MIA: History: ETOL: Documents: FI: USFI: 1963-1985: The Sino-Soviet Conflict and the Crisis of the International Communist Movement

The 8th World Congress of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International—1965

The Sino-Soviet Conflict and the Crisis of the International Communist Movement


Adopted: Adopted, June 1965.
First Published: Spring 1966
Source: International Socialist Review, New York, Vol. 27, No. 2, Spring 1966, pp. 76-85.
Transcribed/HTML Markup: Daniel Gaido and David Walters, December, 2005
Public Domain: Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line 2005. You can freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists Internet Archive as your source, include the url to this work, and note the transcribers & proofreaders above.


In taking a position on the Sine-Soviet conflict in June 1963, the Reunification Congress of the Fourth International considered the differences between Peking and Moscow under four headings:

(1) “Peaceful coexistence” and the struggle against war.

(2) The revolutionary struggle in the colonial and semi-colonial countries.

(3) The “peaceful roads to socialism” concept which was made official at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and which places in question in particular the Marxist-Leninist concept of the state.

(4) The passage to socialism on a world scale (the Kremlin holding it will be assured mainly by the Soviet Union pulling ahead of imperialism economically, Peking holding that the fundamental role will be played by the revolutionary forces on an international scale).

In May 1964 the plenum of the International Executive Committee of the Fourth International brought the subsequent development of the Chinese position up to date, noting the following:

(1) Peking stepped up and brought out more clearly its attack on the sub ordination of Communist parties in other countries to the Soviet CP.

(2) In line with this, Peking attacked the idea that a pact between the Soviet state and a capitalist state implies that the Communist party in the country involved should make an unprincipled compromise with the capitalist class and its government.

(3) The Chinese contended that behind the ideological argument used by the Kremlin about international socialist cooperation, an exploitive relationship is involved; namely the subordination of certain primary interests of the less developed workers states to the Soviet Union.

(4) The Moscow treaty came under heavy attack as an unprincipled effort to maintain the status quo in monopoly of nuclear weapons, the aim being to exclude China from nuclear armament, thus assuring the USSR a leading role at this decisive military level.

(5) The rightist line imposed by the Soviet leaders on a whole series of Communist parties (Iraq, France, Algeria, Cuba, India, etc.) was cited to prove the damaging consequences of Khrushchevism. Peking demanded that the document issued by the conference of 81 parties with regard to the roads to socialism be corrected.

(6) The right of majorities and minorities to exist in the international movement was upheld, Peking arguing that a correct position can sometimes be advanced by a minority.

In noting these new developments, the International Executive Committee of the Fourth International reasserted its strong disagreement with Peking’s position on a number of points:

(1) Peking’s campaign to rehabilitate Stalin.

(2) Peking’s concept that it is necessary to reinforce the repressive apparatus in order to handle conflicts arising from continuous intensification of the class struggle during the transition from capitalism to socialism.

(3) The one-sided interpretation of the Twentieth Congress in which Peking singled out only the outright revisionist aspects.

(4) The rigid bureaucratic conception of the role of art and culture in general maintained by Peking.

(5) The erroneous view that capitalism has been restored in Yugoslavia and that a “bureaucratic comprador bourgeoisie” now rules there. By way of analogy, Peking offers an erroneous characterization of the Soviet Union, Khrushchevism being considered as the expression of bourgeois layers headed toward capitalist restoration.

The Sine-Soviet dispute continued to develop in numerous fields. On the general ideological and political level, the Chinese leaders criticized the social differences in the USSR and the degeneration of the Soviet economy and society. They affirmed the need for equalitarian principles and norms in order to avoid the development of a gulf between the leaders and the masses. They brought up problems of an economic nature, as, for example, criteria in industrial management, fixing of prices, etc. On current political questions, a frontier dispute flared between China and the Soviet Union; the events in Vietnam in the early summer of 1964 became a subject of sharp dispute as did the Soviet attitude in the Congolese question, and several issues involving the United Nations (assessments, a joint “peace” force, Indonesia’s withdrawal).

The downfall of Khrushchev led to a temporary suspension of polemics; and the two sides opened new negotiations. But the decision of the CPSU to convoke a consultative conference in Moscow, the disapproving Soviet attitude on the Chinese test of an atomic bomb, the continuation of relations with capitalist India without modification, the incidents in Moscow during the anti-American demonstration of the Asian students, and particularly the flaring up of the international crisis over Vietnam, ended with the Chinese resuming their attacks. They have even gone so far as to accuse the Kremlin of being in collusion with the imperialists.

Despite hot replies and massive propaganda, the Soviet leaders have found themselves mostly on the defensive. Even when they have sought to shift from merely replying to the Chinese attacks and to open a counterattack, the defensive aim has been quite evident. Leaving aside the details and the mass of particular arguments, of examples and quotations, the Kremlin’s polemicists have developed their position along the following lines:

(1) They accuse the Chinese of irresponsibility, of playing into the hands of the extremists in the imperialist camp on the question of war and particularly the possibility of a nuclear conflict.

(2) They hit at certain weak points in the international concepts of the Chinese, among other things their idea of a so-called “intermediate zone.” (In reality the idea of an “intermediate zone,” including countries like France, is only ideological camouflage for certain Chinese diplomatic transactions aimed at avoiding isolation and establishing economic relations with the weaker imperialist countries.)

(3) They accuse the Chinese of autarchy and of nationalist and racist tendencies in foreign policy.

(4) They criticize as revisionist the Chinese thesis about the most explosive contradictions at this stage being those which oppose the colonial peoples to imperialism on the ground that the Chinese thereby wipe out the fundamental class contradiction between the workers states and imperialism on the one hand and between the proletariat and the capitalist class of the industrialized countries on the other. They maintain that in practice the economic and military aid granted by the USSR to the newly independent countries and to the colonial freedom movements is much greater than granted by China.

(5) They attack the Chinese for their bureaucratic concepts of the workers state, for their cult of the personality of Mao and defense of the cult of the personality of Stalin, for “adventurism” in their economic policies as they go from one extreme to the other, for their bureaucratic concepts in the field of culture, for the bureaucratic internal regime in their party and their violations of statutory norms such as failing to hold congresses, for their wrong theories of the character of the Chinese state following the revolutionary victory and for their subsequent empirical course.

In order to refute certain accusations as slanderous, and to maintain or to gain influence in some sectors of the Communist or revolutionary movement in the colonial countries, the Soviet leaders have sometimes shifted away from their rightist positions, offering “centrist” or “leftist” interpretations of their line. At the same time they have sharpened their tone in certain international disputes, including those in the diplomatic field. A notable shift has been their criticisms of the extreme rightist positions expressed in some Communist parties.

