Revisionism Against Revisionism
By Moni Guha
Modern revisionism began with Titoite betrayal. In our first pamphlet we have given the history of its origin and some facts of history more or less chronologically. In this pamphlet, the second of our series, we have traced the historical and theoretical background of modern revisionism, which, while upholding the dictatorship of the proletariat, forcible overthrow and revolutionary violence, consolidated and strengthened bourgeois nationalism in an extremely cunning way. As the Communist Party of China was the leader, in fighting against both Titoite revisionism and Khrushchevite revisionism, the present pamphlet has dealt mainly how the CPC propagated and consolidated its “self reliance” theory and “principle” as opposed to unified efforts at building socialism in course of “fighting” Khrushchevite revisionism. Almost all the Marxist-Leninists of the world were befooled by the CPC leadership because their main attention were centred against Khrushchevite revisionism not on “self reliance”, building of socialism “singly and independently” etc. This was how the revisionism of the CPC fought against the revisionism of the C.P.S.U. headed by Khrushchev.
In this pamphlet we have shown how the Leninist principle of democratic centralism and international discipline, the principle of national self-determination with the right of secession, the idea of world federation of the Socialist Republics and international dictatorship of the proletariat have been betrayed by the CPC while posing as “genuine” Marxist-Leninist and champion and upholder of the purity of Marxism-Leninism.
The warm response we have got from the Marxist-Leninists of India and abroad is really encouraging. From the Central prison, Cannanore, Kerala, a communist revolutionary prisoner M.N. Rauvnni writes : “you may know our limitation to comment from here. Nevertheless I can not but say that it is an excellent work and timely, useful.” From the Central prison, Trivandrum, on behalf of the communist revolutionary prisoners there N. Surendran writes : “A commendable task on this complex and complicated situation wonders heavens.” A communist revolutionary group of Andhra writes : “You have opened our eyes. We did not know anything of the vacillations of the Chinese Party and its failure to be self-critical in regard to the struggle against Titoism. A number of facts new to us appeared in the pamphlet ….Now we understand why so much abuses are heaped on you….” Similar letters have come from Maharasthra, Assam, Delhi and Punjab. From America one of the Marxist-Leninist groups writes : “Based on the first pamphlet, we anxiously look forward to the entire series. We hereby order for 25 (twenty five) copies of the entire series and enclose a money order for $200.00 to help move things forward…… We have always been troubled by the self-reliance” theory that emerged in the anti-revisionist movement in 1960’s. As principled Marxist-Leninist followers of Comrade Stalin it is not surprising that you would come up with this important political point.” One British group of Marxist-Leninists writes : “A timely and outstanding contribution.”
The Communist Information Service, being encouraged by the letters of appreciation, pledges that it shall fight, come what may, undauntedly, for a Communist International, for proletarian internationalism, for socialist revolution against all kinds of revisionism and opportunism together with all Marxist-Leninists.
Communist Information Service
May Day, 1979
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
Demand from Marxist Leninist parties of U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Australia, New Zeeland and Latin American countries made this second edition indispensable. Though officially this edition is a second one, we met the demand of this booklet several times after first publication by supplying photocopy only. This booklet (Revisionism Against Revisionism, Origin of Modern Revisionism series: No. 2) along with Yugoslav Revisionism and the role of C.P.S.U. and CPC Origin of Modern Revisionism, series No. 1 selected as text book for compulsory reading for members of Ray-O-Light, an American Marxist-Leninist organization of the black workers.
The question of Mao Tse Tung thought is a crucial question for the anti-revisionist movement even today. This booklet analyses the relation of Mao Tse Tung and CPC leadership with documentary proof the rise and dominance of Khrushchevism in league with Mao Tse Tung. The international demand of this booklet proves that it retains its political and ideological significance even today, though it was first published in 1978.
In 1978, it was published by Communist Information Service, 25/1, Jyotish Roy Road, Calcutta = 700053, but this time it is being published by the PROLETARIAN PATH (171/10, Roy Bahadur Road, Kolkata = 700034, West Bengal, INDIA). This edition remains as it was in 1978.
(Editor, Proletarian Path)
1. Revisionism and Modern Revisionism
Is there any difference between revisionism in general and modern revisionism? Of course, there is difference. Revisionism is Marxism-Leninism in appearance but bourgeois ideology – opportunism, reformism, anarchism etc. – which attempts to revise the basic scientific postulates of Marxism-Leninism. The characteristic feature of opportunism and revisionism is its vagueness, amorphousness, elusiveness. Insert one incorrect word between two correct words, insert one wrong idea between two correct ideas – that is the technique of revisionism of all brands. In the name of changed or changing situation revisionism revises the very essence of Marxism-Leninism so as to serve the interests and needs of the exploiting classes. Calling itself “Creative Marxism” revisionism abandons the Marxist-Leninist position. It is the Trojan horse in the communist movement.
Historically, revisionism came to acquire certain general features which are known as the revisionism of the Second International. These aspects are : negation of class struggle, negation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, negation of the forcible overthrow of the exploiting and ruling classes, pragmatism, that is propagation of the theory that immediate movement is everything which will reach the aim i.e., economism and negation of the role of advanced ideology, the absolutisation of the role of the productive forces, negation of proletarian internationalism and international discipline of the organization of the proletariat etc., Even these general aspects of revisionism of the Second International are presented in different forms in different historical periods. Peaceful transition to socialism to day is different from the theory of peaceful development of socialism of the Second International. Additionally, each particular historical period manifests a particular aspect of revisionism.
As every change of situation demand constant progress and enrichment of Marxist-Leninist thought and practice as this constitutes inseparable components of the struggle for socialism and as in every historical period Marxism-Leninism presents itself concretely basing on its universal and fundamental tenets, so also revisionism presents itself concretely in each historical period to serve the interests and needs of the bourgeoisie. Otherwise, revisionism would be a sterile and blunt weapon.
That revisionism is modern revisionism which distorts or deflects the dominating central issue of the contemporary historical period upon which depends all other issues of the struggle of the world proletariat as a whole. One may fight against certain general aspects of revisionism skillfully bypassing and ignoring the central issue of the concerned historical period with much fanfare and that fight may appear as struggle against real revisionism but, in fact ,that struggle deflects and distorts the real central issue and consequently it misguides the struggle of the world proletariat. The criterion by which Marxism-Leninism and modern revisionism are determined and distinguished is the attitude towards the dominating central issue of the period concerned.
Let us take one instance. After the immediate prospect of European revolution died down in 1919-20, the dominating central issue of that period was the building of socialism in one country, that is in Soviet Russia, with its own resources and with the ideological, political and moral (indirect) support of the world proletariat on the one hand and building and strengthening of the subjective forces through the Communist International on the other. The other alternative was to relinquish power voluntarily waiting for the subjective maturity of the condition of world revolution or to invite ignominious defeat through the ‘export of revolution’ following the ‘theory’ for direct state support of the European proletariat. In that period, opposition to the building of socialism in one country was the revisionism from the ‘left’ position. It may be noted, in this connection, that Trotsky did not come out against the class struggle, the dictatorship of the proletariat or proletarian internationalism. On the contrary he most robustly and emphatically, upheld all those points of the Marxism-Leninism — though in ‘left’ phrase-mongering, — yet Trotskyism opposed the dominating central issue of that period — that is ‘socialism in one country’, which determined all other issues of the world proletariat and as such, Trotskyism was, at that period, the central issue of the fight against revisionism. The struggle of the world proletariat centred against Trotskyism. The fate of the world proletariat was linked with the fate of the fight against Trotskyism and in defence of ‘socialism in one country’.
