Published: In Statement of Ten Central Committee Members of the Ceylon Communist Party, Peking, 1964.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This statement was published as a reply to the statement of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party issued on September 26, 1963.– Ed.
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(October 27, 1963)
On the 14th of July 1963, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union published an open letter to Party organizations and all Communists in the Soviet Union in which they slandered the correct Marxist position of the Communist Party of China and gave full rein to their revisionist views. Dutifully obeying the baton, the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party on September 26, 1963, issued a statement entitled “On Questions of the International Communist Movement” which faithfully re-echoes the revisionist viewpoint of the open letter of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
The undersigned Marxist-Leninists in Ceylon feel that we cannot let this statement go unchallenged not only because it is incorrect and deviates from the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism but also because it does not represent the views of the overwhelming majority of the membership of the Ceylon Communist Party. In the first place we wish to point out that the present Central Committee, with its temporary majority in support of its revisionist policies, has no authority to speak on behalf of the Party. According to the Constitution of the Ceylon Communist Party a congress of the Party should normally be held once in two years. In pursuance of this provision a congress should have been held before the end of December 1962. This provision in the constitution was specifically introduced at the last Party congress held in December 1960 because of the fact that the previous Central Committee had not convened a congress for five years. Despite this specific decision of the last congress, the present Central Committee has flouted the expressed wish of the congress and has thus outlived its constitutional span of life. It is not open to the majority of the present Central Committee to argue that it could not hold the congress in terms of the constitution because of any abnormal situation in the country which could have legitimately prevented the holding of such a congress. No such circumstances existed and the Central Committee never discussed such an eventuality for postponing the congress. The only reason why the Party congress was not held was the fear of the leadership of being repudiated by the membership. Having failed to convene a Party congress in terms of the Party constitution the present Central Committee has no authority to speak on behalf of the Party, particularly on such a burning question over which opinions are sharply divided.
Precisely because of the failure to convene a Party congress in time, the Central Committee must have been more careful in adhering to the principles of democratic centralism. That is, they should have tested the opinion of the majority of the Central Committee by consulting the views of the Party rank and file before releasing their views as the views of the Party to the general public. The present Central Committee refused all these months to discuss these burning questions that divide the international communist movement despite the repeated request from a section of the Central Committee. Now, at a time when the Party congress is overdue and has been promised for April 1964 the Central Committee, which has outlived its mandate from the rank and file, rushes through a statement with the aid of its mechanical and temporary majority and without consulting the rank and file and completely callous as to the harmful results that may follow such precipitate action. In doing this therefore the majority of the present Central Committee is trebly guilty. That is why we feel that these actions must be exposed and made clear to the rank and file.
The majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party would have us believe that the present controversy in the international communist movement arose as a result of the attempts of the Communist Party of China to re-agitate issues which have already been settied by the two conferences of the world communist movement held in 1957 and 1960. In particular they traced the origin of the dispute to the publication of the articles entitled “Long Live Leninism!” in April 1960. This is nothing but an attempt to confuse the cause and effect. The present controversy in the international communist movement was not sparked off by the Communist Party of China or by their publication of the articles, “Long Live Leninism!” The Chinese Communist leaders were forced to write these articles “Long Live Leninism!” and to vindicate the principles of Marxism-Leninism because the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and of certain other European Communist Parties had started slipping down the path of revisionism and away from correct Marxist-Leninist positions ever since the first major attempt at revisionism was made at the 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U. in 1956. Therefore, the correct position is that the present controversy has become necessary and has in fact been forced upon the international communist movement because of the attempt by the leadership of the C.P.S.U. and other European Communist Parties to revise the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism at the 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U. and since. It is important that this fact be kept clear in mind before we proceed further.