Even more, with regard to the dynamics of certain colonial revolutions, while holding basically to the formulas of the conference of the 81 parties, they have talked about socialism being under construction in countries like Algeria and Egypt (which does not prevent them from continuing to flirt with the conservative Indian bourgeoisie, with the aim among other things of countering Peking). It is clear, in addition, that on some key questions in domestic policy, the Chinese have had to take some blows, often without replying to the Soviet accusations.

Balance Sheet

From the over-all balance sheet of the dispute for the past five years it is clear that up to this point the Soviet leadership has been hit the hardest in a conflict in which it stood to lose in view of the leading position held by the USSR and the CPSU at the beginning. The downfall of Khrushchev constituted a considerable success for the Chinese even if his role in the conflict was only one of the factors that led to his forced resignation.

The failure of the campaign for a new world conference of the Communist parties was still more obviously a victory for Peking. Only a limited number of parties showed up at the preparatory meeting and some of them did not hide their disagreement. The end result was indefinite postponement of the showdown meeting that Khrushchev had aimed at.

The international crisis over Vietnam provides an acid test of positions in the dispute.

The Chinese leaders accuse the Soviet leadership in brief of not having granted the People’s Republic of Vietnam the necessary political and military aid and of having continued to seek a compromise solution with the imperialists in the face of their criminal aggression. In stressing Moscow’s failure to react at the time of the imperialist provocations in the Gulf of Tonkin and its failure to consider the attack against any workers state as an attack against the USSR itself, they lay bare one of the things that has brought the world to the brink of nuclear war in the current international crisis.

But no matter how correct the criticisms and general proclamations of the Chinese are, the practical possibilities open to them are something else again. Even if it were true that Chinese military aid in the first months of the American aggression was limited by the desires of the North Vietnamese themselves, who stated they did not need more aid at the moment, the fact remains that China is threatened with a nuclear attack while still lacking sufficient nuclear arms to deter the Pentagon. Consequently, if the Kremlin has not done what it could have done in order to dissuade the imperialists from their aggression (thus facilitating the outbreak and escalation of a tragic crisis), China is in no position to follow up its declarations in a consistent way.

At bottom this is an expression of the fact that despite everything, the USSR retains its preponderance among the workers states. And just as in the economic field, Cuba, for example, could count at first only on Soviet support, so in the decisive military field, the Kremlin leaders hold a power which the Chinese have no possibility of gaining in the near future.

Peking is trying to a certain extent to escape from this reality in an unrealistic way. Correctly rejecting the illusions about “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism, the Chinese at the same time project questionable prognoses, taking as the most probable variants those that are most favorable to their resources and concepts. They give the impression, in fact, not only of forecasting but even desiring escalation of the American aggression, including massive landings of troops in North Vietnam and China itself.

They go so far as to talk about a war between China and the United States that would not involve the USSR and would not lead to a general nuclear conflict. A variant of this kind would have the result of exhausting the United States in an endless ground war on the continent of Asia in which China’s defensive capacity could come into full play. The Mao team would thus emerge as the genuine opponents of imperialism, the Soviet Union would be shoved to the side, losing all chance of playing the key role in the Asian movement and the colonial and semicolonial countries in general.

All that is wrong with this perspective is that Washington will scarcely choose such a disastrous road; and a Sino-American conflict, which in any case would involve terrible blows for China, could not be limited to the use of classic arms. Moreover, the war itself could not be limited; failure of Moscow to intervene on China’s side would place the Soviet Union in mortal danger, a situation its leaders could scarcely fail to recognize and to act upon.

Peking Factionalism

In line with its unreal perspective, Peking has sought to turn the American aggression to factional advantage in the Sine-Soviet conflict, thus weakening the defense. Its own responses to Johnson’s escalation of the attack gave the impression throughout the crucial first period of being largely verbal. The charge that it even blocked or slowed down Soviet military aid was not effectively refuted. Its rejection of Soviet overtures (even if they were insincere) to form a united governmental front in meeting the American attack was sectarian and highly damaging. Its failure to consider the suggestions of the Cubans with regard to a vigorous and quick response further disrupted the kind of defense that could have compelled the Americans to hesitate and draw back before they became still more deeply committed. Peking’s course thus served to help encourage the Americans.

If in events like those in Vietnam and Santo Domingo the appraisal held by the Chinese leaders of the tendencies of imperialism and their criticism of “peaceful coexistence” have enabled them to make an impression even among sectors inclined in the Khrushchevist direction, their perspective in Southeast Asia reveals the holes in their concepts and the relative weakness of their position. In reality it is impossible at the present stage to conceive an effective reply to major imperialist military aggression without the support of the USSR, which remains the key power in the anti-capitalist camp.

In any case, the factors at the bottom of the evolution of the position of the Chinese leaders in the conflict remain absolutely clear. The Soviet bureaucracy now has an economic base sufficiently solid for them to envisage competing with the advanced capitalist countries. They possess a mighty armament justifying a predominantly military view of the country’s defense. Their bureaucracy is highly developed in size and in function, with privileges on an accompanying scale. Their outlook is extreme ly conservative.

At the same time, due to the development of the productive forces, the growth of the working class and the considerable improvement in its cultural level, along with the formation of a more and more demanding layer of intellectuals, the Soviet bureaucrats cannot escape complex economic and social problems that constantly compel them to seek empiric adjustments in all fields and to deviate from the forms of economic management and political domination in force under Stalin’s rule. The Chinese bureaucracy, on the other hand, cannot seriously conceive of victory in economic competition with the advanced capitalist countries for an indefinite period and it is thus driven, even in self-defense, to weigh the possibility of extending the revolutionary struggle of the masses in the colonial countries where it is aware of the revolutionary pressures, especially in Asia.

The extremely difficult situation in which the Mao leadership found themselves led to an increase in such phenomena as intensification of the cult of Mao.

A Stalinist Cycle?

Due to the hardening of Peking’s bureaucratism, and the campaign for the rehabilitation of Stalin, certain theorists have come to hold that China is going through a Stalinist cycle such as overtook the Russian revolution and from which the Soviet Union is still suffering. The idea has even been advanced that this cycle is inevitable, something inherent in every revolution in a backward country.

It is undeniable that bureaucratism is one of the evils that every successful revolution must face, particularly in countries of low economic and cultural level. Widespread poverty and want tend to give the bureaucracy an inordinate role, thus opening the door to special privileges which the bureaucracy then seeks to consolidate through political means. The appreciation of this phenomenon held by revolutionary Marxists today began with Lenin and was developed by Trotsky. The experience of recent years has only confirmed their contributions in this field.

