First Published: In Struggle! No. 166, August 2, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
Dear IN STRUGGLE!
Thank you for the copy of IN STRUGGLE!. As you know, I wrote for a subscription several days ago. I am an orderly at a local hospital who is currently struggling to unionize the workers there. Since this is between fellow workers, I make $3.52 an hour, so it isn’t easy to dish out money for a publication unless someone really thinks It’s worth it. I am also a student at the local junior college where I have met several Iranian students. They told me how damaging China’s “three worlds theory” really is to the people. Since then I have become pro-Albanian (that is I agree with Tirana’s critique of the world situation). Could I ask a few questions?
1. What is the position of IN STRUGGLE! as regards to Albania, Korea, Romania?
2. How does IN STRUGGLE! relate to other groups in Canada? I know how you feel towards the pro-Chinese CCL(M-L) and the Trotakyists. But how about the PCQ(M-L) and the PCC(M-L) which Albania supports?
3. Are there any groups here in the U.S. that IN STRUGGLE! supports such as the Progressive Labour Party or the Revolutionary Communist Party? I really am at loss as to decide which group here, if any, is truly Marxist-Leninist.
With my best wishes,
a comrade worker from the U.S.
* * *
We were very pleased to receive your letter, since we are always glad to know our newspaper is being read in other countries. We hope you will continue to write to us with your comments and with news of the class struggle in the USA. In your letter you ask a number of important questions about the positions of our Organization; we will try to reply as best we can.
You ask about our attitude towards different countries like Albania, Romania, and Korea. You probably already know that different organizations that call themselves Marxist-Leninist support different countries that are called ’socialist’, and that the reasons are not always very clear. We think that the question of whether a country is really socialist or not can only be judged by looking at whether the proletariat is really the ruling class in that country. And this in turn depends on the communist party of this country remaining true to the principles of Marxism-Leninism, fighting always for the elimination of capitalism and imperialism and the victory of communism, not only in that country but in the whole world.
This is why we, like all real Marxist-Leninists, consider that the Soviet Union has not been a socialist country since the 1950’s, when revisionists took over the communist party; because the result of their takeover was the wrecking of the socialist economy, the establishment of the rule of a new bourgeoisie, and the transformation of the USSR into a social-imperialist power. This is why we also consider that capitalism is being restored in China today; because the victory of revisionist leaders,like Hua and Deng has meant not only the reactionary ’three worlds theory’ in China’s foreign policy but also the wrecking of working-class rule and the abandonment of all Marxist-Leninist principles by the Communist Party of China.
This is also why we consider it is very important for Marxist-Leninists to support the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania and the Party of Labour of Albania, especially today when the revisionist betrayals in countries like the USSR and China have caused so much confusion. The working class and its allies in Albania have won important victories in constructing socialism under difficult conditions of encirclement by hostile imperialist and revisionist forces. This is because they have maintained and strengthened the rule of the proletariat through the direct control of the working masses over production and all aspects of society and through the development of good relations between the masses and the party. And this has been done because of the important leadership of the PLA, which has led this struggle in Albania and made important contributions to the defence of the principles of Marxism-Leninism against different kinds of revisionism, including the revisionism of the current leaders of China, in the international communist movement.
We don’t think that this kind of defence of socialism and proletarian rule has taken place in any of the other countries of Eastern Europe that started off on the road of socialism after World War II. In all of these countries, except Albania, it was the capitalist road rather than the socialist road that triumphed, for reasons that yet remain to be fully explained in the international communist movement. Some opportunist trends claim that some of these countries are models of ’socialism’ – the three worldists speak of Romania or Yugoslavia because of the latters’ differences with the USSR, while the Trotskyists trumpet about ’workers control’ in Yugoslavia. But all of these countries really have capitalism – with profit running the economy, huge privileges for the revisionist party bosses, no rights for the workers, inflation and unemployment, and strikes crushed by the police and army. And those countries not completely in hawk to Russia’s social-imperialist schemes, like COMECON, buy their independence by binding themselves to U.S. imperialism and its allies.
The situation of Vietnam and Korea is a little different again. These countries undoubtedly won important victories against U.S. imperialism, and the communist parties in these countries have tried to lead the national liberation struggles to socialism. In addition, the parties in these countries stood up against Soviet revisionism on some important questions in the 1960’s. But this break with modern revisionism was never complete for these parties – for instance, they both still pretend that the USSR is a socialist country.
In the last year, we have seen how these kind of compromises with revisionism can affect the international policies of these countries: Korea with its support of the revisionist leaders in China and Vietnam with its entry into the Soviet-dominated COMECON, its ’friendship’ treaty with the USSR, and its participation in the overthrow of the Pot Pot government in Kampuchea with Soviet support and aid. We don’t pretend to have a complete analysis of the nature of the political regimes and communist parties in these countries. This is something that still remains to be done not only by our Organization, but by the Marxist-Leninist forces internationally. But we do know one thing that is certain: if these kind of compromises with opportunism are not struggled against and corrected, they will lay the basis for the victory of revisionism and the capitalist road in these countries, as has happened before in history. This is an important reason why the support of socialist countries cannot be reduced to only talking about what countries we consider to be most advanced, like China in the past or Albania today; it must also include an international struggle against all the kinds of revisionism that can lead to the weakening and destruction of socialism in different countries.
You also ask some questions which concern the problem of the identification of ’recognition’ of the true Marxist-Leninist forces in each country. It is certainly true that this question causes real problems at this time. The international communist movement is relatively weak and divided, not only at a world level but in each country as well. In many countries, we can see that a real communist party has not been built yet, we can see that the different communist forces are divided, we can see that counter-revolutionary groups pretend to be true Marxist-Leninist parties and champions of the struggle against revisionism. This kind of confusion is helpful only to the bourgeoisie and its different opportunist agents. We consider that this confusion will only be finally overcome when the international communist movement re-builds its complete political and organizational unity, a unity based on a programme that will provide a real demarcation with all kinds of opportunism. This is the position that was adopted as part of the decisions of our recent Third Congress and that we will promote in the world movement.
For example, it is true that the so-called Communist Party of Canada Marxist-Leninist has been recognized and supported by the PLA and some other Marxist-Leninist forces. But we have shown clearly in our press and documents that this organization is a neo-revisionist organization. Their programme for the recent parliamentary elections in Canada doesn’t even mention the need for socialism in our country! The fact that such forces can be supported by Marxist-Leninists internationally is a good example that the real unity of the communists in the world can only be based on a deepening of the struggle against opportunism and on a common programme which would allow us to have a solid basis for the recognition of the communist forces in each country.
When you ask us about our attitude to the Marxist-Leninist movement in our country we can only reply on the basis of the same attitude we have toward the whole international movement. We do not pretend to have a full analysis of all the different forces claiming to be Marxist-Leninist in your country or to know if the struggle to unify the real communist forces into a single party has really been completed. We have had positive relations with the Revolutionary Communist Party, which, on the basis of our knowledge, has played an important role in the USA in the struggle against different kinds of revisionism. We also have differences with this organization, differences which we expect both to debate openly and to resolve in a principled way, just as we would expect to do with any other Marxist-Leninist force in any country. But we don’t think that our opinion or the opinion of a dozen foreign organizations can or should decide the question of who is the party in your country. We think that this can only be the verdict of the revolutionary workers In your country and of the whole international communist movement, united in a common understanding of the Marxist-Leninist programme for world proletarian revolution and of the struggle against all forms of revisionism.