First Published: December 1966. This version taken from Revolution Today: U.S.A., published by the Progressive Labor Party in 1970.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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(The following statement by the National Committee of the PLP was adopted on December 17, 1966, after a discussion begun in September, 1966. The statement is a reaffirmation of the basic political position of the PLP. The first comprehensive political statement by the founders of the Progressive Labor Party was issued March, 1963, under the title “Road to Revolution.”)
In order for revolutionary socialism to win power, or to hold state power and consolidate it once it is won by its proletarian forces, it is necessary to win the struggle against revisionism.
This requires a clear understanding of the consequences of revisionism, of its main anti-revolutionary ideas and the manner in which it presents itself in the present period.
Revisionism is the main ally of U.S. imperialism. In fact, revisionism is imperialism and its ideas camouflaged within the ranks of the revolutionary movement. The main goals of revisionism are to crush existing revolutionary movements, to prevent the development of new revolutionary movements, and to subvert socialism and restore capitalism where the revolution has triumphed.
Actually, all the work of revolutionary fighters should be measured by their efforts against revisionism and whether, in practice, they pursue a revolutionary path. Any battle is lost to the extent revisionism is obscured or not fought in an all-out way.
Yet many people within the revolutionary movement, or allied with it, who recognize that revisionism is wrong, do not clearly understand its counter-revolutionary nature. Because of this, the fight against revisionism is partial and is not viewed as a life-and-death matter. Revisionism and imperialism are not equated. Instead, revisionism and revisionists are viewed as “the lesser of two evils.” Revisionists are considered as somewhat better than imperialists, and the attitude is fostered that you can do business with them.
Only a revolutionary party that resolutely opposes revisionism and practices revolutionary socialism places itself in the vanguard of the revolutionary process. By applying Marxism-Leninism to particular circumstances and developing it to refute revisionism, the party acts in accordance with the aspirations of the people. Only such a party, whether it has already helped the working class to win power or is in the earlier stages of guiding the working class to power, can help consolidate that power, can insure that the quest for the dictatorship of the proletariat is consummated.
Only genuinely revolutionary parties, acting on the basis of proletarian internationalism, can aid the cause of revolution on a world scale. Only they can correctly practice unity in action.
Facts have proven that in the countries where communist parties have succumbed to revisionism, the cause of revolution has been impaired. These parties have been undermined, have degenerated and have become forces of counter-revolution. This has placed the party and the working class at the mercy of hostile forces. And this process has been most striking in the countries which had won socialism and have now reverted to capitalism.
Today the main center of revisionism is the Soviet leadership. But the source of revisionism exists in each party and must be dealt with by each party.
The fight against revisionism must be intensified, for no party can succeed in anything while under its influence. A party only partially infected with revisionism is like a lady who is “slightly” pregnant. The elimination of revisionism is the main job within the ranks of revolutionaries. This fight must be carried out ideologically, politically, and by demonstrating in practice the correct way to fight and defeat imperialism. It is no academic effort. The fate of the world will be determined by the outcome of this battle.
The key manifestations of revisionism in this period are the notions that: (1) the overriding things to “fight” for are “peaceful co-existence” and the “peaceful transition” to socialism; (2) the abdication of the dictatorship of the proletariat; and (3) the destruction of proletarian internationalism.
The revisionists say that imperialism has changed. Khrushchev reduced imperialism to a set of subjective relations. At the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, he stated: “The advocates of settling outstanding issues by means of war still hold positions there [in the U.S.] and they continue to exert big pressure on the President and the Administration.” But, he added, “symptoms of a sobering up are appearing among them.” (CPSU, 20th Congress: Proceedings.) In other words, the U.S. state apparatus is for peace and is resisting the forces of war. Consequently, either the U.S. Government and its head do not represent the interests of the imperialists, or the imperialists are peaceful by nature.
Gus Hall, the chief spokesman for revisionism in the U.S., constantly applies this deliberately falsified version of imperialism to the war in Vietnam. Hall told a press conference that the war was “waged by the ’invisible government’–the militarists, the CIA, and the FBI.” (The Worker, October 23, 1966.)
The Worker announces that “the truth of the matter is that the decision as to whether there will be peace or war in Vietnam can be made by President Johnson.” (Editorial, June 28, 1966.) He doesn’t choose to make peace, The Worker continues, because he is “reckless, irresponsible” (June 28, 1966), and “obstinate.” (July 10, 1966.) This “shocking arrogance” (September 18, 1966) is “pushing [the President] into bed with all the ultra-Rightists, the white supremacists, the anti-Semites, the hate-mongers of every vicious type.” (September 18, 1966.)
Of course, the truth is that U.S. aggression in Vietnam and in other parts of the world results from imperialism’s need to maintain itself as a system. This system, which is based on the export of capital for the generation of profit through exploitation, is governed by objective laws. These laws, and particularly the law that imperialism cannot exist without expanding its investments and its oppression, determine its actions. The personality of this or that imperialist leader has nothing to do with what imperialism must do to defend and advance its interests as a system, though it may affect the style with which it is done.
(Just one of numberless examples: “Senator Fulbright met with President Kennedy and later told newsmen that he [Fulbright] would support the sending of U.S. combat troops to South Vietnam and Thailand” in accordance with the wishes of the administration. [New York Timesr, May 5, 1961.] At that time the U.S. reportedly had 685 military personnel in Vietnam. Within eight months of the meeting, Kennedy had sent 5,000 troops to Vietnam with more to come.)
Clearly, if the Vietnamese people deluded themselves with this imaginary description of imperialism, they would have given up a long time ago, and the revolution wouldn’t exist. Revisionism would deliver Vietnam into the hands of the enemy.
Khrushchev also advanced the notion of “peaceful transition to socialism through the parliamentary road.” Claiming that “radical changes” had taken place in the world situation, he said that the October Revolution was “the only correct road in those historical conditions,” but now with the changed situation, it was possible to effect the change to socialism “through the parliamentary process.”
Gus Hall, ever creative, “discovered” that Marx, Engels and Lenin were wrong when they demonstrated that the state was an instrument fashioned and used by each ruling class principally for crushing its antagonists. Triumphantly Hall proclaims that imperialism controls the state in the U.S. through a conspiracy.
The government-monopoly conspiracy ... is directed against the interests of the people. ... As long as the conspiracy is intact, the extent of [concessions and reforms] will always be sharply limited. . . . Hence, short of socialism the only qualitative change that will open the doors to meaningful social, economic and political progress is the breaking of the ties of conspiracy between the state and the monopolies. This would call for an Administration and a Congress resting on a very different class and political base. . . . But it would not be a socialist government. ... It would be ... an anti-monopoly government. (Report to the 18th National Convention, CPUSA, pp. 54-55.)
In line with this, revisionists the world over (who share Hall’s point of view) have come up with what Pat Sloan (a British revisionist who spent a year training Nkrumah’s cadres in Ghana) terms “the non-capitalist road to socialism.”
Ghana . . . was a blueprint for a “non-capitalist” development towards socialism, not through a revolutionary setting up of a “workers’ and peasants’ state,” but by a planned evolution towards such a state after the overthrow of the colonial power. (Political Affairs, October 1966, p. 21.)
Poof!–Classes have disappeared altogether.
Since classes have disappeared, violence–upon which class rule rests, and the reason why the state exists–also disappears from politics except as some “unreasonable” and nasty habit.
Hall spoke of the new quality of political struggle, as distinct from armed struggle, on a world scale.
The imperialists have mis-calculated this new quality. They think they can impose their domination through military means. For 20 years the U.S. has been operating on this mis-calculation. It is on a collision course with the entire world because this new level of political struggle has been underestimated.
On the other hand, we too have underestimated this new quality. We too have sometimes over-emphasized the importance of armed struggle and have overlooked the need for waging political struggles for immediate needs of the masses. (“You Gotta Have Punch, Hall Tells Audience,” The Worker, June 7, 1966.)
When Herbert Aptheker, the chief American revisionist theoretician, ran for Congress, the incumbent circulated a letter saying Aptheker’s activities should be “halted.” Aptheker responded that the letter was “an incitement to violence rather than something belonging fairly within the realm of political battle.” (The Worker, October 25, 1966.)
When The Worker office was bombed in September, 1966, the general manager of the newspaper wrote that “the perpetrators of this latest act of terrorism . . . are hoodlums and fascist degenerates. . . . They are the Daily News-inspired punks, illiterates, uncultured, half-civilized brutes. . . .” (September 13, 1966.) When James Meredith was shot in Mississippi, the W.E.B. DuBois Clubs immediately organized a demonstration in New York demanding “Get U.S. Troops out of Ky’s Saigon and into Dixie.” (The Worker, June 12, 1966.) And The Worker editorialized: “The President must be forced to act now. . . . Let him bring the . . . G.I.’s home from Vietnam and order them to defend freedom and democracy–in Mississippi.” (September 12, 1966.)
This vulgar, racist insult to the intelligence of Black people, this lie that the ruling class government which must destroy freedom in Vietnam is able to defend freedom in Mississippi and just has to be nudged to make it willing to do so, this deliberate cover-up of the oppressor-class nature of the state, was first put forward by the Trotskyites, and later shamelessly adopted by the revisionists.
Naturally the result of this complete distortion of reality and total denial of Marxism-Leninism is the revisionists’ sly joke, enshrined in the New Draft Program of the CPUSA, that socialism will be brought to the U.S. peacefully through a constitutional amendment, just as slavery was abolished.
We believe this democratic transformation can be effected through the Constitutional process. . . . One Constitutional amendment . . . would abolish the capitalist form of property. . . . Unthinkable? There is precedent for it in the Constitutional amendment abolishing slave property. . . (New Draft Program of the Communist Party, USA, p. 97.)
To attribute the abolition of slavery in the U.S. to a “Constitutional amendment” is a deliberate misreading of history. The fact is that tens of thousands of Black people fought and died for centuries in the struggle to emancipate themselves from the slave trade and from slavery. And in the Civil War more people were killed than in any other war in U.S. history–nearly 600,000. In saying that slave property was eliminated peacefully, the CPUSA masks the class violence used against the people when they attempt to break fundamental chains. It thereby disarms U.S. workers now, telling them they shouldn’t expect violence from the ruling class in attempting to abolish private property.
Furthermore, it says that the abolition of slave property was accomplished by the ”good white fathers” (those who passed the 14th amendment), not by the fight of the people, especially the Black people who engaged in thousands of slave revolts from the time they were forcibly brought to this country right up to the Civil War. Racism is the handmaiden of revisionism and this is racism of the worst order. On such “reasoning” does the CPUSA base its “peaceful road to socialism” in the U.S.
If there were ever cruder and more blatant enemy ideas injected into the revolutionary movement, they do not come readily to mind. To be taken in by these revisionist concepts is to renounce socialism.
By destroying the fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism, revisionists force the restoration of capitalism in a socialist country. And their interest, the maintenance of their rule, requires collusion with imperialism to prevent revolutionary developments anywhere. The revisionists try to hide this collusion with imperialism and particularly the collusion of the two “super-powers”-the United States and the Soviet Union-with pacifist slogans. As Gus Hall said:
The deadly logic of the war in Vietnam leads to world nuclear war. It could be the “crime of all crimes.” It could be the “war to end all wars” because it could end human existence on the globe.
On this path there is a point of no return. There is a point where all discussions, all exchanges will have no value or meaning . . . war fronts, casualty figures, expenditures for war budgets, or even the debate of who is wrong, who is the criminal and who is the victim. . . . (Speech at Columbia University, N.Y., December 15, 1965.)
But pacifism by itself is insufficient to meet the needs of the revisionists. They require a complete bourgeois ideological system to substitute for dialectical materialism, and pacifism is only a part of this. So, under the guise of being “new” and “creative,” revisionists resurrect and perpetuate bourgeois philosophy and ideology.
First they turn Marxism-Leninism into a burlesque. So Gus Hall says:
Marxism is distinguished from other systems of thought in that it is an instrument of social change. Any instrument must be judged by how effective it is as a tool. An idea may be “true” but that is not enough to make it an instrument to change reality. It must also provide that subjective punch, because it is the punch that brings change in reality. (“You Gotta Have Punch, Hall Tells Audience,” The Worker, June 7, 1966–emphasis in the original.)
When Marxism-Leninism is reduced to that kind of meaningless mumbo-jumbo, it is easy to discard.
Then Herbert Aptheker appears with his contribution:
Lenin said that the struggle for democracy is the struggle for socialism, and the struggle for socialism is the struggle for democracy. Now we might say–we do say–that in addition, the struggle for peace is the struggle for socialism, and the struggle for socialism is the struggle for peace. And we also now may add: equality is the struggle for socialism, and the struggle for socialism is the struggle for equality, and the struggle for reason and beauty is the struggle for socialism, and the struggle for socialism is the struggle for reason and beauty. This is our banner then, comrades –democracy, equality, reason and beauty, peace–and all together socialism. Marching under this banner, dearest comrades, our victory–that is the victory of mankind–is certain. (Speech to the 18th National Convention, CPUSA, Political Affairs, August 1966, pp. 44-45.)
We too are for all good things, but you cannot achieve them by discarding revolution, class struggle and the victory of the working class and replacing these with “reason,” “humanism,” and the “victory of mankind.” With the substitution of the bourgeois philosophy of humanism for Marxism-Leninism appears Waldek Rochet, head of the French revisionists, to defend humanism:
Thus [humanism] inspires [communists] in the manner in which they approach the problem of war and peace; not only do they proclaim that the peaceful co-existence of states with different social systems is the only sensible policy today, but they fight unrelentingly to make it triumph. . . .