The development of the Chinese revolution following the seizure of power in 1949 has provided its own body of evidence. The growth of bureaucracy in China, with its concomitant expressions in the sphere of ideology, is due in the final analysis to the poverty of the country and the impossibility of linking up adequately with an economically advanced center such as Japan, Western Europe or the United States until socialist revolutions occur there. The primary tendency toward bureaucratism has been reinforced by the fact that the Maoist group lacks a Leninist-Trotskyist appreciation of this phenomenon and its dangers, even going so far on the contrary as to elevate the very incarnation of bureaucratism, Stalin himself, into a key place in the official state iconography. Peking’s opposition to the de-Stalinization process and its campaign to rehabilitate the figure of Stalin testify eloquently enough to the bureaucratic tendencies and mentality of the Maoist top leadership.

Can it then be said that China is undergoing the same experience as the Soviet Union, with all the logical consequences flowing from this, and that there is a universal necessity for a stage of Stalinism, no matter how reprehensible and morally objectionable this may be? The facts speak to the contrary.

First of all, the international relationship of forces which fostered and fed Stalinism and which was ultimately responsible for its victory, has changed unalterably. The new China was born in a constellation of already existing workers states from which much could be learned, including the need to avoid what the Chinese themselves call “Stalin’s errors.” More importantly, this existing system of workers states was a source of material aid unavailable to the young Soviet state in the supremely difficult days of Lenin and Trotsky. This alone made a decisive difference in establishing the foundations for a much more rapid rate of economic growth in China than was possible in the early days of the USSR no matter what the subsequent vicissitudes in Sino-Soviet relations. China’s capacity to produce nuclear weapons is the most decisive proof of this. Still more important, the Chinese people look out at a world charged with revolutionary unrest and constantly upset by uprisings and elemental outbursts. The perspective of more revolutions that can come to their aid appears wholly realistic in contrast to the outlook facing the Russian people, particularly after the defeat of the Chinese revolution of 1925-27.

The Cuban victory came only ten years after the Chinese victory as a payment on account. This success alone can be considered to be of decisive significance, having something of the impact that a successful Chinese revolution might have had internationally ten years after the October victory in Russia. On top of this, world capitalism—despite the monstrous economic and military power of the United States—stands on much narrower and obviously weaker foundations than in the decades before World War II. The importance of all this, so far as the theory of an inevitable period of Stalinism is concerned, is that the material forces that gave rise to such a hardened and fully crystallized bureaucratic caste as appeared in the Soviet Union no longer exist anywhere in the world. The final proof of this is the growing instability of the Soviet bureaucracy itself and the efforts of the heads of the bureaucratic caste in the Soviet Union to gain time by such concessions as “de-Stalinization.”

One of the consequences of this new relationship of forces on a world scale is that the Maoist group itself, however fixed its bureaucratic pattern of thinking and practice may be, is not at all merely repeating the policies and views of Stalin. They display a decisive difference with Stalin, for example, in the key concept of building “socialism in one country,” advancing instead the idea of “uninterrupted revolution.” Particularly since the disastrous experience of the “great leap forward” when Mao set out to build “communism in one country”—and at a faster rate than either Stalin or Khrushchev—the Chinese leaders have been emphasizing the need for socialism to triumph in other countries.

Likewise in the field of economic policy, the Mao group for all its rigidity, its in-incapacity up to now to achieve harmonious planning, and its empirical zigzagging which did grave injury to China in the “great leap forward,” proved capable of undertaking a fundamental re-orientation (a turn helped by the appearance of strong undercurrents of political opposition in China going right up to the top circles), and giving up the Stalinist pattern of putting excessive emphasis on the expansion of heavy industry at no matter what cost.

Again in relations with the masses, while political opposition other than the token existence of remnants of petty-bourgeois parties is banned, the Mao leadership has not engaged in gross crimes on a mass scale such as featured Stalin’s rule in its worst days. Even if this may be ascribable in part to the absence of a massive, stubborn and experienced Leninist political opposition such as Stalin had to face in usurping power and establishing his authoritarian rule, the fact remains that the Mao group has sought to prevent the bureaucracy from differentiating out in a too glaring way, doing this under the banner of equalitarianism. (Stalin ended by branding equalitarianism as a petty-bourgeois concept.)

The Chinese Communist Party cannot be considered to have been a Stalinist party in the strict sense of the term; that is, subordinated since the twenties t the bureaucratic leadership of the Kremlin. The Mao leadership had its own personality; and its policies, although often marked in practice by compromises with the Moscow leadership which led to the gravest deviations, had a generally centrist character leaning toward the left. The Mao leadership was also shaped by long years of difficult struggles and it underwent the impact of the great popular revolution that brought it to power.

Thus in the light of the international relationship of forces, the dynamics of the Chinese revolution, and the special features of the Maoist leadership, it can be concluded that the bureaucratism in China, bad as it is in and of itself, is not the same as the bureaucratism that developed in the Soviet Union into a powerfully consolidated caste. It was Trotsky’s view that the Stalinist experience, viewed in all its concreteness, was due to a completely special combination of forces and circumstances. His forecast that it would never be repeated still holds.

The differences between Stalinism and Maoism are involved in the Sino-Soviet conflict and are an important element for revolutionary Marxists in determining which side it is better to offer critical support in the interest of advancing the world revolution. But to insist on the differences between Maoism does not imply that the bureaucratic nature of the Chinese regime can be forgotten or that criticism of the persistent cult of Mao can in any way be attenuated. The world Trotskyist movement maintains its independence from all bureaucratic formations. In all the workers states it stands against bureaucratic rule and for proletarian democracy. In China the struggle against the bureaucracy and its regime, and for proletarian democracy, cannot be won except through an anti-bureaucratic struggle on a scale massive enough to bring about a qualitative change in the political form of government.

Pro-Peking Tendencies

The developments in the past five years and particularly the splits that occurred in 1964 have led to an international pro-Peking tendency composed at present of the following:

(1) The Communist Parties of the two Asian “people’s democracies” (Korea and Vietnam).

(2) The Albanian Workers Party.

(3) A group of Asian parties of which the Indonesian, Japanese and Malayan Communist Parties are the most important.

(4) The left-wing Communist Party of India which was formed as the result of a split in the CP in 1964 and which starts out with a considerable mass base.

(5) A group of parties in colonial and semicolonial countries resulting from splits, some of which have a certain influence, but most of which are very small organizations; and some small organizations in some of the West European countries.

(6) Groups and members in favor of the Chinese positions who still remain inside Communist parties controlled by pro-Moscow leaderships.

