Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

League for Proletarian Revolution

The International Significance of the Restoration of Capitalism in the USSR

II. Capitalism Restored: Deviations on the Question of Stalin and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

Shaken by the victories of socialism and the rise of national liberation movements after the war, USNA imperialism, the principal beneficiary of the anti-fascist war, initiated a general offensive against the socialist countries, communist parties and peoples of the world. Using the weapons of violence and deception, the imperialists carried out a comprehensive, attack, utilising economic, political and ideological pressure. After dropping the atom bomb on the Japanese, the USNA, with its threats of war and its military preparations, carried out a policy of atomic blackmail against the socialist bloc and national liberation movements. At the same time, USNA imperialism used deception by feigning conciliation, and promising “aid” and peace. They attacked Korea only to bribe Yugoslavia. This alternate use of threats of war and promises of peace was calculated to split the socialist camp by giving any would-be revisionists as much ideological ammunition as possible. The imperialists’ designs were clear: peace at the price of socialism.

The imperialists, of course, were not without allies in the socialist camp. Tito, who had been studying the works of Earl Browder (the “C”PUSA’s double-dealing lackey of imperialism), and who was intent on restoring capitalism in Yugoslavia, was USNA imperialism’s first customer. In Tito the imperialists found their magic formula – revisionism in power: socialism in words and flunkeyism in deeds. But, like social-democracy, Tito was exposed by Stalin. Imperialism needed a still more powerful ally. Its search, however, was futile while Stalin was alive.

In the Khrushchevite clique the imperialists found their dream: a communist party that would suppress the communist movement, undermine socialism, and sabotage national liberation struggles – all with the aim of restoring capitalism. The strategy of the Khrushchevite clique was twofold. First, they exploited the stunning achievements of Stalin’s policies and used them to broaden the basis for revisionism. The Khrushchevite clique doubtlessly had read Stalin’s great essay, Mastering Bolshevism. They understood as well as anyone the meaning of the “sunny side of economic success”, as Stalin put it. But rather than warn the Soviet people against swell-headedness and self-satisfaction as Stalin had done, the Khrushchevite clique did all they could to inject capitalist illusions into this intoxicating atmosphere. “Socialism means more goulash”, Khrushchev said. In this way he and his clique attempted to transform the Soviet discipline of Lenin and Stalin into the capitalist bribe.

The Khrushehevite gang turned the successes of the anti-fascist war into their opposite as well. These revisionists demagogically manipulated the desires of the Soviet people for peace. They constantly reminded them of the enormous destruction of the anti-fascist war, and the renewed threats of the imperialists. They contrasted this to the pious, reformist illusions of “peaceful competition”, the “peaceful read to socialism”, and the “quiet, easy life”. In short, the Khrushehevites aimed their sugar bullets at the former exploiters and vacillating elements in the Party and the USSR. Their line, in essence, was based on a capitulation to imperialism.

The capitulation to this pressure of imperialism, to its threats of a devastating war, was one of the circumstances which led to the birth of modern revisionism, was one of the sources of the birth of revisionism in the present day. (Some Questions of Socialist Construction in Albania and of the Struggle Against Revisionism, p. 155)

Second, and most important, the Khrushchevite clique had to disarm the Party, the heart and mind of the Soviet working class. Both imperialists and revisionists understand that in order to make a socialist country degenerate into a capitalist cesspool they first have to destroy its communist party – its most conscious element. This has been the strategy of the agents of imperialism from Trotsky and Bukharin to Liu Shao-Chi and Lin Piao. Within ten years of Khrushchev’s rise to power, the revisionists purged close to 70% of the Central Committee members elected at the 19th Congress in 1952, and about 50% of those elected at the 20th Congress in 1956. In 1963, under the pretext of reorganising the Party on the basis of production, the Khrushchev clique once again replaced more than half the members of the Central Committees of the Federated Republics and regional committees. It is clear, then, that the revisionists came to power not as a result of a civil war in which the bourgeoisie was victorious, and not as the result of some unsolicited and peaceful “degeneration” of the Bolshevik Party. Seizing an opportune moment, these revisionists plotted a counter-revolutionary coup d’etat, and usurped Party and state power.

