Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist League of Britain

The Party of Labour of Albania – A New Centre of Revisionism

First Published: Revolution, Vol. 4, No. 1, August 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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The history of the international communist movement has been marked by splits. In the First International, Marx and Engels battled constantly with those like Bakunin who tried to lead the workers up the wrong path. The imperialist war of 1914-18 exposed those like Bernstein and Kautsky who wanted to take the right opportunist path of accommodation with the bourgeoisie. In the late 1950’s, the Communist Party of China (CPC) allied then with the Party of Labour of Albania (PLA) waged a bitter struggle against Khrushchev’s modern revisionism and splittism. At each stage it was necessary to expose revisionism and the revolutionary line grew stronger in these struggles with the wrong line.

It was through the works of Lenin and Mao Zedong, which summed up these battles that the workers movement came to understand revisionism. The essence of it is that it is bourgeois ideas dressed up in Marxist clothes. As the international proletariat increasingly took up Marxism, the bourgeoisie was forced to resort to this trick of penetrating the Workers’ movement and disguising its ideas. At this stage revisionism was always right opportunist in essence – it sought to accommodate with the bourgeoisie and tailed behind the workers’ movement. But as revisionism become increasingly exposed through the struggles of the CPC against the leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), then revisionism began to re-emerge in “cleverer” more “revolutionary” forms. In 1908, Lenin argued in Marxism and Revisionism that there was such a thing as “Revisionism from the left”, but, he went on:

... which as yet is far from having developed to the same extent as opportunist revisionism: it has not yet become international, has not yet stood the test of a single big practical battle with a socialist party in any single country.

It was not accidental that revisionism from the left developed and carried out it first great battle in China, precisely because the CPC had done a thorough job of exposing revisionism from the right. This left revisionism was represented clearly by the political line of Lin Biao and the ’“Gang of Four”. As a recent article in Beijing Review put it:

...the nature of the political line of Lin Biao and the “gang of four” was not Right, but ultra-Left. It was “Left” opportunism. This opportunism from the “Left” which appeared under the cover of the slogan “opposing revisionism and Right deviation” was extremely iniquitious, as we all know now. (On the nature of Lin Biao’s and the “Gang of Four’s” Political line by Wu Jiang, Beijing Review, 15, 1979)

But the influence of the “Gang of Four” spread far beyond China; in many senses their ideological influence spread to an international level. It certainly affected the RCLB for a period of time, in the shape of the faction who pushed left opportunist idealism and tried to split the League. Its influence was clear in the cases of those parties who, prior to the death of Mao had seemed to be Marxist-Leninist parties, but who, after his death, at the time of the overthrow of the gang attacked the new leadership of the CPC, and targetted the theory of the differentiation of the world into three as the butt of their most venomous attacks. In Britain this trend was represented by the so-called “Communist” Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the “<;Communist” Party of England (Marxist-Leninist). The issue at this time seemed to be for or against Mao Zedong. But as the polemics of the Party of Labour of Albania against the CPC became open, it was soon clear that this was not the issue. The PLA was opposed to the CPC before and after the death of Mao. So it was not the political line of the gang that these parties followed, but the ideological influence of the “gang” – their left opportunism.

This latest split in the movement, between the CPC and the PLA took many by surprise. The PLA appeared to be a strong Marxist-Leninist Party. Tempered in struggle with German and Italian fascism in the 1930s and 40s, the PLA had led the Albanian people to liberate themselves and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat in their country. In the anti-revisionist struggles of the 50s and 60s the PLA appeared to stand firm in support of the CPC. Since then it seemed that the PLA had continued on the correct road, constructing socialism at home and maintaining a firm stand internationally against the two superpowers, Soviet social imperialism and US imperialism. Differences in line between the CPC and PLA were there but these were not thought to be significant by the majority of the movement.

It is therefore all the more important to grasp the seriousness of the present split provoked by the PLA. It is no longer a question of differences between two fraternal parties which can be overcome through discussion. It is an open and consummated split prompted by the idealism, dogmatism and splittism of the PLA. The PLA is now publishing regular and slanderous attacks of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), on its present and past leaders, and in particular on Mao Zedong and Zhou En1ai. The PLA declares that Mao Zedong Thought is a “new brand” of revisionism.

The PLA accuses the PRC of imperialist designs on the world, of being a superpower and of following social chauvinist policies. It argues that the CPC has never based itself on Marxism-Leninism, has never followed a consistent line. It encourages international meetings like last year’s in Europe, and the recent circus in Canada where it lines up with, among others, known agents of the KGB like Hardial Bains.

The purpose of this article will be to trace the development of the PLA polemics, and to refute the major points of their line. It is necessary to do this both to expose local agents of the PLA, like the “Communist” Party of England (Marxist-Leninist) now calling itself the “Revolutionary Communist” Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and to continue the struggle to unite the Marxist-Leninists in Britain around the correct international strategic line.


