Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist Party

The international unity of the proletariat: What it is and how to fight for it

First Published: Revolution, Vol. 5, No. 4, July 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

I. Introduction

Communism has always meant internationalism, ever since Marx himself helped found the first international organization of the working class, replacing the utopian slogan “All Men Are Brothers” with the watchword, “Working Men of All Countries, Unite!” based on the revolutionary interests arising from the material position of the working class in society.

Although the revolutionary bourgeois democrats of the 19th century who waged war on feudalism and absolutism often supported each other from country to country, the whole development of capitalism is inextricably tied to the development of nations and countries, of national states and national markets. No matter how international capital has become in its appetites, the fact that the means of production are privately owned and the profits reaped from this ownership privately appropriated means that in the end all capital is tied to one or another country. For the propertyless proletariat, on the other hand, which represents the other aspect of the contradiction between private accumulation and socialized production, internationalism corresponds to its class position and revolutionary interests.

As the RCP draft Programme explains, “So long as capitalism and exploitation exist in any country, this will be a base for the bourgeoisie in its attempts to defeat the working class and restore capitalism everywhere. And wherever capitalism rules and maintains backwardness, it stands as a great barrier to the peoples of all countries in developing the rational use of the world’s resources and productive forces. The international working class can emancipate itself only by emancipating all of humanity; it can achieve communism only be eliminating the rule of capital and the chains of exploitation and the remnants of class-divided society everywhere.”[1]

This is why the RCP’s draft Constitution begins by declaring that our Party is “a part of the communist movement internationally, just as the working class in the U.S. is one part of the revolutionary movement of the international proletariat.”[2] Although the proletarian revolution takes place country by country, since it means the overthrow of bourgeois governments, and develops unevenly from country to country, still, taken as a historical process, the proletarian revolution is most definitely international, with both its victories and defeats marking the development of a world-wide war between the old order and the new which will go on until capitalism and its remnants have been eliminated entirely – which will mean the complete disappearance of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, and consequently of the state as well. Such development – from one epoch of world history to the next – is necessarily long and complex. The Paris Commune, the October Revolution in Russia, the revolution in China – especially the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution – were each new and higher points in the tortuous, spiral-like process of world revolution, and each in turn had a tremendous impact in raising the level of the whole movement everywhere.

This dialectical relationship between the proletarian revolution in each country and on a world level means that the proletariat needs international organization in order to unite the detachments of the worldwide proletariat, strengthen exisiting ones and form new vanguard organizations where they do not exist, and concentrate and bring to a higher level the experiences and understanding gained in the different countries, thereby immensely strengthening the battle in each country politically and ideologically, as well as providing mutual material support.

The First International, which lasted from 1864 to 1872, served to propagate revolutionary Marxism across Europe and elsewhere, even though Marx’s line never really achieved hegemony within it. It was followed by the Second (Marxist) International (1889-1914), which brought about the growth of Marxism into a mighty mass movement of the working class, but which, during the long, comparatively “peaceful” period of its development – that is, “peaceful” in terms of the absence of wars and revolutionary situations in the advanced capitalist countries where the workers were then organized – was increasingly infected by economism and reformism, by a clutching at the crumbs thrown out by developing imperialism to a certain section of the workers and the petty bourgeoisie, until it fell apart with the outbreak of World War I, when most of its leadership sided with their own national bourgeoisie. Out of this collapse of the old forces of socialism came a new wave, headed by V.I. Lenin, who led in founding the Third (Communist) International, also known as the Comintern.

With the first imperialist war over the division of the world and the establishment of the socialist Soviet Union, revolution led by the proletariat became a possibility and a necessity in the whole world, including those countries which first had to pass through an anti-colonial, anti-feudal stage before going over to socialism. Communism became a truly worldwide movement. From its founding amidst the revolutionary storms sweeping Europe and Asia in 1919 to its formal dissolution in 1943 (to be replaced later by the Communist Information Bureau, the Cominform, from 1947-1956), this International united every communist party in the world (being instrumental in pulling together such parties in many countries in the first place) and enabled the slogan “Workers and oppressed people of the world, unite!” to take on concrete meaning in the highest level of thought and action yet achieved by the international proletariat.

The history of the Comintern is extremely rich in lessons – negative and positive – which must be very thoroughly studied, in terms of the struggle to found it, the lines it adopted in leading the world revolution, and the question of its organizational form, as well as some other questions relating to its dissolution. But although we have dealt with some aspects of these questions,[3] a really profound summary of the political and organizational line of the Comintern is not a task which can be accomplished by a single party working in isolation, “but through the unified efforts of as many such forces as possible, who are able to unite and actually do unite on the basis of Marxist-Leninist principles and clear lines of demarcation marking off the main questions of principle in the situation today.”

This is a quote from a previously unpublished section of the RCP’s 1979 Central Committee report, presented by its Chairman, Bob Avakian.[4] The report goes on to make the following remarks, also previous unpublished except in part, which are at this time of the greatest relevance:

One point can and must be taken up by our Party right now as a point of departure-and of self-criticism to a significant degree. And that is the erroneous tendency, spontaneously if unofficially encouraged in our ranks, of negating the need for international communist unity – specifically on an organizational level – on the basis of negative experience of the Comintern. This negative experience is real enough and should be thoroughly summed up and the appropriate lessons drawn, but one of these lessons is not that international communist organization is wrong in principle or bound to harm rather than help the struggle in each country and world-wide.

A question: can the arguments usually advanced – including within our own ranks (and in my own thinking in the past in particular) – against such organization – and specifically that it will be dominated by the narrow interests of the most powerful/prestigious force within it – be maintained on the basis of and stand up to Marxist-Leninist analysis? Think of what such arguments are and see if they can’t also be applied as arguments against a democratic centralist organization (Party) in a single country?

This is a point we must discuss seriously – and urgently. To forge such international communist unity, ideologically and politically and on that basis organizationally, is indeed a difficult process, a process of struggle. But it is a struggle that can and must be taken up and advanced to the greatest degree possible in the shortest time possible. Of course, if we were not able to achieve principled unity with a single force internationally, that would not mean that it would be impossible for us (or others) to make revolution (in this country or others). But we are proletarian internationalists, the working class in this country is in fact one part of the international army of the world proletariat, and we should in no way raise the primitiveness and present low level of concrete unity among Marxist-Leninists to a principle nor fail to recognize that the forging and further development of such unity will greatly enhance the revolutionary struggle in each country and internationally.

An extremely important point that should be underlined here is that whether or not the revolutionary communists in each country really fight as a detachment of the international proletariat and as part of this to actually build the international unity of the proletariat as far as possible, is in turn tightly connected with the political line these forces are carrying out to make revolution in their countries. If we’re not fighting in this way on an international level, then how can it be that we are carrying out the revolutionary struggles within the various countries on anything but a nationalist basis, a basis that will prevent revolution or lead to its degeneration into its opposite. The statement made by Chairman Avakian – “who else can prepare and then lead the masses in seizing the opportunity – and who else, for that matter, can throw away that opportunity” – applies sharply to the responsibility faced by the communists not only within our country but also on a world level.

