Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Rebuttal to RU/WMS Proposal by IWK

We are writing this rebuttal to the RU/WMS/Bay Area Worker/Wei Min Bao “Proposal for 1974 U.S.-China Friendship Events” in the San Francisco Bay Area because we feel there are some very incorrect ideas presented in the proposal. These ideas concern their view of the world situation and generally how to build friendship between the Chinese and American people.

Let us examine these ideas:

The RU/WMS paper begins with the statement:

As Mao Tse-tung said in his 1970 statement, the danger of world war is very great in the period ahead. All this reemphasizes the tremendous importance of building U.S.-China Friendship. War is not in the interests of the masses of people of the world.

This statement, we believe, reveals the basic source of the backward nature of their work in the friendship movement.

It is true that Mao Tse-tung stated that there was still the danger of world war, but he also stated that the main trend in the world today is revolution! For the RU/WMS to quote only half of this famous statement and not the other half, and the primary half at that, is not just a simple technical error, for it distorts the very essence of the world view of the revolutionary proletariat. To mistake the secondary aspect for the main aspect is to adopt pessimism and defensiveness as one’s world view, which of course has direct implications for one’s political line. To mistake imperialism and reaction, the main sources of world war in today’s world, as the main trend in the world today, is to deny the main character of the world’s “great turmoil,” that is, the rising revolutionary struggles of the peoples of the world.

This has profound implications. The revisionists of the Soviet Union say the same thing. They say that the danger of world war is primary and that is the basis upon which they defend their sell-out of the national liberation and revolutionary struggles in th« world and their collusion with the U.S.imperialists. The Soviet revisionists clamor about the threat of world war and thus run around the world with the U.S. imperialists “mediating” struggles and helping reaction, all in the name of preventing “war.”

The RU/WMS in the same proposal go on to state that “War is not in the interests of the masses of people of the world.” On the surface this sounds all right. But, we should read it carefully. They confuse “world war” with “war.” In an editorial entitled “Two Different Lines on the Question of War and Peace”, Honqi and Remain Ribao say,

The Possibility of preventing a new world war is one thing, the possibility of preventing all wars, including revolutionary wars, is another. And it is completely wrong to confuse the two. “Two Different Lines on the Question of War and Peace,” page 19

Yes, we think that world war in not in the interests of the masses, but like the Honqi and Renmin Ribao editorial says, “Nearly all the great revolutions in history were made through revolutionary wars.” (page 20). Revolution itself often transforms into war – wars of national liberation such as in S.E. Asia or revolutionary civil wars as in China. To oppose war in general leads directly to the bourgeois opiate of pacificism – to oppose revolution.

We are not opposed to war in general. There are just and unjust wars. We are opposed to imperialist wars but we uphold and support just, revolutionary wars. To confuse the distinction between the two is inexcusable, and in essence denies the just nature of revolutionary war. To deprive the proletariat and oppressed people of war as a weapon in their liberation is to condemn them to imperialist enslavement.

The third area of disagreement is how to prevent world war. The RU/WMS say that friendship is the way to prevent war:

As Mao Tse-tung said in his 1970 statement, the danger of world war is very great in the period ahead. All this reemphasizes the tremendous importance of building U.S.-China friendship.

We are not opposed to friendship, obviously. Our organization has done a great deal to promote friendship between the Chinese and American peoples, but we disagree with the RU/WMS as to the relationship between imperialism, revolution and friendship. “Friendship” in and of itself, is not going to stop war or stop fascism.

In ”Two Different Lines on the Question of War and Peace,” the C.C.P. says,

International tension is the product of the imperialist policies of aggression and war. The people should of course wage a firm struggle against imperialist aggression and threats. Facts have shown that only through struggle can imperialism be compelled to retreat and a genuine realization of international tension be achieved. page 31

We wholeheartedly agree with this stand. We too hold that the main way to relax world tensions, to prevent world war is through the resolute and militant struggle of the masses against imperialism.