It was at the 7th Congress of the PLA that Enver Hoxha launched his first open public attack on the CPC. Although criticisms by innuendo had been made before, the Congress Documents opened up a public breach. But at this stage, Hoxha did not make Mao the target of attack. He chose instead the theory of the three worlds. Hoxha described the terms third world, second world, non-aligned world, and developing countries as terms which “cover up and do not bring out the class character of these political forces, the fundamental contradictions of our epoch, the key problem which is predominant today on a national and international scale, the ruthless struggle between the bourgeois-imperialist world on the one hand, and socialism, the world proletariat, and its natural allies on the other.” (em>Albania Today, No.6 (31) 1976, p46.) (our emphasis)

This same point was repeated and expanded in Hoxha’s most recent work, Imperialism and the Revolution where he says,

The fact that socialism has been betrayed in the Soviet Union and the former socialist countries does not in any way alter the Leninist criteria of the division of the world. Now as before, there are only two worlds, and the struggle between the two worlds, between the two antagonistic classes, between socialism and capitalism, exists not only on a national scale but also on an international scale. (p258)

These statements sum up the main line of demarcation with the CPC theory on the international class struggle. According to the PLA, the main contradiction is between socialism, the world proletariat and its natural allies and imperialism, with no distinctions drawn between the superpowers and the lesser imperial isms. Secondly, there can be no distinctions drawn within the camp of socialism, the world proletariat, etc. regarding the main force and the leading force, because the concept of the third world as the main force in the struggle against imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism does not make any distinction between what the PLA calls the “genuine anti-imperialist, reactionary and fascist forces in power in a number of developing countries”. That is to say that it is always and everywhere the contradiction between the proletariat and its “natural allies” and the bourgeoisie that is the main one, nationally as well as internationally. The class contradiction is always and everywhere primary over the national question.


So, for the PLA there is only one way to divide the forces in the world – bourgeoisie or proletariat. It is inadmissible to include in the camp of the people national bourgeois elements who struggle to a greater or lesser extent against imperialism. Although Hoxha and the PLA shout their faithfulness to Lenin and Stalin from the rooftops, it is necessary to remind them of a few elementary points.

As Lenin himself argued:

... the focal point in the Social Democratic programme must be that division of nations into oppressor and oppressed which forms the essence of imperialism and is deceitfully evaded by the social chauvinists and Kautsky. (Lenin, The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination) (our emphasis).

This division, to which Lenin attached so much importance, is one of the four fundamental contradictions in the world in the era of imperialism. Hoxha shouts a lot about these fundamental contradictions, but in essence he denies the existence of this one, by stressing always the need to distinguish between the leaders of the oppressed nations. He seeks, in typical opportunist fashion to merge it with the contradiction between capitalism and socialism, and that between the world proletariat and imperialism to produce this vague formulation about “socialism, the world proletariat and their natural allies”. Hoxha’s “all-embracing” category cannot measure up to the reality of the world today. Because for Hoxha the countries of the world must be divided into bourgeois capitalist and socialist – not oppressor and oppressed.

The theory of the differentiation of the world into three does not use such idealist terms. It is based on the concrete analysis of the relative significance of the basic contradictions under imperialism. Such a division has precedents in the international communist movement. At the Second Congress of the Comintern, Lenin spoke about “oppressed colonies”, “financially dependent countries” and those “benefiting from the partition of the world”.

At a later date Stalin spoke of the “fascist bloc”, the “antifascist bloc” and the “neutral countries”. These contradictions do not mention the contradiction between imperialism and socialism. Yet the PLA leaders do not accuse Lenin or Stalin of removing the class content from their analyses.

The theory of the three worlds is based on concrete analysis. As such it takes new phenomena into account. The emergence of the two superpowers is one such new phenomenon in the history of the development of imperialism. The division of the world cannot be carried out according to abstract moral precepts. It must be done according to reality.

Imperialism means the progressively mounting oppression of the nations of the world by a handful of Great Powers; it means a period of wars between the latter to extend and consolidate the oppression of nation. Today this ’handful’, of Great Powers has become only two the Soviet Union and the USA which are now the common enemies of the peoples of the world with the Soviet Union as the most dangerous source of war. (People’s Daily Editorial. Peking 1976, p28)

The division of the world is carried out “in proportion to capital, in proportion to strength” according to Lenin. The facts today show that the lesser imperialist powers, the second world countries cannot compete with the superpowers for a redivision of the world. This, of course, means that we must draw distinctions between the superpowers and the minor imperialist powers. This too is nothing new in the history of the communist movement. If such a thing were “anti-Leninist” then both Stalin and Hoxha themselves would be guilty.

Stalin, in the Report to the l8th Congress of the CPSU said:

It is a distinguishing feature of the new imperialist war that it has not yet become universal, a world war. The war is being waged by aggressor states who in every way infringe upon the interests of the non-aggressive states, primarily Britain, France and the USA, while the latter draw back and retreat making concession after concession to the aggressors.

Thus we are witnessing an open redivision of the world and spheres of influence at the expense of the non-aggressive states, without the least attempt at resistance and even with a certain connivance on their part.

To be sure, the role played by Britain, France and the USA then was not identical to their roles now, but this was the bloc of countries which was to become, after 1941, part of the anti-fascist bloc. Hoxha himself pointed out in 1944:

Our war is part and parcel of the great anti-fascist war of the whole world, and the alliance of our people with the Anglo-Soviet American bloc and with all the national liberation movements in the world is a vital condition for us.

Thus there are clear precedents for making distinctions between imperialisms according to their relative strengths and power to redivide the world.


Hoxha asserts that the term “third world” removes the class content from international relations. For him “countries, grouped according to the social system prevailing in them, into bourgeois-capitalist and socialist countries.” And this distinction is the only distinction, between countries that Hoxha will admit. Again Hoxha not only fails to study reality, he fails to grasp those principles of which he is supposed to be such a staunch defender.

Stalin had this to say about the contradiction between capitalist and socialist countries:

It is said that contradictions between capitalism and socialism are stronger than the contradictions among the capitalist countries. Theoretically of course that is true. It is not only true now today; it was true before the Second World War. And it was more and more realised by the leaders of the capitalist countries. Yet, the Second World War began not as a war with the USSR but as a war with capitalist countries...

