First Published: Spartacist Canada No 26, May 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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Arriving at a “correct” position on any given political question is usually as easy as picking up the mail for the Peking Stalinists of the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist) (CCL[M-L]). The CCL(M-L) leadership has only to read this week’s Peking Review to know what to say in the next issue of the Forge. However, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s recent trip to Israel seems to have sparked a little subterranean “two-line struggle” between these Mao-sycophants and their mentors in Peking.
While the Forge denounced Sadat’s negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Begin as “a betrayal of the Palestinian people, the Arab nations, and his own people” (25 November), Hua Kuo-feng arrived at just the opposite conclusion. Hua commended Sadat’s efforts to make a robbers peace with Israel as “just and conform[ing] to the interests of the Egyptian, Palestinian and other Arab peoples” (Peking Review, 10 February).
Could it be that CCL(M-L)’s subscription to Peking Review has lapsed? Or has the Forge’s resident China-watcher been on vacation? Certainly CCL(M-L)’s American cohorts in Mike Klonsky’s Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) (CP[M-L]) didn’t waste any time changing gears when the “correct verdict” on Sadat’s pilgrimage was handed down from the Forbidden Palace. After initially denouncing Sadat’s “peace initiative” as an attempt “to spread division and discord among the Arab and Palestinian peoples [which] must be opposed” (Call, 28 November), Chairman Klonsky moved quickly to cover up his blunder. By December 12 CP(M-L) had discovered that “Sadat’s actions represent a step against superpower hegemonism.”
Anti-Sovietism lies at the root of China’s line on the question. In order to become a client of U. S. imperialism Sadat has made the virulent anti-communism which has always been an aspect of Nasserism the modus operandi of his relations with the Soviet Union. Having joined a U. S. imperialist-sponsored alliance with the most reactionary regimes in the Near East – the sheiks and kings of the Arabian Peninsula – Sadat now qualifies as a “progressive anti-imperialist” in the eyes of the Chinese Stalinists. In the past CCL(M-L) has always loyally parroted the line of its Peking masters. It has called for strengthening the Canadian army against the danger of “Soviet social-imperialism” and shamelessly endorsed the “anti-imperialist” credentials of every reactionary anti-Soviet dictator from Pinochet to the Shah of Iran.
Yet over the question of Sadat’s visits CCL(M-L) appears to be deliberately ignoring the opinion of the beloved leader of its socialist fatherland, Chairman Hua. Hua is quoted in the Peking Review of 10 February as saying that “We appreciate the heroic struggle waged by the Egyptian Government and people under the leadership of President Sadat to safeguard state sovereignty... and oppose big power hegemonism.” Four weeks later the Forge bitterly commented that “the Sadat-Begin talks have not stopped Zionist expansion and aggression. From the very beginning, the PLO denounced this dead-end, and exposed Sadat’s betrayal” (17-31 March). While they may not like the idea of calling Sadat a “progressive, ” if CCL(M-L) wants to keep the Peking franchise in Canada they had better get their line straight.
For our part we neither condemn Sadat as a “traitor” nor hail him as a “progressive.” Sadat and the other colonels and sheiks who head the reactionary capitalist regimes of the Arab east are not the “betrayers” of Palestinian national rights; they are the enemies and oppressors of the Palestinian people. The road to Palestinian national liberation does not pass through an alliance with the Arab bourgeois states against Israel, as CCL(M-L) would have it. It lies in an alliance of the Arab workers and peasants with the Hebrew-speaking proletariat to overthrow the Begins and Sadats and establish a socialist federation of the Near East.