Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Progressive Labor Party

Whither Maoism?

Published: Challenge, Vol. 13, No. 35, January 27, 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Chinese fake “Communist” Party started out the new year by trying to turn the clock back twenty years. The New Year’s Day editorial in the major newspapers unearthed a slogan from the 1950’s about “embracing the patriotic democratic parties and patriotic personages.” This slogan was used back then to justify alliances with “patriotic national capitalists,” who were allowed to keep their factories and to keep exploiting workers until the Great Leap Forward in 1958. We wonder what right-wing policy the slogan will justify this time. China has come a long way from the Cultural Revolution, when rank-and-file workers ran the factories.

It looks like another relic from the past is being unearthed in China this week: as we reported in CHALLENGE last month (December 16), Teng Hsiao-ping is on his way back into power. There were large demonstrations in memory of Chou En-lai (another hard-core right-wing bureaucrat) and in favor of Teng this last week in Peking. Teng was a major architect of the right-wing policies of the 1950’s and early 1960’s. He was famous for insisting that the main task for communists in China is to increase production, not to wage class struggle. In other words, don’t fight for workers’ control at the point of production, for the replacement of the state machinery by workers’ organizations, for communist culture, for communist distribution (“from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs”).

Maoists the world over are having a hard time swallowing the blatant anti-communism of the new leadership in China. In the past 10 years, Mao and Chou En-lai were able of putting a left-cover on their right-wing policies, due to their revolutionary past but the new leaders are being pretty open about their hatred for communist policies.

Some European Maoists have decided to split before the going gets any rougher. The Communist League (KB) in Germany, dismayed by the rumors flying after Mao’s death, wrote “The only thing the Chinese leadership has been concerned about is reassuring the imperialists that China’s foreign policy will not change in any way . . . The Chinese leadership has not thought it necessary to offer any such reassurances to the international communist and workers’ movement. Whatever the details, the putsch by the rightists around Hua Kuo-feng is a severe attack for the worldwide revolutionary process. The historical importance of this setback is at least equal to that of the ill-fated Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.” This is an encouraging statement; hopefully the Communist League will go on to reject all the right-wing aspects of Maoism (such as the “new democracy” line of allying with “the progressive bourgeoisie” in the name of “national liberation”).

Many Maoists who are becoming unhappy with the developments in Peking have decided to simply keep quiet about what is going on in China these days. At a conference on the “international situation” organized by the U.S. “Revolutionary Communist Party” (a racist grouplet) last November, the “RCP’”s leaders did some fancy footwork to keep from answering any questions about the new leaders in China. That’s typical of opportunists, when things go bad, they keep quiet, and wouldn’t think of engaging in self-criticism.

Many Maoists have decided to shift their main attention from China to Albania. The Albanian Party of Labor, led by Enver Hoxha, has been quietly preparing for a split with the Chinese. The Albanians could not swallow the Chinese alliance with U.S. imperialism. At the recent party congress, Hoxha pointed out that communists must fight for socialist revolution and against all imperialism-there can be no allying with either U.S. or Soviet imperialism. But in the fine print, Hoxha made an exception: if “socialist China” were attacked by the Soviets, then it would be o.k. to ally with anybody to “defend the socialist motherland” (this is the same position the “RCP” takes in the U.S.). Since China would be the first country to be attacked in a war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, all of Hoxha’s fine rhetoric is only hot air. If a third world war comes, the Maoists will be out there leading the flag-waving patriots and abandoning any struggle for socialism.