Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Revolutionary Communist League of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

Ten Years after Czechoslovakia – Strengthen the Struggle against Soviet Hegemonism!

First Published: Revolution, Vol. 3, No. 3, August 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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Underestimation of the growing war threat from Soviet social imperialism cannot be permitted! This is one of the chief conclusions we must draw from the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia ten years ago. Let the Birch clique of the “Communist” Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the revisionist “C”PGB deny this important fact all they may, the truth will not lie down. Soviet social imperialism is the rising superpower. It is the latecomer to the imperialist carve-up of world spheres of influence. It places its hope for world domination on the gigantic pile up of weaponry that it holds. It challenges US imperialism to hand over its imperialist possessions, especially in Africa, with direct threat of military force. It uses the pretence of being “the natural ally of the oppressed people” and claims to be socialist in order to disarm the people and attempt to take power under cover of “anti-imperialism” and “fraternal aid”. The other villain, US imperialism, is not in the least ready to take “second place” in favour of Soviet social imperialism.

As the two superpowers contend for world hegemony they meet the fiercest resistance from the peoples and nations of the third world who are the main force today in the anti-imperialist, anti-hegemonist struggle. The thousands of millions of people in the third world countries suffer the worst exploitation and oppression of all the world’s people. They are fighting back pushing forward the national democratic revolution, safeguarding national sovereignty and demanding more equal economic relations with the imperialist countries. The struggle of the third world peoples and countries against imperialism, is a political, military, economic and in all other aspects a revolutionary one which weakens and deflates the ambitions of the superpowers. It is the mainstay at present of the world revolutionary movement.

Our struggle against the bourgeoisie in Britain for socialist revolution is a component part of the revolutionary struggle of the workers, oppressed peoples and nations throughout the world. We communists in Britain resolutely reject the revisionism of the Birch clique and all the fellow travellers of modern revisionism in both “left” and right guises. Birch’s opportunism is known well too many comrades. Now he has emerged as a thorough-going revisionist. He is a traitor who urges us to ignore the war threat posed by the superpowers, especially the Soviet Union. What is he up to? He tries to brand the Marxist-Leninists as “warmongers” for urging awareness of the impending war. But his shameful pacificism in the face of superpower aggression and threat only serves to expose him more as an objective accomplice of Soviet social imperialism. He is a revisionist of the Khrushchev-Brezhnev type.


It is right when summing up the lessons of the August 2Oth, 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet social imperialism, to say some things about Birch’s total surrender to modern revisionism. For a long time Birch has been an opportunist who meddles with Marxist-Leninist principles at will. His “two classes analysis” of Britain long ago brought the CPB (M-L) into disrepute among sincere communists ’in Britain and other countries.

His rejection of the theoretical struggle, as a vital component part of the class struggle, led the CPB (M-L) into economism and class collaboration in that Party’s mass work. It also led the CPB (M-L) into rejecting the struggle to unite the Marxist-Leninist movement and build the single leading centre for all communists in Britain. Birch has never had any time or patience for the unending class struggle in the ideological field. So his policies are not derived from proletarian consciousness grown strong in struggle against the incorrect bourgeois lines. They are decided on his whim. His whims are duly treated with a thin varnish of Marxism by others of his clique more accustomed to presenting ideas intelligibly, and Hey Presto! – the line is decided, and damn anyone who sees flaws in the policies. There is no proletarian democracy, no struggle of the correct against the incorrect, no criticism and self- criticism, just bureaucratic centralism. This is the revisionist style of leadership resorted to by the Khrushchev-Brezhnev clique and the other social fascist leaderships in those countries where the revisionist bourgeoisie hold power.

