First Published in English: Class Struggle,, International Bulletin of the Workers’ Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) of Norway, No. 12, October 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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Publisher’s Note: On July 19, Klassekampen published the complete text of the ’Zeri I Popullit’ editorial of June 24: “Imperialists, Hands Off Vietnam”. Klassekampen then published a series of five articles commenting on the social-imperialist offensive against Vietnam and Albania, from July 20 to 25. Below is a complete English translation of these five articles.
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We are going to comment on an editorial from “Zeri i Popullit”, the organ of the Party of Labor of Albania, dated June 24, 1978: “Imperialists, Hands Off Vietnam ”. This article was published in a special international situation. In recent years the Soviet superpower has intensified its offensive throughout the world. There are but short intervals between each time we hear about new wars, new coups and new intrigues initiated by the Kremlin with the aim of conquering new territories for Brezhnev’s neo-colonial system.
Every success of any of these attempts is another step towards the world war which the Kremlin is planning to launch. Just like Hitler, Brezhnev is dreaming of becoming the master of the entire world, of creating a “thousand-year Reich”. The working class and the peoples of the world must take these plans seriously and develop struggle against them.
And opposition is really growing. A constantly increasing number of forces are won for the front against social-imperialism. The situation on the Horn of Africa is typical for what is happening. After the social-imperialist intervention there, an increasing number of workers and peasants have risen in struggle against it. Liberation movements, politicians, and states have changed their opinion on the Soviet Union and have started to fight against social-imperialism in various ways. The same thing is happening elsewhere in the world. Socialimperialism is suffering some important defeats. This is the positive side of the situation.
But there are problems, too. One obstacle for the opposition is the fact that many people are deluded to believe that the USSR is a socialist state The October revolution has great prestige. Many people have not understood that it has been defeated. They do not understand that in the USSR, socialism has been buried and replaced by capitalism, imperialism and fascism like in Hitler’s Germany. They find it difficult to unite in struggle against an imperialist power which misuses Lenin’s banner.
As the Soviet leaders have been increasingly unmasked, they have also been using others as pawns. They have infiltrated and taken over some liberation movements that had good reputations because they previously made some positive contributions. They have been using Cuba, which has many friends on account of the glorious Cuban revolution of 1956. Today Cuba is a Soviet neo-colony. The peoples’ friendly feelings for Cuba have been abused to defend the bloody Soviet-Cuban colonial war in Angola.
As the social-imperialist offensive grows wilder and wilder, it becomes always more important for real communists and anti-imperialists to uncover the various masks it is hiding behind.
In 1978 the government of Kampuchea announced that Vietnam, for several years had been attacking Kampuchea, in an attempt to conquer the country. The Soviet Union instigated this war and is doing its utmost to kindle the conflict. The USSR wants to overthrow the revolutionary Kampuchean government, as it fights against all who favor real independence and real socialism. At the same time the Soviet Union takes advantage of the war to strengthen its position in Vietnam. The USSR wants to turn Vietnam against China to recruit Vietnam as an ally in its strategy of encirclement and war against China. The persecution of Chinese nationals in Vietnam shows us that the USSR is making progress in this respect. This is a tragedy for the people of Vietnam. It grieves every friend of Vietnam in every corner of the world, who sees that this country, a brave fighter against one superpower, is now in the hands of the other. At the same time we know that social imperialism will try to take advantage of the great sympathy for Vietnam which developed during the heroic war of resistance to make people accept the war against Kampuchea and the persecution of the Chinese.
Therefore real anti-imperialists and friends of Vietnam must now clarify what is happening, to repel this propaganda crusade from the social-imperialists.
In precisely this situation the PLA leaders have their party paper print an article which supports Vietnam’s war against Kampuchea and the persecution of the Chinese. This act backs up the Soviet policy of taking over Vietnam and using the Vietnam against neighbouring countries.
Social-imperialism has learned to appreciate support of this type. That is why its mouthpiece in Norway, the organ of the black reactionary “NKP” party (Norway’s “Communist” Party), has gleefully quoted from the “Zeri i Popullit” article.
The Party of Labor of Albania has gained many friends all over the world because Albania fought against social-imperialism. Together with China, Albania was for a long time the only socialist country which openly criticized modern revisionism.
The communists and the people showed great courage when they defended socialism and the independence of Albania against Soviet pressure.
The PLA has been respected for this.
Consequently, Marxist-Leninists all over the world have listened attentively to the PLA.