II. How to Build International Communist Unity

For several years now, especially since the RCP, USA’s Second Congress in 1978 which consolidated the victory over those who sought to drag the Party down the revisionist road represented by Teng & Co. in China, our Party has been carrying out efforts to make contact, carry on struggle and build principled unity with Marxist-Leninist forces in other countries on the basis of drawing and upholding clear lines of demarcation, in order to build unity not only of viewpoint and general purpose but also of action to the greatest degree possible. In this we have been guided by the following principles, first laid out in a paper entitled “Thoughts on Points for Discussion,” presented to a Central Committee meeting in late 1978 by Chairman Avakian, which have been widely circulated and discussed internationally:

Opposition to and exposure of China as revisionist, and as a key part of this its revisionist international line and its specific form now in the `three worlds’ strategy, while at the same time upholding China under Mao as a socialist stronghold of the international working class, upholding the achievements and lessons of the Cultural Revolution, and upholding Mao’s contributions and enrichment and development of Marxism-Leninism; the necessity to continue to thoroughly expose Soviet revisionism and social-imperialism and its international line and role; the determination that the two superpowers are equally the main enemies of the people of the world and are both, through their contention, pushing things toward world war in accordance with the laws of imperialism; that preparations for such a war and particular acts of aggression by both superpowers and others in both imperialist blocs must be exposed and fought against now; that, under all conditions, support must be given to all genuine struggles for national liberation against imperialism, and in general support must be built for all struggles, in every country, to achieve socialism and defend it wherever it exists or is established; and that, should such a war break out, it must be fought against as an imperialist war, that all belligerents in it – that is, all imperialists and those belonging to one camp or the other in the war –must be exposed and, in the imperialist countries in particular, the main fire must be directed against ’one’s own’ bourgeoisie with the aim of and constant work toward turning this imperialist war into a revolutionary war. The general guiding principle is that set forth by Lenin: ’There is one, and only one, kind of real internationalism, and that is – working wholeheartedly for the development of the revolutionary movement and the revolutionary struggle in one’s own country and supporting (by propaganda, sympathy, and material aid) this struggle, this, and only this, line, in every country without exception.’”[5]

This is not a call for the formation of a new international at this point, for such a development could only emerge through a complex process. But in our view, there already exist the necessary conditions for a qualitative leap. The very development of the underlying objective conditions, pregnant with revolutionary situations in which the future of countries and whole areas of the world will be up for grabs and the outcome will depend on the capabilities of the revolutionary forces, demands that whatever steps are possible at this time be taken with the greatest urgency.

At this historical juncture so full of promise, the international communist movement is at a crossroads, and which road will be followed is a question starkly posed for every party and organization in the world.

The People’s Republic of China, a quarter of humanity and under the leadership of Mao Tsetung a lighthouse of world revolution, has been seized by bourgeois renegades from within the Communist Party who have capitulated to imperialism. Many of the forces internationally which at one time seemed revolutionary are following them. Compounding this, the Party of Labor of Albania and other forces formerly united in the international communist movement have split with China not on the basis of upholding the revolution in China that has been temporarily defeated, but of denouncing everything that was revolutionary in China just as bitterly as China’s new revisionist rulers, differing with them mainly on the basis of competing nationalisms.

Out of this fragmentation of what was once the international communist movement, clear trends have appeared. Imperialist rivalry and the coming of world war – which is pulling on the whole world to line up with one side or the other, and which comes together with the heightening of all the world’s contradictions – has led to mounting pressures to capitulate; and capitulation today means capitulating to imperialism and joining up with one superpower war bloc or the other. This capitulation has had its theoretical expression in the form of virulent attacks on the key advances of Marxism formulated by Mao Tsetung, especially the theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat and the practice of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Attacking Mao’s line, especially on this key point, can only mean repudiating the bitter lessons of capitalist restoration in the USSR; it can only result, sooner or later, in turning the proletarian dictatorship into a bourgeois dictatorship when the working class seizes power, and coming to terms with the bourgeoisie where the working class has not yet seized power. In countries like China and Albania, where the forces of production are still relatively backward, this leads ultimately to degenerating into a comprador bourgeoisie and capitulating to foreign imperialism, while in the imperialist countries themselves it leads to capitulating to one’s “own” bourgeoisie, although there is the phenomenon of those within the Western imperialist bloc who look to Soviet social-imperialism, and vice versa.

Mao Tsetung Thought is not something different from Marxism-Leninism, it is not the Marxism of a new era the way Leninism was (after the emergence of the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution). It is the enrichment and development of Marxism-Leninism on many fronts (revolution in colonial countries, revolutionary war and military line, political economy and socialist construction, philosophy, culture and the superstructure, and most especially, continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat), and is the theoretical concentration of the experience of the proletarian revolution since Lenin. There is and can be no “returning” to a Marxism minus these advances, since Marxism is a living science. The inevitable and very visible result of trying to overturn these advances is the unraveling of the whole fabric of Marxism and the championing of a revisionist line on every major question – a common feature of all the trends that have arisen today in opposition to Marxism.

This is why the question of Mao stands at the center of today’s controversy. It was Mao who led in criticizing the “three peacefuls” (peaceful transition, peaceful competition and peaceful coexistence) with which Khrushchev advocated capitulation; and it was Mao who led in criticizing the theory of the productive forces which in its fully developed form had become the theoretical foundation for Khrushchev’s treason. Even more, it was Mao who led in summing up the overall experience of what had happened in the Soviet Union and unleashing the Cultural Revolution, a mass political movement without equal in breadth and depth in history, which in providing the answer to capitalist restoration brought Marxism to new heights and restored and expanded its prestige around the world in a way that hadn’t happened since Lenin rescued Marxism from the opportunism that had all but suffocated it.

All this is what is under attack today. The revisionists who overthrew Mao’s successors have overturned the verdicts on Mao’s struggle against revisionism within China and have even rehabilitated “China’s Khrushchev” (Liu Shiao-chi, the principal target of the Cultural Revolution); they are doing the same with Mao’s international struggle and may very well end up in the clutches of Khrushchev’s successors, with whom they are already flirting. In denouncing Mao’s line and contributions, Enver Hoxha has also reversed the verdicts on the struggle against revisionism, although Hoxha, who has less to peddle than the Chinese revisionists, has so far done his best to maintain a “Marxist” cover and his leadership over whatever will follow him in various countries.

His criticisms of the current rulers in China – mainly based on the “three worlds” strategy – come down to the fact that they sold out to the U.S. and left him in the lurch. Such a shallow analysis is inevitable, since Hoxha attacks Mao’s theory of the class struggle under socialism and specifically denies that a new bourgeoisie can arise within the party, which leaves Hoxha no basis to deal with the reversal in China. However, this quarrel may be patched up yet, since for the same reason Hoxha has no basis to deal with the restoration of capitalism in the USSR, which is why his criticism of the Soviet Union is confined to Khrushchevite capitulation to the U.S. and leaves the door wide open to coming to terms with present-day Soviet social-imperialism. Already several Hoxhaite parties (most notably in Italy and Britain) have become so openly pro-Soviet as to embarrass their reluctant comrades elsewhere, and others have thrown themselves into “united fronts against war and fascism” (most notably in West Germany) that have led to them tailing behind the pro-Soviet Communist Parties whose main object is that the imperialist bourgeoisies in these countries be pulled out of the U.S. war bloc. While not inevitable, it is certainly not inconceivable that Hoxha and Teng Hsiao-ping could end up reunited in form as well as content under the wing of Soviet revisionism (or even the U.S.), although their unity in capitulating to imperialism is not dependent on capitulating to the same imperialist war bloc.