The accusation is now sought to be made that it is the Communist Party of China that has deviated from the generally agreed conclusions of the world communist movement as expressed in the two documents, the Moscow Declaration of 1957 and the Moscow Statement of 1960. This is nothing but a travesty of facts. Exactly the opposite is the case. One has only to ask himself the following questions to get a correct answer to the question as to who has deviated from the Marxist-Leninist positions of the 1957 Declaration and 1960 Statement:
a) Who was it who unilaterally revised the unanimous conclusions of the communist movement on the necessity for the exposure of and active struggle against Yugoslav revisionism which was described as a betrayal of Marxism-Leninism?
b) Who was it who violated the principle laid down in the Moscow Declaration and Statement that the relationship between fraternal Parties and fraternal countries should be guided by the principle of independence, equality and attainment of unanimity through consultation; who was it who first used the platform of one’s own Party congress to attack and denounce publicly another fraternal Party, that of Albania?
c) Who is it that, despite the equal emphasis laid on peaceful and non-peaceful methods of transition to socialism laid down in the Declaration and the Statement, today preaches exclusive reliance on the “parliamentary method” and the possibilities of peaceful transition?
d) Who is it that has revised the conclusion in the Declaration that “so long as imperialism exists there will always be soil for aggressive wars” by prattling about “a world without wars and a world without arms” even before the final elimination of imperialism and capitalism?
e) Who is it that, despite the assertion by the Declaration and the Statement that “U.S. imperialism is the main force of aggression and war,” attempted to prettify imperialism, talked such dribble as “the spirit of Camp David” and extolled Eisenhower, chieftain of U.S. imperialism as a sincere advocate of peace, a man who “sincerely wishes to put an end to the state of cold war” (speech by Khrushchev at a mass meeting on his return from the U.S.A. in 1959); and preached about the possibility of preventing war not by the united struggle of all forces fighting against imperialism, but by agreement and co-operation with imperialism.
One has only to ask these questions to know the correct answers. In the face of these facts it is preposterous for the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party to attempt to suggest that it is the Communist Party of China that has deviated from the Moscow Declaration and Statement. It is the revisionists and their followers all over the world who have done so. As far as we are concerned we like to take this opportunity to re-assert that we take up our position in complete support of the Moscow Declaration and Statement.
It is equally preposterous to suggest that by their letter of June 14, 1963, the Communist Party of China had violated the agreement to cease polemics and further aggravated the controversy inside the international communist movement. This forces us to point out the following facts. It is the C.P.S.U. which, through Khrushchev, first openly criticized the Communist Party of China.
(1) It was Khrushchev who, on the eve of his visit to the United States, on September 9, 1959, publicly blamed China for its dispute with India.
(2) It was Khrushchev who, on his return from his American trip, attacked China openly but indirectly on September 30, 1959 at Peking, on October 6, 1959 at Vladivostok and on December 1, 1959, at the Hungarian Workers’ Party’s Congress.
(3) It was Khrushchev who, on February 4, 1960, made a speech at the banquet for the political consultative conference of the signatory countries of the Warsaw Treaty in Moscow, wherein he referred to Comrade Mao Tse-tung as “a man, old but unwise, reminds one of a worn-out galosh which can only be put in a corner of a room to be admired.”
(4) It was the C.P.S.U. that unilaterally distributed to fraternal delegates at the congress of the Rumanian Party a “Letter of Information of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.” which made attacks on the Communist Party of China and repeated those attacks in the presence of correspondents of the imperialist countries and of Yugoslavia.
(5) It was China which, in 1962, called for a cessation of open polemics and supported the convocation of a world conference of Communist Parties.
(6) It was the Communist and Workers’ Parties of Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary, German Democratic Republic and Czechoslovakia that used the platforms of their congresses to openly attack and slander the Marxist-Leninist positions of the Communist Party of China. The climax was reached at the Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany when the delegates of the Communist Party of China were hooted and booed and the Korean delegate refused a speech while Yugoslavia was treated as an honoured guest.
(7) It was the C.P.S.U. and the leaders of certain European Communist Parties who used the columns of Pravda and Izvestia to attack the principled positions of the Communist Party of China.
