Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

2300 Hear Major Analysis of ’76 Coup

Historic Mao Memorials Combat Revisionism

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First Published: Revolution, Vol. 3, No. 13, October 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

The Mao Tsetung Memorial Meetings held on September 9 in New York City and September 10 in the San Francisco Bay Area signified a tremendous victory for the working class at a major crossroads. These meetings struck a powerful blow against the revisionists now ruling China and others who claim to represent the interests of the working class while all the time attacking and stabbing the workers and the masses of people in the back. By raising the banner of revolution against such treachery, these meetings also struck a blow against the imperialist rulers of the U.S. and all reactionaries. In the face of the vicious betrayal of the cause of proletarian revolution by the clique of “goulash communists” who have usurped power from the proletariat in China, revolutionaries around the world have refused to compound the loss in China by following these revisionist rulers down the path of capitulation.

It was in this context that these meetings can truly be said to have been historic events. Khruschev’s coup in the Soviet Union in 1956 had been another such crossroads for revolution. As the opening remarks made at the meetings by leading members of the Revolutionary Communist Party Central Committee put it, “Summing up what has happened in China is the most pressing and important question facing revolutionaries around the globe...If one accommodates oneself to revisionism in China, or fails to correctly sum up why it has triumphed, one cannot make revolution in his own country. How could we presume to seek to advance society forward if we set our sights no higher than the time worn capitalist aspirations of the current Chinese leadership?”

At these meetings the Revolutionary Communist Party upheld the banner of Mao Tsetung and defiantly proclaimed Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought as the guide to making revolution. And further, these programs represented a major, if still initial, assessment of the causes of the reversal in China and the lessons that must be drawn from this by communists in this country and around the world if they are, as the major speech put it, to “transform difficulty into opportunity, adversity into advance.”

It was in anticipation of this kind of major meeting that, in all, about 2300 people (1100 in New York and 1200 in the San Francisco Bay Area) came from all over the country. They came to hear the first public presentation by the Revolutionary Communist Party on the revisionist coup in China since the death of Mao Tsetung. Many people who had looked to China led by Mao Tsetung and his revolutionary line as a beacon, and who had been inspired by the achievements of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution as a tremendous advance for all mankind, had deep questions about the earthshaking events in China and their implications for the people of the world.

The programs began with the revolutionary Chinese song “The East is Red” as spotlights fell on a huge portrait of Mao Tsetung, flanked by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, as well as portraits of the four revolutionary leaders–Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan–who have been arrested and vilified in China by the reactionary regime. Banners in English, Chinese, Spanish and Persian proclaimed: “Hold High the Banner of Mao Tsetung’s Immortal Contributions and the Achievements and Lessons of the Cultural Revolution! Hail the Heroic Efforts of the Four who Fought to Uphold Mao’s Line and Proletarian Rule in China! Revisionists are Revisionists and Must Not Be Supported! Revolutionaries are Revolutionaries and Must Be Supported!”

Opening Statement

The opening statement delivered at the two meetings stated: “On this second anniversary of the death of Mao Tsetung, the Revolutionary Communist Party and the Mao Tsetung Memorial Committees have called this meeting together not only to pay tribute to the greatest revolutionary of our time, but to put into practice one of Mao’s behests. As Mao said in 1965, ’If China’s leadership is usurped by revisionists in the future, the Marxists-Leninists of all countries should resolutely expose and fight them and help the working class and the masses of China to combat such revisionism.’”

Powerful revolutionary cultural presentations, inspired by the Chinese Revolution, followed the opening address and continued throughout the program. A Film, “The Greatest Revolutionary of Our Time,” which was enthusiastically received, showed a brief but sweeping history of the contributions of Mao Tsetung together with spectacular historical footage from the Russian Revolution, the struggle in China, including film of Mao Tsetung proclaiming the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the Cultural Revolution.

There was a slide show entitled “Mao’s Last Great Battle” and songs by Prairie Fire, a singing group from the San Francisco Bay Area, including two new songs, “We Stand with Mao Tsetung” and “Who Will Dare?” which addressed the question of the stand of the working class in the face of the reactionary coup d’etat in China. Two poems by Mao Tsetung which were written to inspire the Chinese people in the fight against revisionism were read at the San Francisco Bay Area meeting. The program was translated simultaneously into Spanish, Chinese and Persian.

Comrade Avakian’s Speech

The highlight of the meetings was the main address by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, “The Loss in China and the Revolutionary Legacy of Mao Tsetung.” This presentation was a deep and thoroughgoing analysis of the struggle which led up to the revisionist coup d’etat in China led by Hua Kuo-feng, Teng Hsiao-ping and their gang. Comrade Avakian spoke for several hours, addressing many of the questions on the minds of revolutionary minded people: the forces in the struggle, questions of international line and its relation to class struggle in China, and how do we begin to understand the causes of the reversal in China and its lessons.

Comrade Avakian’s speech gave a concentrated analysis of the history of struggle in China and the role of Mao Tsetung and Mao Tsetung Thought in leading the masses in China through all the twists and turns of struggle, first in liberating China from imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism (as Mao put it, the three big mountains weighing on the Chinese people) and then in fierce struggle to build socialism, to keep power in the hands of the working class–a struggle which Mao fought to his last breath, together with the Four and other revolutionaries who continued to wage this battle after Mao’s death.

