Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Floating with the Tide is a Revisionist Principle

(A criticism of E.F. Hill’s pamphlet Class Struggle Within the Communist Parties)

Written: February 1977.
First Published: Discussion Bulletin #5, July 30, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Patrick Muldowney, Anita Hood and Paul Saba
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It is my opinion that E.F. Hill’s pamphlet, “Class Struggle Within the Communist Parties” does a grave disservice to his own past record, the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) and the Australian revolution.

1. Comrade Hill states that his first statement on the Chinese Party’s internal struggle was made on October 27, 1976 when “I was out of Australia on my way to attend the 7th. Congress of the Albanian Party of Labour”.

By its publication in Vanguard on November 4, it automatically bound the Australian Party to a definite policy on the Chinese struggle without any discussion at all amongst the rank-and-file of the Party.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Comrade Hill followed this up with urgent dispatches from Peking fully pledging the Australian Party’s unqualified support for Hua Kuo-feng and condemnation of the ’gang of four’.

Why was there such haste and arbitrariness? For, as comrade Hill points out (p. 20), “... the revolution does not stop while one makes up one’s mind on a thing of this character”. Why then has he acted as if the future of the revolution depended on him making up his mind instantaneously and on the basis of one single People’s Daily editorial? This alone is bad enough, but in making up his mind, he made up the whole Party’s mind publically.

Is this a correct way to investigate and arrive at conclusions?

2. Comrade Hill admits that he supported the ’gang of four’ in the past, that he considered Yao Wen-yuan and Chang Chun-chiao to be praiseworthy Marxist theorists and that he considered Chaing Ching to be a distinguished Politbureau member.

One would think that it would require sound, scientific argument and plenty of facts to make him change his opinion so completely and irreversibly. But this is not the case. Comrade Hill tells us that doubts were dispelled when I knew that Chairman Mao had criticised her (Chaing Ching) both at Political Bureau meetings and in private correspondence”. (p.26)

This statement verges on the incredible! It would be strange indeed if Mao did not criticise his colleagues when he saw them making errors. And, after all, comrade Hill himself states “It is scarcely avoidable that misjudgements and errors will be made. Only he who does nothing makes no errors, said Lenin”. (p.13)

Comrade Hill is, no doubt, aware of the incisive criticism which Lenin often launched against his colleagues. One of the more well-known examples was when Lenin wrote to Stalin;

I have no intention of forgetting so easily what has been done against me, and it goes without saying that what has been done against my wife I consider having been done against me as well. I ask you therefore, to think it over whether you are prepared to withdraw what you have said and to make your apologies, or whether you prefer that relations between us should be broken off. (Collected Works, vol.45, p.608)

Strong words of criticism indeed! But did this mean Stalin was a counter-revolutionary or a capitalist roader? Certainly not in the opinion of Lenin, or Mao, or comrade Hill or the international communist movement.

Why, then, does comrade Hill consider that any criticism from Mao is automatically the sure sign that the person criticised is an unrepentant capitalist roader and counter revolutionary?


Comrade Hill has distorted the picture.

3. Comrade Hill has produced some very shaky “reasons to justify his hasty support for Hua Kuo-feng.

Firstly, he says “One’s natural assumption ought to be that the Chinese Party is correct and not the other way around”. (p.10) Can such a statement be seriously regarded as Marxist? Has comrade Hill forgotten dialectics? Has he forgotten Mao’s constant warnings regarding the two-line struggle and the ever-present danger of capitalist restoration? Has he forgotten the reason for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution – a revolution which, according to Mao, was only the first of many? Has he forgotten that the Soviet Union of Krushchev caused so much ideological and political confusion within the international communist movement precisely because many people’s “natura1 assumption” was that the Party of Lenin was correct, and “not the other way around”? Comrade Hill is actively preaching blind faith.

