Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

V. G. Wilxcox

New Zealand Party’s Firm Stand


At the end of August, 1963, a delegation of the Communist Party of New Zealand went to Moscow for fraternal talks about ideological differences. It went at the invitation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and comprised V. G. Wilcox, General Secretary and leader of the delegation, M. Williams, National President and A. Ostler and D. Wolf, members of the Political Committee.

You are likely to know of this because the matter was given publicity on the air and in the press. Since then, many non-Party friends have asked: “Just what did you have to say in Moscow?” As clearly and accurately as possible within the limitations of space we intend to make plain our position as we presented it to the representatives of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.

Firstly, though, we must briefly outline how this situation arose, why we were invited.

In February, 1962, after hearing a report on the 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U., given by G. E. Jackson who attended as a fraternal delegate from our Party, certain decisions were taken. They were based not only on the report of the proceedings of the 22nd Congress but on a whole series of events that had come to our knowledge from the time in mid-1960 when J. Manson, a member of the National Committee of the C.P.N.Z., went to the Congress of the Rumanian Party as a fraternal delegate and found himself attending a hastily called meeting of representatives of world Parties – called, without many other Parties’ prior knowledge, by the leadership of the C.P.S.U. There an attempt was made to get an overall condemnation of the policy of the Chinese and Albanian Parties. Wisely and correctly, J. Manson refused to commit the New Zealand Party, stating that he had no authority from his Party to deal with such matters as he had come purely to attend the Rumanian Congress.

Now, when our delegation was in Moscow at the bilateral talks, we pointed out how incorrect it was for the leadership of the C.P.S.U. to act in this arbitrary manner and proceed unilaterally to try to get their opinions endorsed without proper collective consideration. M. A. Suslov, a Secretary of the C.C., C.P.S.U., said:

To begin with, let us take the question you raised about the Bucharest Conference. Don’t you know, Comrade Wilcox, that it was an outright crusade launched by the Communist Party of China leadership against the world Communist movement that was the reason for holding it? Don’t you know that an anti-Marxist booklet, ostentatiously entitled ’Long Live Leninism!’, had been published in Peking as far back as April 1960 and that it was widely circulated throughout the world not only by the Chinese leadership, but also by renegades of all shades and colours?

This was given as the reason for acting in a bureaucratic manner. Yet the booklet Long Live Leninism! was being used as Party study in many Parties at that time. As for knowing that a world meeting would follow the Rumanian Congress, we would point out to M. A. Suslov that many Parties were not at Bucharest – they did not know – and many others did not have their central core of leadership present, essential if what came up was intended to be a properly representative world meeting. Our brother Party across the Tasman, the Communist Party of Australia, was not represented at all. In fact it very gratefully received a report from our delegate, J. Manson.

So it seems a lot of people did not know a world meeting of Party representatives was on the agenda.

It was things like this that started the leadership of the Communist Party of New Zealand questioning critically many of the methods of work of the leadership of the C.P.S.U. and finally equally critically examining many of their “new” theories and practices.

Naturally the issue was not settled at Bucharest. Such a hastily called meeting could not do so. Consequently a correctly organised meeting of world Parties was held in Moscow in November, 1960, at which the New Zealand Party was officially represented.

But here again we were not happy with the procedure adopted by the C.P.S.U. which had been made responsible for the organisation of the meeting. A draft of a document was correctly presented to all delegates and this, with amendments, later became the 81 Parties’ Statement signed by all the 81 Communist and Workers’ Parties present. But also provided was the statement of the Soviet leadership at Bucharest. This was among the official documents of the Conference. But the reply of the Chinese Party was not provided and had to be obtained from the Chinese delegates. Many Party leaders present did not even see it, much less study it, as a result of this method. A further C.P.S.U. statement in reply to the Chinese was circulated to all. But again the Chinese reply was not.

The Marxist method is objectively to study all available facts and opinions. This was not done.

Worse still is the fact that the reasons given in the C.P.S.U. material supplied then (in 1960 in Moscow) for the withdrawal of technicians and even of industrial enterprises from China, together with the cutting down of “aid” (note: all material “aid” has to be paid for later), were totally different from the explanation given in the latest Soviet material – and from that given to our delegation by M. A. Suslov on behalf of the C.C., C.P.S.U.! Suslov told our delegation that the Chinese leadership had turned down technical assistance and other aid. But he was referring to what was done in 1961 – AFTER the Chinese had had this former experience.

We could not help being perturbed at such methods.