This brings out the fact that in addition to its similarities to the situation faced by communists in the early 1960s, the crossroads today also has great similarities to that of WWI and the collapse of the Second International, when as today the intensification of the world’s contradictions with the advent of world war, which brought unprecedented revolutionary opportunities, also brought the two-line struggle within the forces that considered themselves Marxist to a head on a national and international level, and divided them into the two camps of those who supported their bourgeoisie in that war and those who took the war as an opportunity to overthrow them. In fact, under these conditions what to do in the face of world war is the main question that today divides Marxism from opportunism. This capitulation can be seen clearly in the line of the Chinese revisionists (their attempts to turn China into a “modern” neocolony and their whole international maneuvering to get the best price for this offer) and is the substance, in the final analysis, of Hoxha’s as well The particular content of the capitulation to imperialism embodied in the attacks on Mao can today only mean lining up with one imperialist war bloc or the other.

It is inevitable that political crisis and capitulation for some will develop out of crises in the objective situation. The question that faces the forces who remain – those for whom making revolution is still the question – is how to come from behind, to determine and carry out a political line that will enable them to play their full role in this situation and comply with the demands history is making, so that this moment of danger and desertions and also of opportunities can give birth to the tremendous historical advances which are in fact possible. As Comrade Avakian has pointed out, while this particular spiral of history that began with the end of World War 2 has so far included the terrible setbacks in the USSR and China, it is by no means impossible that it could end with even greater victories, including the possibility of revolutions in one or more of the advanced imperialist countries themselves.[6] But no matter what happens, the advance of the world proletarian revolution is up to the line and actions of communist forces.

The following analysis made by Lenin in 1914 in many ways describes the way things stand in the international movement today:

Let us frankly state the facts; in any case the war will compel us to do so, if not tomorrow, then the day after. Three currents exist in international socialism: 1)the chauvinists, who are consistently pursuing a policy of opportunism; 2) the consistent opponents of opportunism, who in all countries have already begun to make themselves heard (the opportunists have routed most of them, but ’defeated armies learn fast’), and are capable of conducting revolutionary work directed towards civil war; 3) confused and vacillating people who at present are following in the wake of the opportunist and are causing the proletariat most harm by their hypocritical attempts to justify opportunism, something they do most scientifically and using the Marxist (sic!) method. Some of those who are engulfed in the latter current can be saved and restored to socialism, but only through a policy of a most decisive break and split with the former current....”[7]

In our view, in the face of this situation the task is for the most resolute and clear-headed of the communist forces – the genuine left internationally – to unite on the basis of the clear lines of demarcation that have emerged within the international movement. This will allow them to win over the vacillating elements and whatever can be still dragged out of the cesspool of counterrevolution, in the course of taking concrete steps – politically, ideologically and organizationally – which will lead to tremendous advances both overall and within the various countries. In regard to those who find themselves caught between the main trends – as represented by Mao, and by Teng, Hoxha... and the Soviets – we are guided by the advice of Lenin: “Whoever wants to help the waverers must first stop wavering himself.”[8]

III. Unity of Marxists, or of Marxism and Opportunism?

Lenin put it very succinctly: “Before uniting, and in order to unite, we must begin by demarcating clearly and resolutely. Otherwise our unity would only be fictitious and only serve to conceal the existing disorder and prevent us from putting an end to it.”

Some people, although perfectly capable of quoting Lenin, don’t agree with this. They argue that the lines of demarcation we have listed have no basis in reality, and above all that to uphold or to denounce Mao does not represent a basic dividing line. For them, uniting the international communist movement does not mean a demarcation between trends but rather “struggling against the erroneous attitudes that oppose the necessity of the organized unity of all communists. It means both opposing the idea that each separate party must never be criticized or judged for its own programme and practice, and the sectarian thesis that organized unity must first begin with a certain fraction of the existing forces in the world movement.”[9]

This position – that of the Marxist-Leninist Organization of Canada IN STRUGGLE! – is that of an organization which, while arguing for its freedom to criticize Hoxha and those who follow him, even more strongly argues that they should be united with and nothing should be done to break with them or exclude them. We must go into this in some detail, both because in itself this represents an extremely harmful attitude which is shared to a greater or lesser degree by some others, and also because when examined it proves our point: that while upholding Mao and opposing the attacks against him is not the only dividing line in the international movement, it is the one without which all the others become meaningless.

In Struggle has sharply polemicized against “the development of a movement which is strongly opposed to the condemnation of Mao Tsetung and which seeks to make the defense of Mao Tsetung Thought the line of demarcation which separates opportunism from Marxism-Leninism.”[10] According to In Struggle, this amounts to “reducing the struggle against revisionism to a declaration of unquestioned support for everything that this or that proletarian revolutionary has said or done” [11] – and the implication here is that Mao and Hoxha (and by further implication, Stalin) all have their good and bad points, although as we will see their outlook is much closer to that of Hoxha. In calling for a conference of “all groups and parties which, to our knowledge, are genuinely struggling for socialism and communism and working for the victory of proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat” – a proposal directly in opposition to the kind of unity of principles we have called for – they say explicitly, “Our intention with this conference is not to reproduce or create a new group of forces which mutually recognize one another and in doing so deny that other forces are part of the communist movement. On the contrary, our intention is to insure that this conference be a place where the differences as to the path which should be followed to attain unity be clearly put on the table and discussed collectively. It is not a scandal for Marxists-Leninists to have differences on this or that question. Truth does not fall like manna from heaven believe us! Revolutionary ideas stand out when all points of view are expressed and after open and frank debate.”[12]

It is not a scandal to disagree, comrades, but let’s be honest about what we disagree about! The question certainly is not “this or that” individual – it is a matter of line, of clear and opposing trends, which as Plekhanov pointed out long ago are concentrated and represented by certain leaders, especially in periods of sharp line struggle. Nor is it a matter of everything “Mao ever said or did,” which is nothing but a caricature of the position we and others have taken. What Mao represents is the consistent fight against revisionism and the advances in Marxism-Leninism won in the course of that struggle – this objective fact is what obligates those who would be Marxists to choose between Mao and those who viciously attack him, and not because “this or that” fanatic is determined to force a choice upon people for purely subjective reasons.

It is hardly necessary to repeat here the extensive polemics we have already directed against Hoxha’s attacks on Mao’s line and against Hoxha’s line in general.[13] In fact, since In Struggle has labeled Hoxha’s Imperialism and the Revolution “an important contribution in the struggle against revisionism,”[14] and repeatedly implied that our stand on Hoxha is senseless, it is In Struggle’s responsibility to stop trying to pretend that these polemics don’t exist (which is why they’ve never mentioned them directly) but rather to address themselves to this analysis, which shows that not only Hoxha’s attacks on Mao but also his line on every major question is nothing but revisionism.