This respect is now being abused to spread Statements endorsing the advance of social-imperialism. This is a serious matter, and we cannot neglect to comment on it.
Some newspapermen in Norway have tried to make something out of the fact that the AKP (m-l) long remained silent about the contradictions between China and Albania. According to them the AKP (m-1) “discovered these contradictions later than anybody else”, “the AKP (m-l) is always the last to take sides ” etc.
The members of the AKP (m-1) know that this is not true.
The line our party follows is to independently evaluate the policy of truly socialist countries and truly Marxist-Leninist parties. We develop our own policy for Norway, and at the same time we support socialist countries and Marxist-Leninist parties all over the world. When disagreements arise we do not publish them as long as we are not forced to do so for reasons of principle. We do not disclose contradictions between comrades to the enemy. Nor do we let ourselves be provoked by newspaper articles to display these contradictions, fearful that some reporters could try to be sarcastic.
This was why Marxist-Leninists in Norway did not comment on the fact that the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam supported the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. We were well aware of this, but we did not let ourselves be provoked to comment on it. The reason was that we considered Vietnam a socialist country, and we did not want to criticize a socialist country in public.
The AKP (m-l) was the first in Norway to know about the contradictions between China and Albania. It was clear to us that the PLA leaders had started public polemics at the 7th Congress of the PLA in the autumn of 1976. (At the same time an alleged expert on eastern Europe in Norway’s largest daily claimed that Albania was closer to China than ever). The main points of the PLA’s attack on the CPC were rapidly made known to all members of the AKP(m-l). The AKP(m-l) contacted the PLA to get the best possible information on their position.
On this basis the AKP (m-l) made an assessment of the polemics of the PLA. All this happened inside the party. Publicly, the AKP (m-l) said nothing, for reasons explained above. At the same time we hoped that the contradictions could be solved through comradely discussions.
On the other hand the AKP (m-l) took measures to make the positions of the PLA and the CPC accessible to whoever was interested in studying them. The report from the 7th Congress of the PLA, which attacked viewpoints shared by the AKP (m-l), was translated into Norwegian and published. When the PLA leaders launched another very sharp attack in “Zeri i Popullit” July 7, 1977, the AKP (m-l) again had this attack translated and published without any comments. We did this in spite of the fact that the article branded supporters of Mao’s theory of the three worlds (thereby including our party) as “counter revolutionaries”. The AKP (m-l) replied directly to the PLA by letter last autumn. This letter was kept within the party until July 17 this summer when it was published in KlasseKampen (it is this letter that forms the other main article of this issue of Class Struggle).
The AKP (m-l) sided against the views of the PLA leaders and their way of conducting polemics. This was done almost two years ago. It was done through a debate where we gathered material from both sides and advised everybody to study it. This contrasts with what happened in Albania, where Chinese publications are no longer distributed and where many people have been kept ignorant about the development of the contradictions.
The AKP (m-l) chose to refrain from all public comment as long as possible. It is no longer possible to maintain this attitude. The PLA leaders have developed their polemics from an attack on the CPC and other Marxist-Leninist parties to an endorsement of social-imperialist aggression against socialist countries. They have sharpened the contradictions with China until an open breach could no longer be avoided. Still sharper attacks are certain to follow. It is now evident that the leaders of the PLA are completely unwilling to solve the problems through a comradely debate within the communist movement. Therefore we too must now make our position known.
We greatly respect the Albanian people and the Albanian communists, and we still hope that future events will take another direction. But we cannot contribute positively to that by remaining silent about what happens in the present.
The main enemies of the peoples or the world are the two superpowers, the US and the USSR. The strongest, most aggressive and most dangerous of them is now social-imperialism. Albania and Vietnam are two poor countries in the third world. They are subject to infiltration from social-imperialism.
Social-imperialism has a good grip on Vietnam. Social-imperialism is trying to strengthen its position and is using Vietnam to further its interests.
In Albania the leaders of the PLA have changed their policy. From standing together with socialist China against social-imperialism they have started attacking socialist China, and in some cases they now support social-imperialist operations. This means that social-imperialism gets better opportunities to advance upon Albania.
We shall confine our comments to these questions.
We will not proceed to general speculations on internal conditions in either country. (July 20)
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The “Zeri i Popullit” editorial of June 24 bears the title: “Imperialists: Hands Off Vietnam!” Who are the “imperialists” the editorial wants to evict?
Are they the Soviet social-imperialists? No: they are not even mentioned.
