First Published: In Struggle! No. 159, May 23, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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In a previous article, we pointed out that the narrow conception of the struggle against modern revisionism in Enver Hoxha’s book Imperialism and the Revolution covers up serious errors committed by communists in the forties. An example of this is the complete silence on the question of the need to rebuild a true Communist International.
Yet, if we look at the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, from the time of Marx and Engels until the time of Lenin and Stalin in the period preceding the dissolution of the Third Communist International, there seems to be a unanimous point of view on this question. The political and organizational unity of the international communist movement is an essential prerequisite for the proletariat in truly exercising its leadership over the revolutionary struggles of our time and in leading them on the path to socialism. Only in 1943, when the International was dissolved, did communists break with this conception. It is undeniable that, since then, nationalism and chauvinism have, in some cases, done serious damage within the ranks of the proletariat, including within the young Marxist-Leninist movement.
This is obvious in the case of the Communist Parties of Eastern Europe which used the pretext of “national particularities” to abandon the dictatorship of the proletariat and to justify collaboration with the bourgeoisie. This is also true of several parties including the French and Italian, which used the same pretext to hand their weapons over to their own bourgeoisie and to adopt a line of open support for the “national reconstruction” of imperialist bourgeoisies.
Another example of this is the central importance which certain Marxist-Leninist parties within imperialist countries have given to the defence of national independence. On this subject, the fact that the basically nationalist line of the CPC(M-L) has succeeded in fooling many Marxist-Leninist groups and parties, including the PLA, for so long, is certainly significant.
The importance of this question goes far beyond the more aspect of the unity of communists. It is the very strategy of the proletarian revolution which is at stake. Lenin’s statement that we are in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution clearly means that this is true on a world scale. In practice this means that it is up to the proletariat, and only to the proletariat, to take in hand the leadership of all revolutionary, democratic, national liberation and anti-fascist movements. Only the proletariat can offer such a leadership, for it is the only class whose fundamental interests are identical in all countries and the only one which opposes capitalism and exploitation all the way down the line. Only an international organization of communists can provide such a leadership – an organization created on the basis of a programme which defines the general tasks of the period and the tasks or stages which are necessary. depending on the particularities of each region or country. For, only an international communist organization can guarantee that the particular situations will be approached from the point of view of the interests of the whole, from the point of view of the world proletarian revolution.
The creation of such an organization does not of course give an absolute guarantee of victory over nationalism. The experience of the Third International is a reminder of this. However, it is an essential prerequisite for such a victory.
The aim of comrade Hoxha’s work is to re-state the Marxist-Leninist principles on the path of revolution in our era. He stresses the basic characteristic of the present-day world, that is, that we live in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. However, his silence on such a fundamental principle as the organizational unity of communists is another example of the differences which still divide the international Marxist-Leninist movement. The militant unity of communists of the world around a programme devoid of all revisionist deviations is a goal which we must strive for.
The time has come for us to take up this task with enthusiasm and turn recent defeats into victories. In keeping with the orientation adopted at our Third Congress, we are firmly determined to devote all the necessary attention to this task, and we invite all Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations in the world to do the same.