First Published: Communist Unity, October 1971.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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On Sunday, 22nd August 1971, members of the Communist Unity Organisation met with members of the Irish Communist Organisation to discuss the Communist Federation of Britain and other matters.
The I.C.O. were unprepared to draw up a proper agenda for the meeting and were reluctant to discuss the C.F.B. and the need to develop a programmatic discussion in the Marxist-Leninist movement. They contended that only they had done any significant theoretical work in the Marxist-Leninist movement and this, they explained, was due to their adherence to what they called the ’primacy of theory’ theory. The discussion drifted anarchistically to the subject of the People’s Republic of China and the comrades were allowed to taste the strange fruits of this theory, in what amounts to an all out attack on the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in China. Whilst maintaining that China is a Socialist state, they vilified the Communist Party of China’s leadership as ’liars’ and described their political line as ’shit’.
Here we staunchly defend the C.P.C. from these attacks and attempt to explain the reasons for the I.C.O.’s turnabout on this important question.
The I.C.O., as many comrades will know, have in the past done some very useful work in the defence of Stalin’s role in Communist History. They have done useful work in the exposure of trotskyism. They have also done useful work in the defence of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in China in “In Defence of Leninism” and “Is Mao a Fascist”. This, latter work was directed against the Baker-Bland group (M.L.O.B.) when they launched a vicious attack on Mao in 1968.
On that occasion the I.C.O. were, in the memory of C.U.0. members, the only group to expose this attack effectively.
In the last 18 months the I.C.O. has had second thoughts. In the pamphlet “The C.P.C. and the 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U.”, they accuse Mao of complicity in the rise of revisionism. Despite the C.P.C.’s opposition at all times to the concept of “the peaceful road to Socialism” which is on record. Despite, the opposition at all times to the theories of the revisionists, the I.C.O. chose to make one issue and, one issue alone, the relevant one. This issue is the one of whether Stalin did or did not make mistakes. They distort the question of the intensification of class struggle in socialist society and attempt to claim that the C.P.C. have opposed this concept.
The C.P.C. have criticisms of some of Stalin’s actions. That is undeniable. However, the content of the C.P.C.’s criticisms have always been different from that of the Krushchevite revisionists, in content, in scope and, purpose. Never have the C.P.C condoned any point of revisionism within the International Communist movement. Mao’s statements, which in general have agreed with the idea of criticism of Stalin, were always accompanied by anti-revisionist positions on all important points. No doubt a, responsible Communist Party has a duty to attempt all means of redress within the International Communist Movement before being forced to make public in the face of an imperialist world the betrayal of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. The revisionists would have been able to make even greater gains should the C.P.C. and the Albanian Party of Labour have preferred a rash exposure.
This regard for unity of the International Communist Movement is poo-pooed by the I.C.O. They believe that Lenin would have done differently! Lenin’s sharp exposure of Kautsky is cited.
Lenin exposed Kautsky publicly only when Kautsky broke with internationalism by his social chauvinist position on the imperialist war. Had there been no previous instances of Kautsky’s degeneration? Of course there were. However, Lenin did not blurt out all the differences to the enemy before they had become crucial. Why should the C.P.C.?
Are we to believe that the I.C.O. have no regard for unity? Listen to this:
The facts which are stated in this document have been investigated and discussed by the I.C.O. since its inception in 1965. (’The ’C.P.C. and the 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U.’)
That was written in Nov. 1970. But in February 1968:
Since the rise of Krushchevite revisionism and the decisive leadership given Mao Tse-Tung to the anti-revisionist movementů (’Is Mao a Fascist?’)
The I.C.O. give themselves five years to investigate and discuss the meagre so-called facts that are contained in their attack on China, yet they do not allow Mao four years to lead a successful attack on modern revisionism! What have the I.C.O. being doing for five years but upholding unity?
The I.C.O. arguments are a tenuous and tottering edifice that were better suppressed for five years. Based upon subjective phenomena, and citing words that were not spoken together with the actions that were not taken, they make a case that is a true monument to the “primacy of theory” theory.
The I.C.O. are now in a bad dilemma. They have to explain how a leadership that aids revisionism can defeat imperialism. How ’liars’ and ’shitmongers’ can lead a socialist state. If they claim that China is not socialist they will have to explain how a bourgeois revolution (as surely it must have been)could have succeeded without a proletarian leadership in the epoch of Imperialism.
Maybe they will claim that China is socialist despite itself.