(7) Nuclei and cadres working in revolutionary movements in the colonial countries, particularly Africa.

Heterogeneity

The mere classification itself shows that the pro-Peking bloc, despite its relative homogeneity on the issues in the international dispute, is rather heterogeneous in composition. This is due in the first place to differences among the various parties, secondly to differentiations within each party, despite the facade of monolithic unity, and, most important of all, to the different objective roles played by the parties or groups in their own countries or in a sector of the international workers movement.

Among the parties in the people’s democracies, the one in North Vietnam is both the most important and the most independent; different tendencies have always existed in it. It could not help but be critical of the attitude of the Soviet bureaucracy, especially during the summer of 1964. Thus it shares the Peking line to a considerable extent (even sometimes reaching more consistent theoretical conclusions with regard to uninterrupted revolution). But at the same time, it cannot reject aid which only the USSR is able to assure it; and on the other hand it is legitimately concerned that China should not gain too determining a weight in the country-hence its hesitation in asking for volunteers.

As for the Albanians, they are correctly considered to be the extreme Stalinist wing of the pro-Peking front, their outlook being determined by the background of the leading group and the forms through which they gained control of the party, by the absence of popular support and the isolation of the country in the European context. The refusal of the Hodja group to bow to the will of the Soviet bureaucracy constitutes the only real claim that can find favor in the eyes of the masses.

Among the Asian parties, the left-wing Indian CP represents a special case, particularly because of the existence of a pro-Moscow party in the same country that presents a major political problem due not only to its influence among the masses but to the fact that differences within it were not at all ended by the split. Thanks to its mass base, especially in several areas of the country, to the capacity of some of its leaders, to its long continuity as a left wing (going back some years) and to its variegated composition (the centrist wing went with the left wing in the break), the left-wing Indian CP stands more as an ally than a partisan of Peking.

And the fact is that it has already shown its independence, even on the international issues in the dispute. As for its own line, it combines analyses and criticisms that are correct, by and large, on the nature of the state in India and the character of the politics of the Congress Party, with formulas that are in part mistaken, in part completely centrist (for example, in relation to the “democratic front of the people” and the “democratic state of the people.”) The limits of the bloc between the centrists and the left within the left-wing CP were nevertheless manifested when the main centrist leader of the party, Namboodiripad, came out in favor of defending India during the recent Indo-Pakistan war. He at once ran into resistance from the left elements in his own ranks.

The Japanese Communist Party is the only pro-Chinese party in an advanced capitalist country with a mass base. Its orientation thus has special significance as a test case. The fact that the party almost as a whole, including the great majority of its leaders and cadres and the entire national apparatus and local organizations, lined up with the Chinese constitutes in itself an indication that its politics in Japan has not changed fundamentally. In fact, the party has limited itself to supporting the Chinese leaders in their international polemics without translating this into the slightest move toward the left.

Such tests as the strikes in the spring of 1964 and again in 1965 revealed a deep opportunism and an orientation, expressed in the most recent documents (aside from the propagandistic proclamations of loyalty to Marxism-Leninism, etc.), that is only a particular application of the well-known line centering on the struggle against American imperialism and not on an anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist struggle. The main slogan is for a united front of all the so-called democratic forces for a coalition government, against the Moscow treaty, against revision of the constitution and for improvement of the standard of living of the masses.

The Indonesian Communist Party, which acquired its present physiognomy during prolonged struggles lasting up to the recent period, and which without doubt still has many internal differences, has been collaborating for some years up to the governmental level with the wing of the national bourgeoisie represented by Sukarno. Such a policy, inspired by the concept of a democratic stage of the revolution in which it will be necessary to collaborate with the so-called national bourgeoisie, has resulted in the party deliberately not trying to take advantage of the revolutionary crisis that have flared up in the country. Instead it has sought to hold back the mass movement and to get it to retreat from certain positions already gained.

It did this even before the beginning of the Sino-Soviet conflict, in agreement just as much with the Soviet leadership as the Chinese, both of which were eager to reach an alliance with Sukarno.

Indonesian Disaster

However, despite this opportunist line, the Indonesian masses, in the absence of an effective alternative organization, remained under the influence of the Communist Party which in 1965 had the broadest base in its history. This fact, coupled with an extreme tension in social relations (due to a precipitous decline in the standard of living caused primarily by worsening inflation and shortages) led inexorably to a test of strength between the Communist Party and the reactionary forces headed by the generals.

The leaders of the Indonesian Communist Party appear to have sensed this in their own way and to have shifted their line some months before the military coup d’etat. They called for the arming of the workers and peasants; they appealed to the masses to seize the plants. But such propaganda, unaccompanied by any genuine revolutionary anti-capitalist perspective and genuine organization of the masses for action, could only precipitate a violent reactionary move, against which the leadership of the Indonesian Communist Party could find no other solution than to support an attempted putsch by leftist officers.

Thus its rightist opportunism was complemented at the decisive moment by a left opportunism which was all the more disastrous when, even after the anti-Communist offensive of the generals was unleashed, the leadership of the Indonesian Communist Party refrained from calling upon the masses for an all-out reply and continued to bank on Sukarno although he was becoming an outright captive of the army. Overwhelmed by the repression, confronted with a choice between political suicide and a turn toward guerrilla warfare, the leading faction of the Indonesian Communist Party, at least those who survived the October 1965 disaster, seem to have chosen the latter alternative.

This choice was facilitated by the fact that parallel to its line of class collaboration, an opposite tendency existed in the ideology of the Indonesian CP. Some of its concepts are rather close to the Chinese concepts on the uninterrupted revolution; the Indonesian CP constantly explained that the peasants are the fundamental revolutionary force, that even in the democratic revolution the leading role belongs to the workers and peasants, and that the formation of a government of the people’s democracy type constituted its immediate aim.

But these contradictions were confined within a strategic line of “revolution by stages,” within a policy of coalition with the national bourgeoisie headed by Sukarno. This led the Aidit leadership to put brakes on the mass movement, to hold the masses prisoner to “Nasakom”—the “national front” of the three main political groupings (the Sukarno nationalists, the Moslem Religious Teachers and the Communist Party). This paved the way to the bitter defeat suffered by the biggest Communist party in the capitalist world.

To promote its diplomatic maneuvers with the Sukarno government, Peking approved the opportunist policies of the Aidit group which were not essentially different from the line of the French and Italian Communist Parties condemned by Peking because of the support these parties give Moscow.

