First Published: in Struggle! No. 118, July 3, 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The news from China since the death of Mao has not been received without much consternation and more than a little concern within the international Communist movement and increasingly, the labouring masses around the world.
This tension is growing as it becomes more and more evident that there are profound disagreements between the very Marxist-Leninist forces that had been so united in their common struggle against the modern revisionism, of the Khrushchev clique in the late fifties, a revisionist split following in the ten-year old footsteps of Tito of Yugoslavia.
Until now, only the “three worlds theory”, staunchly upheld by the current leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has given rise to open and extensive debate. Our group, like a number of Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations around the world, has denounced this theory as anti-Marxist-Leninist, social chauvinist and contrary to the interests of the working class. In essence, the “three worlds theory” leads to putting economic development and the conquest and defence of national sovereignty above proletarian revolution.
Now, however, a large number of decisions and actions on the part of both the Chinese Party and State have led us to pose the question of whether the “three worlds theory” is, in fact, the only aspect of the line defended by the current CPC leadership where the risk is present that Marxism-Leninism is being abandoned.
On questions of education, scientific work, the relationship between theory and practice, material incentives, revolutionary committees, culture, the theory of productive forces, and on many other points, the current CPC leadership has taken positions over the last several months that seem to us to seriously compromise the gains made during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR). These positions even seem to put into question the positions of Mao Tse-Tung, who let us not forget, personally led the GPCR as a deep-rooted ideological and political struggle against bourgeois ideas and Party officials who had taken the capitalist road. The aim of that struggle was to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat as a pre-condition for China becoming a great socialist power.
Today, the CPC leadership repeatedly insists that China has entered a “new era”; an “era” in which the aim is to build a powerful socialist China through the most extensive and rapid development of productive forces possible, an “era”in which the dictatorship of the proletariat would have the characteristic of a “new democracy”... For those who have been reading Chinese publications over the past year, for those who have followed China’s domestic policies throughout the same period, this orientation – which was already present in the documents of the Xlth Congress, has become clearer and clearer.
In fact, the time has come to ask the question: what road has the current CPC leadership opted for with its “new era”, an “era” which began with the end of the GPCR and the elimination of the “Gang of Four”. Has it chosen the road of continuing to build socialism under the dictatorship of the proletariat? Or has it instead chosen to construct a powerful China through the accelerated development of productive forces, thanks to the collaboration of various classes working together in a national united front in accordance with the principles of popular democracy as put forward by Mao during the era of the national liberation struggle?
In the face of these questions and the growing concern about the actions and orientation of the current Chinese Communist Party leadership, all communists should keep uppermost in their minds their fundamental responsibility to wage continual, unrelenting struggle against revisionism, against the abandonment of Marxism-Leninism, against the renunciation of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The current situation should be seen as a reminder and as an invitation: a reminder that Marxism-Leninism has a long way to go before it roots out modern revisionism in the working-class movement; an invitation to return to the teachings of Lenin, who, in 1905, wrote that “without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement,” and who, in 1914,undertook a firm principled struggle against the revisionism of the Second International, a struggle whose aim was to have “revolutionary theory” triumph over the opportunist revision of this theory by the social chauvinists. In our country, as undoubtedly in many others, the struggle against modern revisionism has, until now, too often been limited to writing decrees and launching slogans. This has rendered the Marxist-Leninist movement all the weaker theoretically; the type of propaganda churned out by the so-called Marxist-Leninists of the League and the CPC(M-L) are perfect illustrations. It is the type of propaganda produced by brainless parrots, speechless in the face of any important political question – like why, for example, IN STRUGGLE!’s Draft Program is revisionist; none of these so-called Marxist-Leninists have been able to provide enlightenment on this matter, despite their pompous decrees!
There’s been a lot of low politicking over the death of Mao, the struggle against those referred to as the “Gang of Four”, the accession of Hue Kuo-feng to the chairmanship of the CPC, and the rehabilitation of Teng Hsiao-ping. Quite frankly, IN STRUGGLE! considers it of little importance whether or not Chiang Ching wore silk stockings imported from abroad or whether Mao said this or that on his deathbed. We have nothing in common with those who use this type of “argument” to prove the correctness or erroneousness of a political line.
What is important to us is the victory of Marxism-Leninism and the defeat of revisionism, whose influence is still dominant in the working-class movement in non-socialist countries. With this objective in mind, in the next few weeks we will be undertaking a more in-depth study of the line of the current CPC leadership in the light of the lessons from the past twenty years of struggle against modern revisionism and the lessons from Lenin’s fight against the Second international’s revisionism.
Our aim is not to sully or save reputations, but to gain a deeper grasp of Marxism-Leninism, acquire a greater capacity to correctly apply it to the revolutionary struggle here in Canada and thereby better serve the working class and labouring masses. And in doing so, perhaps we will also be able to contribute to the victory of the international struggle against revisionism and hence to a higher level of principled unity of Marxist-Leninists here and abroad.
We believe we can best serve the cause of building socialism in China by struggling against the errors which threaten to lead this great people away from thq revolutionary path it has followed for over fifty years now.
Down with revisionism!
Long live socialist China and the glorious Communist Party of China