Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Ray O. Light

“These Are the Worst of Times, They Are the Best of Times”


First Published: Ray O. Light Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1, March 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The first half of the decade of the 1960’s was marked by two outstanding revolutionary developments.

First, the emerging struggle led by the small but extremely principled Party of Labor of Albania and the large and strategically important Communist Party of China against modern revisionism centered in Moscow was laying the basis for “two, three, many Vietnams”, by reviving Leninist theoretical and practical leadership of the national democratic revolutions against imperialism. Secondly, the heroic liberation war of the people in south Vietnam against the U.S. comprador regime in Saigon was rapidly leading to decisive military victory, a development which could have triggered an explosion of victories by the many liberation movements of Asia, Africa, and Latin America that were brought to life under the impetus of the Vietnamese revolutionary war and the anti-revisionist struggle of the PLA and CPC.[1]

The second half of the 1960’s decade, however, did not fulfill the revolutionary promise of the first half. U.S. imperialism openly invaded southern Vietnam with its U.S. and international mercenary army of invasion and bombed north Vietnam, a member of the “socialist camp”. The heroic liberation war of the Vietnamese people, especially in south Vietnam, against U.S. imperialism and its international mercenary army in alliance with the Saigon puppet army now occupied center stage in the global conflict between the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples on the one hand and international capital headed by U.S. imperialism on the other.

The challenge to the international Marxist-Leninist movement, to the anti-revisionists, now became how to aid the Vietnamese liberation movement in its struggle for victory over U.S. imperialism. To a large extent, the emergence of the so-called “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” in China with bourgeois nationalist emphasis on “China first” and with its attack on the CPC, the most powerful force in the anti-revisionist movement, guaranteed that the answer of the anti-revisionist movement to the brutal initiatives of U.S. imperialism on Vietnam in 1965 would be bourgeois nationalism, ”every man for himself”, and not proletarian internationalism.

It was under these international conditions that in April, 1968 Youth For Stalin, our predecessor, made the following statement:

Since the death of Stalin, the two main characteristics of the international situation have been (1) the intensification of the contradiction between the oppressed nations and U.S. imperialism; and (2) the development of a policy in most socialist countries of betrayal of the oppressed nations based on the ascendancy of the national bourgeois class in the socialist countries. [The Role of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in the International Marxist-Leninist Movement, The October Revolution Vs. the “Cultural Revolution”, By Youth For Stalin, republished by Ray O. Light, January, 1978, page 33]

Both in 1968 and at the present time the revisionists from Tito to Brezhnev to the Chinese leadership have put forth or at least practiced the proposition that the contradiction between the socialist camp, (meaning the ”socialist bloc” countries , or the USSR, or China, or Yugoslavia individually, etc.) and the capitalist camp, (meaning the imperialist countries) is the main contradiction. Based on this incorrect proposition, international revisionism was able to project the incorrect conclusion that the national democratic revolutions of the oppressed peoples should be subordinated (i.e. sacrificed) to the ”needs” of the so-called socialist countries for “peaceful” co-existence” and peaceful competition with the imperialist countries.

The main contradiction of the four most important contradictions facing imperialism was in 1968 and remains today, not the contradiction between the socialist countries and the imperialist countries, but that between the imperialist oppressor nations led by U.S. imperialism and the oppressed nations of Asia, Africa, and Latin America and Afro-America struggling for emancipation. Consequently, the past decade has revealed both outright betrayal of the national liberation struggles by almost the entire so-called socialist camp as well as the degeneration of the dictatorship of the proletariat and socialist construction (based on proletarian internationalism) into bourgeois dictatorship, capitalist restoration with western imperialist penetration, and bourgeois nationalism as the ideology of almost all communist parties in state power.

World developments of today dramatically confirm the fact that while some of the relations of forces in the world have changed in the past decade, nevertheless, the two main characteristics of the international situation remain the same! Today as in the 1960’s, ruthless struggle against revisionism based on proletarian internationalism is required in order to accomplish new great victories for the proletarian revolutionary cause.


During the past few months, the Iranian people have successfully launched a massive anti-imperialist movement, driven out the bloody Shah of Iran, toppled his successor Bakhtiar, begun the smashing of the U.S. imperialist sponsored terrorist dictatorship with the execution of key generals of the Iranian military and the dreaded SAVAK secret police, and installed a popular religious leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, in power. These developments have cut off strategic oil supply to the key settler states of Israel and South Africa and have inspired the Arab peoples of the Middle East to intensify their struggles for national freedom from imperialist and feudal tyranny.