The speech delved into the origins and development of the struggle which was to become Mao’s last great battle. Comrade Avakian discussed the questions arising out of the period of the new-democratic revolution, the struggle within the Chinese Party on how to carry this out. He examined the role of various leading people including Chou En-lai and the history of their development, and he went into the difficulties and sharp struggles confronting Mao, the genuine revolutionaries in the Party and the masses in the transition to socialism. The speech analyzed the phenomenon of bourgeois democrats becoming capitalist-roaders.

Comrade Avakian analysed the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the intense struggle which led up to it–the need as Mao said to find “a form, a method, to arouse the broad masses to expose our dark aspect openly, in an all-around way and from below.” Comrade Avakian’s speech examined the twists and turns of this unprecedented class conscious mass movement, the forces involved, the role of the Four, and the unfolding of events behind the Lin Piao Affair.

The complex struggle against the capitalist-roaders in the Party, the open and behind-the-scenes role of Chou En-lai, the significance of the criticism of Confucius, the return of Teng Hsaio-ping and other key campaigns and events were examined, and the revolutionary line of Mao Tsetung and the method of struggle he developed in leading the masses were all gone into and analysed.

On the international situation and the question of war, Comrade Avakian denounced the “three worlds theory” now being peddled by the rulers of China and showed how this reactionary theory was opposed to Mao’s line on the international situation. He discussed the influence of the international situation on the class struggle inside China. The speech went into the general question of the problems confronting a socialist country in developing line and policy in the international sphere. It spoke to the history of communist experience in handling the contradiction between defense of a socialist country against threatened imperialist aggression on the one hand and–on the other–continuing the revolution inside the country and support for revolution worldwide. The thinking of Stalin, Mao Tsetung and the Four on these complex questions was examined.

The speech went into the October 1976 coup d’etat and the resistance of the revolutionaries and the masses in China, what was the social base of the revisionist leaders–in particular, the problems resulting from “the existence in socialist society of whole strata of bureaucrats, intellectuals, technicians, managerial personnel, etc., whose spontaneous tendency is very strongly to become conservative and to want to protect their relatively privileged positions...” and how Mao approached the problem of winning over and transforming as many of these people as possible.

In summing up the current situation, Comrade Avakian laid out some of the questions confronting the revolutionaries today, questions of political line which must be gone into deeply on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought. He said: “In the last hundred years or so, from the Paris Commune to the Soviet Union to Socialist China and the Cultural Revolution, the proletariat has continued to ascend to still greater heights and win still greater victories, despite temporary setbacks and reversals. As Mao Tsetung said: ’The future is bright; the road is tortuous.’”

Further Questions

Following the main speech there was a lively question and answer period. Questions were collected from the audience during the speech and Comrade Avakian answered a number of them. More than three hundred questions were posed by people at the meetings. Due to lack of time permitted in New York only a few were answered, and while in the San Francisco Bay Area the question period was much longer, it was not possible in one meeting to answer the many questions that were stimulated by the main presentation.

Some of the important questions dealt with by Comrade Avakian related to the recent letter from Albania about the stopping of aid to Albania by the revisionist regime in China and its comments on the nature of the Cultural Revolution; the relationship of Party leadership to the masses; and the “three worlds theory.” The Party has been addressing these and many of the other questions raised through the various activities of the Mao Memorial Month and will continue to address them in the future.

The meetings were living proof that revolutionary minded people are determined to uphold the banner of Mao Tsetung and to pursue the questions posed by the earthshaking events in China. People thronged around the many book tables, buying revolutionary literature and posters. Two important new books, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, The Revisionist Coup in China and the Struggle in the RCP (RCP Publications) which goes deeply into the questions of political line in the struggle against revisionism in China and Mao Makes Five (published by Banner Press) which makes available the key documents of the Left in China during the last round of struggle, sold by the hundreds. Many people requested that Comrade Avakian’s speech “The Loss in China and the Revolutionary Legacy of Mao Tsetung” should be immediately published so that it could be studied further by those who had attended the meeting and made available to those who were unable to attend.

There was a widespread sense that this was truly an historic moment. The fact that these meetings had been held successfully, that so many people had come and such great interest shown in dealing with these questions was evidence that revolutionaries throughout the world were not going to blindly follow the revisionists now ruling China who act like they can outlaw revolution, who walk with a big nation swagger–the likes of Teng Hsaio-ping who was forced to admit in a “self-criticism” in 1966, “I must confess that not only have I not raised high the banner of Mao Tsetung Thought, but that I have not even lifted this banner up.” It was evidence that many people recognize that the events in China and what conclusions one draws from them have tremendous significance for the future course of the peoples’ struggles all over the world.

And it was evidence that as Comrade Avakian said in reaffirming a statement he made shortly after Mao’s death and shortly before the revisionist coup:

What is inevitable is that people will continue to fight back against their oppression and exploitation, that this systemof capitalism is not here to stay, or eternal... and that the very development of capitalism.. .has drawn together as capitalism’s gravedigger a mighty army [of the working class]...

So when they raise the question, who will be Mao Tsetung’s successors, the working class is ready with its answer: We will be Mao Tsetung’s successors, in our millions and hundreds of millions, and we will continue the cause for which he fought and in which he led us and to which he devoted his entire life, until that great goal of eliminating exploitation and oppression and achieving communism has finally been achieved. This is the greatest tribute that we can pay to Mao Tsetung, and it’s a cause which the working class today and our children and our children’s children and theirs beyond them will carry forward.