Because of the tremendous accomplishments of the Soviet people under his leadership, as well as his incessant struggle against revisionism, the imperialists had tried for yearn to attack and vilify Stalin and the Bolsheviks, without success. The Khrushchevites provided the way out. Needing justification for purging the strongest proletarians in the Party, the Khrushchevits clique attacked Stalin and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Thus, the objectives of these two insidious forces, imperialism and revisionism, coincided in Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization speech of 1956, a combination of bourgeois drivel and delirious distortion which is rivaled only by the capitalist psychosis of Solshenitsyn. Shortly after Khrushchev’s attacks, Marxism-Leninism suddenly became “outdated and dogmatic”. “Stalinist Socialism” was uprooted and turned into “creative genius socialism”–socialism which was acceptable to the bourgeoisie. Material incentives replaced the socialist principle of ”from each according to his ability, to each according to his work.” The Party’s policies and class character began to resemble those of social-democratic parties. Thus there arose the “state of the whole people”, a haven for bourgeois degenerates, a state which represents every class but the proletariat. What better way to do the imperialists’ dirty work!

It is ironic that in a speech in Moscow In 1937, Nikita Khrushchev said:

Whoever raises his hand against Comrade Stalin has raised it against all of us, against the working class, against the working people. Whoever raises his hand against Comrade Stalin has raised it against the doctrine of Marx, Engels, and Lenin.

And this is exactly what Khrushchev did. By attacking Stalin, Khrushchev and his clique were attempting to roll back socialism and rob the peoples of the socialist and liberated countries of their historic gains. In this light it is important to show how Lin Plao’s henchmen from the “new left” pose as anti-revisionists, while actually upholding the line of modern revisionism on the question of Stalin. When these people “theorise” about the dictatorship of the proletariat they invariably end up attacking it. The main features of this trend include:

1) The attempt to separate Mao from Marx, Engels, Lenin and particularly Stalin. Advocates of this trend pretend, among other things, that Mao discovered that class struggle continues during the dictatorship of the proletariat. This trend goes so far as to claim that “Mao Tse-tung Thought” represents “an entirely new stage” of Marxism, and that Mao discovered that dialectics operate within the communist party.
2) The idealization of the Cultural Revolution as an epoch-making event even more profound than the October Revolution, the result primarily of Mao’s genius. While the triumph of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was initiated and guided by Comrade Mao Tse-tung and while it is a great victory and a source of inspiration for the world revolutionary movement, it is only so because it represents a concrete application of the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat as developed by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin.
3) An attack on Stalin, and the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the Soviet people, who somehow didn’t understand–at least on the level of theory–that the class struggle was continuing inside the USSR.
4) An idealist approach to revisionism which fails to discuss its materialist basis, thus turning class struggle into a struggle of ideas and not social strata. This diverts attention from the labor aristocracy and petty-bourgeoisie as the social base for revisionism, and dilutes the struggles against it.

As the Communist League has pointed out, one of the foremost spokesmen for this trend is Sanamugathasan, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka (see People’s Tribune, Vol. 4, Nos. 1 and 2). Unfortunately, such errors are not limited to Sanamugathasan. They occurred in the Communist Party of China when it was heavily influenced by Lin Piao. At present they form much of the ideological basis of the Guardian, October League (OL), and the Revolutionary Union (RU), all of whom are conciliators of the “Communist” Party USA (“CP”USA). Finally, the League for Proletarian Revolution made similar errors in a recent issue of its paper, The Hammer and Sickle. We feel a criticism of this trend as well as a self-criticism of our own errors is necessary.

One of the best examples of Lin Plao’s insidious influence is found in Circular of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party–A Great Historic Document:

Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist who actually cleared out a large number of counter-revolutionary representatives of the bourgeoisie... But where he failed was in not recognising, on the level of theory, that classes and class struggle exist in society throughout the historical period of the dictatorship of the proletariat and that the question of who will win in the revolution has yet to be finally settled; in other words, if all this is not handled properly there is the possibility of a come-back by the bourgeoisie. The year before he died, Stalin became aware of this point and stated that contradictions do exist in socialist society end if not properly handled might turn into antagonistic ones. [Comrade Mao Tse-tung].has correctly solved this series of problems in a whole number of important writings and instructions, in this great historic document and in the most significant practice of the proletarian cultural revolution personally initiated and led by him. This Is a most important sign indicating that Marxism has developed to an entirely new stage. In the early years of the twentieth century, Marxism developed into the stage of Leninism. In the present era, it has developed further into the stage of Mao Tse-tung’s thought (p. 18, our emphasis)