During all this time the Communist Party of China contented itself with merely re-stating correct Marxist-Leninist points of view in the three articles entitled “Long Live Leninism!” Even in those articles they never attacked any fraternal Party direct. It was only after the chorus of anti-Chinese attacks reached its crescendo at the Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany when the delegate from the Communist Party of China was subjected to uncivilized behaviour that the Communist Party of China decided it was time to reply. Even then they first published the long speeches of Khrushchev and the editorials of Pravda and Izvestia attacking them along with a summary of the attacks on the Communist Party of China by 44 Communist Parties before they replied to those attacks in a series of seven articles which have become famous for their clarity of views, simplicity in expression and for their profundity of Marxist thought. It was after these replies which were such a telling refutation of the revisionist distortion of Marxism-Leninism that Khrushchev was compelled to call for a halt to open polemics. This was in effect asking the Chinese comrades to refrain from replying to the slanderous attacks on them by other Communist Parties. But they were even prepared to do this provided there was a complete cessation of open attacks on fraternal Communist Parties including the Albanian Party of Labour. This guarantee was not given by the C.P.S.U. and the polemics continued. It is therefore puerile for the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party to be shocked by the June 14 letter of the Communist Party of China.
In passing, it may be noted that while the Communist Party of China has published in their press all the important articles of the C.P.S.U. and other Communist Parties attacking their position, the Soviet press has so far published only the June 14, 1963 letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in reply to the letter of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. of March 30, 1963. Even this was done after world-wide publicity due to a diplomatic incident arising out of the Chinese Embassy in the U.S.S.R. distributing the June 14 letter. This is in itself a clear demonstration of the immense faith of the Chinese leaders in the political consciousness and wisdom of their own people and a lack of faith which borders on fear of their own people by the leadership of the C.P.S.U. The leadership of the C.P.S.U. plainly lacks the courage to let the Soviet people know the truth.
An acute controversy has now arisen over the nature of imperialism and the question of war and peace. Both the Moscow Declaration and Statement derive their standpoint from the fact that “as long as imperialism exists there will always be soil for aggressive wars.” Equally and unequivocally they point to U.S. imperialism as “the main force of aggression and war.” But at the same time they point out that at present the forces of peace have so grown that there is a “real possibility of averting war” and again that “the time has come when the attempts of the imperialist aggressors to start a world war can be curbed.” This correct assertion which takes into account the changed balance of forces in the world arena and postulates the possibility of the forces of peace and progress preventing the imperialists from unleashing another world war is now interpreted in such a way as to lay emphasis on the possibility of preventing wars even before the final elimination of imperialism rather than laying emphasis on the necessity for the final elimination of imperialism as the necessary pre-condition for the guarantee of world peace.
It was Lenin who taught us that imperialism is the source of all wars and that as long as imperialism existed there was no guarantee of stable peace in the world. This has been amply proved by the fact that imperialism has provoked two world wars within the last 50 years and several local colonial wars since the end of World War II. It is no doubt correct to postulate that a real possibility now exists for preventing the imperialists from unleashing a third world war because of the development of the forces standing for peace and progress. The possibility therefore exists of preventing another world war even before the final elimination of imperialism and capitalism. But let us remember that the Declaration and Statement only speak of a possibility, not of a guarantee. But the guarantee for stable peace can only be created by the final elimination of imperialism and the success of the proletarian revolution in at least the major imperialist countries. This point is brought out in the Moscow Statement when it states that the “victory of socialism all over the world will completely remove the social and national causes of wars.” Therefore, till such time as the achievement of world socialism, the prevention of world wars will remain only a possibility, however real. Therefore, the correct tactics should not be to lay emphasis on achieving peace while imperialism is still alive but to lay emphasis on the necessity to finally eliminate imperialism as the only guarantee for stable and lasting peace.
The slogan of general and complete disarmament is raised in such a way by the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party as to suggest that it is capable of being realized even before the destruction and final elimination of imperialism. This slogan is undoubtedly a correct one and helps to bring out the peaceful intentions of socialism and to expose the war-like aims of imperialism. But it is one thing to put forward a slogan to rally the masses in their fight against war and imperialism and quite another thing to spread the illusion that general and complete disarmament can be achieved even before imperialism is finally eliminated.
It was Lenin who pointed out in the “War Programme of the Proletarian Revolution” that “only after the proletariat has disarmed the bourgeoisie will it be able, without betraying its world-historical mission, to throw all armaments on the scrap heap; and the proletariat will undoubtedly do this, but only when this condition has been fulfilled, certainly not before.”
