Joint Action Committee of Marxist-Leninists

Down with the New Tsars! Marxist-Leninists Intensify the Struggle Against Social-Imperialism

First Published: 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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Since the last century May 1st has been celebrated by the workers all over the world as International Labour Day – a day to express solidarity with workers of other countries, review their struggles of the past year and pledge themselves to continue the fight for socialism. We as Communists are protesting at the Fascist regime of the Soviet Union using the occasion to advertise the fraud that it is a socialist country.

The Soviet Union was the world’s first socialist country. The October Revolution of 1917 under the leadership of Lenin smashed Tsarist rule and imperialist intervention and began to build socialism. Under the leadership of Stalin – though certain mistakes were made – the Soviet Union continued its socialist construction and played the leading role in the victorious war against Hitler Fascism. Workers and oppressed peoples of the world rightly looked to the U.S.S.R. as a bastion of socialism. However, after Stalin died in 1953 a group of counter-revolutionaries led by the traitor Khrushchov came to power and managed to restore capitalism. Since then the Soviet Union has degenerated into a Fascist and imperialist country.

Because it carries out its activities under the signboard of socialism it is today known as social-imperialist – socialist in words but imperialist in deeds. Internally it mercilessly oppresses the workers, peasants, intellectuals and minority nationalities, throwing millions into prison, labour camps or so-called ’psychiatric hospitals’ or exiling them. Abroad, the Soviet Union has enslaved a number of countries in Eastern Europe as well as Cuba and Mongolia. In 1968 it brazenly invaded Czechoslovakia in the name of ’socialist internationalism’ to keep it under its control. Its wild Hitlerite ambitions to rule the world lead it to station warships in every ocean and interfere and engage in subversion wherever it can. It brought Angola under its domination, making use of Cubans under its control, after that country had only just won its independence from Portuguese colonialism and now it has instigated an attack on the independent African country of Zaire.

Together with U.S. Imperialism, Soviet social-Imperialism is today the greatest enemy of the peoples of the world. In fact because it masks its dirty activities under the guise of socialism, and as it is a rising imperialist power, it is the most dangerous and the main source of a new world war. The Soviet Union threatens this country as well, as can be seen by the large numbers of ill-disguised Soviet spy ships that cruise around our coast, by the recent arrest of a Soviet trawler illegally plundering our fishery resources and by the fact that a few years ago 100 Soviet spies were expelled from the country. This is not to mention the continual and unprecedented arms build-up in the Soviet Union which threatens all countries in Europe. The Soviet bosses flaunt their aggressive power on May Day as they trundle their inter-continental missiles and other weapons through the streets of Moscow seeking to intimidate the people of the world and the Soviet people.

However it is people not weapons that are decisive. The peoples of the Soviet Union are great peoples with heroic revolutionary traditions and they will not tolerate for long the brutal rule of the new Tsars. It is in solidarity with our Soviet brothers and sisters that we are picketing.


In June 1967 workers in Chimkent, Soviet Central Asia, demonstrated after police beat a taxi-driver to death. The demonstrators attacked and burned down the police headquarters and a local police station. Tanks were sent in to suppress the uprising and dozens of workers were killed. In November of the same year thousands of workers in the Kharkov tractor plant went on strike. In September 1972 thousands of workers went on strike and demonstrated in the city of Dniepopetrovsk, Ukraine. The demonstrators attacked the regional Soviet, party and government buildings and the K.G.B. building and tore up portraits of Brezhnev.

In the second half of 1968 a group of students formed an organisation called “Marxist Party of a new type” which adopted a programmatic document entitled “The Downfall of Capital”. In August 1969 they were arrested and tried in the “Ryazan Region People’s Court”. In Sarabatov, January 5th to 13th, 1970, six young people were put on trial on a charge of ’creating an anti-Soviet organisation’ and ’conducting anti-Soviet propaganda and agitation’. Known as “The Party of true Communists” the group had set itself the goal of creatively studying Marxist literature in the original sources as well as other forbidden and published works by Soviet and foreign authors. In 1971 four Leningrad Communists were ordered to be sent to a “psychiatric hospital” for propagating “dissident Marxism”. Last year two people in Leningrad were sentenced to terms of hard labour for possessing a document entitled “Programme of the true Leninists”.


In late 1975 Soviet sailors from the Baltic region mutinied aboard ship and attempted to reach Sweden where they intended to apply for political asylum. Terrified, the new Tsars callously ordered the Soviet Air Force into action which bombed and sank the ship.

