Shibdas Ghosh

The Tenth Congress of The Communist Party of China

Source: Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) [SUCI(C)] (used with kind permission)
Date: November 6, 1973
First published: August 5, 1981
HTML Markup: Salil Sen for September, 2007
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Zhou Enlai's Report to the Tenth Congress of the CPC contained revelations about Lin Biao, confirming our party's analysis of the Ninth Congress. The Tenth Congress expounded some inestimable teachings vindicating our party's line of thinking ever since its inception.

You have heard the questions raised at this meeting on the Report and Constitution of the Communist Party of China at its Tenth Congress. I shall discuss, keeping in view all these questions and on the basis of deliberations on this in our Central Committee, and try to see that no important points are left out.

While dealing with the Report of the Ninth Congress of the CPC, you know we had criticized severely some aspects of Lin Biao's Report and two clauses of the Constitution adopted by the Ninth Congress. I feel we should keep in view the Ninth Congress, first of all, while we discuss the Report placed by Zhou Enlai at the Tenth Congress — because, you have all noted, this Tenth Congress has upheld and in fact reiterated the main political line and analysis of the Ninth Congress. So we should not forget, even for a moment, that the Tenth Congress has adopted the same political line as that of the Ninth Congress.

Why this Tenth Congress

>At the very outset, a question may arise: Why this Tenth Congress? On examination, the answer we find is: The Tenth Congress has shown, on the one hand, how they have defended the party's base political line from the danger of deviation posed by the activities of Lin Biao because of his leadership and influence on the ideological and organizational spheres; and, on the other, which principles they will adopt to combat whatever remains still of that danger within society and to implement the base political line of the Ninth Congress. These were the issues before the Tenth Congress. In other words, the Tenth Congress aimed at freeing the political line of the Ninth Congress and the party from Lin Biao's impact or legacy and, at the same time, at eliminating the mistakes, inconsistencies, anomalies, platitudes and many unnecessary things that crept into the Report of the Ninth Congress, using the occasion to rectify these drawbacks in the political line and Constitution of the Ninth Congress. Its another object was to take lessons from the very process of struggle, the very weapon with which the Lin Biao clique was defeated at this stage — although we are not sure whether the Lin Biao clique has been defeated completely and the entire party freed from his legacy — and to prepare the party and the people as a whole for struggle on the basis of some definite principles, so that, if the two-line struggle centring round the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat arises within the party in future, the struggle in the party can be conducted taking correct course on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and firm strides taken towards victories of socialism, one after another, by consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Now, there are some remarkable aspects of the Report of the Tenth Congress which we cannot but note. I shall mention these during this discussion and give my views thereon. But before that I wish to draw attention to some points, grasping which correctly shall we be able to play our role in the country and abroad and avail of whatever limited scope is there to influence the international communist movement ideologically. But that will depend on whether we are able to take necessary lessons from all developments and realize the mistakes properly. So we should not underestimate, overestimate or unnecessarily praise ourselves and others. We should examine dispassionately which analyses of the Tenth Congress have confirmed the contributions of our party in the ideological sphere. Only then would this discussion be purposive.

Why we did not publish our analysis on the Ninth Congress

Our comrades have surely noted that whatever apprehensions we had expressed about Lin Biao while discussing the Report of the Ninth Congress by studying some symptoms and basing ourselves on the logic of probability, despite insufficient data on hand, have now been proved to be correct. Though our analysis on the Ninth Congress Report was not published, those among you present then at the General Body meeting on that occasion would surely recall the party’s analysis. I had explained then why we could not publish our analysis and I reiterate it now. You surely remember that I had requested the Central Committee not to publish our analysis. Because, although the Central Committee had accepted my analysis based on the logic of probability, we had no factual data to prove it, nor did we know all the events and developments. Whatever I could study from outside, the Report had raised some questions in my mind and I had made the analysis on the basis of the logic of probability and expressed my opinion. Whatever we might feel about the shortcomings of the CPC, since we had no materials to substantiate our reading, we thought it irresponsible to conclude only on the basis of our study ; more so because this would help in maligning and objectively undermining the prestige and authority of the CPC, and Mao who, in spite of some mistakes and shortcomings, had, in the main, held aloft the noble banner of revolution in the international communist movement. And this is what we did not want to do, for we know that had we then published our analysis, it would have objectively strengthened those parties and forces who were opposing the revolutionary line of the CPC actively.>

Some comrades argued then in favour of publishing our analyses on the Ninth Congress and Lin Biao, saying if history subsequently confirmed this analysis to be correct, that would have a startling effect. I jocularly replied : ‘Yes, we can do so if our object is to show how learned we are and flaunt our pedantry’ . But that can never be our object. There is another, more important aspect; we cannot afford to do anything that might lower the prestige of the CPC and undermine the authority of Mao Zedong which, in spite of some shortcomings, limitations or defects of mechanical approach, already pointed out, have a profound contribution to and effectiveness in the revolutionary movement.

During personal discussions, some comrades even apprehended that if we published it later, there would be no dearth of people who would disbelieve us, and say that we were exaggerating and concocting the whole thing and thus try to belittle our role. I told those comrades only this : ‘We cannot decide on the basis of what such people think of us, people who grudge the glorious role of our party, rather envy it; more important is, we should not do anything unethical’. All of you know that our Central Committee endorsed this view and so our analysis on the Ninth Congress was not published.

But now the CPC itself is criticizing openly the activities of the Lin Biao clique and trying to rectify some of the mistakes committed at the Ninth Congress from the forum of the Tenth Congress and even afterwards, thus creating an atmosphere conducive to healthy discussion. So, I see no reason not to publish now our old observations and analyses. In fact, it has been decided by our Central Committee to publish our analysis on the Ninth Congress together with that on the Tenth.

The Tenth Congress confirmed our earlier analysis

At the very outset I said that our comrades should note seriously some viewpoints and analyses put forward by the CPC in its Tenth Congress Report. Because, since the inception of our party, we have been trying to highlight some questions in the realm of ideological struggle within the communist movement which had not so far been upheld by any authority in the international communist movement. It is at the Tenth Congress of the CPC that this happened for the first time. A little study would reveal that many observations in the Tenth Congress Report corroborate the analyses of our party made long back. If we can bring these home, that would not only help to strengthen our party and give a fillip to our activities, but would at the same time prove the historical truth that judged by the character of leadership, process of thinking and method of organization, ours is the only genuine communist party in India and that in spite of our limited capacity, we have been able to make some contribution to the international communist movement. However, we shall be successful in this task only if we can understand the party's line correctly and apply it always in conformity with our objective.

We had noted that there were two vital aspects in the main political line of the Ninth Congress Report. First, to identify the principal contradictions in the present-day world and accordingly decide the main features of the foreign policy of China. Second, to decide the basic political approach of the party in consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat during the entire transitional period from when the people's democratic revolution of China entered into the state of socialist revolution to the establishment of socialism.

Besides, at the Ninth Congress, they had inserted some new clauses, not only in the Report but in the Constitution, too. I do not know how many of you, comrades, are aware of the difference between saying something in the Political Report and incorporating it in the Constitution. It is no doubt important when something is said in the Political Report; but as soon as it is incorporated in the Constitution its importance increases manifold — it becomes unalterable, so to say, for a certain period, somewhat binding on the party. It is no longer something which could be visualized one way today and differently tomorrow. Political workers should be very much conscious about this.

Be that as it may, you have surely noted that those two clauses of the Constitution adopted at the Ninth Congress, where Mao Zedong Thought was described as Marxism-Leninism of the era and this era as a new one, in the same way as Khrushchev had described the present era as the era of disintegration of imperialism, have both been omitted from the Constitution in the Tenth Congress. The two paragraphs deleted : “... Mao Zedong Thought is Marxism-Leninism of the era in which imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing to worldwide victory... and in the great struggle of the contemporary international communist movement against imperialism, modern revisionism and the reactionaries of various countries, Comrade Mao Zedong has integrated the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with concrete practice of revolution, inherited, defended and developed Marxism-Leninism and has brought it to a higher and a completely new stage.” (emphasis added)

It is still the era of imperialism

Thus, our criticism of these two clauses stands vindicated by this decision of the Tenth Congress. While dealing with the Ninth Congress Report and Constitution, I had discussed at length to show why, first of all, despite accepting Mao Zedong as a leading communist authority, Mao Zedong Thought cannot be called the Marxism-Leninism of the era, and, secondly, although many significant changes have taken place in the post-Second World War situation, the present period still remains the “era of imperialism, war and proletarian revolution” as characterized by Lenin and there has been no fundamental qualitative change. I do not want to go into all that again. The Tenth Congress, however, by deleting these two clauses from the Constitution, has vindicated the correctness of our analysis.

Our veteran comrades would surely remember that when Khrushchev was dreaming of peaceful transition to socialism and had started saying in justification that it was no more the era of “imperialism, war and proletarian revolution”, but the “era of disintegration of imperialism”, it was even at that time, in 1959-60, that I wrote in the article War and Peace, Peaceful Co-existence and Peaceful Transition to Socialism that “...every Marxist-Leninist must know that every epoch is bound to witness, in the natural process of its development, various vital changes. But notwithstanding these changes, the principal characteristic features of the epoch remain in force...”, that is, it remains the era of imperialism, war and proletarian revolution as enunciated by Lenin.

