Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Theory of ’Pure’ Revolution is a Theory of no revolution at all

PL Launches Cowardly Attack

First Published: Red Worker, the political newspaper of the Georgia Communist League (M-L), Vol. 2, No. 4, April 1, 1972.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Progressive Labor Party (P.L.) has attacked the people of China, the Chinese communists and Mao Tse-Tung for inviting Nixon to China.

The P.L. leaders are doing this because of their “theory” that revolutionaries should never negotiate with the imperialists.

According to their words they are “super-revolutionaries,” but in their actions they are serving the CIA and the U. S. capitalist class. At a time when the progressive and revolutionary people of the U. S. are trying to build friendship and solidarity with the Chinese people, the P.L. leaders have gone so far as to demonstrate against the Chinese U.N. delegation in New York.

The P.L. leaders are spreading the lie that “Mao is plotting with Nixon.” They never give any evidence that this is true, because there isn’t any. Their slander is intended to discredit a great leader of the working class just as the capitalists and their agents have always attempted to do. But they will only expose their counter-revolutionary face even more with their feeble attempts to oppose the correct policies of the Peoples’ Republic of China. The actions of the Chinese government in inviting Nixon to make a diplomatic visit to China are 100% in accord with the interests of the workers and oppressed people of the world, including the American people.

Since China is a socialist country, run by the working class, it does not have the aggressive drive to plunder and exploit other countries like the U. S. does. Toward the capitalist and imperialist states, including the U.S., it follows an honest and consistent policy of peace; inviting Nixon to China was a part of this policy.

The leaders of P.L. beat their chests and shout “No Compromises!,” “No Negotiations!,” “sell-out!” “Plots!” This way of opposing revolution is not new. As long as there has been a revolutionary movement there have been those who posed as “super-revolutionaries,” as “pure” communists in order to oppose the concrete struggle that was taking place at that time. These “left” opportunists (left-wing in words, right-wing in deeds) have only a superficial understanding of Marxism-Leninism and how it applies to making revolution in the real world today.

Lenin called their policy of “no compromises” “ridiculous in the extreme,” and said

Is it not as though, when making a difficult ascent of an unexplored and heretofore inaccessible mountain, we were to refuse beforehand ever to move in zigzags, ever to retrace our steps .... The more powerful enemy can be vanquished only be exerting the utmost effort, and without fail, most thoroughly, carefully, attentively and skillfully using every, even the smallest rift among the enemies, of every antagonism of interest among the bourgeoisie of the various countries and among the various groups of types of bourgeoisie within the various countries, and also by taking advantage of every, even the smallest opportunity of gaining a mass ally, even though this ally be temporary, vacillating, unstable, unreliable and conditional. Those who fail to understand this, fail to understand even a particle of Marxism, or of scientific, modern Socialism in general. Those who have not proven by deeds over a fairly considerable period of time, and in fairly varied political situations, their ability to apply this truth in practice have not yet learned to assist their revolutionary class in its struggle to emancipate all toiling humanity from the exploiters. And this applies equally to the period before and after the proletariat has conquered political power.

The Peoples’ Republic of China’s negotiations with Nixon widened the splits between the different imperialist powers and the U. S. imperialists. This makes more difficult the possibilities of an alliance between the U. S. and other imperialist or social imperialist countries for the purpose of war against Socialist China or the oppressed countries. Utilizing every such split between the imperialists is only one aspect of the tactics of the socialist countries and the revolutionary peoples, but it is a very important aspect.

These tactics flow from the scientific law, which Lenin discovered, of the uneven development of capitalism. This means that the different imperialist .countries develop at different rates of speed; one imperialist power does not always remain on the top (including the U. S.). The rising imperialist powers are always trying to re-divide the world and take over the “spheres of interest” that the “old” imperialist powers have held previously. It is this uneven development with its corresponding competition and conflict between the imperialists that causes world wars in the modern world. And it is this conflict between the imperialists that is a major factor in making it possible for the working class to make revolution in a single country and to build a socialist society.

P.L. shows that they do not understand this basic law of capitalism when they make a statement like, “The bosses of the world are . . .wolves. And they band together in a wolf pack whenever any one of them is threatened with revolution.”