US imperialism, however, is often mentioned, has it started a new attack on Vietnam? It was thrown out in 1975, and at present it is conducting negotiations with the Vietnamese government.
When the editorial appeared, international commentary focused on events such as the persecution of Chinese nationals in Vietnam, and the consequently deteriorating relations between China and Vietnam, China has suspended her economic aid to Vietnam, just as she shortly afterwards suspended her aid to Albania, The editorial mentions somebody who “meddles”, exerts “economic pressure” etc.
This statement refers to China, and it amounts to calling China “imperialist”.
The editorial mentions the “armed clashes on (the Vietnam-Kampuchea border, instigated by foreigners” and deplores them, It adds: “Those who ... refuse to sit down at the negotiation table to solve disagreements which can arise between neighbouring countries ... they are the culprits.” It is well known that Kampuchea refuses to negotiate with Vietnam as long as Vietnamese attacks continue. The editorial blames Kampuchea for the border war. It insinuates that China is backing Kampuchea, making Kampuchea attack Vietnam.
Soviet propaganda says the same things.
Is Vietnam’s problem really pressure from an imperialist China? Is Vietnam actually subject to China backed aggression from Kampuchea? Is it really true that social-imperialism plays not role at all, so that it is not even necessary to mention it when commenting on Vietnam?
Is this a true picture?
No, this picture is completely false. Therefore it is necessary to say a few things about what has happened and what is happening in Vietnam.
The development of Vietnam’s war of liberation against US imperialism was of great importance to the struggle between Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought on one hand, and revisionism on the other, the liberation war in South Vietnam started in earnest in 1959-61. It coincided with the momentous debate between the communists headed by Mao and the revisionists headed by Krushchev. Mao said that only revolution could lead to socialism. He said that only national liberation wars could liberate the oppressed peoples from imperialism. Khrushehev advocated the “peaceful and parliamentarian road to socialism”. He advised the communists to make peace with imperialism and said that the liberation movement ought to cease armed struggle.
The Vietnamese revolutionaries had made progress in their struggle against Japan and France because they had studied and adapted the Marxist-Leninist classics to their own conditions. Among the classics they studied was Mao. Ho Chi Minh was for a time member of the CPC and of the People’s Liberation Army, during the struggles that led to the great victory at Dien Bien Phu the Vietnamese studied books like “On Protracted War” and Vietnamese books based on studies of Mao.
During the years 1959 to 1961 the Vietnamese resisted pressure from Khrushchev who wanted them to discontinue the struggle. He said that the Vietnam War might become the spark liable to start a nuclear war which would destroy everything. He also put pressure on the revolutionaries in Laos. The Laotian leader prince Souphanovonng rejected Khrushchev’s advice to surrender. The Vietnamese and the Laotians received consistent support from Mao and the CPC. They broke through the barriers set up by the Soviet revisionists, and thereby laid the foundations of the subsequent victory over US imperialism.
The war of liberation in Vietnam was thus also a living criticism of Khrushchev’s line of giving up struggle against imperialism. The war was significant for the Marxist-Leninists’ struggle against revisionists everywhere and for the development of national revolutionary liberation movements opposed to revisionism many places in the third world.
Today the government of reunified Vietnam stands together with the USSR against Marxist-Leninism in China and Kampuchea. But Vietnams would never have been reunified if the Vietnamese communists had not resisted the USSR and developed a war of Liberation. against the will of the Soviets and with the support of China.
Before 1964 the Soviet Union refused to help the Vietnamese with as much as a kopek.
After Khrushchev’s fall, this policy was changed. The liberation struggle in Vietnam was advancing so well that it was possible to predict the defeat of the US. Relations between Vietnam and China were very close and very good. Brezhnev saw his imperialist interests best served by giving a certain amount of aid, and thereby trying to get some influence over Vietnam.
The support was accompanied by hard diplomatic pressure against Vietnam, those of us who did solidarity work for Vietnam at that time were discretely informed that the Soviet Union was trying to press the government of Vietnam to negotiate with the US, which would have implied giving up the war of liberation. Vietnamese representatives who were working in east European capitals were harassed.
As the war continued for a long time and destruction in Vietnam extended, Soviet “aid” increased. The “aid” was always accompanied by pressure and demands for compensation. Some of the “aid” was clearly paid in foreign exchange. With the aim of forcing the Vietnamese to change their policy, the Kremlin refused to provide some of the most modern Soviet weapons.
All this shows that this “aid” really was an instrument of a thoroughly imperialist policy, and not the outcome of a desire to support the Vietnamese people.