Now, compare what Zhou Enlai has said in the Tenth Congress Report : “Since Lenin's death, the world situation has undergone great changes. But the era has not changed. The fundamental principles of Leninism are not outdated; they remain the theoretical basis, guiding our thinking today.” So, one thing is clear. Just as Khrushchev had characterized this as a new era to establish his revisionist theory, so also Lin Biao, in the name of fighting revisionism, chewed the cud of the same Khrushchevite theory. Therefore, in evaluating the present era, Lin Biao committed the same mistake as Khrushchev did.

Only our party made correct appraisal of Ninth Congress

I do not know what is the concept of leadership of those who support the CPC and regard Mao Zedong as an authority. But it is true that in causing harm to a leader, it is his disciples and not the opponents who are in reality the worst offenders. This is what has happened in history. It is the disciples who have lowered the prestige of the leader by following him blindly, offering wrong interpretations to suit their purpose, holding up the leader to be infallible. Many followers of Mao Zedong, whether they admit or not, consider him to be above committing mistakes. Again, some people in our country even started saying that Lin Biao was a greater revolutionary than Mao and upheld the correct line. These people will now either become anti-communist and talk nonsense or do a somersault without much fuss. Such has always been the fate of ultra-revolutionaries.

So, despite recognizing the fact that it was the CPC which was holding high the banner of international revolution, we had made all-round criticism of the various lapses in the Ninth Congress Report which no other party, whether pro-CPC or opposing it, had undertaken. The main objection of those who opposed the CPC was that the Ninth Congress Report indulged in Mao-cult and they strongly objected to the use of the term "successor". They condemned the very concept of "successor" as something alien to Marxism. Besides these two, the CPI(M)1 Polit Bureau added just one more point which was : Lenin having already provided historical analysis of the indispensable necessity of continuing class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat, the CPI(M) could not agree with the claim by Lin Biao in the Ninth Congress Report that the observations of Mao Zedong on these questions were new additions to the theory and practice of Marxism. They referred also to some more quotations from Lenin on the same questions which had not been cited in Lin Biao Report. But they did not go any further.

In our discussion on the Ninth Congress Report we dealt with not only these points but provided analysis on the standard of this party, its habit of praising the leader blindly, the theoretical inconsistencies, the character of Lin Biao leadership as well as on whether Mao Zedong Thought could be called the Marxism-Leninism of the era and, if not, why not, and many other such important points. Of course, while criticizing the CPC, the CPI(M), despite what it professed, did so with an attitude similar to that of the CPI, to malign the CPC and undermine Mao's authority. But our party criticized the CPC from fraternal outlook with the object of strengthening Mao’s correct leadership. No one can fail to note this. So we can claim with all humility that, to our knowledge, ours was the only communist party in the world which made a comprehensive critical discussion on the Report and the Constitution of the Ninth Congress. And you have seen what the CPC has now said on those questions at the Tenth Congress is almost similar to our earlier criticism. So, they have virtually confirmed the truth of our stand.

In this connection, I cannot but mention one point. You know, our party, since its inception, even while following the international communist leadership, has been adhering to the principle that our relation with this leadership is not mechanical but dialectical, pointing out as well as criticizing whenever any stand of theirs appeared erroneous to us. Because, Marxism teaches us that as loyalty to a leadership does not mean blind copying, so also criticizing it does not mean flouting or undermining it. It is of vital importance for every Marxist to differentiate between the two, for, the object of this criticism is to help the leadership rectify its mistakes and strengthen it on the basis of Marxist norms of criticism. But we had to face adverse criticism and derisions for this. Those who did not understand that criticism of the leadership was for strengthening it, used to ridicule our comrades and say : “You are very wise ! No one in the world is so intelligent as your leader ! How dare you, with no capacity to accomplish anything, criticize those big parties in the international communist movement ?” But now we see, it is not that the capacity for thinking will be limited just because the capacity for work is limited — Karl Marx did not graciously formulate like this in any of his articles or treatises ! Rather, just the opposite is to be found there. A man may have to “go against the tide” to uphold a truth — this is what all great Marxist leaders of the world have taught us time and again.

In the Tenth Congress, Mao Zedong has again emphatically asserted this and upheld the lesson that to go against the tide is the quality of a good communist. He has said that in the interest of upholding the correct political line, good communists are never afraid even of swimming against the tide. That is, good communists have never deserted the correct line for fear of being isolated and ultimately it is they who have come out victorious.

Ideological and political lines determine everything

See, what has been stated in the Report of the Tenth Congress : “Chairman Mao teaches us that 'The correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything'. If one's line is incorrect, one's downfall is inevitable even with the control of the central, local and army leadership. If one's line is correct and even if one has not a single soldier at first, there will be soldiers, and even if there is no political power, political power will be gained. This is borne out by the historical experience of our Party and by that of the international communist movement since the time of Marx. Lin Biao wanted to ‘have everything under his command and everything at his disposal’, but he ended up in having nothing under his command and nothing at his disposal. The crux of the matter is this. This is an irrefutable truth.”

So, what do we find ? We find the CPC saying that Lin Biao had everything, but what he did not have was correct political line. And that is why he today has lost everything he once had. The same holds good for Liu Shaoqi, too. At one time he usurped control over everything—the party, the state and the military power. But although he had so much, he did not possess the most important thing, the correct political line. That is why they all have been thrown onto the rubble-heaps of history. And those who did have then nothing except the correct political line have today regained everything.

Please note that although it is such a gigantic, established and powerful party, the CPC is laying the main stress on and giving the utmost importance to the correctness or incorrectness of political line rather than the strength of the party. They are not teaching their cadres, countrymen and the working class of the world to judge like this that since their party is so big and powerful, that alone proves their political line to be correct.

But both the big so-called communist parties in our country are exhorting their party workers and the people to approach this question just the other way round. They are trying to make use of the greater strength and popular support, relatively speaking, which they enjoy at present compared to the others. Without laying stress on analysis of ideology and base political line, they are stressing the party strength which they possess and are thus explaining to their workers that since the strength of their party is big, their base political line must be correct ; otherwise, how have they gained in strength ? In this way, they are negating the importance of examining the base political line and engendering the tendency of fanatic arrogance of strength inside the party. Just this single point, if intently observed, makes it clear what sort of parties these are ! So, today, when all over the world and particularly in our country, the opportunist tendency to swim with the tide and side with the more powerful is widespread in political movements, the way the CPC, a mighty revolutionary party of international renown, has attached such importance to the question of correctness of ideology and base political line is, I think, of great significance.

SUCI's emergence as the genuine party of the proletariat

Adherence to this principle was the very basis of formation of our party on the Indian soil. Right from the inception of our party till now, we have all through laid utmost stress on this Marxist-Leninist principle. Today, many new comrades would not perhaps be quite able to comprehend what was our position then. Remember, when we, just a handful in number, dreamt of building a genuine revolutionary party of the proletariat in such a vast country with virtually no resources at all, we were all unknown and very common political workers indeed. There was not even a single reputed leader among us. Except conviction, dedication, determination, revolutionary audacity and correct political line, we had nothing else, no resources at all, no experienced worker to speak of. But we were determined to conduct a relentless struggle, braving all difficulties and adversity, against the then prevailing current, just on the basis of dedication to ideology and the correct revolutionary political line. Remember, at that time, when the so-called communist party in our country was recognized by the international communist leadership, political workers and all those who were attracted towards Marxism-Leninism and communist movement, naturally felt inclined to support the CPI.

This stood in our way. Even in the minds of those whom we could convince on questions relating to theory and political line and who understood us somewhat, a question cropped up again and again, making them hesitant to take up the correct course : 'Such a small party you are. Will you be able to achieve your goal ? Is it at all possible ? Your energy and labour are being wasted'. Veteran comrades surely would recall what we replied then.

We answered in unequivocal terms: 'Examine critically whether the viewpoint and stand of our party, from its base political line and covering all aspects of epistemology, are correct or not. If those are correct, then struggle would have to be conducted on the basis of those only. It won't do to be afraid of or shy away on any pretext ; one would have to go against the prevailing current ; the tendency of joining a party calling itself communist since it was big—even if that party is wrong and joining it a blunder—would have to be fought ; such strength of mind would have to be attained. If it is true that the party calling itself communist has not developed with the character of a communist party and is in reality a petty bourgeois social democratic party, then the revolutionaries have no option but to strive relentlessly to form a revolutionary party'. See, a very important teaching of Engels has been cited in the Tenth Congress Report. Engels rightly said :"The development of the proletariat proceeds everywhere amidst internal struggles... and when, like Marx and myself, one has fought harder all one's life long against the alleged socialists than against anyone else (for we only regarded the bourgeoisie as a class and hardly ever involved ourselves in conflicts with individual bourgeois), one cannot greatly grieve that the inevitable struggle has broken out...”. All these have but one meaning, that is, one and all have to imbibe the attitude of sticking to the line and not budging even an inch. So, it has been said that if the base political line is correct, then struggle for sticking to the line does not waver even an inch this or that way under any pressure. Such strength of mind is to be attained. None should deviate from ideology and the base political line and drift towards those who have bigger manpower and exert greater influence and command over the people.