This mutiny in the Soviet armed forces was not an isolated occurrence. It followed a mutiny on board a Riga-based nuclear submarine in 1969 and one on board a Soviet submarine in a Norwegian fjord in November 1972. Three officers of the Soviet Baltic Fleet were arrested in the summer of 1969 for having distributed copies of a letter protesting against the armed invasion of Czechoslovakia. In August 1968 a number of the Soviet troops invading Czechoslovakia deserted and sided with the unarmed Czech people who were protesting against the invasion. Some Soviet divisions were called back home after a few days because the men had voiced disapproval of the armed intervention. In places inhabited by the minority peoples in Ukraine, the Caucasus, the Baltic states etc. soldiers in some units refused to carry out orders to crack down on the local people.


When the Soviet revisionists[1] convened the 25th Congress of their party in late February 1976:

Workers at a Leningrad telecommunications plant of more than 2O,OOO workers angrily went on strike in defiance of suppression by troops and police.

A number of Soviet youths in Leningrad distributed leaflets in Nevsky Street calling for a “new revolution”.

Leaflets attacking the Brezhnev clique were seen in the streets, market-places and railway stations in Stalingrad (Volgagrad).

Soviet political prisoners in Vladimir prison near Moscow and concentration camps in Moldavia, Ural and Siberia went on hunger strikes against persecution by the new Tsars.

Tall buildings in the city of Togliatti on the Volga were painted with “Down with the dictatorship” and other slogans.

Letters sent to the Moscow central Television studio denounced the policy of “raising labour productivity” as ”intensified exploitation of the workers through &e sweat-shop system”.

A Soviet army man wrote that “compulsion is the practice” in the Soviet Army. “All subordinates are ordered to act on the principle that: ’I (the commander) am your overlord and you are my slave”’. “The K.G.B. is all-powerful” “In the last ten years the forces of the movement fighting against the existing system in the Soviet army have become ever stronger.” Armymen “do not want to train their guns on their fellow-countrymen or the people of other countries.”

From April through to August 1976 huge slogans appeared in prominent places in Leningrad denouncing the regime including: ”Down with the Party bourgeoisie” and ”How long are we to endure the Romanov dynasty?”

In April and May successive strikes broke out in Riga in Latvia and Irkutsk in Siberia. In Rostov-on-Don and Kiev demonstrators angrily smashed up empty food shops and markets.


On October 5th 1976 an 84 year old man who had been a party member for 58 years and a friend of Lenin announced his withdrawal from the Soviet revisionist party and sought political asylum in Sweden. In an open letter to party boss Leonid Brezhnev he denounced the present Soviet regime for its autocratic and militaristic rule and accused the Soviet leaders of being a “privileged caste”, “wallowing in wealth, isolated from the people, riding roughshod over them.” He noted that the present Soviet regime, “while preaching ’international detente’ and ’peaceful co-existence’ is in fact amassing nuclear weapons and rockets at an ever faster rate and preparing a new generation of mass destruction weapons and for wars of aggression.”

At about the same time on September 6th Soviet pilot V. I. Belenko defected to Japan with his “ultra-modern,” “top-secret” Mig-25 fighter plane and asked for asylum in the United States. Answering questions about his reasons for defecting he said “the Soviet Union today resembles Tsarist Russia.” Shortly afterwards came the defection of another Soviet pilot in an An-2 plane to Iran who said he “could not put up with the Soviet system any longer.”


One of the most brutal features of the new Tsars’ regime is their incarceration of thousands of perfectly sane people who have dared oppose their rule in “psychiatric hospitals”. To give just one example, a Soviet engineer was placed in a “psychiatric hospital” because he spoke at a student meeting against the expulsion of students for political reasons.

The enforced ’medical treatment’ in these hospitals is in fact torture. Former Major General Pyotr Grigorenko said: “The ’psychiatric hospital’ is the most terrible of all prisons.” One form of ’treatment’ is to wrap the ’patient’ in wet canvas with a wide leather belt around it. As the canvas dried, the ’patient’ finds it more and more difficult to breathe. Forcible injections which are damaging to health are given. The use of psychedelic drugs which evoke indescribable torture and have disastrous effects on the body is another way of breaking the morale of ’unruly patients’. People have commented that the Soviet system of “mental Hospitals” is even more evil than Hitler’s system of gas chambers.

Lenin’s description of pre-revolutionary Russia was “A prison house of nations”. Under the brutal rule of the new Tsars the Soviet Union is once again a prison house of nations with the Brezhnev clique frantically pushing Great Russian chauvinism and Russification in an attempt to wipe out the minority nationalities.

