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.
First Published: The Black Nation, Fall/Winter 1982. Forward, published by the League of Revolutionary Struggle (M-L).
Marxist revolutionaries understand that the national oppression of the African American Nation, for instance, is based economically on the system of monopoly capitalism (that is its material base), and that the only beneficiaries of this oppression is that minute percentage of the U.S. population that makes up the white racist monopoly capitalist class, plus those relatively small sectors of the working class and petty bourgeoisie who have been bribed with some of the spoils of imperialism, particularly the robbery and denial of rights of the African American masses.
A Marxist is an internationalist, but also as Mao pointed out the Marxist of an oppressed nation must also be a patriot. The fight against that nation’s national oppression is “internationalism applied.” Marxists cannot be so involved with theoretically upholding internationalism that they dismiss their own nation’s concrete national liberation struggle – that would be a caricature of Marxism. This is precisely why Mao wrote this essay, to counter those people disguised as Marxists who wanted to “liquidate the national question.” Lenin fought the same battle with Rosa Luxemburg and the Polish and Dutch Social Democrats, among other Marxists in the early 20th century who wanted to deny the right of Self-Determination as an exercise in reformism or nationalism.