We have repeatedly said that if the parties with wrong ideology and base political line are strengthened on any pretext, then not only does it not achieve anything fruitful but, worse still, such parties with enhanced strength do much greater harm to the people's movements and eventually put greater obstacles in the path of revolution. But if the ideology and base political line are correct, then even if the strength of a party is meagre to start with, it goes on increasing from one to two, two to five, from hundred to thousand and so on, by going on to win the support of millions of people—that party ultimately captures political power and wins the world. You all know, it is by grasping this fundamental teaching that our party began its journey. This basic teaching is not only a teaching of Marxism-Leninism of the present times, it has been a noble teaching of ethics of all ages. In every age, even in the distant past when religion had to make its way against various obstacles and advance and hold its head high amidst strong adversity, the religious preachers, too, had to uphold this teaching and work with it. Although the wording and phraseology appear to be similar, the realization of this teaching has been different in different ages in accordance with the specific ideology and object of struggle. The religious preachers had one conception of this invaluable sense of ethics, the bourgeoisie or the petty bourgeoisie had another, while today this conception has assumed a new form on the basis of the class struggle of the proletarian revolutionaries and the new complexities of life. In this ever changing world even the understanding of any principle is not static ; it is dynamic—it has a particular form within the limits of a particular time and specific category of understanding. Nobody but the Marxist-Leninists understand this.

So, as I was saying, a good thing, a truth, a correct analysis gains much greater importance and makes a deeper imprint on people's mind when it is put forward by the leadership of a party of the CPC's standing and tradition than if it is said or done by a small party like ours having no international recognition and not much organizational strength. Thus the point on which we have all along laid great stress has now been confirmed at the Tenth Congress. Understood correctly, the significance of this observation of the Tenth Congress becomes : If you want to be a revolutionary and bring about revolution, learn to go against prevailing tide for the sake of truth, ideology and correct line. In face of arduous struggle, no revolutionary suffers from despondency ; rather, to brave the odds with courage is the true hallmark of a revolutionary. Besides, as the guideline for identifying the correct line from the wrong one, the Tenth Congress quoted Mao Zedong thus :"Practise Marxism, and not revisionism ; unite and don't split ; be open and above board, and don't intrigue and conspire". You all know, we began with the motto of relentless struggle on the basis of the correct line, and we are guided by this even today. The real strength of our party lies in such mental make-up of its workers and leaders.

There is no doubt that this guideline of the Tenth Congress will be very useful to us if our comrades can correctly point out that even such a long time after making revolution successful, the CPC still considers the struggle of pursuing the correct line to be the most important struggle, has given priority to ideology and principle over strength, and seeks to build up strength for giving concrete shape to the correct ideology and principles.

A clarification has been sought as to whether the Tenth Congress Report has considered the struggle between the two superpowers for hegemony to be the major contradiction in the present era. This question really has no leg to stand on. Such confusion has arisen because of the inability to grasp that it is the main political line of the Ninth Congress that has in fact been adopted at the Tenth—minus the Lin Biao legacy and after rectification of some shortcomings and mistakes.

Our assessment of newly independent countries correct

While discussing the Ninth Congress Report, dealing with the four major contradictions of the present-day world, we had said that the contradiction of the newly independent resurgent nationalist countries with imperialism, on the one hand, and the socialist camp, on the other, that is appearing in diverse forms should be given due importance.

You know that as early as 1959-60, we marked the emergence of the newly independent resurgent nationalist countries of Asia and Africa as a very important development in the international arena in the post-Second World War period. And even if one had reservations in accepting the contradiction of the newly independent bourgeois nationalist countries with imperialism, on the one hand, and the socialist countries, on the other, as the fifth major contradiction along with the four major contradictions of the era enunciated by Lenin, we suggested laying equal stress on this — because it was influencing the international events and the four contradictions — as if it were acting as the fifth contradiction. Because, the contradiction that came about centring round the emergence of the newly independent nationalist countries could not really be placed in the category of the contradiction between imperialism and national liberation struggle. Therefore, if one does not understand the true character and role of this contradiction in influencing the four major contradictions in the present-day world, the attempt to go by only the four major contradictions specified by Lenin would be tantamount to dogmatism.

After all these 14-15 years, the CPC, while it discussed the role of the Third World in the Tenth Congress Report, has placed a viewpoint which, although not exactly the same as ours, is largely similar to it. It has been said at the Tenth Congress : "The awakening and the growth of the Third World is a major event in the contemporary international relation. The Third World ... is playing an even more significant role in international affairs". (emphasis added)

So you see, the emergence of the Third World has been viewed to be a major event in contemporary international relation, that is, in influencing the four major contradictions enunciated by Lenin. Again, it has also been said that the Third World is playing an increasingly significant role in international affairs, that is, in influencing the four major contradictions viewed by Lenin. If by emergence of the Third World the CPC implies the emergence of the resurgent nationalist countries of Asia-Africa-Latin America, then through this stand at the Tenth Congress, they have virtually concurred with our conclusion in 1959-60 on this issue. But the way in which we have spoken of the emergence of the resurgent nationalist countries and of viewing their contradiction with the imperialist countries, on the one hand, and socialist countries, on the other, with the same importance as that of a new, the fifth contradiction—that although these countries play an anti-imperialist role in a particular situation, the advanced ones among them can themselves attain latent imperialist character in future and virtually play the role of agents of imperialism in crushing the mass movements in their respective countries—whether the CPC has understood the matter in this way is a different question.

It has been said towards the end of the above mentioned paragraphs of the Tenth Congress Report :"The struggle of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples to win and defend national independence and safeguard state sovereignty and national resources have further deepened and broadened."(emphasis added) You must have noticed that the struggle of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America has not merely been described as struggle to attain freedom, but as struggle to defend the independence achieved and even to safeguard state sovereignty in some cases. This can have only one implication. It is : the CPC, at the Tenth Congress, now considers many of the newly independent countries, or at least some of them to be sovereign national bourgeois countries—which in reality cannot but presuppose capitalist state machines in the words of Lenin, however backward capitalist economy those countries might have.

Therefore, there is no real basis for what a group of so-called Marxist-Leninists say, by invoking the CPC, when they assert that the newly independent resurgent nationalist countries, all and sundry, are in the stage of people's democratic revolution. Actually, these so-called Marxist-Leninists have arrived at such a wrong conclusion because of their tendency of following blindly, without any reference to time and place, the theory of people's democratic revolution prescribed by Zhdanov at the Cominform indiscriminately as well as the analysis of the CPC. Now this observation of the CPC at the Tenth Congress has come as an unambiguous, strong corroboration of the stand taken by our party, right from the time of achieving independence, of defining the Indian state as a national bourgeois state, that is, a capitalist state machine, though backward.

In our old literature, we have reiterated another important point : It is one thing to support the resurgent nationalist countries when they opposed the imperialist forces on the question of war and peace, but it is quite different, while according this support, to view the "peace policy" of these resurgent nationalist countries to be on a par with the peace policy of a socialist country. In this context, I want to draw attention to another point too. We find that those who could not grasp correctly the character of state in these resurgent nationalist countries, have, because of their inability to grasp this, themselves fallen into a self-contradiction while supporting the anti-imperia-list policy of such countries. The very same capitalist class of these countries whom they have branded as lackeys of imperialism as per the theory of people's democratic revolution, have again been termed progressive by them because of their avowed anti-imperialist peace policy ! We cannot understand how this is possible. We have criticized the approach of not only the CPSU but the CPC as well on this issue. Even at the time of the Bandung Conference, when they raised the slogan 'Hindi-Chini bhai bhai'2 they projected Nehru in such a way as a champion of peace that through this, not only the difference between the peace policy of a socialist country and Nehru's stand was not highlighted, but the specific class interest  of the Indian capitalists that was operating in pursuing the anti-imperialist peace policy in the then particular situation, was also not exposed. Hence, the anti-imperialist peace policies and specific measures to 'secure peace' pursued by the capitalist class of these resurgent nationalist countries were applauded uncritically. But the difference between the peace policy of socialist countries and their policy, the possibility of fascism appearing in diverse forms in the state structure and administrative machinery of these countries and the imperialistic and expansionist trend that is trying to rear its head in the more advanced among these countries and that, from  this  angle,  it is they who are virtually going to play the major role as the agents of world imperialism-capitalism in the Asian-African-Latin American countries in suppressing growth and advance of socialist movement — these dangerous aspects were not pointed out and no effort at all to make the people conscious about these  through relentless ideological struggles, has been observed. In our old literature, we have repeatedly stressed these dangers.

