Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

The “theory of cadres” and the first stage of party building

First Published: Lines of Demarcation Nos. 3-4, n.d. [early 1977]
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The League attacks those who understand the necessity of putting theory and the elaboration of the programme as primary in the first stage of building the party as representing the same “phenomenon” as “the theory of cadres” supposedly put forward by Niko Xoxi “just before the creation of the Party” (the Party of Labour of Albania). The League gives the following quote as a characterization of this “theory.”

Communists should not act, penetrate among the masses and organize them, but remain locked up in their cells and busy themselves solely with theoretical education.

The League attribute the quote to the “History of the Albanian Party of Labour, Tirana, 1971, our translation”. First of all there is no such book, there is a History of the Party of Labor of Albania, Tirana, 1971. It is reasonable to assume this is the book they are referring to except for the fact that the quote they cite is not in the book. It is, therefore, not at all suprising that they don’t give a page reference.

The closest thing we could find to this quote in the literature available from Albania is a footnote to the “Report Delivered to the 1st Consultative Meeting of the Activists of the Communist Party of Albania” given by Comrade Enver Hoxha on April 8, 1942, published in Enver Hoxha, Selected Works, vol. 1, Tirana, 1974, p. 22; and in The Party of Labor of Albania on the Building and the Life of the Party, Tirana, 1974, p. 32. It is footnote no. 17 and reads:

The “theory of cadres” was borrowed from the archeo-marxists, members of an anti-Marxist organization in Greece, who in 1930 joined Trotsky’s International and during the second world war acted as overt agents of fascism and nazism. According to this theory, the communists must not engage in any activity to organize and mobilize the masses, but sit in their secluded cells and engage themselves only in theoretical education in “training cadres” and only after the cadres are trained can they start revolutionary activity.

Is it just accidental that the League made this “mistake”? Is it just a “mistake” that the League calls “the theory of cadres” “right opportunism” when Comrade Hoxha attacks this theory as archeo-marxist and trotskyite and therefore ultra-left? It is no “mistake”! What the League is trying to do by its obscuring the source of this quote is to obscure the history of the Party of Labor of Albania and its struggle against “leftism” in the second stage of party building. This is nothing but a blatent intellectual dishonesty and corruption used in a frantic attempt to attack Marxism-Leninism in Canada on the grounds that it is right opportunist to study Marxist-Leninist theory and bring it to the advanced elements of the proletariat.

These cells were not attacked for studying and diseminating Marxist-Leninist works to the workers.

The cells, which in general were made up of three members, engaged mainly in their own theoretical studies. The literature in use for this purpose, which included a number of the classic works of Marxism-Leninism, HELPED SPREAD COMMUNIST IDEAS. But trotskyite and anarchist literature also circulated among the organizations. (History of the Party of Labor of Albania, p. 47.)

The problem with these groups was not that they engaged in “book learning” but that they studied some of the wrong books and that “the whole work of the group was concentrated on ’educating’ its members.” (Ibid., p. 75) The problem was not that they studied but that they “fail(ed) to grasp the political changes that had taken place in Albania and in the world, the leaders of the Shkodra Communist group were unable to work out a correct revolutionary line compatible with these conditions. They rejected the Comintern’s directive to set up a popular front.” (Ibid., p.59.)

They did not understand that “these conditions” “made it necessary for the communists to use new forms of agitation.” (Ibid., p. 45.) “These conditions” meant an objective change in the workers movement. “Under Italian occupation, the workers movement assumed a pronounced anti-fascist character... the workers went on strike not only for economic claims but also to express their indignation and to sabatoge production of the invaders.” (Ibid., p. 68.)

The new situation created after occupation raised the fundamental task of arousing all the people in struggle to frustrate the fascist plan of Italianizing and plundering the country, to free Albania, and to regain national independence. The accomplishment of this task called for a revolutionary leadership to work out the platform of the anti-fascist war, to mobilize and organize the people for this struggle. (Ibid., pp. 68-69.)

Thus the principal task of the first stage; the elaboration of the programme and the rallying of the vanguard to it and the principal task of the second stage, the rallying of the masses had to be accomplished, along with immediate preparation and waging of armed struggle, simultaneously because of the necessity of building a popular front against fascism.

So the League’s deliberate distortion of the history of the Party of Labour of Albania is nothing but a cheap attempt to call “left”-opportunism-right opportunism. If right opportunism is the main danger, as most Marxist-Leninists agree, and the League calls everything to the left and to the “left” of itself (and it is one of the most right opportunist groups in Canada) “right opportunism” then it is able to include Marxism-Leninism as part of the main danger in the struggle to build the party. This should come as no surprise. In articles in this issue as well as in the first issue of Lines of Demarcation we have shown concretely how the economists identify Lenin as the main danger to their theory and practice – the theory and practice of building a neo-revisionist party of the petty-bourgeoisie and the labour aristocracy. This is nothing but the law of uneven development applied to building the party. Opposing this was the “left”-opportunist counter-revolutionary line of Trotskyism in Albania.

It should be noted that the League cannot be relied upon to accurately quote from the classics of Marxism-Leninism. We have demonstrated this problem in this issue as well as in the last. This is especially true when the League is trying to draw a “line of demarcation” between itself and Marxism-Leninism as is the case in the article “Should Marxist-Leninists participate in immediate struggles?” (The Forge, no. 11, p. 11).

In that article the League uses four quotes and gives the reference for none of them and instead of using authorized translations into English, they make their own translations from French. As indicated in the above example they do this to obscure the meaning of the quotations or they simply make up their own. The quote from Mao is pulled out of the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat and applied mechanicaly to the first stage of party building. The quote from Stalin has a number of important translation “errors” and despite diligent effort we could not find anything even close to the quote they gave from What is to be done? – we can only assume it is a fabrication or at the very least a “new advance in the art of translation!” These are no doubt just more examples of how the League “creatively” applies Marxism-Leninism to formulate its “correct line”.