Organization of Communist Workers (ML) Canada and Communist Workers Group (ML) U.S.A.

Statement of the OCW(ML) and CWG(ML) on

The Situation in China and Social-Chauvinism in Our Movement

Issued: n.d. [1976]
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The recent attack against the Lefts within the CP of China no doubt came as a shock to almost everyone in our movement. What remains to be seen now is how the various trends which claim to adhere to Marxism-Leninism will react to these events and what practical conclusions they will draw. For anyone who has paid close attention to the line struggle within the CPC, this sudden offensive by the Rights should have been no surprise. There has been ample evidence, both in Peking Review and various other publications released in the name of the CPC, that the revisionists have been entrenched within the Chinese Party for some time, and that not even the Cultural Revolution was successful in clearing them from influential posts. And despite the ouster of Teng, the Rights have managed to consolidate their positions even further and now have almost complete control over the official Party apparatus. How long it will take the Lefts to launch a counterattack remains to be seen, but the fact that they were so quickly isolated by the Rights would indicate that they have yet to build a strong organization within the working class. But it should be clear that the present leadership of the CPC will continue to purge the Party of Marxist-Leninists until it creates a stable, revisionist apparatus to its own liking.

This is of course a terrible blow to the international communist movement. The domination of the CPC by Right opportunists is a profound setback in an already retrograde situation. There is in fact little of a world movement to speak of. The struggle against modern revisionism, launched by the CPC and PLA in the early 1960’s, laid the basis for the creation of a truly principled Marxist-Leninist movement worldwide, but what little movement that has emerged from that basis has been deformed by ever newer opportunist and revisionist tendencies. Our movement so far has lacked a firm foundation in principle that would enable new Marxist-Leninist organizations in every country to combat these new shades, and as a consequence the vast majority of new “ML” groups and organizations have themselves developed, not as principled opponents of revisionism, but as proponents of revisionism under an “ML” front. Thus the new international communist movement, to the extent that one exists, is developing in opposition to both modern revisionism as it is expressed by the CPSU and long-standing revisionist CP’s worldwide, and to modern revisionism as it is expressed by a host of “ML” Parties and organizations and by revisionists within the CPC and PLA. With the recent purge of the Lefts, the CPC has taken an open turn to the Right and thus can no longer be considered one of the guiding lights for the new movement. Mao Tse Tung, Chiang, Wang, and others were in fact the only hope that such an open turn could be prevented. The PLA’s future rests largely with those who are able to expose the revisionist coup in the CPC and oust their own revisionists before the PLA makes a similar turn. It should be obvious now even to the most bewildered that we cannot build a truly communist movement on simple faith that the CPC and PLA will continue to show the way. We must consider who is showing us what, and for what reasons. We must carefully study the various lines put forward in the name of these Parties and determine which represent Marxism-Leninism, and which revisionism. The bourgeoisie is “right in the Party”, and those who fail to take this into account seal their own fates.

The most blatant example of the pervasive influence of the new revisionism is given by the position that the vast majority of new “ML” Parties and organizations share on the international situation. The official sanction and elaboration of this line comes from the Foreign Ministries of China and Albania, headed by Chiao Kaun-hua and Nesti Nase, respectively. These two figures and the line they advocate in common are overtly social-chauvinist, and they have found willing followers among the new “ML” organizations who, due to their own class bias and opportunist interests, have perpetuated this social-chauvinist line as an integral facet of their “anti-revisionist” ultra-opportunism. A full exposure of this line will be-published in a joint work by the OCW(ML) Canada and CWG(ML) USA entitled Against the Tide which hopefully will be ready for distribution by the beginning of the year. In short, the line states that the contradictions in the international situation are such that two large blocs are taking shape: on the one hand, the two superpowers and the contentions between them; and on the other hand, the “growing unity of Second and Third World countries”, the “peoples of the world”, “New Economic Order”, and so on. It is stated that both war and revolution are on the rise, but then this is always the case under imperialism. The stress on the likelihood of imperialist war, and more recently that Soviet social-imperialism is the main instigator of war, is meant to supply justification for the peculiar alignment of class forces that follows. If, the Foreign Ministers reason, the two superpowers are fomenting another world war, and if, in addition to the Third World countries, the Second World countries are the object of such a war, then it ’follows’ that the Third World countries and Second World powers should strengthen their connections, gear for “national defense”, and form a broad United Front against the two superpowers. Hence all the praise in Peking Review and Albania Today for the “New Economic Order”, the “growing unity”, and the strengthening of “national defense” by the European powers, Canada, Australia, and Japan. Hence the U.N. speeches on behalf of “national interests” “national sovereignty”, and so on. The Foreign Ministers admit that, unfortunately, some Second World countries still exploit some Third World countries, and that, of course this situation must be rectified. There is even an occasional reference to the imperialist nature of the Second World powers. But none of this obscures the basic strategy the Foreign Ministers support: in the event of world war, the European and other Second World powers are fully justified in employing “national defense” against the two superpowers, as are all the “world’s peoples” who wish to preserve “national interests”, “national sovereignty” and so on. Everyone must unite against the two superpowers, regardless of the ’minor’ contradictions they have amongst themselves. There is, in addition, a variation to this basic line which implies that since Soviet social-imperialism is the most aggressive threat, it may be possible not only to unite Second and Third World countries against it, but “neutralize” U.S. imperialism to boot. Thus the call goes out for all and sundry to arm up and ally for the common fight to come.

