First Published: The Committee to Defeat Revisionism for Communist Unity. September 11, 1963
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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Khrushchev and his followers in the leadership of the C.P.S.U. have adopted a general line of outright betrayal of the interests of the working class and all working people, in open defiance of the principles of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement of the World’s Communist Parties.
The Statements of John Gollan and the Executive Committee of the C.P.G.B. of September 18th, under cover of talk about the need to maintain Communist unity, give full support on all essentials to Khrushchev’s line of betrayal and deliberately ignore, obscure, or distort the issues on which the Communist Party of China has taken a principled stand in defence of the agreed general line of the international Communist movement, as laid down in the 1960 Statement.
The first criminal attack upon Stalin at the 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U. launched the revisionists’ campaign to win control of the international Communist movement, by substituting bourgeois theories for Marxist theories and bourgeois policies for working class policies. Since then, step by step, Khrushchev and his followers throughout the world have been manoeuvring towards open counter-revolution, towards an open deal with United States imperialism and its allies.
How else can we explain Khrushchev’s abandonment of vital economic and military aid to Socialist China and Socialist Albania, when both are directly threatened by capitalist attack?
How else can we explain Khrushchev’s public abuse of the Albanian Party of Labour at the 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U., and the subsequent public attacks upon the Communist Party of China?
How else can we explain the abandonment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union, announced by Khrushchev at the 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U., when Lenin taught, and all subsequent experience has confirmed, that the dictatorship of the proletariat will b e necessary for the entire historical period of transition from capitalist society to communist society?
How else can we explain the growing economic, military and verbal support which Khrushchov has given to Nehru and the Indian capitalists when they are drawing ever closer to United States imperialism, have already launched one major armed attack upon Socialist China, and intend to attack again?
How else can we explain Khrushchev’s attempt to bully Socialist Cuba into acceptance of United Nations inspection of Cuba in the interests of United States imperialism, and when all the world knows that Lumumba was murdered and the liberties of the Congolese peoples suppressed as a direct result of United Nations intervention in the Congo?
How else can we explain Khrushchev’s signing of the Test Ban Treaty with the United States and British Imperialists, while refusing to give fraternal Socialist countries the arms which would strengthen them in their ability to deter imperialist aggression?
How else can we explain Khrushchev’s statements that he has no essential differences with Tito and that Tito is leading Yugoslavia in the building of Socialism, when the Tito clique has already obtained 5000 million dollars from the imperialists for services tendered? The words of the 1960 Statement remain true. They cannot be denied.
“The Communist Parties have unanimously condemned the Yugoslav variety of inter-national 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 dependant on so-called ’aid’ from U.S. and other imperialists, and therefore exposed the Yugoslav people to the danger of losing the revolutionary gains achieved through a heroic struggle. The revisionists carry on subversive work against the socialist camp and the world Communist movement. Under the pretext of being outside blocks they engage in activities which prejudice the unity of all the peace-loving forces and countries. Further exposure of the leaders of Yugoslav revisionists and active struggle to safeguard the Communist movement and the working class movement from the anti-Leninist ideas of the Yugoslav revisionists, remain an essential task of the Marxist-Leninist Parties.”
It is not Tito’s policies which have changed, but Khrushchev’s. By underwriting the revisionist theories and practises of the Tito clique he has compelled all those who remain loyal to the 1960 Statement of the international Communist movement to expose him, and his followers throughout the world, and struggle actively to safeguard the Communist movement from their anti-Leninist ideas.
In our own country the revisionist faction which controls the C.P.G.B. follow Khrushchev in slandering those who uphold the principles of the 1960 Statement. They followed his vulgar abuse of the Albanian Party of Labour with their own public attack upon the Albanian comrades. In January of this year they produced their own public attack upon the Communist Party of China. At the 28th Congress of the C.P.G.B. in April Palme Dutt and George Matthews maligned the Chinese comrades, and forced through Congress a bogus vote endorsing the January Statement. No prior discussion was permitted in the Party Press.
A leading member of the C.P.G.B., who was in the Chair at one session of the Congress of Women in Moscow in June played a despicable role in permitting the vilification of the Chinese Peoples Republic, and then denying the Chinese delegation the right of reply. In July the revisionist faction publicly attacked the Communist Party of China for exposing the Test Ban Treaty fraud. There followed a spate of vicious articles by Klugmann, Campbell, Dutt and others, in the Party press, and then came the John Gollan and Executive Committee Statements of September 18th.