What, then, is the revisionism of our period–modern revisionism? Did modern revisionism appear, as we are told, in 1956, from the rostrum of the twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union? What, then, was Yugoslav revisionism of 1948, branded as ‘modern revisionism’ by the Cominform? Was Yugoslav revisionism a figment of imagination of Stalin? We have seen in our last pamphlet [Yugoslav Revisionism and the Role of CPSU] that after the death of Stalin the C.P.S.U. and CPC jointly and unitedly made rapprochement with the Tito-Clique and rehabilitated Yugoslav revisionism declaring it Marxism-Leninism, denouncing the Cominform resolutions of 1948 and 1949 and Stalin. We have also seen that in May 1958, the C.P.S.U. and CPC turned around and again denounced the Tito-Clique as modern revisionist. It can be quite justifiably concluded that there was a Fundamental differencebetween what the Cominform characterized in 1948 as modern revisionism and what the C.P.S.U. headed by Khrushchev and the CPC headed by Mao-Tse Tung, meant by modern revisionism in May 1958 and subsequently.
The CPC says, “The 20th Congress of the C.P.S.U. was the first step along the road of revisionism taken by the leadership of the C.P.S.U……
“…..From the very outset we held that a number of views advanced at the 20th Congress concerning the contemporary international struggle and the international Communist movement were wrong, were violation of Marxism-Leninism….” (The origin and development of the difference between the leadership of the C.P.S.U. and ourselves). It means revisionism of the Soviet Union began in 1956. What was, then, the difference between the revisionism of Khrushchev of 1956, when Khrushchev also fought against Titoite revisionism together with the CPC? There must be some important difference between the two. Otherwise how the revisionist Khrushchev fought Yugoslav revisionism and how the CPC could fight Yugoslav revisionism in alliance with Khrushchev revisionism? Khrushchev revisionism was not fought by the CPC “openly” at that time, but Titoite revisionism was not only fought openly, but also together with Khrushchev revisionism.
It is also to be noted that the Tito clique did not advocate peaceful co-existence, peaceful revolution, and peaceful competition with capitalism in 1948 as Khrushchev proposed in 1956, yet the Cominform branded Yugoslav revisionism as modern revisionism.
What, then, is modern revisionism concretely and precisely? What revisionism was fought by Khrushchev together with CPC against the Tito-clique? Again, what revisionism was fought by the CPC against Khrushchev? What issues are at stake in our period?
In order to understand all these questions let us begin from the beginning.
2. Socialism in One Country
The October revolution successfully accomplished in the midst of world crisis of imperialism on the one hand, and the revolutionary crisis on the other. Although Lenin envisaged the possibility of the victory of socialist revolution even in one country because of the operation of the law of uneven development of capitalism in the epoch of imperialism, most of the Bolsheviks including Lenin, hopefully (and the capitalists of Europe fearfully) expected revolution to break out in many of the European countries. In fact, revolutionary Governments were established in Hungary, and Slovakia, Bavaria and Austria were on the verge of revolution. Germany and Bulgaria were covered by Soviet of workers, peasants and soldiers and in France many of the returning soldiers were turning their rifles around. But the betrayal of the Second International had gone far and wide, there was no revolutionary leadership cohesive and firm enough to lead the working class to victory and counter revolution gained the upper hand.
“In the early period of revolution” said Lenin, “many entertained the hope that the socialist revolution would begin in Western Europe immediately the imperialist war ended……It could have been taken place but for the fact that the split within the proletariat of Western Europe was deeper, and the treachery of the former socialist leaders greater, than had been imagined,” (C.W. Vol .30, p.417.)
Was socialism in Soviet Russia to be given up simply because history was not turning out exactly the way Bolsheviks had expected, with revolution winning out quickly in most of the European countries? Or, was socialism to be built in this one country, turning it into a means for the world revolution? The conclusion of the Bolsheviks and Lenin was : Socialism had to be built in one country in spite of the bitterest odds and difficulties. The tide of revolution would eventually rise again, and meanwhile socialism in Soviet Russia would function as the base of world revolution.
“We have always known, and shall never forget, that ours is an international cause, and that, until the revolution takes place in all lands, including the richest and most highly civilised, our victory will be only a half-victory, perhaps even less” said Lenin. ( C.W. Vol. 31; p.33)
Elsewhere Lenin said, “Every one knows the difficulties of a revolution. It may begin with brilliant success in one country and then go through agonising periods, since the final victory is only possible on a world scale and only by the JOINT EFFORTS of all the workers of all countries. (Vol.29, p.372)
Socialism is international, it can only be built on the ashes of international capital – world imperialism, so far the final victory and reconstruction of the society is concerned. As such no individual socialist country can remain content with socialism in one country.
Stalin, summing up the Leninist approach to individual socialist countries, said :
“…..Proceeding from the law of uneven development under imperialism Lenin….drew the conclusion that the victory of socialism in individual capitalist country is possible…By the victory of socialism in individual country, Lenin means the seizure of power by the proletariat, the expropriation of the capitalists and the organization of socialist production; MOREOVER ALL THESE TASKS ARE NOT end in themselves, but a means OF STANDING UP AGAINST THE REST OF THE WORLD, the capitalist world and helping the proletariat of all countries in their struggle against capitalism” (Works. Vol. 9)
Stalin further said in his Problems of Leninism : “…. Hence the support of our revolution by the workers of all countries still more, the victory of the workers in at least several countries IS A NECESSARY CONDITION for fully guaranteeing the first victorious country against attempts at intervention and restoration, a necessary condition for final victory of socialism.”
Socialism in one country is neither a cherished goal of the communists nor a model condition for building of socialism. Desire it or not the objective social law will operate independently of the human desire and as such “socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several, while others will remain for some time bourgeois or pre-bourgeois.” (Lenin, C.W. Vol .23, p.79; emphasis in original.)
If socialism in one country is not an end in itself, and if socialism achieves victory singly country by country, at intervals, how, then, the unity of the people of all nations and countries will be achieved in such transitional period?
3. The Concept ‘Country’ and Proletarian Internationalism.
Socialism, of course, will not remain confined within a single country for ever. A time will surely come when socialism will be a fact first in more than one country, then in several countries and eventually in all countries. What will be the basis of mutual relations among the socialist countries, how the socialist countries will effect the unity of the people of all individual socialist countries, effacing the concept of “my country”? This is a question of the concrete application of proletarian internationalism in contrast with bourgeois nationalism. It is necessary to deal with the concept of “country” and its relation with the working class in this connection. The Communist Manifesto emphasized that the “country” about which the bourgeois spokesmen are so fond of prating does not exist so far the proletarian class is concerned. The arena where the proletariat wages struggle is within the boundaries of national state created and ruled by the bourgeoisie. That is why the struggle of the proletariat, in semblance, not actually, is limited within the boundary of a specific national state though the proletarians have in every country one and the same interest, one and the same enemy, one and the same war- to end capitalism, to establish socialism – to wage. Only a tiny section – the bourgeoisie – has created for itself the boundary, because “though all members of the contemporary bourgeoisie have one and the same interest so far as they constitute a specific class contravene to another class, nevertheless in their relations one with another they have conflicting interests. These antagonisms arise from the economic structure of the bourgeois system”. (Marx-The Poverty of Philosophy) – which goes by the name of ‘Country’, ‘Fatherland’ etc. So long the proletariat is not class conscious the national class state of the bourgeoisie is considered by them as their fatherland. Even the proletariat, when becomes conscious of itself as a class and seizes political power and establishes itself as a ruling class, it establishes that power within a specific boundary. Only in that sense, “though by no means in the bourgeois sense of the term” (Manifesto), the proletariat does retain national complexion of the state. The process of Internationalization which is already perceptible under capitalism i.e., in the world system of capitalist economy, “will efface these distinctions and contrasts even more…. The ending of class oppositions within the nations will end the mutual hostilities of the nations.” (Manifesto) and eventually will obliterate the boundaries and frontiers of nations and there will emerge a single nation of humanity.
On this basis Lenin, while building socialism in one country, envisaged that world socialism can only be built up on the basis of an integrated world socialist economy regulated by the international dictatorship of the proletariat based on WORLD FEDERATION OF SOCIALIST REPUBLICS on the one hand and under the leadership of a SINGLE WORLD COMMUNIST PARTY on the other as opposed to the integrated world capitalist economy regulated by international capital. That would be the crux of proletarian internationalism in practice as and when more than one socialist countries will emerge.
