Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Internationalism, China and communists in the U.S.

First Published: Unity, Vol. 4, No. 13, August 20-September 10, 1981.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Communist Party of China (CPC) recently completed a much publicized Central Committee meeting which passed a lengthy resolution on some major issues in the Party’s history since 1949. The resolution especially evaluated the role of Mao Zedong and Mao Zedong Thought.

While affirming the main work of the CPC since liberation, the resolution specifically criticized some of its work, policies and theories. These lessons carry great significance as they will help determine the nature of the Party’s ongoing effort to construct socialism. (See Beijing Review No. 27, 1981 for the text of the resolution.)

The resolution culminated several years of intense struggle, discussion and summarization within the CPC since the death of Mao. This document is thought provoking, particularly for revolutionaries who have long closely followed developments in China as an example of the socialist future.

This interest in China has been positive as it reflects a desire to know about the superiority of the socialist system, but it has also been accompanied by a desire of some to make judgments on every new development there, as if they knew best how to construct socialism in China. This, though, is not a materialist attitude, as someone in the U.S. cannot have as concrete a grasp of the real conditions in China as does the Communist Party of China. Communists in the U.S., rather, should be guided by a genuinely internationalist outlook.

Genuine internationalism means that communists should respect, support and not interfere in the affairs of other communists. Communists of each country know their own conditions best. At the same time, all true communists must uphold the basic principles and approaches of Marxism-Leninism, and by their practice, show they are working for progress and revolution.

Modern history shows that communists must be creative in applying Marxism-Leninism to their concrete conditions. The Russian, Chinese and Korean revolutions, among others, were triumphs, in part because the people and their respective communist parties conducted their revolutions independent of others who wished to dictate the path of the struggle from without. Adherence to true internationalism is imperative to actually aiding the progress of the revolution in each individual country today.

With this attitude, communists in the U.S. must realize that we ourselves are responsible for determining the revolution here. This should be our primary concern. In turn we should respect the revolutionary efforts of genuine communists of other lands, including socialist China.

Thus with regards to the recent Central Committee resolution and the general situation in China, communists in the U.S. should respect the decisions of the CPC. They are explicitly upholding four basic principles for the country: socialism, the dictatorship of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism and Mac Zedong Thought, and the communist party. The resolution stated that “any word or deed which deviates from these four principles is wrong. Any word or deed which denies or undermines these four principles cannot be tolerated.”

The economic situation is improving and there is an atmosphere of ease and hard work in the country, as visitors returning from China can attest. In foreign affairs, China is playing an invaluable role in opposing superpower contention, especially the aggression of the Soviet Union.

With regard to issues of concern to communists throughout the world, such as the evaluation of Mao Zedong and Mao Zedong Thought, the CPC explicitly affirmed the overwhelming positive nature of Mao’s work and the necessity to adhere to Mao Zedong Thought.

Comrade Mao was the great leader of the CPC as well as a tremendous communist theoretician whose writings inspired and provided guidance for others around the world. In this sense Mao belonged to the international proletariat, and all genuine communists should respect and learn from his writings. The CPC specifically defined a number of areas where Mao Zedong Thought has significantly enriched Marxism-Leninism.

The CPC resolution criticized some of Mao’s decisions and views. Yet these were balanced by evaluating them in the context of their time, place and circumstances. The criticisms were not part of a “demaoification” or “denunciation” of Mao as reported in the capitalist press. No one is immune from making errors, and the errors of great leaders often have profound consequences. Pointing these out, however, does not mean negating the great contributions of such a leader. This is what the Chinese have apparently tried to do with regards to Mao.

The CPC resolution also touched on, but did not conclusively resolve, some other matters of concern for the international communist movement. These include the question of class struggle under socialism, combating bureaucratism and modern revisionism, and how the revolution should be continued under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The Soviet Union remains a negative example of a country where socialism was overturned from within. We also have the tragic experience of the Cultural Revolution, which was launched by Mao in the belief that it would advance the socialist cause. But the Cultural Revolution wound up weakening, rather than strengthening, socialism in China, it was not a good way, as many once thought, to continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

These are still weighty questions and it will require more practice and summarization to solve them. Hopefully, the lessons the CPC will gather from its current efforts in socialist construction and developing socialist democracy will provide some answers for international communism.

The road to socialism is a tortuous one and the path of socialist construction to achieve communism is even less clear. Inevitably there will be twists and turns, advances and mistakes, trial and error through the entire protracted process of socialist revolution. For these reasons communists must uphold the independence of the revolutionary process of each country, respect the genuine communists in each land, and devote their primary attention to attaining the revolutionary goal in their own country.

Revolutionary Marxism-Leninism is distinguished from opportunism and revisionism by its outlook, principles and practice, but in today’s world, where the Soviet imperialists have distorted the true meaning of internationalism to justify aggression and interference, communists of every land must clearly uphold the integrity and independence of each revolutionary process as part of their internationalist responsibility.