Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist)

Latest Back-door Attack on China: RCP Mouths ’Gang of Four’ Distortions

First Published: The Call, Vol. 7, No. 14, April 10, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Why did Lenin speak of exercising dictatorship over the bourgeoisie? It is essential to get this question clear. Lack of clarity on this question will lead to revisionism. – Mao Tsetung

The Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) is in big trouble. Half of their organization has already left as a result of the secret attacks by their leadership against China and the support for the “gang of four” by the Avakian clique.

But even while his internal writings in support of the counter-revolutionary “gang of four” have been widely exposed to the masses, Avakian is still trying to play his opportunist game of concealing his real views and attacking China by innuendo.

In the March issue of Revolution, the newspaper of the Avakian gang, the back-door attack on China continues under the guise of a commemoration of the Paris Commune. The article, “The Paris Commune: First Proletarian Dictatorship,” is written in the RCP’s usual long and tedious style, designed to bury their reactionary ideas in a mountain of rhetoric. But the patient reader, using the critical tool of Marxism, is able to sift through the verbiage and expose the “gang of four’s” twisted thoughts in Avakian’s journal.

Avakian has long pretended to be “perplexed” by those who, in his words, “slavishly support China.” But all the time, he has been “slavishly” supporting China’s enemies, the fascist agents of imperialism, the “gang of four.”

Like the “gang,” the RCP distorts the main lessons of the Paris Commune, which was the first historic example of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Summing up the lessons of the Commune, Marx revealed that “the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own purposes....” (Preface to the Communist Manifesto) He pointed out that the workers must “smash the bureaucratic military machine” and establish a government of the workers themselves.

The dictatorship of the proletariat, Lenin later explained, “is a most determined and most ruthless war waged by the new class against a more powerful enemy, the bourgeoisie, whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow (even if only in one country), and whose power lies not only in the strength of international capital, in the strength and durability of the international connections of the bourgeoisie, but also in the force of habit, in the strength of small production.” (Left-Wing Communism)

In order to suppress the overthrown exploiters and construct socialism, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a necessity. It is the form of rule that must exist throughout the entire period of socialism and must serve as a transition to communism, a classless society. “Only he is a Marxist,” said Lenin, “who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” (The State and Revolution)

The RCP, however, in its summary of the Paris Commune, throws Marxism-Leninism out the window. Modeling themselves on the “gang of four,” they launch an all-out attack on the dictatorship of the proletariat as it exists today in socialist China.


The RCP confuses the target of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Like the “gang,” they say the dictatorship is a weapon to be used against the people instead of the bourgeoisie. They confuse contradictions among the people with contradictions between the people and the enemy and twist Marx’s own words to one-sidedly prescribe the “dictatorship” as a way of handling all of society’s problems.

For example, let’s examine the question Lenin spoke of in the above quote–the question of “force of habit” and the strength of “small production.” This historical problem has come down to whether or not the working class will be able to unite with its firmest ally, the peasantry, (especially in a country like China where the peasants make up 90% of the population) while at the same time helping the peasants to remold their outlook away from that of a small producer.

The peasant-worker alliance is a problem left over from the old society. Lenin pointed out that the peasants “cannot be driven out, or crushed; we must live in harmony with them; they can (and must) be remolded and reeducated only by very prolonged, slow, cautious organizational work.” (“Left-Wing” Communism)

In other words, Lenin points out, the peasants cannot be made the target of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The contradiction between them and the workers is a contradiction among the people, which, if handled correctly through education and persuasion, should not become antagonistic.

But the RCP turns Marxism around and claims in their article that “all the contradictions left over from class society contain the seeds of the regeneration of antagonistic class contradictions...”

They add, “This is true of the contradiction between manual and mental labor, between town and country, and between the workers and peasants.” [our emphases’Ed.]

In other words, even contradictions among the people are bound to lead to antagonism unless they are dealt with through dictatorship. Or to quote the Avakian gang, “This proletarian dictatorship must be exercised in every sphere of society.. .” (p. 17)


This was the content of the “gang of four’s” call for an “all-round dictatorship” which is so “slavishly” repeated throughout the RCP’s writings. It one-sidedly recognizes only the need for dictatorship and leaves out completely the question of solving contradictions among the people by remolding the thinking of the masses through education.