It is a special form of the class struggle in the sense that it enables socialism and communism to win the battle against capitalism by peaceful means. . . . (Political Affairs, November, 1966, p. 38.)
And following the triumph of bourgeois ideology comes its development and elaboration. Roger Garaudy, chief theoretician for the French revisionists, proclaims:
Christians and communists constitute two of the major forces shaking the world today, and there is much they can learn from each other.
In an age when mutual extermination is possible, we must abandon the spirit of the crusades, the urge to convert the world to our own position. Instead we must learn to accept each other as we are.
A Christian can become a better Christian and a Marxist a better Marxist if we can learn from each other how best to develop our own beliefs. (“Christian-Marxist Dialog Urged by Frenchman,” New York Times, December 1, 1966.)
Garaudy also claimed, according to the Times, that “both Christianity and Communism had undergone ’metamorphosis’ and both had abandoned the previous claims to possess ’unique, definitive, and absolute truth.’”
Not only does this revisionist throw out the Marxist concept of materialism and substitute for it a mish-mash of “exchange” with idealism (religion), he also libels Marxism, setting up the straw man of “absolute truth” which he says Marxists are “abandoning.” It is precisely the science of Marxism which teaches that change is the cornerstone of everything; that truth is not absolute (an idea that idealism and religion have fostered for centuries). No Marxist materialist can become “a better Marxist” by learning to accept idealism.
We who have no fear of pointing out that the emperor’s new clothes are figments of his imagination know that all of this is intended to mask the return to the regime of private ownership. Possessions are primary here. Personal success is measured by ownership of TV sets. Khrushchev’s “goulash communism” becomes the goal of “communists.” Accumulation is society’s new motor force, not class struggle. Socialism will triumph everywhere through the example of how many private cars and traffic jams can be produced in the Soviet Union.
The force of example of the victorious working class following the road of socialism and communism is one of the key factors furthering the development of the world revolutionary process. It would be fully in order to say that the Soviet Economic Plan and successes are the best possible publicity and propaganda for socialism and communism among the millions of working people in all countries. (Twenty-third CPSU Congress; Results and Prospects, Moscow, 1966, p. 7.)
For the revisionists, as for all past ruling classes, a mature good society is an unchanging society where men are happy with their stations in life. For them, the most important thing is that those who possess should keep what they possess, and those who don’t should wait patiently.
For the revisionists, the revolution must not continue, it must be halted. But life cannot halt–it must flow in some direction. So, like Alice’s Red Queen, the revisionists must run as fast as they can to stay in the same place. Their dominance requires active counter-revolution at home and abroad and accelerating regression at home and abroad. Alone they cannot effectively achieve this, so they are forced to turn to the main suppressive force in the world–U.S. imperialism–for help. Their objective needs force them to become the junior partner of imperialism.
Revisionism is a reversal in class domination within the communist movement. The newly dominant oppressor class must substitute its ideology and politics for the ideology and politics of the working class. This is the essence of revisionism. Revisionism is not a series of “mistakes” (although a working-class revolutionary may make a revisionist mistake). But because it is within the communist movement, the class enemy is faced with the problem of developing its ideology and politics using a Marxist-Leninist format. So it must distort the meaning of Marxism-Leninism and turn it into its opposite, so that a new meaning accrues to the old language. This is the form of revisionism.
That is why the key to evaluating revolutionary forces is not the formulations they may use but how well they encourage the revolutionary process at home and abroad, how well they pursue revolutionary thought and action as individuals to transform themselves and society.
Revisionism is the antithesis of that transcendent humaneness with which the revisionists cover themselves. For by opposing the revolutionary process, they attempt to consign countless millions to the sharpest imperialist barbarity. In real life revisionism encourages, enhances and condones the barbarism of imperialism and leads potentially progressive forces to become accomplices of imperialism, thus making a mockery of its noble slogans for peace and all good things.
Thus revisionism perpetuates racism. The economic foundations of imperialism depend on extracting huge profits from tens of millions of oppressed colored peoples abroad and in the U.S.
The people of the world will never have peace and safety until imperialism-especially U.S. imperialism–is destroyed.
Revolution is what is new and creative. Only revolution, guided by the science of Marxism-Leninism, leads to the fullest flowering of society and individuals. Revisionism and imperialism are the old, foul past. They represent the maintenance of the jungle world of dog-eat-dog, endless war and oppression. Marxist-Leninists fight for the full development of the revolutionary potential of the masses in all spheres. Revolutionary socialism places its confidence in people. It is based on the idea that people, not their possessions or weapons, make history.
One of the biggest crimes of revisionism is its betrayal of the basic Marxist-Leninist concept of class dictatorship–the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The dictatorship of the proletariat is the seizure and consolidation of power by the workers and their allies. They use that power to achieve their aspirations and ruthlessly deny those of the old ruling class. the workers proceed to destroy the old bourgeois state institutions and build new ones. Only then can they enforce their domination of society and prevent counter-revolution. This means a new army, police force, court system, etc. are in the hands of the working class to insure its rule. The workers seize the means of production and use all the benefits of their labor to satisfy their needs, the needs of the vast majority of the people in their country and the whole world. Democracy flourishes for the working people but not for the old exploiting class.
Without this concept, there is no Marxism-Leninism. If a party does not fight for the proletarian dictatorship, it is not a revolutionary working-class party. No revolution can fully succeed unless the dictatorship of the proletariat is achieved and consolidated. If the dictatorship of the proletariat isn’t consolidated in a socialist country, you can be sure that the old class forces will eventually make a comeback.
In the recent past Soviet leaders have proposed the “new” idea of the “state of the whole people.” This phony position is based on the equally false conclusion that there is no longer class struggle in a socialist country after the revolution. This makes unnecessary a revolutionary struggle, in new forms, against the old class forces and the old class ideas. The revisionists argue this way:
As a result of changes in class composition the Soviet society has become united and monolithic: it is a society of socialist working people. It is welded together by the unity of interests of the workers, collective farmers and intellectuals, the unity of their world outlook. . . . The victory of socialism in Soviet society removed the causes of struggle between classes and strata, for there was absolutely no reason for struggle between the socialist working class, the socialist collective-farm peasantry and the socialist intelligentsia. . . .
As a result of the complete victory of socialism class struggle in the USSR was entirely liquidated. The question of “who will win” was decided irrevocably in favor of socialism, of socialist working people. There is no economic and social ground in the Soviet society for the restoration of capitalism with the class struggle characterizing it. The Soviet state has become different. While there were exploiting classes in the country the dictatorship of the proletariat was needed to suppress them. It also helped to transform the petty-bourgeois peasantry and the bourgeois intelligentsia.
After the liquidation of the exploiter classes, the complete and final victory of socialism and the conversion of the USSR into a single society of socialist working people, the dictatorship of the proletariat ceased to be necessary. The state of the dictatorship of the proletariat has been transformed into the socialist state of the entire people. . . .
Since the complete victory of socialism, the Soviet Union has neither exploiting classes, nor a class struggle, nor have their remnants been preserved. Therefore, there is no need artificially to preserve the dictatorship of the proletariat. . . .
Some individuals retain survivals of the past, some try to live in the old way, through deception and dishonesty. All this is relentlessly combatted by the Soviet people. The struggle against antisocial elements in the Soviet Union is waged by all groups-workers, peasants and intellectuals. The handful of anti-social outcasts–profiteers, idlers and hooligans, etc., are opposed by the united Soviet people. . . . (Twenty-third CPSU Congress: Results and Prospects, pp. 27-31.)
The only “new” aspect of this is that it sounds like a commercial for U.S. democracy. For don’t “our” capitalists claim the government represents the “interests of all the people,” and the economy is run “in the interests of all the people”?
How does this Soviet assertion square with Lenin’s estimate of the protracted class struggle after the seizure of power?
The transition from capitalism to communism represents an entire historical epoch. Until this epoch has terminated, the exploiters will inevitably cherish the hope of restoration, and this hope will be converted into attempts at restoration. And after their first serious defeat, the overthrown exploiters–who had not expected their overthrow, never believed it possible, never conceded the thought of it–will throw themselves with tenfold energy, with furious passion and hatred grown a hundredfold, into the battle for the recovery of their lost “paradise,” on behalf of their families, who had been leading such a sweet and easy life and whom now the “common herd” is condemning to ruin and destitution (or to “common” work).... In the train of the capitalist exploiters will be found the broad masses of the petty bourgeoisie, with regard to whom the historical experience of every country for decades testifies that they vacillate and hesitate, one day marching behind the proletariat and the next day taking fright at the difficulties of the revolution; that they become panic-stricken at the first defeat or semi-defeat of the workers, grow nervous, run about aimlessly, snivel, and rush from one camp to the other. (Lenin: Selected Works, Vol. VII, pp. 140-41.)
The notion of “the state of the whole people” exists to obscure and cover up the return to capitalism. There is no classless society in the Soviet Union. What is more, the masses have never been won over to the ideology of Marxism-Leninism. It is precisely because of the existence of classes and the low level of ideology that the present leaders have been able temporarily to usurp state power. The dictatorship of the proletariat must remain long after the revolution takes power. It must prevail until bourgeois ideology and imperialism have been totally smashed. This stage of the revolution is probably the longest, hardest, and most complex of the entire revolutionary process. Many people think the revolution successfully concluded when the fight to seize power has been won. The fight to hold power has proved far more difficult.
The revisionists, having destroyed the class dictatorship, have peddled varied notions from continent to continent. In Europe, “structural reform” has become the mating call of the old C.P.’s. England and France have their variants of the “constitutional road” to socialism. The Finnish revisionists, a step ahead of their British, French and Italian brothers, are already in the government:
ROLE IN COALITION IRKS FINNISH REDS THEY ARE FORCED TO SUPPORT STEPS THEY LONG OPPOSED
Finland’s Communists are finding their current role after 18 years in opposition a bitter experience.
Holding three of the fifteen portfolios in the Cabinet . . . they are being compelled to share responsibility for stringent tax and other austerity measures they have battled for years. . . .
At this stage there is no expectation that the Communists will topple the government when the tax and other budgetary proposals come up for decision in Parliament in December. Communist leaders say that although they are faced with “bitter pills,” these must be swallowed as part of the processes of joining and governing after 18 years.
These “pills” include proposals for raising the sales tax . . . and for increasing income taxes.
Increasing numbers of workers would be affected.
Some political leaders say it is clear that the Communists have instructions from Moscow to stay in the Cabinet despite the outcry from their supporters over the fiscal measures.
The purpose, it is said, is to re-establish a precedent for participation in government by the Communists who poll about 22% of the vote in parliamentary elections. The Communists, who entered the government after the armistice between Finland and the Soviet Union in late 1944, were ousted in 1948. . . .
Some analysts suggest that the Soviet Union is eager to see Finland serve as a testing ground for the idea that Communists can be allowed into a coalition without fear that they will seize power. This example is intended as a lesson to such Western European countries with large Communist parties as France and Italy. (New York Times, October 30, 1966.)
The revisionists train themselves to play such a role:
Dick Ethridge, a Communist who is not only the undisputed trade union leader in Britain’s largest, but strike-bound automobile plant, but who also enjoys the far-reaching confidence of management. . .
Mr. Ethridge is a man who combines his contradictions comfortably. . .
He says that since he has to live in a capitalist system he wants British Motor Corporation to make the biggest possible profit and pass most of it on to the workers; he claims to have prevented a great many more strikes than he has started. Management finds him a good man to work with. (New York Times, November 5, 1966.)
In all of this two things are apparent: The seizure of power is ruled out, and the people are denied protection from ruling-class terror. These ideas mean the acceptance of the status quo or “respectability.” The concept of “structural reform” presupposes the nonsensical idea that the ruling class, because of an election, will share state power with the workers. It preaches to workers that half a loaf is better than none, and in fact denies them even crumbs. It states that to go all the way is too dangerous and is wrong. In effect, it consigns the working class in Europe to capitalism. Eventually the class struggle will erupt there sharply and the workers will sweep away all the false leaders.
In Africa, the revisionists made a big effort to demonstrate that socialism could be won without the dictatorship of the proletariat. Ghana, with its “non-capitalist road,” was the apple of the revisionists’ eye. But Africa, and Ghana precisely, have demonstrated how true is the concept of class dictatorship. As long as the army and other repressive instruments are in the hands of the old class, progressive developments are in danger. Unless completely new instruments of power are established during the revolution, the revolution is in danger. Economic independence is key to accomplishing the above. If the economy is still under the control of, or dependent upon, imperialism, even if it’s back door control or dependency, the revolution will not succeed and is in danger.
Events in Indonesia have demonstrated the same thing. In the development of any united front with progressive nationalist forces it is necessary to fight for the dominance of the working class. This will lessen the impact of vacillations by petty-bourgeois and bourgeois nationalist forces. This struggle for dominance also provides training and experience necessary for the seizure of power. When the right moment comes in the struggle for power the workers must be in a position to ward off counter-revolutionary terror, or to prevent it by taking power. But if the national bourgeoisie is the leading element in the united front, vacillation will inevitably appear just at that moment and will be the dominating feature. If the working class is dominant, the bourgeois flip-flops will not be as damaging because they are subordinate to the working class’ steadfast determination for revolution.
Of course, it is necessary to work with progressive sections of the bourgeois nationalists in anti-colonial struggles. But to rely on them to move the revolution to a new, higher stage leaves the masses open to attack and to defeat. The vanguard party must rely on its own consciousness, its own will, its own strength, and on the masses.