The overthrow of Tsarist autocracy not only unleashed a social revolution, but many national revolutions, in the course of which the Tsarist empire disintegrated into diverse national entities. Since “a whole series of nationalities in Russia” said Stalin. “Were, in fact, in a state of complete separation and in view of this, federation became a step forward…….to their drawing together, to their unity.” (Wks. Vol. 5) Lenin never regarded the atomised states as useful and advantageous for the socialist unity of the whole world. The proletarian internationalism demands unity of the people on international scale uninterrupted by disintegrative pulls of separate nationalism. According to Lenin, the large centralised state of the capitalists is an immense historical step forward from the dispersal of political power in feudal times to the future socialist unity of the whole world. That was why the Bolshevik Party, while, calling the vast Tsarist empire a “prison of nations” urged the nations and nationalities not to disintegrate by forming atomised independent states, but to remain united on the basis of voluntary union with the right of secession. This voluntary union is the union of the people on the basis of federation.
Lenin said that “federation is a transitional form to complete unity of the working people of the different nations.” (Colonial Theses). It meant that federation does not denote complete unity, but a step forward towards complete unity. Federation is a voluntary union of different sovereign states based on equality and independence of each state voluntarily limiting the sovereignty in the common interests of all the federated states as a whole to such an extent which will help all to advance quickly in the struggle against the common enemy – international capital. Secondly, federation is a two sided agreement of sovereign states; it is a, “union of equals” and as such, it may not always and under all circumstances, agree with other. In that case the concerned sovereign state may leave the federation and secede. Hence, according to Lenin, federation does not and cannot denote “complete unity” – yet it is a welcome step forward to complete unity.
As the people – not the advanced section of the working class – the Communists – of different socialist states still harbour (after the revolution) national sentiments, feelings, apprehensions and even hatred against other nations, especially against the erstwhile oppressing nation, different socialist states can only federate voluntarily on the basis of equality, independence and sovereignty with the right of secession, if necessary. Lenin spoke of this federation as federation of world socialist states as a “transitional stage to complete unity”, of the people of different nations. Complete unity of the people of different nations of the socialist states can only be achieved in the process of socialist reconstruction of society, socialization, abolition of exploitation of man by man and abolition of all classes and abolition of material and super structural bases of bourgeois and petty -bourgeois nationalism. So, it is a long way. Meanwhile, socialist state will emerge one after another. The historically determined aim of communism is complete unity of the people of the world – which is already visible in the Communists of the world – where there will remain no state boundaries and no state, humanity will be a single nation. The socialist states in this transition period must have a policy to realise this principle. That is why the dictatorship of the proletariat takes cognizance of the reality of the situation and thus recognizes and respects the equality. Independence and state sovereignty of the different socialist states and prepare the material, super structural and organizational ground for complete unity, by federating the socialist states for closer unity as a transitional stage towards complete unity.
In this connection, it must be clearly and without an iota of ambiguity, understood that behind the state apparatus of the federated socialist states the democratically centralised Communist Party remains as the guiding core – who are proletarian internationalists both in theory and practice and who are in complete unity on all issues. The members of the Communist Party are not people with national feelings, sentiments, apprehensions and hatred, but vanguard of the people of the world in complete unity (not, of course, in absolute sense) most conscious section of the working class. THE ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY IS NOT federalism based on equality, independence and sovereignty with the right of secession, BUT DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM. It expresses the single will of the world proletariat. This will, according to Lenin, is one and indivisible, communists of the world articulate in one voice and there is no place of divisive voice ONCE THE DECISIONS ARE TAKEN, after full and free discussion when there was equality and independence in airing the opinion. The Communist Party is a monolithic organization. When, in 1903, voices were raised by the Bundists and others for the federal structure of the Party, Lenin held that there was only one valid classwill for the workers of all nations and as such, federalism for the proletarian party cannot be tolerated. Lenin said. “we must act as a single centralised fighting organization. We must have behind us the entire proletariat without distinction of nationality and language.“
Herein lies the difference between the socialist states composed of the people and the communist Party composed of the advanced section of the proletariat. The former is in the process of complete unity while the latter is already in complete unity.
Lenin not only envisaged, but also made the federation of many Soviet States a reality in the Soviet Union, first, it was R.S.F.S.R. and afterwards USSR. At the Eighth Party Congress in March, 1919, Lenin drew a clear distinction between the principle of state organization and party organization. After federalism had been approved as the method for joining new socialist states to the R.S.F.S.R., the Party in a resolution warned that this, in no way, implies that the Russian Communist Party, in turn, must be organised as a federation of independentCommunist parties——— There must be one centralised communist party with One Central Committee, directing the ENTIRE WORK of the Party in all parts of the R.S.F.S.R. Furthermore, the resolution said, “At the present time Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Byelorussia exist as separate Soviet Republics. For the present moment these are the forms in which the state has to exist.” But ALL DECISIONS OF THE RUSSIAN COMMUNIST PARTY AND DIRECTING ORGANS ARE UNCONDITIONALLY BINDING UPON ALL PARTS OF THE PARTY REGARDLESS OF THEIR NATIONAL COMPOSITION. The Central Committees of the Ukrainian, Latvian and Lithuanian parties are accorded the rights of regional Committees of the Party and are ENTIRELY SUBORDINATED TO THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE RUSSIAN COMMUNIST PARTY.
From the above, we see that taking into full account the sentiments, feelings etc. of the people of Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Byelorussia Lenin and the Bolshevik Party did not press for federating these separate Soviet States to R.S.F.S.R. and these states remained not only independent and sovereign but also separate. Nevertheless ,Lenin did not allow the Communist Parties of these states to remain independent and sovereign. Did Lenin acted as a great nation chauvinist as the Tito-clique spoke of Stalin and which was supported by both the C.P.S.U. headed by Khrushchev and the CPC headed by Mao Tse-Tung? On the contrary, “this example alone should point up clearly the difference of attitude between the people and thevanguard of the people of any country . This is how proletarian internationalism was concretely practised by Lenin. The Ukrainian, Latvian and Lithuanian Parties did neither raise their eyebrows nor raised the question of independence and sovereignty of their parties, nor did they raise the question of equality between big and small parties.
Though in March 1919, Lenin agreed to the existence of Ukraine etc, as separate states, in December 1919, he urged Ukraine to federate with the R.S.F.S.R. so as to provide the toilers of the whole world with an example of a really firm union of workers and peasants of different nations struggling for Soviet power and THE CREATION OF A WORLD FEDERATED SOCIALIST REPUBLIC. This time the Ukrainian people readily agreed to federate with the R.S.F.S.R.
In December , 1922 again, Stalin, when discussing the treaty that would soon create the USSR, said, that the new Union state will have another decisive step towards the amalgamation of toilers of the whole world into A WORLD SOCIALIST REPUBLIC. Similarly , the Programme of the Sixth Congress of the Communist International in 1928,advanced the slogan of A FEDERATION OF SOVIET REPUBLICS OF advanced countries and colonies THAT HAVE FALLEN AWAY OR ARE FALLING AWAY FROM THE IMPERIALIST SYSTEM. The various states ‘the Comintern programme continued’ will JOIN THE GROWING FEDERATION OF SOVIET REPUBLICS AND THUS enter the general system of world proletarian dictatorship. The programme also visualised that at a certain time “the federation of these Republics has FINALLY BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO A WORLD UNION OF SOCIALIST REPUBLIC uniting the whole mankind under the hegemony of the world proletariat ORGANISED AS A STATE.”
The rules adopted at the Sixth Congress of the Communist International reiterated that The Communist International — the International workers Association is union of Communist Parties in various Countries; IT IS A WORLD COMMUNIST PARTY. (International Press Correspondence, Vol. 8, no.84, November 29, 1928.)
