Written: December 25-26, 1976.
Published: January 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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In writing this pamphlet Ted Hill has drawn on his own long experience in the Australian revolutionary movement. With our permission, he has used our names. Many of the experiences to which he refers we have shared. We share his view of them and his conclusions from them. And we warmly recommend this pamphlet to those to whom independence and socialism are dear. It greatly assists an understanding of some of the problems that have been encountered in building a genuine Marxist-Leninist Party and in the struggle for socialism.
C. L. O’Shea
A. E. Bull
* * *
Although I do not like doing it, I put this material in the first person. I do so only for ideological and political purposes in that I want to illustrate some of what I have to say by personal experiences. I hope this will be understood. I have always resisted invitations for me to write “reminiscences” in the personal sense. Reminiscences can only be of use if they serve the cause of proletarian revolution, of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought.
On the invitation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, I visited China in December 1976. There I talked to the Chinese comrades. These included Chairman Hua Kuo-feng. I visited various places in China, saw a number of Chinese films and other presentations.
After consultation with the leading body of the Communist Party of Australia (M-L) an article written by me in support of Chairman Hua Kuo-feng’s leading appointments and in support of the Chinese Party’s action against Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan was published in the newspaper Vanguard of November 4, 1976. At the time I wrote this article on October 27 I was out of Australia on my way to attend the 7th Congress of the Albanian Party of Labour. My opportunities of discussing the matter in Australia were therefore limited. I simply asked by cable that it be published after consultation and agreement with the leading comrades.
I attended the Albanian Party of Labour Congress, addressed Australian Party greetings to the Congress and subsequently spoke in my representative capacity to a mass meeting of Albanian people to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Albanian Party (founded on November 8, 1941). In its building of socialism in Albania, the Albanian Party of Labour headed by Comrade Enver Hoxha has had great success. Other matters raised at the Congress are under discussion and are the subject of exchange of opinions.
While I was in Albania I received the invitation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to visit China. This I accepted very willingly but left the time of the visit open. I then communicated with the Australian Party and went to China in early December, 1976.
In China I attended functions with leading comrades of the Chinese Party Central Committee and in particular a reception and dinner on December 2, 1976, given by Comrade Li Hsien-nien, member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Party, a meeting and discussion on December 5, 1976 with Comrade Teng Ying-chao (widow of Comrade Chou En-lai) and Comrade Tsao Yi-ou (widow of Comrade Kang Sheng). Comrades Teng Ying-chao and Tsao Yi-ou are both long standing members of the Central Committee and veteran revolutionaries. Comrade Teng Ying-chao is now a Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. I shall refer again to this particular discussion. The next was with Chairman Hua Kuo-feng on December 14, 1976. I had extensive discussions with other leading Chinese comrades. At each of the dinners with Comrades Li Hsien-nien and Hua Kuo-feng, speeches were made on behalf of the Chinese Party by Comrade Li Hsien-nien, member of the Political Bureau, and by me on behalf of the Australian Party. These speeches have been made public.
In my speeches, I expressed warm support for the appointment of Comrade Hua Kuo-feng as Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and to other leading positions and for the action taken against Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan. That support I expressed on behalf of our Party. We firmly adhere to it. Fraternal relations between Marxist-Leninist parties are extremely important. In our case, the Australian Party has always had warm fraternal relations with the Communist Party of China. Those relations, which are based on common adherence to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought have become warmer over the years. They go back to 1963 even before our Party was formally founded. In 1963 Chairman Mao himself in a discussion with me, strongly supported Marxist-Leninists in Australia. Since then, more than 13 years have gone by and relations have developed and are continually developing. My recent visit saw a continuance and development of those relations. Their Marxist-Leninist quality was even further enhanced.
I took the initiative in suggesting to the Australian comrades that we support the Chinese Party in the present situation. This was because I regarded the decisions of the Chinese Party as correct, as upholding Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, and it was a matter that had, as I shall try to explain, great international significance. In my opinion, the continuance of the mutual support based upon Marxism-Leninism, extended by each of the Parties to the other is of profound revolutionary importance. Only in a certain limited sense is it for me to comment on the internal position in the Chinese Communist Party. On other occasions, I have previously said that what happens in a given Party is a matter for that Party provided that Party maintains adherence to the general truths of Marxism-Leninism. This goes for our Party and it goes for the Communist Party of China. No Party can be the instrument of another Party, nor demand that one Party carry out the decisions of another Party. In this case because I regard the struggle as being a manifestation of the world wide struggle between Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and revisionism, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, I feel greater liberty to refer to some questions of the Chinese Party.
It is a simple fact of history that the Chinese Communist Party occupies a special position in the international Communist movement. It has the leadership of a great nation of 800,000,000 people and is the leading core in the dictatorship of the Chinese proletariat. The success or failure of socialism in China will certainly affect the world revolution just as did the success of the Paris Commune in 1871 and its defeat and the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 and its betrayal by Khrushchov and his heirs.
I have no doubt of the correctness of the present leadership of the Party in China headed by Comrade Hua Kuo-feng and the smashing of the gang of four and that the Chinese Party is splendidly upholding Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. I should like to comment on some reasons that lead me to this conclusion. The foremost reason is that Chairman Hua Kuo-feng was appointed by the leading body of the Chinese Party to his initial leading position as Acting Chinese Premier and then as First Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China during the life of Chairman Mao and in accordance with arrangements made by Chairman Mao. Previous to that appointment, there had never been a formal First Vice-Chairman in the Chinese Party. These appointments then were a clear indication of Chairman Mao’s view endorsed as they were by the Chinese Party leadership. By direct implication it was a rebuff to any other person who sought the leading position. In fact, my opinion is that many people outside China (I included) failed to realise the deep significance of these moves and their implications. When you think about it and the fact that Comrade Hua Kuo-feng was elevated over Wang Hung-wen and Chang Chun-chiao, it was a direct declaration of Chairman Mao and the leading comrades in China against those who ordinarily would have been expected to move up. In addition, we now know that over the last 2 or 3 years of his life Chairman Mao several times at meetings of the Political Bureau and in other ways criticised Chiang Ching and Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao and Yao Wen-yuan. In the then apparent order of seniority in Party positions some of these people could have expected to be appointed to the top positions. There is no doubt in my mind that this was what Chairman Mao set out to frustrate. It was this view that the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party implemented in appointing Comrade Hua Kuo-feng Acting-Premier and the First Vice-Chairman of the Party and after Chairman Mao’s death, Chairman of the Party and to other leading positions. After Chairman Mao’s death it took action against the four people now known as the gang of four.
For the moment, I want to put on one side considerations other than the initiative of Chairman Mao on this matter. The fact that this action was taken on the initiative of Chairman Mao in itself satisfies me of the correctness of it. I do not regard Chairman Mao nor anyone else for that matter as God, but our Party regards him, correctly in my opinion, as of Marxist-Leninist classic stature equal to that of Marx and Lenin. Certainly even Chairman Mao could make errors and he himself often spoke of his shortcomings. That only increases his stature.