In typically hypocritical fashion these men congratulate themselves because they have not used such unpleasant adjectives as Khrushchev, Thorez, Togliatti and company, because they have used the sly innuendo rather than the lie direct. Thus in John Gollan’s statement we read; “The crucial point at issue is Socialist foreign policy in relation to the capitalist states. Is the general line to be peaceful coexistence or revolutionary war? It is peaceful coexistence. ”
This remark can only be intended to suggest that Mao-tse-tung and the Communist Party of China propose revolutionary war by socialist states against capitalist states. Such attempts to suggest that our Chinese comrades are advocating this pernicious Trotskyist line may be less crude than the methods Khrushchev employs, but for that very reason they are the more dangerous and more despicable. All Marxist-Leninist Parties stand for peaceful coexistence between Socialist and capitalist states, but resolutely oppose its extension to relations between oppressed and oppressor classes, and oppressed and oppressor nations.
John Gollan quotes the correct statement of objective fact made by the Chinese comrades in their June 14th letter; “The various types of contradictions in the contemporary world are concentrated in the vast areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America; these are the most vulnerable areas under imperialist rule and the storm-centres of world revolution dealing direct blows at imperialism. In a sense, therefore, the whole cause of the international proletarian revolution hinges on the outcome of the revolutionary struggles of the peoples of these areas.”
But notice how John Gollan distorts the meaning of, this statement. “This propaganda”, he writes, “encourages the most reactionary trends of racialist\separatism, and of the non-Marxist classless analysis of a line of division between ’have’ and ’have not’ nations in place of between the camp of imperialism and the camp of socialism and national liberation.” Here is the suggestion, cunningly worded, that Mao-tse-tung and the Communist Party of China are advancing racialist ideas, mobilising racial support against the white peoples.
Such slanders can only rebound in the face of their authors, to reveal them as men who have abandoned principle, abandoned the truth, abandoned Marxism.
In relating the international dispute to our own conditions in Britain John Gollan writes: “’The British Road to Socialism’ states the Marxist-Leninist thesis that State power must be taken from the hands of the capitalists and placed in the hands of the people; that the working class must use its power to break the economic power of the ruling class by Socialist nationalisation, and break its political power by transforming the State machine into a state machine serving the people. These principles are not, and cannot be, issues of debate between Marxist-Leninists.”
But Gollan lies, with intent, when he writes this, for he knows full well that Marxists have always held that the capitalist state machine cannot be captured and transformed, but must be smashed from without. As Lenin wrote in State and Revolution: ”It was Marx who taught that the proletariat cannot simply conquer state power in the sense that the old state apparatus passes into new hands. As we have seen Marx meant that the working class must smash, break, shatter (sprengung – explosion, the expression used by Engels) the whole state machine.”
It is from this basic falsehood that there emerges the unreal, unrealisable, line of advance to which the C.P.G.B. is committed. The aim is to transform the Labour Party, and then advance to victory at the polls in alliance with this transformed Labour Party, to usher in the legal revolution. But this cosy constitutional perspective has nothing in common with Marxism-Leninism. By reducing the role of the C.P.G.B. to one of transforming existing legal institutions the revisionists have abandoned revolution, abandoned the struggle for working class power and socialism, and replaced it with the aim of winning a few crumbs from the table of the monopoly capitalists.
But no permanent gains can be achieved by the working class so long a s monopoly capitalism continues to exist. Even when a few temporary concessions are made to sections of the working class these will only be at the expense of their fellow workers, at home, and overseas, in lands where the British monopolists attack the people even more savagely than at home.
By abandoning revolutionary struggle, by seeking to do a deal with British imperialism the revisionists controlling the C.P.G.B. restrict, hamper, and suppress at every turn the great revolutionary energies of the working class. In the struggle for higher wages and the right to work, the struggle for decent homes at reasonable rents, the struggle against military bases and for peace, and in the electoral campaigns, the C.P.G.B. gives no clear and effective lead to the mass of the people.
And indeed how could it? For it appears to the working class for what it is: a radical appendage to the Labour Party. It is not seen by the workers as a genuine alternative to capitalist politics because it is no genuine alternative. The revisionists are always looking over their shoulders at the Labour Party, ever hopeful of uniting with it, and desperately anxious to convince the bourgeoisie that they are a respectable constitutional party. Thus they sabotage attempts by Communists to provide effective leadership to the working class and working people on all immediate issues.
