Dear Comrade Dixon,
I have reflected on your speech at the Victorian Part Conference. Particularly am I prompted to write this letter b your statement that “the trouble with Comrade Hill is that he is haunted by the ghosts of the past”. The irony of this must surely strike you, because it is precisely you and Comrades Sharkey and Aarons who must be haunted by the ghosts of the past.
As I participated along with you, and Comrades Sharkey and Aarons, in many of the international and national discussions on the current questions of controversy, and as you and some comrades have so seriously misrepresented and distorted them, I am constrained to refer to some of the matters in question and our respective roles in them. Naturally, I can cover only some aspects of many events which have occurred over a period of some years.
In my speech to the Central Committee in February, 1962 (in which I expressed my dissent from the other members of the Political Committee), and again in my speech to the recent Victorian Conference, I covered some of the principal questions.
I place on record that until 1961, particularly you, Comrade Sharkey and I (never dissented from, at least openly, by Comrade Aarons, although I now believe that he did not really agree) found our views in strong accord with the Marxist-Leninist view adopted by the Chinese Party not because it was the Chinese Party’s view but because it accorded with Marxism-Leninism.
This was your position until I left you in hospital in June, 1961. This view had prevailed in all Australian Party discussions until you left Australia in late 1960 to attend the 81 Parties’ Conference.
It continued to prevail until shortly before the 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U. in 1961 when it began to change and completed that change after the 22nd Congress.
You will not forget (although you may deny) how strongly you and Comrade Sharkey and Comrade Aarons condemned as utterly unprincipled, the conduct of Comrade Khrushchev at Bucharest at the time of the Rumanian Congress, in mid 1960; you will not forget (though you may deny) Comrade Thornton’s reporting on this, in full, after overseas discussions and your own vigorous condemnation of it at the Political Committee.
Nor will you forget (though you may deny) your vigorous condemnation of the one-sided presentation of what is called the peaceful transition to socialism nor your description of the ridicule Comrade Sharkey poured on the British Party delegation at the 81 Parties’ Conference because of their view of the projected peaceful change to socialism in Britain, nor your own ridicule of the Italian Party’s concept of structural reform.
Nor will you forget (though you may deny) your assertion that the whole of what you described as Khrushchev’s fallacious foreign policy had suffered a “collapse” with the shooting down of the U2 plane.
You will not forget (though you may deny) your description and that of Comrade Sharkey of the pressure, intimidation flattery and so on, to which you and he were subjected in Moscow by some Soviet comrades in an effort to get you to agree to their line at the 81 Parties’ Conference (you having participated in the drafting commission) and how you honourably resisted it all and for which I, and others at the time, greatly respected you and Comrade Sharkey.
You will not forget (though you may deny) your description of the pressure put by some Soviet Comrades on Comrade Sharkey to include in an article to be published in Pravda an endorsement of the Rumanian Party Congress and his refusal to yield to the pressure.
You will not forget (though you may deny) the Political Committee discussions in 1959 when both Comrade Sharkey and I reported on our respective visits to China, he having seen Comrade Mao Tsetung when the essence of the current controversial questions (although not then issues of controversy) was put to him, and Comrade Sharkey found his views in accord with those of Comrade Mao Tsetung, precisely because they were expressions of the universal truths of Marxism-Leninism.
Nor will you forget (though you may deny) our report on our discussions with some Soviet comrades on the Petrov affair.
Nor will you forget (though you may deny) the great positive estimate you and Comrades Sharkey and Aarons had until 1961 of the theory and practice of the Chinese Party which you now condemn as “left”, “doctrinaire”, “bankrupt” and so on.
Apropos of the allegation by Comrade Mortimer at the State Conference that I had branded the practice of personal summaries at schools as bourgeois psycho-analysis, you will not forget (though you may deny) that it was precisely you who used the term of “bourgeois psycho-analysis”, you and I, as the result of our own joint experiences having reached conclusions which were endorsed at the Political Committee against the opposition of Comrade Aarons.