Before the death of Comrade Chou En-lai, Teng Hsiao-ping had been Acting-Premier. Teng Hsiao-ping had been very seriously criticised in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. He had made self-criticism. In accordance with, the Chinese Party’s well known principle of curing the sickness to save the patient and learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones, Teng Hsiao-ping was restored to leading positions. Chairman Mao approved this action. However it became clear to Chairman Mao and other comrades that Teng Hsiao-ping did not fully understand class struggle nor the nature of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. He made mistakes. After the death of Comrade Chou En-lai and in face of his own serious illness and advanced age, Chairman Mao made the proposal about Comrade Hua Kuo-feng.Teng Hsiao-ping was removed but unlike people such as Liu Shao-chi and Lin Piao, he has never been deprived of his Party membership. He remains a member of the Chinese Communist Party, and the way had been left open to him to take up leading work once more. (At the time we said whether or not he was given another chance was a matter for the Chinese Party.) Again all this had the agreement of Chairman Mao.
There were many people no doubt in China and certainly in the international Communist movement who were worried about what would happen on Chairman Mao’s death. For my own part I was worried. We are well aware of the speculation of the capitalist press on these matters. I hoped that the matter would be resolved without trouble. In fact I had written a number of articles on it. A signed article by me published in June 1976 pointed out that throughout Chairman Mao’s life, the class struggle had inevitably been reflected in the Communist Party of China and it would still be reflected after his death. As a matter of objective reality the class struggle is necessarily reflected in all Communist Parties. Chairman Mao has repeatedly said, and I think it is a correct analysis of the laws of development, that class struggle will go on for a whole historical epoch in the transition from capitalism to Communism. Again of necessity this must be reflected in the Communist Parties. Historically in the struggle for socialism there have been twists and turns, victories and defeats (as witness the Paris Commune and the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe). As the total collapse of imperialism comes closer, so the struggle and its reflection in the Communist Parties become even more acute. If one keeps a clear head, the fact that the struggle becomes more intense can be seen as evidence of the collapse of imperialism. It is part of the upheaval that is so good, to the advantage of the people and part of the excellent situation in the international situation and within the individual countries of the world. Also within the proletarian revolutionary movement the classic theoreticians of Marxism., have commented on the intensification of struggle within the movement on the death of a great proletarian revolutionary leader (such as Chairman Mao was).
I return to my own position. I had met Chiang Ching a few times but had never had any prolonged discussion with her. I had met Wang Hung-wen similarly. Neither of these two had ever impressed me as having a grasp of Marxism-Leninism. Moreover I had formed the opinion that Wang Hung-wen was dominated by Chiang Ching, was rather immature and weak. But these were impressions acquired merely on very passing association. I had in fact made to other leading Australian comrades some years ago rather unfavourable comments on these two. Anyway I accepted these people as appropriate leading members of the Communist Party of China. In my memorial speech for Chairman Mao, I referred to Chiang Ching as a distinguished member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China and we sent cables of condolence to her. (In the light of what I now know and my own previous impressions I think she certainly was not a distinguished member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China or had any grief over Chairman Mao’s death). I had had more to do with Chang Chun-chiao and at the time he did leave the impression on me that he knew something of Marxism-Leninism. He seemed to speak and write well. In fact, I praised his article on the dictatorship of the proletariat. I had had very little contact with Yao Wen-yuan but I accepted him as a person who had a grasp of Marxism-Leninism and praised his article on the social basis of the Lin Piao clique. Now I think I was profoundly mistaken. I now know that Chang Chun-chiao had long ago committed himself to the enemy. All this has been revealed. Likewise Chiang Ching. As to the others, there is great doubt about the background of Yao Wen-yuan. Wang Hung-wen has been revealed as a degenerate. Therefore I now think it is quite wrong to extol or propagate favourably any of their writings or doings. One might as well hold up Sharkey or Aarons or the notorious informer Sharpley even though they wrote and said some things that were correct.
Some say well if all this is true, why didn’t the Chinese Party do something about it in the past? Some say well we have never heard the other side. Some say some allegations against these people are trifling. Some say the capitalist press is very satisfied with the defeat of the 4 “radicals”.
It is natural enough that questions are asked. Getting to know a matter is a process. We should not be impatient with those who genuinely ask questions. Facts will unfold I am sure to satisfy those who now have genuine doubts. And a significant number of people will visit China and form their own impression. Thus over a period there will be an increasing body of people who get more acquainted with this matter. On the other hand we should be vigilant against those who in left guise try to exploit the situation for purposes of disruption. For we are well aware of such people. One’s natural assumption ought to be that the Chinese Party is correct and not the other way round. Perhaps it is helpful if I recount some experiences.
In 1963, I saw Chairman Mao. He praised the Australian Marxist-Leninists very highly indeed for seeing through Khrushchov. I protested and said to him that in my own case at least, it was largely a case of being wise after the event and I did not warrant the praise. His comment was that commonly one can only be wise after the event; experience must accumulate, facts must be revealed. He went on to illustrate the matter from his own experience. It taught me a great deal, although I still think we Australian Communists of my vintage bear a certain responsibility for failing more quickly to discern the true features of revisionism. Then in the case of Liu Shao-chi, sometimes it is said why didn’t the Chinese Party do something about him earlier. It was known to some leading Chinese comrades that he had committed certain philosophical and political errors years before his final downfall. But is the commission of errors of itself enough to justify action? It is imperative to try to preserve and correct people who err. Only in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and due to the researches and initiative particularly of young people, was it fully revealed that Liu Shao-chi had been a renegade three times (that is, on this aspect of the matter in Chinese practice, a person who after arrest had renounced Communism). His errors of the past were shown to be no accident at all. Again in the case of Lin Piao, it is now known that Chairman Mao’s “A Single Spark Can Start a Prairie Fire” (written in 1930) was a criticism of Lin Piao. But in the then state of knowledge, were the Chinese communists correct in persisting with him, particularly when in some other respects he appeared to behave well and at least used the words of Marxism and seemed to be trying to be a genuine revolutionary. It was a long process in getting to know him. Comrade Chou En-lai described this process in the report to the 10th Congress of the Communist Party of China. (It is worth quoting the passage: “Lin Piao, this bourgeois careerist, conspirator and double dealer, engaged in machinations within the Party not just for one decade but for several decades. On his part, there was a process of development and self exposure and on our part, there was also a process of getting to know him.”).
In Australia, such an approach is amply borne out. A number of Australians who strive to be Marxist-Leninists have worked in the past for years with people who turned out to be scoundrels. The recognition and development of it were a process in them and a process in us. It is only necessary to mention Sharkey and Dixon and Aarons. At certain times and in certain circumstances, they appeared to be all right. We worked with them. Certainly we bear a responsibility for not seeing through them earlier, but it was due to our own political shortcomings, our environment, their skill in deception, use of Marxist-Leninist terms, placemen and so on. The ultimate recognition and action were the result of a long process. One may take the renegade Victorian “Communist” Sharpley as another case. He turned renegade in openly going over to the enemy. It was a process on his part and a process in getting to know him on our part. In our Party’s evolution, although in 1956 we had been informed of a person’s connections with the police in the thirties, we accepted an “explanation”. Only in his vacillations in the struggle against revisionism with a foot in each camp did it come to a closer examination of his past. Then a whole series of seeming passing “mistakes” and questionable associations and his activities overseas could be seen to form a pattern. One may make the comment here that if such people were honest in their desire to help the revolution they would frankly reveal their position to the Party and understand that they should be sympathisers of the Party and not Party members. In China, Chairman Mao pointed out that Communists who had become renegades and then repented may rejoin the revolution but not rejoin the Party. Or there was the case in the old Party of penetration by a very skilful agent of the secret police, Rodgers. Again there is this question of process to be considered. The enemy never sleeps. Or let us go to Khrushchov. For years he “conformed” in the Soviet Party. He turned out to be a despicable renegade. Another aspect of it, in the life and record of all of us there are some adverse things known to others.
