Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Mao Zedong Thought Defends Bourgeois Nationalism


Published: Workers Herald, Vol. 1, No. 3, January 1981.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Editor’s Note: We have received the following statement from a Marxist-Leninist group in New York which is carrying on a determined struggle against the counterrevolutionary theories of Mao Zedong as applied to the Black National Question in the United States. We reprint it as a good example for all genuine Marxist-Leninists to follow in the fight against revisionism.

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The following is a critique of revisionism, in particular, Mao Tse-tung Thought as the most modern form. One must examine the essence of this polemic in light of the historical struggle of Marxism-Leninism against all forms of revisionism, i.e., Kautsky and the Second International. Furthermore, I would like to express that liberalism on this question is inadmissible, we must be critical when and where we observe the undermining of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. True Communists the world over are launching death blows to the revisionist theory of Mao Tse-tung Thought, just as comrade Lenin did during the exposure of the renegade Kautsky. It is a sharp struggle distinguishing two ideological views, a reflection of the antagonistic conflict between the dying bourgeois and the working class.

It is proper to present this matter by examining deeply Lenin’s teachings of the historical period of proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat in particular. As ideological and political fighters of this class, to examine this question from any other premise is to cover up just what is the role of revisionism and all forms of bourgeois ideology in its desperate attempt to maintain the rule of capitalism. Revisionists of all types would like us to deal with the question by employing a pragmatic and empiricist approach. Furthermore, to deal with the question by details, as Ron Washington has done in his paper, dealing in the main on the question of the “national bourgeoisie” without addressing the main and crucial question of proletarian dictatorship in the U.S., is to subordinate the question of proletarian dictatorship to questions of tactical significance. It is to examine tactics as being more fruitful than understanding how the historical motion of proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship subordinates all the questions of temporary nature (within the objective factors) to the question, that is, to the question of hegemony by the proletariat, for the latter’s dictatorship. Lenin said:

It is often said and written that the main point in Marx’s teachings is the class struggle; but this is not true. And from this untruth very often springs the opportunist distortion of Marxism, its falsification in such a way as to make it acceptable to the bourgeois. For the doctrine of class struggle was created not by Marx, but by the bourgeois before Marx, and generally speaking it is acceptable to the bourgeois. Those who recognize only the class struggle are not yet Marxist; they may be found to be still within the boundaries of bourgeois thinking and bourgeois politics. To confine Marxism to the doctrine of the class struggle means curtailing Marxism, distorting it, reducing it to something which is acceptable to the bourgeois. Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is what constitutes the most profound difference between the Marxist and the ordinary petti-bourgeois. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding of Marxism is to be tested. And it is not surprising that when the history of Europe brought the working class face to face with this question as a practical issue, not only all opportunists and reformists, but all “Kautskyites” (people who vacillate between reformism and Marxism) proved to be miserable Philistines and petti-bourgeois democrats who repudiate the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Lenin very strongly expounded on the essential question which has been evaded and cowardly attacked by the many variations of revisionism, including Mao Tse-tung Thought.

In his writings, Mao Tse-tung encouraged the existence of two lines in the Party, multiple class composition and the existence of other “parties” in the state apparatus. Now comrades, is it permissible for a Communist Party, supposedly one with the proletariat, to share power with other parties – yes, share power!

If we examine the period of “New Democracy” in China after the revolution in 1949 and observe what Mac encouraged we shall see where all of these bourgeois concepts had their roots, and how they repudiate the dictatorship of the proletariat.

From his writings “On New Democracy,” Mao Tse tung’s revisionism encourages the existence of capitalist in China. He writes:

... but the republic will neither confiscate capitalist private property in general nor forbid the development of such capitalist production as does not dominate the livelihood of the people ...

Here Mao Tse-tung speaks from two sides of his mouth He is supposedly concerned with the “livelihood of the people” yet encourages the further development o capitalism in China by allowing the capitalist to further develop the capitalist relations in the mode of production

He continues saying that:

... a rich peasant economy will be allowed in the rural areas. Such is the policy of equalization of land ownership.