Among the major forces opposing U.S. imperialism today are the anti-colonial national liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These forces make up a powerful bloc in the growing worldwide united front against U.S. imperialism.
Obviously, the focal point of this worldwide anti-imperialist uprising is in Vietnam.
In order to carry these progressive movements through to socialism, it is necessary for the working class, guided by Marxist-Leninist parties, to become the dominant force in the alliance with peasants, intellectuals, and progressive bourgeois forces.
The sharper the struggle by anti-colonial and national liberation forces against U.S. imperialism, the better. This will enhance the struggle to transform the national liberation struggles into class struggles.
The overwhelming majority of the world’s population is opposed to U.S. imperialism. Their struggle for liberation will go through many stages. But in the final analysis, it will be a fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In our country the fight to win radicals to accept the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat is long and uphill. The bourgeoisie has enormous influence and endless means to communicate its ideas. Internally the chronic weakness of the American communist movement has been its failure to expose the nature and role of the state apparatus, its failure to fight for the end of the bourgeois state and the building of a new state apparatus based on the power of the working class.
Earl Browder, longtime head of the U.S. Communist Party, who trained all the current top leaders of that group, was a great advocate of class peace with U.S. imperialism to secure peaceful coexistence. He was the vanguard of the modern revisionists. (Let it never be said that the U.S. hasn’t made its own unique contribution.)
We must be prepared to give the hand of cooperation and fellowship to everyone who fights for the realization of this [Anglo-Soviet-American] coalition. If J.P. Morgan supports this coalition and goes down the line for it, I as a Communist am prepared to clasp his hand on that and join with him to realize it. Class divisions or political groupings have no significance now except as they reflect one side or the other of this issue. . . .
Marxists will not help the reactionaries by opposing the slogan of “free enterprise” with any form of counter-slogan. If anyone wished to describe the existing system of capitalism in the United States as “free enterprise,” that is all right with us, and we frankly declare that we are ready to cooperate in making this capitalism work effectively in the post-war period with the least possible burdens upon the people. (Browder’s Speech at Bridgeport, Conn, in The Communist, January, 1944, p. 8.)
Browder’s thinking is still the thinking of the CPUSA.
As a result of such erroneous theoretical pronouncements within radical circles there is a great mistrust of theory. There is also strong bourgeois influence in the form of individualism among radicals. Moreover, there is a great mistrust of, and lack of understanding of, the role of the working class in social transformation. A non-class conception of democracy prevails, which really means democracy for the upper class. The idea of involving millions in the development of society is alien and almost unimaginable to these circles. Contrary to their often-professed democratic ideals, they hold elitist concepts. They feel that only the “most knowledgeable” have the right to shape society. They distort even the real errors made in the past by communists, and build fantastic programs based on these distortions. We have a great deal to overcome in fighting for the victory of the concept of the proletarian dictatorship.
The betrayal of the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat has weakened the international communist movement. It has opened it to penetration, and set it up for setbacks. For either the working class suppresses the imperialists, or imperialism suppresses first the revolutionary movements of the workers and then all the workers.
The abandonment of the dictatorship of the proletariat by former communists has encouraged the growth of bourgeois nationalism. As it is developing in this period, this bourgeois nationalism is a manifestation of fear of imperialism, and of the growing strength of bourgeois forces and ideas within a “socialist” country or “communist” party. To avoid revolutionary struggle before or after the seizure of power this new crop of revisionists–as well as the centrists who use a more leftish vocabulary-distort the valid concepts of independence and self-reliance. They advance the slogan of “independence” meaning independence from Marxism-Leninism. They cry “self-reliance” to flee from proletarian internationalism.
The new bourgeois nationalists try to project only the “unique” conditions of their particular country, and do not apply the universal features of revolutionary experience and class struggle. Having distorted Marxism-Leninism in this way they then try to impose this narrow nationalism on the entire world movement. Marxist-Leninists study both the laws of history and their own society, and apply their conclusions to the real conditions of their country.
The new bourgeois nationalists constantly invent “new” circumstances in order to stop fighting imperialism and to co-exist with it. Jay Lovestone, George Meany’s fascist adviser on foreign policy, was among the first of this ”new breed.” As early as the 1920’s, when he was a leader of the CPUSA, he advanced the slogan of “American Exceptionalism.” He claimed that revolution was all right for other countries but not for the U.S. The U.S. imperialists, he felt, were so rich that they could and would willy nilly hand out unlimited concessions if they were only properly advised.
In the late thirties and forties Browder went one step further. Based on the “concessions” won during the Roosevelt administration and the destruction caused by World War II he advanced the notion of alliance with capitalism (see above). Thus, a benign U.S. imperialism could be lived with and nudged into socialism.
After World War II, Tito also advanced the notion that U.S. imperialism was changed, and that the state apparatus in an advanced capitalist country had no class allegiance. Therefore, it was all right to cooperate with it and obtain huge handouts to subsidize the Yugoslav economy. Because things were different, he claimed, socialist countries didn’t have to undergo a long difficult period of industrialization to become independent of imperialism. Instead, he “chose” to be independent of the Soviet Union or, in fact, Marxism-Leninism, in return for U.S. dollars. After the 20th Party Congress, Khrushchev declared “independence” from Stalin, which meant independence from Marxism-Leninism. And, shortly thereafter, Togliatti put forth the idea of “Poly-Centrism.” This was a system of relations between so-called socialist states and communist parties which proclaimed “independence” for all. Actually, it meant that everyone who claimed to be a revolutionary socialist could be independent of Marxism-Leninism.
Of course, the imperialists jumped for joy and welcomed with open arms all of these socialist statesmen. Of course, Browder is eulogized and viewed with nostalgia by the ruling class, and Lovestone became the darling of the State Department, the CIA and the labor bureaucrats. Of course, Khrushchev and Togliatti were, and are, extolled by repeated articles in the capitalist press. Of course, Tito received three billion dollars from the U.S.
U.S. imperialism coined a new term–“National Communism.” U.S. rulers hailed this as a new creative development, and said tfley could co-exist with it. U.S. imperialists explain (to each other) that “National Communism” is no longer revolutionary ecause it doesn’t seek to expand the revolution.
A recent Korean Party statement is an excellent example of how the distortion of valid slogans is used to undermine Marxism-Leninism. For example, the Korean statement says, “As regards the actual situation in each country, the party of that country knows well; no one else is in a position to know better.” And Kim U Sung, in a report to the Korean Party in October, 1966, says (referring to the Chinese):
They say we are taking the road of unprincipled compromise and sitting on two chairs at the same time. This is nonsense. We have our own chair.
If everyone has his own ideological chair to sit on, what happens to Marxism-Leninism as a science?
Of course, it is generally true to say that a party within a particular country knows its own situation better than others. But to assert that general proposition within the specific historic context of the present struggle against revisionism throughout the communist movement, is to say the following: “Whatever any party says or does concerning its policies and practices is correct as long as that party doesn’t try to tell our party (i.e. criticize) about our policies or practices.”
This kind of line is obviously anti-Leninist. Lenin dared to “interfere” by criticizing the policies and practices of the opportunist parties, and exposed their betrayal of Marxism. He also dared to criticize those who were making left mistakes. Lenin’s entire works (as well as Marx’s and Engels’) are replete with such examples of “interference.” What a sorry state the world communist movement has fallen into to try to cover up revisionism and centrism by such talk of our sacred “independence.”
Of course, no party can force another party to change its course. But the power of Marxism, Lenin said, is that it is true. And truth is not confined to national boundaries.
Marxism-Leninism approaches reality from the point of view of science, of dialectical materialism. If every party’s interpretation (that is, its policies and practices) is to be regarded as correct whether or not it is revisionist, centrist, opportunist, sectarian or what-not, then of course Marxism has been reduced to subjective idealism.
Yes, one must do one’s own thinking, but this is true for all comrades within national parties, as well as between national parties. Doing one’s own thinking, however, cannot become a formula–a cover-up–for opportunism, for failing to struggle against revisionism and centrism. One’s own thinking can be either right or wrong, or partially right or partially wrong, but whatever it is, it certainly cannot be defended as being correct simply because it is “my own thinking.”
Communists have always understood that revolution cannot be imported or exported; that the working class of each country has to smash the state power of its “own” bourgeoisie and establish its own working-class state power. It is not new to say that primarily by its own efforts a working class of any one country must defeat its own national bourgeoisie and build socialism. Stalin’s historic struggle to defeat Trotskyism was precisely over this question. Trotsky maintained that it was impossible for the Soviet Union by its own efforts to build socialism without the European proletariat winning state power. Yet Stalin, who fought to defend the dictatorship of the proletariat and to build socialism in the Soviet Union, never took the position that this was possible without the support of the world proletariat, nor could the victory of socialism be “complete”–“final”–in the Soviet Union as long as the world bourgeoisie was not overthrown. (Read and study particularly Stalin’s report to the Seventh Enlarged Plenum of the Executive Committee Communist International-Stalin’s Selected Works, Vol. 9.)
Does this mean that such a victory can be termed a full victory, a final victory of socialism, one that would guarantee the country building socialism against all danger from abroad, against the danger of imperialist intervention and the consequent danger of restoration? No, it does not. While the question of completely building socialism in the USSR is one of overcoming our “own” national bourgeoisie, the question of the final victory of socialism is one of overcoming the world bourgeoisie (page 25).
Again, Stalin indicated that the proletariat in the Soviet Union could overcome its own bourgeoisie by its own efforts only in alliance with the peasantry and with the world proletariat. He said:
Only in alliance with the world proletariat is it possible to build socialism in our country. The whole point is how this alliance is to be understood. . . . The trouble with the opposition is that it recognizes only one form of alliance, the form of direct state support. . . .” (Stalin, Selected Works, Vol. 9.)
“One’s own thinking”–“One’s own efforts” or “self-reliance” –“respect for other parties and other comrades”–“the equality of all parties big and small” . . . these are all correct ideas and useful ideas if placed within a specific historic context. The concrete analysis of specific conditions is the heart of Marxist-Leninist methodology. In today’s historic battles to defeat imperialism and advance revolution, it is necessary for all parties to wage a struggle to defeat the revisionists and the centrists within their own ranks nationally and internationally.
Thus, self-reliance and independence are valid when combined with the basic slogan of “Workers of All Nations, Unite.” Nationalism denies class struggle exists after socialism. Kim II Sung, in the report mentioned above said:
In our society there exist no socio-economic and material sources for the emergence of outdated ideas. . . . One may commit a leftist error if one emphasizes class struggle only . . . forgetting that the alliance of the working class, peasantry, and intellectuals constitutes the basis for social relations under socialism . . . this may cause unrest in society.
Consequently, this point of view obliterates the dictatorship of the proletariat, and prevents class struggle against old and new bourgeois forces because of the fear of “unrest”–a nice cozy estimate, in which the stage is set for the restoration of capitalism.
Revisionism spawns nationalism. Revisionism and nationalism split and fragment the communist movement. This corresponds to the needs of the imperialists. Under these new circumstances nationalism becomes ultra-reactionary and paves the way for capitulation to imperialism and the return to capitalism.
Because the Soviet Union is the main and most powerful center of revisionism, we will better understand the nature of revisionism and the real meaning of the destruction of the proletarian dictatorship by examining life there. In this way we will be able to avoid making two serious errors.
The first possible error is to confuse the Soviet people with the gang that now holds power. Millions of Soviet people have revolutionary experience. Millions fought in the Great Patriotic War to defeat Hitlerism.
To be pro-Soviet today requires that you oppose the Soviet leaders and defend the revolutionary traditions of the Soviet workers. It requires confidence that the class struggle continues and will sharpen in the Soviet Union; for no more than imperialism can revisionism halt the class struggle. Because class struggle is a constant development in class society, millions of Soviet people are part of today’s anti-imperialist front. It will take more time for this fact to become apparent. But especially because of the earlier socialist developments in the Soviet Union, the class contradictions will intensify between the Soviet workers and the Soviet leaders.
The second serious error would be to have a foggy notion about who holds state power in the Soviet Union, and what forces the state represents.
Which class holds power determines the nature of the state. The character of the state cannot be defined simply by the contradictions that exist within a particular country, no matter how sharp these contradictions are. The nature of the state rests on which aspect of the main contradiction is dominant. The Soviet Union has changed from being a country whose means of production were owned by the working people to one controlled and owned by a new exploiting class whose origins are in the former managerial-technical-professional strata. Profit–the private appropriation of the society’s economic surplus-has replaced planning the economy for the benefit of the workers. Profit has been brought to the fore in all aspects of the Soviet economy.
Economists and business executives wanted the individual enterprise to be given more independence in planning its production and selling its goods. . . .
The state still represents the economic interests of all the people. . . . What is fixed by the state is the volume of goods to be sold; i.e., what should reach the consumer. . . .
A factory has to find buyers for the goods it manufactures. It has to study demand, gauge the market, and make contact with consumers. Some firms have branched out from the production end. . . . They also sell the items they manufacture. This stimulates business. . . .
Profit gives the personnel of a plant more incentive. Higher remuneration for work has a great deal to do with productivity and the quality of the items turned out. The new system of management and planning makes it possible for an enterprise to reward its personnel more adequately for increasing the volume of goods sold, for cutting costs, etc. How is it done? Part of the profit a plant makes goes into what is known as an encouragement fund for bonuses, grants, and other such awards. The size of the fund will depend, first, on the rate of growth of goods sold, and, second, on the level of a factory’s profitability. . . .