The crushing of the Indonesian Communist Party represents an even greater victory for imperialism and setback to the colonial revolution than the counterrevolutionary coup d’etat in Brazil in April 1964. Nevertheless this victory of the reactionary forces in Indonesia can turn out to be only provisional. In face of the mounting difficulties and the social unrest which these engender, the situation in Indonesia can take a new revolutionary turn in the relatively near future.

The struggle of the Indonesian masses will continue until the most conscious and critical Communist militants, united with the Indonesian Trotskyist cadres, forge a revolutionary party capable of leading the working class and peasantry upon the only road to victory—the road to the conquest of power.

Latin America

In Latin America the pro-Peking tendency remains very limited. Castroism is by far the most powerful catalyzer of the Communist and revolutionary left in this area of the world. Even in the case of Venezuela, if the Sine-Soviet conflict has had unquestionable influence and the Venezuelan left is more inclined to Peking’s line rather than Moscow’s, it is the Cuban revolution that has played the main role in its evolution toward armed struggle. As for the Pro-Peking Communist Party of Brazil, helped along by the extreme opportunism of the Prestes leadership, it was formed before the Sino-Soviet conflict broke into the open. Its influence remains very limited and its line on questions of such primary importance as the nature of the Brazilian revolution and the social forces which should lead it is completely incorrect.

In Peru, the pro-Peking CP, while inspired by criticism of the rightist line of the old leadership, has not developed consistent revolutionary concepts, has shown Stalinist features and, despite a certain influence in the peasant area, is far from playing an important role in the workers and peasants movement of the country. In Bolivia the split is more recent and the differences are centered much more around national problems than international issues, the Peking faction appearing to have grown stronger in recent months. In other Latin-American countries, the pro-Peking groups are very small, often divided, and incapable of going beyond the domain of general propaganda for the Peking theses among narrow circles. The same holds for North America.

In Western Europe, too, the pro-Peking groups are primarily propagandistic without much to show in the way of gains. The Grippist CP in Belgium, the only one which had any base, has shown its sectarian traits and bureaucratic concepts in various fields. The failure to understand either the nature or need of a transition program has condemned the Grippists to oscillating between abstract proclamations of final aims and immediate demands that are insufficient in themselves to initiate a genuinely revolutionary action.

The resistance of the Chinese leaders to the d&3talinization process has negative effects here as in many other fields. As part of the justification for their own bureaucratic internal regime, they uphold Stalin, even alienating the anti-bureaucratic currents among the masses in the Soviet Union and blocking an alliance with them against the Soviet bureaucracy on the basis of their own more militant international line.

Among the groups and parties supporting Peking as against Moscow the cost is even heavier. For some of them, it means political suicide to attempt to refurbish the image of Stalin. Something even more significant is involved. The fact that the Maoist leadership would deliberately seek to inject the poison of Stalinism into the minds of millions of youth-even if that is done with admissions about the “errors” of the despot who butchered Lenin’s generation, and even if contradicted by advocacy of policies that are not Stalinist—says much about the kind of international movement that Peking is assembling together. It is dominated from its inception by bureaucratic concepts having nothing in common with respect for truth and independent-minded internationalism.

Pro-Moscow Tendencies

As many events during the past year have shown, particularly the polemics around the projected conference of Communist parties, the publication of Togliatti’s testament, the commentaries around the downfall of Khrushchev, and attitudes in face of the crisis over Vietnam, the Khrushchevist tendencies are still more differentiated and centrifugally inclined than the pro-Peking tendencies. At the present point the following broad list can be made of the forces that reject the Chinese theses in favor of the general concepts of the Soviet leadership:

(1) The majority of the parties in the European “people’s democracies.”

(2) Almost all the Communist parties of Western Europe.

(3) Some of the Asian parties, most of them weakened by splits, and some Latin-American parties, likewise affected by splits.

(4) Tendencies or groups either within parties where the majority is pro-Peking or expelled from such parties (Japan).

(5) Groups working in the revolutionary movements of the colonial and semicolonial countries.

Holding power in countries located between the Soviet Union and the capitalist states of Western Europe, still largely under Soviet domination in the economic as well as military field, the Communist parties in the people’s democracies constitute the most solid rampart of the Khrushchevist tendency outside of the USSR, despite the considerable range between the absolutely conservative positions of the Bulgarian party and those of the Czech party, which is now coming close to some of the Yugoslav concepts.

If in youth circles, certain Chinese positions arouse some interest and sympathy, the Chinese attitude on “de-Stalinization” drives them away. Only if the Soviet bureaucracy were to make grave compromises with imperialism at the expense of a “people’s democracy” would the Chinese have any serious chance to reverse the present relationship of forces, including those at the level of the ruling groups.

The main point is that the bureaucratic leaderships of the “people’s democracies” and doubtless the cadres at different levels, too, are much less under the influence of the colonial revolution than their Asian homologies, and for a whole series of obvious reasons (geographical location, relationship of forces, etc.) rely essentially on the “Soviet shield” in their defense against imperialism. The problems that have given rise to tension, friction and conflicts are those connected with their own economic development and with economic relations in the COMECON, especially relations with the USSR (questions of prices, of the socialist division of labor, the tendency to widen relations with the advanced capitalist countries, etc.).

The existence of a workers state like China provides the leaderships of the “people’s democracies” with greater room for maneuver and some aspects of the Chinese arguments also find an audience (such as those exposing the Soviet contentions about socialist cooperation and those defending demands pertaining to less developed workers states). However, a possible evolution of a people’s democracy away from the Soviet bureaucracy is much more likely at this stage to follow the “logic” of Yugoslavia than China.

The example of Rumania can be taken as typical. In 1964 this country stepped up its moves towards “independence,” virtually making it official by not sending a Rumanian delegation to the Moscow conference. It is undeniable that at the root of Rumania’s attitude are elements analogous to those in the Yugoslav affair. It was fundamentally problems of economic growth and economic relations with the USSR and the COM¬ECON that pushed the Bucharest leaders, objectively favored and encouraged by the Sine-Soviet conflict, to back away and make overtures to the capitalist countries.

The Rumanian bureaucracy is thus trying to assure expansion of the economy in accordance with models which it considers best tit its own interests, without major concessions to the USSR or to the other COMECON countries. At the same time it wishes to exploit its “independence” in relation to the USSR—matching it with several measures of prudent liberalization—with the aim of improving its relation with the masses.

As for Yugoslavia, which is going through a new phase of rather considerable structural changes, it has not ceased to OCCUPY a relatively autonomous and original place, being rather an ally than a genuinely integral part of the pro-Moscow tendency. This position has been concretized by a series of reforms and measures, especially in economic reorganization, which have converted the Yugoslav Communists in a certain sense into the very spearhead of both de-Stalinization and Khrushchev-ism.