This, comrades, is obviously not Marxism-Leninism but something totally hostile to it. Understanding the essence of proletarian revolution the world over, always and everywhere, including in semi-colonial, semi-feudal conditions, the Marxist-Leninist party is constantly tightening the grip of proletarian rule. This includes the sphere of economics. It is the sphere of economics which establishes the social basis for social thoughts. That is why under a proletarian dictatorship, the proletarian state involves the vast majority in commodity production, leading society towards communism.

To justify his contempt towards the dictatorship of the proletariat and allowing capitalist relations to exist for the time thereafter, Mao wrote:

The transformation of our revolution into socialist revolution is a matter of future ... as to when the transition will take place ...it may take quite a long time. We should not hold’ forth about this transition until all the necessary political and economic conditions are present and until it is advantageous and not detrimental to the overwhelming majority of our people. [Selected Works, Vol. 1]

Detrimental to what people, detrimental to what class Mao Tse-tung should be asked! The political and economic system of socialism, the system in which all attempts by the overthrown bourgeois to restore the old system of wage slavery and misery, where, the proletariat rallying its allies suppresses these attempts with the use of force, can only be “detrimental” to those elements who represent the overthrown bourgeois (who are within the petti-bourgeois) and by their nature are hostile to the working class rule. These are elements who inevitably strive through acts of conspiracies to restore capitalism. They are elements who flirt with imperialism and as we can all see today, become imperialist themselves.

This is an objective law which the liberal Mao tried to cover-up. His view of socialist economic construction paved the way for the proletariat to be stripped of any rule, once the national bourgeois was allowed to exert its privileged social position. By being concerned about socialism being “detrimental,” the petti-bourgeois liberal Mao Tse-tung echoed the cries of the liberal “Socialist Revolutionaries,” who, in 1905, feared that an independent program by the proletariat would have the bourgeois “recoil” from it. Perhaps during their gradual development of Marxism-Leninism these liberal and bourgeois apologists of today who uphold Mao Tse-tung thought and reserve a strong loyalty to “their” bourgeois, failed somewhere along the line, to understand or consciously pretend not to understand the indisputable truth of socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat as Lenin expressed:

In order that it may be consistently carried to its conclusion, our democratic revolution must rely on such forces as are capable of paralyzing the inevitable inconsistency of the bourgeois (i.e., capable precisely of “causing it to recoil from the revolution”) which the Caucasian adherents of Iskra fear so much because of their lack of judgment.

Furthermore, to advocate this view so profound as the liberal Mao Tse-tung did is to advocate the petti-bourgeois view of “pure democracy” amongst opposing class interests. This view was originally developed by the renegade Kautsky and the Second International. There exists in the world no such system, and never has there ever been, according to world history as we Marxist-Leninists understand it, where the conformity of opposing class interest has been met. Such liberal, in-between class views, can only pay a service to the bourgeois. Lenin said:

Kautsky takes from Marxism what is acceptable to the liberals, to the bourgeois (the criticism of the middle ages, and the progressive historical role of capitalism in general and of capitalist democracy in particular), and discards, passes into silence, glosses over all that in Marxism which is unacceptable to the bourgeois (the revolutionary violence of the proletariat against the bourgeois for the latter’s destruction.) That is why Kautsky, by virtue of his objective position and irrespective of what his subjective convictions may be, inevitably proves to be a lackey of the bourgeois. [Renegade Kautsky]

“Like Kautsky, like Mao!”

Like Kautsky, like Mao! Both repudiate the dictatorship of the proletariat! Both base their views on liberalism, undermining the historical necessity of revolutionary violence against the bourgeois by the proletariat, for the latter’s conquest of political power and establishment of its dictatorship. Both Kautsky and Mao advocate this liberal form of bourgeois ideology, making them nothing more than class collaborators.

Ron Washington, who defends the revisionism of Mao Tse-tung thought and his black bourgeois, undermines the proletariat’s struggle for political conquest and establishment of a proletarian dictatorship in this country. He, too, is guilty of having the treacherous view which compromises the interest of the working class with the selfish interest of the bourgeois. He, too, is crying the fallacy of how “detrimental” socialism – the dictatorship of the proletariat would be to the “people.”