The Liberation Army Daily of October 29 (1976) said:

We were confronted with the real danger of our Party turning revisionist and our country changing its political colour. At this grave historical juncture, the Party Central Committee headed by comrade Kua Kuo-feng, with the boldness and’ vision of’ proletarian revolutionaries shattered, at one stroke the criminal plot of the ’gang of four’ to usurp Party and state power thus saving the revolution and the Party and winning a victory of ’decisive significance for the proletariat in its counter-attack against the onslaught of the bourgeoisie. (Peking Review No 45, 5/11/76, p.5)

If we set aside the implied negation of the mass line in “this statement, then we can “naturally assume that the ”gang of four” may well have succeeded in “usurping Party and state power”. If this had happened, then we have comrade Hi11’s word that he would have “naturally assumed” it to be correct. Strange logic indeed for a communist.

Another reason why comrade Hall thinks that Hua is a genuine Marxist-Leninist is because the Chinese are preparing to publish the Collected Works of Mao Tsetung. I would like to point out to comrade Hill that my set of the Collected Works of Lenin bears the imprint; “Progress Publishers”. Moscows 1970. Am I to “naturally assume” from this that Breznev is, after all, a genuine Marxist-Leninist?

Yet another reason put forward by comrade Hill is that China is still against the superpowers and for the third world (p.16). He doesn’t need me to remind him that the present foreign policy of that long-time revisionist Tito is also anti-hegemonism and pro Third World. He is also aware of the fact that it took Krushchev quite some time before he felt strong enough to start reversing Soviet foreign policy. So comrade Hill’s argument proves nothing. (Incidentally, it is also worth remembering that Mao Tsetung’s revolutionary line in foreign affairs and the analysis of three worlds was developed while a “gang of four” man Chiao Kuan-hua, was foreign minister.)

Another reason from comrade Hill is that Hua Kuo-feng has an outstanding record, in the revolutionary struggle in China and occupied leading positions. The same is true of the “gang of four” and proves very little.

Then there is comrade Hill’s assertion that Hua was China’s one and only vice-chairman. Does comrade Hill think we have all burnt our copies of the documents of the Ninth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party? If Mao had died in 1971 and “project 571” had succeeded, then comrade Hill would have “naturally assumed” that Lin Piao was a revolutionary and Mao’s chosen heir and successor simply because he was the one and only vice-chairman appointed by the Ninth Central Committee. Comrade Hill reveals an anti-Marxist stand by these statements.

But all this is just the padding to the one and only plausible reason why comrade Hill supports Hua. This reason is repeated like a magic formula throughout comrade Hill’s pamphlet.

Hua was, we are told, appointed “Chairman” through Mao’s personal arrangements because he had Mao’s complete trust. This argument is bankrupt in a multitude of ways.

For starters, we have comrade Hill’s own assurance that “even Chairman Mao could make errors and, he himself often spoke of his shortcomings” (p.6)

So, if we “naturally assume” that Hua was indeed Mao’s chosen successor, we can also. concede, the possibility that Mao was deceived. According to comrade Hill, this has happened before because Chiang Ching “deceived Chairman Mao and the Chinese Communist Party for quite a long time.” (p.26).

And apart from this, there is an important question which is in many people’s minds, but unfortunately, comrade Hill chooses not to enlighten us on it. This question is simply – How can Hua become “Chairman” without a Plenary Session of the Party Central Committee?

Comrade Hill is undoubtedly versed in the Chinese Party Constitution which states clearly that a Plenary Session is required to appoint a Chairman of the Central Committee. And our “natural assumption” must be that these rules are correct.


Is it possible (god forbid the thought) that Hua is not yet sure of a majority among the 319 members and alternate members of the Central Committee? Surely not if he was Mao’s chosen man for the job!

What proof have we got that Hua was Mao’s man for the job? The best the Chinese press can do is “With you in charge, I’m at ease,” which was written on April 30 (1976), 23 days after the Political Bureau appointed him First Vice-chairman and Premier of the State Council. Is this comrade Hill’s best proof that “Chairman” Hua is a revolutionary?

It should be pointed out that during Mao’s lifetime Hua was singing a very different tune in the campaign to criticise Teng Hsiao-ping to the one he is currently singing.

If you don’t believe this, then look up the Vanguard of 8/7/76. There you will find Hua Kuo-feng’s speech at the banquet to welcome prime minister Fraser. He said at this banquet:

With the enthusiastic support and active participation of the hundreds of millions, of people throughout the country, the great struggle initiated and led personally by Chairman Mao to criticise Teng Hsiao-ping’s counter-revolutionary revisionist line and repulse the right deviationist attempt to reverse correct verdicts is developing in depth successfully.