How can the above aim of world federation of the socialist Republics as a transitional stage to complete unity of the people of all the nations be realised in life? Lenin, taking experience from the Soviet movement enriched the Marxist doctrine of the proletarian Party in conformity with the needs of the epoch of proletarian revolution and set up the Third (Communist) International in March, 1919. Lenin never regarded the Republic of Soviets AS AN END IN ITSELF” said Stalin. He always looked on it as an essential link (Stalin’s emphasis) for facilitating the victory of the working people of the whole world over capitalism. Lenin knew that this was the only right conception, both from the international standpoint and from the standpoint of preserving the Republic of Soviets itself. Lenin knew that this alone could fire the hearts of the working people of the whole world with determination to fight the decisive battle for their emancipation. This is why, on the morrow of the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, he, the greatest genius, who has led the proletariat, laid the foundations of the workers’ international. This is why he never tired of extending and strengthening the union of the working people of the whole world– the Communist International.” (Works, vol. 6)
The most important features of the organizational principles of the Communist International were evolved by Lenin so that the proletarian internationalism can be expressed most concretely in day to day life–not only in words–and with the aim of smooth working of the WORLD FEDERATION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS. These principles were: (a) democratic centralism in each Party to ensure, unity of will with action, on the part of the national contingents of the Communist Parties ;(b) internationalism ‘including international discipline i.e., DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM IN THE INTERNATIONAL SPHERE expressing monolithism and oneness of the aim and action of the international proletariat; and (c) the designation of the Parties of the Communist International was changed to signify and emphasise that they were not national Communist Parties but national contingents of the World Party e.g. not the countrys Communist Party. Each party desirous of joining the Communist International should bear the following name: Communist Party of such and such a country, section of the Third (Communist) International. The question of renaming of a Party is not only a formal one but is a political question of great importance. (Condition 17 of the 21 Conditions for the affiliations). The Condition No 16 said, All the resolutions of the Congress of the Communist International, as well as the resolutions of the Executive Committee are binding for all parties joining Communist International. But at the same time the Communist International said in the same Condition No 16, “At the same time the Communist International and the Executive Committee are naturally bound in every form of their activity to consider the variety of conditions under which the different parties have to work and struggle, and generally binding resolution should be passed only on such question upon which such resolutions are possible.
Consequently, proletarian internationalism did no longer remain an abstract and empty high-sounding phrase and catch-world like that of the Second International. It was made concrete and lively. Submission to the international discipline of international democratic centralism of ECCI (Executive Committee of the Communist International) subordinating the interests of individual sections of the Communist Party was the concrete and living expression and manifestation of proletarian internationalism. Behind the World Federation of Socialist Republics, the Communist International remaining as the guiding core will unite the people of different nations, through the transitional stage to complete unity. Federation of Socialist States of different nations and the Communist International were the two pillars of proletarian internationalism, conceived by Lenin, Stalin and the Communist International.
4. More on Proletarian Internationalism
Lenin defined most concretely how Marxist-Leninists should view equality, independence and state sovereignty of the socialist countries in their inter-relations and how proletarian internationalism is to be practised, in his celebrated Preliminary Theses on the national and colonial questions, known as Colonial Theses placed at the Second Congress of the Communist International in 1920 . We quote a few relevant theses below:
(7)” Federation (federation of different socialist states) is a transitional form to the complete unity of the working people of different nations…
(8) “In this respect, it is the task of the Communist International to further develop and also to study and test by experiences these new federations which are arising on the basis of Soviet system and Soviet movement . In recognizing that federation is a transitional form to complete unity, it is necessary to strive for ever closer federal unity, bearing in mind first, that the Soviet Republics, surrounded, as they are, by the imperialist powers of the whole world which from the military stand-point are immeasurably stronger — cannot possibly continue to exist without the closest alliance, second ,THAT A CLOSE ECONOMIC ALLIANCE BETWEEN THE SOVIET REPUBLICS IS NECESSARY, otherwise the productive forces, which have been ruined by imperialism, cannot be restored and the well-being of the people cannot be ensured; third, THAT THERE IS A TENDENCY TOWARDS THE CREATION OF A single world economy REGULATED BY THE PROLETARIAT OF ALL NATIONS as an integrated whole, and ACCORDING TO COMMON PLAN. This tendency has already revealed itself quite clearly under capitalism AND IS BOUND TO BE FURTHER DEVELOPED and consummated UNDER SOCIALISM.
(9) “Recognition of internationalism in words and its replacements in deed by petty-bourgeois nationalism and pacifism, in all propaganda, agitation and practical work, is very common not only among parties of the Second International, but also among those which have withdrawn from it and often among parties which now call themselves communists. The urgency of the struggle against this evil , against the most deep-rooted petty-bourgeois national prejudices looms ever larger with the mounting exigencies of the TASK OF CONVERTING THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT from national dictatorship (i.e., existing in a single country and incapable of determining world politics) INTO INTERNATIONAL ONE ( i.e., A DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT INVOLVING AT LEAST SEVERAL ADVANCED COUNTRIES and capable of exercising decisive influence upon world politics as a whole). Petty-bourgeois nationalism proclaims internationalism THE MERE RECOGNITION OF THE EQUALITY OF NATIONS and nothing more. Quite apart from the fact that this recognition is purely verbal. Petty-bourgeois nationalism preserves national self-interest in tact , whereas proletarian internationalism demands first , that the interests of the proletarian struggle in any country should be subordinated to the interests of that struggle on a world scale and second, that a nation which is achieving victory over the bourgeoisie should be able and willing to make the greatest national sacrifice for the over-throw of international capital ….
We beg to be excused for this long quotation , but without this the problem which we are discussing would not be properly understood. These were the Leninist principle and line of the dictatorship of the proletariat and proletarian internationalism and inter-relations of the socialist states. The USSR consisting of several socialist states was formed on the basis of these principles and line.
5. Socialism in Several Countries.
As long as the Soviet Union was alone a socialist country, the question of proletarian internationalism and inter-relations among socialist states as enunciated by Lenin in his Colonial Theses , was a ” mere theoretical” one , without any scope for application, except in the USSR. But the situation became a completely different one after 1945 with the emergence of new socialist countries , at first in Eastern Europe and then in Asia, so that eventually a dozen socialists countries were in existence . The era of socialism in one country changed into an era of socialism in several countries. The modern revisionists of all hues conceal this most important turning point in the history and movement of the working class carefully and ignore it altogether. But try as they will the fact remains that with this change the very approach to the question of proletarian internationalism changed in its scope and depth. THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE ROOT OF MODERN REVISIONISM LIES IN THE UNDERSTANDING OF THIS CHANGE. The objective basis of CONVERTING THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT FROM A NATIONAL DICTATORSHIP INTO AN INTERNATIONAL ONE, as Lenin envisaged in his Colonial Theses emerged with the emergence of socialism in several countries. Together with this ” the most deep rooted petty-bourgeois national prejudices” emerged “looming ever larger with the mounting exogenesis of the task of converting the dictatorship of the proletariat from national dictatorship into an international one” involving several countries.
Herein lies the socio-political roots of proletarian internationalism in the era of socialism in several countries on the one hand and of modern revisionism on the other. The activities of Stalin in the post 1945 period and the activities in opposition to Stalin by the Tito-clique and after the death of Stalin the activities of the C.P.S.U. , headed by Khrushchev and the CPC , headed by Mao should be judged by the task of converting or not converting the national dictatorship of one country into an international one in the era of socialism in several countries. The fundamental and dominating issue was straight and clear.
Now, we are in a better position to understand what modern revisionism is.
What was the dominating central issue upon which all other issues of the struggle of the world proletariat depended before the proletarians of all countries and the international communist movement when history transformed the situation thus? The dominating central issue did no longer remain the building of socialism in one country, singly, under the dictatorship of the proletariat of a single country but the conversion of the dictatorship of the proletariat of a single country into an international dictatorship of the proletariat of several socialists countries andthe conscious and planned building of socialism internationally as a world system under a single world proletarian leadership for the restoration of the ruined productive forces of all the socialist countries for ensuring the well being of the people of the socialist countries , for jointly confronting the imperialist powers militarily, politically as well as diplomatically . These tasks are impossible without the closest possible alliance of the socialist states militarily, economically , politically, diplomatically and organizationally . Modern revisionism and Marxism-Leninism, in this period, can only be determined and distinguished by this standard.
