Historically, in the Communist lexicon, the term “anti-revisionism” has been used to describe opposition to attempts to revise, modify or abandon the fundamentals of revolutionary theory and practice in a manner that was perceived to represent concessions to Communism’s adversaries.
In recent times, however, the term has taken on a more specific meaning. It describes a trend that developed in the pro-Soviet (as opposed to the Trotskyist) Communist movement after World War II. The growth of this anti-revisionist trend was particularly noticeable at several critical moments in the history of the Communist movement – the shift from WW II-era collaboration between the Soviet Union and the Western Powers to the Cold War, and the crisis inaugurated by the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956.
Initially, the anti-revisionists presented a critique of the official Communist Parties “from the left” for having abandoned orthodox Marxism-Leninism (becoming “revisionist,”), and for being insufficiently revolutionary. Once the official Communist Parties joined in Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin, the defense of Stalin and his legacy became a hallmark of “anti-revisionism.” Later on, the anti-revisionist movement expanded and diversified to encompass those communists who rejected a pro-Soviet orientation for one aligned either with Chinese or Albanian positions.
Anti-revisionism enjoyed its moment of greatest size and influence with numerous “Marxist-Leninist” and “Maoist” parties, groups and publications springing up around the world in the period which began with the Sino-Soviet split of the early 1960s. Its growth was greatly accelerated by international enthusiasm for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China, but it began to decline in response to controversial Chinese foreign policy decisions in the last years of Mao’s life, his death and the subsequent defeat of the Gang of Four. While some anti-revisionists soldiered on, adapting to these changes, these later events spurred other elements to argue for a non-Trotskyist “left-wing” communism, independent of allegiance to foreign authorities or models.
The goal of the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism is to document this trend.
—Paul C., 2009