To use the Volgograd Red October Works as an example: Of its 800,000 rubles of additional profits, 720,000 rubles are going for bonuses. . . . (Soviet Life, October, 1966, p. 63.)
What is clear is that this scheme puts the workers of any plant in competition–that is, in antagonistic contradiction–with workers at other plants. Instead of society as a whole, that is, the working class as a whole, receiving the economic surplus produced by the Soviet workers, production units privately accumulate that surplus. In the example of the Volgograd Red October Works, 92% of the surplus which should accrue to the entire working class is being kept as private profit and distributed in the form of bonuses.
Does not the element of profit contradict the fundamental principles of socialism? No, it does not. . . . Profit has survived capitalism. . . . (Soviet Life, June 1966, p. 26.)
Anyone but anyone who knows the first thing about it is perfectly aware that profit, price and credit are all categories of commodity production in general, not only of capitalism alone. Under socialism commodity production does continue to exist, therefore, the categories inherent in it also continue to exist. . . .
The output of a socialist enterprise is created by the joint effort of the entire staff. It is therefore quite in order, alongside the material remuneration of each employee in accordance with his personal labor, to secure the material interests of the entire staff in the final results of the enterprise’s work. This ensures a fuller combination of personal and public interests. . . . (23rd Congress of the CPSU: Results and Prospects, p. 39.)
But “anyone who knows the first thing about it” knows that commodity production is the characteristic of capitalism. Under socialism commodity production is superseded. That is the strength of socialist production.
One of the key economic indicators of a socialist society developing in a progressive manner–towards communism–is the shrinking of the sphere of commodity circulation. While commodity production and circulation cannot be done away with immediately upon the access of the working class to state power, the resolute introduction of measures to restrain, limit, and reduce commodity production and circulation is a prerequisite for the continued existence of a socialist society.
The best example of this is the replacement, on a gradual basis, of wages by social benefits, at first available on a limited basis, but increasing as the society develops. Bourgeois methods of cost accounting, etc. should likewise disappear as the sphere of commodity circulation shrinks. As long as workers work for wages which they must then use to purchase commodities, the economic potential for the “peaceful” restoration of capitalism exists.
The retention of the market economy–the production and circulation of commodities–will inevitably lead to the fostering and resurgence of bourgeois ideology; and in a nominally socialist ideological context, bourgeois ideology is revisionism.
For a long period in the Soviet Union, the sphere of commodity circulation did not shrink but remained pretty much the same. This was not seriously damaging at first because the surplus of the Soviet economy was distributed on a social basis rather than an individual basis.
In the early 1950’s, a trend set in advocating the widening of the sphere of commodity circulation (this trend was fought by Stalin; see Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR). This trend was the forerunner of Khrushchev’s economic policies and those of his successors.
The present-day transformation of social surplus into private profit is the unconditional victory of commodity circulation over socialism.
As Lenin wrote:
Any direct or indirect legalization of the possession of their own production by the workers of individual factories or individual professions or of their right to weaken or impede the decrees of the state power is the greatest distortion of the basic principles of Soviet power and the complete renunciation of socialism. (Lenin, On the Democracy and Socialist Character of the Soviet Power.)
In a socialist society therefore, commodities exist as a hangover from the past and in time their production will cease altogether. If “profit survives capitalism,” consequently, it is as the afterbirth survives the womb. Socialist society transforms profit by socializing it. But the Soviet revisionists have done just the opposite. They have turned a remnant of the capitalist past into the hallmark of the present. In a socialist society it is quite out of order, and not in the public interest, for the staff of an enterprise to keep the surplus that The Workers of the enterprise have produced. This is theft from the working class. It is a form of private appropriation of the social surplus and therefore is a form of capitalism. Victor Perlo, the main American revisionist economist, describes the Soviet plan as “labor-oriented profit-sharing with a vengeance.” (The Worker, July 3, 1966.) He goes on to say that “Soviet economists consider it desirable that ultimately bonuses should account for one-fourth of all workers’ earnings and one-third those of leading personnel.” (ibid.)
Of course, profit-sharing is regressive under socialism. But of greater interest is the fact, which Perlo points out, that this theft of the working class’ production is in the interest of the “leading personnel.”
Evsei Lieberman, author of the Pravda articles that ushered in the new economic system, tried to deny that the Soviet economic managers are new capitalists.
And where in the U.S.S.R. will you find managers who would be living off anything but incomes derived from work? Maybe you know they own plush villas? Or perhaps luxurious yachts? Or maybe they have private swimming pools? Quite the contrary. (“Noted Soviet Economist Sets the Record Straight,” The Worker, May 19, 1966.)
Just how well do the managers live? Reports from the Soviet press about growing corruption and individual officials living high off the hog–legally and illegally–have been widespread. Lately, a more-than-individual pattern–a portrait of a class–has begun to emerge. A recent detailed study gives many examples of the conditions and class outlook of the “10% of the Soviet population” which has achieved overlordship. Here are just a few:
The neo-bourgeois of Russia longs for more elegance, better pastimes and better manners. . . .
But the greatest passion of a middle-class family is to own a house of its own.
Soviet law says that you cannot own any lot . . . but a house can be privately owned–if it does not exceed five rooms. . .
Wonders can be done even within these limits. An aroused correspondent described in Izvestia “a kingdom of private enterprise”–a bourgeois suburb of a new West Siberian industrial town:
“. . . As we pass, people are on guard as they stare at us from their windows with curiosity, and angry watchdogs bark.”
Watchdogs, ever-present in such communities, ... no less than the high fences around these private houses. . . . Some houses acquire yet more singular guardians. In Kiev a scientist bought a bear to waddle and growl along a wire between his gate and his house. In Magnitogorsk a metallurgical engineer planted a mine under his apple trees, and elsewhere a major of engineering troops rigged up a detonating device at his private garage door. . . . More frequent are . . . the owners who patrol their houses and orchards with guns and have shot trespassing fruit-pickers, usually young men or boys, sometimes fatally ... an executive in charge of building materials illegally erected two houses for himself and his family, one of which had a reinforced-concrete bomb shelter. . . .
At meetings of the cooperatives, high-sounding phrases about Socialism and Communism reverberate, but as a woman journalist asked bitterly in Literaturnaya Gazeta:
“What worth have these phrases . . . side by side with this real phenomenon of one’s own plot of land, this sharply felt matter of one’s own irrigation ditch behind the fence, this asphalt-paved path to one’s own privy? . . . This is real, this can be touched and felt with one’s own hands, and it is precious also because it can become a durable guaranty of some future prosperity, such as one’s own car . . . and you can never tell what else may yet be installed on one’s own land.”
. . . When a party zealot got up at one meeting of a gardeners’ cooperative and urged that the cooperative ideal be restored by taking down all the fences and merging all the gardens and berry patches into one big commune, the answering cry (as reported in the Soviet press) was: “Burn it! We’d rather burn everything! So that nobody would get it!”
Some party leaders . . . explain away the discrepancy between the Communist ideal and the bourgeois reality by saying that the founding comrades never actually opposed personal property, that what they forbade was private property. Ah, but not property, the neo-bourgeois says triumphantly, so I will continue to collect and it will be I–not you, comrades–who will decide where “personal” stops and “private” begins. (“Russia’s New Bourgeois Grows Fat,” N.Y. Times Magazine, June 5, 1966.)
This article is just one of many which have recently appeared on this subject–usually with a tone of great approval for the new Soviet capitalists. And the new exploiters act the part:
Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, told Hungarian workers today that the Soviet road to communism was going to be filled with private cars. . . .
To his factory audience this appeared to be a welcome echo of Nikita Khrushchev’s speech in praise of “goulash communism” on his visit here as Premier three years ago.
It was also Mr. Brezhnev’s way of saying that his Party and the Hungarian Party remain committed to the building of a better life for their people instead of violent revolution as preached by the Chinese communist leaders. . . . (New York Times, December 2, 1966.)
SOVIETS ADJUST PRICES TO INCENTIVE SYSTEM
Wholesale prices of heavy industry products in the U.S.S.R. are to be raised an average of 11-12% beginning the middle of next year as part of a reform by the state prices committee of the U.S.S.R.
The committee chairman . . . wrote that the need for reform of wholesale prices stems from the introduction of new principles of planning and material incentives, which increase the importance of profits as a standard of efficiency. . . . (The Worker, October 23, 1966.)
SOVIET BIDS ALLIES PAY FOR TECHNOLOGY
A Soviet demand that other communist states pay for advanced Soviet technology has introduced a new element into the relations among members of the Council for Economic Mutual Assistance, the East European Economic Alliance.
In the past, Soviet and Eastern European propagandists have often emphasized the “brotherly” character of the free transfer of technology among communist states.
An earlier Soviet demand for Eastern European capital to develop Soviet raw material resources is already being implemented.
Soviet demands for payment for Soviet technical knowledge were published in the Soviet magazine New Times. It said that “licenses, patents, and technical specifications” must be sold among socialist countries at world prices, on the same basis that capitalist countries deal in technology.
If the Soviet Union has its way, only technical knowledge covering obsolete machinery will henceforth be given away free of charge. (New York Times, November 27, 1966.)
The Soviet leaders, under the guise of the “International Socialist Division of Labor,” have tried to stifle the economic development of the other socialist countries. The concept was first put forward by Khrushchev. It has run into serious opposition from the East European countries. This is the background to Rumania’s disaffection with the Soviet Union. Under the “International Division of Labor,” the Soviet Union’s allies supply food, raw materials and capital to the Soviet Union and, in turn, the Soviet Union forces manufactured items on her allies.
RUSSIANS SEEK TO RAISE PRICES ON GOODS THEY SELL TO EASTERN EUROPE
... To hear the Russians tell it . . . they have been supplying East Europe’s critical requirements for fuel and raw materials for years at lower-than-bargain-basement prices, slowing Russia’s own economic growth and damaging its “national interests.”
So the Russians are bluntly demanding that their Communist partners shell out more for the supplies they buy.
They also are insisting on advanced payments for such supplies . . . when meeting the demand requires an increase in Soviet capital spending. . . .
Now, Russian pressures are forcing each of the Comecon nations to define a new economic relationship with the Soviets. . . .
The Russians clearly view their trade relationship with East Europe as an economic drag, and they wish to expand their own dealings with the West considerably.
Russian economists have become more and more intrigued lately with capitalistic methods of cost accounting.
O.T. Bogomolov, a leading Soviet economist, recently calculated that the Soviet Union could earn much more on its investment by exporting manufactured goods than by exporting the raw materials it has been supplying to its allies. An investment in production of manufactured goods like machines, his calculations showed, would return five to eight times as much in foreign-currency earnings as an investment of equal amounts in production facilities for such raw materials as iron ore, fertilizer or coal. “In drawing up the 1966-70 Economic Plan,” he wrote, “the Soviet Union even overrode its own national interests in order to meet the requirements of the other Comecon countries.”
The other Comecon countries haven’t agreed to such conclusions. In fact, the Soviets have long been accused of charging their partners more than prevailing market prices for supplies. . . . (Wall Street Journal, August 17, 1966.)
How the scheme is applied is graphically illustrated by Perlo in an article from Havana.
Economic relations with socialist countries will require careful readjustment. Increasing economic aid to more and more socialist and developing countries involves significant sacrifices for the people of the U.S.S.R., Czechoslovakia, etc. As Cuba increases output, it will want gradually to reduce its negative trade balance with these countries. Thus, the Cuban people themselves will not derive all the benefits from their increased productivity. Cuban planners will have to work closely with their European socialist friends to divide the increased output so as to noticeably improve Cuban living standards while simultaneously reducing the burden on the U.S.S.R. and other socialist countries. . . .
. . . With full employment and wages fixed, a large proportion of the population are not working normal hours or with normal intensity. They neither fear hunger from taking it easy nor look forward to much gain from working harder. While being paid for an 8 hour day, many workers put in only 5-7 hours. But the key to realization of Cuba’s economic goals is higher labor productivity, which requires that workers observe elementary labor discipline.
This can be obtained temporarily through moral or patriotic stimuli. During the October, 1963 crisis, despite the partial mobilization, production increased notably. But, as European socialist experience shows, in the long run moral and material stimuli must be combined. Ways must be found to reward people in proportion to their effort and productivity. The European socialist countries are striving to improve their performance in this respect. Inevitably, this is closely connected with cost accounting and attention to profitability in industry and agriculture. . . .
Some industrial administrators I talked with had an excellent grasp and control over the economic factors of their enterprises. Despite theoretical de-emphasis, significant practical use is made of economic incentives. In construction, a group of workers contracts to complete a specified job in a given time at the regular wage rate for that period. If they complete it ahead of time and it passes quality inspection, they get the agreed amount of money anyhow. In effect, that increases their daily wage.
Cane cutters at a farm I visited in Matanzas Province are paid $1.90 per 100 arrobas. At the quota of 300 arrobas, they would make $5.70 per day, a better-than-average wage. Outstanding cutters can earn up to $20 daily, approaching the salary of cabinet ministers.
While I was in Havana, papers published the names of scores of cane cutters who won new houses as a reward for cutting 100,000 arrobas last season. I visited the excellent home of such a winner in Matanzas Province. Hundreds of outstanding farm workers win all-expenses-paid vacations at Varadero Beach for themselves and their families. A sizable block of buildings has been erected at this resort just for them.
... As planned increases in consumers’ goods output become available, it will become possible to distribute them more in accordance with the individual’s contribution to production. If this is done, a real increase in labor productivity and diligence should be realized. . . .