These adverse things have their origin in capitalism. They must have their ideological roots. Ultimately such adverse things may turn out to have had much more sinister significance than at the time of their occurrence than they appeared to have. But it is our revolutionary duty to help each other, to make allowances, to treat the sickness to cure the patient and to learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones. Only when all possibility of treating the patient has gone and it appears clear that the patient is hopeless and a bad element and that the contradiction is antagonistic, is it correct to take action. Of course mistakes are made on such matters. For my own part, one comrade whom I greatly esteem has been critical of me for being too tolerant towards others on this sort of thing. Maybe there is an element of correctness in each of our positions – his desire for quick action; my persistence in trying to heal a situation. No one has omniscience. It is scarcely avoidable that misjudgements and errors will be made. Only he who does nothing makes no errors, said Lenin. In Lenin’s own case, he was warned several times that a person named Malinovsky, who had wormed his way into the Party, was a police agent. Lenin did not heed the warnings. Later it turned out that it was fact. Lenin admitted his error but he also said that the Party had operated in such a way that the damage done by such a person was minimised. All this is a complicated process. If every difference and every mistake were magnified into all out struggle at the time of its occurrence, then the Party would be destroyed. It is only when the process of exposure reaches a certain point that one knows the contradiction is antagonistic and that one is dealing with the bourgeoisie right within the Communist Party. It is indeed much easier to be wise after the event.
As to hearing what the other side has to say, this seems to me to import a bourgeois concept (which in my opinion is quite wrong) of judging as between two Marxist-Leninist equals. This is not the issue at all. It is a concept born of bourgeois “impartiality”, “justice”. In all circumstances, it is correct to listen to both sides and make up your own mind, but your conclusion depends on your class standpoint. You don’t give equal weight to bourgeoisie and proletariat. So, for example, the Chinese Party published in full much of the Soviet revisionist material. Why? Because to do so was an important part of its exposure. Moreover there is a very important issue of principle involved in this idea of hearing both sides. In our own experience, the ideas of the revisionist US “Communist” Browder in the years of World War 2 had an appreciable influence on the then leadership of the Australian Communist Party. Part of Browder’s idea was to allow any ideas at all into the Communist Party and that for example, the Communist press should print all “sides”. This became a controversial question in the Australian Party. Even now this idea is sometimes put forward. It is bourgeois rubbish. The underlying force of it is to allow the bourgeoisie to penetrate the Communist Parties with its ideas. It was just this that Browder did. A similar thing arose acutely after the 20th Congress of the CPSU in 1956. E. Aarons, W.J. Brown, J.D. Blake, were great champions of it. (L. Aarons was at the time out of the country but was an adviser behind the scenes). Looking at the matter in retrospect, one can see that what became the ultimate open revisionism of these people, expressed itself in this action in 1956 and with certain others at the earlier time of Browder.
Imagine the Vanguard or Australian Communist being open to both sides or all sides. There would be no propagation of a consistent Marxist-Leninist line – only a hotch-potch of bourgeois rubbish. Lenin himself wrote brilliantly on this several times. There is a particularly good analysis of it in the section that deals with “freedom of criticism” in Lenin’s book What Is To Be Done. (Chapter 1). The whole point of our existence is to propagate Marxism-Leninism and to fight for its integration into the actual Australian struggle. Hence to “listen to both sides” in this Chinese Party situation is to give the bourgeoisie within the Chinese Party equal standing with the proletariat when the whole point is to overthrow the bourgeoisie. Let us try to illustrate the matter by taking the case of the gang of four. Of these four people, at least Chang Chun-chiao and Yao Wen-yuan could dress up their “argument” in nice Marxist terms. If one accepted that as in my case at a certain stage I did as mentioned before, then they could “win” the argument. It wouldn’t alter their villainy. Lenin once said anyone can call himself a Marxist and no one can stop that person from calling himself a Marxist. It does not however make him a Marxist. No, what is at stake here in my opinion, is an acute struggle within the Chinese Communist Party between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie in the shape of these four put on the red cloak to combat the genuine reds. Chairman Mao and the Chinese Communists are the best judges of that matter. As part of the wide issue of principle involved it is presumptuous and wrong in my opinion to say let us in Australia or elsewhere in the world hear both sides and we Australians (or whoever else it might be) will make the judgment or let us make the judgment. Even to put it that way exposes its own fallacy. How many different opinions, would emerge? The only criterion is whether the Chinese Communist Party under Chairman Hua’s leadership is adhering to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, is fighting the proletarian cause, is upholding socialism. In my opinion, it undoubtedly is both in words and action and on all issues and there are ample words facts and practice to show it. On the other hand, were the four people involved carrying out Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought? Certainly not in the opinion of the great classic theoretician of Marxism, Chairman Mao. It is as though to say Marx was wrong about Proudhon, Engels was wrong about Duhring, Lenin wrong about Trotsky or about Kautsky or the idealist philosophers he combated in Materialism and Empirio Criticism, If one takes a few single questions it can be readily tested. A central big test in the contemporary world is one’s attitude to Soviet social-imperialism, to the world domination strivings of the two superpowers, of support for the struggle of the Third World, for winning over the intermediate countries. Has the Chinese Party since the death of Chairman Mao wavered a millimetre on this? After all, Brezhnev has tried to take advantage of Chairman Mao’s death by sending “nice” messages and returning to China the Soviet negotiator on the boundary question. This matter is best commented on by pointing to the Soviet imperialists’ demonstrative walk out from a reception in Peking, when Comrade Li Hsien-nien exposed them in his speech. But there is all round evidence on this matter. On the attitude to Chairman Mao’s teachings on this and on all other questions, there is most loyal adherence. Indeed the study of the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tsetung is being enhanced. Hardly the action of revisionists or capitalist roaders! This is not for a moment to overlook the publication in the near future of the 5th Volume of Chairman Mao’s Selected Works nor the active preparation for the publication of his collected works and the collection of material for it, to which I can bear personal witness. Why is it now after a long delay that Volume 5 can be published? Because Yao Wen-yuan is not now in control of the propaganda apparatus of the Chinese Party.
One can and must study the Chinese material closely. I have done this. In my opinion, it conforms to all tests. But it is said you said that sort of thing before both in the international movement and in Australia and in some cases you turned out to be wrong. And I reply unhesitatingly that I did indeed. Experience unfolded. Changes occurred in me and in those about whom I spoke. And that process will go on. I regard myself anyway as only striving to be a Marxist-Leninist. And certainly I do not claim infallibility. I am certain that in all Parties, including the Chinese Party and our Party, the class struggle will manifest itself in the future in life and death struggles just as it is now in the Chinese Party.