Consequently, the struggle of this capitalist countries for markets and the desire to crush their competitors proved in practice to be stronger than the contradictions between the capitalist camp’ and the socialist camp. (Economic Problems of Socialism Beijing Edition, p34-35)

This analysis of the relative importance of the different contradictions led Stalin to defend the thesis of the inevitability of war between capitalist countries, even in the period of existence of the socialist camp in the 1950s. How much more applicable is it today then when a socialist camp no longer exists?

Hoxha on the other hand insists on arguing over and over again that the distinction to be made between countries is that between the capitalist and the socialist and to insist that a socialist camp does exist. Hoxha cannot tell us what this camp consists of. It cannot include China because China is no longer socialist. It cannot include the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe because these too are no longer socialist. So what does it consist of? Albania alone?

This is rubbish. Because when the socialist camp did exist after World War Two, it was a large bloc of countries which formed in Stalin’s terms a “parallel world market” which served to weaken and restrict the opposing capitalist world market. When the Soviet Union and its satellites degenerated and restored capitalism this bloc became a competing capitalist bloc. The remaining socialist countries could not exert the force on these two capitalist blocs that the former socialist camp had on the western capitalist bloc. This was the importance of the existence of the former socialist camp, its disappearance was obviously a setback for world revolution. Hoxha cannot see this. For him it is enough for one socialist country to exist to call it a “camp”.

The dissolution of the socialist camp was indeed a setback for the world revolution.

Yet despite this the sphere of exploitation of the world resources by imperialism is restricted. Why? Precisely because of the struggle of the third world countries and peoples – a force which Hoxha denies. Again, it must be said that Hoxha does not understand the theory of imperialism.

Lenin and Stalin were quick to point out that the development of imperialism had changed the significance of nationalism – the struggle of the oppressed nations. Nationalism in the era of imperialism was no longer a question of combating national oppression in Europe, but became one of the emancipation of the oppressed peoples, colonies and semi-colonies from imperialism. In Stalin’s terms this created “a new front of revolution.”

The three worlds theory defends this analysis. It points out that, since the end of World War Two, the thesis of the unity between the international proletariat, and the oppressed peoples and nations has been confirmed again and again. The revolutionary peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America have waged a number of revolutionary armed struggles. More than 80 countries have won independence in the last 30 years. The old colonial system has fallen apart at the seams and US imperialism, which emerged all powerful at the end of the wars now a superpower on the defensive and in decline.

The new superpower, Soviet social imperialism finds its plans for expansion blocked at every turn by the struggles of the third world countries for genuine independence and by the armed struggles of the peoples of Kampuchea and Eritrea against its plans for hegemony. So the thesis of unity between the proletariat and the third world countries and peoples stands confirmed by reality.

Hoxha recognises the role of the “revolutionary peoples” in struggle. But the key factor for him is that the theory of the three worlds stresses the role of “countries” in this struggle. It stresses the role of the “oppressed nations”. Hoxha then is forced to oppose the struggle of countries with the struggle of peoples, under the banner of opposing the “reactionary rulers” of some third world countries.

Again this complies neither with reality, nor with the Marxist-Leninist teachings on the national question under imperialism. Marxist Leninists, unlike the reactionary rulers of the Soviet Union do not judge the role of third-world countries primarily on the basis of the degree of internal democracy. To be sure, there are reactionary rulers in some third world countries – or to be more precise – there are comprador bourgeois regimes tied to US or Soviet social imperialism and some tied to the minor imperialist powers. Some regimes are national bourgeois ones. Their leaders vacillate in the struggle against imperialism and hegemonism. But when a “reactionary” ruler takes a stand against imperialism, from whatever motives this is to be supported. Again, to quote Stalin:

The revolutionary character of a national movement under the conditions of imperialist oppression does not necessarily presuppose the existence of proletarian elements in the movement, the existence of a revolutionary or a republican programme of the movement, the existence of a democratic basis of the movement. The struggle of the Emir of Afghanistan is waging for the independence of Afghanistan is objectively a revolutionary struggle, despite the monarchist views of the Emir and his associates, for it weakens, disintegrates and undermines imperialism; whereas the struggle waged by such “desperate” democrats and “socialists” “revolutionaries” and republicans as, for example, Kerensky, and Tsereteli, Renaudel and Scheidemann, Chernov and Dan, Henderson and Clynes, during the imperialist war was a reactionary struggle for its result was the embellishment, the strengthening, the victory of imperialism. (Foundations of Leninism. Beijing Edition, p75)

Marxist-Leninists do not sum up the struggle of the oppressed nations from the standpoint of “formal democracy” – which is what Hoxha’s stand would have us do, but from the standpoint of the overall results or the “general balance sheet of the struggle against imperialism” – “not in isolation but on a world-wide scale” as Lenin put it.

It is precisely the world-wide scale which is ignored by Hoxha. It is only from this standpoint that the significance of the third world’s struggle for the New Economic Order, for fairer commodity prices, for the 200 mile nautical limit can be appraised. And these struggles are precisely the struggles of nations which are daily weakening the hold of imperialism, especially that of the two superpowers.