Cuba is irrevocably building socialism. If it fails to overcome the obstacles discussed above promptly, the road will be slower, there will be more setbacks, more opportunities for imperialist provocation, and less of an incentive for other Latin American countries to follow Cuba’s course.
If Cuba does overcome these obstacles, progress will be rather swift. There will be better possibilities of defeating finally the U.S. Government’s aggressive economic and political warfare. And, by the 1970’s, Cuban reality will be a more powerful stimulus to Latin American anti-imperialist revolution than the most militant verbal propaganda. (“Cuba Builds Human Resources to Meet Tasks of the Future.” The Worker, October 2, 1966.)
This all has a familiar ring. You could substitute the United States for the Soviet Union and Latin America for Eastern Europe (or Cuba).
Within the Soviet Union the essence of capitalism has been restored. Everything from Lieberman’s plan to the ability to will complete personal fortunes to heirs gives the game away. Within the Soviet Union a crop of millionaires has arisen complete with the problem of dealing with their corrupted offspring. The capitalist spirit has swept the Soviet hierarchy and the overlords of industry which it represents.
The class position of a state is reflected by its foreign policy. Soviet policy is reactionary in every sense. It acts to betray revolution all over. It is propping up a series of open fascists and thinly-disguised reactionaries as in India and Indonesia. If we viewed the United States doing these things we would have no trouble characterizing it as imperialism.
No more can there be a good LBJ at home and a bad LBJ abroad than there can be good revisionists at home perpetuating socialism while practicing counter-revolution abroad. The revisionists must mask their policies at home and abroad in the name of socialism. They must try ever harder to hoodwink the Soviet people because the contradictions in Soviet life are growing sharper. We have confidence that the Soviet workers will win hack state power. But we cannot obscure the fact that the state apparatus in the Soviet Union is in the hands of capitalist forces, and this is what characterizes the system today.
Emboldened by the spread of revisionism to a majority of the parties of the old international communist movement, U.S. imperialism is accelerating its efforts to halt the tide of revolution. The U.S. is making a determined but futile effort to change the course of history. In previous articles in Progressive Labor we have pointed out that the focal point of the confrontation between the forces of revolution and counter-revolution is in Vietnam. The outcome of this struggle will be important for the future of Asia and the world. It is here, where the struggle is so sharp, that revisionist and revolutionary ideas and actions can be more clearly evaluated.
A vital part of U.S. imperialism’s strategy for world domination is the philosophical, ideological, economic and, if all else fails, military defeat of People’s China. U.S. rulers know that it is the Chinese people, led by the Communist Party of China, which bars them from a more sweeping victory over the international movement. Additionally, the Chinese stand is a formidable obstacle to U.S. imperialism’s efforts in Asia, Africa and Latin America. China is a mainstay to all forces fighting U.S. imperialism.
But revisionism, especially revisionism in the Soviet Union, helps U.S. imperialism by allowing the U.S. to shift most of its guns to the East. U.S. troop reduction in Europe corresponds with the growth of Soviet revisionism.
Of course, the revisionists and the imperialists would prefer to have revisionism triumph from within the Chinese party. They are making every effort to achieve this. Naturally they would like to win the easy way. They would like to see capitalism restored in China peacefully. The Soviet model of restoration is a model imperialism would like to duplicate wherever revolutionary forces have triumphed.
Were this revisionist-imperialist scheme for the destruction of revolutionary leadership in China to bear fruit it would be a paramount victory for imperialism. It would have a negative effect on the revolutionary process in the world for a long time. At the moment this scheme of the Soviets and the United States is gathering more and more steam. They are growing desperate because the Vietnamese people refuse to succumb to imperialist terror and imperialist blackmail. And the Chinese revolutionaries are organizing in a revolutionary manner to defeat imperialism and, if need be to repel armed attack by revisionism and imperialism.
U.S. imperialism is counting heavily on Soviet cooperation for both the ideological and military penetration of the Chinese party and country. China is too big a job for U.S. imperialism to take on without the full cooperation of the Soviet Union. Imperialism is unable and unwilling to do all the expensive and dirty work itself. On November 22, 1966 a New York Times article exposed the game:
SOVIETS TELL U.S. OF CONCERN ON CHINA BORDER. GROMYKO STRESSES PEKING’S NUCLEAR ARSENAL IN TALKS WITH JOHNSON AND RUSK
The Soviet Union has become so concerned with increasing tensions in its relations with Communist China that it has taken steps to bolster their frontier and to discuss the problem with Washington. . .
According to some high American officials, the Russians have transferred some special intelligence units and equipment to monitor Chinese tests of missiles and nuclear warheads. These units were said to have focused previously on U.S. military activities. The Russians are also reported to have moved additional troops, both border guards and regular army divisions to the frontier area. . . .
One official with access to details of the conversations described them as “the most honest, direct, objective and non-ideological in years. . . Mr. Gromyko made clear that the break with China is quite fundamental, and that Russia is more interested than ever in settling other outstanding issues.”
The next day the State Department, in an attempt to cover up for its partner, issued a statement disavowing the Times’ article:
The State Department denied today a report that the Soviet Union had discussed in high level talks with Washington officials concern over problems along the Soviet border with Communist China.
But, the same article went on to say:
In answer to questions, a State Department spokesman said he was not denying that the recent discussions had dealt with Soviet-Chinese relations, China’s development of nuclear weapons and prospects for a treaty to prevent the spread of atomic arms.
Another indication of how advanced the collusion is between the U.S. and the Soviet Union appears in a story in the November 26, 1966 New York Times:
U.S. VIEW ON CHINA LINKED TO SOVIET. WASHINGTON IS SAID TO AVOID DRASTIC POLICY SHIFT LEST MOVE DISTURB MOSCOW
. . . The two-Chinas formula might be regarded by the Russians as making mischief in the communist world, which is deeply divided by the ideological conflict between China and the Soviet Union. ... A change in America’s China policy, it was thought, might also weaken the impact in Eastern Europe of President Johnson’s speech of October 7th in which he sought a far-reaching improvement in relations between East and West.
Naturally cultural togetherness flowers along with the political and military machinations of the Soviet Union and the United States. While the United States is busy leveling as much of Vietnam as possible Yevgeny Yevtushenko, foppish Soviet poet and model of what is new and creative, is busy touring the U.S. He is ardently spewing counter-revolutionary ideas. He is attacking China and apologizing for U.S. genocide in Vietnam. He has spent hours with Bobby Kennedy. And Kennedy found him “most interesting.” He was up till 4 A.M. with his pal John Steinbeck, who defends U.S. aggression in Vietnam. Yevtushenko’s biggest kudos came from none other than Robert McNamara, mass murderer of Vietnam, who is hated by millions of Americans. The following article appeared in an early edition of the New York Times of November 22, 1966 and then was quickly pulled to avoid further exposing the Soviet beatnik.
Secretary of Defense McNamara turned out Monday for a poetry recital by Yevtushenko. The Soviet poet made an eloquent appeal for better Soviet-American relations.
Mr. McNamara joined the audience on numerous occasions in lustily applauding Mr. Yevtushenko.
Most of the poems, which were read in an English translation as well as in Russian, were among the poet’s new ones and were sprinkled with political allusions. In impressions about American cinema, he joked about espionage and poked fun at the Chinese Communists.
This is no isolated expression of the latest Soviet-U.S. collusion. It is rather the logical, obvious result of the merging of revisionist and imperialist politics. Of course McNamara cheered.
Recently the Soviets have stepped up the attack against the Chinese. One of their Bulgarian stooges has called for a new conference of revisionists to read the Chinese out of the international movement. This has been coupled with the Soviet’s latest attack on the Chinese party and its leadership, especially Mao Tse-tung. The Soviets are complaining that Mao and those who follow an unswerving revolutionary path are in the leadership. They bemoan the fate of the opponents of the correct Marxist-Leninist policies of the Chinese party. But their call for another conference to attack China has been coolly received by fellow revisionists. Many of the revisionists, apparently, fear that the hatred they show to revolutionary China, contrasted with the growing love-match with U.S. imperialism, will further open the eyes of millions of oppressed people. Hence the noticeable lack of enthusiasm and the “leave well enough alone” attitude. But the Soviets have their task cut out for them by U.S. imperialism and they are faithfully carrying out their assignments.
Nor are the Soviet leaders simply busy trying to isolate and betray the Chinese revolution. These are busy counter-revolutionaries who don’t limit themselves to only a single goal. After attacking Indonesian revolutionaries and patriots for attempting to prevent the fascist counter-revolution, they are now supporting the fascist butchers all the way.
During the fascist army coup the Soviet leaders promised Suharto’s personal emissary that they would continue to supply the Indonesian militarists with ammunition, replacement parts and other military equipment. (The Indonesian armed forces, completely outfitted with Soviet materiel, are totally dependent on the Soviet Union.) After the blood bath, in which hundreds of thousands were slaughtered by the generals’ putsch, the Soviets quickly recognized the new government. Now they are out to consolidate it.
SOVIET DEBT MOVE BUOYS INDONESIA RESCHEDULING ACCORD SPURS HOPE FOR BALANCED BUDGET
Indonesian hopes of achieving a balanced budget for the first time in 16 years of inflationary deficits took new life today from an announcement that the Soviet Union had agreed to rescheduling payments of part of Indonesia’s debt.
. . . The Western nations agreed to a delay in principle during a meeting in Tokyo in September. . . . (New York Times, November 24, 1966.)
The large arms shipments to Indonesia continue. These arms can only be used against–are only intended to be used against– the Indonesian masses who eventually will move (if they haven’t already moved) to armed struggle.
There has been a constant and growing rapport between the Soviet leaders and the Indonesian butchers. Adam Malik, the Trotskyite foreign minister of Indonesia, comes and goes from Moscow as if there were a subway between the two countries.
What can be the nature of Soviet leaders who support and encourage fascism? What can be the character of a leadership that, seeing tens of thousands of their ostensible comrades exterminated, rushes in to assist their executioners? What can be the morality of a leadership which attacks its Indonesian comrades at the very moment they are being slaughtered by counter-revolutionaries? There is only one answer: the Soviet leaders are counter-revolutionaries of the basest type.
This flows quite logically from the Soviet leaders’ policy of arming the Indian reactionaries so they can attack China, and so they can hold power over the ever more rebellious masses in India.
In Vietnam their treachery knows no bounds. When Khrushchev was in the leadership, the CPSU brazenly sided with the U.S. It opposed and undermined the revolutionary action of the Vietnamese people. They claimed that “any local war might spark off the conflagration of a world war.” (Khrushchev, press conference in Vienna, July 8, 1960.) Using this concept to intimidate revolutionaries into submission, they openly refused to support the Vietnamese people. However, when the efforts of the Vietnamese and Laotian people against the U.S. grew stronger, Soviet policy in Southeast Asia was officially designated as “disengagement.” In July, 1964, the Soviets indicated their desire to resign from their post as one of the two co-chairmen of the Geneva Conference. Shortly after this, when the U.S. engineered the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf incident, Khrushchev claimed it had been provoked by China. In other words China, not the U.S., was escalating the war against the Vietnamese.
Despite the Soviet betrayals the Vietnamese people won victory after victory. Khrushchev’s policies of open betrayal in Vietnam and elsewhere became a liability to the Soviet leaders. The revolutionary masses of the world branded U.S. imperialism as their chief enemy and hailed China as their mainstay. Soviet influence was rapidly receding. Revolution in Vietnam was mercilessly exposing Soviet revisionism. Khrushchev was dumped.
This demonstrated the vulnerability of revisionism. The lop-ping-off of the main architect of revisionism was an important tactical victory for revolutionaries. It proved the validity of our position that, since the overwhelming majority of the masses of the world are opposed to imperialism, anyone who helps imperialism will sooner or later be crushed.
The new Soviet leaders tried to learn from this experience. They retreated from open, brazen betrayal to covert, insidious treachery. They changed their policy in Vietnam from “disengagement” to “involvement,” for they knew that if they were to undermine the tremendous efforts of the Vietnamese people they would have to worm their way into the confidence of the Vietnamese leaders.
The policies of “involvement” and “disengagement” are fundamentally two forms of one policy. The policy, in both forms, meets the needs of U.S. imperialism. U.S. imperialism desperately needs the revisionists to undermine the revolution in Vietnam. They need them to force the Vietnamese to concede in negotiations what they have not lost in war.
The U.S. rulers need the Soviet clique to mask imperialism’s hideous nature. And imperialism’s junior partners are willing to do this job. But the greatest amount of toadying by the revisionists will only postpone but not prevent the day when sharp contradictions, having an objective basis in their economic rivalry, arise between them and the imperialists. And then the imperialists will turn on the Soviet clique. The unity of exploiters is a sometime thing.
In the meantime we have the spectacle of the world’s biggest “socialist” country improving relations with the U.S. at the moment the U.S. is slaughtering thousands of the Soviet Union’s allies. The Soviet absolves the U.S. rulers and blames the war of genocide on some “lunatics in the Pentagon.” Thus the Soviet leaders are used in every manner to help achieve the goals of imperialism.
Additionally, “involvement” is designed to overcome the Soviet Union’s growing loss of .influence in Asia. Its concern for these interests is shown by its role in Indonesia, India, and by its meddling in the India-Pakistan border war. The Soviets want to build up a sphere of economic and political domination which they can exploit more fully at a later date. Like any other nation which is developing an economy based on private profit, the Soviet Union needs areas to exploit.