Some say that the Chinese material rather hastily and arbitrarily praises Chairman Hua Kuo-feng. In my opinion, it correctly praises Chairman Hua Kuo-feng. It is a very necessary part in the struggle to establish a proletarian leader against the bourgeoisie that there be appropriate material to popularise him. It is a simple fact that Chairman Hua Kuo-feng has an outstanding record in the revolutionary struggle in China, has occupied leading positions in all parts of the Chinese Party and administration including the Central Committee. He had been Acting-Premier for an appreciable time. Above all he had the confidence of Chairman Mao. He has the confidence of the leading comrades, some of them veterans who went through long struggles which included the Long March. Personally I think it is essential to campaign in China, a country of 800,000,000 people, to popularise him, to describe him as wise and beloved of the Chinese people. Why wouldn’t he be when they could see much better than we that he was appointed in accordance with Chairman Mao’s analysis and arrangements? They were and are in a much better position to draw the correct conclusion about the significance of that move than we. Moreover, there are some 30,000,000 Communists in China. They are all keen students of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and its integration into the actual conditions of China. One of Chairman Mao’s great contributions was his insistence on striving for mass mastery of the principles of Communism. Nor is it confined to members of the Chinese Communist Party. There are millions of other Chinese people actively interested in politics. They know as we know that a Party needs a leader. Lenin dealt with this matter many times. All classes have their leaders. The working class needs its own authoritative leaders. In this sense too the appointment of Chairman Hua Kuo-feng satisfies a great necessity. I believe also that internationally it is very important to popularise Chairman Hua Kuo-feng as the leader of the great Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of China.
I spoke of the veteran Chinese Communists and I spoke of talks with Teng Ying-chao and Tsao Yi-ou (widows of Comrades Chou En-lai and Kang Sheng respectively). Both of these comrades have decades of experience of active revolutionary work. They had both been present at many previous discussions I had had over the years and had both impressed me as good Marxist-Leninists and exceptionally fine Communists. Certainly they are not sycophants who are afraid to express their opinions. They each in casual conversation made abundantly clear their support for Chairman Hua Kuo-feng and their detestation of the gang of four. In my own personal experience, they stood and stand in striking contrast with Chiang Ching. With these two I always felt comfortable: with Chiang Ching I always felt uncomfortable and as though there was something not quite right. Still other veterans whom I know in China and greatly esteem, expressed similar views. In addition, my conversations embraced older people, in the middle range and young. There is mass support for Chairman Hua Kuo-feng and the smashing of the gang of four. Some say this sort of thing has happened before and turned out to be wrong. Again we must say, yes, that is true. And we must also say it has happened before and turned out to be correct. In the history of the Bolshevik Party in the time of Lenin and Stalin the proletariat ultimately prevailed in a series of big struggles as it will again. Likewise in the Chinese Party as in my opinion, it clearly is in the present situation. Facts are the ultimate test. I believe that already facts have accumulated to establish the correctness of the Chinese Party on this matter. As I said earlier, the process of getting to know goes on and sometimes takes a long time. But the revolution does not stop while one makes up one’s mind on a thing of this character. The wheel of history is inexorable, it pushes on the revolution. The people and the people alone make history.
Let me put it another way; assume there is controversy in the Australian Party. Could the Chinese Party decide the issue? It could certainly express an opinion on the question of adherence or non-adherence to Marxism-Leninism, of the basic line of the Party but on other matters, it not only has not but would not do so. What is at stake however in the Chinese Party at the moment is the defence and development particularly of Chairman Mao’s teachings. On this matter as I have said, Chairman Mao regarded Comrade Hua Kuo-feng as the man to lead the job and in my opinion, Chairman Hua is doing just that whereas the “gang of four” were out to do just the opposite. It is necessary for me to express an opinion on it.
I spoke of the veteran revolutionaries like Teng Ying-chao and Tsao Yi-ou. They are by no means the only ones. But let me turn to their husbands. The four people in leading positions with whom I had most to do in the Chinese Party over the years were in the first place Chairman Mao himself, then Comrades Chou En-lai and Kang Sheng and I also had a good deal to do with Liu Shao-chi. I had a serious difference of opinion with Liu Shao-chi who persisted in impressing on me his friendship towards Sharkey and Dixon and even asking me to convey to Sharkey and Dixon his invitation for them to come to China and be treated as “honoured guests” as in the past (this was in 1963). When I objected that these people were acting against those of us who were trying to defend Marxism-Leninism, he said “yes but you will have to understand that the position of the Chinese Party towards the Australian Party (Sharkey’s party) has to be different from that of you – the Chinese Party has official relations with Sharkey’s Party”. I may say that in a subsequent discussion with Chairman Mao, Chairman Mao dismissed this invitation and friendship with Sharkey and Dixon entirely. Chairman Mao authorised the provision to us of the transcript of his discussion with Sharkey and Dixon which showed these two as liars. (Published in our early publication “Defend Marxism-Leninism”). But with Chairman Mao, Comrades Chou En-lai and Kang Sheng I had many collective and individual discussions. It is not necessary to say more of Chairman Mao than that he was a profound Marxist-Leninist of classic stature alongside Marx and Lenin and without doubt inherited, defended and developed Marxism-Leninism. I come then to Comrade Chou En-lai. It cannot be said that my impression of him is derived from passing contact. It is not. It is derived from many long and detailed exchanges of opinion. I have no doubt whatever that he was a master Marxist-Leninist, a wonderful person who served the Chinese revolution and world revolution in an exemplary fashion. He never failed to adhere to Chairman Mao’s proletarian revolutionary line in all respects. Yet a great deal of slander of him has gone on in the last ten years in China and outside China. It has found its reflection in the capitalist press. In Australia, a couple of bad elements who wormed their way into our Party put it about that Chou En-lai was a bourgeois rightist taking the capitalist road. At the time some years ago, we published in Vanguard a refutation of this slander. And we did so in other ways at other times both in our publications and in our discussions. I can speak on this matter I think, with some personal authority. Another example, I was present at a discussion with Comrade Chou En-lai in October 1956 when he expounded an analysis, derived no doubt from discussion with Chairman Mao, of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in some of its aspects. This analysis was scientifically correct. The fact that the revisionist Sharkey (who had also been present) later on in 1962, 3 and 4 as part of his revisionist attack on us said that these remarks of Comrade Chou En-lai showed how dogmatic the Chinese Party was even in 1956 is very good evidence of the greatness of Comrade Chou En-lai. Remember too this discussion took place within a few months of the 20th Congress. But this was only the first of a lot of discussions. I always found Comrade Chou En-lai a wonderful comrade – warm, solicitous, patient, with incredible capacity for work. I was always comfortable with him. He never sought to impose an opinion but sought one’s views and expressed the Chinese Party’s views. He was a man of immense courage in armed conflict and in political debate. He had complete confidence in Chairman Mao, recognised Chairman Mao’s greater qualities than his own (just as Engels did in the case of Marx) was a devoted member of Chairman Mao’s proletarian headquarters. He worked selflessly for proletarian revolution to his dying day. He was China’s Premier from the time of liberation in 1949 (and effectively even before that) until his death. Where then did the rumours and slanders against him originate? They originated in the ambitions of this gang of four (and their predecessor Lin Piao) who even went to the lengths of curtailing the deep mourning of the Chinese people at his death. There is not the slightest doubt Comrade Chou En-lai was revered by the Chinese people. And Wang Hung-wen went to Chairman Mao outside the Political Bureau at the time of the 4th People’s Congress and proposed a “Cabinet” chosen by the gang of four and attacked Comrade Chou En-lai. Chairman Mao rebuffed him. I was told by a veteran Chinese Comrade that Chairman Mao had said to him (this veteran Comrade) that Comrade Chou En-lai would still be our Premier. To this Comrade, Chairman Mao’s remark seemed at the time inexplicable for it had never occurred to this Comrade that any question could arise about Comrade Chou En-lai not being the Premier. Now of course the Chinese Party is honouring without inhibition the life and work of this great man Comrade Chou En-lai. I must say I am in wholehearted and unqualified agreement with it. It is also very fitting that his widow Comrade Teng Ying-chao, not because she is his widow (though it serves to emphasise the point) but because in her own right she is a great revolutionary has been appointed to a leading government position.