The case of Kampuchea reveals that the Soviet aid was only given to gain influence and only against adequate compensation.
After the coup of the quisling Lon Nol and the American invasion in 1970, the liberation war in Kampuchea made fast progress. The USSR refused to support the war by any means.
The Soviet Union recognized Lon Nol. The Soviet Union gave Lon Nol economic aid, insured military transport from Vietnam up the Mekong to Phnom Penh and kept diplomats with Lon Nol till the last moment. Czechoslovakia, a Soviet colony, ran an arms factory for Lon Nol in Phnom Penh, until the liberation army burned it down. Soviet diplomats tried to recruit students in Phnom Penh to a legal, pro-Soviet “communist” party which was to support the quisling government!
Why “aid” to Vietnam, but no support to the liberation Struggle in Kampuchea? Because the liberation front there, led by the Communist Party of Kampuchea, was not willing to let social-imperialism get any influence. As long as the Soviet Union had no influence, the liberation forces got no support.
When Phnom Penh was liberated in 1975 the Soviet diplomats locked themselves inside their embassy behind heavy steel door hoping in this way to be allowed to remain in the city and to get in touch with the revolutionary government. The liberation soldiers shot through the steel doors with rockets and sent the diplomats out of the country together with other foreigners who had supported Lon Nol.
China’s internationalist aid contrasts sharply with this.
During the critical period before 1964, all military aid to the Vietnamese people came from China.
China continued to provide aid every year until the war was won. China gave weapons to the FNL and to the defense of North Vietnam. China had factories producing consumer goods for the population of North Vietnam. China, herself a poor country, has until recently under taken large projects to develop the Vietnamese economy.
China has never demanded high rates or interest or political compensation for this aid. Nor has she used aid to infiltrate the party or the state of Vietnam with agents.
Norwegian Marxist-Leninists who carried out solidarity work have known all the time what social-imperialism intended to do in Vietnam. We have to admit now that its plans were successful.
We have to mention the fact that Vietnam has openly and to an increasing degree supported social-imperialist foreign policy, to wit:
– the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968,
– the fascist regime of Mujibur Rahman in Bangladesh,
– Indira Gandhi’s emergency laws,
– the bloody Soviet-Cuban colonial war in Angola.
Today the Vietnamese leaders support the Mengistu regime in Ethiopia, including its repression of Ethiopian revolutionaries and the Eritrean liberation movements.
To complete this picture, Vietnam recently changed its status in the Soviet economic bloc, the Comecon, from associate to full member. (July 21)
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We regret that we have to conclude that the economic situation in Vietnam since liberation in 1975 is poor.
We have drawn this conclusion on the basis of reports from Norwegian and foreign revolutionaries and anti-imperialists. Our conclusion is in accordance with what upright western reporters have written.
The economy has deteriorated despite the fact that a socialist State was established in the northern part of the country in 1954, that socialism has been built there for 24 years, despite the fact that reunified Vietnam captured great quantities of military equipment and other supplies from the US in 1975, and despite extensive economic aid from China, the Soviet Union, and some western countries.
After three years of peace, Vietnam is still not self-sufficient in rice, but must import great quantities to avoid famine, yet is unable to guarantee for the payment. In spite of rice imports, there is an evident scarcity of food, at any rate in some districts in the south.
In comparison, during the same three years, Kampuchea has become self-sufficient in rice, and has even been able to donate rice to Laos, which also has a food supply problem. Compared with Vietnam, Kampuchea has a smaller population, is less mechanized, has received no aid, and was at-least as heavily damaged by the war. Kampuchea seems to have solved its food problem, whereas in Vietnam, insufficient food production will apparently remain a problem several years ahead.
Vietnamese industry is developing poorly. Plans are not fulfilled. Donated material and machinery remain unused for a long time. Some of it has been ruined.
In Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), hundreds of thousands of people still do no productive work. Western anti-imperialists who have visited the city report having been accosted in the streets and offered prostitutes, drugs and black market goods. Europeans are often mistaken for Russians who evidently constitute a market for such services and goods, like they do in other countries as well.
Privately the city authorities admit that the problems are enormous. They point out that it has not been possible for them to establish enterprises capable of providing jobs for large sectors of the population that were previously sustained by the US occupant. In other words this means that hundreds of thousands have no choice other than trying to survive on a day to day basis, and often have to resort to prostitution and crime.