R. Washington uses the experience of the beginning stages of the Chinese revolution, questions of a tactical nature, and applies them as absolute principles to the conditions in the United States. He takes the alliance of the Kuomintang, (which under the existence of China’s semi-colonial, semi-feudal conditions made this alliance correct) and uses this tactical method of combatting imperialism under such less developed conditions and applies them to the conditions of a highly developed industrialized capitalist country as the U.S. His main concern in doing this is to deceive the proletariat, particularly the Afro-American masses, in advocating a “United Front” with his equally reactionary black bourgeois. First of all, he seems very hestitant in his polemical document to admit that a colonial question and a national question are not two variations of one question, but rather, two separate questions with separate qualities which are based on their relative connections with imperialism, that is, moribund capitalism. Within his polemical writings, “On the national bourgeois: In defense of Mao Tse-tung thought,” he equates these two questions without making it known that each of the two have their own proper sets of conditions. The national question focuses on the study of the relationship that an oppressed nation or nationality has to the growth of the oppressive system of capitalism. This can be applied to the generality of the question, i.e., nations of colonial or neo-colonial conditions, oppressed due to the penetration of surplus capital in their country, making the national question no longer an internal national problem within the capitalist countries, but rather, with the rise of imperialism the question objectively became linked with the colonies. The other aspect is nations within the borders of the imperialist country whose demand for self-determination may not necessarily call for secession and independence.

A colonial question handles the matter from the perspective of countries subjugated to the yoke of imperialism by means of having a local bourgeois administer the details of law and suppression by the use of a semi-autonomous form of state, a colonial government, i.e., Puerto Rico. This colonial government places at the disposal of the big imperialist bourgeois, all the riches of the country, a market and the proletariat who faces double exploitation, by both the imperialist bourgeois and the native bourgeois.

But let us not dwell top much on the qualities of these two questions, since the issue here is not that Ron Washington is ignorant or blind of these Marxist-Leninist definitions and descriptions, but rather, how is it that he confuses the national and colonial questions to peddle, like a corporate salesman-, his unity with his black bourgeois which is as equally reactionary and hostile as the white-anglo bourgeois. He advocates that the black proletariat in the Black Belt South must unite with this black bourgeois in a “united front,” denying the fact that the black bourgeois is also in a frenzy, supporting the general fascization of the country by the entire bourgeois’ state apparatus. He, with his class collaborationist view, is denying the fact that the general class struggle is also manifesting itself, with all the antagonistic features, against the black bourgeois as well. This black bourgeois is also very desperately trying to hold on to their privileged social position. This is the historical reality that the bourgeois as a whole finds itself in at this time, that is, big or small, black or white.

Comrades, let us examine the hypocrisy of R. Washington; let us see if he did not already know how treacherous this is, let us study very critically what he himself wrote.

The first few pages of his document explain the growth of capitalism into imperialism. He explains the subjugation of the toiling masses in the oppressed countries to exploitation and extreme oppression by the imperialists. He then explains some of the natural restrictions set forth on the national bourgeois by the imperialist bourgeois (keeping in mind that he is speaking of outside the borders of the imperialist bourgeois). He then, while explaining these restrictions set forth, begins to quote Stalin on the development of the national movements and the appeals made to the workers and peasants by these lesser developed bourgeois. This is all during the first period of the national question. Ron Washington underlined much of what Stalin wrote explaining why the workers and the peasants, in most cases, did in fact rally behind the banner of the bourgeois, which, looking at the period in history which Stalin was describing, in which the bourgeois democratic revolution was still incomplete and where the working class was still lacking political maturity, made this phenomenon quite natural. But what is interesting to observe in his quoting and underlining the passages is that the one paragraph which would explain the essence and in what context Stalin was aiming at, not only did R. Washington choose not to underline it but in his application thereafter, made no mention of it. In actuality he took up Stalin to distort him. This particular passage of comrade Stalin reads:

The strength of the national movement is determined by the degree to which the wide strata of the nation, the proletariat and the peasantry participate in it.