It’s worth pointing out once again that in attacking Mao’s line, Hoxha ends up denying the objective basis for the restoration of capitalism in a socialist country (which forces him to deny that China was ever socialist – and leaves him a bit ambiguous about the Soviet Union). He denies that the crisis of imperialism is leading to a confrontation between two imperialist blocs headed by the superpowers. He speaks of the “grave neo-colonial consequences” of U.S. investment in the Soviet Union (perhaps he thinks they can wage a war of national liberation?); of the U.S. war industry thriving because “that is where the rate of profit is highest,” which is opposed to Lenin’s thesis that imperialism means war and is nothing but modern-day Kautskyism; and of China’s strategy to “incite” war between the U.S. and USSR – which is definitely an echo of the Soviets. He claims that the principal contradiction in today’s world and the main content of the threat of war is the contradiction between capitalism and socialism. He even calls for Marxist-Leninists to take up “the defense of true independence” in the imperialist countries themselves.[15] Isn’t it fairly clear that what all this adds up to is a line little different in substance from that of the revisionists in China, or the Soviet Union for that matter – that in order to preach capitulation Hoxha has launched an attack not only on “this or that proletarian revolutionary” but on all of Marxism? Doesn’t this make it clear that to attempt to combine the two trends represented by Hoxha and Mao means attempting to combine Marxism and revisionism? It’s about time In Struggle addressed itself to these matters if it is serious about “the struggle against revisionism.”

These points are examples of dividing line questions with profound practical implications in today’s world. They amount to revolution and counterrevolution. In other words, they involve questions posed for all communists by the development of the objective situation itself-the question, above all, of grasping the nature of imperialism and of the necessity and possibility to make proletarian revolution and continue it, that have been at the heart of Hoxha’s (and the Chinese revisionists’) attacks on Mao. This is why it is these same crucial and urgent questions that are addressed by the kind of principles of unity spoken to in the quote from Comrade Avakian. They are both at the heart of the two-line struggle that has broken out in this form and matters of life and death for the proletarian revolution.

In Struggle looks at this matter as if it had no class content – a way of looking at things that itself has class content. They would like to simply avoid it by taking the position that Mao wasn’t all bad, but that he made mistakes, so therefore nobody should make too big a deal about defending him: “Do we really have to choose between thinking that Mao made no fundamental errors, and the position that he was a revisionist? ... Do we really have to ignore such nationalist deviations as the reduction of the struggle against imperialism to the struggle against ’the main imperialist enemy’ or against the ’two superpowers,’ simply because this thesis has been upheld for a long time in the international movement?”[16] If In Struggle really wants to examine the question of whether Mao may have made some real errors around this question – or that Stalin also did before him, let them do so. We consider that a valid and important subject to be discussed, and have already said a few things about it based on a clear overall stand upholding Mao.[17] But if they’re serious about it and not just looking for excuses, let them not defend Enver Hoxha, who has systematically concentrated these tendencies which have for so long plagued the international communist movement and has made them the basis of a clear-cut reactionary stand on today’s cardinal questions.

The argument that In Struggle is making here is that Mao Tsetung can’t be a dividing line, because some people who uphold Mao also uphold social-chauvinism, especially in the form of the “three worlds” strategy promulgated by Teng & Co. But this is a sleight-of-hand trick, and In Struggle is a poor magician. Our own Party and other Marxist-Leninists have thoroughly denounced such parties, and now the Chinese revisionists have assisted us in making even clearer the opposite lines involved here by moving to openly denounce Mao. While we have stated our disagreements with some aspects of Mao’s international line, particularly the formulation that the Soviet Union represents “the most dangerous source of war” – which in no way can be confused with the fact that as an overall strategy the “three worlds” theory is Teng’s counter-revolutionary product and opposed to Mao’s line and outlook – In Struggle is maliciously trying to use this to say that in fact there are no dividing lines.

As to the trick of pointing out that there are opportunists who claim to uphold Mao – well, there have been plenty of opportunists who’ve done the same with Lenin, especially after he was dead also, but we don’t intend to throw Lenin out or to argue that the question of upholding him was never a fundamental question of principle. We can already anticipate what In Struggle will say when some social-chauvinist parties, such as the Canadian Communist League (M-L) which is already making telling noises, kick up a fuss about Mao and the “three worlds” theory in order to oppose the Chinese flirtation with the USSR and the open attacks on Mao (and dropping of the “three worlds” business, which was never essential anyway) that have accompanied this flirtation, not because they really like Mao or oppose capitulation, but because capitulating to their own bourgeoisie is what they’ve got their hearts set on, and they’ve already had some practice in trying to use Mao to justify it. Or what will In Struggle have to say when some pro-Soviet revisionists in the Western imperialist countries appeal to Lenin’s thesis about revolutionary defeatism in order to serve Soviet imperialist interests?

There are no magical phrases that will in and of themselves automatically divide the whole world into two neat categories, despite In Struggle’s search for such a thing (for instance, their claim that if only the international communist movement were to adopt a common programme, instead of worrying about Mao so much, that would somehow bring about a movement “freed of all traces of revisionism.”[18]) Obviously, things are getting complicated and those not guided by Marxism will get lost lost pretty quickly. This is what makes defending Mao so important – because in today’s world you can’t uphold Marxism-Leninism without upholding Mao. We think we have already shown that Enver Hoxha (and the attempts to defend him) are clear proof of this fact.

IV. Centrism Clings to Revisionism

There is no better example of eclecticism than In Struggle’s attempted balancing act between Mao and Hoxha. In fact, this is their entire method – “we do not share the viewpoint of those who would reduce the struggle against revisionism to a storm of wild, fiery denunciations,”[19] as if theirs was the voice of reason in a room full of madmen. Theirs is an appeal to bourgeois common sense, and not to Marxism. But eclecticism is more than an effort to mishmash together antagonistic opposites. It is an attempt to save revisionism by putting a more revolutionary-seeming face on it. Although In Struggle may not like the form that the international debate has taken, especially the aspect of having to choose, there is most definitely a Hoxhaite lean to their balance.

While politely remarking “we think that, generally speaking, Mao Zedong was in the camp of those fighting for socialism,”[20] In Struggle praises and promotes Hoxha’s all-out assault on Mao, Imperialism and the Revolution, as “an important contribution to the debates on fundamental issues which communists must today undertake and complete in order to drive out revisionism wherever it is to be found.”[21] Such obsequiousness to Hoxha, and such bluster in regard to Mao’s alleged “revisionism”! This contradiction makes it pretty obvious what further investigation shows in a deeper way – that there is a basis for some strong doubt about exactly what In Struggle wants to drive out of the movement, revisionism or Mao’s line and contributions.