One tendency covers another

It appears from this Report that they have been able to understand this aspect in principle, although they have broached the subject somewhat differently. They have said an important thing. They have said : "Today, in both international and domestic struggles, tendencies may still occur similar to those of the past, namely, when there was an alliance with the bourgeoisie, necessary struggles were forgotten, and when there was a split with the bourgeoisie, the possibility of an alliance under given conditions was forgotten". They have sought to establish this point by citing from the history of the CPC. It has been clearly said about this in the Tenth Congress Report : “Chairman Mao has constantly taught us : It is imperative to note that one tendency covers another. Opposition to Chen Tu-hsiu’s Right opportunism which advocated ‘all alliance, no struggle’ covered Wang Ming’s 'Left’ opportunism which advocated ‘all struggle, no alliance’ ... It is required of us to do our best to discern and rectify such tendencies in time.”

In this context, I would like to touch upon the necessity of pursuing the principle of 'unity-struggle-unity' in united movements. The important basic principle over which we have been fighting uncompromisingly against all sorts of right and left opportunistic deviations in the communist movement and left democratic movement in the country is the indispensable necessity of conducting ideological struggles within united fronts. Surprisingly, strong pressure against pursuit of this Marxist-Leninist principle of 'unity-struggle-unity' by our party has come and is still coming mainly from the two big so-called communist parties. They are constantly misrepresenting to their party workers, supporters and the people at large about this Marxist-Leninist principle pursued by us and confusing them by saying that we pay lip service to unity but actually oppose it in deed since we criticize the CPI and the CPI(M) within the united movement — although the fact is that we criticize them always on questions of ideology, principle and tactics of struggle only. Unity among the left and democratic forces has come about on the basis of different issues in the struggle against  the common or main enemy at different times. The differences between the constituents which are bound to appear because of the different political lines, centring round the object of struggle, matters concerning tactics, norms and approach even within this unity and while conducting united struggles — the importance of releasing relentless ideological struggles on these issues can never be neglected. The importance of this can be belittled or denied only with an eye to the vested interest of anyhow maintaining respective leadership or from left or right opportunistic deviations. Even at a time when we feel the necessity for conducting united struggles against the main enemy or a particular danger by forming united front, we cannot forget that within the very united struggle against the main enemy or danger lie hidden the dangers of another kind for leading the movement astray. Besides, to deny the struggle that is constantly appearing within united movement centring round ideology, line and approach means discarding in effect principle, ideology and political line without actually saying so, which is tantamount to compromising on ideology and base political line. Because, in the struggle against the common enemy or against the main danger or a tendency at a given time, although we are united on the basis of a definite and commonly agreed programme at the particular time, differences of opinion centring round  tactics of movement, norms and principles, approach and outlook are bound to arise within the united movement if we really mean the respective different base political lines we profess.

Therefore, those who hold that since there are differences in ideology, outlook and base political line, neither can there be unity and united movement nor can a united front be forged, are wrong; similarly those who think that since united movement or united front has developed on the basis of particular issues or a programme, mutual criticism or ideological struggles regarding the aims, tactics, norms and principles, or approach and outlook of the movement, hinder the united struggle, too, are utterly wrong. Both these groups are suffering from either left or right deviation. One of them preaches all unity and no struggle while the other, all struggle and no unity. We hold that because differences exist in ideology and base political line, these are reflected within the united front or the united movement as well. But these need not hinder unity or weaken united movement. Rather, there is indisputable necessity of conducting healthy ideological  struggle between the opposing base political lines in the united movement in the very interest of the united struggles of the masses so that these may be led to their consummation, because, if compromises on basic ideology and principle are made then that weakens the united movement and ultimately disrupts the unity itself. The Tenth Congress of the CPC has now highlighted the Marxist-Leninist principle of unity-struggle-unity and the truth culled from experience of Marxist-Leninist movements in the past that within the struggle against one opportunist force or tendency lies hidden another opportunist force or tendency.

Peace or war — both possibilities are equally real

See, how the Tenth Congress of the CPC has confirmed another important analysis of our party! When the revisionist Khrushchev leadership of the CPSU openly started saying that Lenin's profound thesis about imperialism generating war and the law of inevitability of war had become invalid, they underrated the danger of war and started stressing exclusively the possibility of peace, virtually reduced the principle of peaceful co-existence of Lenin and Stalin to peaceful capitulation, started to newly characterize the present era as an  era of disintegration of imperialism, got trapped by US policy of nuclear blackmailing, or else started conspiring with the USA, in whichever way you may understand it today, and in the name of fighting  the cult of personality actually started de- Stalinization — then serious differences arose in world communist circles on these questions and the difference with the CPC, too, gradually came into the open. When communists in many countries, being influenced by the various documents, pamphlets and articles published  by the CPC to fight the revisionist thinking of Khrushchev, started opposing revisionism, then in the very movement against neo-revisionism launched by them could be discerned another hidden tendency. It was the tendency, the inclination to deny the utility of peace movement, peace talks and the policy of peaceful co-existence itself. Because of this, they kept stressing only the danger of war and began to cite out of context such quotations from Lenin, Stalin and Mao which created even such confusion as if the CPC was denying the concrete possibility of preserving peace and thrusting peace upon the imperialists. How wrong this concept was, I showed while discussing the Ninth Congress Report. As a result of such one-sided polemics, the confusion became so much as to create the impression that the CPC was opposed to the policy of peaceful co-existence propounded by Lenin and Stalin and was advocating spread of socialism and communism through war. 

The analysis of our party, now confirmed by the Tenth Congress, should be examined in this background. As far back as 1959-60 when all these controversies were on, we showed that to lay one-sided stress on the peace movement and overrate the possibility of preserving peace, or to emphasize the danger of war in one-sided manner were both wrong. We observed that in the present era, if the national liberation struggles, revolutionary movements of the working class in capitalist countries and the peace movements from country to country did not weaken, if the socialist camp stuck to the correct course, if their politics remained correct and if they maintained constant vigilance against the imperialistic policy of aggression and interference then the imperialists would not be able actually to trigger off war and would be finished off even as they plot wars. But if the leadership of the socialist camp went astray, if there were disunity and if the political line became wrong, then war might break out any time since all economic and political factors for war were there. This was our analysis. On the basis of comprehensive evaluation of the post-World War international situation, we declared categorically that, in the changed situation, there was the concrete possibility of thrusting peace upon the imperialists and preserving peace, on the one hand, and, on the other, there was the real danger of outbreak of war if the socialist countries, the communists, revolutionary movements and mass movements from country to country slackened vigil or committed mistakes. Both possibilities are real. At long last, we find the CPC corroborating this analysis of ours on war and peace in definite terms at its Tenth Congress. This is no mean credit for our party. The Tenth Congress Report says: "The danger of a new world war still exists, and the people of all countries must get prepared. But revolution is the main trend in the world today. It will be possible to prevent such a war, so long as the peoples, who are becoming more and more awakened, keep the orientation clearly in sight, heighten their vigilance, strengthen unity and persevere in struggle. Should the imperialists be bent on unleashing such a war, it will inevitably give rise to greater revolution on a world-wide scale and hasten their doom". You know, the Soviet and the Chinese leaderships had so far been fighting on all these issues from two extreme positions. Although we could not influence the opinions in the world communist movement owing to our limited strength, it will have to be acknowledged today that it was our analysis on these issues that was correct. At least the Tenth Congress Report corroborates this.

The veteran comrades present here know that after revisionist Khrushchev and his clique had usurped the CPSU leadership, they started muddling up, from a revisionist outlook, the basic teachings and conclusions of Lenin and Stalin on the questions of war, peace and peaceful co-existence in the era of "imperialism, war and proletarian revolution" as enunciated by Lenin. Although the 20th Congress of the CPSU raised some important issues, we analysed to show that the possibility of deviation from Leninism and of opening of the floodgate of revisionism was inherent in it. In all fairness we may claim that it was we who sounded this note of caution to the communist parties of the world. You all know how strong was our criticism at that time on the observations of Khrushchev and Mikoyan. Our speeches, articles, pamphlets and various documents of that period testify to this. But no writings, statements or analyses of any other communist party of the world, not even the CPC or of Mao Zedong had this approach — at least not to my knowledge. Rather after the 20th Congress, of which Khrushchev and Mikoyan were the chief architects — and in which the possibility of opening the floodgates of revisionism was inherent — the CPC leadership hailed it as illumining the path. The other communists, too, praised the Khrushchev leadership without noting the revisionist tendency inherent in the 20th Congress.

Mere revisionist usurpation of leadership does not mean restoration of bourgeois dictatorship

Let us now revert to the Tenth Congress Report. Where, to what extent, and why our party differed  or does still differ with the statements in the Ninth Congress Report about the character of the Soviet state and our criticism at that time of these and about the contradictory observations throughout the Report on this question — there is no need of repeating that. But if you compare the Tenth Congress Report with that of the Ninth Congress, you would find that the present Report has been substantially freed from the inconsistencies and self-contradictions of the earlier Report and that quotation from Mao Zedong which helped increase confusion has also been omitted from the Tenth Congress Report. I would draw attention to another point of this Report where it says : ‘‘The essence of the counter-revolutionary revisionist line they3 pursued and the criminal aim of the counter-revolutionary armed coup d'etat  they launched were to usurp the supreme power of the party and the state, thoroughly betray the line of the Ninth Congress, radically change the party’s basic line and policies for the entire historical period of socialism, turn the Marxist-Leninist Chinese Communist Party into a revisionist, fascist party, subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat and restore capitalism.’’ Although this has been said about the Lin Biao clique in the context of China, it reveals the same reasoning with which they characterize the Soviet state as social imperialist. I have already said that this type of reasoning suffers from over-simplification. We could not agree with the childish argument that usurpation of the party and the state leadership by the revisionists itself automatically proves that the bourgeois dictatorship has been established there and capitalism restored. We do not think such reasoning is compatible with Marxism. But more on this later.