From my own knowledge I go to Comrade Kang Sheng with whom I exchanged views on many matters over many hours. He too had a profound grasp of Marxism-Leninism, a record of devoted adherence to Chairman Mao’s teachings, had never swerved in the struggle and like Comrade Chou En-lai even when severely ill, persisted in revolutionary work. I was always comfortable with him too. He too was vilified. Why? Just because he was a great revolutionary. Moreover it became known to him that there were very serious questions in the background of Chang Chun-chiao and Chiang Ching and in turn it became known to Chiang Ching that this was the position.
Or take the case of Comrade Chu Teh with whom my acquaintance was much more passing. But what I do know, and I referred to this publicly some time ago, is that Australian Communists of my vintage knew in the thirties of three names in the great revolutionary struggles of China. They were Mao Tsetung, Chou En-lai and Chu Teh. Along with Chairman Mao and Comrade Chou En-lai, Comrade Chu Teh upheld proletarian revolution. Well Chu Teh became the victim of lies and slanders. Known in the Chinese Communist Party as Commander Chu, this group of four branded him a “black commander”. All this too was reflected in the capitalist press. Chairman Mao said he was a red commander. And not one of us in the Australian revolutionary movement who followed the Chinese revolution in so far as we could from our earliest days would do anything but support Chairman Mao’s characterisation.
In the final analysis, these attacks against Comrades Chou En-lai, Kang Sheng and Chu Teh were aimed at Chairman Mao himself. For if you attack those closest to him, whom are you really attacking? You are attacking Chairman Mao. It is a well known device and tactic of the enemy. And why? Because Chairman Mao was the very firmest proletarian revolutionary – as I have said a Marx or Lenin. Who attacks Marx, Lenin, Chairman Mao? – only the restorationists, the bourgeoisie, the revisionists. And if it is people within the Communist Party who in the name of Marxism-Leninism attack him and his closest colleagues, who are they but the bourgeoisie right within the Communist Party? Such was this gang of four.
How did their records compare with those of Chairman Mao, Comrade Chou En-lai, Chu Teh, Kang Sheng? These four men had revolutionary records absolutely unequalled in all ways – in ideology, politics, organisation, war and peace. Of course other younger comrades have splendid records, but for the moment that is not the point. We now know something of Chiang Ching who did actively promote herself as Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The thing is breathtaking in its brazen audacity. Moreover it will undoubtedly be shown that her record was sinister indeed. We know she gave a great deal of “biographical” material to an American writer. Her “biographical” material included confidential Party and State matters. Well it is said she was the wife of Chairman Mao. I myself thought before I saw the People’s Daily Editorial of October 25, 1976 that the attack on her as reported in the capitalist press about which one is always suspicious smacked of a backhanded attack on Chairman Mao. It deeply troubled me that Chairman Mao be attacked in any way. But my doubts were dispelled when I knew that Chairman Mao had criticised her both at Political Bureau meetings and in private correspondence. I had read a letter from Chairman Mao written in 1966 to Chiang Ching. I recall the letter. It commenced by urging Chiang Ching never to forget to remind herself of her shortcomings and then went on to deal with aspects of Lin Piao. At the time I read it I put a different construction on it from what I do now. I now realise Chairman Mao was indeed dealing with the shortcomings of both Chiang Ching and Lin Piao. But in the last two or three years Chairman Mao put the matter beyond doubt. His initiation of the arrangements about Comrade Hua Kuo-feng and his comment that the matter of the faction of four must be settled, showed this.
Some ask well how did it come about? Why wasn’t it settled in Chairman Mao’s lifetime? Essentially, in its essence, the matter was settled in his lifetime, or at least the foundations for its settlement had been laid. We did not recognise the significance of the stepping up of Comrade Hua Kuo-feng and we did not know of Chairman Mao’s criticism of the four. In addition, in my own experience in the Communist movement, there have been some women and men who use any means to worm their way into leading positions. This woman deceived Chairman Mao and the Chinese Communist Party for quite a long time. This sort of thing has happened before in other Parties also and this includes the Australian Party. It will happen again. Its fundamental cause lies in capitalism; and in a socialist society, in the hangovers from capitalism. As to the other members of this gang, I have said something. It has been said that you can’t prove anything by talking about bourgeois and bad people worming their way into leading positions in the Communist Party of China. This is simply not true. It happens. It has happened and it will happen again and also not only in the Communist Party of China.
There have been more than ten major ideological and political struggles in the Chinese Communist Party. The proletariat in all of them eventually triumphed. Nowadays its victories are achieved more rapidly than in earlier times. This is because the Chinese Party and people are more politically aware. And actually the Chinese Party has grown stronger and more able to cope with struggles against the bourgeoisie. It is fact that Lin Piao came to an end more rapidly than Liu Shao-chi, that the errors of Teng Hsiao-ping were identified and corrected (even though distorted by the gang of four) more rapidly still. The gang of four were ever more rapidly defeated.
It is said that these people were “radicals”. The bourgeois press used that label. These people presented themselves in that way. They deceived many, including me in the way I have said. They presented themselves as “radicals” against the “conservatives” Chou En-lai, Chu Teh, Kang Sheng (and as I pointed out, Chairman Mao). This aspect of it I did not recognise. Now it is clear. An Australian Communist whom I deeply respect said to me: “I have always been a radical and I am sympathetic to radicals”. I thought over this question. I too am what is regarded as a radical and I think it is correct in the English language and in a general sense to refer to us as “radicals”. But I am also, I think, in a sense a conservative, a conservative Communist. By that, I mean I strive to adhere to the universal truths of Communism as expounded by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao Tsetung. I detest departures from them. The bourgeoisie and revisionists have referred to this comrade and myself (and others) as “Stalinists” and “Maoists”. Though I don’t like terms of abuse, I am quite happy about these terms used by some people. It means that our enemies think we won’t depart from the classic teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tsetung. So that I think we are “radicals” all right but it is not inconsistent with striving to be loyal to classic Communist teachings. If we posed as “radicals” as against the “conservatives” Mao Tsetung, Chou En-lai, Chu Teh, Kang Sheng or against Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, then there is obviously something wrong. It is to use the red flag to oppose the red flag. Just as Lenin pointed out that anyone can call himself a Marxist and no one can stop his doing it, so no one can stop a person putting a label “radical” on himself. Neither label makes him in fact a Marxist or a “radical”. Indeed the emergence of such a term as “radical” in the given conditions reveals in itself a factionalism whereas Chairman Mao said “Practise Marxism and not revisionism; unite and don’t split; be open and above board, and don’t intrigue and conspire.” Not only do we have Chairman Mao’s words that these people were forming a gang of four, but now there is documentary and photographic evidence of it. And on reflection, I think the very promotion of the term “radicals” in the circumstances itself confirms the position.