First, there is this innocent-sounding (but really very shocking) statement: “the victory of Marxism-Leninism over revisionism is held back considerably by the disunity that has existed in the communist forces for over 25 years.”[22] Twenty-five terrible years – in In Struggle’s view everything has been pretty dismal since the rise of Khrushchev and the final break-up of the Third International. This explicitly denies (or rejects) the advances of Marxism in theory and practice during this period, but there is another implication here as well: that unity is always the highest principle, the key to advance, and that Mao should have tried harder to keep together the parties that had together belonged to the Third International, when what was required was a split-exactly the kind of split Mao led – between the forces of Marxism and the forces of revisionism that were trying to keep them under their thumb, a split without which there could be no question of fighting for the unity of the international communist movement. Here we hear an echo of Khrushchev’s favorite and hypocritical charge, that Mao was a “splitter.” If In Struggle thinks that maybe Mao didn’t go about this quite politely enough, we’d like to remind them of Lenin’s attitude: “Socialist parties are not debating clubs, but organizations of the fighting proletariat; when a number of battalions have gone over to the enemy, they must be named and branded as traitors; we must not allow ourselves to be taken in by hypocritical assertions that ’not everybody understands imperialism in the same way’. . . or that the question has not. been ’adequately discussed,’ etc., etc.”[23] Obviously this goes too for the form in which those since Khrushchev have been dealt with, whose desertion has come in the form of attacking Mao.

But in condemning this “branding of traitors” and the rest of the political and ideological struggle over the past 25 years, In Struggle is not just criticizing the form – they are criticizing the content, the very struggle against revisionism itself. What else can be the meaning of the following: “The struggle against revisionism was then carried out in a way that many people seem to wish to continue it, that is by criticizing various parties and communist leaders one at a time and in isolation from one other. This has been done with Tito, Togliatti, Khrushchev, Liu Shiao-chi, Lin Biao, Deng Xiao-ping... and now Mao Tsetung!” (Their ellipses)[24]

We couldn’t ask for a better example to prove the point that throwing out Mao means throwing out the struggle against revisionism. The only possible meaning of including Mao in this list of renegades is that they were all “communist leaders,” none of them deserving of “wild and fiery denunciations” – and Mao, who committed this unpardonable sin, in In Struggle’s eyes is now getting a posthumous taste of his own medicine. Think about it, In Struggle, you really are going over the edge here. In this criticism of the form the struggle against revisionism took over the past 25 years inside and outside China, a form imposed by the fact that there were real leaders who really went over to the real enemy, there is more than a whiff of the idea that nobody should have gotten so excited about it because the differences were exaggerated. This is what throwing out Mao as a dividing line leads to.

The following selection from one of In Struggle’s main polemics, “To Unite the International Communist Movement”, is a very clear exposure of how their even-handed and reasonable position in the face of “sectarianism” run rampant, as they like to picture it, really conceals an extremely philistine and rightist standpoint:

We even feel that at the present time, the appraisal of the lives and works of certain leaders or parties cannot be a starting point for defeating revisionism. In fact, those who have used this method have rapidly strayed from a materialist and dialectical point of view in their examination of the communist movement’s past and present.

Since the starting point for this tendency is to defend the ’purity’ of Marxist-Leninist principles – which some find in the support of this or that leader, while others find it in the criticism of those same leaders – congresses and conferences are held, studies and analyses are made, and uncalculable energy is spent in determining the merits of one, and the mistakes of another. This results in a very special understanding of the history of the movement. A few months ago, we learned that the Communist Party of China and Mao Zedong never based themselves on Marxism-Leninism. But they weren’t alone, since French communists have informed us that the Communist Party of France was never worthy of the name.And more recently, U.S. communists announced that Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese Workers Party were nothing but nationalists from the start. And questions are being raised about the Party of Labour of Albania Why not,once you’ve got a good thing going for you? ...

The struggle against revisionism will be fruitless if it continues to be waged in this way. Why is it so terribly important for the French proletariat to reject Mao Zedong Thought (or to relentlessly defend it), when it has been bombarded by dozens upon dozens of communist organizations and groups telling it that it must reject or defend Stalin, or the three worlds theory, or Deng Xiaoping, or Mao Zedong Thought or Hoxha ever since the betrayal of the French Communist Party? None of these often short-lived organizations ever prevented the revisionists or social-democrats from imposing their line of class collaboration with the French bourgeoisie.

How can U.S. communists justify the fact that they have tried to make the defence of Mao Zedong Thought the main political struggle in the U.S. working class movement in the past year? There as well, there are many disunited Marxist-Leninist groups. The only winners are the reactionary henchmen of U.S. imperialism who dominate the working class and union movements and are preparing the masses to support their bourgeoisie in a new imperialist world war.”[25]

The first thing to note here is a rabid opposition to “driving out revisionism wherever it is found.” They are uncomfortable when people say that Mao and the Chinese Party never based themselves on Marxism, that is going too far. They would rather have peaceful co-existence between trends calling themselves Marxist. But they absolutely forbid anyone to even raise deep questions about Hoxha – that is absolutely going over the limit. And although they like to counterpose what they slander as the method of “appraisal of the lives and works,” a kind of study of the lives of saints, to the method of “a rigorous analysis of the line and practice of the communist movement historically, and particularly during the period of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, a period which has never been fully analyzed in the course of the struggle against modern revisionism,”[26] here, when actually confronted by sharp criticism of this period, they show that they consider it forbidden – in advance – to find any revisionism through this “rigorous analysis.” All this is symptomatic of In Struggle’s dilemma: they really would prefer not to have any dividing lines and would prefer to have everybody swim in one big goulash together – but at the same time it’s really Mao that makes them most uncomfortable.

The second thing about this quote is that it ascribes In Struggle’s own philistine outlook to the workers – all these heady political and even ideological questions don’t matter to them, so please don’t bother us with it. They engage in demogogic and idealistic speculation on the not too surprising fact that in this overall non-revolutionary period a revolutionary line has not held “dominance” among the French proletariat – and go on to make the pragmatist assertion that political line doesn’t matter, which is their real point here. Perhaps In Struggle thinks that instead of all this high-flown nonsense the French Marxist-Leninists should instead concentrate on competing with the revisionists and social-democrats in their own terms in the trade union movement? That too, as we’ll see in a minute.

This selection comes to a resounding finale with what In Struggle must think are crushing blows against us. But what they crush with these remarks about “disunited groups” in the U.S. is their own feet, since this reveals all too well what kind of struggle they want to promote and what kind of international they want to build.

In case anybody is wondering who these “disunited groups” are in this country, so far they have favorably mentioned in their paper the Progressive Labor Party (a neo-Trotskyite sect which won wide notoriety for denouncing the Black liberation movement, the Vietnamese struggle and Mao Tsetung in the 1960s, before sinking from sight in a subsequent career of undistinguished economism), the Communist Workers Party (which loudly upholds the “three worlds” theory, which is about the only thing that In Struggle has taken a stand against besides the unity of Marxists), and the almost unnoticable Communist Party USA Marxist-Leninist, a third sect, as rightist as anyone in the U.S. today, which seems to warrant inclusion here only because it is in the running for the official Albanian franchise (along with the so-called “Marxist-Leninist Party” formerly known as COUSML).

The only thing these groups have in common, besides a common bourgeois outlook, is that in one way or another they all worship at the altar of spontaneity and the economic struggle. This fits quite well with In Struggle’s shrill objections to our three-month long campaign culminating in the September 1978 Mao Memorials, which brought the question of revolution to hundreds of thousands of workers and others, which we consider a sort of indispensable part of building “the working class movement,” and did far more to prepare the masses for war than anything we could have done during that time in the “union movement.”

