First Published: In Struggle! No. 206, May 27, 1980
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The Forge has always defended China and its policies like a medieval knight was supposed to protect his fair maiden’s virginity. In recent months, the official organ of the Workers Communist Party has maintained a prolonged silence on a large number of major events which have transpired in China. The Forge has also taken a stand on several issues and some of those positions differ from, and even outright contradict, those of Beijing.
In foreign policy matters, the Forge didn’t say boo about the visit of U.S. Defence Secretary Harold Brown to Peking. Deng Xiaoping however,took advantage of the occasion to call upon all Western bloc capitalist countries to form a strategic military alliance with China to rebuff the Soviet Union.
The Forge also had laryngitis when the British Minister for Defence went to the land of the lotus blossoms. Beijing Review (April 17) said that the representatives of Iron Lady Thatcher and Deng had reached “an identity or rapprochements of views... They expressed the desire to tighten the bonds of friendship between the people and the armed forces of the two countries.”
The Forge apparently didn’t catch the news broadcast the day that Beijing condemned the seizure of the American hostages by the Iranian students. It kept as silent as a tomb during the “warm and friendly” visit of rthe Zairan dictator Mobutu. The same silent treatment was reserved for the “historic compromise” reached with Enrico Berlinguer, the leader of the modern revisionist Communist Party of Italy, during his sejourn in everybody’s favourite Third World country. Meanwhile Hua Kuofeng declared that Berlinger was back in the international communist movement (see IS! no. 204).
These silences are not coincidental or oversights. In fact, The Forge has on a number of occasions put forward contrary positions. China says that Tito was a “great Marxist-Leninist”. The May 9 Forge condemns him thus: “Thus Tito and his clique have the responsibility of being the first to transform a socialist country into a capitalist country.”
Berlinguer is also denounced by The Forge as a revisionist: “The PCI has supported Italy’s role in NATO and the introduction of new U.S. missiles in Europe.” (The Forge, April 25)
As for as China’s domestic policy goes, The Forge hasn’t uttered a single syllable about the rehabilitation of Liu Shaoqi. Liu was expelled from the Party at the 9th party congress in 1969. The latest issue of The Forge (May 16) however reiterates the condemnation of Liu Shaoqi and hails the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
The Forge has not seen fit to publish anything about how the law governing industry was rewritten to allow former capitalists to become factory managers. It has not explained to its readers about the law which authorizes foreign imperialists to exercize complete control over the factories they set up including naming their own people as general manager.
The same law permits the foreign capitalists to impose penalties on workers and even to fire them (see IN STRUGGLE! no. 204).
The law just cited puts the justification dredged up by The Forge on January 26, 1979, for the establishment of a Coca Cola plant in China on thin ice. The introduction of Coke into China has come to symbolize capitalist restoration for most progressives and communists. The Forge wrote: “Does this mean Coke will exploit the Chinese workers? Definitely not. The plant will belong entirely to China. Wages, working conditions and all decisions will be determined, as in all other Chinese plants, by the workers themselves and the Chinese government.”
That article was written right after a Forge delegation returned from its December 1978 visit to China. A number of tub-thumping articles ensued. That enthusiasm waned considerably when the Chinese leadership did not send any message of congratulations or support when the League declared itself a party in September 1979. Another visit to China by a WCP delegation in December 1979 failed to forge any new links between the WCP and the Chinese party. On the contrary, The Forge went so far as to announce recently the publication of a Senegalese communist newspaper, Le Proletaire, which denounces the Chinese leadership.
Not so long ago, The Forge used to cite even the slightest deviation from the right-on red line emanating from Beijing as the ultimate proof that its adversaries were hopeless revisionists. Today it is obliged, as are many other of its sister parties around the world, to be on its guard. After all, Beijing has repeatedly shown itself to be very fickle and disloyal indeed with the parties that had followed it faithfully.
Last fall, the Chinese leaders recognized a new party in Belgium, emanating from the AMADA-TPO, group, which had previously made a habit of condemning the Communist Party Marxist-Leninist of Belgium (PC(M-L)B) recognized by China up to that point. In Germany, recognition was accorded to a new pro-China group even before the Communist Party of Germany (KDP) had fallen apart. One can only imagine what effect the new found love affair between the Communist Party of Italy and the Chinese party is having on the pro-China Marxist-Leninist Party of Italy. The main claim to fame of, the M-LPI was its constant denunciation of Berlinguer’s CPI as an agent of Soviet imperialism.
The Forge is sticking to the Three Worlds Theory. But the WCP and its cohorts elsewhere are obliged nowadays to make back-handed and indirect criticisms of one act after another which takes place because China is systematically applying that theory. The more that China applies the theory the more obvious it becomes that it is reactionary through and through.
But that is the only way The Forge has left open to it if it wants to salvage the Three Worlds Theory: to keep quiet when it can and take positions that differ from China’s when it must.