To suggest, as the statement of the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party does (re-echoing a speech of the Soviet First Deputy Prime Minister, Mikoyan in Armenia and reported in New York Times of March 15, 1962), that general disarmament would “deprive the imperialists of the major weapons and armed forces that they now use to threaten new world war and oppress national-liberation movements”, is nonsensical and totally unrealistic and is putting the cart before the horse. The threat of war comes not from armaments as such but from imperialism which uses them. General and complete disarmament cannot be achieved without at the same time destroying imperialism.
In trying to refute the necessity for armed struggles as a means for achieving the liberation of oppressed peoples, as put forward by the Chinese comrades, the statement of the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party comes out with a perfect gem when it states that “many oppressed peoples, including the people of Ceylon, were able to win their political freedom by forms of struggle other than armed struggle.” One cannot help but point out the political chicanery by which political freedom is palmed off as the achievement of national liberation from imperialism, calmly forgetting that the Ceylon Communist Party has itself proclaimed on all occasions that our country is still subject to imperialist economy and that our anti-imperialist tasks remain unfulfilled. This is not just a mistake or oversight but sheer political dishonesty. It is necessary to point out in this connection that the only countries that have liberated themselves from the shackles of imperialism in recent times are those where national liberation was achieved as a result of armed struggle against imperialism. The examples of Indonesia, north Viet Nam, Cuba and Algeria easily come to mind. In all cases like Ceylon, where only political freedom was won through the so-called peaceful method, imperialism has been able to retain its stranglehold in one form or another to the detriment of the peoples of these countries.
The statement of the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party questions the validity of the description of imperialism and all local reactionaries as paper tigers on the ground that they are armed with nuclear weapons. It also re-echoes the slander spread by revisionists that the Chinese comrades want to destroy half of mankind through a nuclear war and build socialism on the basis of the other half. These slanders and distortions need to be answered.
What did Comrade Mao Tse-tung mean when he described imperialism and all local reactionaries as paper tigers? He was not trying to underestimate the strength of imperialism and local reaction. He was merely saying that strategically speaking i.e. from a long-range point of view, imperialism and all local reactionaries are like paper tigers, that is, that they all will be destroyed by the people. This concept is necessary to give hope and courage to the masses who are struggling against heavy odds. This conception is not vitiated by the possession of nuclear weapons both by imperialism and the Soviet Union. In fact Comrade Mao Tse-tung made the original statement in 1946 when American imperialism had the monopoly of the atom bomb. But this did not prevent the Chinese people from achieving nationwide victory and defeating Chiang Kai-shek and his patron, American imperialism. The latter in fact proved to be a paper tiger despite its possession of the monopoly of the atom bomb. Today the position is infinitely better because imperialism no longer holds the monopoly in nuclear weapons. It is therefore essential to reiterate that weapons, however powerful or destructive, are not the decisive factors in history. The decisive factor is man and it is only through the class struggle that he can bring about the desired social change.
The accusation that the Chinese leaders want to bring about the destruction of half of mankind and to build socialism on the basis of the other half is nothing but a gross distortion of a statement by Comrade Mao Tse-tung before the conference of world Communist Parties in Moscow in 1957 and which finds repetition in the articles “Long Live Leninism!” In this statement Comrade Mao Tse-tung referred to a conclusion of a foreign statesman that a third world war would mean the end of human civilization. Comrade Mao had pointed out that if the imperialists were mad enough to unleash a third world war it would mean the end, not of human civilization but of imperialism. No doubt it might mean the destruction of half the world but the other half would still remain and on its basis a new civilization based on socialism would be built.
It must be pointed out that Comrade Mao Tse-tung does not advocate a nuclear war to destroy half of mankind and to build socialism on the other half. He is merely pointing out what would happen if the imperialists (not we) were mad enough to unleash a third world war. In doing so he was re-stating a fundamental Marxist tenet. That is: we are against war and will do everything in our power to prevent a world war; but at the same time we are not afraid of war. No one is going to hold an atom bomb in his hand and intimidate or blackmail us and prevent us from carrying out our revolutionary tasks for a radical change of society. It must also be pointed out that the Moscow Statement makes the same point when it says, “but should the imperialist maniacs start war, peoples will sweep capitalism out of existence and bury it.”