This is out and out Trotskyism. The Trotskyists have opposed revolution for the last 50 years by saying that it is impossible to make a revolution or build socialism in any single country because the capitalists are too strong and united world-wide. The only way revolution can be successful these “super-revolutionaries” say, is if the working class in all the biggest countries makes revolution at the same time.

History has proven these left opportunists wrong.

When the conflicts between the imperialists reached the point of war for the first time, the Russian people were able to successfully make revolution while the imperialists were at each others’ throats. When the imperialist competition led to the second world war, China and many Eastern European countries were able to successfully make revolution.

One of the biggest slanders that the P.L. leaders put out is that the Chinese are the same as the Soviet revisionists. This is an outright lie. The statements and actions of the Chinese communists have proven that their policies are the opposite of those of the Soviet social-imperialists. First of all, the Soviet revisionists spread illusions about imperialism and the question of war and peace. They say that a “world without war” is possible while imperialism still exists, whereas the Chinese say there are only two possibilities: that revolution will prevent world war or that world war will cause revolution. In other words, although the struggles of the world’s peoples can forestall any particular war, we will only have peace permanently when the imperialist system no longer exists in the world. This is the opposite of the revisionists’ phoney “theories.”

The Soviet revisionists make peaceful co-existence the sum total of the foreign policy and put proletarian internationalism in a secondary or non-existent place. They go further than this and try to make peaceful co-existence with imperialism the basis of policy for revolutionary movements all around the world. The Soviet revisionists say that the weight of Soviet influence and successful competition with the imperialists makes it possible for oppressed classes and nations to “peacefully co-exist” with their oppressors and achieve liberation and socialism “peacefully.” Instead of supporting the struggles of the world’s peoples, they oppose them, saying that “any small ’local war’ might spark off the conflagration of a world war.” In line with this policy they have-slandered the heroic Palestinian guerrilla movement calling, it “adventurist” and have attempted to sabotage the struggle in Southeast Asia; for example they refuse to recognize the legitimate revolutionary government of Samdech Sihanouk in Cambodia, but continue to deal with the U. S. backed Lon Nol clique.

The Chinese Communist Party has consistently opposed these policies and made proletarian internationalism the cornerstone of their foreign policy. They have not slackened in their opposition to U.S. policies in general and Nixon in particular. They have never said that the policy of peaceful co-existence between the Peoples’ Republic of China and the U. S. government means that the working class and oppressed people in this country should also “peacefully co-exist” with the U.S. capitalists and their government. They have given strong political support to the armed revolutionary struggle of the Afro-American people and the workers movement in this country, including statements by Mao Tse-Tung himself.

The leaders of P.L. know this. And this is why it is the most rotten opportunism possible for them to raise the slogan, “Would you invite this man [Nixon] into your home?” They imply that this is what the Chinese revolutionaries urge the American workers to do. This is nothing but a cheap demagogic lie by the P.L. leaders.


P.L.’s leaders began by setting themselves against Lenin, Stalin and Mao in theory. And they are now setting themselves against the revolutionary peoples of the world in practice.

They began several years ago by calling the Vietnamese communists “sell-outs” for negotiating with the U.S. Time has shown how wrong they are – the Vietnamese have never laid down their guns and have succeeded in exposing the U. S. imperialists at the negotiating table while defeating them on the battlefield.

Following the same road, P.L.’s leaders have set themselves against the Black Liberation struggle in the U.S. by saying that “all nationalism is reactionary,” not distinguishing between the revolutionary nationalism of an oppressed people (directed against the U. S. imperialists) and reactionary nationalism (directed against the workers of other nations).

And now, when the people of the U.S. are fighting to build friendship and solidarity with the Chinese people, P.L. is demonstrating against them!

The Trotskyist, left-opportunist policies of P.L. are bound to isolate them from the masses of workers and other revolutionary people in the U. S. This process has already been going on for some time. Many honest people have already split from P.L. over their sectarian and counter-revolutionary policies. More will follow and the Progressive Labor Party will degenerate into a sect like other Trotskyist groups.

P.L. should be a profound lesson, by negative example, to the thousand to revolutionary workers and students who are fighting to build a new vanguard communist party in the U.S. In the vigorous struggle against the ideological and practical betrayals of the modern revisionists, we must be constantly on guard against Trotskyism and all forms of left opportunism. If we fail to do this we will end up like P.L. – uniting the enemy, opposing the people, and going from defeat to defeat.