For the realization of this historic mission, the following tasks were urgent and imperative:
(a) revival and reconstruction of the Communist International as the guiding core for leading the international communist movement and for the building of socialism internationally as a world socialist system so that a decisive influence could be exerted in world politics and economics as a whole , so that all roads may lead to Communism , as Molotov said , through a common plan.
(b) Formation of an international economic organization involving all the socialist countries so that the process of a common plan on the basis of closer unity for an integrated socialist economy regulated collectively by the socialist countries can be started.
(c) Through the working of this process at a certain stage of the development a condition will emerge when federation of the socialist countries and international dictatorship of the proletariat will be a reality as Lenin and the Communist International envisaged.
6. Modern Revisionism
We have shown in our last pamphlet Yugoslav revisionism and the role of the C.P.S.U. and CPC , how Stalin at last succeeded in persuading the Communist Parties of the Peoples Democracies of Eastern Europe and the Communist Parties of France and Italy to form the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform). We do not know the details of the facts of tremendous opposition Stalin faced. In this connection Togliatti, in his Report to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Italy shed some light from which we can understand the depth of opposition against the revival and reconstruction of the Communist International . Togliatti said on June , 24 , 1956:
When the Information Bureau was formed , I do not deny that there was some doubt among us , as we warned that the action was substantially contrary to the line of development of the communist movement which had been adopted when the Communist International was dissolved. However , we felt the need in that situation , for renewing contacts among the different sectors of the communist movements, precisely because, that was the very time when the great cold war offensive was launched against the communist forces , against socialism, against democracy and peace”.
In the same report Togliatti further said : I do not hesitate to recall to the memory of my comrades that in several cases there were differences between what the Soviet communists said on certain matters and what we maintained ; but this never broke our mutual solidarity and understanding.
The most obvious and perhaps the most serious conflict — I recall it because it has certain degree of importance in relation to matters which are being discussed to-day – took place as recently as January 1951. At that time I had gone to Moscow for a period of convalescence, after the serious accident which had happened to me and the subsequent surgery and I found myself faced with comrade Stalins proposal that I should abandon the post of Secretary of the Italian Communist Party to assume that of Secretary General of the Information Bureau. I immediately opposed it for many reasons . I considered that such an action [creation of the post of Secretary General of the Cominform] could not fail to have serious and unfavorable repercussions on the development of the international situation, at a time which was of extreme gravity as it could not fail to indicate in the eyes of public opinion, a return to the organization of the Communist International. In the second place , I considered that it was not right to take that course regarding the organization of the international communist movement. Finally, there was personal reasons against it. There were heated arguments, but the matter was resolved satisfactorily, as comrade Stalin withdrew his proposal
What do we understand from the above two quotations from Togliatlis Report? We understand that: a spectre was haunting the revisionists- the spectre of the Communist International. All the powers of revisionists of the world had entered into a holy alliance in order to lay this spectre: Togliatti and Tito; Mao and Khrushchev, (adopted from the Manifesto) Stalin withdrew his proposal not because Stalin thought that he was wrong after the heated debate, but because it was useless to debate with an arch-revisionist . The anti-Leninists, the anti-internationalists were opposed to the idea of revival and reconstruction of the Communist International and they tried to treat the Cominform as a mere post office for receiving and dispatching reports – not as a guiding centre and executive body–of the international communist movement. The Cominform was the basic party organization of the united front” of the socialist countries. (In this connection please see the letter of the CC of the C.P.S.U. (B) to the CC of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia quoted on pages 14 – 17 in Yugoslav revisionism and the role of the C.P.S.U. and CPC).
In that letter the C.P.S.U. (B) said that the Cominform was the basic party organization of the united front of the socialist countries. What did that exactly mean? The socialist countries remained separated , condition did not mature for federating the socialist countries. A mechanism must be set up through which a common policy for all socialist countries may be taken up. That mechanism was the united front of all the socialist countries . But who will guide that united front? A party organization is needed to guide that united front and that party organization was the Cominform. That was why the letter of the CC, CPSU (B) in its letter wrote that the Cominform was the basic party organization of the united front. United front was composed ofpeople of the socialist countries, where there were diverse opinions and elements . But the Cominform was made of the communist which was not common platform, but a party organization in which all the constituent have the right to criticise others and obligation to abide by the decision of the organization and this party organization implements its policy through the common platform of the united front. Was it wrong on the part of the Cominform or Stalin to consider the Cominform as the basic party organization? The revisionists were not prepared to accept the Cominform as the basic party organization as an executive body. Proletarian internationalism in words and bourgeois nationalism in deeds, that was the stand of the revisionists. They tried to treat the Cominform as a get together affair having no executive power.
We have seen that the Tito clique was expelled from the Cominform on the charge of advocating and practising modern revisionism. Tito raised the slogan of self-reliance, independent building of socialism, went against the international discipline of the Cominform, advocated non-interference in internal party affairs, thus placing ‘his’ party in independent and sovereign status. He voiced the sentiments and wishes of the bourgeois nationalists inside the world communist movement and especially of the socialist countries in declaration like No mater how much each of us loves the land of socialism — the USSR, he can in no case love his country less which is also developing socialism.” (Yugoslav Communist Partys letter to the C.P.S.U. (B) on April 13, 1948 ). The love of socialist country of a foreign land was counterpoised with love and loyalty to ones own socialist country implying that socialism was not international but national as well as implying an inevitable contradiction between the two in building and developing socialism.
We have also seen how the C.P.S.U. headed by Khrushchev made rapprochement with the Tito clique in 1955, in consultation and full agreement with the CPC headed by Mao Tse-Tung to internationalise the essence of Titoite revisionism. This rapprochement was the rapprochement with modern revisionism, a revisionism against the building of socialism internationally under the collective leadership of the parties of the socialist countries in the epoch of socialism in several countries unfurling the flag of bourgeois nationalism in the shape of bourgeois equality, independence, sovereignty and non-interference and carrying that to the sphere of even party affairs thus transforming international communism into national communism. ‘Self reliance’ in building and developing socialism was their central slogan.
We are now in a position to define precisely and concretely what the Cominform meant by modern revisionism when it denounced the Tito-clique as modern revisionist.
Modern revisionism was the revisionism which repudiated and denounced the building of socialism internationally as an organised and conscious world system on the basis of a common plan under the collective leadership and guidance of socialist countries in the period of socialism in several countries on the one hand and propagated and practised ‘socialism in one country’ basing on the slogan of self-reliance and national socialist state, thus eventually coming in conflict with each other disintegrating the socialist camp and unity, on the other . This served the bourgeoisie and the imperialists.
Building of socialism internationally and collectively by all socialist countries demanded an international and collective leadership and Cominform was that international and collective leadership as basic party organization of the United front of the socialist countries through which the proletarian internationalism was expressed concretely. All the socialist countries and their states were independent and sovereign, remained as separate states but the Communist Parties were not accorded the status of independence and sovereignty as it was against the very principle and practice of proletarian internationalism.
Did Stalin commit any wrong by following the line of Lenin? Did Stalin commit any wrong by forming Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) and introducing joint enterprises of the socialist countries? Was it Stalins ‘big-nation chauvinism’?
All the questions of this period of socialism in several countries , including the questions of Stalin depended on the attitude and stand on the central issue of the period : Socialism in a single country? Or socialism in several countries? Building of socialism singly? Or building of socialism internationally? Is the Communist Party a World Party? Or the Communist Party is a national party, independent and sovereign?
