Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Political Organization (Marxist-Leninist)

RPO(ML) Resolution on Mao Zedong Thought


First Published: Workers’ Herald, Vol. 1, No. 2, September 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Central Committee considers that the serious questions of Mao and the Chinese Revolution must be resolved in order to promote adherence to genuine revolutionary principles and to affirm the theory of Marxism-Leninism. A consistent stand against modern revisionism and all forms of conciliation towards revisionism is our revolutionary duty.

The basic theses on Mao and the Chinese Revolution have been established. Beginning with Comrade Enver Hoxha’s Report to the 7th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania (PLA), these theses have developed by steps into positions documented in fact and consistent with the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. The PLA has demonstrated correct communist leadership in the criticism of and the struggle against Chinese revisionism, through the publication of Comrade Hoxha’s Imperialism and the Revolution, Reflections on China, and With Stalin, by the publication of other articles such as “The Theory and Practice of the Revolution,” and by sponsoring the Scientific Sessions which promoted and organized international discussion of Mao Zedong Thought. Substantial contributions have been made by the Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations. Thus, today, the theses on Mao and the Chinese Revolution have been established and elaborated in large measure. The work accomplished by the PLA and others is a correct basis for our views.

I. Mao Zedong was never a Marxist-Leninist
II. Socialism was never established in China
III. The Chinese Communist Party was not a consistent Marxist-Leninist party.

1. Mao Zedong opposed the fundamental Marxist-Leninist principle of the hegemony of the proletariat in the social revolution. In its place, he substituted the vanguard role of the peasantry and the petty bourgeois class. Mao’s rise to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) coincided with the retreat to the revolutionary base areas and the abandonment of the urban proletariat to the reactionary Kuomintang (KMP) and the Japanese imperialists. The tremendous victory of the anti-feudal, anti-imperialist liberation war, led by Mao Zedong, neglected the task of organizing insurrections in the major cities of China, but instead relied solely on the strategy of surrounding the cities with a peasant-led army. Thus, even after the military victory of the revolution, the proletariat was not prepared, politically or organizationally, to lead the Chinese Revolution. Mao’s theory of “New Democracy,” as a prolonged period of cooperation between the classes, is in essence a denial of the historic role of the working class and a justification of the political domination of the petty bourgeois. Of course, this was consistently shielded by revolutionary-sounding phrases. Similarly, the so-called “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” was in fact a political rebellion led by a section of the petty bourgeois, the students, under the watchful eye of the military. Mao’s Red Guard not only relegated the proletariat to a subordinate role, but also liquidated mass organizations and Party committees, thus leaving the fate of the Chinese Revolution in the hands of its present-day revisionist traitors.

The “Three Worlds Theory” is a reflection, on an international scale, of the betrayal of the working class. From its earliest forms, it represented the pursuit of a corrupt alliance with imperialism, and particularly with U.S. imperialism. According to this strategic principle of Maoism, China gives aid and comfort to the regimes of fascists like Pinochet of Chile, Marcos of the Philippines and the Shah of Iran and sabotages the revolutionary movements of the oppressed nations. Plainly, this was the case when Mao feted “bloody Nixon in Peking while heroic Vietnamese people struggled against the armed aggression of U.S. imperialism.

According to the spurious “Three Worlds Theory,” the proletariat around the world has no revolutionary tasks. The workers should aim, not at the revolutionary overthrow of imperialism and the transformation of society under the dictatorship of the proletariat, but should lower their sights and bend their will to the social-chauvinist, social-imperialist aspirations of China. The “Three Worlds Theory” is the policy on which the Chinese revisionists pin their hopes to win the leadership of the “non-aligned movement” and thus inherit the mantle of the renegade Tito. The responsibility of Mao for this theory and the profoundly anti-Leninist character of this policy cannot be denied.

2. Mao Zedong and the leadership of the CPC adopted revisionist views on the continuation of the revolution from its national democratic stage into socialism, and charted a “Chinese road to socialism” which attacked the principles of socialist construction. The Chinese revolution in 1949 was a bourgeois, national democratic revolution, but never a socialist revolution. The period of “New Democracy,” which, in Mao’s view could last for several decades, was not characterized by a revolutionary dictatorship over the exploiting classes, but was based on unprincipled cooperation between the classes. This was a complete distortion of the role of the national bourgeoisie in the social revolution, and a denial of the experience of Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution. On this essential question, there was no change in 1956, when the Chinese claim to have begun socialist construction. Former capitalists became factory managers, receiving wages plus “compensation.” Mao promoted the view (like Bukharin and Tito before him) that the liquidation of the capitalist class was wrong, and substituted the theory that capitalists and counter-revolutionaries could be remolded into socialists. He thus did irreparable harm to the revolution.

The large scale recruitment of petty bourgeois and capitalist elements in the management of economic enterprises, in the State apparatus (under Chou En-lai), in the Party organizations, and in the Army, determined the course of the Chinese Revolution. The proletariat, as a class, did not hold the state power and exercise its dictatorship over the bourgeoisie in China. The organizations of the masses of proletarians, the trade unions, were undermined as the instrument of proletarian control from below, and were neglected as schools of communism, the vital, main source for revolutionary cadre. Instead, the leadership of the CPC emerged from the ranks of the military, and as events proved, it was the Army that ruled the Party.