Kampuchea also had an unproductive refugee population of perhaps more than one million in a few large cities. This problem was solved by evacuating these people to the countryside and organizing them to produce food. The enemies of Kampuchea have called this “horrible”, and have stated that Vietnam is more “humane”. But Kampuchea is self-sufficient in food. On the other hand, in “humane” Vietnam, there is a shortage of food and hundreds of thousands of city dwellers are unemployed and live under deplorable conditions.
What is the cause of this pitiful situation in the Vietnamese economy? We think it is mistakes induced by the steadily increasing influence of social-imperialism in the party and the government.
The deteriorated domestic situation is the internal Vietnamese basis of the aggressive war against Kampuchea. The external basis is the intrigues of social-imperialism which aims at overthrowing the dictatorship of the proletariat in Kampuchea. The government in Vietnam maintains that the war was launched by Kampuchea, But everybody knows that Kampuchea has a small population of 8 million, and a relatively small army, whereas Vietnam has a population of more than 40 million and an army of several hundred thousand soldiers, equipped with great quantities of captured American material, as well as the most modern Soviet equipment. Vietnam has urged the Kampuchean people to overthrow its government. Various foreign sources have conjectured that Vietnam might want to conquer Phnom Penh and install a pro-Vietnamese government. But nobody has conjectured that Kampuchea could aim at conquering Vietnam.
Kampuchea has overcome great difficulties, but the situation is still critical. Kampuchea needs peace in order to consolidate the progress in production, develop the economy, and also on this basis increase necessary trade with foreign countries. Kampuchea’s interests are not served by a hopeless war against Vietnam.
The Vietnamese leaders, on the other hand, have great domestic problems to divert, and it is a well known method to divert internal problems by aggressive external wars and conquests. On the basis of pure military might they can hope to conquer important parts of Kampuchea (they are probably wrong, but that is a different matter). Furthermore, social-imperialism is interested in a war like this to deteriorate the relationship between Vietnam and China, and make Vietnam still more dependent on the USSR. The Soviet Union seems to have gained several military bases in Vietnam. Vietnam and the Soviet Union have now taken over the reactionary propaganda campaign against Kampuchea that US imperialism started in 1975. What is the intention behind all this other than to lay the basis of a Vietnamese invasion? Reactionary enemies of Kampuchea in the west are now saying that the only hope of a new government in Kampuchea lies in a Vietnamese victory over Kampuchea in the battlefield.
The Kampuchean government says that Vietnam intends to conquer Kampuchea in order to incorporate the country in a future “Indochinese federation” dominated by Vietnam. This would make Vietnam a major power in southeast Asia. The more immediate purposes are to exploit Kampuchea’s economy and food production in particular. Kampuchea has published a series of confession of Vietnamese prisoners of war. Among them are previous servants of Thieu’s army and pro-US Khmers from Vietnam who were promised various privileges if they would fight against Kampuchea.
What we know about the war against Kampuchea gives us reasons to worry about Laos; Laos is a small country with a population of four million. The number of Vietnamese soldiers’ currently stationed in-Laos is higher than the number of soldiers in the country’s own army. Our sources report that the Vietnamese government has used its powerful position to extort territorial and economic privileges. Given the present expansionist policy of the Vietnamese government, the future of the independent state of Laos appears rather insecure.
The persecution of the Chinese nationals is another expression of the internal difficulties and Soviet intrigues that shape the current Vietnamese policy.
Some revisionists and other bourgeois reporters in Norway repeat Vietnamese propaganda that the Chinese refugees are “capitalists” fleeing Vietnamese measures against “black markets” etc. This is absurd. There are more than a million Chinese in Vietnam. Are they all capitalists? According to official Vietnamese representatives the majority of them are workers and peasants.
In Ho Chi Minh City there is a large contingent of Chinese. A Vietnamese representative told a pro-Vietnamese Danish reporter that 30 percent of them had shown they wanted to leave. Are 30 percent of them capitalists?
Many of those crossing the border to China were party members; held positions in the Vietnamese government and army, or were decorated veterans from the war against the US Capitalists?
For no reason at all it is also maintained, that “Chinese agents” have spread, panic and urged the Chinese to flee. Another absurdity. China is not interested in sharpening the conflict with Vietnam, that would only strengthen the position of social-imperialism even more. What confidence could the Chinese in Ho Chi Minh City have in the Vietnamese authorities if “some ’Chinese agents” could make 30 percent of them want to leave the country?