Similarly on the character of the Party ascribed to me personally, (misrepresented as it was by Comrade Mortimer) you will not forget (though you may deny) those views too were endorsed by the Political Committee.
I previously remarked, and I repeat for the record, that the matters now alleged against me and others as deviations of long standing, were in fact decisions of the Political Committee and Central Committee.
I place on record that the pamphlet that Comrade Aarons says was rejected for publication because of its political deviations was directed to be published by unanimous decision of the Central Committee, and you were one of its most enthusiastic champions. (Incidentally I have recently looked over this material, so important as I believe it to be in the struggle for the defence of democratic rights, and I propose to make it available for publication).
So when the past is talked about, it is necessary to set out the facts.
Your difficulty arises because, until the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, you held diametrically opposite views to the views you now expound and yet you attempt to say you have not changed. If you said: “Yes, I did have the opposite view but now I have reconsidered it and feel I was wrong then, and therefore I have changed my view you would be entitled to respect. In the final analysis, you can not evade the consequences of your deception, because your previous position and that of your colleagues, is too well known not only to me, but to other comrades both in Australia and other countries, and moreover there is much documentary evidence of it which can be found in the Communist Review and other places.
Hence you must make false assertions about your own previous position and that of your colleagues (and of me). This is not honest and complete honesty with the working class and working people is of supreme importance.
You asserted in your conference speech that I had said that nuclear weapons had changed nothing. I quote what I said:
Nuclear weapons have in no way changed the considerations that apply to these matters (i.e. the principles in the struggle for peace). Their unprecedented destructiveness provides a powerful basis for mobilising people against them and against war. But they do not transcend classes nor societies nor alter fundamental teachings on just and unjust wars, on national liberation movements, on disarmament and so on.
You know the statement that I made yet you cannot afford to quote correctly because that would reveal what I regard as your departure from Marxism-Leninism.
There are many other matters in issue. No doubt even more will emerge. Nor do I pretend that I have not made mistakes.
I freely acknowledge that I have.
I deplore the gossip and slander that has gone on in this matter. I have never lent myself to it but you have stood idly by when for example, foul allegations were made by Jack Brown, despite a previous contrary assurance by you.
I have had a long association with you, which I valued, and now your conduct makes it perfectly clear that you have repudiated all that and desire only to destroy those who know the truth and are prepared to speak out in its defence. But as ever, truth is indestructible and the truth transcends any question concerning me as an individual.
I also point out that since the State Conference, I have had numbers of requests from Party members for access to my speech and to other speeches and articles I have made or written. As I have all the material over the whole range of this dispute, I have complied with these requests. However, I repeat my previous invitation that the Central Committee publish them with its own comments of criticism.
You have played a key part and must bear a heavy responsibility for the present trend in the majority of the Central Committee towards a departure from a principled Marxist-Leninist position.
As part of that departure, and essential to it, you have helped prohibit on the Central Committee, the highest policy making body of the Party, the unfettered discussion of current issues in the light of all facts.
Central Committee members, who, in the Central Committee itself, have exercised their absolute right to vote against a resolution or the adoption of a report, have immediately and thereafter been branded and named to the whole Party as oppositionists. Again Central Committee members, who in the Central Committee itself, have exercised their absolute right to express view on a current matter contrary to the line of the main report have had thereafter a distorted version of their view officially peddled throughout the Party (at Cadres, State Committee Section and Branch meetings) while such comrades have themselves been held bound to silence and have in fact observed silence in the name of democratic centralism.
By these means you attempt to use my adherence to democratic centralism and my very attendance at Central Committee and Political Committee meetings to cover your own departure from Marxism-Leninism. The concepts of democratic centralism should be used for maintaining the unity of the Party and ensuring that the working people are given honest and fearless leadership.
(Signed) E. F. HILL