Whether the proletariat rallies to the banner of bourgeois nationalism depends on the degree of development of class antagonisms, on the class consciousness and degree of organization of the proletariat. The class conscious proletariat has its own tried banner, and has no need to rally to the banner of the bourgeois. [Marxism and the National Question]

This part of comrade Stalin’s passage you chose not to deal with because just as it is unacceptable to the bourgeois, it is unacceptable to you. Yes, Washington, to you!

Ron Washington, who has recently stated in our collective that the “main enemy is the white American bourgeois,” as if the black bourgeois and the white bourgeois have diametrically opposed interests (which is at the essence of his argument), places his own foot in his mouth. Just examine what he has been advocating all along and compare it with how he reflects on the true nature of the black bourgeois, and comrades shall see the inconsistencies. He is inconsistent because while he prettifies the black bourgeois as an ally, he is forced to make mention of their counter-revolutionary nature, which proves to whom they are loyal. Washington writes on page 19 of his paper:

Given the black bourgeois’ development within the dominant nation, its comprador character could not help but to be more pronounced.

And going further into his paper on page 20 he writes:

... but who in the end find common ground based on common interest of wringing crumbs from the ruling bourgeois, and their fear of a revolutionary Afro-American working class movement.

Comrades observe this contradiction here, it is our revolutionary responsibility to know where Washington is coming from; on the one hand he says that the “black bourgeois is oppressed” and that this is why we can unite with it, he then jumps to the other side of the fence, admitting the latter’s “common ground” and “common interest” with the entire bourgeois, which has made their comprador character “more pronounced.”

According to your own analogy Washington, uniting with the black bourgeois would be suicide, wouldn’t you say?

His liberal attitude towards the bourgeois is the same liberal attitude that gave China back to the sharks. It is the same liberal attitude that helped the fascists of Germany kill thousands of Communists and workers. It is also this kind of catering to the bourgeois that has delayed for so long the emancipation of not only the Afro-American people but the entire multi-national proletariat of the US.

This loyalty to the bourgeois, which he (like so many others before him) calls in his paper “the A B C’s of Marxism,” has already many times before in history proven corrupt! The American multi-national proletariat has a long history of being betrayed by these revisionists. Take, for example, the so-called “CP/ML” (Revisionist) and their view of “unite to expose;” a revisionist concept which calls for “tactically” uniting in organizational forms with the treacherous labor lieutenants of capitalism. Imagine it!! Uniting with enemies of the proletariat in order to expose them in due time! How sweet you all are! Giving these enemies the advantage of deviating matters further as they are historically known for.

Ron Washington knowing damn well the nature of this collaborationist conception, adopts it with this black bourgeois. He writes on page 21 of his paper:

And when we talk of uniting with the national bourgeois, it certainly does not mean praising them to the sky, like the O.L. (“CP/ML”-R) and other notorious opportunists. No, our unity means step by step, all along the way, before during and after, point out their role, and summing it up to the level of line.

Ron Washington, if you were sincere in pointing out to the working class “before” or “during,” the true nature of the bourgeois, at the same time calling for unity with the black bourgeois, not only will the working class see you as their enemy, but your black bourgeois as well. This is why you are not a Marxist-Leninist but a petti-bourgeois politician, vacillating between the two opposing classes ... in short, you are a liberal! The black bourgeois, like all hitherto oppressor classes, knows very well what their interest is. By their objective nature, they will not unite with any motion that will be “detrimental” to them. As in the 1960’s when the Black Panther Party began to expose the role of the black bourgeois in the Afro-American people’s struggle to a considerable level, this black bourgeois of yours, which you admit has “common ground” and “common interest” with the imperialist bourgeois, actively took part in slandering and organizing against them.

Comrades, don’t be fooled. This view is anti-Communist and can only deceive the proletariat and the toiling masses, the people whose interest is to overthrow the bourgeois as a class.