Then came the 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U. and the programme of “twenty years to Communism” starting with such small but vital measures as free bread (in 1964) and the abolition of income tax. We expected the programme to be a great factor in helping our struggle for Socialism in New Zealand. To date it has not proved so because attention has been concentrated on other aspects that were made predominant at the Congress. The capitalist daily press lapped this up and proceeded to bury the programme to Communism.

For at this Congress, without even an Albanian comrade present to speak for the position of his Party, all delegates were expected to condemn the leadership of the Albanian Party of Labour as un-Marxian and imperialist stooges. When our delegate reported back, we refused to do this and we asked for a further meeting of the representatives of the world Communist Parties to be called.

As we saw it, the holding of an open session of the 22nd Congress at which a violent attack was launched publicly on the leadership of another fraternal Party, the Albanian Party of Labour, would have grave consequences. This not only gave joy to the enemy in the capitalist world and spread confusion in our own ranks but, in our opinion, was in direct opposition to the decision of our world Parties as to how differences in our movement should be handled.

We say this irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the position of the Albanian Party. They can speak for themselves inside our world movement at the right time and place. They have that right as a Marxist-Leninist Party.

It is no answer to say that the Albanian leaders had already publicly attacked the leadership of the C.P.S.U. and then to go on to quote speculative articles in capitalist papers, such as the Scotsman and others. There is a world of difference between such publicity and the propaganda blast that Capitalism was able to develop from public denunciation of another Party at a Congress such as the 22nd C.P.S.U. In countries like New Zealand, this became, in the minds of all outside our ranks and in the minds of many inside, the only issue. The importance of the Programme of the C.P.S.U. for going forward to Communism has been lost.

(Indeed, problems now becoming public in connection with Soviet agriculture and industry may raise the question as to whether the whole concept was not premature. But that aspect is outside the scope of this pamphlet.)

That fraternal delegates from other Parties to the 22nd C.P.S.U. Congress were asked to condemn the Albanian Party leadership was wrong. They had at that time no authority to do so. Such a thing on a world scale could only be done by a world meeting. This we consider very incorrect and contravening our world decisions of 1957 and 1960. What do the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Moscow Statement say?

•The 1957 Moscow Declaration says: “After exchanging views, the participants in the meeting arrived at the conclusion that in the present conditions it is expedient, besides bilateral meetings of leading workers and exchange of information, to hold, as the need arises, more representative conferences of Communist and Workers’ Parties to discuss current problems, share experiences, study each other’s views and attitudes and concert action in the joint struggle for the common goals – peace, democracy and Socialism.”

•The 1960 Moscow Statement says:

All the Marxist-Leninist Parties are independent and have equal rights, they shape their policies according to the specific conditions in their respective countries and in keeping with Marxist-Leninist principles, and support each other. The success of the working-class cause in any country is unthinkable without the internationalist solidarity of all Marxist-Leninist Parties. Every Party is responsible to the working class, to the working people of its country, to the international working-class and Communist movement as a whole.

The Communist and Workers’ Parties hold meetings whenever necessary to discuss urgent problems, to exchange experience, acquaint themselves with each other’s views and positions, work out common views through consultations and co-ordinate joint action in the struggle for common goals.

Whenever a Party wants to clear up questions relating to the activities of another fraternal Party, its leadership approaches the leadership of the Party concerned. If necessary, they hold meetings and consultations.

Was that done? We say no. There were no doubt some attempts to hold a discussion with the Albanian leaders. But were they in the spirit of the concept that all Marxist-Leninist Parties are independent and have equal rights?

Now, in reality what emerges from this? N. S. Khrushchov on behalf of the collective leadership of the C.P.S.U. said at the 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U. and has repeated since, the following: –

If the Albanian leaders hold dear the interests of their own people and of the socialist construction in Albania, and if they really want friendship with the C.P.S.U. and other fraternal Parties, they must renounce their erroneous views and revert to the path of unity and close co-operation with the fraternal family which is the socialist community, to the path of unity with the world Communist movement.

What does this mean? Surely that, before discussions of a bilateral nature, they must say they are wrong on all things at issue. Here the C.P.S.U. approach departs from the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement. Out the door goes any concept of “All Marxist-Leninist Parties are independent and have equal rights.” When all is said and done, on their own words whether right or wrong, the Soviet leaders’ opinion of the position in theory and practice of the Albanian Party of Labour is that it is the same as that of the Soviet Union 10 or 15 years ago.

Would they say that during the Stalin period, from the 1930’s on, the Bolshevik Party had ceased to be a Marxist-Leninist Party?