Soviet “involvement” is designed to undermine the unity of the Chinese and Vietnamese. “Involvement” is being used to stop the revolutionary process in Vietnam and isolate the revolutionary forces. This is the real meaning of the statements:
The scientific and technical revolution of the second half of the 20th century and its subsequent revolution in military science have fundamentally changed the nature of war, aggravated its aftermath and engendered the possibility of turning what at first glance would seem to be an inconsequential conflict breaking out in some remote corner of the world, into the detonator of a universal rocket-nuclear war. In present conditions a threat to peace, wherever it appears–in Africa, Asia, Latin America or Central Europe–is equally dangerous for the peoples of all countries and imperils their national and social gains. (23 CPSU Congress: Results and Prospects, p. 59.)
This is the real meaning of the Soviet policy of “peaceful coexistence” applied to the focal point of revolution jn the world today.
Now the Soviet Union is giving “aid” to the Vietnamese. The reason for this “aid”–its essence-is to undermine the revolutionary struggle in Vietnam, and to weaken the political struggle around the world in support of the Vietnamese.
Coupled with the “aid” is a call by the Soviet Union to all “socialist” countries for “unity of action.” On the face of it, these two steps seem fine. However, Marxist-Leninists cannot simply view the superficial aspects of things but must delve deeper.
Certainly Marxist-Leninists stand for and welcome all genuine expressions of proletarian internationalism. Aid and unity of action designed to help the revolution are to be lauded. But aid and unity of action designed to betray should be rejected.
How can one unite with revisionism? The real unity in this situation is between revisionism and imperialism. No one understands this better than the imperialists. As the Christian Science Monitor noted:
What might have been considered another “silly” proposition in the Chinese text–the one referring to a presumed collaboration between Washington and Moscow in sabotaging “the revolutionary struggle of the people of various countries”–is widely accepted by some diplomats here as an obvious truth.
The imperialists welcome Soviet “aid” to Vietnam, for they understand its purpose. They know the Soviets are trying to drag the Vietnamese to the bargaining table to fritter away the revolution in south Vietnam and socialism in the north. U.S. imperialism, which has a clear class outlook, sees all this without trouble. As Drew Pearson wrote:
For the first time in years in which the State Department has chased down every peace feeler coming out of Hanoi, Moscow, Paris, Algeria or the U.N., it looks like something solid is in the works. Reason for optimism is two-fold. The Russians are really putting the heat on North Vietnam for peace. Since they supply MIG fighter planes, anti-aircraft guns and even train North Vietnamese pilots, their influence can be decisive. . . .
In private talks with Secretary Rusk and Goldberg, Gromyko has appeared highly interested and quite conciliatory. This is why the President took the unusual step of inviting the Soviet Foreign Minister to dinner. . . .
And in the October 24, 1966 column by Marquis Childs appears the following:
President Johnson sees the Russians, since his conference with Foreign Minister Gromyko, as anxious as the Americans to find a solution for Vietnam. This confirms the cautious optimism expressed by British Foreign Secretary George Brown following his meeting recently with Johnson in Washington.
The U.S. press is replete with instances documenting the treachery of the Soviet leaders. Here are more examples of the Munich-style efforts of the revisionists:
UPI, Moscow, November 13, 1966–Foy Kohler in his farewell talks with Soviet leaders raised the Vietnam issue. The Soviets indicated to Kohler that an end to the bombing would produce a better atmosphere and possibly lead toward progress in Vietnam.
A New York Times article dated November 13, 1966:
The Soviets were reliably reported to have demanded an end to U.S. bombings in North Vietnam. . . . The Soviets did not specifically mention the issue of withdrawal.
A UPI report from London, dated November 7, 1966:
Top American and British leaders are becoming increasingly convinced that Russia wants to see the Vietnamese hostilities ended. . . . The Soviet leaders have indicated cautiously . . . they may yet play an active part in a settlement.
Drew Pearson, writing in the second week of November, 1966:
Lyndon Johnson acting as his own salesman for his peace talks did some selling with Foreign Minister Gromyko. Since then some noises have come out of the Kremlin indicating that Mr. Johnson’s sales effort was not in vain ... a development of recent diplomatic events is a tacit agreement of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. to pull together for peace.
The November 7, 1966 issue of the U.S. News and World Report gave a full roundup of the reaction of U.S. allies to Washington-Moscow collaboration. It began by saying that a “deal” was beginning to be cooked up between the U.S. and the USSR. The deal arose from the fact that “the U.S. wants the tacit aid of Russia in de-escalating the war in Vietnam,” while the Soviet Union was “interested in shelving the Cold War so that they might concentrate on opposing China.”
It cited Western observers as saying that:
There is growing evidence that the Soviets are moving gingerly to press for a political settlement in Vietnam. . . . The Russians want peace in Vietnam almost as much as the U.S. does because Vietnam was a handicap to its plan for peaceful co-existence with the West. . . .
Despite Vietnam, there is a noticeable thaw in the diplomatic climate between the United States and Russia. Cautious probing is under way for agreements. ... All around the world, in Western Europe, America and Asia-diplomats are signaling that something big is stirring in relations between the U.S. and Russia.
At the recent Bulgarian Party Congress:
A high Bulgarian official, commenting on the Soviet bloc’s attitude on the war, said the main objective was to bring about a peace conference. Pre-conditions, such as a halt in U.S. bombing raids, are of no great importance. . . . He voiced concern over the intransigence of powerful groups in Hanoi, that he said, were closer to Peking. . . . The nations of the Soviet bloc must bring pressure on Hanoi to counteract the influence of the pro-Chinese forces (New York Times, November 15, 1966).
A week after the Bulgarian Party Congress, the main task of which was the launching of a proposal for the convening of a conference of “communist” parties to attack China and her revolutionary policies, the United States rewarded the Bulgarians for services rendered by improving diplomatic relations, raising its representative in Sofia to the rank of ambassador and permitting a Bulgarian ambassador in Washington.
Clearly, the U.S. and the Soviet Union are trying to entrap the entire revolutionary movement into uniting with imperialism in opposition to the revolution in Vietnam. By a combination of expanded terror by the United States and “aid” with political pressure from the USSR, the Vietnamese are being pushed to make a deal, a deal they have rejected over and over again. What sort of friends of the Vietnamese would enter into this collusion? What kind of friendship is that?
Commenting on the quality of this “friendship,” I.F. Stone wrote:
Let us try to see what is happening in a fresh perspective. What if Japan were again a great military power, and it was bombing a small country in Latin America allied with the United States? What would we think if our Secretary of State paid a friendly visit to the Prime Minister of Japan under such circumstances and began to negotiate favors from him, like landing rights for a New York to Tokyo airline? Imagine how Latin allies under Japanese bombardment would feel if they saw pictures of their supposed American protector in a friendly confabulation with Tokyo? This may help us to see what Johnson has already achieved in his talks with Gromyko. Whatever else comes from them, the moral effect is debasing. Johnson debases the Russians, and he debases the American people. (I.F. Stone’s Weekly, October 17, 1966.)
The Soviet Union is trying to subvert the principles of people’s war. The Soviet leaders would like the Vietnamese to become dependent on weaponry rather than to rely primarily on their own strength, which has been proved invincible time and time again. The Vietnamese are winning because they have developed the art of people’s war to new heights. The forces of revolution grow stronger as U.S. imperialism becomes more isolated. People’s war in Vietnam can’t be coped with by the U.S. If the revisionists, by increasing the doses of their “aid,” were to seduce the Vietnamese into de-emphasizing the main concept of people’s war–that it depends in the first place on the efforts of the entire people–this would result in undermining the revolution.
We recognize that the comrades in Vietnam are on the horns of a serious and complex dilemma. Taking “aid” from the revisionists may bring some momentary help in their battle. And it may give the appearance of unity. But the imperialists are not fooled.
To the extent that people are confused about the real nature of revisionism, revisionism is perpetuated. The cleverer tactics of the Soviet leaders have tended to lull and confuse many honest people. After all, they say, “whatever way you cut the cake, the Soviet Union is helping the Vietnamese.”
The point is that there have been instances, and there will be more instances, in which different class forces work together in temporary and unstable alliances. But if each case is examined, it will be seen that a progressive aspect dominated the partial unity of purpose. For example, during World War II the Soviet Union was in an alliance with the U.S. Both wanted the defeat of Hitler but each for a different reason. Since the defeat of Hitler was critical for mankind’s progress to socialism, there was a basis for partial and temporary unity. And the result was that the socialist revolution did advance.
But in the case of Vietnam, things are quite the opposite. Both the Soviet Union and the U.S. want the revolution crushed now! Therefore, there is no basis for partial and temporary unity with the revisionists. Revolutionaries should not enter into Soviet-inspired alliances. They are traps to thwart the revolution.
It’s not really a new trick–this Trojan Horse. Less than two years ago, LBJ himself offered (on behalf of U.S. imperialism) to provide a multi-billion dollar program of “aid” and “development” to North Vietnam. Some might argue that the North Vietnamese leadership should have accepted Johnson’s offer (“take aid wherever you can get it!”). But the strings on LBJ’s “aid” were too obvious–the Trojan Horse was too transparent.
So the anti-revolutionary forces fixed up a new Trojan-Horse “aid” program and re-routed it this time via Moscow.
But the essence is the same. You can’t take increasing “aid” from the revisionists and fight revisionism at the same time. That is the nub of it.
The struggle against revisionism and for unity around Marxist-Leninist principles is the responsibility of all true revolutionaries.
If some comrades believe it’s possible to take “aid” from the revisionists “without strings,” let them test it. Let all who claim to be revolutionary parties publicly call upon the revisionists to renounce their collaboration with U.S. imperialism, their phony test-ban treaty, their constant “peace” conferences, their repeated anti-China activities, their support for U.N.-U.S. aggression in the Congo, Middle East and Latin America, their applause for such reactionaries as Popes John and Paul, their military aid to the counter-revolutionaries in India and Indonesia, and abandon their attempts to deal away the Vietnamese revolution in phony “negotiations.” Let all who claim to be revolutionary parties publicly call on the revisionists to really aid the Vietnamese revolution by renouncing their own revisionism. And see how long the revisionists continue their material “aid” to Vietnam–supposedly “without strings.” (How long did Soviet material “aid” to China continue when the Chinese party publicly maintained its revolutionary position?)
In a recent interview Fidel Castro unwittingly hammered the point home:
Question: When the U.S. and Russia came to an agreement that the missiles would be removed, did Cuba have any influence by which she might have kept them?
Castro: It would have been at the cost of a complete break with the Soviet Union and that would have been really absurd on our part.
Question: Wasn’t there great popular sentiment in Cuba for keeping the missiles?
Castro: All of us were advocates of keeping the missiles in Cuba. Furthermore, the possibility that the Soviet Union would withdraw them was an alternative that had never entered our minds. (Playboy magazine, January, 1967, p. 70.)
In our own country, people are learning with whom to make alliances and from whom to accept aid. While the situation isn’t as much a military confrontation as in Vietnam, it is quite sharp in the Black Liberation Movement. Haven’t Black militants learned what “unity of action” with the liberals means? Haven’t they learned what it means just to take money from the liberals? It means, in essence, working with the Establishment. To take their ’aid” means to accept their domination. To unite with liberals means to abandon Black Liberation. Liberals do not give “aid” without conditions. Only to the extent that Black Liberation forces rely primarily on their own resources and unite with genuinely radical and revolutionary forces, can they hope to achieve self-determination.
In the final analysis, the Vietnamese comrades may reject Soviet “aid.” They may characterize Soviet “aid” and its so-called “unity” for what it is. This would be a sharp blow to revisionism. It would demonstrate that the road to victory is reliance on the strength of the masses coupled with genuine aid from really revolutionary forces.
Of late, some previously anti-revisionist parties have attacked the Chinese for being opposed to the notion of unity with revisionism. The Chinese party has been called “dogmatic and sectarian” for this. We believe that the Japanese and north Korean parties have been sucked in by the revisionist slogan “unity in action.” They define their “independence” from the Chinese party by declaring that they are ready to work with the revisionists. Inasmuch as they were always organizationally independent, this new-found cry has a false ring.
The Koreans in particular chastise the Chinese for not doing more in Vietnam. They say the socialist countries ought to be sending troops to Vietnam. But the Chinese have made it clear that if the Vietnamese ask for more aid or men, they will supply them. Certainly U.S. imperialism remembers how the Chinese honored their commitments in the Korean War, if the Koreans have temporarily forgotten.
If the Korean party leaders really believe that the revisionists want to mend their ways and conduct a real struggle against U.S. imperialism, in particular against its aggression in Vietnam, then why don’t the Korean party leaders address their statements to the revisionists? Why don’t they call upon the revisionists to repudiate their policies of collaboration with U.S. imperialism, to utilize their political, economic and military power throughout the world to expose, isolate and defeat U.S. imperialism? No one is tying the hands of the revisionists if they are really anxious to build a genuine struggle against U.S. imperialism.
We believe the proposal to send volunteers to Vietnam now, as advocated by the Koreans and Cubans, is a bluff. Why don’t the Koreans send troops? Who stops them? (Or why don’t they make a start by preventing the South Korean puppet troops from being sent to Vietnam?) The truth of the matter is that the Vietnamese haven’t asked for troops and don’t want them now. The people of Vietnam are quite a match for U.S. imperialism.
The sight of the cream of U.S. armed strength being ground up by people’s war in Vietnam is the greatest political lesson in the world today. It proves that oppressed peoples can take on imperialism and defeat it by relying primarily on their own efforts-even in a war.