This basic theme has been taken up by various new “ML” organizations throughout the world and is given ’specific application’ to the conditions within each country. The result has been the emergence of three distinct social-chauvinist trends: 1) ’comradely’ opponents of China’s foreign policy, who, like The Guardian in the U.S., act as covert defenders of Soviet social-imperialism and are thus offended by the Foreign Ministers’ attempts to isolate the Soviet Union. This trend holds that U.S. imperialism is the main enemy and that even the Soviet Union may sometimes commit ’progressive’ anti-imperialist actions (Angola). 2) Overt social-chauvinists who adhere to the Foreign Ministers’ line word for word. This trend holds that the two superpowers, and in particular the Soviet Union, are threatening world war and that therefore “national defense” and “national interests” are the order of the day. For trends such as the October League in the U.S., the general line is interpreted to mean that the main blow must be directed against the Soviet Union. This has led the O.L. and others to openly support direct agents of U.S. imperialism, such as the Shah of Iran, whenever they ’contradict’ the Soviets. For trends such as the CCL(ML) in Canada, PCMLF in France, WCP(ML) in Norway, CPA in Australia, and numerous others, the general line is interpreted to mean that the working classes of these countries should support “national defense” against the two superpowers, ally with almost the entire petty bourgeoisie for the sake of “national interests”, and even collaborate with the so-called ’patriotic’ sections of their own imperialist bourgeoisie. And 3) a Centrist social-chauvinist trend which recognizes that “national defense” for such imperialist countries as France and Canada does seem to contradict Marxism-Leninism, and so wage a meager polemic against the overt social-chauvinists without, of course, mentioning the Foreign Ministers at all. This Centrist trend, represented by the RCP USA in the U.S and En Lutte! in Canada, holds that the line put forward by the Foreign Ministries of China and Albania is mere “diplomacy” and is not to be taken as a guiding line by “ML” Parties worldwide. Thus the RCP USA criticizes the O.L.’s support of the Shah of Iran, and En Lutte! criticizes the CCL(ML)’s open class collaborationism. But at the same time, the Centrists allow for “special circumstances” in which alliance with one’s own imperialist bourgeoisie during an imperialist war is entirely acceptable. They are also remarkably silent when it comes to elaborating our present tactics in preparing to turn imperialist war into civil war, i.e. into a struggle for proletarian state power. They thus accomplish the same thing as the overt social-chauvinists, while attempting not to expose themselves too badly. In holding that the line put forward by the Foreign Ministries is simply a proper diplomatic maneuver, the Centrists excuse themselves from dealing with any questions of substance. They therefore provide an excellent cover for the spread of social-chauvinism as an international trend by placing themselves as a buffer between the overt social-chauvinists and Marxist-Leninist criticism. Such accommodating behavior by our Centrists warms the hearts of revisionists everywhere.

These three variations of social-chauvinism – the pro-Soviet, the overt, and Centrist – have as their class basis elements from the relatively massive petty bourgeoisie in the industrially developed countries. The “ML” Parties and organizations in these countries are themselves drawn from various strata of the petty bourgeoisie, and, since they lack both principles and strong ties with the working class, have proven to be communist only in name and thoroughly opportunist in deed. Their elaboration of ultra-opportunist, social-chauvinist lines is in perfect harmony with the class interests they actually represent, since only the petty bourgeoisie can hope to benefit from an alliance with imperialism for the sake of “national unity” and “national interests”. Thus the official line advanced by the Foreign Ministries did not directly engender the current epidemic of social-chauvinist trends, but simply gave the local opportunists the ’authority’ and prestige necessary to push their opportunism within the working class The net result of all of this has been that what is commonly called the “anti-revisionist communist movement” has itself emerged as a champion of revisionism and ultra-opportunism. As to actual communist organization within the working class, a consistent and ruthless struggle against all shades of opportunism, or practical and principled steps taken towards preparing for imperialist war, it simply does not exist. Thus the working class is being completely disarmed and infected with confusion by those same “ML” organizations who purport to defend the workers’ interests. In the event of an imperialist war this can only lead, as it led in the last world war, to a crisis of imperialism being turned solely to the imperialists’ advantage. This will in fact be the outcome of the next world war unless the current domination of opportunism worldwide is broken and a truly communist movement built in its place.

