Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Communist Party, USA (Marxist-Leninist)

On the Influence of Mao Tsetung Thought on the Revolution in the U.S.

First Published: Unite!, Vol. 5, No. 21, December 15, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The influence of Mao Tsetung Thought has not been limited to China alone. Within most countries of the world, Mao Tsetung Thought has had a profound revisionist influence, sowing confusion within the working class and revolutionary national movements. This influence has been injected both by U.S. imperialism as well as the agents of Chinese revisionism within each country.

In the United States, the influence of Mao Tsetung Thought is widespread, due to the betrayal of the CPUSA which left the working class without vanguard leadership for over 30 years, crippling its ability to fight opportunism. This has been compounded by the conscious promotion of Chinese revisionism by U.S. imperialism in the course of building the U.S.-China Alliance. As a result, Mao Tsetung Thought has made far greater inroads into the revolutionary movement in the U.S. than in many other major capitalist countries.

Chinese Revisionism – The Handmaiden of U.S. Imperialism

The most significant effect of Mao Tsetung Thought on the revolutionary struggle in the U.S. has been on its stand toward U.S. imperialism. Despite the overwhelming evidence that U.S. imperialism remains on the offensive, remains aggressive and remains one of the two main exploiters and oppressors of the world’s people, Chinese revisionism long ago began advocating that it was in decline, a toothless tiger. Gradually developing this reactionary theory, Mao Tsetung Thought promoted the view that U.S. imperialism was a force to be aligned with in the struggle against the “greater danger”, Soviet social-imperialism. The love affair merged openly close to 10 years ago, and ever since the Chinese revisionists have consciously worked to obscure the vicious imperialist nature of the U.S. bourgeoisie. For its part, U.S. imperialism has promoted the ambitions of Chinese revisionism.

Mao courted Henry Kissinger

To pave the way for the establishment of the U.S.-China Alliance. China developed close and friendly relations with the most fascist puppet regimes of U.S. imperialism and finally, Mao extended his hand to Richard Nixon at the height of the Vietnam War. But these steps were only a prelude to the full orchestration of the alliance which today brings forth the most discordant and reactionary tune heard for many decades.

The effect of the U.S.-China alliance on the revolutionary struggle in the U.S. had been profound. Here was China, a country with a revolutionary history, coming to the aid of U.S. imperialism in the midst of the Vietnam War, when the revolutionaries of the world opposed U.S. imperialism. For the anti-imperialist movement in the U.S., this seemed inexplicable, sowing confusion and weakening the struggle.

Then when protest went up in the U.S. about the role of the CIA, ITT and U.S. imperialism as a whole in the fascist coup in Chile, China comforted the reactionary Pinochet. In the midst of the Watergate scandal and the exposure of Nixon, Mao wined and dined him in Peking.

This period in the history of U.S. imperialism was one of deep economic, political and ideological crisis. But as U.S. imperialism swayed under the blows of the crisis, salvation emerged. As Nixon himself said, he would be remembered not as the president who was forced from office, but the man who “opened the door to China”, forging the U.S.-China Alliance.

The hue and cry raised by the Chinese revisionists about the demise of U.S. imperialism directly bolstered the pronouncements of key spokesmen of U.S. imperialism. “The U.S. is losing ground to the Soviets.” “The U.S. must expand its military arsenal and pour more money and arms into NATO and its allied states.” “The weak giant must stand up.” Today, when the revolutionary movements have once again struck blows against U.S. imperialism in Iran and Nicaragua, the effects of Chinese revisionism in the U.S. are apparent. Across the country national chauvinism is fanned. The battle cry is “defend U.S. interests.” “The U.S. won’t be kicked around any more.” These cries are echoed in Peking in a chorus begun long ago.

Chinese revisionism has taken its vengeance upon the world revolutionary struggle against U.S. imperialism. At home and abroad, Mao Tsetung Thought has tried to diffuse the revolutionary struggle, disarming the working and oppressed people in the face of a most powerful adversary, U.S. imperialism. This treacherous work was carried out under the cover of Marxism-Leninism and the history of the revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people. This activity could not have been carried out by U.S. imperialism any other way.

Who Takes the Lead?

Mao Tsetung Thought has long promoted the view that the main centers of revolution are today in the ”third world.” As for the proletarian socialist revolution, it is in a state of ebb. The proletariat must therefore join with the bourgeoisie in fighting against Soviet social-imperialism. Mao Tsetung Thought has reduced the task of proletarian internationalism to “cheerleading” for the national liberation struggles, disregarding the importance of establishing ties with the proletariat in other countries and building support for genuine socialist homelands. This is manifested by the outrageous and counter-revolutionary support of the Communist Party/Marxist-Leninist (CP/ML) for the Shah of Iran in the past, and their support for Khomeini today. It is manifested each and every African Liberation Day in the stand of various opportunists who wave flags and. shout slogans about the great advances of the national liberation movements regardless of whether they weaken imperialism or not. These opportunists never raise any consideration about the danger of opportunism and revisionism in those movements, or point out the necessity for Marxism-Leninism to guide the revolutionary struggles in those countries.