This lesson exposes the arguments of U.S. pacifists and revisionists who use the “horrors of war” to urge phony negotiations with the U.S. aggressors–just another way of saying “lay down your arms and abandon the revolution.”
What we believe is the problem with parties like the Korean and Japanese (and with many elements within revolutionary movements around the world) is their unclear estimate of revisionism. Is it counter-revolutionary or isn’t it? A group of students at the University of California in Berkeley recently indicated that even non-communist radicals are becoming more and more alarmed by the revisionist position. In a leaflet calling on students to picket the First Secretary of the Soviet Embassy (who was speaking in Berkeley), they declared:
Moscow tilts Westward. This news disturbs us. We fear that the “Soviet tilt” could not come at a worse time. ... By tilting towards the U.S. at this time, the Soviet Union encourages the most adventurist and militaristic U.S. leaders. . . . We are concerned that actions and statements of the Soviet Union give U.S. policymakers the view that the Soviet Union is prepared to sell-out China and Vietnam for a big-power division of the world into “spheres of influence.”
We hope that parties like the Korean and Japanese will withdraw from the anti-China campaign which, in its essence, is a campaign for revisionism and against revolution.
The Communist Party of China recognizes the serious counterrevolutionary efforts of U.S. imperialism and its revisionist allies, and is preparing itself and the world revolutionary movement to fight back and win.
There are similarities between this preparation and the period in which the Soviet Union prepared itself politically, ideologically, economically, and militarily to defeat Hitlerism. If the Soviet Union had not taken stern measures in the face of the greatest imperialist danger of that time, it would have been smashed. Instead, the greatest menace to the world, up to that point in history, was defeated. But the Chinese communists are going one big step further than the Soviets.
Revisionism received a qualitative boost at the 20th Party Congress of the S.U. It was at this Congress that the process of restoration made the “great leap.” However, the roots of revisionism in the Soviet Union go deep. The ideological transformation of the masses didn’t nearly keep abreast of the material development of Soviet society. Given the enormous difficulties of a backward country surrounded and under continuous attack by world imperialism, and a lack of previous socialist experience to draw from, the Soviets placed a one-sided emphasis on material development.
Stalin recognized the rightist danger and its consequences early. At a speech to a Plenum of the Moscow Party Committee in 1938 he said:
A victory of the right deviation in our party would mean an enormous accession of strength to the capitalist elements in our country. And what does this mean? It means weakening the proletarian dictatorship and multiplying the chances for the restoration of capitalism. . . Hence, a victory of the right deviation in our party would add to the conditions necessary for the restoration of capitalism in our country.
However, in fighting the rightist danger the stress was put on eliminating the small commodity producers (soil for capitalist ideas) and replacing them with new advanced techniques. Ideological struggle was limited even within the party, and certainly not developed to transform the millions.
The Chinese communists are making a thorough-going effort to transform the thinking and develop the ideology of hundreds of millions of people. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, led by Mao Tse-tung, the Chinese people are demonstrating that people determine the course of history.
The CPC is not making material incentives the primary motivation for the transformation of China’s masses. It is really elevating ideas, man’s dialectical and creative thought, into an invincible force. And this force, the revolutionary ideology of hundreds of millions of people, is becoming the key force in shaping the future as these people join in active battle to carry the revolution through to the end.
It is in this struggle that Mao and the Chinese party are implementing the essence of Leninism. The revisionists claim that the cultural revolution is anti-Leninist. They claim that it is perverting and making a mockery of Leninism. From the outset, Lenin and Stalin warned about the possibilities of capitalist restoration. They warned that the class struggle goes on fiercely long after the smoke of revolution has died down.
The abolition of classes is a matter of long, difficult, stubborn class struggle which, after the overthrow of the power of capital, after the destruction of the bourgeois state, after the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, does not disappear (as the vulgar people of the old socialism and of the old Social-Democracy imagine), but only changes its forms and in many respects grows fiercer still.
The proletariat must maintain its power, strengthen its organizing influence, neutralize those sections which are afraid of parting company with the bourgeoisie and too hesitatingly follow the proletariat, by waging the class struggle against the resistance of the bourgeoisie, against conservatism, routine, indecision, and the waverings of the petty bourgeoisie. It must consolidate the new discipline, the comradely discipline of the toilers, their firm ties with the proletariat, their rallying around the proletariat, this new discipline, the new basis of social ties, which is replacing the feudal discipline of the medieval ages, the discipline of starvation, the discipline of “free” wage slavery under capitalism.
In order to abolish the classes a period of the dictatorship of one class is necessary, namely, of the oppressed class which is capable not only of overthrowing the exploiters, not only of ruthlessly suppressing their resistance, but also of breaking with the entire bourgeois democratic ideology, with all the philistine phrases about freedom and equality in general (in fact, as Marx has long ago pointed out, these phrases mean the “freedom and equality” of the commodity owners, the “freedom and equality” of the capitalists. . . . (V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, Russian Edition, Vol. XXIV, pp. 314-315.)
The strength of the overthrown bourgeoisie rests in the fact that:
... for a long time after the revolution the exploiters inevitably continue to enjoy a number of great practical advantages: they still have money (since it is impossible to abolish money all at once), some movable property-often fairly considerable; they still have various connections, habits of organization and management, superior education, close connections with the higher technical personnel (who live and think like the bourgeoisie), incomparably greater experience in the art of war (this is very important) and so on, and so forth. (V.I. Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. VII, p. 140.)
Further strength of the overthrown exploiting class lies
in the force of habit, in the strength of small-scale production. For unfortunately, there is still very, very much of small-scale production left in the world, and small-scale production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale; . . .
... the abolition of classes means not only driving out the landlords and capitalists-that we accomplished with comparative ease; it means also getting rid of the small commodity producers, and they cannot be driven out, they cannot be crushed, we must live in harmony with them; they can (and must) be remoulded and re-educated only by very prolonged, slow, cautious organizational work (V.I. Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. X, pp. 60 and 83).
Thus, Lenin wrote:
The dictatorship of the proletariat is a most determined and most ruthless war waged by the new class against a more powerful enemy, the bourgeoisie, whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow ... the dictatorship of the proletariat is a persistent struggle – sanguinary and bloodless, violent and peaceful, military and economic, educational and administrative – against the forces and traditions of the old society. (V.I. Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. X, pp. 60 and 84.)
China has seen the Soviet experience. The Chinese have witnessed the persistence of bourgeois ideas in many sections of their own population, especially among the intellectuals. They have seen that the institutions of higher education have, to a great degree, remained as training grounds for the children of the old middle and upper classes. Until recently, 50 per cent of the students at universities were of non-proletarian origin. To allow this to continue would indeed give great help to U.S. imperialism’s cherished hopes that capitalist restoration will become possible after the death of the original revolutionary leaders. U.S. imperialism bases its hopes for restoration (or collaboration in the event of armed struggle) on the youth. Imperialism feels that the youth, who have not gone through actual revolutionary struggle, are good targets for bourgeois ideology.
The Chinese have also seen the dry rot of intellectual corruption in Hungary and Poland burst into the flames of counter-revolution. They see its current insidious effects. A recent article in the New York Times (November 7, 1966) showed the sickening effect of revisionism on the youth of a so-called socialist country:
POLISH STUDENTS ADMIRE KENNEDY LATE PRESIDENT FIRST CHOICE IN POLL TO NAME HERO
JFK was the choice of a great majority of students at the Cracow Metallurgy and Mining Academy, an advanced technical college, when asked to name their hero.
The inquiry was not a banal popularity poll but part of a sounding of the state of political and ideological awareness of Poland’s future elite. . . . Only 45 per cent of 734 first-year students gave correct answers about the political organization of Poland, whereas 80 per cent were informed as to the main political parties in the United States.
Not only did President Kennedy head the list of “heroes,” but no Pole placed among the first five. Following the late President were Yuri Gagarin, first man in space, President de Gaulle, Pope John XXIII and Karl Marx.
On the other hand 18 students were unable to say what job Mr. Gomulka had, and two gave wrong answers. 43 did not know that Edward Ochab was President of Poland, and 24 others said he held a different post.
Communist Party officials felt that this was a “serious matter.” In the same article, further indications of the general corruption in a revisionist-controlled state are given:
Another problem that is provoking grave misgivings among Communist leaders is the progressive transformation of the party from a body held together by principles and ideals to an association of freeloaders and careerists. The same is true of student organizations, according to Zyzie Literackie, the literary weekly that took the poll. The article accused the leadership of the Union of Polish Students at an unidentified college of devoting its efforts to forming cliques, arranging agreeable free vacation trips for themselves and their girl friends, and above all, “impudent belittling” of learning.
These manifestations of revisionism are characteristic of all the countries dominated by the counter-revolutionaries. And just as their imperialist friends wail about the degeneration of their youth and are powerless to rectify it, so too the revisionists cry bitterly and fruitlessly. The degeneration to careerism and perversion is the logical consequence of bourgeois ideology.
Should the Chinese Communist Party sit by and twiddle its thumbs and allow China’s youth to become corrupted in the guise of “liberating man’s inner nature”? This corruption is not “liberating” but is one of the oldest enslavements known to man. The Chinese know that the socialist development of youth requires the destruction of individualism, of egoism, and the fostering of an unselfish approach to society. It means the end of “what’s-in-it-for-me?” and the substitution of “what can I do to build socialism and make myself better in the process?” This is truly liberating. This would unleash real creativity, the real flowering of the individual and the actual development of millions of youth into an invincible revolutionary force.
Knowing that the Soviet Union has betrayed the cause of revolution in Vietnam and everywhere else; knowing that the Soviet Union and the United States are sharpening their ideological and military knives to destroy China, should not the Chinese move vigorously to defeat revisionist elements in their own ranks? Should not the Chinese prepare themselves to rely fully on their own resources? Or should they make themselves dependent on aid from revisionism? We say no! To lay themselves open to revisionism would guarantee the defeat of China, the defeat of the bulwark of world revolution.
Edgar Snow wrote in the July 30, 1966 issue of the New Republic:
Apart from revamping the economy to devote a major section to defense industry, great questions face Peking’s leadership. What would be the character of China’s military strategy against the United States? If war was unavoidable, would it not be prudent to mend fences with Russia? China’s own defenses were not adequate to protect her urban industrial bases against heavy American air attack. What would be Russia’s price for providing an air defense umbrella? To submit to Moscow and revisionism was unthinkable; to subject to American destruction the results of nearly two decades of sacrifice to modernize China was also unthinkable. Yet both had to be thought through.
Acceptance of the Russian line would mean a compromise in Vietnam which would leave the United States firmly planted in Southeast Asia. If Vietnam were surrendered, why not Taiwan? And if Taiwan were abandoned why not concede American dominance in general, accept a secondary role for China, and also seek aid from the United States, like India. This reverse view of the dominoes collapsing inward on China could lead to the conclusion that capitulation to Russian pressure was synonymous with capitulation to the United States, abandonment of the revolution as well as vital national interests: and suicide for the Chinese party leadership. . . .
Marshal Lin Piao has emerged as the spokesman for the dominant view, which simply invokes all the experience of the Chinese revolutionary wars to prove Mao’s old thesis, man is more important than weapons; the only kind of war China could fight and win, alone, is a protracted war dependent essentially on manpower, space, and resolute social revolutionary leadership based on unrevised Marxism-Leninism. The presence of large American armies in Asia makes Mao’s kind of war possible, and the more Americans the better. China would suffer, there could be no doubt about that, but there could also be no doubt (according to Lin) about the ultimate victory.
In China the long range effort to fight the revolution through to the end is called “The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.” This is a decisive class struggle. As Chou En-lai explained:
After the socialist revolution on the economic front had been basically completed the socialist revolution on political and ideological fronts was started. This revolution in its present stage of development has become the dynamic mass movement of the great proletarian cultural revolution which has stirred up the whole of society and in which hundreds of millions of people are consciously taking part. (New York Times, December 6, 1966.)
As the objective situation is sharpening, class sides become more distinct. Erroneous viewpoints, which might have been dealt with in a less sharp manner under different conditions, must now be dealt with quickly, thoroughly, and sharply. Now they are a dire threat to the Chinese people’s ability to withstand the on-rushing efforts of revisionism and imperialism, whose new “grand alliance” waits for no one. This struggle is no Sunday picnic.
In the Chinese cultural revolution, the main criteria are deeds, not words.
What counts above all in their eyes is the conduct of one’s daily life. A good communist is someone who lives in complete austerity and who on all occasions shoulders the heaviest burden.
Every official, every intellectual, who takes advantage of his position to make his life easier immediately unveils his “revisionist nature.” (K.S. Karol, New Statesman, September 9, 1966.)
The defeat of revisionism in China involves the future of the entire world. Upon that defeat depends the freedom of hundreds of millions of workers to live as free men in a socialist state. They are fighting in China to eliminate the class base from which a return to private accumulation of society’s wealth could spring because, as K. S. Karol points out, “China, over and above Vietnam, remains the main target of American aggression, and by virtue of this fact alone, she is the vanguard of the resistance to the Pax Americana.”
The imperialists and revisionists spread mountains of lies about the Cultural Revolution. They know it is aimed at them from a class point of view and they are trying to defeat it at all costs.
When have the revisionists and imperialists ever based themselves on the truth? Are they really concerned about the people of China? Imperialism still prattles about the “good old China” where millions of people died from hunger, where children were sold into prostitution and any imperialist could make a buck. They openly discuss plans to “bomb them back into the Stone Age.”