As to struggle and veteran Communists, let me come back to Australia. There are in Australia a significant number of Communists (genuine Communists I mean) whose membership in the Communist Party goes back some four decades or more. It is not appropriate for me to name them (because the enemy listens) but as examples I can point to Comrades O’Shea and Bull and myself. We have been through many twists and turns, including the struggle against revisionist betrayal. We have seen quite a number of “leaders” fall by the wayside. And good riddance to them. It is not a question of having tickets on ourselves but a question of showing that a number of Communist “leaders” who at one time and in particular circumstances seemed good, have fallen by the wayside while it has been left to others to carry on. Those who have carried on are only important because they represent the truth. The best proletarians join the Party. This includes the new and the young. The movement expands. This process operated with Marx and Engels. The writings and life of Lenin are particularly enlightening on this matter. So too with the Chinese Communists and Mao Tsetung and other Chinese Party leaders. We in Australia are not anything near the stature of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin or Mao Tsetung but there is a certain parallel in the experiences. Communists are tested and tried in struggle. History has shown that some enemies can conceal themselves for a long time. But generally speaking, the veteran comrades of the kind I have in mind who have been through long struggles and have withstood the test, have been proved reliable and are worthy of trust. This is not to play down other Communists at all. On the contrary. It is simply to illustrate a point that has arisen from the activities of the gang of four.
I have referred to three Australians. No one of them is noted for particular courtesy when a question of Communist principle is at stake. The revolutionary movement is not a dinner party, not so leisurely and refined. We have not hesitated to criticise or dissent when the occasion warranted nor to admit that we had been taken in when we had. In my case, I have said that I have been taken in in the past. It can happen again. But on this matter I am firmly convinced the Chinese Party, by its action against the gang of four, has strengthened itself, prevented moves towards the destruction of socialism and from the strife and turmoil that would have arisen had the gang of four succeeded in its plot to seize all round power.
Some say some of the Chinese material contains some trivial matters. My opinion is that trivial matters do get in. In such circumstances that is scarcely avoidable. Moreover what may seem to be trivial to us is not at all necessarily trivial in China. In Australia in the great anti-revisionist struggle seeming trivia crept in. I referred to this in my speech of dissent in the Central Committee in February 1962. (Published in Defend Marxism-Leninism and as an appendix in Australia’s Revolution) It was not original on my part. I drew upon some remarks of Lenin in an article when he reviewed experiences in the early years of the Russian Communist Party. Seeming trivia however, do go to show a pattern. The seeming- irrelevant trivia cannot conceal or obscure, indeed they confirm, the life and death struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat that is never ceasing and finds its reflection in the Communist Party. Likewise mass meetings and big character posters. I am convinced that on the appointment of Chairman Hua and the defeat of the gang of four, the Chinese people were filled with joy. This is, I think, for at least two good reasons. It is necessary to have a leader. Chairman Mao’s death was a tremendous blow. There was uncertainty. The ending of that uncertainty, particularly when Chairman Mao himself had so clearly pointed to the man he preferred, was and is a matter of great joy. As to the gang of four, I am sure there was amongst the Chinese people a sense of something wrong. Probably some knew more than others. Again, Chairman Mao’s approval of and arrangements about Comrade Hua Kuo-feng were a direct indication of his own dissatisfaction with those who seemed to be in line to step up. The Chinese people are the best politically educated people in the world. In our vernacular, they “got the message” all right when Comrade Hua during Chairman Mao’s lifetime, stepped up and no member of the gang of four stepped up. Now mass meetings are being organised, different from the spontaneous demonstrations of millions when the matter first became known in China. In our conditions where the bourgeoisie rules, mass meetings can be fickle things. But in China no one is compelled to go. Yet there are enormous meetings. All arc full of joy over Chairman Hua and full of hatred for the gang of four. Big character posters do not have to be put up. Many don’t put them up. No one berates another because he doesn’t put one up or does put one up. Still the facts are they are up in millions. They are extraordinarily ingenious and perspicacious in their cartoons: (I do not read the Chinese characters and therefore cannot speak from my own reading as to their content) but the cartoons are revealing enough. One can criticise a big character poster if one doesn’t like it. Thus I am convinced the Chinese people do support this decision. Moreover Lenin pointed out and it is observable fact that the dictatorship of the proletariat is a thousand, million times more democratic for the common people than the most liberal bourgeois democracy. Proletarian democracy is given full range in China.
There is another aspect to it. If these four had been the almighty leaders they made themselves out to be, then they would have had mass support. There would have been widespread immediate conflict. They did not have mass support and there was not widespread immediate conflict. True, they had placemen in this and that position. What is the use of a conspiracy without conspirators to carry out the conspiracy? We know in Australia how Aarons had his placemen in every State. They had great difficulty in Victoria, still they were there. Mass support is another thing as Aarons found out. It turned out he was isolated and we were not. He grew weaker and weaker and we grew stronger and stronger. In truth, the gang of four were isolated physically and in the even truer Marxist historical sense. If you don’t have a just cause, there is no hope for you. A just cause on the other hand enjoys abundant support. Thus the masses burst out to support the Hua Kuo-feng decision and to denounce the Wang-Chang-Chiang-Yao group.
These people had a stranglehold on the field of literature and art in China. They penetrated other fields.
I saw some of the films they had suppressed. Yet Chairman Mao had said they were good films. I am certainly no claimant to great discernment in films but from a Marxist-Leninist standpoint, there was no reason at all for the suppression other than suppression in the political interests of the bourgeoisie. Significantly a number of the suppressed films showed the splendid record and activities of some of the veteran revolutionaries. Suppression deprived the Chinese people of valuable weapons in the struggle for socialism. Suppression of these things could only do harm to the proletariat. Some of these films are sure to be shown in Australia. They are very good films. Again, the ultra-“revolutionary” insistence on “grasp revolution” could do great harm. Their distortion of the campaign against Teng Hsiao-ping could do great harm. Their distorted insistence on “self-reliance” could do great harm. So it was everywhere. With this sort of distorted insistence, they could appear very left while really sabotaging socialism. If the essential unity and division in “grasp revolution, promote production” is not presented properly then “grasp revolution” can be used to sabotage production and “promote production” can be used to distort “grasp revolution”. Good revolutionary politics do promote production. Self reliance can be used also as an example. There is nothing wrong with a socialist country importing from foreign countries, capitalist countries nor exporting to them. Lenin and Chairman Mao both dealt with this from a Marxist standpoint. The point is to make these things serve socialism, to keep them under the control of the proletarian dictatorship and not allow the proletarian dictatorship to be subverted by bourgeois entanglement in this trade (as with the Soviet revisionists). Indeed without proper imports and exports, socialism would be strangled, particularly in a country with a backward inheritance such as China. Just as Trotsky distorted Marxism to betray it, so this gang distorted it so as to undermine the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is ultra-rightism.
Some people have misgivings because they say the bourgeoisie is very satisfied with the eclipse of the gang of four. One must examine this a little more closely. The bourgeoisie is not satisifed with socialism as a social system at all. They are not satisfied with socialism in China at all. They are bitterly hostile to it. They are now trying to use the exposure of the gang of four to disintegrate the Chinese Party and the international Communist movement and overthrow socialism. But they live in a real world. Sections of the bourgeoisie as they see it want to use China in their own contention and struggle with Soviet imperialism. Nixon went to China. These sections of the bourgeoisie were “happy” with China. The ultra-right grouping of Wang-Chang-Chiang-Yao aimed at restoring capitalism in China with the “help” of Soviet imperialism or some other or all imperialisms. In any case the objective effect of their activities was to assist Soviet social-imperialism and US imperialism. But there is another reason for sections of the bourgeoisie being “happy”. They hope the correction of self reliance will mean more trade with China and hence more profits. However all this may be, the central question is whether or not China is still on the socialist path. I am sure she is and will continue to be. Millions of Chinese people under the leadership of Chairman Hua will ensure that.