At this point we are tempted to say, get serious – but that’s exactly the point here. Either they are serious in their admiration for these groups, in which case this is a living example of the kind of rightist hodge-podge they are proposing for the international movement, or they are desperately searching for some forces in opposition to the RCP in the U.S. to put forward to their readers and members. Either way, this amounts to one more example of In Struggle’s vendetta against the Left in the international movement carried out in the guise of humble, reasonable folks just seeking unity.

Recently, In Struggle has taken to writing articles about how they are not centrists.[27] But what else can you call an organization whose newest “contribution” to the international movement, a publication called International Forum – “For the Unity of the Marxist-Leninist Movement,” is dedicated to putting together (“to let the reader know”) under one set of covers both Hoxhaite attacks on Mao and some selections in defense of him? Isn’t this a glossy version of their unreal dream of uniting Marxism and revisionism? In Struggle tries to hide under “objectivity” “without any preconceptions,” “without censorship or discrimination,”[28] but in fact their journal has a line just as they do: a line that “discussion and debate must be stepped up among the forces that are resolutely working to break with modern revisionism (be it the Titoite, Russian, Chinese, Euro-communism or Trotskyist variant)” – in other words, Hoxha’s revisionism for them isn’t even a question and please don’t bring up Mao again! This journal of theirs is actually insidious, since what it discriminates against and seeks to blur is any truthful statement of what the terms of debate really are in the international movement – of what the question of Mao is really about – as well as containing lots of half truths, distortions and significant omissions in their extended gossip column.

Of course these people for whom the two trends in the world today are reasonable types like themselves on the one hand and “extremists” of all kinds on the other do not worship everything Enver Hoxha ever “said or did,” since they’re more into the “I’m OK, you’re OK” style and obviously don’t feel at home with the “orthodox,” suit-and-tie aspect of Hoxha’s dogmato-revisionism. In fact, far from being the official Albania franchise operation in Canada, instead Hoxha’s slimey kiss of approval has gone to the so-called Communist Party of Canada (M-L), and In Struggle complains bitterly that the fully dogmatized Hoxhaite parties all officially recognize what In Struggle has labeled a gang of police provocateurs (with more than a little justice) as the only communist party in Canada and they all refuse to even speak to In Struggle.

In Struggle presents itself as very principled to continue to uphold Hoxha despite the shabby way they’ve been treated. But there’s another possible explanation for their conduct. They don’t like Mao. Like Hoxha, they think the past was much better than the present and want to go back to the way things were 25 years ago, before all this rude struggle against revisionism broke out. They don’t seem to like Stalin too much either and have implied what seem to be correct criticisms against his tendency to combine Marxism with nationalism (as indicated earlier), although they never criticize him directly. But without taking up Mao’s Marxist criticisms of Stalin, as, for instance, Stalin’s failure to see that a new bourgeoisie continually arises within the Party under socialism, or his mechanical materialist deviations on the question of dialectics, what In Struggle is left with is the worst of both worlds, an adherence to Stalin’s errors along with a vague and formless tone of general opposition to Stalin that runs dangerously close to falling into social democracy.

In Struggle’s attempts to deal with some of the theoretical questions involved show how throwing out Mao’s contributions can only lead one way, no matter which way anyone wants to go. For instance there is their two-part analysis of the temporary triumph of revisionism in China: the first, “The leaders of the Communist Party of China are taking China down the capitalist road,” deals only with the question of the relations of production in China and never even once mentions the word superstructure; it is a wooden replay of Stalin’s Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, which, as Mao pointed out, only mentions things and not people.[29] The second, “Some theoretical points about Marxist political economy,” has a point in it about the necessity for revolution in the superstructure, but neglects to apply this to socialism. In fact, they don’t get it at all – they end up talking about China going imperialist and miss the whole point about Teng & Co.’s capitulation to imperialism.[30]

As for their criticisms of Mao, consider the following, which is the most concentrated of their attempts to do so: “we think that certain errors were made after liberation in the attitude which was taken towards the bourgeoisie; we think that democratic centralism was violated in many respects, illustrated, for instance, by the lengthy intervals of time between Congresses. The analysis and understanding of the precise reasons for the recent evolution (sic!) of the CPC, whatever these reasons may be, is an important task that remains to be accomplished.”[31] Two thirds of this is without content (including the criticism of the formal question of time between party congresses – if you’re going to focus on that, why not criticize the equally guilty Albanian Party?), and the other third idealist: the bourgeoisie won, therefore we must “single out those errors which led to the defeats,”[32] as though there could ever be a real class struggle in which there was no possibility of defeat for the proletariat. All of this is sadly identical to Hoxha, not because they are following him, but because they are following the same road.

The problem is that they want everyone to follow them, trying to appeal to the confusion and unclarity on the part of a few forces here and there to get them to go along with what on In Struggle’s part is not uncertainty, but a line of agnosticism in regard to ideological questions and of rightism in regard to political ones. For In Struggle, the problem is not that they haven’t made up their mind about all the crucial questions facing the international movement, but that they’ve already decided that nobody should come to any decisions – except to decide that Mao Tsetung shouldn’t be defended, which, as we’ve shown, is a decision that most definitely carries with it an all-around line on these questions.

In Struggle’s proposals in the international arena for an extended debate among all trends (and classes), in opposition to uniting the Left as firmly and rapidly as possible – amounts to calling on the Left to halt its advance, to calling for an extended recess, until Marxism can be reconciled with opportunism – which would take forever. What else does this serve but the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois forces of every country?

In fact, the bottom line of In Struggle’s appeal to the international communist movement is that it is an appeal to Marxist-Leninists not to unite on anything resembling Marxism. Ever eager to appear practical-minded, In Struggle argues against what they slander as “a’general line,’ which is limited to an analysis of the current world situation, declarations of support for one or more socialist countries and communist leaders, and lists of the kinds of organized opportunism to be opposed,” and opposes this with their own view that “such a vanguard (’the international proletarian vanguard’) must be united on the basis of its communist programme, just as must be the case with Marxist-Leninist parties in individual countries, just as was the case with the Communist International in the past.”[33] But this question of “general line” versus “programme” as a basis for unity of the international communist movement can’t be considered in the abstract – it is clear in the context of In Struggle’s own general line that their proposal about a programme has no other purpose than to oppose unity around principles and key living lines of demarcation. Pitting programme against key dividing principles would result in a very sorry programme indeed! What they oppose most is not the form of a “general line” type document, which is today within the reach of the international communist movement in a way that a fully developed programme – such as the Communist International developed for the whole world and all the key countries – is not.What they oppose is the content of a general line that embodies the principles we listed earlier. It is not really that Mao’s line has nothing to do with international communist unity, but rather that they oppose the political and ideological line that he represents and fought for and they don’t want that to be in any way, shape or form a cutting edge question in that movement.