Revisionists and imperialists spout about their love of the Chinese masses. But the only love they have is for their lost opportunities to oppress and exploit them. In fact, the revisionists have contempt for and fear of the Chinese masses. They hate the Chinese Communist Party and its great leader Mao Tse-tung. Their hate is born of the fear that the Chinese Communist Party and people are the most powerful revolutionary force in the world, the chief obstacle to carving up the world into “spheres of influence.”
All revolutionaries have a vital stake in the outcome of the Cultural Revolution. 700,000,000 Chinese steeped in revolutionary ideology would be an invincible force. It would be the first time that Marxism-Leninism became the ideology of an entire population. Heretofore, ideology was the “property” of only a few, the special province of intellectuals and a relatively few party leaders. A powerful revolutionary China is a tremendous boost to the emerging forces of revolution all over the world. Their example of proletarian self-reliance, ideologically and materially, is an inspiration to all. We wish the Cultural Revolution every success. Its every success is a key defeat for U.S. imperialism and modern revisionism. We have great confidence that by utilizing the thought of Mao Tse-tung the experienced and tested CPC will succeed in its new historic endeavor.
The thought of Mao Tse-tung is the summarization of the experiences of the Chinese revolution. It points the way for the revolutionary process everywhere.
Therefore, the Cultural Revolution assumes historic proportions. The development of the world revolutionary movement will be immeasurably strengthened by its success.
The fight against revisionism must be one of the main tasks in the international communist movement. The history of the emergence of Marxism-Leninism is a history of consistent battle against all deviation. Even though Marxism-Leninism is now a minority position in the international movement, it will eventually triumph. Marxism-Leninism is invincible because it is in accord with the aspirations of the people. Revisionism, like imperialism, runs counter to the tide of history. The danger of modern revisionism is great. We cannot simply take the position that Marxism-Leninism is true and therefore it will all come out right in the end. Revisionism can only be defeated by struggle based on reality. Some of the newer features that make the struggle against revisionism difficult and complex are:
(1) Today a series of states is held in the grip of the revisionists. This is the first time in history that revisionism holds state power.
(2) The revisionists have covered up their tracks considerably. They no longer build open platforms as the Bernsteins and Kautskys did. Everything they say and do is in the name of Lenin. They claim they are bringing Leninism up to date. As they move to greater defeats they may well claim that they are bringing Stalin up to date.
(3) They play upon the fears of the world’s people because of the advent of atomic weapons. Instead of demonstrating that peace can only be secured through sharpening the class struggle, they resort to the deceit of bourgeois pacifism. They try to terrorize and blackmail people to keep them from aspiring to revolution.
Because of the spread of revisionism, the imperialists have been given some short-term tactical advantages. Revisionism in power in the Soviet Union and in other countries means defeats for the international working class. Revisionism prolongs the fight against imperialism. Specific battles against imperialism will be successful to the extent they overcome revisionism. It is important for all revolutionaries to learn from defeats as well as successes. Unless revolutionary forces learn from their errors they will not be able to exploit the generally favorable conditions for revolution.
Revisionism cannot be underestimated. In the long run it will be smashed. In the short run it can cause considerable harm. What makes Marxism-Leninism powerful is the ability to learn from failure and change. Imperialism cannot do this. At best it can make tactical, but never strategic, changes. Sometimes imperialism is so pragmatic and subjective that it can’t make even tactical adjustments.
History has shown that Marxism-Leninism has emerged stronger from each major struggle with revisionism. But the struggle against revisionism isn’t won on the pages of a magazine, but in life! Real struggles have to be carried on against the enemy. His forces must be sapped until he can be defeated.
Our party, like scores of groups around the world, has sprung up to carry forward the banner of revolution. All these groups will be judged by their ability to wage struggles with the enemy and win. Only those that learn over a long period of time to apply Marxism-Leninism to their particular circumstances will earn the confidence of the people and stand the test of life.
It is useful to look at Stalin’s description of revisionism in the Second International. Revisionists appeared to have dominated the movement.
I said above that between Marx and Engels on the one hand and Lenin on the other lay a whole period of domination by the opportunism of the Second International. To be more precise, I must add that it was not so much a question of the formal as of the actual domination of opportunism. Formally, the Second International was headed by “orthodox” Marxists like Kautsky and others. Actually, however, its fundamental work followed the line of opportunism. Because of their petty-bourgeois adaptable nature, the opportunists adapted themselves to the bourgeoisie; as for the “orthodox” they adapted themselves to the opportunists in order to “maintain unity” with the latter, to maintain “peace within the Party”! As a result, opportunism dominated, because the links between the policy of the bourgeoisie and the policy of the “orthodox” were joined.
It was a period of relatively peaceful development of capitalism, a pre-war period so to speak, when the disastrous contradictions of imperialism have not yet so obviously revealed themselves, when economic strikes and trade unions developed more or less “normally,” when in the electoral struggles and parliamentary fractions “dizzy” successes were exalted to the skies, and when it was hoped to “kill” capitalism by legal means. In other words, it was a period when the parties of the Second International were becoming gross and stodgy, and no longer wanted to think seriously about revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and the revolutionary training of the masses.
Instead of a coherent revolutionary theory, they propounded contradictory theoretical postulates, fragments of theory isolated from the actual revolutionary struggle of the masses, and which had been transformed into threadbare dogmas. For the sake of appearances they always, of course, referred to the theory of Marx, but only to rob it of its living revolutionary spirit.
Instead of a revolutionary policy there was effete philistinism, practical politics, parliamentary diplomacy and parliamentary scheming. For the sake of appearances, of course, “revolutionary” resolutions and slogans were passed only to be pigeon-holed.
Instead of educating and teaching the Party true revolutionary tactics from a study of its own mistakes, we find a studied evasion of thorny questions, which were glossed over and veiled. In order to keep up appearances they were not averse to talking about these awkward questions, only to wind up with some sort of “elastic” resolution.
Such were the features, the methods of work and the armoury of the Second International. (J.V. Stalin, Foundations of Leninism.)
Despite the opportunism in the Second International the mighty communist movement was born.
Today, even though Marxism-Leninism is not the majority in the old communist movement, Marxism-Leninism is a much more powerful force throughout the world than in Lenin’s time. It is becoming the dominant trend in all the newly-emerging revolutionary forces, and for all the revolutionary peoples of the world. In the final analysis this is more important than whether or not revisionism will be defeated within the old CP.’s.
Also, the current struggle against modern revisionism, led by the Communist Party of China, has raised Marxist thought to new heights. The thought of Mao Tse-tung is proving invaluable to revolutionaries all over the world. In this debate revisionism is being challenged to a degree that it was never challenged before.
A far more fundamental approach is being taken by millions, not just a few. And backing up this titanic struggle is the powerful Chinese Communist Party which gives the revolutionary movement a courageous example.
Only the development of a new, powerful, united revolutionary movement can halt the increasing possibility of World War III. Revisionism has increased the danger of World War III and has made a vast Asian war probable! Revisionism has split the solid front of struggle against U.S. imperialism. The split has only emboldened U.S. imperialism. It is true that only a world communist movement united around a revolutionary line, and developing the widest front against U.S. imperialism, might be powerful enough to prevent World War III.
But whatever difficulties revisionism has imposed on the revolutionary movement, and despite the apparent strength of imperialism, great possibilities exist for waging varied revolutionary actions. The political and economic base of imperialism is dwindling as contradictions upon contradictions arise and sharpen.
It would be most naive of us not to recognize the danger of revisionism in our party. We function in the center of the strongest imperialist power in the world. The ideological pressures on us are extremely strong. The ruling class has a million and one ways of undermining our commitment to Marxism-Leninism. Corruption is a big aspect of American life. We all bring some into the party. Therefore our efforts have to be complete and not partial. Only the most diligent exemplary efforts can maintain our initial positive efforts.
Even though we have embarked on a more consistent educational program the results are still limited. It will take a long hard effort for our study to bear fruit. We must learn how to overcome laziness in thought. After all, this is a bourgeois trait. Studying by rote, instead of by struggle and practice, is a very dangerous tendency in our party. It limits our ability to apply universally true Marxist-Leninist ideas to the conditions in which we are working. The mere recital and memorization of “truth” leads only to passivity on our part and “leftist” errors. It prevents us from struggling in a constructive and creative way and winning over the people with whom we are working.
Moreover, the object of our study must be to learn Marxism-Leninism. As our struggles develop, the Marxist classics will take on a new and more profound meaning. They will become far more relevant and will be invaluable in guiding our work. We must time and time again study, restudy, think and rethink so as to understand the fundamental question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Imperialism has been partially successful in undermining communists’ understanding of this valid and essential concept. In our country, because of the non-class ideas about democracy, much more work and study must be done to solidify ourselves, and be able to win others to this idea.
The main manifestation of revisionism inside our party at the present time is the continued isolation of too many members from the working people. We have made some progress here in recent months, but not enough.
It’s important to recognize this, because we usually view isolation simply as a sectarian or “leftist” error–which it is-but we seldom attack it as a reflection of revisionism. Yet revisionism is fundamentally the substitution of individual bourgeois interests for the interests of the working class, and that is precisely what happens when members refuse to join the people. Examples are numerous in every area of work:
One member spends his time running around from one internal meeting to another, usually giving advice, so he is “too busy” to get a job. Another member manages to get a job but manages also to quit or get fired from each job after no more than two months. Another member finally manages to hold a job for six months but spends all his free time getting as far away from his fellow-workers as possible. Another member does pretty good political work on his job, but when his wife-who is doing community work with workers in the neighborhood-asks him to come to a party at the home of a local tenant, he refuses, saying he would rather spend his Saturday nights at another party with students. Among student members the idea of a worker-student alliance is advocated on paper, but to get some people to actually go out and meet the workers is like pulling teeth. Still other members know workers (either on the job or in the community) but make no real effort to become friends, and are unable to have political discussions with them except in the most patronizing and missionary manner.
Essentially what these members–most of whom come from middle-class backgrounds–are saying is that working people are a drag. You have to spend time with them (because that’s the line) but mainly others should do it. (“As for me, I agree but I’m too busy.”) It comes down to: spend time with workers if you have to-but spend as little time as you have to. On paper, they say the working class must lead the revolution, etc., but their lives say they don’t really give a damn about working people. One who is not willing to devote a Saturday night to workers is hardly likely to devote his whole life.
These people really wish that some way could be found to make the revolution without bothering with the working class. And after the revolution, if they do not change their ideology, these people would be the first to abandon the working class.
That is revisionism. It takes the form of “leftism” in day-today work. It not only comes from a bourgeois outlook, it leads (through continuing isolation from the working class) to a more bourgeois outlook. If it is not fiercely opposed and overcome by our party, our party will never lead the working class. And no matter what these members might secretly wish, socialism cannot be achieved without the leadership of the working class.
Of course, there are other examples of revisionism, mentioned above, and at different stages of development one or another of these might be the main danger to our party’s work. (It’s possible, for example, to have a party whose members have close ties among the working class yet which follows a reformist, “peaceful struggle,” line or some other revisionist policy.) But at this stage, we must fight isolation.
Because of the tactical strength of U.S. imperialism we must develop an impregnable, unshakable class position. The revolution will succeed in this country only to the degree that it has a base among large sections of the working class. Bourgeois ideology is particularly strong when it comes to undermining confidence in the working class. The enemy likes nothing better than to hear radicals talk about the “corrupt workers,” and to hear self-professed “independent” socialists wail about the “utter hopelessness of white workers.” The United States is a modern industrial country. It has millions of workers. Without them we can throw in the towel.
It’s funny how the ruling class is becoming less smug about the ability of their current labor lieutenants to keep the workers in line. Hence the spate of articles in Life, Fortune and other magazines promoting new “leaders” better able to mislead workers. In this sense Gus Hall’s apparent idiocy that “every honest trade union leader will welcome our help in mobilizing and educating his members–if he feels it is not directed against him” (Labor, Key Force, Gus Hall, p. 31) takes on a real and ominous meaning.
Our party must become the party of the working class in every sense. We have made progress in this effort. Obviously, we have a long way to go.
We can best measure our efforts to combat revisionism by measuring the results of our work. Are we growing in our ability to bring people into struggle with imperialism? Are we developing a base among key sections of the people for the party and its line? Do we fight to do this in a serious way? Do non-party forces with whom we work view us as serious in our outlook? Have we overcome pragmatism in our work? Do we have a long-range perspective? Is our performance the best we can do? Are we self-critical about our work, or are we content and satisfied with everything? Is the party the most important thing in our lives? Is the party, the working class, the fight for revolutionary socialism the main thing in all that we think, in all that we do? We believe that on all those matters we are learning to improve and have improved. But we are far from satisfied. No partial effort can defeat U.S. imperialism.
U.S. imperialism and revisionism are determined to destroy the revolutionary process. They hate revolution. They hate revolutionaries. History past and recent has shown us their hatred–the hundreds of freedom fighters murdered in our country, the hundreds of thousands of Indonesians, the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese–all murdered by imperialism and its junior partner, modern revisionism. Do we ardently hate them? Can we match them in determination to win our class goals? We must if we want to win.
To win means to defeat revisionism. Revisionism is imperialist ideology in our midst to prevent our victory. The enemy will never let up, so long as he has a breath in him. Nor can we!
 Revolutionaries welcome the enrichment of Marxism-Leninism when it strengthens its revolutionary content. Revisionism does just the opposite. Under the guise of enrichment it destroys the revolutionary content of Marxism-Leninism. Hence, revisionism is the enemy of revolutionaries.