The policy for the economic development of China reflect this petty bourgeois and capitalist class hegemony. Mao promoted the revisionist thesis of the predominance bf small-scale, decentralized production over large scale industrialization and centralized accounting and planning. Mao, in fact, criticized the Marxist-Leninist policy of rapid industrialization carried out in the Soviet Union under the leadership of Stalin, and opposed the experience of the socialist construction in the field of agriculture. These policies subjected the Chinese workers and peasants to long periods of slow economic growth and backward means of production, punctuated by fits of extreme economic idealism like Mao’s “Great Leap Forward.” Lacking an industrial base, the state sector in agriculture never became dominant in production, and the Chinese communes operated as mixed economies with an ever-increasing role for individual plot production.

3. Mao’s well-known theses on the life of the Party are anti-Leninist conceptions of the nature and role of the Party in the revolution and socialist construction. Mao defended the history of factionalism in the CPC by distorting dialectics and concocting the principle that two opposing lines must exist in the Party. Mao defended, throughout his career, the thesis that the bourgeoisie must have its representatives within the party of the proletariat. Both of these propositions stand in complete opposition to the teaching of Lenin and Stalin that the party of the working class must be compact and disciplined, composed of the best, tested revolutionary proletarians. Under Mao’s leadership the CPC held its Congresses infrequently, ensuring the domination of its cadre by a small clique in the Central Committee. Even so, these Party Congresses were marked by the extreme expression of opportunist and revisionist views, culminating in the wholesale debasement of Marxist-Leninist ideology by the promotion of “Mao Zedong Thought” at the 9th Party Congress.

Mao’s consistent opposition to the Marxist-Leninist principles is marked by his nomination of renegades as Central Committee candidates, by his appointment of successors, such as Lin Piao, and by his insistence on the reeducation and rehabilitation of counter-revolutionaries. Mao’s revisionist principles were demonstrated in the course of the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” when he promoted the Red Guard student organizations as the leading revolutionary force in China, liquidating the Marxist-Leninist Party as the vanguard of the revolution, and relying, in the end, on the Army as the genuine arbiter of the revolution. These events proved as well that the real power in the CPC was held by the Army commanders, not even the Political Bureau of the Central Committee. The rapid degeneration of China under its present revisionist leadership can be traced to Mao’s failure to purge and eliminate counter-revolutionary elements, to the substitution of Marxist-Leninist unity by military discipline, and the conception of the Party subordinated to the military command.

4. The cause of proletarian internationalism suffered dearly at the hands of Mao and the CPC. China’s reprehensible lack of support for the revolutionary national movements is well documented. But this is not merely the pragmatism of superpower politics. The CPC and Mao long ago renounced the Marxist-Leninist principle of the equality among nations and the principle that under socialism nations can exercise their right to self-determination through independence or voluntary federation. In 1956, for example, Mao characterized the 1936 Constitution of the Soviet Union, which guaranteed the rights of self-determination to the national republics, as “abnormal” relations between states, in order to justify the great-Han chauvinism of China. The CPC spread confusion in the U.S. by its consistent treatment of the Black National movement in the U.S. as a racial question only, ignoring the Marxist-Leninist principles, and by its praise of the bourgeois reformist Martin Luther King.

For quite a long time the CPC acted to disrupt and undermine the international Marxist-Leninist movement. Even before the military victory in 1949, Mao made statements to criticize the revolutionary leadership of the Communist International, and by listing the so-called mistakes of the CI so as to smear the correct leadership of J. V. Stalin. After Stalin’s death, Mao made statements qualifying (in the manner of Trotsky) the international significance of the Bolshevik Revolution and the socialist construction in the Soviet Union. Mao, in making these statements, such as “Stalin was 30% wrong,” joined hands with other modern revisionists like Tito and Khruschev, and supported the international bourgeois offensive against the international proletariat, its allies and the vanguard parties.

Mao and the CPC used the brief period of apparent opposition to the Soviet modern revisionists in order to promote China’s reputation as the world revolutionary center. Among the claims that the CPC can make, in directing revolutions from Peking, is the slaughter of three million workers and peasants in Indonesia in 1965. Under the banner of Mao Zedong Thought, the CPC interfered in the affairs of fraternal parties and violated the norms of relations between the parties. The CPC recognized and promoted groups as Marxist-Leninist organizations (even competing groups) only to the extent that they did the bidding of China. The CPC set road-blocks and opposed a multi-lateral meeting of the Marxist-Leninist parties, but chose to hold discussions only with parties who could offer no criticism or opposition to the chauvinism of the CPC. The CPC never received a delegation from the fraternal Spanish party, for example, but honored the revisionist Carillo in Peking. While trumpeting its “leadership” against the Soviet social-imperialists, and its lasting fraternal ties to the PLA, the CPC never exchanged delegations with the PLA, never discussed the vital questions facing the international Marxist-Leninist movement, but instead acted always to promote its own superpower aspirations.