Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

On the question of Mao Zedong

First Published: In Struggle! No. 157, May 8, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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The struggle against modern revisionism is a task which Marxist-Leninists around the world are paying growing attention to. Enver Hoxha’s recent book, Imperialism and the Revolution, is an important contribution to this struggle. In this article, we continue our examination of the main conclusions found in his book. Our study will continue in a future issue.

As we pointed out in a previous article, Enver Hoxha’s book, Imperialism and the Revolution constitutes a real step forward in the struggle against the revisionism of the current leaders of the Communist Party of China. However, it does not stop there. It attributes the paternity of Chinese revisionism to Mao Zedong, and even affirms that Mao was never a genuine Marxist-Leninist and that under his leadership (from 1935 to 1976), the CPC was not a genuine communist party.

We do not agree with this conclusion for two reasons. First, it casts aside the many historical contributions of the Chinese revolution in the struggle against world imperialism and the CPC’s and Mao Zedong’s struggle against modern revisionism, in particular the revisionism of Khrushchev and certain European parties. Second, we feel that it is incorrect to attribute to Mao Zedong alone mistakes which were widely present in the international communist movement – and often to a much more serious degree.

A few examples illustrate our point of view. Many Marxist-Leninists including Comrade Hoxha, affirm that “new democracy” as defined by Mao leads to class collaboration with the bourgeoisie. But why don’t they mention “people’s democracies” which, in the forties, also led to conciliation with the national bourgeoisie, particularly in Poland and Hungary, and to the restoration of capitalism, at the same time that the CPC was continuing its struggle against imperialism and reactionary forces?

As well, why don’t they mention the Communist Party of France or the Communist Party of Italy, key members of the Comintern and Cominform (1948-56), which openly collaborated with their imperialist bourgeoisie immediately following the end of the Second World War. At the same time, let us repeat, the CPC was continuing its struggle against imperialism.

What we want to point out is that the criticism of modern revisionism will remain unsatisfactory and incomplete, and it will have to repeatedly be started all over again, as long as it is reduced to blaming certain leaders for all of the mistakes while the mistakes of other leaders are ignored, particularly those mistakes made at the time of the Comintern and Cominform, following the outbreak of the Second World War. The difficulties which the Marxist-Leninist movement has had over the past twenty-five years, in once again assuming the leadership of the working class movement on authentically Marxist-Leninist bases, should be enough to convince anyone that this method is a dead end. It’s time to stop looking at mistakes and deviations one by one, and to undertake a complete summation of this difficult period which our movement is still going through.

Today, the world proletariat has been enriched by its experience of political struggle which dates back to the Paris Commune of 1871. Since then, its struggle has taken many forms; it has won great victories and suffered major set-backs. In certain countries, beginning with the USSR, the proletariat seized State power and established its dictatorship over the exploiters. Elsewhere it waged the struggle in countries of bourgeois democracy, in colonies, and in countries under foreign domination. The working class has waged struggle in time of peace and in time of war. It has struggled under fascism and against fascism. It has made different alliances, with the peasants in the majority of cases, but also with the national bourgeoisie in others. It even found itself involved in an alliance of imperialist and socialist countries against the fascist Axis during the Second World War.

All of these many forms of the proletariat’s struggle for its emancipation are of unparalleled wealth, because of the lessons which we can draw both from its victories and from its defeats. But we have to make the necessary effort to draw these lessons and to analyze history on the basis of facts and in the light of Marxism-Leninism.

The history of the communist movement belongs to the working class. Nobody – especially not communists has the right to totally “black out” almost a half century of history. Historical truth must be re-established so that the proletariat can reinforce its capacity to struggle victoriously for socialism and communism. The criticism of Mao Zedong’s errors will not be a step forward unless it is done in this perspective.