But in his speech of 25/12/76, Hua Kuo-feng says that the “gang of four”

...sang another tune in the criticism of Teng Hsiao-ping and thus caused great ideological and political confusion and enormous economic losses. (Peking Review No. l, 1/1/77, p.33).

He even goes so far as to actively paving the way for reversing correct verdicts by saying it is essential to “...sum up through earnest investigations and study the positive and negative experience in the past as well as in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution...” (ibid. p.38.) This is despite the fact that everyone knows that the experience of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was summed up at the Ninth and Tenth Congresses of the Chinese Communist Party.

These two speeches show clearly that Hua has made a drastic change in the outward appearance of his political line since Mao Tsetung wrote, “With you in charge, I’m at ease”.

It is worth noting that on March 5, 1923 Lenin wrote to Trotsky in regard to the Georgian case in the Party Central Committee. He said, “I would feel at ease if you agreed to undertake its defence”. (Collected Works, vol. 45, p. 607)

Could this quotation for one moment be used to deny Trotsky’s evolution into a counter-revolutionary enemy of the Party and people? Certainly not! Yet we are expected to “warmly hail” Hua Kuo-feng on the basis of “With you in charge, I’m at ease”! Truly remarkable logic!

4. Both “Chairman” Hua and comrade Hill have done an about-turn on Teng Hsiao-ping. Was Teng following a counter-revolutionary revisionist line, or was he a good communist who made mistakes? Was he a ’Krushchev’ or a ’Stalin’? This is a question of some importance, for as well as throwing light on the current struggle, it involves one’s attitude towards the Tien an men riot of April 1976 and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Are we to uphold the verdict or reverse the verdict? We have already heard from “Chairman” Hua and his two different lines on the question. Now let’s hear from comrade Hill.

In his speech delivered at the Memorial Meeting for Mao Tsetung (Vanguard 23/9/76), comrade Hill pointed out that “Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao, and Teng Hsiao-ping had personal significance but their significance really lay in the fact that they represented the bourgeoisie.” He went on to say that Chairman Mao “understood that people like Liu Shao-chi, Lin Piao, Teng Hsiao-ping were representatives of that capitalist class right in the Communist Party”.

Quite clear and straight-forward.

But three months later, comrade Hill informs us in his pamphlet that “it became clear to Chairman Mao and other comrades that Teng Hsiao-ping did not fully understand class struggle nor the nature of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”. (p 7).

Comrade Hill has now decided that Chairman Mao did not consider Teng Hsiao-ping to be a representative of “that capitalist class right in the Communist Party”.

It seems only fair to “hear both sides” and let Mao speak for himself about Teng Hsiao-ping. Mao said:


The question is very clearly posed: Did Teng “not fully understand class struggle” or did he “KNOW NOTHING OF MARXISM-LENINISM”? Did he “make mistakes” or did he “REPRESENT THE BOURGEOISIE”?

Comrade Hill should tell us frankly on which of the two occasions (his Memorial Speech and his pamphlet) he distorted and reversed Mao’s judgement of Teng Hsiao-ping. Swimming with the tide is one thing, but swimming both ways at once gets you nowhere.

5. Although comrade Hill contradicts himself in the same paragraph on page 14, he definitely comes out against hearing both sides of the current struggle. To listen to both sides, comrade Hill informs us, “is to give the bourgeoisie within the Chinese Party equal standing with the proletariat when the whole point is to overthrow the bourgeoisie”. (p.15)

Leaving aside the obvious comment that comrade Hill has misjudged who the bourgeoisie actually are, we must ask him if he has forgotten his great record in the anti-revisionist struggle of the 1960’s. Apparently he has “reversed the verdict” on his own revolutionary past.

Comrade Hill said in his 1962 speech to the Central Committee of the C.P.A. that “Molotov was condemned over the content of his criticism. Well, for my part, I would like to see the documents before I expressed an opinion on it.

Molotov is reported to have spoken of revisionism, pacifism and utopianism. If that is true, then I think there is a great deal in it.