The Statement of the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party accuses the Communist Party of China for its stand on the question of peaceful coexistence. It is correct to regard peaceful coexistence as an important factor in the foreign policy of socialist countries. That is, all socialist countries take the stand that countries with different social systems must not go to war to settle disputes or differences among themselves. This is a perfectly correct standpoint which receives the support of all Communists. But the policy of peaceful coexistence and the inspiration that oppressed peoples receive from the demonstration of the superiority of the socialist system through successes in peaceful competition with capitalism is no substitute for the struggle of the oppressed peoples to liberate themselves. They can at best act as a spur to revolutions in non-socialist countries.
The undue emphasis laid on peaceful coexistence and peaceful competition by revisionists tends to exaggerate the role played by these factors in the promotion of revolutions by oppressed peoples and, on the other hand, tends to underestimate the importance of the role of the struggle by the oppressed peoples themselves. For instance, what is the use of preaching peaceful coexistence to the people of south Viet Nam who are engaged in a life-and-death struggle with U.S. imperialism and its puppet Diem; or to the people of Black Africa who are struggling against most brutal forms of imperialism? Can there be peaceful coexistence between the brave Cuban people and the American imperialists who are daily plotting the destruction of Cuban independence? Or, between the peoples of Latin America and the dollar monopolists of North America who extract 4,000 dollars per minute from Latin America and leave behind four people dead every minute due to preventible diseases and hunger and starvation. It must also be stressed, and it needs to be stressed, that there can be no peaceful coexistence between imperialism and the colonial peoples, between the capitalist class and the working class, between oppressors and oppressed.
The statement of the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party extols the role of the Soviet Union during the Caribbean crisis, and wants us to believe that the Soviet Union saved the world from war by its intervention. But what they forget is that the whole crisis became hotted up because of the adventurist act of the Soviet Union in introducing missiles into Cuba. | It was this act which simply played into the hands of the United States imperialists. “The real deterrents to a U.S. attack on Cuba must be the will of the Cuban people to fight to the death, the condemnation of world opinion and the wrath of Latin America; and with regard to these deterrents the missiles could not but do more harm than good.” The mistake therefore lay in the stupidity which put the missiles in Cuba, “which could never save Cuba but only provoke attack from America’s overwhelming strength, while alienating Cuba’s much greater weapon, the Latin American people’s support.”
Therefore when Khrushchev removed the missiles from Cuba, he was “not an angel saving the world but a comrade correcting a mistake.” Even so Khrushchev offended against all principles of equality between nations and respect for the sovereignty of nations when he agreed to the removal of the missiles without consulting the Cubans as well as to the unilateral inspection by the United Nations. In other words, Khrushchev made a deal with imperialism at the expense of another nation’s sovereignty. This is what the Chinese opposed and attacked. They correctly accused Khrushchev first for the error of adventurism and then of the error of capitulation. The hollowness of the promise that Kennedy is alleged to have given Khrushchev not to attack Cuba already stands exposed by the recent attacks on Cuba with American support and from American soil.
The attitude of the Chinese comrades to the nuclear test ban treaty seems to amaze and shock the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party. But there is no reason for shock or amazement. The position of the Communist Party of China is perfectly plain and straightforward. They stand for a complete ban on the manufacture of all kinds of nuclear weapons and the destruction of all existing stockpiles. It is precisely because the treaty does not guarantee this, but on the contrary, legalizes nuclear tests underground that the Chinese comrades criticized the treaty and exposed this as a fraud which was meant to capitalize on the hunger of the peoples of the world for peace.
The description of the treaty by the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party as the outcome of many years of determined struggle by the peoples of the world is nothing but an attempt to deceive oneself. We cannot help but point out that U.S. imperialism was ready to sign this treaty a year previously when it was the Soviet Union which correctly opposed it. The signing of the treaty now, therefore, is not a victory for the people but a victory for American imperialism. The treaty has not stopped nuclear tests nor has it stopped the manufacture and stockpiling of nuclear weapons; while it reserves the right to any country to resume nuclear tests after giving three months’ notice.
The majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party attempt to find a contradiction between the general line of the communist movement as expounded in the Moscow Declaration and Statement and the “Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement” put forward by the Communist Party of China in its letter of June 14, 1963. They try to suggest that the Chinese comrades are trying to separate and divide the national-liberation movement from the international working class and the world socialist camp, thereby disrupting the unity between these two main streams of world revolution. Nothing can be further from the truth.
The arguments of the Chinese comrades proceed from their analysis that the underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America constitute “the weakest link in the imperialist chain” and that therefore the key to the successful fight against imperialism is to be found in the revolutionary struggles of the peoples of those areas. This is what they mean when they say that “the various types of contradictions in the contemporary world are concentrated in the vast areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America,” and that these areas are “the storm centres of world revolution” and that therefore “in a sense, the whole cause of the international proletarian revolution hinges on the outcome of the revolutionary struggles of the peoples of these areas who constitute the overwhelming majority of the world’s population.”
This is neither a geographical approach as opposed to a class approach nor is it an attempt to drive a wedge between the national-liberation movements and the socialist countries. This is a realistic and sober appraisal of the historical development of the revolutionary forces which in no way contradicts the appraisal found in the Moscow Statement. The description of our epoch found in the Moscow Statement and the description found in “More on the Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Ourselves,” though using different words are fundamentally the same in content. The only difference is that while the characterization of our epoch found in the Moscow Statement is general, the Chinese comrades have concretised it in terms of the areas where the contradictions have become most acute. It must also be stressed that when the Chinese comrades are referring to the “revolutionary struggles of the peoples of these areas,” they are not merely referring to the national-liberation movements which are led even by “certain patriotically minded kings, princes and aristocrats,” but they are referring to the revolutionary struggles of the most downtrodden humanity in the world who inhabit these areas and who are today fighting not only for political emancipation from imperialism but also for a radical change in their social system which shall, once and for all, end the system of exploitation of man by man. They feel confident that the new democratic revolution that is being ushered in these countries, under conditions where world revolution has triumphed over one-third of the human race and where the working class is beginning to play an increasing role in the leadership of the revolution, shall develop as part of the world revolution and proceed without interruption to achieve the socialist aims for which the vast masses of these areas are hungering.
The Chinese comrades are acutely conscious of the interaction and the inter-development of the revolutionary movements in the vast colonial and semi-colonial areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the revolutionary movement of the metropolitan countries. This is how they postulate their position in their major theoretical work “More on the Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Ourselves”: “The proletariat of the capitalist countries of Europe and America, too, must stand in the forefront of those supporting the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed nations and people of Asia, Africa and Latin America. In fact, such support simultaneously helps the cause of the emancipation of the proletariat in Europe and America. . . . Therefore the proletarian parties of the metropolitan imperialist countries are duty bound to heed the voice of the revolutionary people in these regions, study their experience, respect their revolutionary feelings, and support their revolutionary struggles. ... It should be understood that according to the teachings of Marxism-Leninism, without a correct stand, line and policy on the national-liberation movement and the peoples’ revolutionary movement in the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, it will be impossible for the workers’ parties in the metropolitan imperialist countries to have a correct stand, line and policy on the struggle waged by the working class and the broad masses of the people in their own countries.”
It will thus be seen that the movements for the proletarian revolution in the advanced capitalist countries and the revolutionary movement in the colonial and semi-colonial countries are inextricably linked and intertwined and share common interests and therefore cannot be separated one from the other. The success of the revolutionary movement in the colonies and semi-colonies indirectly helps the movements for proletarian revolution in the metropolitan countries and vice versa. It is hardly necessary to add that the success of the revolutionary movements in the colonies and semi-colonies and the expansion of the areas of world revolution is in the best interests of the countries that have achieved socialism just as the existence of the socialist camp is the spur as well as the source of strength to the revolutionary movement in the colonies and semi-colonies.
