Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Lessons in the Struggle for Communist Unity

An article from the Marxist-Leninists in Belgium


First Published: Class Struggle, [journal of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), U.S.A.] No. 8, Fall 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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What are the correct norms for the relations between and among the genuine communist parties of the world? How do they fight to develop the unity of the international communist movement while, at the same time, independently applying the universal science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought to the concrete conditions in their own countries? These and other questions were addressed in a feature article in the August 1977 issue of Clarte et L’Exploite, newspaper of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Belgium. The article, entitled “Concerning Lines of Demarcation,” draws on the lessons of the past to point out several important principles for the struggle today. The translation from French was done by Class Struggle.

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In 1956, revisionist chieftains almost everywhere, following the baton of their Kremlin bandleader, announced that Krushchev’s report to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was a “line of demarcation.” None of them were out of step: certainly not Carrillo (head of the Spanish CP); not Togliatti (predecessor of Italy’s Berlinguer); not Thorez (predecessor of France’s Marchais); not of course, “our” Burnelle (predecessor of Belgium’s Van Geyt). According to all these people and their head huckster, the real communists were the ones who bowed down before Krushchev’s report and lined up behind it. The rest had to be driven from the ranks of the international communist movement.

It is a typical revisionist idea to make a “line of demarcation” out of a political report to the congress of a foreign party, no matter which party it is. Of course, all the obedient puppies were yapping about this so-called “line of demarcation.” Twenty-one years later, the verdict of history was rendered, but not the way the puppies hoped.

Krushchev, though still alive, had been thrown into the trash can. His report had become the bedside reading of the revisionist betrayal–this famous “line of demarcation,” with its denial of the dictatorship of the proletariat, its abandonment of revolution, its advocacy of the parliamentary road, its practice of peaceful coexistence between oppressor and oppressed, exploiter and exploited, and its delirious slanders about Stalin.

This was only the beginning, but what a beginning it was! The USSR has become today a criminal superpower, social-imperialist, social-fascist–the main source of war in the world. It has become so indefensible that the elite members of its cheering squad, once so enthusiastic, now think they had better hold it at arm’s length. It was for this purpose that they invented “Eurocommunism.”


A conscious Marxist-Leninist would never use a political report presented to the congress of a foreign party to draw a line of demarcation, no matter how great that party is. No one, for example, ever said that the Political Report of Chou En-lai to the 10th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party was a line of demarcation. Yet Chou En-lai was one of the finest Marxist-Leninists of our time, and he had great prestige in the international communist movement. What’s more, his report was clearly written with the full agreement of Chairman Mao. Such a report constitutes an application of the universal teachings of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought to the concrete conditions of today’s China. As such, the Marxist-Leninists of all countries organized the study of it and drew great lessons from it for their own analysis and struggle. It isn’t a bible, however, that you wave on every occasion. But this is obvious to a Marxist-Leninist.

Each party develops its own line in complete independence. It applies to the concrete conditions of its own country the universal principles of the science of revolution, which is made up of three closely linked and complementary components: Marxism, Leninism, and Mao Tsetung Thought. It is by doing this that a party serves the working class and people of its own country and, in so doing, the cause of world revolution.

The Communist International in its time made enormous contributions to our cause, especially in the struggle against revisionism and reformism, in the elaboration of a revolutionary line on an international level, and in the founding and building of the communist parties. In this regard, there are still many lessons to be drawn from its history.

But the Communist International made some mistakes and it would be a serious error on our part to refuse to recognize them. To do this would increase the chances of repeating these mistakes in the future. A correct line is determined through struggle against an incorrect line.

In particular, the Communist International tended to impose the line of one party on all the others, which in some places led to disastrous results. This still has to be summed up. The revolution does not need blind followers–these are, in many cases, the worst opportunists. So, in China, Wang Ming took a line which had been tested elsewhere and applied it mechanically in different circumstances. He refused to recognize the particular conditions of his own country. He made use of ready-made formulas and endlessly repeated slogans. He was a revolutionary in his words; in reality, he carried on like a counter-revolutionary. He too, who put himself forward as a “disciplined soldier of the International,” ended in the trash can together with Krushchev, Trotsky, Zinoviev and Bukharin.

By contrast, Mao Tsetung knew how, when necessary, to struggle against false directives which were supposedly given in the name of the International. This helped him to lead the Chinese revolution to victory.


Today, each party must develop a correct line on its own, through deeper ties with the masses. This is precisely because of the contributions of the Communist International, as well as the contributions of the parties which remained firmly attached to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. Each time a party makes mistakes, it must correct them through struggle and analysis.

We must say clearly to the revisionists–even to the ones who cover themselves with the mask of dogmatism–that we have, once and for all, done away with the practice of a single, infallible center, a completely powerful mother-party. (If a mother-party, why not a grandmother party, stepmother party, and a favorite cousin party?) There is not, and there cannot be, a hierarchy among parties.

This is the condition for the correct practice of proletarian internationalism, to which the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Belgium adheres with every fiber of its being. In its Second Congress, held in the beginning of this year (January 22-23), it firmly declared itself for strengthening the internationalist ties between Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations of different countries, for strengthening the unity of the international communist movement on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.