In any, event, I would not want to be associated with condemnation of the so-called anti-Party group without a lot more information”. (“Defend Marxism-Leninism” p. 18)

But unfortunately, the comrade Hill of 1962 is evidently not the comrade Hill of 1976. He has pledged the entire Party membership to condemnation of the “so-called anti-Party group” on the basis of a single newspaper editorial and, with a remarkable display of blind faith, promises the Party membership: “Facts will unfold I am sure to satisfy those who have genuine doubts”. (p. 10) One can imagine his reply if Sharkey had said this to him in 1962!

Back in 1962, comrade Hill said; “To those who say there is double-talk and the issues are not clear, I suggest they read as defining the issues, the Chinese publication ’Long Live Leninism’ on the one hand, and on one other, comrade Krushchev’s speech at the Rumanian Party Congress in Bucharest, 1960”. (ibid p.5)

Why does comrade Hill now take the opposite stand? I venture to suggest that it is because, in 1962, he knew that if revolutionaries looked honestly at the Chinese and Soviet material they would clearly see that the Chinese material was correct. But in 1976, he thinks that if people look honestly at the “gang of four” material and the current Chinese material, they will clearly see that Hua Kuo-feng is “reversing the verdict” and distorting Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line.

He admits this himself in a back-handed way when he says “they would win the argument”. (p. 15)

6. Comrade Hill subjects us to a revelation of his personal feelings towards a number of Chinese leaders, late leaders and deposed leaders. He informs us that although he had no prolonged discussions with Chiang Ching and Wang Hung-wen, he considered they did not have a good grasp of Marxism-Leninism. (p. 8) Wang, he tells us, was immature, weak and dominated by Chiang Ching. But he was only too willing to accept them as appropriate leading Party members. (p. 8)

This incredible statement verges on an open slander and attack on the glorious Chinese Communist Party and the 30 million Chinese communists. Is comrade Hill trying to hint that Chiang Ching never fooled him while she “deceived Chairman Mao and the Chinese communist Party for quite a long time”? (p. 25)

On page 9 he tells us that Chang Chun-chiao and Yao Wen-yuan did actually manage (god knows how) to fool him and he intimates that he still can’t see through their political line.

But to make up for his gullibility, he proudly tells us that he did have “a serious difference of opinion with Liu Shao-chi”. (p,21.) Unfortunately, he had no differences of opinion with the “gang of four” but pride’s himself with having made “rather unfavourable comments”, about Chiang Ching and Wang Hung-wen to “other leading Australian comrades some, years ago”. (p. 8)

He tells us that on the very few occasions he fleetingly met Chiang Ching he “always felt uncomfortable” (p. 19) while he “always felt comfortable” with Chou En-lai, Kang Sheng, Teng Ying-chao and Tsao Yi-ou.

It would; appear that comrade Hill has resorted to the previously unknown method of judging revolutionaries by the seat of his pants.

Over the last few months, Peking Review has subjected us to the most incredible barrage of abuse, slander and wild allegations against the “gang of four”. We have been told that Chiang Ching was a pornographic movie addict who went in for secret feasts, played cards till all hours and abused leading comrades.

Similar accusations are made about the other three.

Not to be outdone comrade Hill weighs in with a few accusations of his own. He informs us that Chang Chun Chiao was an enemy agent from way back, Wang Hung-wen is an immature, weak degenerate and “there is great doubt” about the background of Yao Wen-yuan. (pg.9) Although, he is unable to dig up any dirt about Chiang Ching’s history, he confidently advises us; “It will undoubtedly be shown that her record was sinister indeed.” (pg. 25) 9.

As the Chinese pointed out in 1963 in relation to Krushchev’s attack on Stalin;

They have not presented the facts and reasoned things out but have made demagogic personal attacks on Stalin in order to poison peoples minds. (The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement.) (pg.124)

Or as comrade Hill himself stated in his famous 1962 speech, “It is all right to make general statements but it is much better to substantiate them.” (“Defend Marxism-Leninism” pg. 25)

Comrade Hill should also ponder a statement he made in that same speech about Krushchev: “Today he can appear strong, but if you are really strong you don’t make such a hue and cry as he makes.” ibid.pg.28)

The real significance of all this personal abuse and slander from both Peking Review and comrade Hill was exposed long ago by V.I. Lenin: “Abuse in politics often covers up the utter lack of ideological content, the helplessness and the impotence, the annoying impotence of the abuser.” (“The Political Significance of Abuse”)

7. On page 19 of his pamphlet, comrade Hill makes a valid statement: “There is mass support for Chairman Hua Kuo-Feng and the smashing of the gang of four. Some say this sort of thing has happened before and turned out to be wrong. Again we may say yes, that is true.”