Given that the various “ML” social-chauvinists have tied their fates to the line of the Foreign Ministers, and given that the recent events in China have fully exposed, except to the true-believers, the prominent role of the Rights, the “ML” opportunists have now been placed in a rather uncomfortable position. Either they will support the purge of the Lefts, recognize Hua as the legitimate Chairman of the Party, and thus pursue business as usual. In which case they risk further exposure, should, for instance, the CPC reinstate Teng or other noted Right opportunists. Or, they must somehow distance themselves from the Rightist coup, either by remaining silent on the issue or by making token protest against the purge. In which case they must also explain why, exactly, they oppose the Rights and how this coincides with their adoption of the revisionists’ line on the international situation. In any event, it should be clear that the already consolidated “ML” social-chauvinists cannot simply cease being opportunist at one stroke, regardless of how badly the events in China expose them. It is likely that each social-chauvinist trend will simply react according to their peculiar bias: the pro-Soviets, a la The Guardian will pray for some softening of China’s foreign policy towards the Soviet Union; the overt social-chauvinists, such as the O.L. and the CCL(ML), will persist in following the line of the Foreign Ministers, regardless of their particular interpretations of the CPC leadership; and the Centrists, as is their way, will continue to make a muddle of everything. While the opportunists are busily apologizing and ’explaining’ in all directions, however} it is the duty of Marxist-Leninists to do our utmost to expose them all.

There has been no truly international and truly communist movement for more than 40 years, that is, since the Communist International adopted Social-Democratic and social chauvinist positions during the United Front period in the middle 1930’s. Even where principled elements have survived – in the PLA, and until recently, in the CPC – they have not been strong enough to reverse the opportunist tide that continues to push back the development of a revolutionary communist workers’ movement. To create such a movement on a firm and invincible basis, to create truly Communist Parties capable of leading the working class in every country, is our primary and pressing task. And this cannot be done without an open and resolute struggle against ’our own’ revisionists and “ML” social-chauvinists, and against the revisionists who now claim to speak on behalf of the CPC and the Foreign Ministry of Albania.

The following telegram was sent to the CC of the CPC, the CC of the PLA, and to various “ML” organizations in order to contribute to that struggle.

* * *

Organization of Communist Workers (M-L) and Communist Workers Group (M-L)

Letter to the Communist Party of China

October 20, 1976

To the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China:

We vigorously protest the current attacks being waged against Chiang, Wang, Yao, Chang, and other Marxist-Leninists within your Party. This attack has shown that not only is the “bourgeoisie right in the Party”, but that it is attempting a final consolidation of its power in order to subvert the dictatorship of the proletariat and turn China onto the capitalist road.

What are the Lefts accused of? Of “attempting to take power”. But from whom? When revisionists in your Party have already concentrated power into their own hands, it is precisely the right and duty of Marxist-Leninists to ’attempt to take power’ from them and thus safeguard the Party and the workers’ dictatorship. Only opportunists would find such an attempt so offensive. In reality, this accusation of “attempting to take power” should be put against Hua and the Rights behind him, since in fact they are the ones who are attempting to rob the working class of its power and put themselves in the lead.

We do not accept Hua as the legitimate Chairman of the Party, since it is clear his nomination was brought about solely through opportunist intrigues and the expulsion of the Lefts. Nor do we believe that the demonstrations in Shanghai show any valid support for the present Party ’leadership’ by the masses of workers. By staging their anti-communist attacks in Shanghai, the Rights hope to destroy the main base of the Lefts in China, and thus undermine mass support for them throughout China and the world. But we are not children to be intimidated by such superficial shows of force. Class conscious workers and communists throughout the world will understand that such maneuvers were orchestrated well in advance by the Rights, and reflect, not the sentiments of the working class, but the treachery of bourgeois elements within the Party.

This treachery has already had its effect on the development of the new communist movement worldwide. At a time when principled Marxist-Leninist leadership is sorely needed, the revisionists in your Party have used their prominent posts to foster and support opportunist and social-chauvinist tendencies within the vast majority of new “ML” parties and organizations. This has been most evident in the corruptive influence of your Foreign Ministry, headed by Chiao Kaun-hua, which has, in collaboration with the Albanian Foreign Ministry headed by Mesti Nase, cultivated a revisionist and overtly social-chauvinist line on the question of international contradictions and imperialist war. This line has provided an ’official’ sanction for opportunist tendencies who wish to use the issue of imperialist war as an excuse to ally with their own bourgeoisie. It is an outright betrayal of the interests of the world proletariat. Thus the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism in your Party is a matter of vital concern to us all. The further consolidation of Right opportunism in your Party both threatens the future of socialism in China and “marks” a tremendous setback in the development of a principled international Marxist-Leninist movement.

We will not sit with folded arms, awaiting the ’official’ decrees of the Rights as to the outcome of the struggle. It is the common task of all Marxist-Leninists to protect the dictatorship of the proletariat wherever it has been won, and to oppose all those who attempt to subvert it, no matter what official posts they may occupy or how great their influence. We must render every possible aid to the Lefts, counter the current attempts to defame and discredit them, and expose the rotten intrigues and wretched diplomacy behind which the revisionists do their work. No communist should hesitate to take up this task.

The attempt by the revisionists to take the Party into their hands is an attack on the workers’ movement in all countries. We call upon the principled Marxist-Leninists within the CPC and the international movement to wage a resolute and open struggle against this betrayal.

Organization of Communist Workers (ML) Canada
Communist Workers Group (ML) U.S.A.