No matter what the form around which international communist unity develops, this quote from Lenin speaks exactly to its content and puts to shame all this mumble-mouthing:

The purpose of a real programme of action can be served only by a Marxist programme which gives the masses a full and clear explanation of what has taken place, explains what imperialism is and how it should be combatted, declares openly that the collapse of the Second International was brought about by opportunism, and openly calls for a Marxist International to be built up without and against the opportunists. Only a programme that shows that we have faith in ourselves and in Marxism and that we have proclaimed a life-and-death struggle against opportunism will sooner or later win us the sympathy of the genuinely proletarian masses.”[34]

V. Conclusion

Many of Lenin’s polemics during the years 1914-1918, when he was struggling to bring about the conditions to form the Third International, are directed not only against the Right, which had been widely discredited among revolutionary-minded people, but also against the Centrists “who write of ’Mr.’ Hyndman with contempt, while speaking – or saying nothing – of ’Comrade’ Kautsky with deference (or obsequiousness.)”[35] (Hyndman, like the Chinese revisionists, openly preached that the workers had to renounce the class struggle because of the world war, and Kautsky, like Hoxha, tried to combine general phrases about class struggle with essentially the same position of capitulation). Counterattacking against those who argued that the two opposing lines represented by Lenin and people like Kautsky represented different legitimate “shades of opinion,” Lenin wrote, “Undisguised opportunism, which immediately repells the working masses, is not so frightful and injurious as this theory of the golden mean.”[36] Lenin himself was quite an “extremist” in defending Marxism from such “reasonable” people!

In Struggle makes a big deal about what they consider the lack of desire for unity among people like ourselves, whom they consider sectarian, and exclaim, as if they had said something profound, “To progress along the path of unity, we must want unity. Unity must clearly be posed as an objective to attain and we must put into place the means for truly uniting the communist forces that want to do so.”[37] But in the face of the same kind of hypocritical nonsense in the service of the Right in his time, Lenin had the following unsentimental words: “Unity is a great thing and a great slogan. But what the workers’ cause needs is the unity of Marxists, not unity between Marxists, and opponents and distorters of Marxism. And we must ask everyone who talks about unity: unity with whom?”[38] And on another occasion, “An adherent of internationalism who is not at the same time a most consistent and determined adversary of opportunism is a phantom, nothing more. Perhaps certain individuals of this type will honestly consider themselves ’internationalists.’ However, people are judged not by what they think of themselves but by their political behavior.”[39]

For Lenin, as for all Marxists, the avoiding of splits was not the highest of all questions, either within the international movement (where he definitely argued that a split was necessary in order to bring about unity based on the revolutionary interests of the proletariat), nor even – horror of horrors – within the existing parties and organizations, where Lenin argued that the genuine revolutionaries had to one way or another free themselves from the clutches of the honey-tongued traitors. You see, Lenin had a very high standard of “political behavior.” This is what he believed that Marxists were called on to accomplish with the founding of a new international:

An International does not mean sitting at the same table and having hypocritical and pettifogging resolutions.... The International consists in the coming together (first ideologically, then in due time organisationally as well) of people who, in these grave days, are capable of defending socialist internationalism in deed, i.e., of mustering their forces and ’being the next to shoot’ at the governments and the ruling classes of their own respective `fatherlands’. This is no easy task; it calls for much preparation and great sacrifices and will be accompanied by reverses. However, for the very reason that it is no easy task, it must be accomplished only together with those who wish to perform it and are not afraid of a complete break with the chauvinists and with the defenders of social-chauvinism.[40]

The truth is that In Struggle does not see itself in this way. Yet this is exactly what gives the international communist movement its particular urgency and importance at this hour.

Compare this understanding of urgency and importance with In Struggle’s view: “To say that the international communist movement is on the sidelines of revolution in the world is to admit reality. It means realizing that, under current conditions, it offers no real alternative to the masses, to the Islamic movements in Iran and Afghanistan, to the revisionists in Italy, France and Spain, to Arab nationalism, or the chauvinism of the German, Canadian or U.S. social-democrats.”[41]

Is this true? It has an aspect of truth, but overall it is false and very harmful. In the vast majority of the countries mentioned, as well as in many others, there are revolutionary communists – and it is certain that the development of the world itself will pose the question of proletarian revolution before the masses. If in some cases these communist forces are small and scattered, and in some countries there is not yet a communist organization, that is something that can and will change rapidly – and especially with the help of a new communist international. For as we have stressed and stressed again, the proletarian revolutionary movement is a world-wide movement and not one that develops only country by country. The very examples In Struggle gives of countries where aspects of a revolutionary situation are already developing and there is either no or not a sufficiently strong revolutionary party should show the genuine communists the tremendous urgency of our efforts in the international movement. Here too the words of Lenin, responding to the situation of the “internationalists in deed” in April 1917 are very relevent: “If socialists of that type are few, let every Russian worker ask himself whether there were many really class-conscious revolutionaries in Russia on the eve of the February-March revolution of 1917.”[42] It is the very contradictions which make the situation so difficult which also bring such unprecedented opportunities – opportunities we will surely throw away if we pursue the wisp of painless progress.

What we seek is not just some international coordinating committee of what already exists, an international organization which could do little more than rally international support for the struggle in “tiny El Salvador,” to cite the example given by In Struggle: “the revolutionary organizations in tiny El Salvador had to take on themselves for the most part, with their own very limited resources, the task of organizing an international campaign to rally support for their revolution.”[43] Really what is being described here – and this is the only example given – is an international anti-imperialist solidarity committee, and not an international communist organization. Compare this concept with that put forward by the RCP of Chile:

We believe that the development of world Marxist-Leninist forces must not be seen as linked solely to the need to amass and coordinate our forces but as also linked to a qualitative leap forward in the comprehension and application of Marxism-Leninism, especially in its merger with the mass movement in each country. We therefore see unity not only as unity between limited groups of the vanguard, but as the fighting unity of our proletariat and people against their common enemy.[44]

In Struggle stands aghast at what it considers the incomprehensible “disunity” in the international movement. But Engels long ago explained such things in his famous letter to Bebel:

One must not allow oneself to be misled by the cry for ’unity’. Those who have this word most often on their lips are the ones who sow the most dissension... These unity fanatics are either people of limited intelligence who want to stir everything into one nondescript brew, which, the moment it is left to settle, throws up the differences again but in much sharper contrast... or else they are people who unconsciously (like Muhlberger, for instance) or consciously want to adulterate the movement. For this reason the biggest sectarians and the biggest brawlers and rogues at times shout loudest for unity. Nobody in our lifetime has given us more trouble and been more treacherous than the shouters for unity...

... A party proves itself victorious by splitting and being able to stand the split. The movement of the proletariat necessarily passes through different stages of development; at every stage part of the people get stuck and do not join in the further advance; and this alone explains why it is that actually the ’solidarity of the proletariat’ is everywhere being realised in different party groupings, which carry on life-and-death feuds with one another, as the Christian sects in the Roman Empire did amidst the worst persecutions.[45]

No Marxist should be surprised by the apparent paradox of a ripening objective situation and a widening rift between forces that were once more united – it is inevitable that some will “get stuck” in certain attitudes and approaches and refuse to give them up when war time approaches. The fundamental question here is not why this has happened, but what attitude to take towards it: whether to make a petty bourgeois “fear of sharp turns and a disbelief in them”[46] into a political and ideological line, whether to oppose a “sharp turn” in the movement – a break with forces that have deserted it, which is absolutely necessary so that the revolutionary forces can take advantage of the sharp turn in the objective situation – while timidly and idly dreaming of things somehow going backwards to more peaceful times both in the objective conditions and within the political movement, or to welcome this turn, this opportunity to make revolution, and, putting revolutionary considerations ahead of everything, welcome too this harsh light of revolutionary circumstances which throws into sharp relief all that is rotten and outmoded in politics.


