Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Letter Responds To Call Distortions

First Published: Revolution, Vol. 2, No. 3, January 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Dear Editors:

The incredibly dishonest portrayal of the recent successful conference on the international situation which appeared in the December 6 issue of The Call demands correction. In hopes of clearing up this question and presenting the actual facts to the broadest number of people I am submitting this letter to both The Call and to Revolution.

While I was not present in all of the conference workshops, I did attend the morning and evening sessions, which contributed significantly to shedding light on the crucial questions raised at the conference. And I can comment on the workshop on China’s foreign policy in which I was a panelist. My own presentation began with an exposition of proletarian internationalism as the basis of China’s foreign policy, and the goal of China’s revolutionary state foreign policy–the creation of the most favorable international situation for the advance of the revolutionary struggles of the world’s peoples and the defense of proletarian state power in China. I touched briefly on why China seeks to normalize state relations on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and on the two different kinds of compromises as outlined by Lenin–those which overall aid the imperialists and necessary compromises which overall aid the struggle against them. I outlined China’s general analysis of the current world situation and the united front against the two superpowers. And mindful of the principal questions before the conference, I spent some time on why China raises the analogy of Munich in the current situation and on my understanding of what Mao Tsetung’s analyses of Munich and WW 2 actually were.

Bill Hinton who followed me in speaking agreed that proletarian internationalism was the basis of China’s foreign policy, but took issue with my analysis of WW 2 and the Munich analogy. It would seem that these are fairly important political questions upon which the October League might make some substantive comment. Instead The Call produced the following amazing characterization of the discussion: “Instead they both proceeded to distort China’s foreign policy, again displaying their unity with the centrist Guardian. Both attacked the proletarian internationalist foundation of China’s socialist foreign policy. Hinton preached building a united front with U.S. imperialism against the Soviet Union. Kissinger slandered China’s foreign policy, saying it is based on a policy of ’concessions to reactionary governments because of the need for state relations.’” This last “quotation” attributed to myself was simply created.

While this workshop did deal with the questions being taken up by the conference in a lively way with much participation from the audience, its work was partially obstructed by two elements. First was the third panelist, Ralph Shoenman, whose Trotskyite views I rebuffed briefly but sharply, and which were angrily rejected by the overwhelming majority of people in the audience. The second obstruction came from members of the Spartacist League and the October League who jumped up at regular intervals demanding that the panelists state their views on Chiang Ching and “the gang of four.”

To dispense with the little league heckling, the panel did respond to a questioner who, in the manner of a prosecuting attorney, demanded an answer. My response was summarized by The Call as follows: “Kissinger and Bob Avakian, RCP Chairman, heightened the chauvinist anti-China slanders from those made earlier by going so far as to charge that ’if the Chinese elected a chimpanzee as Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party,’ the October League ’would send a telegram of congratulations.’ ”

This is nothing but a combination of outright lies and distortions. First of all, my answer was not chanted in unison with Bob Avakian who was sitting in the audience and it was only I who made any references to primates to criticize the OL’s flunkeyism. Obviously, I did so in a completely different context and with a completely different meaning than the OL puts on the whole thing. As to the content of my remarks in response to this question, readers should judge for themselves based on the following complete transcript:

The import of the question as I understand it is an attempt to discover who is the truest, bluest supporters of China within the audience and this is a tactic I think that is frequently used by those who wish to substitute their adherence to China for a principled discussion of the concrete problems that are facing the people of the world. I’ll be the first to admit that I was not privy to the internal struggle that went on in the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. But I’ll tell you this, that no matter what would have happened, if a chimpanzee had been elected Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, he would have gotten a telegram of congratulations from Michael Klonsky.

What’s going on in China today is nothing that is unusual. It’s, what, the 11th two line struggle within the Central Committee of the Communist Party, it’s going to happen again and again and again and the details of what’s going on there are going to be unfolded both in China and internationally and Marxist-Leninists all over the world are going to study them and are going to make their judgments about what went on on the basis of the material that has come out and on the basis of the line that is being carried forth by the leadership of China. I have the greatest confidence in the Chinese people, the Chinese Communist Party and the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

Let me add that I stand by the content of my full remarks, including in particular the parts which OL, in its desperate attempt to distort, completely omitted.

The October League is using the method of fools and cheap hustlers, not the method of Marxist-Leninists. The actual practice in the United States has and will continue to show who stands with China and the revolutionary proletariat and who it is that frantically “waves the red flag” in order to actually oppose it.

As much as I oppose the ideas of Bill Hinton which call for uniting with the U.S. ruling class against the Soviet Union, one must respect the manner in which he forthrightly states his views, carries them to their logical conclusions, responds to the actual statements of his opponents and does not feel the need to lie about or distort those statements. The OL apparently holds no consistent line nor adheres to any principle except to promote its sectarian interests, and falls far short of Hinton in its methods of struggle and in making any contribution to achieving clarity and unity around a correct line on vital questions like those discussed and debated at the recent conference.

C. Clark Kissinger