy idea of “counterguerrilla warfare” and pushed the “low-intensity conflict” strategy. Thus, they armed counterrevolutionaries in Angola, Mozambique and Nicaragua to counter and fight the patriotic and democratic aspirations of the people. 

    But several Marxist-Leninist parties leading people’s war have persevered and grown in strength in the wake of the further degeneration or disintegration of movements and regimes under revisionist leadership or influence.  They have preserved and strengthened themselves against all sorts of “counterinsurgency” campaigns, including the most brutal forms of military campaigns and population control and against the psywar tactics of “low-intensity conflict” or “low-intensity democracy”. 

    Having in mind the victories of people’s war against the militarily and technologically superior enemy, they hold strategic hatred and contempt for the imperialist display of high-tech weapons in the positional war in the Gulf. They always remember how US imperialism used high-tech weapons in its war of aggression in Vietnam and Indochina but was roundly defeated by the people.  They take the firm position that the most decisive force is people and not weapons.

    Marxist-Leninist parties can continue to wage people’s war and cannot be defeated by any kind or level of conflict unleashed by the imperialists and reactionaries because they do painstaking mass work among the peasant masses, mobilize them for agrarian revolution and thereby strengthen the worker-peasant alliance along the general line of new-democratic revolution, with a socialist perspective. 

    The revolutionary parties of the proletariat are duty-bound to wage all forms of revolutionary struggle in the face of escalating oppression and exploitation under the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system.  Under the present circumstances, it is possible to intensify the ongoing people’s war and to initiate them in many more countries. 

    The collapse of the so-called emerging markets of East Asia renders fertile the ground for people’s war, especially in Southeast Asia.  The Communist Party of the Philippines has proven in the last 30 years that it is possible for revolutionary forces to preserve themselves and grow in strength by waging people’s war in a country that is historically and currently a major foothold of US imperialism. 

    Indonesia is now wracked by unprecedented social and political turmoil and conditions are rife for people’s war.  The blood of more than one million martyrs cry out for justice and revolution.  Suharto and his reactionary successors cannot be totally overthrown, without people’s war being waged successfully by the Communist Party of Indonesia. 

    Conditions for waging people’s war are also favorable in other Southeast Asian countries, such as Cambodia, Thailand, Burma and Malaysia. 

    In South Asia, the newly reconstituted Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People’s War now comprised of the erstwhile CPI (ML) PW and the erstwhile CPI (ML) (People’s Unity), the Maoist Communist Centre, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and other Marxist-Leninist parties are waging people’s war.  Other armed movements are also waging wars of national self-determination, which serve to weaken the reactionary states.  The revolutionaries of India continue to take the road of Naxalbari.  India is a vast stage for the great drama of people’s war, comparable to China. 

    The Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist is leading people’s war in a country that is at the crossroads of several global regions.  It plays a signal role in the Balkans, Central Asia and the Middle East.  In these regions are armed revolutionary movements for national determination against oppression (especially the one led by the Workers Party of Kurdistan) as well as fratricidal conflicts instigated by the imperialists and the local reactionaries.  The people’s war in Turkey adheres to the line of new-democratic revolution which has a socialist perspective. 

    In Latin America, the Communist Party of Peru plays an exemplary role in waging people’s war amidst the long-running influences of focoismo, petty-bourgeois urban insurrectionism, urban guerrilla warfare, and ideas that minimize the existence and revolutionary role of the peasant masses.  There are also parties preparing to wage people’s war in several more countries, as in Brazil. 

    Moreover, there are armed revolutionary movements, such as those in Colombia and Mexico, which in practice avail of the room for maneuver in the countryside but do not consider themselves Maoist even as some of their cadres read and study Mao.  In certain countries, some parties lead militant mass movements of the workers and the rest of the people and seek to combine workers’ uprisings and armed peasants’ uprisings. 

    In Africa, fratricidal conflicts instigated by the imperialists and local reactionaries are rampant.  This is true in northern Africa, as in Algeria, as well as in central and southern Africa.  There is also a degeneration of regimes that once before declared themselves as new-democratic or even socialist.  In recent times, there is an antidespotic armed movement against the long-running Mobutu regime in the Congo.  But there is still a need for a new-democratic revolution, through people’s war in the entire African continent. 

    In Russia and the former Soviet bloc countries, there is rapid economic and social degradation because of the destruction of industries. There is once more an increasing ground for people’s war as well as for workers’ uprisings.  In fact, there have been widescale armed uprisings in the hinterlands, as in the Caucasus and Central Asia.  But these are still characterized by conflicts of reactionary interests, such as those between great Russian chauvinism and local nationalism. 

    Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties must arise and must wage people’s war for a new-democratic revolution and subsequently socialist revolution, wherever the ruling classes of big compradors and landlords can no longer rule in the old way and the people demand armed revolution and wherever there is need for armed resistance against despotism and national oppression. 

    Calls for People’s War and International Support 

    We, the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties now waging people’s war, hereby express the determination to persevere in and raise the level of revolutionary struggle in order to carry out the new-democratic revolution and proceed to the socialist revolution. 

    We call upon all other revolutionary parties and oppressed peoples in countries where people’s war is possible and necessary, to prepare for and proceed promptly to wage people’s war. 

    We call upon all other armed revolutionary movements among the oppressed peoples to raise the level of their revolutionary struggle and to unite with Marxist-Leninist parties waging people’s war on the common ground of anti-imperialist and democratic solidarity. 

    We call upon all the parties, mass organizations, movements, other entities and entire peoples, in all countries, to carry out and carry forward all possible and necessary forms of revolutionary struggle and support the forces waging revolutionary armed struggles for national liberation, people’s democracy and socialism. 

    We call upon all parties to sign this declaration by way of manifesting their agreement therewith as well as their commitment to perform what is within their capability, either to carry out or to support the waging of people’s war for national liberation, people’s democracy and socialism anywhere in the world. 


    Parties Waging People’s War: 
    * Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People’s War 
    * Maoist Communist Centre (India) 
    * Communist Party of the Philippines 
    * Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist 
    * Other Signatures Expected 

    Parties Supporting People’s War: 
    * Marxist-Leninist Organization of Afghanistan 
    * Communist Party of Aotearoa
    * Afghanistan People's Liberation Organization
    * Workers' Party of Belgium (except paragraph 8)
    * Communist Party of Brazil (Marxist-Leninist) 
    * Communist Party of Catalunya (Marxist-Leninist) 
    * Communist Party of Greece (Marxist-Leninist) 
    * Workers' Party of New Zealand (The WPNZ excepts itself from 1. Support for China's Cultural
        Revolution; 2. The view that Maoism represents a higher stage in the development 
        of Marxism-Leninism)
    * Workers' Communist Party of Norway 
    * El Diario Internacional (Peru) 
    * Russian Workers’ and Peasants’ Party 
    * Other Signatures Expected