Birch also shuns the struggle against imperialism. He belittles the anti-imperialist struggle of the Third World. He scoffs arrogantly at the struggle of Third World nations to defend their sovereignty against the hegemonism of the superpowers. He ignores the growing unity of Third World nations. He sees only those Third World nations with reactionary leaders and follows the revisionist line in condemning them in the most one-sided way. He does not see that the fact of superpower hegemonism compels even the most reactionary rulers (whose crimes will be punished by the people’s struggle for national liberation) to kick back at the superpowers who seek to strangle every cent or kopek from the oppressed nations as a whole. We are angry at the crimes of the reactionaries of all countries but it would be stupid indeed if we let the superpowers off the hook while aiming pious rhetorical blows at every reactionary ruler in the Third World. Such a policy would be trotskyism. The result would be that the ringleaders would get off free and would be encouraged to even greater adventures. Setting country against country in the Third World, Soviet social imperialism would make off with the stolen gains of the National Liberation struggle (as in Angola). At the same time the grip of the International United Front, which will hang the superpowers alive, would be relaxed and the energies of the different peoples of different countries would cease to be concentrated on the main enemies.

Such a policy is very welcome to the Khrushchev-Brezhnev clique! But it will not pass. Comrade Mao Tsetung’s theory of the three worlds, gives a Marxist analysis of all the contradictions in the contemporary world and provides a clear strategy for the proletariat, oppressed peoples and nations in building the broadest possible united front against the superpowers. With this theory the proletariat has the opportunity of taking the lead of all the forces that oppose the hegemonism of the superpowers. With the three worlds theory our revolution can go forward in both its international and national aspects. With Birch’s revisionist whims in command or the views of those parties which shun the theory of the three worlds, we are left on the sidelines moaning about everything uniting with no-one, achieving no victories and leaving the imperialist bourgeoisie to call all the shots. That will not do, Mr. Birch!


Birch draws no lessons from Czechoslovakia ’68. The events then show decisively that the Khrushchev-Brezhnev revisionist clique had liquidated the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union and established the fascist rule of a handful of bureaucrat-monopoly capitalists. They transformed the socialist public property of the whole people into the exclusive property of these capitalist new rulers. They rapidly liquidated Leninism in all fields. They liquidated the correct Leninist line on Peaceful Coexistence with states of different social systems and replaced it with an unprincipled bourgeois policy of peaceful coexistence. The main features of this policy was collaboration with US imperialism to dominate world affairs. This policy meant that the Soviet revisionists might share in the spoils of imperialist exploitation by doing US imperialism the favour of holding back the “local struggles” of Third World peoples for national liberation. The example of Soviet collaboration in the Congo is a clear one. But Khrushchev’s “peaceful-coexistence” was a bourgeois POLICY Like all bourgeois public policies it was put forward to deceive and hide the true intent. Whilst preaching his revisionist version of peaceful coexistence Khrushchev resorted to adventurism in international dealings. His attempt at setting up nuclear bases in Cuba in 1961 was such a case. It was becoming clear at that date what the Soviet revisionist were up to.

Comrade Mao Tsetung has said: “The rise to power of revisionism means the rise to power of the bourgeoisie.” Does Birch understand this? If he does he clearly does not believe it to be true. When Khrushchev’s clique seized power in the Soviet Union they did so by means of a coup. Once in power they set to overturning everything. They trampled Marxism-Leninism underfoot. They repudiated the great Marxist Stalin. Stalin had always been an enemy of revisionism. Despite some errors, he never tired from struggling against revisionist and restoration forces and earned the hatred of a handful of revisionists whom he criticised thoroughly in “Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR”. He earned the deep love of the Russian people and the peoples of other nationalities in the USSR. Throughout Stalin’s long period of leadership from 1924-53, the Soviet Union and world communism made huge gains. The enthusiasm of the Soviet masses for socialism did not flag despite enormous problems and the aggression of Hitler fascism. In the world arena, communism made advances step by step, especially in Eastern Europe after World War Two. Communists world-wide led the struggle against Hitler fascism and domestic fascism. Great leaders like Stalin and Dimitrov gave wise advice to the communists in the West. Mao Tsetung, the great leader of the Chinese working class and people held Stalin in great respect despite some bad advice he gave to Chinese Communists. These are the facts. This was the situation before Khrushchev wreaked havoc.