Hoxha’s method in attacking the theory of the three worlds is to snatch at one or two formulae and thrash around with them asserting them against reality. His insistence that there can be only one way of differentiating nations – between the “bourgeois capitalist” and the “socialist” for example. This is characteristic of the dogmatist who Mao says is a lazy-bones;

They refuse to undertake any painstaking study of concrete things, they regard general truth as emerging out of the void, they turn them into purely abstract unfathomable formulae, and thereby completely deny and reverse the normal sequence by which man comes to know truth. (Mao Zedong’s On Contradiction. Selected Works. Beijing Edition, Vol. l p321)

Why is it correct to describe Hoxha’s standpoint as left-opportunist? In essence his line is that the fundamental contradictions in the world must be reduced to one – that between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Whether on the national or international level, he insists on this point. But dialectics views all things as a process of development. There are many contradictions in the development of a thing, and at any stage one of them is primary. In looking at the class struggle internationally this means that we must assess the forces involved and decide who are our friends and who are our enemies. Hoxha will not do this. In insisting that the sole contradiction is that between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, he is forced to consign elements of the national bourgeoisie in third world countries into the camp” of the enemy, so weakening the struggle against imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism. He refuses also to make the distinction between imperialist powers, so attempting to weaken the international united front against superpower hegemonism. The platform he proposes in fact serves the interests of the superpowers, especially Soviet social imperialism. This is not the method of Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, but the method of Trotsky. Hoxha’s stand is that of the left phrase monger. As Mao describes him:

The thinking of leftists outstrips a given stage of development of the objective process; some regard their fantasies as truth, while others strain to realise in the present an ideal which can only be realised in the future. They alienate themselves from the current practice of the majority of the people and from the realities of the day, and show themselves idealist in their actions. (On Practice, Mao Zedong’s Selected Works, Vol.1 p307).

Hoxha’s pronouncements certainly outstrip the given stage of development of contradictions in the world today. It is only in his imagination that all contradictions can be reduced to that between socialism and imperialism, between the world proletariat and imperialism. Hoxha and the PLA have alienated themselves also from the practice of the majority. In the Marxist-Leninist movement, the PLA at its international meetings to condemn the PRC can rally only a handful of so-called Marxist-Leninist organisations, many of these having no basis in the working class whatsoever. And in opposing such struggles as those for a New Economic Order Hoxha runs counter to the aspirations of the peoples of the third world countries.

Hoxha’s left opportunism is based on the twin ideological errors of idealism and dogmatism. It is idealist in the sense that in Hoxha’s thinking there is a divorce between theory and reality – between the subjective and objective. It is all very well to uphold certain positions of the communist movement which were correct at one time – at a certain stage of development of world contradictions. But if it is not grasped that knowledge at a particular stage of the development of a process is only relative and one-sided, and that it must develop as concrete conditions develop, then principles become useless and abstract. Mao says:

Marxism-Leninism has in no way exhausted truth but ceaselessly opened up roads to knowledge of truth in the course of practice.

Like the true dogmatist, Hoxha refuses to acknowledge the development of Marxism-Leninism. He cannot grasp that its principles must constantly be tested in practice, integrated with concrete practice, in continually seeking truth from facts. If someone thinks that the “absolute truth” is enough, and assumes that he possesses it and does not need to proceed from reality then the chances are that his ideas will not reflect reality at all. It is only such a dogmatist who could be content with announcing that the contradictions between socialism and imperialism’s of greater importance than that between the oppressed and oppressor nations in the world today.


It is possible that even after the 7th Congress of the PLA, these errors could have been overcome, if Hoxha had paid attention to criticism which came from a number of parties and organisations. But the PLA’s answer was to step up the open polemic against the CPC, and to engage in other activities like provocations against a number of parties representatives of which were resident in Albania up to this time. The publication of the Open Letter to the CPC in July 1978 marked the point at which a different assessment had to be made. This was because of the nature of the charges brought by the PLA against the CPC and the PRC. These were:
– that the CPC used economic aid to exert pressure on the PLA and to sabotage the Albanian economy.
– that the CPC leadership has constantly vacillated in the struggle against modern revisionism and the CPSU
– that the character of inner party struggle in China since 1949 has been “unprincipled”
– that bourgeois and revisionist elements seized power in China before Mao’s death as a result of this struggle.

There are a number of charges made about “internal interference” in the affairs of Albania including attempts to sabotage Albanian defence by encouraging a military alliance with Yugoslavia and Romania “to the detriment of Albanian independence.”

The summary of charges and accusations shows that the PLA had launched struggle against a party which it now considered to be revisionist, unprincipled in its stands since 1949, and imperialist and social chauvinist in its policies since 1970. The essence of this was summed up by Hoxha in his speech to Tirana electors in November 1978:

The stands of our Party and state towards China have always been correct, open, sincere and friendly, while the stands of the Chinese leadership toward Albania on the face of it appeared to be “Marxist-Leninist” but as the facts have shown, right from the time when contact between the two countries were established to this day, it was not Marxist-Leninist, was neither sincere nor well-intentioned nor internationalist.

The Chinese leadership has not defended not implemented Marxist-Leninist principles in the construction of socialism and support the cause of the revolution and liberation of the peoples. This is the source of their constantly changing and extremely unclear and complicated stands within China as well as the continual changes in Chinese strategy and tactics over international problems. The anti-Marxist-Leninist and pragmatic policy of the Chinese leadership is also the source of its hostile anti-Albanian attitude which led to the rupture of the relations of friendship between China and Albania.

These are reactionary attacks on the PRC which must be refuted. This article will not try to refute each and everyone, but will concentrate on three main ones; concerning the CPC’s policy on aid, on the struggle against Khrushchev’s revisionism; and on the PLA’s own record in the struggle against revisionism.

The CPC was forced to cut off aid to Albania

The PLA charged that the PRC used aid to exert diplomatic pressure, and that the cessation of aid was done for purely political motives, because the PLA did not share the line of the CPC. The charge itself does not ring true, and it conflicts with the experience of the Marxist-Leninist movement, and with the experience of a number of third world countries who have received aid from the PRC.