In fact , both the C.P.S.U. headed by Khrushchev and subsequently by Breznev and the CPC headed by Mao Tes-Tung consolidated and strengthened their own bourgeois nationalism respectively , after the death of Stalin , and that was why subsequently the CPC and the C.P.S.U. fought against one another in the name of fighting revisionism. We will, of course , deal with this question , somewhat in details in our pamphlet Communism in crisis – how and why? But the basic cause of this fight of revisionism against revisionism , was undoubtedly bourgeois nationalism and separatism which gave rise to hegemonism on the part of both to consolidate and strengthen national state of “socialism”. Lenin once said , One who has adopted the standpoint of nationalism , naturally arrives at the desire to erect a Chinese wall around his nationality , his national working class movement. He is unembarrassed even by the fact that it would mean building separate walls in each city, in each little town and village, unembarrassed even by the fact that by his tactics of division and dismemberment he is reducing to nil(emphasis in original) the great call for the rallying and unity of the proletarians of all nations , all races and all languages , (C.W., Vol. 6 pp. 520-21).
Let us see how bourgeois nationalism , Titoism reigned supreme in the Communist Party of China and how it consolidated and strengthened bourgeois nationalism in opposition to proletarian internationalism from 1956 onwards in the name of fighting revisionism.
7. The Stand of the CPC
Bourgeois nationalism and proletarian internationalism – these are two great class camps throughout the capitalist world and express the two policies (nay, the two world out-looks) in the national question, (Lenin , C.W. vol. 20, emphasis in original).
We will reproduce in this chapter the stand of the CPC from the well-known document. More on the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat – a CPC joint editorial article published by the Peoples Daily in December, 1956 , stating its position on equality, independence , sovereignty , the role and task of the proletarian Party, relations among socialist states, Communist Parties , proletarian internationalism and nationalism etc., accusing Stalin as big nation chauvinist and defending Yugoslav position. The document contains the fundamental stand of the CPC. This document, it may be noted, was approvingly reproduced in New Times, Moscow , in its January 10,1957 issue. Moreover , this editorial was reprinted , published and distributed in India free in a booklet form by G.Efimov, representative of the Information Department, Embassy of USSR in India and was printed at New Age Printing Press , New Delhi by D.P.Sinha. It is clear from this that both the CPC and C.P.S.U. held the same view on the contents of the document.
Our comments will follow in parentheses and we will demonstrate that the stand of the CPC is against the stand of Lenin and Marxism-Leninism. It will be clear to the readers that the CPC , in alliance with the C.P.S.U., was consolidating and strengthening Titos theory and pratice of bourgeois nationalism in the international communist movement by parading as genuine proletarian internationalism.
The editorial article says:
International solidarity of the Communist Parties of all countries is entirely a new type of relationship in the history of mankind. Naturally , the development of such relations cannot proceed without difficulties. The Communist Parties of all countries must unite , but at the same time must retain their independence.
[Ask yourselves, readers , independence from whom and what? Which independence the CPC is speaking of ? Independence from the obligation to international organization of the Communist? Independence in expressing views and opinions during discussion in international organization? Or, independence in flouting collective decisions, independence to violate international discipline, independence to advocate national exclusiveness?]
The editorial continues: When the Communist Parties maintain among themselves relations based on equality and achieve unity of views and action through genuine and NOT FORMAL consultations, their solidarity grows stronger. On the other hand , if in their relations they IMPOSE their views upon each other, SUBSTITUTE comradely suggestions by interference in the INTERNAL affairs of each other , this solidarity will by impaired…..
[Attention, comrade readers! What the “relations based on equality” means ? It means the relations between two independent and sovereign parties. This is against the very Leninist principle of international democratic centralism and international discipline. Why does not the CPC say boldly that it does not agree with the Leninist principle of proletarian party organization? If the solidarity between two national parties is impaired by formal organizational discipline i.e., by obligatory obedience to majority decision; if this is considered imposition’,’ interference’, etc., and if the absence of formal discipline helps to strengthen solidarity, why then, is the Leninist principle of democratic centralism followed in the national sphere? If only through genuine consultation and not through formal discipline on the basis of equality and independence an unity of will and action can really be achieved in the international communist movement, in the international sphere , why should not then, the wise method of consensus be practised in the national communist movement , in the national sphere ? If in the national parties and national spheres democratic centralism is not considered to be a violation of equality and independence or interference in internal affairs of and ‘imposition’ on lower units or units of other nationalities in a multinational country like China , why should it be considered so in the international sphere? In fact, the Leninist principle of organization , monolithism , organic conception of the proletarian party , everything has been questioned in the above passage, in the name of Marxism-Leninism . Are these not bourgeois concepts and practices of individuals equality and independence? Where is the idea of revolutionary party- which means , according to Lenin , power, authority? A revolutionary organization of Leninist conception in the national sphere and a liberal hotch-potch conglomeration in the international sphere? It seems that the CPCs model for proletarian internationalism is the notorious Second International. Lenin said that The method of old international (Second International) was to refer to such questions [questions concerning the particular country] to be decided by the separate party in the countries concerned . THAT WAS FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG . It is quite possible that we [ meaning here the leadership of the Communist International] are not fully aware of the conditions prevailing in this or that country. BUT WHAT WE ARE DEALING HERE is the principle underlying the tactics of the Communist Party. This is very important and we , in the name of Third International must clearly state here the Communist point of view. (Lenin, Affiliation to the British Labour Party , vol., 31). Elsewhere Lenin said that the revolutionary theory grows out of the sum total of the revolutionary experiences and revolutionary thinking of all countries in the World and that is why the principle of strategy and tactics have to be worked out collectively . (C.W. vol., 21, p 354 emphasis in original) Lenin also said that the Communist International must work out its tactics internationally. (C.W. vol., 31, p. 60 ). The position, the CPC has taken is clearly proletarian internationalism in words and bourgeois nationalism in deeds . Comrade readers , this is a most vital distinction and you must judge according to the principles at stake.]
The editorial continues: Marxism-Leninism has always combined proletarian internationalism with patriotism of EACH PEOPLE.
[Observe, how cunningly the principled internationalism of the class conscious proletariat – the Communities and the patriotism of the people have been confused. The old type of relations have existed for many centuries in those countries which have become socialist and between which in the old exploiting society there were quarrels, clashes and wars. These left bitter memories. The people of such countries may counterpoise the interests of their “own” socialist country with the interests of a ‘foreign’ socialist country–which is Patriotism of thepeople. (As the editorial deals with the relation among the socialist countries and Communist Parties–‘Patriotism’ cannot here mean the defence of the fatherland in general. A false sense of patriotism may dominate over them as a hangover of the past. (We have already seen in earlier chapter how Lenin took into account this sentiment of the Ukrainians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Byelorussians, but he distinguished this sentiments of the people and the consciousness of the Communists of these countries and treated the two in different manner.) But the communists should have no such false sense. Yet the editorial confuses the people and the communists most deliberately and urges to take one attitude to both!
Secondly, who ‘combines’ (if the word is at all allowed ) this partiotism of the people with proletarian internationalism? Undoubtedly the Communist Party combines it. But is it by giving up something of proletarian internationalism and accepting something of patriotism? If patriotism comes in sharp and fundamental conflict with the proletarian internationalism what should be done then? Lenin said, as we have seen, that the petty-bourgeois nationalism preserves national self-interest intact There is not a word about it, the editorial is only in favour of combining’ patriotism with proletarian internationalism which cannot but give rise to national exclusiveness . The Communists present the principle of proletarian internationalism to the people in such a manner so that it may not wound the patriotic and national sentiment of the people. It is the policy of implementing the principle, it is never a combining]
The editorial goes on: The Communist Parties of all countries rear their members and people in the spirit of internationalism, because genuine national interest of all peoples of all countries demand friendly co-operation among nations
[Please mark how diplomatically the above sentence has been constructed! We would request the readers to go through the quotation of Lenin at the top of this chapter. Lenin said of two world outlooks so far nationalism and proletarian internationalism were concerned. From what outlook the above sentence is approached? Of course, the national interest has been qualified with an abstract word ‘genuine’. Who and which world outlook will decide and determine this high sounding ‘genuine’? In defining revisionism we have already said Insert one incorrect word between two correct words, insert one wrong idea between two correct ideas — that is the technique of revisionism of all brands”. Just see, Co-operation among nations is here equated with proletarian internationalism . In this epoch of imperialism no nation can afford to remain aloof without co-operation with other nations and as such the bourgeoisie and imperialists also advocate and practise co-operation among nations in the national interest. But where is the class content in the genuine national interest?]