For example, in 1972 the Soviet publication, “Statistical Review” declared, “The people of different nationalities and tribes in their millions regard Russian culture as their own.” A leading member of the revisionist party once said: “The Russian language is the greatest achievement of the linguistic culture of all mankind.” The policies of the Brezhnev regime have led to the decline in numbers of many nationalities and even to the complete elimination of some of the smaller tribes.

How the new Tsars rewrote history and brazenly distorted the history of the minority nationalities can be seen for example by comparing the 1943 and 1957 editions of the “History of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.” The 1943 Edition says: “The conversion of Kazakhstan into a colony signified the end of the independent existence of the Kazakh people and their inclusion in the system of military-feudal exploitation, which was created by the domination of Tsarism for all the exploited peoples of the Tsarist prison of peoples.” In the 1957 edition this was changed to:

The annexation of Kazakhstan to Russia had a progressive significance for the historic destiny of the Kazakh people appearing at a crisis hour in their history ...(It) delivered the Kazakh people from enslavement by Dzhungarian feudal leaders ...”


Not surprisingly this genocidal policy of the new Tsars has brought about massive resistance from the minority nationalities. There have been mass demonstrations in Ukrainian cities for equality between the Russian and Ukrainian languages. Last year, an underground organisation in the Ukraine issued a leaflet accusing the Brezhnev clique of practising Great Russian chauvinism and pursuing a policy of national oppression. The leaflet urged the Soviet people of all nationalities to unite and overthrow the new Tsars. Resistance to the new Tsars is particularly strong in the three Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

In May 1972 Romas Kalanta, a nineteen year old Lithuanian burned himself to death in protest against the lack of political freedom and oppression. His funeral procession touched off two full days of rebellion in which thousands of people took to the streets shouting: “Freedom for Lithuania!” They attacked a police station and the revisionist party offices. Two policemen were reported killed.

In early 1972, 17 Latvian Communists wrote a letter of protest which reached the West in which they denounced the colonialist policy towards Latvia of the Brezhnev regime. They wrote: “We are Communists and most of us became Communists 25 to 35 or more years ago. We wish only success for socialism, for Marxism-Leninism, and for the whole of mankind. All of us were born in and have lived in Latvia ...we joined the party at a time when it was still underground, we endured repression, were confined to prison and suffered under the yoek (sic) of bourgeois Latvia. The struggle to establish Soviet power and a socialist order was our main goal in life. We all studied Marxism-Leninism. During the last war we were members of the Soviet armed forces or partisan groups and fought the Nazi aggressors. During the post-war years we all actively participated in building socialism in our land.” The authors of the letter detail countless examples of national oppression in Latvia such as the suppression of the Latvian people’s national festival of “Ligo” and the forcible imposition of the Russian language. The letter reveals that in the Latvian capital of Riga there is a memorial museum to Peter I, the Tsar who conquered the Baltic states. The letter concludes with a call for the leaders of the Soviet Communist Party to be unmasked and boycotted.

The Crimean Tartars and the Volga Germans are two nationalities that the new Tsars have attempted to eliminate completely and both have carried out protracted, determined and heroic resistance. On 21st April 1968, a group of Crimean Tartars held their national spring festival of “Dervizal’. Police and soldiers set upon them when they were singing and dancing and after a protracted clash over 300 people were arrested. Less than three months ago a group of Volga Germans staged a demonstration In Moscow.

The Korean national minority in the Soviet Union is another people who are denied their national rights. Last year many thousands of Soviet Koreans stated a demonstration in Sakhalin in the Soviet Far East, where they had been sent by the Japanese Fascists as forced labour at the time of World War II, for the right to emigrate to their homeland. Resistance to the new Tsars chauvinist policies is strong in the republic of Georgia in the Caucasus region. The slogan “Glory to Stalin” appeared in large letters painted on a mountainside a few years ago. (Stalin was a native of Georgia). On April 12th, 1976 a bomb exploded outside the government building in Tbilisi, the capital city. It was reported to have been a protest against compulsory Russification.

The Soviet Revolutionary Communists (Bolsheviks) in their “PROGRAMMATIC PROCLAMATION” issued a call for the unification of isolated Communist cells and the reconstitution of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), concluding with the stirring words: “Let our friends and enemies throughout the world hear: Bolshevism is reviving in Russia, just as the Phoenix rose from the ashes and tile dust. We Bolsheviks are fully aware of the difficulty of the tasks facing us but we shall endure them. ...”