The experiments with workers councils remain by far the most positive feature, whatever their limitations; and there is no doubt that the councils and certain measures aiming at counteracting bureaucratism are to be credited for the considerable rate of economic growth recently experienced by the country. However, this progress has been accompanied on the one hand by grave distortions in the economy and on the other hand by deepening social differentiations that have strengthened the bureaucratic layers.

By virtue of their economic links with the capitalist countries and their relations with the bourgeoisie of the third world and in accordance with the logic of an anti-revolutionary foreign policy already coming to the fore at the time of the Korean war, the Yugoslav Communists stand at the extreme right, appearing as an out-and-out opportunist current. Even during the recent period they continued to sow absurd illusions about the peaceful role of the UN, took impermissible attitudes against the Cuban revolutionists, and, finally, advanced proposals for “negotiations” at the time of the imperialist aggression in Vietnam.

There are signs that the Rumanians might follow their example even in this field. In the final analysis this is to be explained by the role of bureaucracies seeking to establish a policy of rule that is relatively moderate in relation to the masses and autonomous in relation to the Kremlin. They can hope for success in this course only if the international situation is relatively quiescent and does not call for immediate and difficult decisions.

The bureaucracies of the Communist parties in the advanced capitalist countries could react in only a negative way to Peking’s positions as a whole. In a social and political context in which they are compelled to operate in most cases against powerful Social Democratic parties, Peking’s theses on war, on the methods of anti-imperialist struggle, on the role of the colonial revolution were not very attractive. At the same time, particularly where they have a relatively broad base, these bureaucracies could not favor the Maoist attitude toward de-Stalinization.

But it was especially Peking’s criticism on the “peaceful roads to socialism” and the Chinese defense of the Leninist concept of the state which the overwhelming majority of the Communist leaders of the West felt they necessarily had to reject. In fact, their rightist evolution goes back to the period of the popular fronts and the experience of collaboration with the bourgeoisie during the war and immediately afterward.

This, together with the ultrarightist impulse given by the Khrushchevist theories at the Twentieth Congress and the supplementary pressures rising almost constantly during the sixties, led to a profound neo-reformist degeneration of the Communist parties. These parties have come to a reformist strategy that is fundamentally gradualist as a whole, which envisages as its strategic objective a social structure in which the monopolies are eliminated or limited and capitalism continues with its logic of profits and its basic economic laws, a strategy which affirms the possibility of a peaceful, democratic road to socialism and the conquest of the state apparatus from within, with the aim of gradually transforming it.

These bureaucracies seek alliances even with capitalist layers. What is involved is a series of common concepts which the Italians have expressed in the most clear and systematic way. Recently, during the presidential campaign, the French Communist Party took a new step toward neo-reformism by backing the “left” bourgeois candidate Mitterand, partisan of the Atlantic pact, as a variant to Moscow’s policy of supporting de Gaulle. Italian Communist Party

The evolution of the Italian Communist Party remains significant not only because it concerns a party with a very big mass base in which de-Stalinization has gone much further than in any of the other parties, but also because tendencies have emerged or are emerging which will likely appear else where and which have serious implications for the entire workers movement of the advanced capitalist countries.

If the Chinese arguments have not given rise to a big pro-Peking current up to now (the response being limited to old circles with nostalgic memories of the Stalinist period and to youth of little political education), the Sine-Soviet dispute itself has stimulated the maturing of broad layers of militants and cadres to a considerable degree and compelled the leaders themselves to develop the course they adopted at the time of the Twentieth Congress. Thus these leaders have now reached the point of renouncing monolithic concepts of the Communist movement, of considering internal conflicts or differences as normal, of accepting the idea that decisive victories over imperialism and even the overthrow of capitalist power can be won by non-communist parties and leaderships, and of permitting political conflicts within the party to be expressed, including the presentation of different or opposing documents and the formation of temporary and unorganized tendencies.

The internal vicissitudes at the end of 1964, and the beginning of 1965, against the background of a certain evolution of the Italian situation, of growing difficulties for the party particularly in maintaining organized and stable ties with industrial workers, and the decline in authority caused by the death of Togliatti, have ended in much more marked differences than in any other period since the end of the twenties.

However, this evolution has been concretized in a more and more clearly marked opportunist line, which will have a tendency to persist and even to worsen, at least until a possible turn occurs in the objective situation in Italy and Western Europe and has gone along with a pronounced alteration of the party into an electoral formation incapable of assuring an active political life to the extensive sectors it influences. In fact, if the Italian CP has gone further than its sister parties in theoretically expressing neo-reformist concepts, the practical application of this line is objectively still further to the right, not being qualitatively different in the domestic field from the traditional activity of the big Social Democratic parties of worker composition.

In face of such concepts and concrete orientations, inspiring not only the apparatus but also wide layers of cadres and militants, the nuclei of the left are only at the beginning of their battle, and for a long time they will not have much chance to counteract the rightist course. It should also be added that a right wing of the apparatus, represented at the level of the Secretariat, too, has expressed still more extreme ideas, going so far as to propose liquidating the party or diluting it in a united socialist organization.

Under the pressure of this right wing and certain events of the Italian labor movement, and in accordance with the logic itself of the general concepts accepted by the party, a very big majority of the Central Committee came out in June 1965 in favor of forming a new united socialist party on the basis of a political and ideological platform adapted to the needs of certain sectors of the Italian Socialist Party which have collaborated with Nenni up to the governmental level and which continue to reaffirm their positions favoring an alliance with the left center in principle.

In Italy a phenomenon is openly visible that is less clear but nonetheless present in the other Communist parties outside the workers states and which is profoundly affecting their structure and even character. In Stalin’s time, the line of the Communist parties was determined mainly by the needs of the policies of the Soviet bureaucracy, while the needs of the mass movement in each country and the needs of the “national” bureaucracy played an absolutely secondary role. Today the tendency is to reverse the order, and in the Italian case this has already been achieved while it is only beginning in France.

The demands of the indigenous bureaucracy—often “embarrassed” by the decisions and turns of the Soviet bureaucracy, and driven by the nature of its domestic strategy to present itself as independent from any state or party guide—are becoming more and more preponderant. Despite everything, the complete “Social-Democratizing” of the Communist parties should prove to be difficult—even the Italian Communist Party continues to be fundamentally linked, if only by ties of a bureaucratic nature, to the workers states and the anti-capitalist camp—because of the fact that these parties are operating in a world context constantly upset by revolutionary crises that tend to counteract the social and political pressure of the bourgeoisie.