The editorial proceeds on: They understand that they will have genuine confidence and devotion of the broad masses of the people and will effectively educate the masses in a spirit of internationalism and harmonise national sentiments and interests of these countries ONLY WHEN THEY REPRESENT THE NATIONAL INTERESTS AND SENTIMENTS.
[Attention please readers! Communists are asked to “represent national interests and sentiments” and “harmonise” with proletarian internationalism to win the confidence and devotion of the broad masses of the people! Undoubtedly, a proletarian internationalist Party must have a national policy of its own for each country which will take into account of the national peculiarities and sentiments and degree of consciousness of the people of the country concerned but that is a policy, not principle for properly implementing and realising the internationalist principle. The national contingent of the international Communist Party can only arrive at a correct policy when national policy is viewed and discussed from internationalist position, in international context. In absence of an international organization how can an exclusively national party ‘combine’ and harmonise national interests with international interests of the world proletariat? This is nothing but giving free reign to bourgeois nationalist deviation and national insularity.]
In the next paragraph the editorial says: With the purpose of strengthening the international solidarity of the socialist countries, the Communist Parties of these countries must mutually respect national interests and national feelings. This is particularly important in THE RELATIONS BETWEEN THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF A BIGGER COUNTRY AND A COMMUNIST PARTY OF A SMALLER COUNTRY.
[Comrade readers, rub your eyes and read that again. Communist Parties of socialist countries, bigger and smaller, instead of collectively determining the national policy for each socialist country according to the national peculiarities of the country concerned on the basis of the interests of the world proletariat and socialism as a whole, must “mutually respect national interests and national feelings” and this is called proletarian internationalism ! This time, it is not the people — but the Communist Parties. They must downgrade themselves from the position and standard of consciousness of proletarian internationalism to the position and standard of consciousness of the people. Not only that, Communists of bigger countries have been differentiated from those of smaller countries! Communists of smaller socialist countries are supposed to harbour attitudes and sentiments like those of the people of smaller countries towards the bigger socialist countries and communists of bigger countries are supposed to harbour attitudes and feelings like those of the ruling classes of the bigger countries towards the people and communists of smaller countries! Where is the class position and class consciousness? Are we to differentiate, then, between the communists of oppressed and oppressor countries? Preposterous.]
The next paragraph of the editorial continues : “To preclude resentment on the part of the smaller country, the party of the bigger country must constantly devote its attention to SETTING UP EQUAL RELATIONS. Lenin was right when he emphasized that it is …the duty of the class conscious proletariat to treat with particular caution and attention the survivals of national sentiments among countries and nationalities which have been longest oppressed (V.I. Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, Part II, Moscow, 1952 pp, 469-70).
[Here the editorial quoted Lenin in support of its stand. The emphasis on class conscious proletariat and “countries and nationalities” are ours. Firstly, Lenin did not boost up “national interest and national feelings” as the CPC likes to think. On the contrary, he spoke of survivals of these sentiments lingering among the people of socialist countries of erstwhile oppressed nations and nationalities. Secondly, Lenin did not here make distinction between the Communists of erstwhile oppressed and oppressor countries. On the contrary, he cautioned the CLASS CONSCIOUS PROLETARIAT, making a clear distinction between the people and the Communists. Lenin cautioned the class conscious proletariat of Great Russian origin to take into account the feelings of the countries and nationalities, which had been the colonies of Tsarist Russia. Naturally, the countries and nationalities who had suffered the longest oppression by the Great Russian bourgeoisie and the autocracy harboured resentment against the Great Russians in general. Yet Lenin, at no point , confused the class conscious proletariat of Great Russian origin and the Great Russian oppressors, when he discussed the nationality problem facing the Communists. He dealt the problem from the class stand point, not from the nationalist standpoint like that of the CPC.
At another point of time , in his speech to the students of Sverdlov University in 1918 Lenin said, “The Poles got help from Britain, France and America who all tried to arouse Polandsancient hatred towards her Great Russian oppressors, tried to transfer the Polish Workers’ hatred of the landowners and Tsars a hundred times deserved , to the Russian workers and peasants, and tried to make Polish workers think that the Bolsheviks like the Russian chauvinists dream of conquering Poland. Is not the Communist Party of China, in distinguishing between the communists of bigger and smaller countries trying to foster the idea that the communists of bigger countries are chauvinists who dream of annexing the smaller countries? Should we, the communist of India look askance at the communists of imperialist Britain and America? Should the communists of Kashmir , Nagaland and Mizoram look askance at us? Should communists of the Hindu origin look suspiciously at communists of Muslim origin and vice-versa because both Hindu and Muslim communalists had organised pogrom against each other? Should relations among communists of the world be determined on the basis of such differentiation? Just ponder , comrades , where the CPC is bent on dragging you, to proletarian internationalism and unity and union of world communists or to unadulterated narrow bourgeois nationalism?]
The editorial continues in the next paragraph: “As has been already stated, Stalin displayed a certain tendency toward dominant nation chauvinism in the relations of fraternal countries. The essence of this tendency lies in IGNORING THE INDEPENDENT AND EQUAL STATUS OF the Communist Parties AND SOCIALIST COUNTRIES IN THE INTERNATIONAL UNION….
[ This is the crux of the whole problem of proletarian internationalism and bourgeois nationalism. Here also the CPC does not differentiate the socialist state and socialist country on the one hand and the Communist Party on the other which Lenin so distinctly differentiated. A communist party is the party of the conscious proletarian internationalists , while a socialist country and state and its citizens are not. The basis of relations between two socialist states, especially in initial period, is one thing and the relations among the communist parties are completely another thing. Throughout the whole editorial the CPC has muddled quite deliberately the relations between the party and between the states.]
Is not the approach , the stand of the CPC fundamentally the same as that of the Tito-clique of Yugoslavia? Is not the approach , the stand of the CPC fundamentally the same as that of Khrushchev & Co. who compromised with the Hungarian revisionist Janos Kadar and Polish revisionist Gomulka, accepting their theory and stand of equality , independence and sovereignty of each national Communist Parties, thus burying proletarian internationalism?
In 1960, at the 81 Communist Party get together , where the Tito-clique was denounced as traitor to Marxism-Leninism , the essence of Titoism was accepted in relation to the relation among the Communist Parties. The statement of the 81 party said:
All the Marxist-Leninist parties are independent and have equal rights; they shape their policies according to the specific conditions of their respective countries and in keeping with Marxist-Leninist principles and support each other…EVERY PARTY IS RESPONSIBLE TO THE WORKING CLASS, TO THE WORKING PEOPLE of its own country, to the international working class and communist movement as a whole.
It means the Communist Party is first responsible to the working class and working people of its own country and then to the international working class! This is bourgeois nationalism pure and simple.
Though the CPC repudiated in 1962-63 many of the stands of 81 Party statement, it did not repudiate the stands of bourgeois nationalism in respect of Party to Party relations and socialist construction. In the event any further proof of the charge is required we will quote further instances of the CPCs double dealing, this time from its Proposals concerning the general line of the International Communist movement, the document basing on which the CPC tried to consolidate its own revisionism internationally against Khrushchevite revisionism.
The General line says:
21 , relations between socialist countries are international relation of new type . Relations between socialist countries whether large or small, whether more developed or less developed economically , must be based on complete equality, respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence and non-interference in each others internal affairs and must also be based on the principles of mutual support and mutual assistance in accordance with proletarian internationalism.