Even though the ultimate relationship between the Khomeini selected government and the cunning U.S. imperialists, as well as the new Iranian regime’s relations with the Iranian working class and masses is still unclear, the events up to the present represent a powerful blow against international capitalism headed by U.S. imperialism.

Yet what role have the so-called ”socialist countries” played in helping to bring about these inspiring victories for the Iranian people and the international proletariat?

Almost none! In fact, with the notable exception of the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania, the objective role of most “socialist” countries in the struggle in Iran between the bloody dictatorship of the U.S. CIA backed Shah and his supporters and the Iranian masses has been to aid U.S. imperialism in propping up the Shah’s barbaric regime!!

The Soviet Union, a neighboring country, has a key natural gas pipeline as well as 139 economic projects linking the Soviet revisionist leadership with the bloody dictatorship of the U.S. backed Shah. Not surprisingly the Soviet revisionists were almost as desirous of retaining the Shah in power as were the U.S. imperialists!

At the same time, as the popular risings of the Iranian masses began to grow in strength last summer, the present revisionist leadership in China sent the head of their Communist Party (as well as their head of state) Chairman Hua Kuo-feng to Iran to help prop up the Shah’s regime. As the Albanian Comrades have pointed out while spearheading the current world-wide drive against revisionism,

....the expulsion of the Shah from Iran is direct exposure of the reactionary actions of the Chineses leaders, who through Hua Guo-feng hurried to go to Teheran to publicly express their support for the Shah, at a time when the Iranian people were fighting against and were being slaughtered in the streets by the forces of the hated regime of the Pahlavis. [Zeri I Popullit editorial, Jan. 19, 1979]

Early last month, during his unprecedented visit to the USA, the heartland of world capitalism, Chinese Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping made crystal clear the Chinese revisionists’ opposition to the people and support of reaction in Iran. Talking to U.S. reporters, and expressing his regret at the overthrow of the Shah who had been forcibly imposed on the Iranian masses by the U.S. army and CIA 25 years ago, Teng said, “We hope the United States will be able to do something effective in that field”. [AP 2/4/79]

After the Iranian people’s victorious ouster of the bloody Shah, in China the authoritative Peking Review (Beijing Review) had this interpretation of this event in an article entitled “Iran: Situation Still Unstable”,

A nine-member regency council led by Bakhtiar was formed on January 14 to exercise the Shah’s powers during his absence abroad. The Iranian new cabinet has won votes of confidence from the Senate and the National Consultative Assembly of Parliament on January 15 and 16 respectively .... Continual strikes of oil workers since last December have reduced oil production, the lifeblood of Iran’s national economy, from an average daily output of 6 million barrels to 300,000 barrels almost collapsing the nation’s economic life. [Peking Review, January, 26, 1979]

In light of the CPC’s present orientation around the “four modernizations”, i.e. stability and national construction, this Peking Review article constitutes clear opposition to the rising liberation struggle against the bloody Shah-U.S. CIA dictatorship.

It is no wonder that advanced Iranian Marxist revolutionaries in the past few weeks have declared that they are “neither pro-Soviet nor Pro-Chinese”. Such a revolutionary organization as the Fedayeen E Khalq expressed this rejection of both Soviet and Chinese revisionism while putting forth a sound revolutionary position on the further development of the Iranian revolution. A spokesman for the Fedayeen E Khalq predicted that a working class revolution would overthrow Khomeini’s proposed Islamic Republic while stating that the organization would not fight against the provisional government under the present circumstances.

To the extent that we understand the present situation in Iran this seems to us a good application of the Leninist theory of the (two stage) revolution to Iran today and reflects the tremendous world significance of the re-emerging anti-revisionist struggle spearheaded by the heroic Party of Labor of Albania during the past few years which is reviving Leninism.

Though the Khomeini led popular revolution against imperialism is a genuine national liberation movement, the only way to preserve and develop the genuine independence of Iran from imperialism is through the Marxist-Leninist led proletarian consolidation of the bourgeois democratic revolution in the course of advancing to the socialist revolution as rapidly as conditions permit.