China has long been known to give aid to genuine anti-imperialist movements which are involved in armed struggle. It was on this basis that the PRC gave aid to all three national liberation movements in Angola, up until the time of the defeat of Portuguese imperialism. It would be absurd to think that all three organisations shared the outlook of the PRC. They had different programmes but all received Chinese aid. Again, Zambia, and Tanzania do not see international affairs in the same way as the CPC, yet the leaders of both countries have publicly acknowledged the benefits of China’s aid, of which the Tan-Zam railway is the most outstanding example. This aid is given on the basis of non-interference in internal affairs, and mutual benefit.

All genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and organisations will testify to the fact that the CPC does not impose its views on others. When explaining their political line the CPC comrades always stress that their views are put for other’s reference. They always stress that Marxism-Leninism must be integrated with the concrete conditions in each country. So why should the PLA be singled out for the treatment they claim to have received?

If aid had been stopped for political motives, then this could have happened any time from 1970, when, according to the PLA, China entered “the imperialist dance”, with the visit of Nixon to Beijing (Peking) Yet this aid continued for a further eight years, during which time the PLA was constantly attacking China’s policy by insinuation until 1976 and publicly after that. In 1977, the PRC was still agreeing new projects and deferring the repayment date for credits.

The scale and scope of China’s aid to Albania is immense. China provided food grain to Albania when her own people were short of food. She provided steel products when China’s steel production was inadequate for her own needs. She provided tractors when agricultural mechanisation was a high priority in China. Are these the actions of an imperialist state? No. They are the actions which could only be motivated by proletarian internationalism.

But the PLA, after carrying out a series of actions calculated to force China to cancel aid, now turns and says that the aid was insignificant anyway. This is unbelievable. The Albanians calculate that no one can disprove what they say because only they and the Chinese know the full extent of aid. But as the Workers Communist Party of Norway points out in their extended criticism of the Open Letter (see Class Struggle, international bulletin of the WCP (ML) of Norway No.11, September, 1978) China’s aid was concerned with the very corner stone of the Albanian economy. Most of the heavy industry, power stations etc are equipped with Chinese machinery, or with machinery purchased abroad through the PRC. Visitors to Albania have seen for themselves such machinery at the Berat Textile Mill (named after Mao Zedong) or the Fieri Nitrate Plant. Chinese aid, as the Norwegian comrades point out, changed the overall structure of the Albanian economy and “contributed decisively” to Albanian industry in the 60s and 70s.

The CPC initiated and led the struggle against modern revisionism and the CPSU

According to the Open Letter, the CPC did not firmly struggle against modern revisionism. They vacillated in 1960 and later because they did not genuinely wish to break with the CPSU and Khrushchev and were only forced to in 1963. When the break did come it was because of Chinese “great state interests”, and was a purely tactical measure. On the one hand say the Albanians, their stand was always strong and consistent and they opposed Khrushchev alone before 1963.

Reality again easily disproves these wild assertions. The struggle against Khrushchevite revisionism was a protracted and difficult one which demanded above all the combination of firm principle with tactical flexibility on the part of the CPC. Facts show, in the form of documents written at the time, by both the PLA and the CPC that this was grasped by the CPC throughout, but was not grasped by the PLA.

In 1956, shortly after the 20th Congress of the CPSU, Mao summed up the essence of Khrushchev’s speech very accurately. He said:

I think there are two swords; one is Lenin and the other Stalin. The sword of Stalin has been discarded by the Russians, Gomulka, and some people in Hungary have picked it up to stab at the Soviet Union and oppose so-called Stalinism.... “As for the sword of Lenin hasn’t it too been discarded to a certain extent by some Soviet leaders? In my view it has been discarded to a considerable extent. Is the October Revolution still valid? Can it still serve as the example for all countries? Khrushchev’s report at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union says it is possible to seize state power by the parliamentary road, that is to say, it is no longer necessary for all countries to learn tram the October Revolution. Once this gate is opened by and large Leninism is thrown away. (Mao’s speech at the Second Session of the Eighth Central Committee. November 1956. Selected Works, Vol.5, p341)

Mao’s criticism was not limited to internal meetings. Strong criticism was also directed at the leaders of the CPSU as early as 1956, on the question of the assessment of Stalin, and on the “peaceful road” of transition advanced by Khrushchev. Mao’s statement above, and the points of early criticism put forward by the CPC show that he had a clear grasp from the start of the meaning of the 20th Congress. But it was not clear in 1956 that revisionism had irreversibly come to power in the Soviet Union. It was still possible then that by combining unity with struggle the situation could be reversed. In January 1957, Mao said of the leaders of the CPSU: “Our present policy is still to help them by talking things over with them face to face. ” (ibid. p365).

Mao’s speech at the 1957 meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties also made the tactics of the CPC’s struggle clear. He said:

The unity of opposites is a fundamental concept of dialectics. In accordance with this concept, what should we do with a comrade who has made mistakes? We should first wage a struggle to rid him of his wrong ideas. Second, we should also help him. Point one struggle, and point two, help. We should proceed from good intentions to help him correct his mistakes so that he will have a way out. (A dialectical approach to inner-party unity. Selected Works. Vo1.5 p515)

Mao went on to point out that at each tactical stage it is necessary to be good at making compromises as well as at waging struggles. The guiding line running through the documents of this period is the integration of principle with flexibility to ensure struggle against revisionism, while guarding against driving the middle forces over to Khrushchev’s side.

