Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

V. G. Wilxcox

New Zealand Party’s Firm Stand


On what issues do we disagree, apart from the question of the methods of work and organisation adopted in relations with fraternal Parties? The issues on which we disagree are fundamental and daily affect every one of us.

In the world Communist movement today, the words “dogmatism” and “revisionism” are constantly recurring. Some Parties are formulating their policies on the premise that we are in a new era arising from socialist victories and imperialist decline – an era that, in fact, makes obsolete or no longer the decisive factor certain basic principles of Marxism-Leninism, as they have always been understood in the past.

This applies, in particular, to the approach in both principle and tactics to such vital questions as: –

•Transition methods from Capitalism to Socialism.
•The nature of the state.
•The struggle for world peace.
•The national liberation movement and its role in the struggle for peace and for Socialism.
•The ideological position of the Yugoslav League of Communists (formerly regarded by all as an example of a dangerous revisionist trend to be fought to the bitter end); and
•Social democracy.

The differences will affect everybody in every country in some way or another. Hence the importance of an objective consideration of them, with a view to clarity and the achieving of unity on the principled basis of ideological agreement arrived at by a correct dialectical consideration of all known factors involved. It does not help if those who uphold the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism are simply labelled “dogmatists” in a way that suggests that this settles all argument. The basic essential starting point is for all to realise that no leader and no Party can say that in all things in all ways they are right all the time. Yet our delegation considered that this concept was inherent in the approach of the Soviet comrades when we talked with them in Moscow.

Naturally, on these deep theoretical questions, our Party does not say we are right in all things. But our delegation to the Moscow bilateral talks, our Political Committee and our National Committee, in reconsidering the whole question, are more than ever convinced that on the vital issues our approach is a correct one. Otherwise, this pamphlet would not be issued.

Our Party fully endorsed, and still endorses, the 1957 Declaration of the then 12 Parties of the socialist countries. Our Party fully endorsed, and still endorses, the same decision again reached by the 81 Communist and Workers’ Parties in Moscow in 1960 in the Statement issued at its close and signed by all. That central ideological decision was that revisionism is the main danger in the world Communist movement. Further we say without hesitation that events prove that that point of view was not only correct but that the danger has increased greatly since 1960.

How did Lenin speak of revisionism in his day? (Let us remember that Lenin spent most of his life fighting the growth of revisionism in Marxist circles in Russia and in the Social Democratic parties of the then well organised 2nd International). Of revisionism, the great Lenin said:

To determine its conduct from case to case, to adapt itself to the events of the day and to chops and changes of petty politics, to forget the basic interests of the proletariat, the main features of the capitalist system as a whole and of capitalist evolution as a whole; to sacrifice these basic interests for the real or assumed advantages of the moment – such is the policy of revisionism.

It is our opinion that, for the time being, the leadership of the C.P.S.U., headed by N. S. Khrushchov, has got into that position. That such a situation should profoundly influence many other Parties and lead them towards a revisionist outlook is not unexpected. We repeat, in view of the overall influence of the “Party of Lenin” since the days of the formation of the 3rd International, the Soviet Party still has overwhelming prestige.

We find today that certain essential basic truths of Marxism-Leninism are being altered or are regarded as outdated, a process in our world Communist movement which gives added unnecessary strength to the class enemy. If allowed to continue, it will lead to open betrayal just as surely as the revisionism of Kautsky[1] did in the days of Lenin. Hence the principled stand of the Communist Party of New Zealand on the issue.

We also recognise the dangers of dogmatism, as did the 81 Parties’ Statement. But perhaps the best exemplars of dogmatism today are those in some Party leaderships who accept uncritically all that N. S. Khrushchov and others say, and who keep from their Party members the knowledge or the opportunity to read and study all the varying opinions. Unfortunately, this is happening in a number of Parties, but our Party’s leadership has endeavoured, within the limits of our organisational strength, to supply the membership of the Party with all views. For example, every member of our Party has been given a copy of the delegation’s statement at the bilateral talks in Moscow, a copy of M. A. Suslov’s statement in full on behalf of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. and the report of V. G. Wilcox, our General Secretary, to a National Committee meeting after the delegation’s return from Moscow.

While recognising the dangers of dogmatism, we are perturbed to find that the leadership of the C.P.S.U. no longer considers revisionism the main danger. M. A. Suslov said “many things have changed since 1960”. Apparently they no longer consider the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement correct on the questions of revisionism and dogmatism. The following quotations will indicate what we mean:

The C.P.S.U. fought, as it does now, both against revisionism and against dogmatism and sectarianism. But some people lay one-sided stress on the struggle against revisionism only, and, moreover, decry creative Marxism-Leninism as ’revisionism’, introducing obvious confusion into the communist movement . . . (the) dogmatic approach to the solution of the key problems of the communist movement is a source of the gravest mistakes. – Pravda editorial, January 7, 1963.