For years now Marxists within the C.P.G.B. have attempted to open up discussion on this revisionist general line, and all the practical failures, and worse, which have resulted from its application. Such attempts have been suppressed by the leadership, which recognises that only by preventing Marxist-Leninist arguments from reaching the militant workers can they maintain their treacherous policies in a party that purports to be based upon the principles of Marxism-Leninism.
Since the argument within the international Communist movement has developed this general ban upon the publication of Marxist arguments has been maintained. In the summer of this year the revisionists published a few Marxist letters in the Daily Worker, which criticised the electoral policy of the C.P.G.B., and exposed the Test Ban Treaty fraud. These were only a handful of the many sent, and it is evident that they were published in face of widespread discontent in order to pretend that full discussion was being permitted, and that the opposition to the revisionists was weak.
Now this has been ended. The Editor of the Daily Worker has stated that discussion has been closed, and from Comment, the C.P.G.B. weekly, the following statement has been received: “We shall not publish in Comment articles that are in opposition to the policy as set down in the Executive Committee resolution and the report of John Gollan adopted at the E.C.” In addition Communists who have distributed Marxist-Leninist literature in different parts of the country have been disciplined, and threatened with expulsion.
Meanwhile the revisionist leadership of the C.P.G.B. is forcing through the Branches a vote on these two Statements. Since Marxists are forbidden to speak to Branches, or write in the Party press and since the main statements of the Communist Party of China, which are being attacked, have not been distributed to members of the C.P.G.B., this vote can in no way reflect the true opinion of Communists in Britain.
In short democratic-centralism has been replaced by bureaucratic-centralism within the C.P.G.B. It is no longer a Marxist-Leninist Party.
To remain silent in the face of this treachery by the revisionists is to aid and abet their treachery.
Communists must act now. We, the under-signed Communists, representing cadres throughout the country, have therefore met to issue this Appeal.
We call upon all Marxists, all Communists, to unite in condemning the revisionist faction which controls the C.P.G.B.
We call upon all Marxists, all Communists, to work for the defeat of this faction, and the establishment of a genuine Communist Party, based upon the principles of Marxism-Leninism, which will lead the working class and all working people in their struggles against monopoly capitalism and for its final overthrow.
We call upon all Marxists, all Communists, to unite around the principles of the 1960 Statement of the International Communist Movement.
LONG LIVE THE SOCIALIST PEOPLES OF THE WORLD! WE SALUTE THE OPPRESSED MASSES IN THEIR STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM! FORWARD TO THE VICTORY OF SOCIALISM IN BRITAIN!
The Committee, To Defeat Revisionism, for Communist Unity
Secretary pro-tem, Michael McCreery, Flat 3. 33 Anson Road. London N7
Joan Baker, Scarborough,Yorkshire, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1954, Party Position: Member
Mike Baker, Scarborough, Yorkshire, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1954, Party Position: Branch Secretary
Alf Cross, Daily Mirror, London, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1960, Party Position: Branch Treasurer
Joe Dix, Gorton (Manchester), Lanes & Cheshire, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1947, Party Position: Municipal Candidate
Tony Hall, Stoke Newington, London, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1960, Party Position: Member
Malcolm Jervis, Stoke Newington, London, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1960, Party Position: Member
Ron Jones, Tufnell (Islington), London, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1955, Party Position: Branch Chairman
Arthur Major, Moss Side West, (Manchester), Lanes & Cheshire, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1946, Party Position: Member
Michael McCreery, Tufnell (Islington), London, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1956, Party Position: Branch Secretary Member Economic Sub-Committee
Alec Moss, Scarborough, Yorkshire, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1960, Party Position: Branch Committee
Peggy Pinckheard, Maitland (St Pancras), London, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1936, Party Position: Branch Education Organiser
Hassan Sheriff, Shoreditch, London, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1960, Party Position: Branch Committee
Silvia Sheriff, Shoreditch, London, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1960, Party Position: Branch Committee
Wendy Smith, Moss Side West (Manchester), Lanes & Cheshire, Date of joining C.P.G.B. or Y.C.L.: 1960, Party Position: Branch Committee