As the polemic ensued up to the 1960 Bucharest Meeting the CPC maintained this attitude never compromising on principle. Again the stages of the polemic are well documented in “Origin and Development of the Differences Between the Leadership of the CPSU and Ourselves” (in the Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement Beijing 1965, pp55-114). This document was praised by the PLA when it first became public. In 1957 and 1960 there were two important meetings of the Communist Parties. Both produced statements which sought to lay down a common line for the international movement. It was through determined struggle at both meetings that the CPC temporarily stemmed the tide of revisionism by opposing the formulations of the CPSU, and insisting on the inclusion of statements of principle. Due to the CPC’s efforts, supported by some other parties, the 1957 Declaration pointed out the road of “non-peaceful transition”, and carried the statement ”Leninism teaches, and experience confirms, that the ruling classes never relinquish power voluntarily” (op cit p72). It also included the statement that “US imperialism is the centre of world reaction and the sworn enemy of the peoples of the world”. The CPC also struggled unsuccessfully to delete references to the 20th Congress of the CPSU – all this prior to 1960.

The 1957 Declaration did not deter the CPSU from continuing the revisionist road. But it provided a rallying point for the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and it also provided a valuable weapon for exposure of the CPSU when it blatantly disregarded the Declaration in its subsequent statements.

At the 1960 meeting the leaders of the CPSU launched a vicious and splittist attack on the CPC. When the PLA took a similar stand the CPSU tried to take measures against them too.

It was following the Bucharest meeting that the CPSU recalled all Soviet experts in China, tore up trade and aid agreements and created tension on the Sino-Soviet border.

Late in 1960 there was a third meeting in Moscow. Again there was principled struggle between the two lines. Many of the theses of the CPSU were rejected. A generally correct statement was again approved.

Subsequently, the CPSU again disregarded the united statement and carried out more attacks on the CPC and PLA culminating in the 22nd Congress of the CPSU in October 1961. This was when the break was fully consolidated. But it was only through following the path of unity and struggle that the CPC was able to expose the CPSU as the “greatest splitters of our times.”

In its Open Letter, the PLA has great difficulty in finding a concrete instance of “failure to struggle” or “vacillation”. Indeed it cannot find any, because the facts show that the struggle waged by the CPC from 1956 was determined and principled, and at the same time tactically flexible.

The truth is that it is this latter aspect that the PLA cannot grasp. They cannot understand Mao’s dialectical approach to struggle. This failing is made clear by the one concrete instance of “vacillation” that they quote. This is the fact that after the fall of Khrushchev in 1964 the CPC leaders sent a delegation to the Moscow celebrations of the anniversary of the October Revolution. The Norwegian comrades, in their detailed criticism of the PLA point out:

It is a characteristic feature of the Albanian leaders that they make no attempt at describing the concrete historical situation in 1964, or the nature of the relations within the international communist movement at that time. They refer the steps taken by the Chinese completely out of time and space and forget everything Lenin said about a “concrete analysis of the concrete situation” being the “living soul of Marxism.” (Class Struggle No.11 September 1978)

In 1964, there were still uncommitted parties like those of Romania, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba. It was therefore correct to continue to expose the leaders of the CPSU while continuing to unite all those who could be united against revisionism. It was also necessary to show concretely that leaders like Brezhnev and Kosygin were cast in the same mould as Khrushchev. So the CPC temporarily called off polemics and resumed relations. As a result of this it was the CPSU who resumed polemics in attacking the CPC so showing that they had inherited the splittist mantle of Khrushchev.

Again, the PLA demonstrates its idealism and dogmatism in their failure to investigate the concrete situation and adopt suitable tactics. They stand on a high pinnacle at the 7th Congress and in the Open Letter shouting about principle but never advance towards integrating their principles with concrete reality. But more than this – they fail to look at their own practice at the time – and even lie about it to show themselves to be “holier” than the CPC.


Two things are very clear about the practice of the PLA in struggle against revisionism. Before and after 1960 they showed very little grasp of the situation and were slow to take a firm stand, especially in grasping its class content. And when they did begin to show understanding they vacillated in the struggle. Again, the facts must speak in the shape of the PLA’s own statements. Documents of the PLA from 1956-59 in Hoxha’s Selected Works Volume 12 carry scarcely any reference to the 20th Congress Speech. There is certainly no criticism that comes anywhere near Mao’s criticisms of 1956 and 1957. There was certainly criticism of the CPSU made by the PLA at this time but roost of this concerned Khrushchev’s approaches to Yugoslavia and questions concerning the Hungarian and Polish parties. In fact at the 3rd Plenum of the Central Committee of the PLA in 1957, Hoxha was still declaring that the offensive against Marxism-Leninism was headed both by imperialism, and by “revisionist elements headed by the Yugoslav leaders” (p685) Hoxha in other words did not understand that the Khrushchevite clique was firmly in the leadership of modern revisionism.

But much more damning is Hoxha’s speech at the 40th anniversary of the October Revolution of November 2nd 1957, where he declared:

It will be known that the 20th Party Congress, a significant event in the history of communism and of the international communist movement, has not only developed a great number of Marxist-Leninist theses, such as the thesis of peaceful coexistence, the thesis on the possibility of averting wars, on the roads that will assure the conquest of power by the working class etc but it has also elaborated the grandiose programme for the transition from socialism to communism, the task of catching up with and overtaking the per capital production of the developed capitalist countries within a short historic period, for demonstrating the superiority of the socialist system over the capitalist by way of peaceful economic competition. (From a German transcription, quoted in English in Class Struggle No.11 September 1978. p15)

It was only in 1960, at the November Moscow meeting that Hoxha roundly criticised the leaders of the CPSU. So who was it who failed to struggle before 1960 – the CPC or the PLA?