What is social imperialism

Before that, I want to discuss another point. A question has come up: What does the term social imperialism mean ?  What does it really signify ? If a socialist state, even as it talks of socialism and waves the banner of communism, continues to get polluted and becomes imperialist ultimately, going along the counter-revolutionary path, it would have a difference with a traditional imperialist state. What is it ?  The difference lies in the centralism of socialist rule, on the one hand, and, on the other, in the confusion created by its radical slogans — an illusion which a traditional imperialist country cannot generate because its rulers are already known to be exploiting oppressors; it is not possible for them to confuse the masses by talking of socialism or communism. The CPC leadership has used the term social imperialism to distinguish this. This is one aspect.

Second, whatever the extent of operation of the bourgeois democratic rights and concomitant advantages on the basis of old tradition in the imperialist countries in spite of their inherent butchery, the same is not possible in a social imperialist state. Take a country like the USA, the leader of the imperialist world which has been described by a man like Bertrand Russell to be a sordid military regime; what a great row was even there over the Watergate scandal; what commotion against the Pentagon, the army and the whole state so that even the President had to step down under pressure of public opinion. But an incident as this cannot  even be imagined in a socialist country turned social imperialist, because they would confuse and befool the people in the country and outside by their Marxist jargon, their label of progressiveness. By invoking Marxism, they would try to establish that to go against their state is to go against progress and people’s interest, and while doing this, they would prepare the ground for crushing the people ruthlessly. So, whatever scope of democratic opposition is there even in the traditional capitalist-imperialist countries would be far less there. There would be more ruthless oppression, more confusion in the name of progress. In this sense, it must be admitted that if a socialist country turns social imperialist, then the onslaughts that would come upon democratic rights and civil liberties would be even more severe than in a traditional imperialist country. So, if one really considers a country social imperialist — leaving aside whether such assessment is correct or not — it is but natural to view that country to be even more heinous than the arch imperialist USA. I would request those, who doubt the rationale of the CPC in equating the Soviet Union with the USA, to consider the question from this angle. Another question raised here betrays confusion. If we cannot develop a thorough understanding of Marxism and cannot sharpen it continually, such confusion is bound to recur. The question raised is: All Marxists know that foreign policy of a country follows from its economic base ; now, since we find that the Soviet Union is moving in league with the imperialist USA on many an issue, is that not sufficient proof of imperialist character of the Soviet state ?

It is grievously erroneous to view the matter in this way. I like to ask : Cannot the leadership of a communist party ever deviate or commit mistake ? Or cannot the leadership of a party be usurped by agent provocateurs at any time, under any circumstance, even if temporarily ?  And if that happens, can such a leadership because it has the backing of the state, be dislodged immediately ?  And if not, is it not natural that the leadership would hobnob with the imperialists in the sphere of foreign policy and join in imperialist intrigues ?  So, since Marxism has it that foreign policy is the reflection of domestic policy, especially the economic base of a country, can it be concluded then and there that the economy of the country has been transformed into imperialist economy ? I do not consider such reasoning Marxism. This is economic determinism in the name of Marxism. Take for example, the state structure, the state system. We know the Marxist analysis that the state is the superstructure of a given economic base. But it is also true, as Lenin said, that politics supersedes economy, meaning, in the present time, politics and political developments strongly influence economic matters and act as the determinant.

Relation between base and superstructure

Say, we are discussing the possibility that if the party leadership in a socialist country gets polluted even though the socialist economic base is intact, the same base might become rotten in course of time unless the leadership could be saved from degenerating. Since the economic base is intact, so the leadership, too, would automatically remain correct — the relation between the base and the superstructure or between idea and matter, as we say from another angle,  is not mechanical like this. It is to fight such mechanical understanding that Lenin said that politics supersedes economy. And so the CPC leadership started arguing that since political events influenced economic affairs strongly, therefore, as soon as the leadership was usurped by the revisionists, it had to be concluded that the socialist economic base, too, had been transformed into a capitalist base. I consider this, too, reflects a mechanical understanding of the relation between the base and the superstructure, although it is in the name of fighting economic determinism. Be that as it may, if you think deeply you would understand that Lenin’s April Thesis stands upon this realization. Viewed in the perspective of economic and social backwardness, it would have been natural to characterize the Russian revolution as bourgeois democratic revolution. But in determining the stage of revolution, Lenin always considered the class character of the state, and not economic backwardness or anything else, to be the principal and the determinant factor.

Not only this. In examining the question whether a state had acquired the character of a national sovereign capitalist state, Lenin did not consider the economic dependence of that country upon an imperialist country to be important at all. We know Lenin’s views in the dispute between Kautsky and Rosa Luxemburg on this issue which he discussed in his book Right of Nations to Self-determination, and on which there have been many discussions in our party. If these theories are correctly understood, there should be no difficulty in grasping why, in spite of some remnants of feudalism in the Indian economy for some time even after the transfer of power — and in that sense the revolution being still economically in the stage of democratic revolution — we arrived at the conclusion that the Indian revolution was in the stage of socialist revolution right from then. Right at the time of transfer of power we had said that since the state had become a state of the bourgeois class through achieving independence, in that sense and to that extent, Indian revolution had entered the stage of anti-capitalist socialist revolution. And now there are no remnants even of feudalism in the economy — whatever remains of it is in the cultural realm as hangover from the old society because of compromise by the national leadership. Although the tenet that the foreign policy is a reflection of the economic base of a country is true in a general way, its particular understanding is to be grasped and conclusion drawn only by examining the particular situation from all aspects.

The Soviet leadership is moving in collusion with the USA

Sometime back, an article on the Brezhnev-Nixon meet was published in the Proletarian Era, the English organ of our party. We had discussed in it that the revisionist leadership of the Soviet Union was moving hand in glove with the USA in trying to extend its sphere of influence. That analysis has been proved prophetic, so to say, through the subsequent developments in the Arab-Israel conflict. During those incidents too, a statement was issued by the Central Committee of our party which was far more categorical than the Chinese stand. Although the CPC did not go as far as we did, the nature and tenor of their criticism of the USSR were more or less similar to ours. The only difference has been that whereas the CPC has generally referred to the Soviet Union we have referred to the revisionist leadership of the USSR on each issue while criticizing  because, unlike the CPC, we have not yet been able to conclude beyond doubt that the Soviet state has been reduced to a social imperialist state. But while we have strongly condemned and criticized the Soviet revisionist leadership, we have at the same time appealed to the people of the Soviet Union and of the whole world. Expressing concern at the way the revisionist Soviet leadership is now allowing the international monopoly capital, their corporate houses, to open offices and agencies, the way their capitalist tendency is growing there, speculation is on the rise, the sphere of commodity circulation and small production are on the increase and profit incentive is increasingly playing an important role, we have cautioned that, unless these trends and tendencies can be checked, the very state founded and reared by Lenin and Stalin would be endangered and capitalist production relation established in place of socialist production relation.  So we have appealed to the people of the world, particularly of the Soviet Union, to come forward to save the first socialist state on the globe.

Two instruments of the working class — party and state

Here I wish you to recall some important observations of Lenin.  Lenin clearly highlighted one thing, when he said: It is to be remembered that prior to revolution, the working class wields only one instrument and that is its party — and, I may add, this party, too, is unarmed in most cases — but after the revolution it wields two instruments — the party and the state.  That Lenin referred to these two separately and distinctly carries a significance.  It is not that as soon as party leadership becomes polluted, the other organ, too, automatically becomes corrupted.  Now, once a controversy arose among the communists  on the issue: just because the dictatorship of the proletariat has been established in a country, whether it can be said that dictatorship of the party has been established there; conversely, whether it is correct to say that the dictatorship of the proletariat has been established as soon as the dictatorship of the party is established.  Lenin said that if the dictatorship of the proletariat were really established, that is if the proletariat as a class came to state power, then it would have to be assumed that the party dictatorship, too, had been established there as the proletariat class could operate only through the party; but to understand if the dictatorship of the proletariat had really been established through establishment of the party dictatorship, it would have to be examined whether the proletariat as a class had attained real power of the state.

I think Mao Zedong has viewed this second postulate of Lenin incorrectly and whether or not he explicitly says so he framed an argument on its basis like this: since Lenin held that it could not always be said automatically that the dictatorship of the proletariat had been established even if the party dictatorship had been established, therefore it could be argued on the same logic that if the leadership of a party became revisionist at some point of time after it had captured the state power, the dictatorship of the proletariat could not have been established there at all.  I do not consider the issue so simple.