Among almost all the countries of Latin America, the Communist parties have less chance than ever to play a decisive role in the revolutionary rise of the masses (the exceptional case of Venezuela has already been mentioned). The development of Castroism together with the Sino-Soviet conflict have further weakened them, condemning them to repeated crises. The Chilean CP itself, the only one still having broad mass influence, under the combined circumstances of a setback to its platform of a ’peaceful” road to socialism, the pressure of the Cuban experience and the guerrilla struggle in several countries of the continent, was finally caught up in internal conflicts and grave crises, which will ultimately prove decisive for the reorganization and reorientation of the Chilean labor movement.

A complete panorama of the Communist party movement should also include sectors that have given up an autonomous existence in recent years, both organizational and political, in order to integrate themselves in mass movements of non-Communist origin. The policy of dissolution has involved parties of mainly rightist and pro-Moscow orientation up to now.

In the case of Cuba, the entry into the united party under Castroist leadership was objectively correct because it was a question of a revolutionary leadership to be supported and strengthened in the Marxist direction in which it was evolving. (The correctness of this decision was however counteracted by the policies practiced by the leading cadres of the former Partido Socialist Popular after the unification which played in with the tendency toward crystallization of a hardened bureaucracy.) In the case of Algeria, the tactic of seeking integration in the Front de Liberation Nationale was also correct, but what was involved in the case of the Algerian CP was a deeply opportunist outlook that signified complete political and ideological liquidation. This holds all the more so in the case of the Egyptian CP.

Castroism

By participating in the last Moscow conference, the Cuban Partido Unido de la Revolución Socialista (now the Communist Party of Cuba) was virtually officially included in the Communist party movement. Despite the independent attitude of the delegation, a concession to the Soviet leadership was clearly involved, since parties with a pro-Moscow orientation criticized the initiative and the Rumanian Party even stayed away.

The attitude of the Fidelista leadership with regard to the Sine-Soviet conflict has been confirmed since the conference. Inasmuch as the ideological dispute, carried to bitter extremes by graduates of the school of Stalinism, weakens the anti-imperialist front-as the events in Vietnam have demonstrated—a leadership in the position most exposed to American imperialism could not help but deplore this conflict.

The desire of the Cubans to avoid becoming deeply engaged in the dispute is understandable and they have not hidden their negative reaction to the pressures to which they have been subjected. The Cubans are compelled to bear in mind that in the economic and military field, the USSR is objectively in a much better position to aid them than China. In addition, as against the Chinese arguments about the role of imperialism and the opportunism of the Communist parties, the Cubans have had to weigh their attitude toward de-Stalinization and their sectarianism with regard to Cuban appeals for a united front against imperialism.

In any case, the essential fact remains that the choice of sides in the Sino-Soviet conflict remains secondary for the Cubans. They constitute an autonomous and fundamentally revolutionary current of the Communist movement owing ideological allegiance to neither Peking nor Moscow. They have proved this in all the fields that are decisive in characterizing a revolutionary tendency-in their struggle against bureaucratic deformations and their equalitarian spirit in building socialism, in showing the Latin-American peoples the road to consistent revolutionary struggle without compromising with the so-called national bourgeoisie, in explaining that only the constant creation of revolutionary centers in all corners of the globe can block imperialism and only an energetic reply can compel them to retreat, and finally in projecting original organizational forms, aiming at preventing the revolutionary party from becoming an instrument of bureaucrats and careerists of all stripes and losing vital contact with the masses of workers and peasants.

The imperialists have not remained neutral in the Sine-Soviet conflict. The extension of the conflict from an inter-party to an intergovernmental level greatly weakened the cohesiveness of the front of the workers states and the imperialists have sought to take full advantage of this in various areas (putting Tshombe in power in the Congo, escalating the war in Vietnam, invading the Dominican Republic). At the same time, the imperialist powers and their agents, such as the Social Democratic leaders in Europe, have clearly shown their preference for Moscow as against Peking.

This attitude is not due to the Chinese position on nuclear war. The American imperialists in fact pay little attention to Peking’s theories discounting the importance of nuclear arms, whereas they study with the utmost attention the growth of Moscow’s stockpile both quantitatively and qualitatively. The American imperialists favor Moscow in the Sine-Soviet conflict because they understand very well that the Soviet bureaucracy seeks a deal with imperialism to maintain the status quo. While Moscow seeks to put a brake on revolutionary struggles, a conservative attitude that meets with approval in the imperialist camp, some of the theses advocated by Peking tend to stimulate revolutionary struggles, particularly in the colonial world. A victory of the Chinese position in a Communist party signifies a much more hostile attitude toward imperialism and its “national” allies (e.g., India), while a victory for Moscow’s theses fosters an ultra-opportunist policy, if not the liquidation pure and simple of the Communist movement.

The imperialists are aware at the same time that one of the results of the conflict is a “revolutionary rivalry” in certain countries which can even go so far as to impel the Kremlin to tolerate parties under its control moving toward the left, particularly with regard to the colonial revolution, in order to avoid a complete loss of influence. This has occurred in certain countries in Latin America where the effects of the Sino-Soviet conflict have combined with Castroism.

Washington is more and more brazenly intervening on a world scale in the affairs of other countries in its efforts to beat back every new revolutionary advance. One of the cornerstones of this policy is continuation of the understanding with the Soviet bureaucracy to maintain the status quo (the imperialist version of the theory of “peaceful coexistence”). Thus, Washington hailed the Moscow treaty to partially halt nuclear tests as a big strategic success. It has every reason to continue this policy and to seek to counter any tendency in Moscow to concede to the pressure from Peking for a firmer anti-imperialist attitude.

On the other hand, Washington continues to single out Peking as the main enemy in the anti-capitalist camp. From the beginning it sought to isolate the Chinese revolution and to weaken it through an economic and diplomatic blockade which included barring its entry to the United Nations. This policy has now reached the point of direct counterrevolutionary intervention. The Pentagon is openly debating whether or not to launch a nuclear war on China, hitting first of all at the centers where China has succeeded in establishing the beginnings of a nuclear industry.

It is beyond question that world imperialism considers China to be the principal source of danger to its system today -the principal source stimulating revolutions in other countries in the colonial world, and a potential force that in a few decades can utterly and irretrievably destroy Wall Street’s dream of dominating the globe. This hardened opinion cannot be explained by the hypothesis that the imperialists as a whole are mistaken about their own class interests. In the final analysis even de Gaulle recognizes Peking not in order to strengthen the Chinese revolution but in order to put France in a better bargaining position with the Kremlin in the common game of blocking the advance of the revolutionary process on a world scale.