This grand world view sees the main force of the revolution within the U.S. as the “third world” workers. The white proletariat, they say, is completely bought off and counter-revolutionary. Springing forth in support of this reactionary view are numerous organizations which claim Marxism-Leninism as their guiding light, but in reality have built their careers upon narrow nationalism. This includes such organizations as the August Twentyninth Movement, Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization, and I Wor Kuen. Today the IWK and ATM have merged into the League for Revolutionary Struggle, drawn in forces like Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) to complete their long sought-after “Black, yellow and brown united front.”

In a country like the U.S., where the vast majority of the working class is white, to promote the view that only the national minority workers are the main force of the revolution denies the historic mission of the multinational U.S. working class as a whole, to wage the class struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie. Such a view makes proletarian revolution impossible. Revolution will simply not succeed without the active participation of the white proletariat. This narrow nationalism, long promoted by Chinese revisionism, sows only greater divisions within the working class, a class whose unity is already weakened by the influence of white supremacy. It leads to consistent belittlement of the necessity to actively educate and mobilize the white proletariat and to build multi-national unity. It leaves the Klan and other fascist forces with open access to carry out their vicious campaign among the white proletariat.

Promoting Revisionist Parties

According to Marxism-Leninism, the vanguard party of the proletariat is the leader and mobilizer of the revolutionary forces. It is the duty of every Marxist-Leninist party to build internationalist ties and establish fraternal relations with the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties. Yet here in the U.S., revisionism has played a long and treacherous role in promoting outright Trotskyites, Khrushchevite revisionists and other agents of U.S. imperialism. Long after the CPUSA became a thoroughly revisionist party, and there was no question that it was falsely reconstituted in 1944, Mao continued to promote William Z. Foster, who was then the head of the CPUSA. But Mao also had a history of promoting the revisionist Earl Browder as well. Such activity undermined the efforts of genuinely progressive and revolutionary forces to combat and expose the revisionist nature of the CPUSA.

Later abandoning the CPUSA, the CPC then turned its attention to promoting the Progressive Labor Party, a Trotskyite organization. This love affair was shortlived. Soon the CPC began courting the Revolutionary Union (predecessor to the Revolutionary Communist Party) at the same time it wooed the October League (predecessor to the CP/ML). Both were promoted in the Chinese press. Both took turns visiting Peking. Today, the CP/ML is the standard-bearer for the current Chinese rulers, while the RCP is the great defender of Mao Tsetung. This arrangement is mutually advantageous for both the RCP and the CP/ML.

The RCP does the theoretical defense of Mao Tsetung Thought, which the CP/ML has never been capable of, while the CP/ML promotes the most open and reactionary policies of Teng Hsiao-p’ing and Hua Kuo-feng. With this arrangement, the CP/ML benefits because the RCP takes care of attacking the genuine Marxist-Leninists and the RCP benefits because it attracts forces who are willing to break with Mao Tsetung Thought but who are repulsed by the openly social-chauvinist stand of the CP/ML.

The CPC’s support for a variety of non-Marxist trends have never been based upon Marxist-Leninist principle, but rather upon an assessment of which organization was most willing and able to serve the interests of Chinese nationalism. This has sown confusion about the basis upon which fraternal ties among the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties are forged.

Strategy for Revolution

The RCP and CP/ML both advocate the united front tactic as the main strategy for revolution in the U.S. This was a theory developed by Mao Tsetung. From a Marxist-Leninist point of view, the united front is a most important tactic for unifying the ranks of the working class and the popular front for mobilizing all possible allies of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. This tactic is an extremely important tool for putting the masses into motion and for defeating the influence of reformism in the course of struggle. This tactic is applied under particular conditions and particular circumstances which will change in the course of the struggle for state power.

To say that such fronts should be elevated to a strategy for revolution denies the leading role of the proletariat in the revolutionary struggle as a whole, by presenting all class forces within the front as equally important in a strategic sense. When such fronts are elevated to a strategy, the goal of defeating the influence of reformists over the masses becomes a secondary consideration to keeping the united front intact. This, in fact, was the practice within the united front in China, a front which was maintained by Mao and continues to this day.

In advocating this strategy in the U.S., the CP/ML has taken it to its logical conclusion. They promote such forces as Skip Robinson of the United League as genuinely revolutionary forces. The CP/ML’s front with Robinson has not been built for the purpose of defeating his reformist influence over the masses, for the CP/ML has not uttered a word of criticism of his policies. But going even further, the CP/ML’s “united front” has become so broad that it accommodates the U.S. bourgeoisie in its framework, just as the Chinese revisionist leaders do, in their world-wide front against Soviet social-imperialism.

The profound effect of Mao Tsetung Thought on the revolutionary struggle in the U.S. will not be easily defeated. It has grown up over a long period of time and now flowers in the warmth of the reactionary U.S.-China Alliance. The road to defeating Mao Tsetung Thought in the U.S. is the road of promoting the Marxist-Leninist understanding of the nature of U.S. imperialism, and the correct course of revolutionary struggle against the bourgeoisie. Because of the damage it has done to the revolution, Mao Tsetung Thought must be seen as a major enemy of the working and oppressed people of the U.S. It must be seen as one of the most important props of U.S. imperialism today.

Hand in hand, imperialism and opportunism fight against the working class and oppressed people, and hand in hand the struggle must be waged to defeat both.