The persecution of the Chinese is intended to divert attention from the difficult domestic conditions by generating chauvinism. In this respect we have a parallel to the persecution of Jews in Russia and Europe, where the Jews allegedly were “rich”, “capitalists” etc. This was true of some Jews, as it is for some overseas Chinese. But most Jews in Europe were workers, or petty bourgeois, and these people suffered the most from the persecutions. Likewise in Vietnam today: ordinary working people among the Chinese are most severely persecuted.
The social-imperialists welcome the difficulties in the relationship between Vietnam and China for several reasons. One is the increase of Vietnamese forces in the north on the Chinese border A consequence of this again is that China has to send forces to the south, to supplement the traditionally small forces there. Thus the Kremlin hopes that the defense of China’s eastern border will be weakened.
The persecution of the Chinese has caught the attention of the world because it has worsened the relationship between Vietnam and China. But the Chinese are not the only oppressed national minority in Vietnam.
Reports we have received indicate that the autonomous territories or national minorities in northern Vietnam have been dissolved. Leading cadres have been purged because they belong to these minorities. The alleged reason is that the same minority is to be round on the Chinese side or the border, where economic conditions are better, goods are not rationed etc., and contact across the border has been too intimate.
It is obvious that revolutionaries and patriots who resist the present development are persecuted. Among them are many who played an important role in the struggle against US imperialism in the south. We would like to ask: what has become or the former leadership of the National Liberation Front and the Provisional Revolutionary Government?
We have reports according to which Madame Binh former minister of foreign affairs of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam has been arrested.
Does this mean that it is correct to consider the situation as altogether desolate? In our opinion, no.
Norwegian Marxist-Leninists have learned a lot from the Vietnamese revolutionaries. We have much to thank them for we nurture deep feelings for Vietnam. For more than ten years we worked for solidarity with Vietnam here in Norway, together with non-party people and members or other political parties. No other political movement in Norway supported Vietnam so strongly and consistently as the Marxist-Leninists. Vietnamese representatives declared that they knew that the Norwegian Marxist-Leninist movement was a loyal friend or theirs, and that they appreciated this loyal friendship.
As we worked for solidarity with Vietnam for many years, work that for instance the revisionist “NKP” party consistently sabotaged, we also came to know a lot about Vietnam. We know that Vietnam has a brilliant revolutionary history. We know that there are many cadres and conscious revolutionaries who oppose revisionism and social-imperialism. We are convinced that the Russian infiltrators meet resistance among the masses and among parts of the party, the state administration, and the army. In the long run, we do not think that the social-imperialists can subdue a proud, revolutionary people like the Vietnamese. We shall continue to be friends or Vietnam, we shall continue to learn from Vietnam; and we shall continue to have confidence in the Vietnamese people.
And how does this accord with the situation as presented in the “Zeri i Popullit” editorial it appears that there is really reason to say: “Imperialists, Hands off” . But which imperialists? The social-imperialists. It is also correct that “foreigners instigate ” and meddle in the war between Vietnam and Kampuchea. Who are these foreigners? The social imperialists.
The real imperialists are not mentioned in the editorial. Instead it attacks China and Kampuchea, who are both subject to social-imperialist intrigues in that area.
Does the publication or an editorial like the one in “Zeri i Popullit ” Support the Vietnamese people in any way? No, it clashes with the real interests of the people of Vietnam, who must liberate themselves from the social-imperialists. It means turning things upside down, to attack revolutionaries and anti-imperialists and to praise reaction and aggression. It is support to social-imperialism. Unfortunately. (July 22)
* * *
We shall give a short account of how the official Albanian polemics have developed since they started at the 7th congress of the PLA almost two years ago.
We shall refrain from discussing what may have caused the Albanian leaders to launch the polemics. And we will not discuss internal Albanian conditions or speculate much on what will happen in the near future.
In the sixties and early seventies official PLA propaganda on international questions largely followed the same lines as the Communist Party of China.
During this period there were also conflicts and disagreements, which we shall not bring up now. But these conflicts were not substantial enough to shake the united front against the enemy, against US imperialism and social-imperialism. For that matter, there is nothing unnatural in the fact that dissent arises between Marxist-Leninist parties and between socialist countries.
As late as in autumn 1974, Enver Hoxha held a speech, in which his positions on many international issues were similar, to those of the CPC, for instance with regard to the danger of war.
In the report to the 7th congress of the PLA the CPC was openly criticized for the first time, although the criticism was not textually directed against China and the CPC. Textually the criticism struck against supporters of the three world theory, yet everybody at the congress readily understood that the CPC was the actual target.