What a great, creative role in the revolutionary process has been played by the Iranian people and by the Iranian oilfield workers in particular! What a shameful and criminal role has been played by the revisionist Soviet and Chinese leadership!

Iran, the arena in which the proletarian revolutionary cause has made its greatest headway in the past year, then, is a showcase of the facts of life of the contemporary world, revealing that the two main characteristics of the international situation are the same as they were a decade ago, only now standing out in even bolder relief.

Clearly the relation of forces in Iran is not an accident. Whether in the Eritrean people’s struggle for independence on the Horn of Africa or the struggle for Nicaraguan independence in Central America, revisionism is lined up with U.S. imperialism in opposition to the rising oppressed peoples in their struggles for the national democratic revolution and socialism.

Let us turn to Indochina, the most important arena of the proletarian revolutionary cause in the world of the entire decade of the mid-1960’s to the mid-1970’s.


Today, no honest revolutionary in the world can be unfeeling in regard to the tragedy of the Chinese invasion of Vietnam only a few short years after U.S. imperialism and its Saigon lackey regime were finally driven out, leaving behind all the devastation and destruction, the results of their barbaric war crimes against the Vietnamese people.

Can there be more dramatic evidence of the ascendancy of the national bourgeoisie to power in most of the so-called “socialist camp” than the tragic spectacle of China cutting off aid to Vietnam (and Albania), the Vietnam-Kampuchea war, and now the open invasion of Vietnam by China upon Teng Hsiao-ping’s return from the USA, heartland of international capital?

Honest revolutionaries must ponder this fact – Whereas ten years ago U.S. imperialism was compelled to move toward rapprochment with revolutionary China because of problems with revolutionary Vietnam, today both China and Vietnam are vying with each other to develop rapprochment with U.S. imperialism, while they are shedding each others blood!

Vietnam has now dropped the “pre-condition” of war reparations from barbaric U.S. imperialism, before Vietnam will negotiate rapprochment. The ink has barely dried on the documents of China’s normalization of relations with U.S. imperialism. And the Soviet revisionists are striving to get a SALT agreement with U.S. imperialism to help suppress revolutionary criticism of their appeasement policy internationally and bourgeois exploitation of their own people domestically.


In the midst of this shameful period in the history of the international Marxist-Leninist movement, however, the heroic PLA, has once again spearheaded the emergence of a worldwide anti-revisionist movement. Through their socialist construction in the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania as well as their anti-revisionist polemics, the PLA have re-affirmed the vigorous and ever young character of Marxism-Leninism.

As comrade Ramiz Alia, an Albanian Party leader put it,

The bourgeoisie and all its lackeys are trying to distort the significance of the re-establishment of capitalism in the former socialist countries, presenting the matter as though this was the liquidation of socialism and its future. This is an attempt to sow doubt and distrust about the communist ideals, but it will be unsuccessful. What has occurred in the Soviet Union and China is only a zigzag on the long road of the revolution. The retreat and zigzags are temporary and relative, they do not alter the general law of the advance of society. Regardless of the regressive processes which have occurred, socialism has not been liquidated: it exists as a social order, it exists in the aspirations and in all the revolutionary battles and struggles of the proletariat, which are inspired by the ideas of scientific socialism. Its triumph all over the world is inevitable. [The Revolution – A Question Taken Up For Solution, Ramiz Alia, pp 14-15]


Unlike most of the so-called “Pro-Albanian” forces in the USA today, we were not “born” as revolutionaries out of the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” (“G.P.C.R.”) and worship of “Mao Tse-tung Thought”. We were supporters of the CPC and Mao (as well as the PLA and Hoxha) before the “G.P.C.R.” and strong critics of “Mao Tse-tung Thought” and the CPC since the beginning of the “G.P.C.R.” in the mid 1960’s. Like any good Marxist-Leninist force, we did not wait for comrade Hoxha’s Imperialism and the Revolution to be published before beginning our sharp struggle against Chinese revisionism, Our predecessor. Youth For Stalin, published its first major criticism of the “G.P.C.R.” and “Mao Tse-tung Thought” in April 1968, exactly ten years before comrade Hoxha’s book was published in Albanian.

