First Published: Defense of Marxism-Leninism, 1963.
Reprinted: Australia’s Revolution: On the Struggle for a Marxist-Leninist Communist Party August 1973.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Even in the ’30’s Communists did not take the dogmatic view that every war was inevitable.
We said then war is inevitable under imperialism but no particular war is inevitable.
Now as pointed out by the ’57 and ’60 Statements the balance of strength in the world has passed to socialism.
Thus today the possibility of preventing world war is immeasurably greater.
To realise that possibility, and, as decided by the Cominform in 1947, all the Communist Parties in the world today, without exception, are devoting their prime efforts to maintain peace and that goes, irrespective of differences.
It is a hoary imperialist invention to say that any socialist country or Communist Party believes that war is fatalistically inevitable or that world war be to the advantage of socialism or the peoples.
This outrageous lie is incompatible with Marxism. It contradicts the material basis of socialism and is alien to its whole outlook.
This hoary lie and others are being given new selective form today because the last vain hope of imperialism rests in dividing or subverting the world Communist movement.
That is why the divisions are crucial. The exchange of letters between the C.P.S.U. and the C.P.C. is so welcome and why our attitude to these differences is so vital.
In my view up to February ’62 our Party’s attitude was principled.
Our stand then was that we would not declare partisanship. And not brand this point of view as Soviet and that as Chinese, but would decide our own attitude on each issue in dispute as an issue.
Often, so it turned out, we decided the issue in the same way as the Chinese Party did, but some, I must say, shut their eyes tight to that today. And those who now say they reject the “left line” mean in fact they reject the past line and fundamentally the 81 Party Statement and our own 19th Congress decisions.
For in February, 1962, our principled stand was changed. The Central Committee decided to declare itself partisan, to adopt all the political positions of the C.P.S.U., not on their merits, but as the positions of the C.P.S.U.
This new line has since been dogmatically driven through the Party, with adherents to the old position being named and branded from the first meeting.
Let me list examples:
(1) We have repudiated the 81 Party Statement on relations between parties thereby exacerbating differences.
(2) We have reversed the 81 Party Statement on the rightdanger being the main danger.
(3) We are shamefacedly repudiating the same Statement on Yugoslavia – thereby lowering defences to revisionist ideas.
(4) And related to the above, the Leninist doctrine of peaceful co-existence is being presented in such a way as to lead into the morass of pacifism.
There are many examples – for instance, the very good comrade at our Section Conference, who was mistakenly led into an emphatic declaration that “We must have peace at any cost”. A typically pacifist outlook – a substitution of submission for class struggle. A disastrous position that leads to WAR not peace.
Yet that position in fact expresses the logic of much of what is being said and done in the name of peaceful co-existence today.
Take Cuba – on final reflection I believe I was in order in raising my views on Cuba in the Central Committee. I raised them there and nowhere else. Whether they were right or wrong it was the proper committee on which to raise them, and had I not raised them it would have been said that I concealed them.
I also believe that the views I held then, fundamentally were correct.
I have no time for analysis but the over-simplification is made that, had the Soviet Union not withdrawn in the way it did, there would have been world nuclear war.
Not only do I reject that over-simplification, but its mere presentation leads to the conclusion that the peace camp must always retreat in face of nuclear blackmail and that is NOT the way to peace, but the surest way to world war.
Furthermore, if my views on Cuba are so utterly wrong am monstrous, then so are those of Fidel Castro and the Integrated Revolutionary organisation of Cuba.
Almost fifty years after the Parties of the Second Inter national finished up in the shameful bog of social chauvinism – giving rise to the necessity for Communist Parties – fifty yean after that, one of our Parties has ended in the same bog, with catastrophic results for the Indian working class. Our Central Committee has condemned this betrayal.
But we must understand it so that the great internationalist tradition of our own Party will be preserved, as I am sure it will.
The latent right danger came to the top in India because the international climate was provided for it. That climate includes the view that the right danger is not the main danger, that for the sake of peace at any cost the Chinese should have surrendered to Indian demands, that the national bourgeoisie should be wooed by concessions, that the concept of peaceful co-existence can include the supply of M.I.G.’s to India even when it attacks socialism.
When we condemn the Indian Party leadership, we should realise those things as well.
Finding nothing in our Draft Conference Resolution on India, I moved for inclusion of the words (see page 2) “Imperialism fans Indian aggression against China” – but the word aggression has been deliberately changed to the neutral word “conflict”, So where do we really stand?
(5) The Marxist doctrine on the State is being watered down. This is seen in references which equate peaceful transition with “the democratic method” and now lawful method – and non-peaceful or violent with the undemocratic method and unlawful method. This, of course, is exactly what the bourgeoisie have always said.
Lenin poured scorn on such views. Of course nothing was more democratic than the Russian Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, Chinese Revolution and every other peoples’ revolution, including the Czech Revolution which occurred only three years after the State power of the German Reich had been shattered by the Red Army and the Czech Resistance. Of course we want peaceful transition but unless we fight with our eyes open we will have no transition.
(6) As the 81 Parties’ Statement says the C.P.S.U. is the vanguard Party. That has been true since 1917. It remained true in Stalin’s time despite any mistakes he made. But it is said today that the rigid adherence to all the positions of the Soviet Party in Stalin’s time was incorrect and contributed to the cult of the individual and the mistakes.
(7) But the February, 1962, decisions of our Central Committee one-sidedly committed us to a similar rigid adherence. For a clear example reference has been made to “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisov”. That monstrous work could not by the wildest stretch of imagination be considered good literature. At best it’s pure naturalism and at worst yellow journalism, and I think the latter.
I spoke of a wrong line being driven through the Party.
To explain further:
A lot has been said about democratic centralism. But it is not I who have carried my views or a version of them into the Party. By no means. Others have done that.
At the very first cadres meeting the names of comrades who voted against the resolution on the Central Committee or State Committee were read out.
When has that ever happened in the Party before?
And if comrades who speak against or vote against a measure on a committee according to their right are thereafter to be named as oppositionists before the entire Party, how can it be expected otherwise but that comrades will become partisan and the ranks will divide and that some of either view will express themselves strongly and even wrongly. Of course, that must happen, and has happened.
This divisory branding and carrying down of alleged views has happened time after time in the last twelve months. And if you are named, misrepresented, must you then remain silent?
I have not canvassed my views, but I did oppose, as I would again oppose, and as I oppose now in this Conference this naming, branding and misrepresentation.
In other inner Party struggles, to preserve unity, disputes have been confined to the committees concerned. That principle has been absolutely violated and I can only conclude for a purpose.
By agreement, when requested, I voluntarily removed myself from positions of responsibility, influence and leadership. And if I now appear obstinate and intransigent, it is because I believe I have been driven into that position by the methods I have referred to.