My question is : Why did Lenin distinguish between the two instruments that the proletariat wields after the revolution ? What does it really signify ? Although functions of these two instruments are not only interrelated but also interdependent to a large extent, I consider the two to have separate entity and some relative independence.  If that is so, how can it be said without analysing the events that as soon as one of the two instruments became polluted, the other, too, got polluted automatically ? Can the working class which has forged an instrument with toil and blood of many a struggle allow it to turn corrupt so easily and without resistance?  There can certainly be great damage if the party leadership turns revisionist, but it is not that at once the party degenerates lock, stock and barrel.  Herein lies the significance of differentiating between the two instruments which I do not think Mao Zedong, despite his giant stature, has been able to grasp.  As soon as one of the two instruments gets corrupt, the other, too, turns corrupt — this, I think, is a wrong understanding of Lenin's thesis.  Otherwise, they will have to answer a question: If it be true that the state also becomes polluted, as soon as the party leadership is usurped by the revisionists, then why did not the CPC conclude that the Soviet state had degenerated to a capitalist state on the very day they characterized the Khrushchev leadership as revisionist?  Why did they take so much time to arrive at this conclusion?  It is not that a man becomes a renegade the moment he starts to deviate.  History of international communist movement is replete with instances to show this.  I do not wish to dwell upon it any more.

How to judge if Soviet state has turned social imperialist

A question has been raised : What are the characteristic features which go to show that a socialist state, in the course of deviation, has turned into a capitalist state?  Much time is needed to discuss this question thoroughly, which I do not have now.  Surely you remember that at the time of discussing the Ninth Congress Report, I raised a number of fundamental issues regarding this question. You will have to understand the matter keeping in view those fundamental aspects. I had said then that to conclude like this, it would have to be shown that a fundamental change had come about in the system of production, production relation and motive force of production in the Soviet Union and that capitalist production relation and motive force of production being restored in place of socialist production relation and motive force of production, it had basically changed the very economic system. Since a question has been raised on this again, let me touch upon it briefly.

I feel, the issue merits consideration from different angles. First, it is to be seen whither their activities, political moves are leading, that is, what their political activities are basically oriented to. Although they are moving in league with the imperialists in different spheres, whether they have contradiction with the imperialists, that is, whether they play an anti-imperialist role on the question of freedom struggle, liberation war, even if to some extent. Whether they always, in every sphere, move in alliance with the imperialists or despite such a tendency, a contradiction, too, operates ?  Take, for example, Vietnam, especially North Vietnam which is conducting heroic struggle against the US imperialists. Naturally, they cannot find any friends among the imperialists. This is one aspect. Again, Vietnam, as far as  we can see now, is on the side of China and against the Soviet Union in the struggle against revisionism. But while criticizing the Soviet Union on various ideological questions, they are still inclined to consider it a friend. Why ?  This should be thought over. They have tremendous direct experience of sufferings at the hands of US imperialism. But see, in spite of the Soviet recognition of the US puppet Lon Nol,4 they still consider the Soviet Union a friend in the struggle against US imperialism and have difference of opinion with China on this point. This is the tenor I found in the stand taken in a document of their Central Committee prior to the demise of Ho Chi Minh. They are against Soviet revisionism alright, but they have not been able to agree with the CPC’s  assessment of the Soviet Union. What is being gained from the contradiction between the Soviet Union and US imperialism is a different matter altogether. But it should be noted that contradictions are there.

Second, it will have to be ascertained whether the production relation in the Soviet Union has been totally changed, that is, whether socialist production relation there has been replaced by capitalist production relation. More precisely, whether the production relation based on social ownership of means of production has been totally changed. In this context, I would like to discuss one or two more points, as otherwise confusion may arise while trying to grasp the problem. We have to understand that nationalization of industries in a capitalist state does not mean social ownership. Even if industries are nationalized in the capitalist system, maximization of profit remains the aim of production; there is no change in the worker-owner relationship, that is, exploitation and oppression continue. The only change is that the state becomes the owner, instead of an individual. Moreover, the norms to determine the wages of a worker are not the same in the capitalist and socialist systems. In the capitalist system, the worker never gets fair wages — is always deprived of the legitimate value of his labour, the fair wages. The way the wages of a worker can be fixed in a socialist country, because the production there has a social aim, cannot be done in a capitalist country as the production there is conducted to maximize profit.

Anyone conversant with economics knows that as the labour power remains embodied in the product, it cannot be separated out and measured. The way of determining the wages on the basis of natural justice is :  after deducting from the surplus value created in society that portion which is needed for overall economic progress of society and people, cultural enhancement and such other necessities, that is, the portion needed to be spent in the interest of workers for their advancement, the balance amount should be spent on wages of workers. This is one aspect. Second, how much each worker would    get individually should be determined on the basis of the principle of ‘to each according to his ability’. And because the socialist system is free from individual as well as institutional expropriation, the benefit obtained by a worker through this process, this principle of determining the wages cannot be had in a capitalist country as a big chunk of the surplus value there goes away as profit of the owners. Even if the state becomes the owner there instead of an individual, there is no change in this. It goes without saying that state capital is born through this process of nationalization of industries and it is this state capital, state monopoly capital in particular, which acts as the rock-bottom economic foundation of fascism. Besides, a large portion of surplus value that is spent for development of industry, advancement of the ‘country’, improvement of roads and communications, etc., in the capitalist system is pocketed by the bureaucrats and the people are deprived in this way, too.

Therefore, to conclude that the socialist economy of the USSR has been reduced to a capitalist economy, it will have to be shown that the socialized industries there have been transformed to acquire the characteristics of nationalized industries in the capitalist system giving birth to state capital. It would not suffice to say simply that speculation and commodity circulation are increasing there and profit incentive is playing an important role; these would have to be substantiated with relevant data. If anybody can provide such conclusive authentic data, we shall be grateful. But before that, it cannot be said conclusively that the Soviet state has turned into a social imperialist state because the revisionists have usurped the party and state leadership there.

Lin Biao’s main concern was to usurp power

Now, a few words about Lin Biao. What have we seen him to be at the Ninth Congress ?  He is not only the Vice-chairman of the party but is placing the Report at the Congress, is a close comrade-in-arms of Mao Zedong and is being thought of as the successor to Mao. During the discussion on the Ninth Congress Report I spelt out the impression we had formed about him by studying that Report and some relevant events. I had said that if Lin Biao succeeded Mao as the theoretician and leader of the CPC and if the leadership of the party and power vested in him, then, it must be said, the future of the CPC was bleak. I spoke at length about the reasons for forming this impression. I said that the question of political line was not important to Lin Biao, his main concern was to usurp the power of the party and the state. He wanted to do this even while he repeatedly raised the slogan ‘‘Long Live Mao Zedong’’ and chanted quotations from Mao. I had shown what a level of sycophancy he had stooped to. Now see, what Zhou Enlai has said about him in the Tenth Congress Report: ‘‘ Lin Biao and his handful of sworn followers were a counter-revolutionary conspiratorial clique who never showed up without a copy of ‘quotations’ in hand, and never opened their mouths without shouting ‘Long Live’ and who spoke nice things to your face but stabbed you in the back.’’

Needless to say, such characterization of Lin Biao was not made by them at the time of the Ninth Congress. But although we did not have the necessary data and proof but basing ourselves only on the logic of probability we had said that it could be that Mao himself was virtually under arrest by Lin Biao and it appeared that to eulogize Mao was a deception of his to pave the way for usurping power.

I had said that the Lin Biao clique had perhaps concentrated such powers in its hands that Mao could do little about it although he was present at the Congress. Although the Tenth Congress Report mentions that Mao had criticized the shortcomings and mistakes of Lin Biao, admonished him and tried to rectify him, a question naturally arises: How does a man whose integrity is suspect, get opportunity to place the Report at the Congress ? Is someone opposed to the party’s political line allowed to read out the Report at the Congress ?  Or the reality was such that even if Mao had this apprehension, he was virtually powerless to act ?  These should be pondered over. After all this time, now at the Tenth Congress, unequivocal charge has been brought against Lin Biao that he not only attempted to usurp all power of the party and the state but even conspired to assassinate Mao — a conspiracy which was eventually foiled.

Incidentally, let us see how the Report of the Ninth Congress was prepared and what the Tenth Congress says on this. It has been said that at first Chen Pota and Lin Biao jointly drafted a Report which was rejected by the Central Committee. Subsequently, the Report was prepared under the guidance of Mao. But nothing has been said about who drafted the Report and whether Lin Biao or any of his men had a hand in it. It is to be noted that in the Central Committee, Chen Pota had opposed this Report but Lin Biao had not. My point is that, on the basis of this scanty information in the Tenth Congress Report, we cannot say that Lin Biao had no hand in preparing the Ninth Congress Report. If he had, then taking this opportunity, he had inserted empty praises of Mao while he also got himself described in the Report as the disciple, inheritor and successor to Mao. To whatever extent Mao appears to have detected such motive of Lin Biao, he could never have allowed him to place the Report at the Party Congress, unless the situation was such that Lin Biao already exercised total control over the party from within. So, it could be that although he felt the necessity of opposing Lin Biao, Mao did not do it as he himself would have to do it and he did not feel it expedient to involve himself. Perhaps he needed some time to consolidate his power and position before he could strike at an opportune moment. He could have thought like this. That is, despite what Lin Biao was, since he had been preaching Mao’s line, for the time being, it was wise for Mao to strengthen the hands of Zhou Enlai and such others.   And this is exactly what happened. When the Lin Biao clique proposed his name in place of Liu Shaoqi  as the President of China at the Central Committee and the First and Second Plenary Sessions, Mao Zedong directly opposed it. So, Lin Biao got alarmed; he realized that it was impossible for him to become President in Mao’s lifetime.  And if he now opposed Mao, his own followers would snub him because he had been projecting himself as Mao’s right hand man, a protagonist of Mao’s thought, etc. He could not challenge the authority of Mao which had helped to protect the party even amidst such difficulties. So, he had to keep on chanting the name of Mao while conspiring to kill him, as has been revealed in the Tenth Congress Report.