Mao Tsetung died some weeks prior to the congress. In the chapter on the communist world movement of the report, Mao’s name was not mentioned. He was, however, mentioned in the section on Albania’s state relations. The purpose of this was to emphasize disagreement with the point of view stating that Mao had been the leader of the entire communist world movement on a par with Lenin and Stalin in previous periods.
In the summer of 1977 the polemics were significantly escalated by the “Zeri i Popullit” editorial of’ July 7 “The Theory and Practices of the Revolution”. This editorial not only stated that the three world theory is wrong, but claimed in addition that those who advocate this theory oppose the revolution, want to support capitalism. etc. This amounts to saying that China and other parties that followed the CPC were counterrevolutionaries and revisionists.
At the present stage of the polemics, however, the PLA leaders have started to mention US imperialism and then denounce China as imperialist, while they refrain from even mentioning the USSR.
This implies that since the autumn of 1976, the direction of the main attacks of the Albanian leadership has changed. Before they mainly attacked the Soviet Union and modern revisionism. Now they direct their heaviest blows against the CPC, China and the advocates of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.
Let us recall certain recent events:
– Social-imperialism has assumed control over Angola by means of thousands of Cuban mercenaries. Hundreds of thousands have died in a bloody colonial war. Guerrilla warfare against the pro-Soviet quisling regime continues on a broad scale.
– The USSR has become the main prop of Mengistu in Ethopia.
– The Soviet Union and Cuba have ousted Somalia from Ogaden and are currently preparing to suppress the liberation struggle in Eritrea.
– The USSR has extended its influence over Vietnam, and instigated Vietnam’s war against Kampuchea.
– A pro-Soviet coup has been success fully carried out in Afghanistan.
– Within a couple of days Soviet agents succeeded in murdering the presidents of North and south Yemen. In south Yemen, a pro-Soviet coup was successful.
– Zaire’s Shaba province has been invaded twice by Soviet mercenaries (former fascist mercenaries for Belgium and Portugal) coming from Angola.
This list is restricted to certain of the most significant and dramatic events. We have not included how the USSR has intrigued and strengthened its political position in various countries such as Argentina, Uganda or Libya. How pressure has increased against northern Europe, or the fact that oppositional elements in the Soviet Union and dominated countries are more sharply repressed than before., etc. Everything expresses the Soviet offensive in the rivalry with the other superpower, the USA. It all amounts to this: preparations for war.
What have the Albanian leaders done in this period? The fact is that they have reduced their criticism of the USSR and social-imperialism.
In the 1976 reporting the outcome of the civil war in Angola was presented as a victory for both the Soviet Union and the US. The editorial of July 7, 1977, mentions social-imperialism. But it deals very sparingly with social-imperialist activities in various parts of the world.
The editorial of June 24, 1978, is a step further in the same direction.
Some years ago, relations between Albania and Kampuchea were very good. Albania praised Kampuchea publicly for having resisted social-imperialism and criticized Vietnam carefully for “sitting on the fence” with regard to the Soviet Union.
Since then Vietnam has moved in the direction of the Soviet Union, while Kampuchea is the target of constantly escalated Soviet attacks.
In an editorial on the Vietnam-Kampuchea war published January 5, 1978, “Zeri i Popullit” maintained a formally ”neutral” stand while stating that the war was induced by US imperialism and social-imperialism. Furthermore, the Albanian leaders adopted the strange position that they publicly asked China to mediate despite the fact that in other connections they had called the Chinese counter-revolutionaries. In the June 24 editorial, this “neutrality” gives way to siding with Vietnam. All criticism of the USSR has disappeared and instead directed against the US, China and Kampuchea.
In their polemics against the advocates of Mao’s three world theory, the Albanian leaders have strongly emphasized the fact that many state leaders in the third world are reactionary.
This rather trivial fact represents nothing new to Marxist-Leninists. However, we want to point out that the PLA leaders have omitted every pro-Soviet element in their list over reactionary heads of state.
The PLA leaders have for instance mentioned the shah of Iran and king Khaled of Saudi Arabia. Both are undoubtedly reactionary. But they have never mentioned Agostinho Neto or Mengistu Haile Mariam, both of whom are at least as reactionary and as big butchers as the shah or king Khaled.
This spring, “Zeri i Popullit” has repeatedly and, violently criticized Mobutu. As for us, we have never concealed the fact we consider Mobutu a reactionary. But the Albanian criticism has not defended Zaire’s right to remain an independent state, and it has refrained from attacking social-imperialist aggression.
