First Published: The Call, Vol. 6, No. 27, July 11, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In recent weeks, the Soviet Union has launched a scathing attack against the revisionist Spanish Communist Party and its leader, Santiago Carrillo. In response, the Spanish party has intensified its criticisms of the Soviet Union and the Soviet party. These developments are all indicative of a widening breach in the enemy’s camp–the camp of international revisionism.
The struggle captured world attention last week when the Soviet Union’s international propaganda organ, New Times, published a strongly-worded article attacking Carrillo. The article accused him of trying to “split the international communist movement.” In response, Carrillo’s party issued a statement and called a press conference in Madrid, declaring that the Soviet Union “cannot be presented as the model of an ideal socialist society” and charging that any attempt by the Soviet Union to interfere in the Spanish party’s affairs would be rebuffed.
Carrillo is the leading spokesman of a trend within the revisionist parties of Europe known as “Eurocommunism.” Along with the French and Italian revisionist parties (the two biggest in Western Europe), the Spanish party has openly criticized the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, denounced the lack of “human rights” inside the USSR and declared “independence” from Moscow’s domination.
The chiefs in the Kremlin have reacted furiously to the development of “Eurocommunism.” They fear the truth contained in these criticisms; they fear their loss of control over the revisionist parties in these strategic Western European countries; and they fear the effects of this “independent” trend on the parties of Eastern Europe which Moscow now controls with an iron hand.
Eurocommunism itself is largely a product of the superpower rivalry in Europe and the intensification of Soviet aggression. The European revisionists are trying to build electoral alliances with the big capitalist parties in order to ride to power. To increase their legitimacy as genuine “nationalists” and not Soviet puppets, the Eurocommunists have been forced to disassociate themselves from the Soviet Union and to oppose its military build-up against Western Europe to some degree.
The Eurocommunists have even endorsed NATO bases on their own soil. They have broken with the Soviet Union’s line of all-out opposition to NATO as an “aggressive bloc” and all-out support for the Warsaw Pact as a “defensive alliance.”
Carrillo, for example, recently told the New York Times, “We don’t want a Europe under the influence of the Warsaw Pact; we want an autonomous Europe.”
This, more than anything, as enraged the Soviet social-imperialists. While the Soviet social-imperialists have been propagandizing for the disarmament of NATO, in the hopes of setting up Western Europe for the kill, the Eurocommunists are becoming something of an obstacle to this ambition.
Of course, all this is not to say that the Eurocommunists have ceased to be revisionists and open traitors to the revolutionary cause. Carrillo and Co. are revisionist to the core, having openly denounced the strategic aim of the workers’ struggle–the dictatorship of the proletariat. Promoting reliance on the liberal sections of the ruling classes in their countries and peaceful elections as the road to socialism, they oppose the Marxist-Leninist path of reliance on the working class and the armed struggle.
Within the workers’ movements of Spain, France, Italy and elsewhere the revisionists are dangerous saboteurs, seeking to stifle the revolutionary potential of the workers’ movement and bring it back within the confines of reformism. They loyally serve their respective bourgeoisies, often launching fascist attacks against militant workers and genuine Marxist-Leninists.
On top of all this, their “independence” from Soviet social-imperialism so far is much greater in word than in deed. They have continued to promote “detente,” to argue in their parliaments for increased trade with the USSR, and to give support to Soviet imperialism internationally, as they did during the invasions of Angola and Zaire.
For all these reasons, the path of “Eurocommunism” cannot be seen as any alternative to revisionism. It merely represents a different tactical approach within the revisionist camp.
The tactical difference is, however, important, because it lessens the USSR’s ability to manipulate these revisionist parties as “fifth columns” for Soviet aggression within Western Europe. It also provides further evidence of social-imperialism’s crimes. Even those who were formerly the most loyal Kremlin servants have begun to speak out against the new czars’ fascist repression internally and their hegemonism internationally.
As the rift between these two wings of modern revisionism grows wider, revisionist parties everywhere are being forced to take a stand. In the U.S., the revisionist CPUSA continues to be the USSR’s most loyal lackey. In fact, much of the polemicizing against Carrillo and other Eurocommunists, which the Soviet Union was not ready to carry out for itself a few months ago, was initiated in the CPUSA’s publications like the Daily World and Political Affairs.
A recent article in the April issue of Political Affairs by revisionist theoretician Jim West is very interesting in this respect. The article entitled “For International Solidarity Against Opportunism” is aimed as much against the Eurocommunists as it is against those within the CPUSA’s own ranks whose opposition to the party’s line and the Soviet line is growing stronger.
Suddenly, in West’s article attacking the Eurocommunists, the CPUSA has become the greatest champion of the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” even though they themselves wrote this strategic aim out of their program years ago. Suddenly, the pages of Political Affairs, for the first time in years, are talking about the need to oppose “revisionism” and “Browderism.” Suddenly the Eurocommunists are under fire for promoting alliances with the ruling class and for talking about “democracy” in “classless terms.” In fact, this is exactly the outlook of the CPUSA’s own program for an anti-monopoly coalition.
The real meaning of this article is not hard to discern. Many people, even in the ranks of the CPUSA and those around it, cannot reconcile growing Soviet aggression with the policies of genuine socialism. They are finding some unity with the “Eurocommunists’” critique of the Soviet Union.
In order to keep them in the CPUSA and keep the CPUSA faithful to the Kremlin, West is striking a “left” pose. He is trying to pretend that the CPUSA is really loyal to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and “anti-revisionism” while the Eurocommunists are the “revisionists” and “opportunists.”
This “left” pose is also designed to combat a tendency which exists among some honest elements in the CPUSA to support China. In at least two places in the article, West attacks “Maoism” as well as Eurocommunism, denouncing in particular the “Maoist” view that there are two imperialist superpowers in the world today. The reason West must polemicize against this view is that more people are coming to see both the U.S and the USSR as imperialist superpowers.
The development of differences within the CPUSA, as well as within some European revisionist parties, is an important feature of the present struggle internationally. But Eurocommunism cannot provide the answers to those who genuinely reject the revisionist treachery of the Soviet Union.
Only a genuine Marxist-Leninist analysis that combats both superpowers and can organize the oppressed millions into revolutionary struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat is capable of exposing, rooting out and defeating revisionism whether it be Brezhnev’s brand or Carrillo’s.