Mechanization of thought should be fought out

Incidentally, I wish to draw attention to another aspect. Right from the inception of our party, we have been fighting against the tendency of authoritarianism and mechanization of thought in the international communist movement. Suppose, a leader in a revolutionary party who was a true revolutionary in the past, may be a front-ranking leader, has degenerated and become anti-party. What should be our approach to such a phenomenon ? During discussion on the Ninth Congress Report and particularly while discussing the Liu Shaoqi affair, I had dealt with this from various angles. So there is no necessity to reiterate the same here. But the point is — whenever we judge such a phenomenon, no matter who is involved— Liu Shaoqi or Lin Biao — if we suffer from mechanical concept or are swayed by emotion then there is danger that the very purpose of the criticism would be lost. Whether such a person was a traitor from the very beginning, or whether in spite of being a revolutionary at the beginning he went astray, deviated later because of failure to conduct struggles covering all aspects of life or due to whatever reason — in order to correctly understand these, the leadership should have  wisdom  and  a  clear  conception  about  style  or method of work within the party. That is, it should not act basing itself  only on reports.  When a leadership can grasp the logic of probability and apply it correctly,   then  many a danger can be averted or, at least, there is scope for this. So  the  question  of  a  leadership  acquiring  this  faculty, based on the science of Marxism, in conducting struggles and of developing scientific conception about different aspects of epistemology is very important. Needless to say, to become free from the influence of mechanization of thought, which has done much damage to the international communist movement, is a precondition for acquiring such faculty.

At the same time, one should not forget this indispensability of struggle on the basis of principle, that is, of  not  compromising  on  basic  principles.   When  the 12-Party Declaration was drafted, Mao Zedong himself was present on behalf of the CPC. You also know that Liu Shaoqi  represented  CPC  while  the  81-Party  Statement was drafted. Yet compromises on principles and ideology were  reflected  in  both  those  documents.  You  know,  we had criticized such compromises on matters of principle. Our party has been trying for long to highlight these questions.

A serious theoretical mistake

Comrades, there is a serious mistake in the Tenth Congress Report which has not escaped my notice.  So many of you comrades raised questions and talked about so much but none of you referred to this.  I want to ask you very seriously: How do you study a document of this nature?  Do you study it critically, fully concentrating attention?  Such important documents should never be read casually.  However, before I read out from the Report to show the nature of this serious fault and through which statements it is revealed, it is necessary to speak about the issue even if briefly.

What was the nature of the dictatorship in China in the first stage after the new democratic revolution was successful?  I feel, the class-alignment, the form of dictatorship of the state established in China after the revolution was what is called democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry (D.D.P.P.) in classical Marxist literature.  Mao Zedong, in his own language, has called this the people's democratic dictatorship.  What was the form of this dictatorship?  It was a special type of class alliance with the whole of the peasantry under the leadership of the working class, under its dictatorship.  The situation was somewhat similar to that obtaining in Russia after the revolution and prior to banning the Constituent Assembly and introduction of the dictatorship of the proletariat.  Now, because the urban petty bourgeoisie had a special role in the Chinese Revolution and the administration contained people from that stratum, Mao, instead of terming it as a special type of class alliance between the workers and the peasants, called it people's democratic dictatorship with a particular objective in view, and I support such coining.

Let me read out what they have said in the Tenth Congress Report about the character of the dictatorship in that particular period : “However, as the Chinese revolution developed further and specially when it turned socialist in nature, and became more and more thoroughgoing — aiming at the complete overthrow of the bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes — the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in place of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie” etc., etc.  See, what an anomaly !  How can the stage after the successful new democratic revolution in China be called the stage of bourgeois dictatorship?    But this is what they have said.  A question may arise: Does the CPC really consider it to be the stage of bourgeois dictatorship or is it just a faulty theoretical expression?  There can be no doubt that the CPC considers it to be the stage not of bourgeois dictatorship but of the people's democratic dictatorship.  How could there be such a faulty theoretical expression then?  Two possibilities strike me in this regard.

Firstly, while repeatedly chanting about the struggle between the two lines, they might have been carried away resulting in this shortcoming.  That is, as the Chinese Revolution attains the stage of socialist revolution when the dictatorship of the proletariat becomes established, since it is the dictatorship of the proletariat, it must have come about after defeating the bourgeois dictatorship!

The second possibility is: Liu Shaoqi's supporters had majority in the leading committee of the party in the period under question; now, since Liu is a revisionist and as the theory that the character of the party and the state changes as soon as the revisionists usurp the party leadership works in their mind, they might have denoted that period to be the period of bourgeois dictatorship under the influence of this thinking.  This possibility cannot be ruled out.  If it be so they might have viewed that the dictatorship of the proletariat was established through the Cultural Revolution.  It has not been spelt out like this in the Report — I am only speaking of the possibility.  But the main point is the expression, whatever the reason, is wrong and cannot be supported.

A few words about two-line struggle

Now, a few words about two-line struggle.  The way this struggle between two lines was viewed in the Ninth Congress Report, particularly the way they spoke as if there would always be two-line struggle within a working class party and the very existence of the party was based on two-line struggle — I discussed then why such an approach was wrong and how it could crop up.  At the Tenth Congress, however, the issue has not been viewed that way.  Therefore, it appears to us that there has been some correction although they have not spoken clearly about the two-line struggle, the way we understand it.  They have said now that the class struggle going on outside finds reflection inside the party and, as a result, there would be struggle between two lines from time to time.  They have not said that such struggle would go on within the party all the time.  For instance, they have said like this that there have been such two-line struggles ten times in the history of their party and there would be such struggles perhaps twenty to thirty times more before classless society is attained.  Now, one may object to the positive tone in which it has been asserted that two-line struggles would be there.  For, whether this would happen or not depends on some factors.

It is not that two-line struggle within the party is an entity independent of people's will.  What is the crux of the matter?  What determines if opposing thoughts on fundamental questions would appear within the party or not?  If the party leadership is capable, if it can grasp the science of Marxism covering and co-ordinating the different branches of epistemology, and if it has a good command over the logic of probability and psychology, then it can understand at the slightest indication what the party workers want to say, can grasp the nature and import of each and every problem and so does not get into a crisis unawares.  But when the bureaucratic style of work prevails in the party, the leaders just issue circulars, deliver speeches, conduct classes, pen articles and see that the mass line is provided to the party workers but they do not maintain close association with the comrades, remain vigilant about their conduct and lead collective life with them, then the probability of this danger remains.  And to lead collective life does not just mean staying together in camps, keeping to villages all together or living in peasant households.  Again, someone might think that although he lives with his wife and children in a separate house, since they, too, are party comrades and he lives with them, it can be taken for granted that he is having association with party comrades round the clock.  This also is a wrong concept.

It is necessary that the leaders should involve the party comrades in constant common association, constant common discussion and constant common activity so that the comrades can find answers to their every problem in minutest detail and the struggle to acquire communist ethics and culture gets strengthened.  So, we have to continually improve our style of work, norms of discussion and criticism, our outlook as well as mode of reasoning — in a word, everything.  We have to go on improving our style of work so that our cadre-strength increases, number of units grow and the ability to solve the complex problems of the ever-growing organization is enhanced.  Even if it is adequate today, it will have to be improved further.  See, that is why they have given the call for struggle-criticism-transformation at the Tenth Congress.  It means, through criticism and self-criticism, change yourselves continually so that you can tackle the ever-changing situations and complex problems arising all the time.  And with this is to be integrated the struggle to acquire comprehensive knowledge of the science of Marxism. Only then can it be possible to fight the bureaucratic style of work and keep ourselves free from mistakes and lapses.  It is not that there would or could no longer be any mistakes, but the possibility of this would be narrowed down.

It is the capacity for anticipating and grasping the different problems and wisdom of the leadership that determine how far the two-line struggle can be restrained.  So, the frequency of this two-line struggle is largely dependent on how far the task of inner-party struggle, inner-party education can be conducted correctly and uniformity of thinking and ideological centralism developed on its basis.  Therefore, it is wrong to think that it is independent of people's will.  The struggle between bourgeois and proletarian lines of thinking arises only when the contradiction within the party takes the shape of conflict.  But so long as this does not reach the stage of conflict, it remains, with the mistakes and shortcomings, within the orbit of proletarian line. 