The theoretical leader of the “gang of four,” Chang Chun-chiao, in his article, “On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship Over the Bourgeoisie,” actually changed Marx’s writings in a subtle way to promote his own line of dictatorship over the people. For instance, Chang quoted Marx’s The Class Struggles in France to say that the dictatorship of the proletariat is “the necessary transit point to the abolition of all class distinctions, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all social relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social relations.” (Peking Review, April 4, 1975)

Like the RCP, Chang Chun-chiao emphasized these four “alls” of Marx to call for use of dictatorship as a way to resolve some class distinctions that cannot be resolved exclusively through dictatorship. To emphasize his point, Chang wrote: “Here Marx says, ’all’ and in all four places! Not a part, not a greater part, nor even the greatest part, but all!” (Ibid.)

But in fact, Marx qualified his statement. He actually wrote that the dictatorship of the proletariat was “the necessary transit point to the abolition of all class distinctions generally.” Marx himself even emphasized the word “generally.”

In the Paris Commune article, the Avakianites, like Chang Chun-chiao, distort Marx. They shamelessly write, “The working class must seize and wield state power to remove from society the basis for the existence of all class distinctions, [our emphasis] by abolishing all the relations of production on which they rest....”

Instead of Marx’s view that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the “transit point” to a classless society, the RCP claims that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the method to “remove from society the basis for the existence of all class distinctions.” In this part of their article they consciously leave out the term “generally” to imply that all class distinctions should be resolved through the use of dictatorship aimed at sections of the people.


Of course these are just a few of the “gang of four’s” distortions repeated in Avakian’s lengthy discourse on the Paris Commune. There are many others.

For example, like the “gang,” the RCP misrepresents the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which Chairman Mao initiated and led for the purpose of strengthening and consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat in China. While summarizing some of the important achievements of the Cultural Revolution, the RCP goes on to negate everything positive that occurred during the years prior to the GPCR when China was already a socialist country. In this way they completely blur over the distinction between capitalism and socialism.

Like the “gang of four,” the RCP claims that up until the Cultural Revolution, “The bourgeoisie had held the dominant position in culture (books, movies, plays, art, etc.).”

Here the RCP uses half-truths and distortions in order to negate the overall positive achievements of China’s cultural workers under the guidance of Mao Tsetung. While it is true that the bourgeoisie did influence important areas of culture in China, it is wrong to say that they held the “dominant position” overall. Even while criticizing the problems in art and pointing out that “the ’dead’ still dominate in many departments,” Mao Tsetung warned that “what has been achieved in the cinema, new poetry, folk songs, the fine arts and the novel should not be underestimated.” (Directive of Dec. 12, 1963)

But the “gang of four” and now the RCP tries to one-sidedly portray socialism before 1963 like the dark ages. What is this but an attack on the dictatorship of the proletariat?

In fact, this recent article goes so far as to lump China together with the Soviet Union when summing up the historical lessons of socialism, implying that China has had capitalism restored. (Internally Avakian has already written that a “right-wing coup has taken place” in China.)

The latest RCP diatribe amounts to nothing more than a pseudo-scientific slander against socialism. It is aimed at confusing people by making them think that the victory of socialism is impossible and capitalist restoration inevitable. This is no different from what the Trotskyites have become infamous for doing, and, in fact, Avakian and his band are nothing but hidden Trotskyites.

In one small way, Avakian has already succeeded in confusing and driving people away from revolution. Many of the honest workers and intellectuals who were formerly in the RCP did grow discouraged and dropped out of the struggle.

But others who have split from the RCP’those who refuse to go along with his attacks on China, on the dictatorship of the proletariat and on Marxism’are beginning to study and repudiate the anti-China, “gang of four” line in the RCP.

The “gang of four” has been defeated in China and their line is being criticized throughout that great country. It is interesting to note that their mouthpieces here are still blathering.

But Avakian’s shameless attacks on Marxism will only help the masses strip away his few remaining revolutionary fig leaves.