With Khrushchev’s revisionist clique in command, things ceased to go well for the people of the USSR. The agrarian question loomed large. The USSR which had made huge advances in grain and livestock production under Stalin got into bad trouble. The revisionist clique of Khrushchev could not mobilise the enthusiasm of the masses. More than this it set itself against the masses. Step by step it introduced new “reforms” putting profit in command of Soviet enterprises. As the state profits piled high the living standards of the working class and peasantry went down.

Exploitation of the working classes came back and the Soviet people’s enthusiasm for production waned with the increasing grip of the bureaucratic monopoly capitalist bourgeoisie. These things are known to all Marxist-Leninists. Increasingly, as economic crisis gripped the Soviet Union, the Khrushchev-Brezhnev clique sought a “way out” in exploiting the peoples abroad. This is the logic of monopoly capitalism. They looked jealously upon the world and sought ways of enslaving the peoples to free themselves. They became not just a revisionist bourgeoisie in a single country but an imperialist bourgeoisie seeking a redivision of the world in their own favour. But US imperialism remained strong as an imperialist power with huge economic and military might. Soviet social imperialism could not peacefully co-exist with such a powerful rival. It had to contend. It had to lay the basis for challenging the US imperialists with a hope of winning out.

Many Marxist-Leninists have not drawn these lessons clearly and they should. A useful pamphlet on the subject is “The Soviet Union under the New Tsars”. (Published by Foreign Languages Press, Peking.)


It is the logic of all imperialists to contend with other imperialists for power. The same is true of Soviet social imperialism. It was necessary for the Soviet social imperialists to subdue other nations where they could. To maintain its power in relation to the US the Soviet Union first chose to reduce the nations of Eastern Europe to the status of vassal states. This was and still is the area where US contention is slightest. This is where the Soviet Union’s “international division of labour” reaps good harvests for the Soviet imperialists without the threat of repercussions from the other superpower. During the fifties and sixties the Soviet Union ensured that the Marxists in the East European parties were suppressed and social fascist cliques were given full support. In a number of East European states, the people reacted and fought back against the imposition of social fascist rule. Most notable was the resistance of the Polish people.

As the apparent collaboration with US imperialism gave way to the more belligerent contentionist policies of Brezhnev, the Soviet Union became more dictatorial to the East European peoples. In Czechoslovakia the people were groaning under the weight of the Soviet economic demands and the repression of the Novotny clique which ruled without regard for the criticism of the masses up to January 1968. The living standards of the peoples of Czechoslovakia were dropping and contradictions were emerging in the Czech party. These contradictions were between the social fascist bureaucrat clique of Novotny and petty bourgeois forces represented by Dubcek and Smrkovsky. The Dubcek forces were opposed to Soviet hegemonism and for reforms which would remove power from the social fascists. Dubcek was supported in his struggle by the Czech peoples, although he did not represent the working class. Dubcek was a middle-element. He opposed Soviet hegemonism but did not put his trust in the masses. He kept his fingers crossed and hoped the Soviet villains would behave like gentleman.

Dubcek sought compromise with the Khrushchev-Brezhnev clique which more than once threatened the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia before the actual invasion. He did not, nor could he, grasp that Soviet social imperialism had set itself on the path of world hegemony and would settle for nothing short of the total submission of Czechoslovakia. Events from January to August 1968 continued with more and more threats from Soviet social imperialism. Democracy of a bourgeois kind was unfolded by Dubcek and the people made full use of it to criticise the Novotny bureaucrat social fascists. The bourgeoisie also made use of Dubcek’s “liberalisation” but there was a strong trend for socialism whilst the main trend was for self-determination. Czechoslovakia’s stand was a just one. The Khrushchev-Brezhnev clique tore its hair out trying to concoct a “political” justification to intervene and thereby safeguard its imperialist interests. It saw Czechoslovakia as its own backyard, good for impoverishing by unequal trade, but not to be let free at any cost.