Even when the PLA came out in struggle directly against Khrushchev, this fight was far from consistent. But what was clear to the PLA at the time was that the CPC was waging a fierce struggle against revisionism. There is no hint at all in their documents, internal to the PLA that the CPC was believed by them to be vacillating or unprincipled. At the Plenum of the Central Committee of the PLA in 1966 (July 1st) Hoxha said:

We are strong, and we are not alone. The CPC which remains unwavering on the principles of Marxism-Leninism supports our attitudes. Chou En-Lai has given the Soviet Union a stern reply connection with Kosygin’s answer. (Albania Today No.4 (29) July-August 1976)

On November 5th 1961 Hoxha said:

China plays a major role in the international communist movement. The Communist Party of China takes a sound Marxist-Leninist stand. It is a great party and with long experience, which terrifies Khruschev. (p43)

If Hoxha is now to accuse the CPC of vacillating in the struggle, then he should explain why these statements were made at the time of the struggle against modern revisionism. These quotations, published by the Albanians themselves only three years ago give the lie to their charges.

During this period, the CPC and PLA seemed to be struggling side by side against the leaders of the CPSU but at the same time Hoxha could make pronouncements stressing the “Leading role of the Soviet Union in the socialist camp” and calling for “unity in the socialist camp” being reached through talks (see Hoxha. Speeches and articles 1963-64. Tirana 1977. pp376-78). Such sentiments went far beyond the tactics of the CPC in calling off polemics in 1964. Whilst doing this they did not deem it necessary to make incorrect public statements stressing unity and not struggle. For Hoxha, the victory of revisionism in the Soviet Union did not mean the end of the socialist camp and the impossibility of resolving differences through talks. Whereas Mao had already summed up the Soviet Union as a capitalist country and a dictatorship of the fascist type. For the CPC the calling off of polemics was purely tactical. For the PLA confusion reigned.


It was through the propaganda of the CPC in the struggle against modern revisionism and mainly the works of Mao that the international communist movement developed a deep understanding of revisionism. The PLA on the other hand did not develop such a grasp and did not learn the lessons of the CPC. In fact the PLA leaders never acknowledged Mao’s role as one of the great Marxist-Leninist teachers, even when they had close unity with the CPC. The most striking illustration of this point is their inability to analyse events which followed the victory of modern revisionism in the USSR.

There are two good examples of this. The first came in 1964, when Mao first raised the criticism of great nation chauvinism against the USSR because of its claims on the land of neighbouring states. Mao first raised the criticism in connection with the Soviet occupation of the northern Japanese islands, saying that these should be returned. The PLA objected to this and to the fact that the question had even been raised at all. They said “...we must not start a controversy and polemics over whether or not the Soviet Union has appropriated other countries’ land. “ (Open Letter ... pp29-30).

The PLA first raised this question under the excuse that it is incorrect to criticise Stalin. But leaving aside the metaphysical attitude demonstrated by the PLA towards Stalin, it was further evidence that the PLA did not understand at all the cardinal point about modern revisionism. The coming to power of revisionism is the coming to power of the bourgeoisie. And so, it was inevitable that the Kremlin leadership would begin to reverse the principled foreign policy of the Soviet Union when it was a socialist state. It was inevitable that the Soviet leaders would begin to put forward claims on the land of neighbouring states, and extremely likely that they would begin by exploiting contentious border areas and disputes left over by history. This they did. It was only five years later that the Soviet Union was stirring up trouble on the border with China, and claiming parts of Chinese territory. This should have been proof enough of the Soviet expansionist ambitions. Yet the PLA never once retracted this criticism. In fact after a further decade of Soviet expansionism in Asia and Africa, they choose to repeat it again.

The second example of the lack of understanding of revisionism on the part of the PLA comes from 1968. By this time the CPC had carried out a considerable amount of propaganda to expose revisionism and its bourgeois nature. When the Dubcek regime came to power in Czechoslovakia, the majority of the movement were well aware of his shortcomings, but recognised the importance of Dubcek’s opposition to the Novotny regime and his stand in favour of national independence. Because of these factors Dubcek had widespread popular support in Czechoslovakia. What was the PLA’s view? Hoxha said:

They are openly going over to capitalism to the system of more than one party to the capitalist state system and the undisguised liquidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat to the capitalist system in economy, education and culture. (The PLA in Battle with Modern Revisionism. Tirana 1972.)

Hoxha’s approach here is to draw a line between revisionism in power (Novotny) and the bourgeoisie in power (Dubcek). For Hoxha the main question is whether or not capitalism will be restored in Czechoslovakia, despite the face of a revisionist clique having taken power some years previous. For Hoxha the main question was capitalism or socialism – not Soviet imperialist domination or national independence.

But the article we are quoting from went much further. Written shortly before the Soviet invasion, Hoxha had this to say about Soviet intentions:

What will the Soviets do? Nothing but to take Novotny for their collection, if he is available, and install him in a villa near Rakosi’s. (ibid p402)

How could Hoxha arrive at a conclusion which is as far removed from reality as it could be? Firstly, the PLA had not grasped, never did grasp, that revisionism meant the bourgeoisie in power. It was not a question of two qualitatively different groups in power, or of revisionism being a “middle force” between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. And neither is it a question of whether or not capitalism is “restored openly” or not, as the quote from Hoxha suggests. The Novotny government itself was a bourgeois regime, just like the Khrushchev and Brezhnev regimes. But secondly, the PLA could see at that time only the aspect of collusion between the two superpowers. Hoxha “foresaw” that the Warsaw Pact and Comecon would “disintegrate”, and Eastern Europe would be gradually integrated with Western Europe. Hoxha summed up the likely course of events as a great “Soviet defeat”. (ibid p405).

What Hoxha missed completely was the aspect of contention between the superpowers. But it was inevitable that the PLA would not grasp this because they did not grasp, and still do not, the aggressive nature of Soviet social imperialism, as we have already shown. But it was this nature which was exposed by the events of 1968, and which meant that the Soviet Union would increase its hold on Eastern Europe. The last thing the Soviet imperialists were prepared to do was sit on the sidelines and watch its “empire” disappear before its eyes.