We are confident, Mao leadership would protect Chinese Revolution

I shall conclude with one more point. The Tenth Congress Report has helped to overcome many a shortcoming, theoretical confusion and self-contradiction of the Ninth Congress and highlighted and reiterated many important educative aspects. From that point of view, this Report is very commendable and deserves to be hailed. But you know, when discussing about the  Chinese Cultural Revolution, even while unstintedly praising it to be magnificent, I had referred to some of its serious mistakes. I had observed that unless those could be eradicated forthwith, the danger of revisionism could again rear its head in China. Studying the Tenth Congress Report, I have had the feeling that they have not yet been able to grasp those mistakes or else, that has escaped my attention. In the discussion on Cultural Revolution, I had said that while they were conducting the Cultural Revolution against the influence of bourgeois and old reactionary culture that had persisted in diverse subtle forms within the party and in social life, they had not yet been able to put forward any scientific concept as to what were the character, form and distinctive features of proletarian culture and how these differed fundamentally with the bourgeois humanist culture and values; as a result, even if they solved the immediate problem through the Cultural Revolution, individualism would continue to persist in the social life and many a problem would crop up from this. Because in this era, even in the advanced capitalist countries, individual liberty, individual rights and sense of individuality which had once inspired man to struggle, are being reduced to privileges although the necessity for united struggle against exploitation and oppression is still there. The right to equality which was once a slogan of bourgeois democratic revolution has in reality remained just a slogan in the capitalist countries. The struggle for emancipation of the individual has entered a new stage after the right to equality has been established in the real sense in the socialist system and a totally new condition has developed in the natural course of things with the individual enjoying more and more opportunity, advantage and freedom as compared to the bourgeois social system; unless this can be grasped and pinpointed scientifically, individual freedom and sense of individual rights would create anew privileges even among the communists.

Under the influence of this individualism, a new kind of economic opportunism would appear among the workers after the socialist revolution if their consciousness remains at a low level. Besides, under influence of modern revisionism and due to lack of even rudimentary understanding of the true character of the contradiction inherent in the socialist system and the basic law of development of socialist economy, a group of theorists hold that the main aim of the socialist system is to anyhow increase production because, according to them, socialism loses all its meaning to the workers unless they receive more material benefits than in the advanced capitalist countries. So, in their bid to anyhow increase production in total disregard to the laws of development of socialist economy, they even advocate and provide bourgeois material incentive as a result of which capitalist tendencies start appearing at various levels in the production system, tendencies of anarchy and speculation crop up and ultimately the very existence  of the socialist economy and system becomes imperilled. So, hankering for material benefit and incentive would surface among the workers and individual opportunism would appear and grow. This is a new type of individualism, and I had termed it socialist individualism.

I had also shown that in socialist system, this contradiction between individual interest and social interest is antagonistic in nature. So long as this contradiction cannot be turned into a non-antagonistic one, the state would not wither away although classes might be abolished as an economic category in relation to production and distribution. That is, the state with its coercion would exist as a reflection of the antagonistic contradiction between individual interest and social interest. Hence, emancipation of the individual would not come. In this situation, demands for establishing individual rights would be raised anew, tendency of the individual to revolt would increase and social aim and objective, strength of and dedication in the communist ideology be undermined. So, either the repression of the state would increase resulting in further intensification of disaffection of the individual or else, liberalizations would come, one after another, and in their wake revisionism and the danger of capitalist restoration.

Therefore, along with the struggle for uninterrupted advancement of socialist revolution, relentless struggle for identification of individual interest with social interest  would have to be released in the realm of culture in order to transform the antagonistic contradiction between individual interest and social interest into a non-antagonistic one. The working class would have to understand that in the socialist system there is no more necessity of struggle against a class in power to achieve rights and freedom. Rather, the old bourgeois concepts and habits about individual freedom and individuality which still persist in diverse subtle  forms, are obstructing the process of merger of the individual necessity into the social necessity. This is what stands in the way of emancipation of the individual today.

I think, to achieve this, the concept that a true communist is one who can unconditionally surrender individual interest to the interest of the society, of the party and of revolution, is no longer adequate. This concept embodied in the books On Communist Education by Kalinin and How To Be A Good Communist by Liu Shaoqi — although criticized  now, once this book used to be highly acclaimed by the CPC — basically reflects the bourgeois humanist sense of values. If the standard of consciousness remains at this level, the struggle for emancipation of the individual that has entered a new, complex stage in the socialist system could not be resolved fully and it would not be possible to bring about complete dedication by defeating the tendency of individualism. Today, in order to attain the advanced standard of communist character, an individual would have to identify himself unreservedly, unhesitatingly, unconditionally and happily with the interest of the party and revolution and conduct arduous, painstaking struggle on that basis. I had discussed this point while dealing with the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Secondly, unless the understanding of Marxism-Leninism that guides revolution and helps in its advancement up to a certain stage can be further developed through philosophical advancement of Marxism-Leninism in consonance with the newer problems, newer complexities that arise when class struggle enters into a completely different stage in the post-revolution period and with the advancements in natural sciences and in the economic, social and political spheres, then the old standard of consciousness becomes inadequate in the changed context. And if the philosophical and cultural levels remain low, then given suitable environment in a complex situation, that can breed revisionism any time and endanger revolution.

Thirdly, so long as individual consciousness does not advance to the level of social consciousness, there would be a role for the individual to play as the leader of social revolution. Without this, organizing revolution cannot  be contemplated even. A party which does not understand the importance of this, fails to personify the collective leadership of the party through a leader, and does not project that leader in the mass imagination, does not concretely view the revolution at all. Whenever revolutionary activity had to be concretely organized in any country, this task had to be fulfilled as a real necessity for the revolution. The point to be understood is, individual had a historic role to play as leader in bourgeois democratic revolution and has in proletarian revolution as well, but there is a fundamental difference between the two in character. Unless this can be grasped, a mechanical approach towards a particular individual leadership would arise in proletarian revolution, too. And from this would stem cult of the individual and all its evil effects; either blind allegiance to the leadership or blind opposition to it. So, a mechanical relationship would develop with that particular leader, too, instead of a dialectical one, the overall standard of consciousness in the party be lowered and ultimately even the leader adversely affected thereby. Although the emergence of Mao Zedong as the leader of the Chinese Revolution is a historic event without which the revolution itself  might not have been accomplished and the projection of Mao before the country and the people serves them well, they have as yet been unable to present any clear-cut scientific concept pinpointing  the difference between the individual leadership in bourgeois revolution  and this concretized, personified expression of collective leadership in the proletarian revolution, and show in which process, in the course of historical development, has the emergence of this particular leader come about as an indispensable necessity of the revolution.

They have failed to show that since the bourgeois revolution is for establishing individual ownership and right over means of production — a revolution in one sense for development and flowering of individual and individuality — it is the individual leadership that directs the collective from outside, so to say, even within the framework of ‘model’ bourgeois democracy. That is, in practice, the democratic leadership remains formal there. But since the socialist revolution is for establishing collective ownership in place of individual ownership over means of production, the very concept of leadership it has evolved is the concept of collective leadership. In a proletarian party, this collective leadership evolves through the dialectical interaction of ideas of all its members, and the collective leadership in the true sense emerges in the party only when it is personified through a leader. So far as I know, the CPC has not as yet provided such concept about collective leadership. As a result,  various confusions and mechanical approaches would persist in their concept about leadership. Besides these, I had referred to some other shortcomings of theirs. I do not wish to go into all that again. Even while hailing the Chinese Cultural Revolution as magnificent, I had referred to such shortcomings and said that if those persisted, the immediate problems before the Cultural Revolution might be solved but the danger  of further crises would remain. If they cannot grasp the reasons why the tendency of individualism is on the increase in the new situation after revolution and the character of this socialist individualism, and if they cannot evolve  a new, advanced concept of proletarian ethics capable of combating these, and if their concept of leadership continues to be mechanical, then there would again be problems once the tide of Cultural Revolution subsides somewhat  and stable condition arises. Particularly, the coming new generation would  fall  victim  to  this  socialist  individualism  and,  as a result, the danger of a new type of revisionism might arise.

It is a matter of great pleasure and hope that they have been able to rectify many major shortcomings and mistakes of the Ninth Congress at the Tenth and I have high regard for Mao Zedong’s ability and wisdom that have, I think, made this possible. So, I can reasonably hope that the CPC under the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong would be able to eradicate quickly these weaknesses, too, and defend the Chinese Revolution against revisionist deviation. Our party has this hope and confidence.5 This discussion may not have covered all the points, neither is it possible to do it in one discourse, but I feel I have touched upon all important points. I conclude here today. Long Live Revolution !


1. A party in India now playing full-fledged social democratic role of compromising force between labour and capital in the name of communism. At that time it felt some concern about theories—right or wrong—which it does not do now at all

2. Indians and Chinese are brethren

3. The Lin Biao clique

4. US puppet government in Kampuchea headed by Lon Nol

5. After the demise of Comrade Mao Zedong, the Central Committee of our party guided by the thoughts of the departed leader, Comrade Shibdas Ghosh, analysed to show that under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, it was the revisionists who usurped power in the party and the state in China.

Shibdas Ghosh Internet Archive  |  Marxism and Anti-Imperialism in India