Revisionists, including Birch, today belittle the brass necked arrogance of Soviet social imperialism. Dubcek in 1968 took the same view. In July 1968 on the 14-15th of that month, Dubcek heard these words cobbled together at a five party meeting led by Brezhnev: “We cannot agree to have hostile forces push your country away from the road of socialism and create the danger’ of Czechoslovakia being severed from the Socialist community. This is something more than your own concern.”

Brezhnev clearly threatened to intervene. Later in the same statement he clearly reveals his perspective of contention with US imperialism. Dressed up in the usual hypocrisy “the fight for freedom,” he says: “International tension is not easing. American imperialism has not given up its policy of force and of open intervention against the peoples fighting for freedom.” With these freedom loving words the Soviet Union prepared to settle the matter by force and open intervention against the Czech people fighting for freedom. Dubcek reassured the Khrushchev-Brezhnev clique that all was well and that “anti-socialist elements” would be dealt with. Being a lover of peace he did not prepare the Czech peoples to prepare against attack but kept his fingers crossed and hoped for the best.

On the night of August 20th-21st Czechoslovakia was invaded by 250,000 to 300,000 Warsaw Pact troops with their insignia disguised. It was a surprise attack. The Czech peoples could not tell right away whether this was it or whether it was another of the frequent Warsaw Pact manoeuvres that had occurred before without warning to the government of people of Czechoslovakia.

The Romanian President Ceausescu had previously warned the Khrushchev-Brezhnev clique on July l7th about misusing the Warsaw Pact for incorrect purposes. He said then: “When the Warsaw Pact was set up, it was conceived as an’ instrument of collective defence of the member countries against attack. ...Not for a moment and never has anyone conceived that the Warsaw Treaty can be a reason for justifying interference in the internal affairs of other states.”

Comrade Ceausescu should know. Romania is a member state of the Warsaw Pact. But all this is nothing to the Krushchev-Brezhnev clique who under the, signboard of socialist words kick aside every principle that Marxist-Leninists hold.

On the 21st August when the Soviet invasion was fully under way, the Dubcek government called on the people not to resist. He called for passive resistance involving removal of road signs, giving wrong information to the invaders, etc. The Czech peoples, to their credit, did all they could to impede the invader’s progress. But passive resistance achieved no results. The Soviet imperialists relentlessly took power and reimposed the social fascist dictatorship. Soviet soldiers were dismayed and demoralised by the job they were called on to do but the Soviet social imperialists had their own way. The bravery and solidarity of the Czech people was great indeed but without firm leadership they were forced to succumb to an enemy who had neither scruple nor conscience.


The revisionists, and the Birch clique, as well as the left opportunists in the Marxist-Leninist movement brand those who warn of the Soviet danger as “warmongers”. They repeat the propaganda of Tass and Pravda. But was Marx a warmonger when he warned of the ambitions of the Russian Tsars? Was Lenin a warmonger when he and all the Marxists before World War One warned of the need for the workers prepare against that bloody war? Was Stalin a warmonger when he and Dimitrov sought an alliance with Britain and France against the menace of Hitler fascism?

Birch displays, once again, the true features of a revisionist in his passive underestimation of the Soviet threat. The peoples of the whole world want peace and are ready to fight for it: There can be no peace while the superpowers arm to the teeth and threaten and exploit everywhere they go. Pacifism is no answer to imperialist aggression. On the contrary the lesson of Czechoslovakia proves that appeasement abets aggression. This is true of the 2Oth August 1968 and of Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler. On the question of War and Revolution we refute Birch’s line of “we are afraid of it and hope it will not happen.”

We communists are against war, but we are not afraid of it!