Under present day conditions, ’left’ opportunism is no less dangerous than revisionism. – B. N. Ponomaryov, speech at anniversary meeting for Lenin’s 93rd birthday, April 22, 1963.

The 1960 Conference of the fraternal parties warned that sectarianism and dogmatism would, if consistent struggle was not waged against them, become the main danger at one or another stage in the development in individual parties. The latest developments have shown the far-sightedness of these conclusions . . . leftist opportunism ... is no less dangerous than revisionism at present. – Pravda editorial, December 15, 1962.

The strength of the world communist movement lies in its faithfulness to Marxism-Leninism and to proletarian internationalism. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union has fought and will continue to fight any departure from Marxism-Leninism and any opportunism. We firmly adhere to the principles of the Statement of 1960 indicating the necessity for a struggle on two fronts – against right and ’left’ opportunism. The Statement rightly says that the main danger in the world communist movement is revisionism, and at the same time points out the necessity for a resolute struggle against sectarianism and dogmatism, which can become the main danger at any stage in the development of separate Parties if not consistently combated.

Motivated by the desire to consolidate the unity of the world communist movement on the basis of the principles of Marxism-Leninism, our Party will continue to fight resolutely against both right-wing and left-wing opportunism, which is today every bit as dangerous as revisionism. – Quoted from letter of March 30, 1963, from the C.C., C.P.S.U. to CP. of China

If their attitude emerges from these quotes as a little ambiguous, we can only recall to your mind what Lenin said about revisionists. (See p. 17).

At any rate, the 1960 Moscow 81 Parties’ Statement says:–

The further development of the Communist and working-class movement calls for continuing a determined struggle on two fronts – against revisionism, which remains the main danger, and against dogmatism and sectarianism.

Please objectively compare that with the quote from the Pravda editorial or the other quotes.

This we consider a dangerous change in emphasis. It has encouraged revisionists everywhere, given heart to those betrayers of Marxism-Leninism, the leaders of the League of Yugoslav Communists and, in general, has created some confusion and division in our own ranks. It has led to a situation where to point out revisionist trends or actual theories lays one immediately open to the attack of “dogmatism”. The plain fact is that many Party leaders around the world are acting on the assumption that “dogmatism”, “left-opportunism”, is today the main danger.

We do not agree that this is so. We are of the opposite opinion, as already stated. But, in any case, this assumption or approach is contrary in word and in policy to the formulations of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement which expressly say where the main danger lies. To try to justify such a change of direction, as some do by claiming that new factors, arising from the new era in which we live, have altered the situation, is not justified.

There are no new, major factors since 1960, when our decisions, after long, collective discussion, were made. The 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement made clear the nature of the era in which we live and outlined the general way forward for our movement. The Communist Party of New Zealand stands by that in word and deed and expects other Marxist-Leninist Parties to do the same.

What does this change mean? What will a gradual softening of the blows against revisionism, right opportunism, lead to eventually? In our opinion it has been going on for years in the leadership of the C.P.S.U., ever since the 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U. This trend not only leads to an incorrect over-emphasis of the danger in our world movement of dogmatism, to the exaggerating of every criticism as a dogmatist trend, it is worse than that. It leads inevitably to the growth and acceptance of revisionist ideas. It goes relatively quickly from an unbalanced criticism of Stalin in 1956 to the reducing of Stalin to “nothing”, to an ignoring of his positive achievements, to the assertion that, while building Socialism, the Soviet Union under Stalin had “the most ruthless and bloody of dictatorships the world has ever known.”

Was it not just this blast at the 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U., which we have already referred to as unbalanced, that was of tremendous assistance to the revisionist Scott faction which existed within the Communist Party of New Zealand already at that time? Did not the secret report, printed by the New York Times, become their “bible” in their attacks not only on the policies and leadership of the Party, but even on the basic accepted principles of the form of a Marxist-Leninist Party, its constitution and rules?

Whatever faults Stalin had he was not a revisionist. Therefore the modern revisionists come into dire conflict with him after his death. The “cult of the individual” becomes the cause of all trouble, all failures – not just of agriculture or other things in the Soviet Union, but for all mistakes, all difficulties everywhere. That has been the approach around the alleged “individuality cult” in recent years despite the fact that it is getting longer and longer ago that Stalin died! It solves nothing, but, because it starts from a false premise, it leads to further failures and to defeat. Hysteria, not a dialectical, objective Marxist approach, becomes dominant. The door is open for the triumph of revisionism.

If differences on certain aspects of theory arise between Communist Parties (and of course from time to time they will), then apparently the Chinese are to blame because they pursue the “cult of Mao”. A similar charge has been made about the Korean Party and their leader, while others are hinted at. There is no real consideration of the issues in dispute. The subjective and not the objective is supreme.


[1] A leading German Marxist at the turn of this century, who turned his back on the German workers, supported the Kaiser’s war effort, damned the Russian Revolution and generally sank to a position of support of Capitalism while still claiming his new theories were Marxism and that Marx’s own earlier propositions were out of date.