But by page 32, comrade Hill has forgotten this and categorically states: “If these four had been the almighty leaders they made themselves out to be then they would have had mass support. There would have been widespread immediate conflict.”

Comrade Hill appears to have also “forgotten” the documents of the Tenth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

Didn’t the “weak”, “immature”, “degenerate” Vice-chairman Wang Hung-Wen point out at the Congress: “When confronted with issues that concern the line and overall situation a true Communist must act without any selfish considerations and dare to go against the tide, fearing neither removal from his post expulsion from the Party imprisonment, divorce nor guillotine.”?

And didn’t comrade Hill’s “close friend”, comrade Chou En-Lai, point out at the same Congress:

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, 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.?

As it is comrade Hill’s “natural assumption” that these statements are correct, why does he insist on saying, “There would have been widespread immediate conflict”?

8. It certainly seems that comrade Hill is floating with the tide, which ever way it flows. He doesn’t even hesitate at attacking fraternal Marxist-Leninist parties for not jumping to hasty support for Chairman Hua. (See Vanguard No. 1, 1977)

The E.F, Hill of 1977 has indeed come a long way from the E.F. Hill of 1962. But on which road is he travelling?

When Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line had the dominant position in the Chinese Party Political Bureau, comrade Hill “warmly hailed” and frequently endorsed it. Now that the revisionist line, has dominance comrade Hill “warmly hails” and unceasingly endorses it.

What does this say for the independence of Marxist-Leninist parties?

Even though comrade Hill considered Chiang Ching didn’t grasp Marxism-Leninism, and even though he indulged in “rather unfavourable comments” about her (behind her back of course), he went out of his way to call her a “distinguished member of the Political Bureau” in his Mao Tsetung Memorial Speech and to say that the bourgeoisie “hope and pray for the victory of the moderates”.

The bourgeoisie’s prayer has been temporally answered and comrade Hill has changed direction in mid-stream.

This is a serious matter which has a direct bearing on whether our Party will change colour, or whether it has already started to change colour.

I can think of no more fitting way to conclude this criticism than by paraphrasing a statement from comrade Hill’s 1962 speech: Whether comrade Hill and “Chairman” Hua like it or not comrades Chiang Ching, Yao Wen-yuan, Wang Hung-wen and Chang Chun-chiao are international figures famed for their adherence to revolutionary principle. They are deeply reviled by the imperialists, social-imperialists and revisionists.

Almost all of us received great assistance from the work, writings and speeches of these four, and I venture to suggest we received far more assistance than we ever have from “Chairman” Hua. More than a generation of communists have been inspired by them.


I propose that:

1. Vanguard and all public Party publications should immediately cease carrying comrade Hi11’s or any one else’s statements supporting Hua Kuo-feng and condemning the “gang of four”. For the time being, statements exposing the revisionist coup de’tat and supporting the “gang of four” should also not be published publically,

2. The entire membership of the Party should be directed to criticise the revisionist line of E.F. Hill’s pamphlet. To this end, they should study E.F. Hill’s statements both in support of the anti-Teng Hsiao-ping campaign and in support of Hua Kuo-feng. They should also study the current Chinese material in relation to the documents of the 10th.Congress of the C.C.P., Chairman Mao’s statements carried in Peking Review, over the past three years, Yao Wen-yuan’s article “On the Social Basis of the Lin Piao Anti-Party Clique”, Chang Chun-chiao’s article “On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie” and the series of articles in Peking Review entitled “Marx, Engels and Lenin on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat – Questions and Answers”.

3. At the conclusion of about 3 months, the Central Committee sums up the study and criticism and commences the necessary rectification.

(P.S. I request this document be internally circulated for criticism and comment.)