Later on in a different article of the same pamphlet we see Lin Piao’s influence even more clearly. In a frontal attack on Leninism, the article states: “Our army is the most important instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (Ibid. pp.26-27)

Now, we know that the Bolsheviks did not forget class struggle, otherwise the dictatorship of the proletariat would have been unnecessary. Stalin not only did not forget class struggle, he pinpointed the exact form it took inside the Soviet Union in the 1930’s: a direct alliance with the fascists.

... the further forward we advance, the greater the successes we achieve, the greater will be the fury of the remnants of the broken exploiting classes, the sooner will they resort to sharper forms of struggle, the more will they seek to harm the Soviet state and the more will they clutch at the most desperate means of struggle, as the last resort of doomed people....It should be borne in mind that the remnants of the broken classes in the USSR are not alone. They have the direct support of our enemies, beyond the bounds of the USSR. (Mastering Bolshevism, p.22)

Stalin’s bourgeois critics usually distort his Report to the Eighteenth Party Congress to make it seem like he somehow didn’t understand that class struggle continues under socialism. Well, Mastering Bolshevism was written in 1937. Unless we are to accept the patently absurd “explanation” that Stalin forgot class struggle in 1935, remembered it again in 1937 and then forgot it again until the year before he died, we must be clear that Stalin defended the proletarian line with utmost clarity and vigilance. Only what Lenin calls “downright pedants and mentally decrepit mummies” would argue otherwise. In addition, Stalin’s essay Inherent Contradictions of Party Development remains one of the most penetrating analyses of class contradictions as the cause of struggle and development inside the Party. Stalin also points out the correct way of handling these contradictions. Here he quotes Engels: “Apparently, all labor parties in big countries can develop only in the process of internal struggle, in complete accordance with the laws of dialectical development.” And, “Contradictions cannot be concealed for long. They are settled only by fighting them out.” (Marx and Engels, Selected Works, p. 38)

Secondly, the Tenth Party Congress of China corrects any illusions about “Mao Tse-tung Thought” being a new stage of Marxism.

Stalin said, ’Leninism is Marxism of the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution.’ This is entirely correct. Since Lenin’s death, the world situation has undergone great changes. But the era has not changed. The fundamental principles of Leninism are not outdated; they remain the theoretical basis guiding our thinking today. (p.21)

Like the counterrevolutionary he was, Lin Piao’s methods and goals were clear: Build a cult of Mao and simultaneously attack Stalin as a way of undermining the Party and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Chou En-Lai’s speech exposed Lin Piao in this way:

Lin Piao and his handful of sworn followers were a counter-revolutionary conspiratorial clique who never showed up without a copy of Quotations in hand and never opened their mouths without shouting “Long Live” and who spoke nice things to your face but stabbed you in the back.’

Finally, Wang Hung-Wen’s Report on the Revision of the Party Constitution points out that the Party’s centralized leadership must he strengthened. “The political Party of the proletariat is the highest form of the organization of the proletariat, and the Party must exercise leadership in everything; this is an important Marxist principle.” (p. 51 and 52)

In Vol. 1, No.2 of The Hammer and Sickle published by the League for Proletarian Revolution, an article appeared entitled “Counterrevolution in the USSR”. First, the article begins with an idealist attack on Stalin:

For more than thirty years after the proletarian revolution, Stalin led the Soviet party and people in building socialism and in defending their country against fascist attacks. After his death in 1953, certain bourgeois, revisionist politicians in the party, under the leadership of Khrushchev, attacked Stalin, exaggerated his mistakes, and tried to give the impression that Stalin had led the Soviet Union down the wrong road. This represented the beginning of the revisionists’ attempt to restore capitalism, which was in part the result of the policy of ’peaceful transition’ to socialism, a policy which imperialism pushed in the Soviet Union through its agents.”

