First Published: Revolution, Vol. 4, No. 1, January 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The impending release of Enver Hoxha’s book Imperialism and the Revolution (announced in the December 20 issue of the Albanian Telegraphic Agency) can only come as a great disappointment for all those who hoped that the Party of Labor of Albania would continue to play a positive role in the struggle against revisionism. According to the release from the Albanian Telegraphic Agency, the book includes as one of its major components a full scale attack on Mao Tsetung and Mao Tsetung Thought.
Although we have not had an opportunity to study the book, the summary provided makes it painfully clear that far from being a contribution to the understanding of Marxist-Leninists worldwide it is in fact a giant step backwards for the Albanian Party, that it promotes and defends an erroneous and counter-revolutionary assessment of Mao Tsetung. The press release states that Enver Hoxha, “emphasizes that ’Mao Tsetung Thought’ is a variant of revisionism, which had begun to take its form before the World War 2, and especially following the year 1935 when Mao Tsetung came to power.” It goes on to say “’Mao Tsetung Thought’, writes ... Enver Hoxha, is an amalgam of viewpoints, where ideas and theses borrowed from Marxism are mixed with the other philosophical, idealist, pragmatist and revisionist principles. It has its roots in the ancient Chinese philosophy and in the political and ideological past of China, in its state and militarist practice.
“This can be noticed in all the ’theoretical works’ of Mao, which, though camouflaged with ’revolutionary’ phraseology and slogans cannot conceal the fact that ’Mao Tsetung Thought’ has nothing in common with Marxism-Leninism.”
From the above quotations alone, it is crystal clear that the Party of Labor of Albania has gone from being a fighter against revisionism to itself championing a new revisionist, opportunist current directed at Mao Tsetung and in fact challenging the entire science of Marxism-Leninism, which Mao upheld, defended and enriched. Indeed, Mao Tsetung is the greatest Marxist of our time.
The press release gives no hint as to why in the past Hoxha and the Albanian Party made repeated statements referring to Mao’s contributions to Marxism-Leninism. In 1973 Hoxha himself said in a message to Mao on his 80th birthday, “you further developed and creatively enriched Marxist-Leninist science in the field of philosophy, the development of the proletarian party, the strategy and tactics of the revolutionary struggle and the struggle against imperialism, and the problems of the construction of the socialist society. Your precepts on continuing the revolution under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, so as to carry socialist construction to final victory and bar the way to the danger of the restoration of capitalism, whatever form it takes and wherever it comes from, constitute a valuable contribution, of great international value, to the theory and practice of scientific socialism. Your works are a real revolutionary education for all Marxist-Leninist and working people.”
And as recently as the 7th Congress of the PLA in November 1976, whose line the Albanian Party leaders claim to uphold, says, “The historic victories which the Chinese people have attained in their glorious revolution and the construction of socialism, the creation of the new People’s China and the high prestige it enjoys in the world, are directly linked with the name, teachings, and guidance of the great revolutionary, comrade Mao Tsetung. The work of this outstanding Marxist-Leninist represents a contribution to the enrichment of the revolutionary theory and practice of the proletariat. The Albanian communists and people will always honor the memory of comrade Mao Tsetung, who was a great friend of our Party and people.”
We will be most interested to hear the Albanians’ “explanation” for their change of line on this crucial question. By Hoxha’s own logic, either the Albanians themselves were so hopelessly confused by this “anti-Marxist” theory that they adopted large portions of it or, worse still, they recognized it all along but were willing to help promote this “revisionist” line on revolutionaries around the world in return for a few factories and some military equipment. In either case it hardly inspires confidence in the Albanian Party’s claim to be the most consistent and thorough fighter against revisionism.
However, we would like to offer our own explanation for the Albanian Party’s acrobatics on the question of Mao Tsetung–that two lines have existed in the Albanian Party, as they do in all Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations. And, unfortunately, an incorrect, indeed counterrevolutionary line, seems to have won out in the Albanian Party. Of course, this is considered heresy by Hoxha and the Albanian Party, which has denounced the theory of two lines in the Party as an opportunist concession to liberalism. But we will not grant Hoxha his claim of the ”monolithic unity of the Party of Labor of Albania”: we have more confidence in the Albanian communists than that.
The Albanian Party in the past took a basically correct line toward Mao Tsetung and his enrichment and development of Marxism-Leninism and they correctly saw the attitude toward Mao and his line as a critical dividing line in the international communist movement. We are certain that there are many within the Albanian Party who will fight Enver Hoxha’s attempts to drag them on the wrong side of this dividing line, to undo the real contributions the Albanian Party has made in the struggle against revisionism, and to further compound the loss suffered with the revisionist coup in China, by landing in objective unity with Teng Hsiao-ping, the Soviet social imperialists and other revisionists in heaping abuse on the revolutionary line of Mao Tsetung and the achievements of the Chinese revolution. Despite their much vaunted opposition to Chinese revisionism and its international line, it seems that for Hoxha and others in the Albanian Party who share his views, their conflict with revisionist China stems from conflicting bourgeois nationalist interests–for in essence and in many important features they share the same revisionist line.
At a time when the international communist movement is at a crossroads, Enver Hoxha had the opportunity and responsibility to play the role of a giant. He chose instead to be a pipsqueak.