The Friendship Movement is only one tactic the international proletariat can use in the battle against imperialism. It assists in dispelling some anti-communist and racist ideas about China: it can neutralize certain hostile elements: it can educate the masses of people to the realities of socialism and it can even assist in the isolation of the monopoly capitalist class. The friendship movement however in no way can become the strategic weapon to prevent imperialist war which is the direct implication from the RU/WMS proposal.

Mao Tse-tung said in 1946 to Anna Louise Strong:

I think the American people and the peoples of all countries menaced by U.S. aggression should unite and struggle against the attacks of the U.S. reactionaries and their running dogs in these countries. Only by victory in this struggle can a third world war be avoided; otherwise it is unavoidable.

Revolution, the destruction of imperialism by the peoples of the world is the path to achieving real world peace.

Let us now look at how this incorrect world view on friendship leads directly to an incorrect view of the nature of the state.

The world view that “friendship” can prevent imperialist wars leads to the ridiculous assertion that “friendship” can prevent the FBI from harrassing the Chinese national minority in the U.S. In a recent issue of Wei Min Bao a letter was written to the editor in which the writer talked about an incident in which the immigration authorities and the FBI harrassed him. Wei Min Bao replied in this way:

Your experience is not unique, especially among Chinese Americans. The FBI gets away with this due to the perpetuation of racist and stereotype ideas of Chinese. We can dispel these ideas by building the friendship between Chinese and American peoples. If Americans understood Chinese culture and the government of the People’s Republic of China, it would be impossible for this government to continue their “back door” scare tactics. – Wei Min She

This is absolutely absurd. The FBI harrasses Chinese and other peoples in this society because of the nature of imperialism. This harrassment is part and parcel of national oppression which cannot be eliminated under imperialism. Just building greater cultural understanding of China will in no way make it “impossible for this government to continue their ’back door’ scare tactics.” To neglect the responsibility of Marxist-Leninists (and even “anti-imperialists”) must shoulder, that is, the educating of the masses of the nature of their oppression, the imperialist system, is to do the greatest disservice to the proletariat and revolutionary people. Not to conduct such education is to leave the people in a defenseless and unconscious state: a condition which the bourgeoisie needs to conduct its terror.

The FBI harasses people because the state understands its class interests not because the people do not appreciate “Chinese culture.” In our view, the people will be able to defend themselves only if they are politically organized and conscious. To do otherwise leaves them vulnerable and unprepared. It leads to illusions. It is this condition which is dangerous and enables the ruling class to attack.

We see doing friendship work for the purpose of winning friends for China, for the purpose of educating the masses of American people about the true nature of socialism, of the genuine friendship and solidarity China extends to all the oppressed of the world. We do friendship work because the normalization of relations between China and the U.S. will be one more step in the isolation of the U.S. government and a genuine victory for China, the Third World, and all the world’s oppressed and exploited because it will mean that the U.S. will have to abandon their imperialist bankrupt scheme of two Chinas, and recognize the People’s Republic of China as the sole, legitimate representative of the Chinese people. A rigorous friendship movement will also help dispel some of the racist and anti-communist lies propagated by the reactionary forces.

Thus we have profound disagreements with their concrete proposal which is the logical outcome of their world view. They see doing two levels of friendship activities. One for the masses, which would not mention socialism, and one for the anti-imperialists which would talk about China’s role in the world, etc. We reject this two level approach. One, we believe that we should adopt a genuine united front approach and develop a general line which could unite all that could be united in friendship with China. We believe that integral to friendship is education about China, truthful education. Therefore, we believe that in all our activities, the truth about China should not be obscured. For example, that China is a socialist country. We think that we can build a genuine United Front program which will unite the broad masses of people and at the same time bring forth a clear political line which will be objectively progressive, anti-imperialist and bring forth the true nature of China today.

Thus, their erroneous world view has led them to advocating a program which would not really educate the masses about China. Rather they want to build “cultural understanding,” etc. We see and build the friendship movement within the context of the struggle for democratic rights of the Chinese national minority and within the general political struggle of the American people – within the context of revolution.