The great Marxist-Leninist leader and teacher Chairman Mao pointed out in 1962: “The Soviet Union was the first socialist state and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was created by Lenin. Although the leadership of the Soviet Party and state has now been usurped by the revisionists, I would advise comrades to remain firm in the conviction that the masses of the Soviet people and of Party members and cadres are good, that they desire revolution and that revisionist rule will not last long.”

The facts mentioned above represent only some of those that have leaked out from the water-tight control imposed by the Brezhnev clique – but they enable people to see that the present Soviet society is ridden with fierce class antagonisms, national contradictions and social upheavals.

Outwardly soviet Social Imperialism may look like a colossus and be very fierce in appearance but actually it is beset with difficulties both internally and externally and is haunted by deadly danger like sitting on a volcano.

The rumbling thunder over the Soviet land heralds the coming revolutionary storms!
A new October Revolution is inevitable!


* * *


The working class, since its coming into being from among the working people, has struggled against the capitalist class – the bourgeoisie – for over two centuries. After trying all types of struggle (such as Luddites, Chartists..) the working class learnt that it could solve its problems only through seizure of political power by armed struggle and not through parliaments, courts etc. It was in 1871, the workers of Paris seized political power through armed struggle and established PARIS COMMUNE. After three months it lost the political power to the bourgeoisie. But we have learnt a lesson from it. Under the leadership of LENIN, the working class party in Russia united all the working people and soldiers to overthrow the dictatorship of the capitalist-landlord classes and established the dictatorship of the proletariat- Socialist society. After a few years Lenin died. Under the leadership of Stalin, the economic problems of socialism were solved to some degree and the defence of the socialist state from external enemies was attended to, but some problems remained unsolved. Being the first socialist state in the world, some mistakes were bound to occur. After Stalin’s death, the ’capitalist roaders’, the traitors to the working class such as Khrushchev, Brezhnev and their clique came to power, and cunningly restored capitalism, while still keeping the “cloak of socialism” in order to fool the working people. Learning from this negative example, Chairman MAO TSETUNG mobilised the masses of working people in China to wage class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat, the GREAT PROLETARIAN CULTURAL REVOLUTION, which was an acute and complex class struggle waged by the working class against those who were taking the ’capitalist road’ – those people within the Communist Party and the State who were promoting self interest and ignoring common interest of the people – and also against bourgeois ideas. Chairman Mao Tsetung analysed the vital problems of socialist society in his famous thesis: ON THE TEN MAJOR RELATIONSHIPS (April 1956). If these main problems are not handled correctly, reversal to capitalism from socialism may occur, as it happened in the Soviet Union.

The ’doubting Toms’ and the bourgeois ’scholars’ say that however much the working class may struggle for socialism, it would eventually end in failure. And arrogantly they say that ’human nature’ will not change, as though human nature has not changed from the days of cave-men existence. All working people are aware that we learn from mistakes, and we are never afraid to carry on with our struggles in spite of reversals. We have learnt from the positive achievements and negative experiences of PARIS COMMUNE, the great OCTOBER REVOLUTION of 1917 and the Soviet Socialist State, and now are learning from the positive achievements of the Chinese working people who are still carrying on Revolution to prevent restoration of capitalism in their country.

It is of great interest to us here to know how the Chinese working class is carrying on revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. The following passage is from one of their political weekly PEKING REVIEW No. 14, April 1, 1977:

It is an inevitable historical phenomenon that some people of petty-bourgeois origin who joined the political party of the proletariat during the democratic revolution brought with them various non-proletarian ideas and political demands. As Lenin pointed out: “And there is nothing bad about that. The historical task of the proletariat is to assimilate, re-school, re-educate all the elements of the old society that the latter bequeaths it in the shape of offshoots of the petty bourgeoisie.” (The Faction of Supporters of Otzovism and God-Building.) Marxist-Leninist theory and the practice of the Chinese revolution show that the proletariat is the greatest class in human history and, ideologically, politically and in strength, is the most powerful revolutionary class and can assimilate elements of petty bourgeois origin and re-educate them into proletarian revolutionary fighters to augment its own strength. At the same time, it can preserve the purity of its ranks by purging those persons who, in the test of revolutionary struggle, have shown themselves to be retaining their original class stand and have refused to be re-educated. The building up of our Party over more than 50 years under the guidance of Chairman Mao’s thinking on Party building has been a process in which the Party has continually replenished and expanded its ranks.


[1] ’Revisionists’ are phoney communists, who use Marxist phases but betray the working class.