The statement of the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party accused the Chinese comrades that they now question the unanimous conclusion of the 1957 and 1960 meetings that “in a number of capitalist countries” the working class has the opportunity, given certain concrete conditions, to win state power and accomplish the task of the socialist revolution without civil war.
Both the Moscow Declaration and the Statement speak about the possibility of both eventualities of transition to socialism, the peaceful and the non-peaceful. There can be no quarrel about this. It would naturally be in the interest of the proletariat and the entire people, as the Chinese comrades have pointed out, if peaceful transition could be realized. But “possibility and reality, the wish and its fulfilment, are two different things.” Moreover, up to now, “history has not witnessed a single example of peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism.”
But, “even when it is possible to secure state power through peaceful means, one must be prepared to deal immediately with armed intervention by foreign imperialists and with counter-revolutionary armed rebellions supported by the imperialists. Communists should concentrate their attention on the accumulation of revolutionary strength through painstaking efforts and must be ready to fight back against armed attacks by the bourgeoisie whenever necessary. They should not lay onesided stress on peaceful transition and concentrate their attention on this possibility; otherwise they are bound to benumb the revolutionary will of the proletariat, disarm themselves ideologically, be utterly passive and unprepared politically and organizationally, and end up by burying the cause of the proletarian revolution.”
On the question of the transition from capitalism to socialism, therefore, we should refer to two possibilities, the possibility of peaceful transition and that of non-peaceful transition, and should be prepared for both eventualities; and in our work we should place emphasis on painstakingly gathering the revolutionary forces and be prepared at all times to repulse the counter-revolutionary attacks. There is no harm in raising the question of the possibility of peaceful transition; what is wrong is the view which places one-sided emphasis on the possibility of peaceful transition.
This is what the revisionists are today propagating. While paying lip-service to the possibility of non-peaceful transition, they are at all times directing their energies and fashioning their tactics with the peaceful method of transition as the only eventuality in sight. The source of this revisionist distortion goes back to the first draft of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. prepared for the Moscow Meeting in 1957. This draft referred only to the possibility of peaceful transition and not at all to the other possibility, namely, non-peaceful transition. It referred only to the parliamentary road and not at all to any other form of struggle. This draft pinned the hope of seizing state power by the parliamentary road on so-called “co-ordinated action of the Communists and socialists.” In that document, even the idea of the possibility of non-peaceful transition in some countries was not conceded. That document actually and explicitly regarded the parliamentary road as the only road to socialism.
It is no wonder that the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party who have turned their back on revolutionary struggle and pinned their hope exclusively on the parliamentary method of achieving victory for the working class, derived their inspiration from the original draft of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. This is clearly demonstrated by the complete lack of any reference to, and their failure to define their attitude to, the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat which, Marxism has taught us, is the only means by which the working class can achieve socialism.
To the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party whose eyes are glued to the portals of the bourgeois parliament we would like to point out that, apart from the fact that history has not given us a single example of peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism, whenever the working class had become powerful enough to be able to obtain a majority in parliament, the bourgeoisie has always dropped the pretensions of parliamentary democracy and resorted to naked and brutal dictatorship. History abounds with these examples. Therefore, under these circumstances, not to warn the working class to be ready to use revolutionary violence to repulse the counter-revolutionary violence of the bourgeoisie, i.e., in other words to be prepared for the eventuality of non-peaceful transition is in effect to leave the working class disarmed in the face of the bourgeois onslaught.
That is why we must refer to the two possibilities, peaceful and non-peaceful transition. This would place us in the position where we can have the initiative at any time. While we must refer to our desire for peaceful transition, it would be wrong to over-emphasize such a possibility. We must fully utilize the parliamentary struggle (not to do so would be sheer sectarianism) but we must realize its limited role. What is most important is to proceed with the hard work of gathering the revolutionary forces. We must take care that peaceful transition to socialism should not be interpreted in such a way as solely to mean transition through a parliamentary majority. We must realize that the main question is that of seizing state power, smashing the old state machinery, and establishing a new state machinery, that is, the dictatorship of the proletariat. The guarantee for the basic means of production passing into the hands of the people is first of all the seizure of state power by the working class.