The Ultimate Gainer

The Fourth International has stressed many times that fundamentally the Sino-Soviet conflict involves two bureaucracies. But revolutionary Marxists never limit themselves to bare characterizations like this which cannot solve the problem of what specific attitude to take in each concrete case. They have never identified the workers states or the Communist parties with the bureaucracies heading them; nor have they viewed the bureaucracy as nothing but a single reactionary mass without internal distinctions.

On the contrary, they have tried in each concrete case to determine wherein the bureaucrats are only defending their own reactionary caste interests and wherein they are compelled by their own social position to defend at the same time-in their own way-the acquisitions of a revolution. Similarly they have explained the stratification of the bureaucracy and how conflicts can arise between different layers under the pressure of conflicting objective factors and clashing social forces.

Transitional Program

For instance, the Transitional Program, written by Trotsky in 1938, pointed out the various currents in the bureaucracy and indicated that the Fourth International would not remain neutral or indifferent to the outcome of a struggle between a Butenko and Reiss faction. In 1948, while not forgetting the real nature of the Yugoslav leadership, the Fourth International advocated defending the Yugoslav CP and the Yugoslav revolution against the attacks and campaign of slander mounted by Stalin and the parties of the Cominform and their blockade of Yugoslavia and threats of military intervention. In 1953 in East Berlin and in 1956 in Hungary and Poland, the world Trotskyist movement noted again that in face of an open and dramatic break between the masses and a bureaucratized party, the layers of bureaucrats closest to the workers lined up on the side of the masses.

The attitude of the world Trotskyist movement in relation to the Sine-Soviet conflict flows from the same logic. It supports the Chinese Communists in their defense of the Chinese revolution and the People’s Republic of China against the economic blockade mounted by the Kremlin and against the military aid granted by the Kremlin to the Indian bourgeoisie. It supports the Chinese Communists in their struggle against the Khrushchevist concept of conjuring away the danger of imperialist war through “peaceful coexistence,” and their attitude toward the colonial revolution, and their criticism of the neo-reformist orientations of most of the Communist parties.

This does not imply that the Fourth International soft-peddles or remains silent about the other positions held by the Chinese Communists in their international polemic. Nor does it imply in any way giving automatic support to any pro-Peking party or group, whose policies in a given situation can prove to be harmful despite formal adherence to the criticisms of Khrushchevism made by the Chinese leaders.

The attitude of the world Trotskyist movement in the Sino-Soviet conflict involves something more than supporting the valid criticisms of the Chinese Communists and standing on their side in defending the Chinese revolution. In reality the Sine-Soviet conflict represents but one of the aspects of the breakup of Stalinist monolithism, the revival of the world revolutionary Marxist movement on a mass scale, and the construction of a new revolutionary leadership. The Fourth International has intervened in the Sine-Soviet conflict from the beginning under its own banner, with its own independent line on all the major questions, with its own program to offer Communist militants seeking the road to a socialist victory in their own country and on an international scale.

Both the Kremlin and the Peking bureaucracies recognize in their own way that their dispute raises the specter of Trotskyism in the workers states, not to mention the Communist parties in the capitalist countries. That is why each of the bureaucracies accuses the other of playing into the hands of Trotskyism, of even adopting objectively “Trotskyist positions. As proof they have gone so far as to cite Trotskyist documents, particularly those adopted at the Reunification Congress of the Fourth International in 1963.

“Trotskyist Danger”

Moscow accuses Peking of advancing the Trotskyist theory of the permanent revolution and the Trotskyist criticism of the bureaucratic degeneration of the USSR, citing in support of this quotations from the Trotskyist documents giving critical support to the Chinese positions on these points. In the same way, Peking accuses Moscow of rehabilitating Trotsky through its denunciation of Stalin’s crimes and its campaign for de-Stalinization, citing in support of this extracts from Trotskyist documents giving critical support to the accomplishments of the Twentieth and Twenty-second congresses of the CPSU with regard to de-Stalinization. Both bureaucracies, in fact, accuse the other of “playing into the hands” of Trotskyism—which, as they well know stands against any kind of bureaucratic rule.

Both bureaucracies have an infallible instinct when it comes to smelling out the “Trotskyist danger.” Although the rift in Soviet-Chinese relations has had injurious effects upon the solidarity of the workers states against imperialism, the world working class stands to gain from clarification of the issues in dispute. The movement for the Fourth International gains from the radicalization of the revolutionary struggle in the semi-colonial countries and the strengthened tendency against “socialism in one country” stimulated by Peking.

It gains from the tendency toward de-Stalinization stimulated by Khrushchev and his heirs. Both currents, in the final analysis, only express the fundamental change in objective conditions which gave rise to the Stalinist bureaucracy and its triumph in the USSR and the world Communist movement—the defeats suffered by the world revolution that ended in the isolation of the first workers state in an economically and culturally backward country. Objective conditions today are moving in the opposite direction—in favor of the rebirth of a world-wide revolutionary movement independent from any ruling bureaucracy, a movement that will tie in with the struggle for proletarian democracy in the workers states.

Conclusion

The Fourth International holds that the Sino-Soviet conflict is carrying the world crisis of Stalinism toward a climax. It has ofopened Stalinism a period tow ardacli¬found reorientation and reorganization of the Communist movement as a whole. AS part of this immense process, sectors of the bureaucracy, as the Sino-Soviet conflict has revealed, can take attitudes that objectively favor can take lutionary struggle objectivelyof the masses the re revival of the workers movement. This must be recognized and utilized by .This lutionary Marxists. by re vo-of this process must also be recognized.

The deeply conservative interests of a bureaucracy as a vative layer bar of from accepting revolutionary Marxism, from engaging in the field of revolutionary struggle and thus from any capacity to solve the problem of creating a revolutionary leadership. This is shown in a rather spectacular way by the tendency toward “polycentrism” that has been fostered by the Sine-Soviet dispute among the partisans of both Moscow and Peking. For while polycentrism has favored development of the debate, its logical direction is toward the fragmentation of the Communist movement and the very opposite of an international revolutionary Marxist movement based on democratic centralism.

Consequently the Fourth International entertains no illusions about the possibility of any bureaucratic leadership whatever being able to carry out the fundamental historic tasks of constructing a genuine socialist democracy in the workers states, of crossing over from colonial revolutions into socialist revolutions, of overthrowing capitalism in the industrially advanced capitalist countries, the only road offering humanity escape from a nuclear holocaust. These tasks can be carried out only by revolutionary leaderships able to lead mass movements and to translate the revolutionary program of Marxism into reality. The participation of the Fourth International in the Sino-Soviet conflict aims at helping to solve this key problem of our times.


TOWARD A HISTORY OF THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL

Last updated on 11.19.2005