Chairman Mao pointed out that even if there were a dictatorship of the right, it could not possibly last long because the people would rebel against it. Chairman Mao always stressed the decisive importance of the people, of the masses. He made all questions mass questions. The term “mass line” is well known. It emanates from Chairman Mao. Under Chairman Hua in my opinion, there is a continuance of this mass line and an enhancing of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.
Apropos of this, it is sometimes said that what has happened in China is too much like Khrushchov and his action against Molotov, Malenkov and Kaganovich after the death of Stalin. There is nothing in common at all. Khrushchov attacked the whole of Marxist-Leninist principles and particularly Marxist-Leninist theory on the State under the guise of attacking Stalin. The Chinese Party is extolling Chairman Mao and his ideas and all the principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. Their material is clear beyond doubt on this. I talked to many Chinese comrades. It is as natural to them as drawing breath to refer to Chairman Mao and his principles. The very reverse of Khrushchov’s action is true. Chairman Mao’s great name and work are being rescued from those who would try to drag them down. The gang of four was composed of people just like Khrushchov. As I have just said, the Chinese Communists under the leadership of Chairman Hua are making the whole matter a mass issue. They are putting forward Marxist-Leninist principles and the evidence and in turn, the masses are responding. There is the unity of leadership and people. It is really an inspiring picture.
Some object to the use of the term “gang”. I myself am no lover of extravagant and seeming emotionally turned words. I said in another connection that we live in a real world. The real world we are dealing with here is a life and death struggle within the Communist Party between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie always refer to the proletariat as a mob, a gang, gangsters, rioters or what have you. The opposite is true. These four people were really bourgeois gangsters just as the bourgeoisie itself is a gang of criminals. A spade must be called a spade. It may offend some but let me commend to the attention of all proletarian revolutionaries the strong words used by Lenin about the renegade Kautsky.
I have given a great deal of attention to China because I regard it as of tremendous importance in the whole revolutionary struggle. But we must see this too, in proper perspective.
The central task of Australian Communists is to integrate the universal truths of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought into Australian conditions. (This principle applies to Communist work in all countries). That means to lead the Australian people to defend and consummate independence and make proletarian socialist revolution by revolutionary struggle including a people’s army and the establishment of revolutionary people’s dictatorship led by the working class. Only Australian people can do it. The internal factors are the main factors. The external environment has great importance but it is not the main factor. This is a tremendously important thing. The overthrow of capitalism in Australia (as elsewhere) is inevitable. The mechanism of capitalism determines that. An essential part of that inevitability is man’s dynamic role. The people make history. The fundamental motive force to activate man lies in the mode of production. Marxist-Leninist Parties arise inevitably and inevitably they will lead socialist revolution. They must fight ideologically, politically and organisationally.
The Paris Commune of 1871 was a tremendous victory for the proletariat. Its victory arose from the conditions of capitalism. It assisted the whole proletarian movement. It carried into practice the analysis made by Marx. It was defeated and drowned in blood by the German and French capitalist armies. Its defeat was a setback to the world revolutionary movement. The skies did not fall down nor did its defeat alter the inevitability of socialism. A great deal indeed was learned from it. In fact the mode of production developed to speed up the collapse of capitalism and the victory of socialism. One part of that speeding up was the speeding up of man’s consciousness. In 1917, in Russia, the Russian Communists headed by Lenin, led the Russian proletariat to victory in the great October socialist revolution. This victory was an enormous impetus to the world revolution. But the October Revolution was betrayed by Khrushchov, Brezhnev and Co. It was a defeat for the Russian proletariat and the proletariat of the world. The skies did not fall down. Its defeat could not alter the collapse of capitalism and the victory of socialism for that is dictated by the capitalist mode of production. A great deal was learned about the struggle for socialism.
Here I should like to say something of Australia. We in the Communist movement in the past in a subjective idealist way tended to think that somehow the success of socialism in Russia had solved our problems. Communists tended slavishly to copy all the moves by the Soviet Union even to the extent, during the alliance of the Soviet Union, USA and Britain, of dampening down struggle against bad measures of the Australian ruling circles against the working class. Inevitably we were caught in situations quite unreal for Australians. We appeared to be a Russian Party and an instrument of Soviet foreign policy. This was entirely wrong.
Another of Chairman Mao’s great merits as a Marxist-Leninist theoretician was to free himself and through him, the Chinese Communists, of all this nonsense of slavish worship of the foreign. Of course it was correct to estimate the great victory of socialism in Russia and to see that it greatly improved the international environment for the proletariat, but it was also correct to see that it did not solve for the Communists of a country the class struggle in one’s own country. Chairman Mao from the very beginning, set out specifically to solve the problem of the Chinese Revolution by integrating the universal (general) truths of Marxism-Leninism with the particular (special) conditions of China. In doing so, he enriched the universal truths and the practice of the Chinese revolution. All of his writings show this. One may mention as examples “Oppose Book Worship”, “Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society”, “Reform Our Study”, “Rectify the Party’s Style of Work”, “Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing”. The great Marxist-Leninist classics of materialist dialectics “On Practice” and “On Contradiction” arose in a similar way. Chairman Mao showed ideologically, politically and organisationally how not only the general truths of Marxism-Leninism but the particularity of one’s own country, in his case China, were so important, indeed decisive, to revolutionary success in that country. When his line of proper integration of Marxism with Chinese conditions triumphed in the Chinese Party in 1935, the Chinese revolution advanced to victory in 14 years. This was an outstanding contribution to Marxism-Leninism for although Marx had foreshadowed it, it was left to Lenin to develop a little and Mao Tsetung to develop it deeply and profoundly. One could say a great deal on this. Chairman Mao’s “The Question of Independence and Initiative Within The United Front” combated certain wrong tendencies floated internationally and assumed to be applied mechanically in every country. His rejection of international advice to lay down the Chinese people’s arms after World War II arose from CORRECT INTEGRATION OF MARXISM-LENINISM INTO THE SPECIFIC REALITY OF CHINA’S CONDITIONS IN THE THEN INTERNATIONAL SITUATION and it developed the general Marxist-Leninist truth of armed overthrow of the ruling class. Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, is no mere nice turn of phrase but a profound general truth which emerged enhanced from the actual revolutionary struggles in China and elsewhere. In all this, Chairman Mao took full account of the international environment including the very favourable factor of the existence of socialism in the Soviet Union. China’s liberation was a very significant factor in favour of world revolution. It assisted the revolutionary movement in all countries. But it could not determine the actual struggle or its outcome in other countries. Its defeat would be a serious blow to the world revolution including the Australian revolution but it could not prevent it. And Australian Communists would still have the task of leading the Australian people headed by the working class to revolutionary armed consummation of independence and to socialism. THE CENTRAL TASK OF AUSTRALIAN COMMUNISTS IS TO INTEGRATE THE UNIVERSAL TRUTHS OF MARXISM-LENINISM INTO AUSTRALIA’S ACTUAL CONDITIONS. We learn from China’s liberation struggle and building of socialism. We are inspired by it. But China and the Chinese Communists cannot solve the problem of our struggles. This is a universal truth revealed and developed particularly by Chairman Mao.