[1] New Programme and New Constitution of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (Drafts for Discussion), (Chicago, 1980), p. 57.

[2] Ibid., p. 97.

[3] The article “Lenin’s Struggle Against International Opportunism: 1914-1917” (Revolution, Vol. 4, No. 10-11, Oct./Nov. 1979) deals with the struggle to prepare for the founding of the Comintern in some detail. For the question of the relationship between the defense of a socialist country and the world revolution, see “The Prospects for Revolution and the Urgent Tasks in the Decade Ahead-Documents from the Third Plenary Session of the Second Central Committee of the RCP, USA” (ibid.), especially point six, “On the Historical Process of the Proletarian Revolution,” pp. 15-19. The article, “Slipping Into Darkness: ’Left’ Economism, the CPUSA and the Trade Union Unity League (1929-1935)”, throws light on the question of economism as it was carried out by the Comintern’s U.S. section. (Revolution, Vol. 5, No. 2-3, February/March 1980.) We have also published a three-part series in The Communist Vol. 1, No. 1 (October 1976); Vol. 2, No. 1 (Fall/Winter 1977); and Vol. 2, No. 2 (Summer/Fall 1978)dealing with the origins, nature and effects of World War 2 and the role of both the Comintern and several communist parties in relation to it. These articles represented a beginning contribution to an understanding of this period, and do not represent our present thinking in all aspects. In particular, it should be noted that the first two of these articles were written before the split with the revisionist and social-chauvinist Menshevik clique formerly in our Party.

[4] For the previously published sections, see “The Prospects for Revolution... ”, Revolution, Vol. 4, No. 10-11, especially p. 11.

[5] For a recently published excerpt from this paper, see “The Question of Democracy and the Communist Movement,” Revolutionary Worker #56, p. 11. The quote from Lenin is from “The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution,” CW, Vol. 24, p. 75.

[6] “The Prospects for Revolution... ”, Revolution, Vol. 4, No. 10-11, p. 15.

[7] Lenin, “Dead Chauvinism and Living Socialism (How the International Can Be Restored),” Collected Works (CW), Vol. 21, pp. 99-100.

[8] Lenin, “The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution,” CW, Vol. 24, p. 84.

[9] IN STRUGGLE! (Central Organ of the MLOC IN STRUGGLE!), June 3, 1980, p. 15.

[10] International Forum (Published by MLOC IN STRUGGLE!), April 1980, p. 34.

[11] IN STRUGGLE!, January 22, 1980, p. 12.

[12] Ibid.

[13] See “Beat Back the Dogmato-Revisionist Attack on Mao Tsetung Thought,” The Communist #5, May 1979; and “Enver Hoxha’s Imperialism and the Revolution – An ’Error’ from Beginning to End,” Revolution, Vol. 4, No. 9 (September 1979).

[14] IN STRUGGLE!, April 17, 1979, p. 12.

[15] All cited in the Revolution article, “Enver Hoxha’s Imperialism and the Revolution – An ’Error’ From Beginning to End.”

[16] IN STRUGGLE!, June 3, 1980, p. 15.

[17] See Bob Avakian, Mao Tsetung’s Immortal Contributions (Chicago, 1979), pp. 320-22; “A Critical Appraisal of the Chinese Communist Party’s ’Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement’ (1963),” Revolution , Vol. 4, No. 6 (June 1979), pp. 30-32; and “The Prospects for Revolution... ,” Revolution, Vol. 4, No. 10-11, pp. 16-17.

[18] International Forum, p. 37.

[19] Ibid., p. 39.

[20] Ibid., p. 38.

[21] IN STRUGGLE!, April 17, 1969, p. 12.

[22] For the Political and Organizational Unity of the International Communist Movement, Appeal from the Third Congress of MLOC IN STRUGGLE! (March 1979), p. 3.

[23] Lenin, “The Collapse of the Second International,” CW, Vol. 21, p. 212.

[24] International Forum, p. 38.

[25] IN STRUGGLE., January 22, 1980, pp. 12-13. The first set of ellipses are IN STRUGGLE’s; the second set are ours.

[26] For the Political and Organizational Unity of the International Communist Movement, p. 16.

[27] IN STRUGGLE!, June 3, 1980, p. 15.

[28] International Forum, pp. 2-3.

[29] Mao Tsetung, “Critique of Stalin’s Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR,” Critique of Soviet Economics, p. 135.

[30] These two articles appeared in Proletarian Unity #15, Feb: March 1979 (theoretical journal of MLOC IN STRUGGLE!).

[31] International Forum, pp. 38-39. For more on In Struggle’s views on what led to the revisionist takeover in China, see “The Communist Party of China: Slowly Strangled by Factionalism,” IN STRUGGLE!, July 3, 1979, p. 14; “On Enver Hoxha’s Imperialism and the Revolution: The Criticism of Modern Revisionism Must Be Carried Through to the End,” Proletarian Unity, No. 16, April-May 1979, especially pp. 32-34; and “The Stakes of the Mao-Stalin Debate,” IN STRUGGLE!, April 8, 1980, p. 13. For example, in the latter article, which addresses the question of Mao’s line on the existence of two lines in the party (which Mao correctly recognized as an inevitable product of class-divided society and drew attention to this precisely in order to wage struggle against the bourgeois line and those who champion it), In Struggle uses the PLA’s formulation that Mao “accepted the continued existence of two lines” (our italics) and then goes on to conclude that “there is no doubt that real errors were committed by the CPC on this matter which helped pave the way for the growth and even the victory of bourgeois opportunism within the party. . .

[32] Ibid., p. 39.

[33] IN STRUGGLE!, June 3, 1980, p. 15.

[34] Lenin, “Socialism and War,” CW, Vol. 21, p. 329.

[35] Lenin, “The Collapse of the Second International,” CW, Vol. 21, p. 209.

[36] Ibid., p. 257.

[37] International Forum, p. 37.

[38] Lenin, “Unity,” CW, Vol. 20, p. 232.

[39] Lenin, “Under a False Flag,” CW, Vol. 21, p. 156.

[40] Lenin, “Dead Chauvinism and Living Socialism,” CW, Vol. 21, p. 99.

[41] IN STRUGGLE!, January 22, 1980, p. 13.

[42] Lenin, “The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution,” CW, Vol. 24, p. 82.

[43] IN STRUGGLE!, May 6, 1980, p. 5.

[44] Quoted in International Forum, p. 24.

[45] “Engels to A. Bebel, June 20, 1873,” Marx and Engels, Selected Works in One Volume, (International Publishers, 1968), p. 685, pp. 686-7.

[46] Lenin, “The Collapse of the Second International,” CW, Vol. 21, p. 243.