Theory and Analysis

Articles from the Old Single Spark Website

      This section of the Single Spark website was expected to contain articles relating to various important topics in Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory. Among the topics that SSC especially intended to include here were:

  • The scientific approach to MLM.
  • Democratic centralism.
  • The pros and cons of multiparty democracy.
  • The dictatorship of the proletariat.
  • Personality cults.
However, only items on this last topic were actually posted, along with the following introductory box:

    Personality Cults

Marx wrote in a letter that:

“Neither of us [Marx and Engels] cares a straw for popularity. A proof of this is, for example, that, because of aversion to any personality cult, I have never permitted the numerous expressions of appreciation from various countries, with which I was pestered during the existence of the International, to reach the realm of publicity, and have never answered them, except occasionally by a rebuke. When Engels and I first joined the secret Communist Society we made it a condition that everything tending to encourage superstitious belief in authority was to be removed from the Rules.”
[Marx to Wilhelm Blos, Nov. 10, 1877, Marx & Engels, Selected Correspondence, 3rd revised edition (Moscow: Progress, 1975), p. 291.]

Lenin had this same aversion to any personality cult around himself. But huge cults of personality were erected around Stalin and Mao, with their approval or at least acquiescence. Since then, a number of leaders of Maoist parties which have not even achieved state power (such as Chairman Gonzalo in Peru), and which in some cases have not even made any noticeable progress toward revolution (such as Bob Avakian of the RCPUSA), have promoted personality cults around themselves. Those of us who are associated with the Single Spark web site strongly oppose such cults, and view them as both unscientific and counterproductive. However, we recognize that many Maoists think that such cults are sometimes necessary, even if they have often been carried to a great excess. Consequently we think that the arguments about personality cults should be carefully examined within our movement. We hope the items below will serve to help open up that discussion.

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