Consequently while most “pro-Albanians” in the USA today have attempted to ignore, bury or explain away their origins as bandwagon jumpers of the “G.P.C.R.” and “Mao Tse-tung Thought”, the basis of their organization and recruitment, now that comrade Hoxha has exposed their revisionist and counter-revolutionary essence, we have no reason to hide from our revolutionary comrades the origins of our line and movement. On the contrary, we are proud of our past, and are ever more confident in the scientific validity of Marxism-Leninism.

Any genuine revolutionary Marxist-Leninists in the USA today who claim to be “pro-Albanian” will no doubt feel compelled to seek out those of us who have publicly struggled against Chinese revisionism, lo these many years, (while the PLA has privately done likewise), thereby meeting our ideological responsibilities to the international Marxist-Leninist movement, the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples.


Objectively, at present, tremendous revolutionary potential resides in the fertile minds and stout hearts of the working class and peoples of Iran, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, Southern Africa, Central and South America fighting for their emancipation from the yoke of imperialism, headed by U.S. imperialism. The working class and peoples of Asia, the most populous and revolutionary continent in the world, will not long tolerate the tragic spectacle of fraternal revolutionary peoples shedding each others blood.

The proletariat in Europe (and to an extent in Japan and Canada as well) is becoming increasingly militant under the weight of capitalist wage slavery and unemployment. Oppressed minority nationalities within these multi-national states such as Ireland, Scotland and Wales in Britain, Basque and Catalonia in Spain and Quebec in Canada are on the march.

In the USA the oppressed Afro-American, Puerto Rican and other nations imprisoned within the present U.S. imperialist state boundaries are stirring, and the proletariat in the U.S. “mother country” is growing restless as the economic downturn, including high inflation and unemployment, continue to worsen.[2]

The inter-imperialist rivalries, toned down during 25 years of U.S. imperialist hegemony in the imperialist camp are intensifying rapidly, especially in the new power of German and Japanese capital vis a vis the U.S. dollar.

Socialist Albania has indeed rekindled the revolutionary flame of the October Revolution on the soil of the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania. The Albanian working class and toilers are holding aloft the contradiction between the socialist system and the capitalist camp on their heroic shoulders.

All the Time Magazine “Men of the Year” – Sadat (1977) and/or Teng Hsiao-ping (1978) etc. cannot save imperialism, headed by U.S. imperialism, from its doom.

The international proletariat and the oppressed peoples are demanding and will create a new genuine international Marxist-Leninist movement capable of leading the exploited and oppressed of the world to the beautiful ”singing tomorrows” of Communism. The heroic PLA has launched a new, intensified campaign of struggle against revisionism, whether Titoism or Euro-communism, Soviet revisionism, or the bourgeois nationalist “Three Worlds Theory” of the present Chinese revisionist leadership. The PLA is the spearhead of this campaign which will lead to the building of a new genuine Communist International that will be a worthy successor to the Third International and will follow and develop the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. We pledge our wholehearted and untiring effort to this campaign for which we have struggled for more than a decade.

* * *

We are terribly saddened by the tragedy of the China-Vietnam and Vietnam-Kampuchea border conflicts, and by the normalization of relations between China and U.S. imperialism as well as by the U.S.-Soviet SALT talks under these conditions. ”These are the worst of times.” Yet we are heartened by the Iranian peoples powerful and victorious liberation movement against U.S. imperialism as well as by the heroic PLA’s new initiatives in the struggle against international revisionism. We are inspired too by the historical experience of the international proletariat in the twentieth century – the world historic victory of the October Revolution, the tremendous triumph of the Soviet led world-wide victory over fascism in World War Two, the titanic Chinese revolution, and much more. “These are the best of times”.

These are the worst of times, they are the best of times. Yet guided by the Marxist-Leninist science and confident in the ultimate triumph of the international proletariat, the class that owns the future, we recognize that in the final analysis these are the best of times.

It is in this spirit that we hereby launch the Ray O. Light Newsletter.



[1] Today Ray 0. Light stands on the shoulders of a small but important anti-revisionist force, Hammer and Steel Newsletter, which was recognized by the PLA and CPC as well as Khrushchev for its outstanding contribution to this anti-revisionist struggle.

[2] However, today as in the past, in the imperialist countries, the real danger exists of the rising social revolution being turned into its opposite, into the fascist counter-revolution.