Returning to the 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U. Arising from it, in letters to our Party and on many other occasions, the C.C., C.P.S.U. stated that the Parties of the world have condemned the Albanian leadership as non-Marxist, disruptive, etc. This is just not so. All Parties have not done so.

We don’t want to weary you on these points but we consider them important. The fact is that all experience shows that wrong practices grow from, and are in fact based on, incorrect theory.

We are seriously worried at the number’ of assertions, made by leaders of the C.P.S.U. and by some other leaders of other Parties, that are not, as we see it, based on facts. Marxists must always base themselves on facts, on a situation as it is known, not on what someone may have wanted it to be. Social Democrats do the latter to suit their ends, but we are Marxist-Leninists. We will give one example of what we consider this incorrect approach. We quote:–

Since the leaders of the Communist Party of China had exacerbated in the extreme their differences with the C.P.S.U. and the entire Communist movement – (Khrushchov’s speech at the meeting of the C.C., C.P.S.U., June 29, 1963.)

Well, they are entitled to their opinion of the Chinese leaders and what they have done. But it is just not correct for them to say “and the entire Communist movement”. It is not true. People start to tread a dangerous road when they depart in their statements from known facts, no matter how much they may dislike them.

We, as a Party, base ourselves on the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement. To us it remains valid and no one Party has any right to change its direction or emphasis. That could only be done by the collective decisions of our world movement. Many Parties seem to be individually changing those documents, distorting them as a result of selecting out-of-context passages to suit their own ideas.

This, in our opinion, includes the C.P.S.U.

In view of this the Political Committee of our Party decided that it could not condemn the leadership of the Albanian Party of Labour in the manner that a number of other Parties had done at the call of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. Instead, we called for preparation of a new world meeting of Parties to consider all the issues in dispute in line with the decisions of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement, the appropriate parts of which we have already quoted. We suggested that bilateral talks between those most directly concerned should take place in order to create the right atmosphere for a world meeting, an atmosphere that would lead not to subjective attacks but to objective critical and self-critical appraisal of all problems.

We therefore wrote to the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U., the Central Committee of the Albanian Party of Labour and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China along those lines.

A series of letters followed. The Chinese Party agreed with our view and themselves made somewhat similar proposals. Later the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. suggested the need for a world meeting, but from the starting point that their ideology was unchallenged, the purpose of a meeting being to put it more effectively into practice on a world scale. The Central Committee of the Albanian Party of Labour still doubted whether anything of value would be gained in a meeting with the leadership of the C.P.S.U.

This was the situation when finally the C.C., C.P.S.U. issued an invitation to the Communist Party of New Zealand to send a delegation to Moscow to discuss differences. This proposal arrived just prior to the 1963 Conference of the Communist Party of New Zealand, held at Easter.

In the meantime, the leadership of the CP. of New Zealand had given much thought to the situation in our world movement and to the gravity of the ideological differences which were daily becoming more apparent on all fronts of activity as well as in theoretical journals and publications.

We reached our conclusions not through what others told us to think but through our own experiences in struggle in the capitalist world, our own understanding of Marxism-Leninism.

We judged (and this was endorsed by our last Party Conference) that the leadership of the C.P.S.U. had shown, in both theory and practice, that they are basically in a revisionist position from a Marxist approach; and that, if this is not corrected, it could lead to their complete abandonment of Marxism-Leninism while they were still using, as did the earlier revisionists, the language of Marxism.

This opinion was not reached easily or with joy. It was reached after deep thought and some heartrending moments because of old-established loyalties to the leadership of the C.P.S.U., going back in many cases almost to childhood. This is not an anti-Soviet position. The Soviet people and their Communist Party will march forward to Communism, but the growth of revisionism under the leadership of N. S. Khrushchov could have a very retarding effect unless corrected. Certainly on a world scale its effect is already serious and retarding because of the special influence of the C.P.S.U. on all Parties, an influence dating back to Lenin and the great October Revolution of 1917.

But the Secret Report on Stalin given by N. S. Khrushchov to the 20th Congress (still unpublished in the Soviet Union, we understand, but so rapidly published in a special supplement of the New York Times in 1956), while unbalanced, should have removed for all times ideas of the infallibility of the leadership of the C.P.S.U. In view of the attitude and statements of some today one may well ask “has it?” Certainly any idea of the infallibility of any Party or any leader is a totally un-Marxian one – just sheer idealism – but it persists.

We repeat: To disagree ideologically, as we do at present with the leadership of the C.P.S.U., does not remove our respect and love for the great Soviet people and for the glorious history and achievements of the world’s first Communist Party.