Such were the flimsy and lying charges of the Open Letter, and such was the actual practice of the PLA in its struggle with modern revisionism. It is not surprising that Hoxha’s book Imperialism and the Revolution should complete his degeneration by siding with Soviet imperialism in declaring Mao Zedong Thought to be “an anti-Marxist theory”. Under this heading Hoxha throws a barrage of dogmatic, arrogant and even racist criticisms at the CPC.

According to Hoxha:

’Mao Zedong Thought’ is a variant of revisionism, which began to take shape even before the Second World War, especially after 1935 when Mao Zedong came to power. In this period Mao Zedong and his supporters launched a ’theoretical’ campaign under the slogan of struggle against ’dogmatism’, ’ready-made patterns’, ’foreign stereotypes,’ etc, and raised the problem of elaborating a national Marxism, negating the universal character of Marxism-Leninism. (p395).

This passage like the rest of the book, is meant to be an indictment of Mao Zedong Thought. In fact it is an indictment of Hoxha and the PLA in openly stating that they oppose the struggle against dogmatism, they condemn themselves as the ultra-leftists they are. This article has already shown that the PLA did not grasp the essence of Marxism, that is the concrete analysis of concrete conditions. They did not grasp that the coming to power of revisionism is the coming to power of the bourgeoisie. They did not see how to combine unity with ’struggle in the battle with modern revisionism. Out of their own mouths, in this book, they now say that they reject the rest of Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought as well. Mao’s great teachings on the handling of contradictions among the people, the thesis on the class struggle under socialism, even the CPC’s correct strategy for their revolution which saw the peasantry as the main force and the proletariat as the leading force – all these are thrown out by the PLA. They even criticise the Chinese for using “typically Chinese formulae” which they call “stereotyped” (p389) as opposed to the PLA’s own formulations, which are “pure” Marxism-Leninism. But we have heard all these criticisms of the CPC before – from Trotsky, Khrushchev and Brezhnev.

The Marxist-Leninist movement, with one or two exceptions, has not followed the PLA road. It has continued to uphold Mao Zedong Thought as a development of Marxism-Leninism. Mao’s works are a weapon in the battle against revisionism of both “left” and right. The Cultural Revolution, led by Mao prevented the victory of revisionism in China. And Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, integrated with the concrete conditions in each country is the basis of the growth of genuine Marxist-Leninist organisations and parties all over the world today. So, it is clear that the attack on Mao Zedong Thought can only serve Soviet social imperialism and all other imperialisms. The PLA has gone on to open up a second front of attack on the CPC and on Marxism-Leninism in support of the Soviet imperials. That is why the Soviet imperialists now quote PLA statements approvingly in their press.

As we have shown in this article, this position has a long history and stems from long standing errors in the ideological and political line of the PLA. The metaphysical one-sidedness of the PLA has led it consistently to underestimate the danger of Soviet imperialism, and to vacillate in the struggle against revisionism. This position has led the PLA now openly to side with Soviet imperialism.

On June 24th 1978, Zeri-i Populit published a reactionary pro-Soviet editorial entitled “Imperialists, Hands off Vietnam”. Who was it talking about? Soviet social imperialism which stands behind the attempts of the Vietnamese leaders to impose their local hegemony on South-East Asia was not mentioned. In fact the “imperialists” are the Chinese. The editorial came out shortly after the suspension of Chinese aid to Vietnam after a series of provocations by the Vietnamese. It goes on to accuse “foreigners” of stirring up border troubles and says:

Those who .. refuse to sit down at the negotiating table to solve disagreements which can arise between neighbouring countries... they are the culprits.

And this was published at a time when Kampuchea was refusing to negotiate with Vietnam when the latter refused to stop armed provocations. Hoxha’s Speech to the Electors of Tirana (Albanian Telegraphic Agency November 1978) condemned “the Chinese social imperialists” for stirring up trouble between Vietnam and Kampuchea “two fraternal peoples”. No wonder the Soviet imperialists approve of Hoxha. He is still saying one month before the brutal invasion of Kampuchea by Vietnam that the conflict can be resolved through negotiations. The “mistake” is familiar. In 1964, it was border disputes, in 1968 Czechoslovakia. But it is now no longer a question of a “mistake”. The PLA has gone right over to the support of Soviet imperialism. If further proof is needed, then look at their latest pronouncements on the conflicts in Indo-China. In Albania Today No.2 (45) 1979, p65, they come out in the open. They say:

In Cambodia, the people, the communists and the Cambodian patriots have risen against the barbarous government of Pol Pot, which was nothing but a group of provocateurs in the service of the imperialist bourgeoisie and especially of the Chinese revisionists, which had as its aim to discredit the idea of socialism in the international arena.

The slanders of the Soviet imperialists, of the US imperialists, of the British imperialists are here repeated by the PLA. They say scarcely a word against Soviet attempts at hegemonism in the area. They have nothing but praise for the Vietnamese revisionist clique of Le Duan, who has tied the people of Vietnam to the Soviet imperialists, and who has attacked a number of Asian Marxist-Leninist Parties as “terrorists”. Their only criticism of this revisionist clique is that their alliance with Soviet imperialism and membership of Comecon is not “justifiable”. That is to say – the PLA dare not “justify” it.

No. it is no longer a question of “mistakes”. It is a question of a new centre of revisionism, with the PLA clearly lining up with Soviet social imperialism and pushing its sinister line. This new centre is dressed up in Marxist-Leninist clothes. It came from left opportunist errors, instead of right opportunist ones. But this “revisionism with a left face” is no less revisionist for that.