On no occasion since 1976 has Fidel Castro been criticized by the Albanian leadership.
The Chinese government has developed its diplomacy towards states governed by various regimes, and rarely criticizes the domestic policies or state leaders of other countries in public.
In recent years the Albanian leaders have adopted a different policy. They allegedly think it is a serious mistake not to publicly criticize reactionary heads of state. But if this is the case, they commit a grave mistake by sparing a particular group of pro-Soviet state leaders that are very reactionary and extremely blood-stained.
It is a remarkable feature of Albanian commentary on foreign affairs over the past few years, that every fact susceptible of pointing to the increasing danger of war, such as Soviet provocations in Europe, Soviet military expansion etc., has been systematically neglected. This expresses the official thesis of the Albanian leaders: that the threat of war is not increasing.
This represents a change of policy. In the past, “Zeri i Popullit” carried reports about events such as provocative Soviet violations of Norwegian airspace. The report to the 1976 congress expressed support to the nordic countries against Soviet pressure in the North. We appreciated this, but we do not now that it has been repeated. (July 24)
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We hold the current Albanian appraisals of the world situation do not accord with objective facts.
People whose access is restricted to Albanian publications will not get a correct impression of the social-imperialist offensive. Several Albanian commentaries even glorify this offensive and can be used to propagate it. The editorial of July 7, 1977, was favourably cited by Pravda. The editorial of June 24, 1978, has been favourably received by the brezhnevities.
We deeply regret this.
Albania is a small country. Albania cannot menace anybody. The Albanian people and the Albanian communists have made great contributions to the struggle against revisionism, the defense of socialism and the independence of Albania.
We will not forget this. We will always be grateful for everything we, Norwegian communists, have learned from the Albanian communists and the Albanian workers and peasants.
A harmful aspect of the current polemics of the Albanian leaders is that sincere people, who respect Albania because of their record of struggle against revisionism, may now become confused. Therefore we have to put forth our criticism and point out our disagreement, but, we do not want to bring up more than we consider absolutely necessary. We do not want to harm Albania. Therefore we shall continue to restrain our criticism.
Since we wish Albania the best of everything, we are worried about the direction taken by the Albanian polemics. Oh the other hand, we are happy as long as Albania steers clear of both superpowers. That is a positive aspect. We regret the fact that the Albanian leaders attack revolutionaries. They do not consistently criticize the social-imperialism of the USSR. However, they still criticize certain aspects of Soviet policy. We think it would be better for them to continue to do so, rather than discontinuing all criticism of the USSR.
If social-imperialism or any other imperialist power makes any attempt to seize control over Albania, we will support Albania, despite our disagreement with the Albanian leaders on certain questions. We are still hoping for a turn to the best.
This series of articles bears the title “A Sad and Dangerous Situation”, because it deals with a negative development in two countries that have carried out socialist revolutions: Vietnam and Albania.
As far as the general world situation is concerned, there are both promising and sombre factors. The progress of social imperialism is a negative factor. The intensification of the struggles in the third world, the growing resistance against the two superpowers and the advance of the Marxist-Leninist world movement are all positive factors.
In the long run we are optimistic. Social-imperialism is basically weak. Ravage and plunder will only serve to isolate it more and more both at home and abroad. It will never succeed in achieving world hegemony, but will certainly be defeated.
But before being defeated it will probably launch a third world war. Tendencies developing today point clearly to the outbreak of such a war.
A typical feature of pre-war situation is rapid fluctuations caused by the constant sharpening of the most important contradictions. Similar rapid fluctuations and sharper dictions must necessarily also arise within the communist and anti-imperialist movements. Sharp polemics, struggles and ruptures are inevitable.
The essential question prior to World War I was this: revolutionary struggle against the war, or let the workers be mobilized to slaughter each other?
The essential question prior to World War II was this: to mobilize or not to mobilize to crush the fascist imperialist powers?
The distinction between correct and incorrect answers to these questions drew the dividing line between revolutionaries and opportunists, between victory and defeat.
The current situation is such that we must be prepared to cope with sharp contradictions and rapid and surprizing fluctuations. To study the main contradictions, to learn from them, to improve our ability to distinguish between correct and incorrect lines: all this is essential. Then we will be able to turn bad things to good things. Ruptures and struggle can make us work out a clearer and help us find the right path to victory.
In our opinion the present contradictions must teach us to improve our studies of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and Mao’s three world theory, and to improve our ability to wage struggle against the two superpowers and in particular the more dangerous: social-imperialism. (July 25)