Thus the defeat or betrayal of socialism in China while it would be a serious blow in the international environment and to the whole cause of revolution, would not render the ultimate victory of socialism either in China or Australia any the less inevitable. It may postpone it, set it back. But that is temporary, conditional, while victorious struggle for socialism is absolute.
This is to affirm rather than to deny the importance of proletarian internationalism and the importance of the fraternal relations and mutual help between Marxist-Leninist Parties. These things are fundamental. And the defence of socialism and support of the Chinese Party is a particularly important factor in proletarian internationalism.
Let me say a word about proletarian internationalism. The basis of proletarian internationalism lies in the mode of production of capitalism. That mode of production shows the workers throughout the world have a common interest in overthrowing capitalism. Consciousness of that common interest, enhancement of it, are critically important. The struggle of the proletariat of each country is important to the proletariat of all other countries. The victory of the proletariat in one country is important to the proletariat of every other country. When that victory is no less than the armed overthrow of capitalism and the building of socialism, its quality of importance is greatly developed. Thus with the 1871 Paris Commune, the October Revolution, the liberation of China and building of socialism there. Every victory or defeat of the proletarian revolutionary forces in any country is important and relevant to the proletarian forces in every other country.
It is inevitable that in the proletarian revolutionary struggle the proletariat in given countries and the international proletariat will have victories and defeats, advances and setbacks, go through many twists and turns. The class struggle is very tortuous.
Because we (I) had philosophically subjective idealist views where the wish and hope were father to the thought rather than the objective dispassionate analysis of facts and their movement, we saw the whole process far too much as straightforward, saw only the victory and not the defeat, only the advance and not the setback, did not see the twists and turns. Chairman Mao explained this whole process very well. Historically it is the victory, the advance, that is important, but we cannot ignore defeats, setbacks, nor close our eyes to them.
Thus what I believe is the great and continuing victory of the Chinese Party, including the present great victory over the gang of four, is an immense victory for the international proletariat. Had there been defeat of or setback to the proletarian forces, then it would have been defeat and setback to the international proletariat. Hence I believe it is completely correct and in accord with proletarian internationalism to acclaim the victory – the appointment of Comrade Hua Kuo-feng as Chairman of the Chinese Party and the defeat of the gang of four.
In my ease, I agree with the Chinese Communist Party not just because it is the Chinese Communist Party but I agree with it because I believe it is a great Marxist-Leninist Party and remains a great Marxist-Leninist Party under Chairman Hua Kuo-feng.
Sometimes the bourgeoisie and its agents call us “Peking” Communists. We cannot stop them. But it is an utter distortion. We do have warm fraternal relations with the Chinese Party. We will do all we can to help and support it particularly when it is under attack from within and without as it is today. Nor is there any doubt of its support for us. That does not lie in anything other than a common adherence to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought in proletarian internationalism.
We are not the agents of China’s foreign policy. We agree with Chairman Mao when apropos of the wartime alliance of the Soviet Union, Britain, the US and France, he said:
Such compromise between the United States, Britain and France and the Soviet Union can be the outcome only of resolute, effective struggles by all the democratic forces of the world against the reactionary forces of the United States, Britain and France. Such compromise does not require the people in the countries of the capitalist world to follow suit and make compromises at home. The people in those countries will continue to wage different struggles in accordance with their different conditions. The principle of the reactionary forces in dealing with the democratic forces of the people is definitely to destroy all they can and to prepare to destroy later whatever they cannot destroy now. Face to face with this situation, the democratic forces of the people should likewise apply the same principle to the reactionary forces.
Our Party agrees with the Chinese Party’s analysis of the world situation. It agrees with its relations with the Fraser government. But that does not stop us opposing the Fraser government on issues where it pursues the reactionary interests of the multi-nationals, their collaborators and the monopoly bourgeoisie. Our policy and actions prove that.
In fact the Chinese Communists in all my discussions, have always developed this universal truth of each Party and people solving their own problems. They steadfastly refuse to give advice on internal problems of struggle, for example, in Australia. And I am certain this is correct. Some may expect and hope as we did of the Soviet Union, that someone, in this case, the Chinese Party will come along and solve all your problems. It won’t happen. And the attempt once pursued, but never by the Chinese Party, resulted in very great harm.
From personal experience I can speak of the different attitude of the Soviet Communist Party as against that of the Chinese Party. I had experience with the Soviet Party in 1956, 1959 and 1961. In 1956, I had a big difference of opinion with Pospelov, then a member of the Soviet Party Politbureau and Ponomarev, then a member of its Central Committee and now amember of their Politbureau. They wanted to push me around, tell me the Australian Party should do this and that, and accept this and that about the Petrov affair. I did not win the argument. It was not an attempt on their part to discuss but to dictate. Some of this was at a time when I greatly respected the Soviet Party. Later in 1956 Sharkey and I renewed the argument. We had a partial victory. But the Soviet Party attitude was a standover attitude. That was my whole experience with it. In their own opinion, they knew everything. As I said, great harm was done to the Australian revolutionary movement by a blind adherence to Soviet policy. There was something in the allegation that we were Russian Communists. On our part back in the thirties and forties, it was sheer political subjectivism, the wish being father to the thought. And there is something of that political subjectivism in what I described earlier as my wish and hope that after the death of Chairman Mao there would be no trouble. Although I wrote about this in June, 1976, when it actually happened I was upset by the capitalist press speculations about it until I read the People’s Daily Editorial of October 25. I read it on October 27. Then in the light of my experience in the revolutionary movement, in the light of what I knew and in the light of a proper estimate of the capitalist press speculation that preceded this editorial, everything fell into place. Reality is reality. Facts are facts. It was Chairman Mao above all who gave the weapon to Communists to free themselves from political subjectivism in which is included worship of the foreign. I got great help from him himself and his books and from Comrades Chou En-lai and Kang Sheng and the wives of the latter two on this matter and from many other Chinese comrades not to overlook our own Australian comrades. So I affirm again that Australian Communists must shoot the arrow of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought straight at the target of the Australian revolution.
I have set out some of my views and experiences in the way I have because I consider it extremely important that all Marxist-Leninist Parties and groups unite more closely. I consider the Australian Party must develop even closer relations with other Marxist-Leninist Parties. As I have said, I regard the Chinese Communist Party in the highest possible way. I think Under Chairman Hua’s leadership it has handled very wisely the intensification, of class struggle within the Party that inevitably arose after Chairman Mao’s death, particularly with the attempt by the Wang-Chang-Chiang-Yao group to seize Party and government power.
In fact we work in a wonderful situation for revolution. In the historical sense it is developing very rapidly. Imperialism is obviously in its death throes. The superpowers are finding the going tougher and tougher. The people are rising all over the world. In Australia our influence is developing greatly. The world is full of optimism for the proletariat and oppressed people. The turmoil of imperialism and capitalism testifies to their breakdown. Their desperate fling with the gang of four in the Chinese Party and its defeat is still another nail in their coffin.
Doom is the outlook for all reactionaries. Victory for independence and socialism is the outlook for the proletariat and oppressed peoples.