This is precisely Sanamagathasan’s line. How many times have we read such vague, unconcretized articles which at first compliment Stalin, only to go on to mention his undefined “mistakes”? ”We know from our own experience that such attacks always start out in the form of ten sentences of praise, one of blame, and then invariably transform themselves into one sentence of praise plus ten of blame, and finally to eleven sentences of blame.” (People’s Tribune, Vol. 4, No. 1. pg. 9)

Moreover, as we’ve pointed out it is incorrect to say that Khrushchev represented the beginning of the revisionists’ attempt to restore capitalism. Are workers supposed to swallow the line that during the previous thirty-six years the capitalists and their agents were not trying to sabotage and destroy socialism and restore their lost paradise? In fact, this argument denies the basic thesis of the entire article–that class struggle exists and even intensifies during the dictatorship of the proletariat. Finally, this paragraph says that the attempt to restore capitalism was in part the result of the policy of the peaceful transition to socialism. Now if being determines consciousness and if every idea and policy is stamped with the brand of a class, then the policy of peaceful transition had to have a material basis. This policy, then, was one result of the revisionist clique’s attempt to restore capitalism. It did not however give birth to capitalism. To argue the line of The Hammer and Sickle is to say that ideas and/or policies determine reality.

This idealist line of thinking permeates other parts of the article as well. At another point it says that the starting point for all revisionist policies is bourgeois ideology in the ranks of the working class. It contends that this ideology is fostered by “political deception.” Finally, it says that the effect of this ideology has been to split the working class. This line is similar to that of THE NEW VOICE revisionists who argue that the main basis of the split in the USNA proletariat is fraud and deception, and not the result of a materiel bribe. Of course deception plays a role in any bourgeois or social-imperialist state, nonetheless; it is insignificant alongside what Lenin called “the fundamental issue of modern socialism”, namely, the fact that imperialism provides the material basis for a split in the working class.

The article goes on to say that “The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China has confirmed this fact and has deepened Marxism-Leninism. The Chinese learned from the negative example of Khrushchev and grasped the lessons that the Russian people themselves were unable to foresee.” Which lessons ware the Russian people unable to foresee? Were they unable to “understand” the class struggle that they were participating in? Were they unable to see that ”socialism is a conscious, planned movement guided by revolutionary politics and an adherence to revolutionary style of work”? (Hammer and Sickle, p.4) Were they unable to comprehend the essence of Marx’s teaching? If this is true, for what did 20 million Soviet people die? If we were to accept these arguments, we would conclude that the rise to power of modern revisionism was based on Stalin’s mistakes, political deception, Soviet bureaucracy, and the ignorance of the Soviet people. Nothing could be further from the truth. For without the heroic struggles of the Soviet masses, and the brilliant leadership of Stalin and the Bolshevik Party, socialism in the USSR would never have lasted as long as it did. And Chairman Mao and the Chinese Communist Party would have not have had such rich experience to draw on. But there is no mention of this in The Hammer and Sickle. Finally, the article leaves the impression that there is no connection between Stalin’s defense of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the current struggles In China around the Cultural Revolution and the anti-Lin Piao-Confucius campaign. It gives the one-sided impression that the Chinese have resolved all problems of capitalist restoration, and that the USSR in the time of Lenin and Stalin made no meaningful contributions to the defense of the dictatorship of the proletariat. On the contrary, the Cultural Revolution was a great victory precisely because it represented a concrete application of the teachings of Lenin and Stalin.

The line of the New Left, then, leads straight into the arms of the revisionists, who also demean the dictatorship of the proletariat and proclaim that the problem of class struggle under socialism has been resolved. Instead of chanting “Russia’s line is our line!” as the “CP”USA does, the New Left chants “China’s line is our line!”

In conclusion, while directing our blows against the main enemy – modern revisionism and its poisonous protege, the “CP”USA – we should heed the words of Enver Hoxha:

Our Party has stressed and stresses it again that the question of Stalin is a fundamental question, especially because the revisionists concretised their attack on Marxism-Leninism and the proletarian dictatorship with their attack on J.V. Stalin. Our Party is of the opinion that Marxist-Leninists and all the revolutionaries should defend Stalin from all the slanders and attacks of the revisionists and with their struggle should succeed in putting the name and deeds of Stalin in the place of honor they deserve.” (The Party of Labor of Albania In Battle With Modern Revisionism, pp. 217 & 218)