It is true that Marx and Lenin did raise the question of peaceful transition under certain historical conditions. However, the “peaceful transition” spoken of by modern revisionists and the peaceful transition mentioned by Marx and Lenin are two fundamentally different concepts. Under whatever historical conditions, with or without the possibility of peaceful transition, Marx and Lenin always proceeded from the standpoint of changing the status quo, the standpoint of revolution and the standpoint of class struggle, and thus arrived at the conclusion that the transition from capitalism to socialism is realized through proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Let us clinch the issue with a quotation from Lenin: “The dictatorship of the proletariat is so important that anyone who repudiates it, or who merely renders lipservice to it, cannot be a member of the Social Democratic Party. It cannot be denied, however, that in certain cases, as exceptions to the rule – for example, in a small state adjacent to a big state in which the social revolution has been accomplished – the bourgeoisie, having become convinced that resistance is useless and preferring to save their heads, may surrender power peacefully. It is much more probable, of course, that even in small states, socialism will not be achieved without civil wars, and therefore, the only programme international social democracy can advance is the recognition of such a war, notwithstanding the fact that violence against the person is not part of our ideal.”
The section dealing with Yugoslavia is the most confused section of a very confused document. The majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party do not seem to be able to make up their mind as to whether they should follow the baton and openly welcome and embrace Yugoslav revisionism or whether they should accommodate some of their important followers inside the Central Committee who are still squeamish about too openly violating the Moscow Declaration and Statement.
It is only necessary to quote one paragraph from the Moscow Statement on Yugoslav revisionism to demonstrate how far the revisionists have departed from agreed conclusions of the international communist movement: “The Communist Parties have unanimously condemned the Yugoslav variety of international opportunism, a variety of modern revisionist ’theories’ in concentrated form. After betraying Marxism-Leninism, which they termed obsolete, the leaders of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia opposed their anti-Leninist revisionist programme to the Declaration of 1957; they set the L.C.Y. against the international communist movement as a whole, severed their country from the socialist camp, made it dependent on so-called ’aid’ from U.S. and other imperialists, and thereby exposed the Yugoslav people to the danger of losing the revolutionary gains achieved through a heroic struggle. The Yugoslav revisionists carry on subversive work against the socialist camp and the world communist movement. Under the pretext of an extra-bloc policy, they engage in activities which prejudice the unity of all the peace-loving forces and countries. Further exposure of the leaders of the Yugoslav revisionists and active struggle to safeguard the communist movement and the working-class movement from the anti-Leninist ideas of the Yugoslav revisionists, remains an essential task of the Marxist-Leninist parties.”
Hardly had the ink been dry on the signatures to this document, within 24 hours, Khrushchev was toasting Yugoslavia as a socialist country. His more recent conduct needs no comment. They provide an effective contrast to the way he handles relations with socialist China and Albania.
Before we conclude we cannot but comment on the reference by the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party to extreme or ultra-revolutionarism. Men who have never been even within a thousand miles distance from any real revolution, men who do not contemplate even the remotest possibility of a revolution even in their wildest dreams, men who are frightened at the very mention of the word revolution and who have turned their backs against all revolutionary struggles – these are the men who are cautioning about ultra-revolutionarism. And, whom are they cautioning? – the tested and tried leadership of the Communist Party of China who did not come to power in the wake of a victorious Soviet Red Army but who, on the contrary, led their Party and country to success in one of the most complicated and protracted revolutions that the world has ever seen. For the majority of the Central Committee of the Ceylon Communist Party to presume to advise such a leadership, from whose advice they had benefited in the past during two particular stages in the history of the Party, is nothing short of impudence.
Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee
Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee
D. N. Nadunge
Full Member of the Central Committee
D. K. D. Jinendrapala
Full Member of the Central Committee
Alternate Member of the Central Committee
N. L. Perera
Alternate Member of the Central Committee
Alternate Member of the Central Committee
W. S. de Siriwardana
Alternate Member of the Central Committee
K. A. Wimalapala
Alternate Member of the Central Committee
Alternate Member of the Central Committee