[The first part i.e. relation based on equality , respect for territorial integrity , sovereignty and independence and non-interference in each others internal affairs is also the declared principles of Pancha Sheela or five principles of co-existence with different social systems, that is the principles of relation between a socialist and a capitalist state. Basing on these five principles principles of mutual support and mutual assistance in accordance with proletarian internationalism should be observed in respect of socialist countries. Who will determine the proletarian internationalism in accordance with which principles of mutual support and mutual assistance will be worked out? That remains undefined, abstract.]
“EVERY SOCIALIST COUNTRY MUST RELY MAINLY ON ITSELF FOR ITS CONSTRUCTION.
In accordance with its own concrete conditions every socialist country must rely first of all on the diligent labour and talents of its own people, utilise all its available resources fully and in a planned way , and bring all its potential into play in socialist construction. Only thus can it build socialism effectively and develop its economy speedily.
This is the only way for each socialist country to strengthen the might of entire socialist camp and enhance the capacity to assist the revolutionary cause of the international proletariat. THEREFORE, TO OBSERVE THE PRINCIPLES OF MAINLY RELYING on oneself IN CONSTRUCTION is to apply proletarian internationalism concretely.
[It is the complete repudiation of what Lenin said in his Colonial Theses and complete acceptance of what the Tito-clique said against the Cominform. It is the building of socialism in one country in the period of socialism in several countries. It means that the socialist countries will reach the goal of world socialism through the road of socialism in one country singly, separately, relying on its own resources which is in essence bourgeois nationalism. Not for nothing the CPC in its greetings to the Eighth Congress of the LCY said After victory in revolution both persevered [ going against Marxism-Leninism] in the policy of building socialism independently.”]
From 1955 onwards up to 1963 the C.P.S.U. headed by Khrushchev and the CPC headed by Mao strengthened and consolidated their respective nationalism and at a certain stage of its development , they naturally came in conflict as two bourgeois nationalist interests and courses cannot live together. So both of them began to “struggle” against the other, one in the name of fighting Khrushchevite revisionism and the other in the name of fighting left sectarianism. In fact both of them were fighting for one kind of revisionism against another kind of revisionism and consolidating their respective revisionism which had no relations with Marxism- Leninism.
8. How Lenin Was Commemorated.
(More on the stand of the CPC)
Though the Khrushchev leadership in league with the CPC, dissolved the Cominform and formed the Warsaw Treaty bloc rejecting the path of relying on people and repudiating, for all practical purposes, the historic peace offensive movement of the world people organised under the leadership of Stalin and relying mainly on diplomacy and military block making, it did not dissolve the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) formed by Stalin in 1949. In this connection , it is necessary to point out that Stalin did not form any military bloc against the NATO , though NATO was formed in March, 1949. Warsaw Military Treaty bloc was formed in May, 1955. Stalin said that the war can be averted and peace can be conquered if the people themselves take up the job of conquering peace through the world-wide peace offensive. The Cominform organised such peace offensive creating international democratic organizations in different sectors and forming a broad anti-war peace offensive front. Khrushchev said during the formation of the Warsaw Military Treaty bloc that peace and war depended today on two big powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, thus rejecting the role of the organised people and absolutely relying on diplomacy and military bloc making . The CPC gave its blessing and sent its delegates as observer to the meetings of the Warsaw Military Treaty bloc . The CPC, together with the Soviet Union and others denounced Tito for not signing the 12 – Party declaration defending the Warsaw Military Treaty bloc. We will narrate and explain all these developments in our booklet Crisis of Communism – how and why? However, immediately after the death of Stalin in 1953 , the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance, which became COMECON, took a new course toward co-ordination of output and adopted a pattern of specialisation. Until 1953 , CMEAS activities had been confined to the registration of bilateral commercial trade agreements among its members. The 1953 COMECON plan was to provide a skeletal balance of whole supply and demand of key materials for the entire bloc. Meanwhile the dictatorship of the proletariat was usurped in the Soviet Union , the Soviet leaders winded up the Machine Tractor Stations (MTS) and de-socialised the main means of production in agriculture, sold it to the collective farms thus making the collective farms the owners of the principal means of production in agriculture, as well as converting the means of production into commodity within the home market , gave back enormous powers to the free traders permitting the collective farms to sell in the open market their products of kitchen gardens , opened hundreds of free markets and made the circulation of commodities and money market free thus permitting the blind and anarchic operation of the law of value. Capitalism in agriculture and trade was in the process of restoration in full speed. At the same time, the Khrushchev leadership decentralised the national economic plan and emphasis was shifted to international trade. The basis of restoration of capitalism was laid thoroughly both in national and international spheres. Naturally, the COMECON with its new plan for providing skeletal balance of the whole supply and demand of key materials for the entire bloc can not but became the instrument of unequal trade, exploitation and accumulation of capital. According to the Marxist theory world price patterns set up by the imperialists put any developed capitalist country in a position of exploiting less developed ones.
An advanced country is always in a position to sell its goods above their value even when it sells them cheaper than the competing countries, while a less developed country may offer more materialised labour in goods than it receives and yet it receives in turn commodities cheaper than it produces. The differences in levels of productivity between the two types of countries, that is to the equal exchange of more labour (less skilled and less productive on the part of less developed countries) for less labour ( more skilled and more productive on the part of highly developed countries) is a phenomenon of the capitalist society. International trade has thus perpetuated and regularised this transfer of values from the underdeveloped and developing countries to the developed countries from the very beginning of international trade. So, also the international division of capital and labour is a product of capitalism where capital and resulting industrial development is accumulated in developed countries while the rest of the world is characterised by lack of capital and industrialisation. This transfer of values is notimperialism in itself, it is the draining. Mercantile capitalism , and industrial capitalism also drained and bled white the “backward” countries , but that was not capitalist imperialism. This drainage helps to accumulate capital and in the imperialist epoch this accumulation , by way of credit , loan , aid etc., takes the character of imperialist exploitation.
What is then , the socialist way out, especially in the period of socialism in several countries and particularly when one socialist country , the Soviet Union , has become highly developed while all other Socialist countries are underdeveloped? The trade of the under-developed socialist countries with highly developed Soviet Union , based on imperialist world pricing system , would naturally and surely , lead to the drainage and transfer of values from the underdeveloped socialist countries to the developed Soviet Union – though it might not be imperialist exploitation. In Stalins time trade with the socialist countries was bilateral and on the basis of book account and after every six months the trade with the socialist countries was made balanced by way of writing off. So, no question of drains from the less developed countries to the Soviet Union did arise. Stalin , subsequently , in his Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR , pointed out the socialist way out , in the chapter Disintegration of the single market and deepening of the world crisis of the world capitalist system”. The two world parallel markets with two world prices the world pricing system of the socialist world based on non-exploitative basis could have solved the problem of drainage and transfer of value . In that case international trade of the socialist countries would have been really mutually beneficial based on mutual friendship. But after the death of Stalin the Khrushchev leadership restored capitalism inside the Soviet Union and resorted to capitalist path of international trade using its highly developed position and basing its trade on the basis of imperialist world pricing system.
To deceive and hoodwink the world people and the socialist countries in 81 Communist Party get together in 1960 and subsequently , the Soviet Union , under Khrushchev leadership, presented the theory of “world socialist system”, “international dictatorship of the proletariat”, “international division of labour” etc., in the name of Lenin and Leninism. Subsequently , the CPC and some other Peoples’ Democracies expressed their right indignation against the exploitative and unequal character of international trade of the Soviet Union. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the rising bourgeoisie and the mercantile class of the colonial and backward countries were critising the imperialist powers for drainage , transfer of values and unequal trade. There was nothing new and nothing socialist in CPCs and socialist countries’ criticism of the Soviet Union . The indignation of China and other Peoples’ democracies were expressed in bourgeois nationalist method and manner . The CPC did not place any Leninist socialist alternative of International trade among the socialist countries. Even the seven point declaration of Chou En-lai as the basis of International trade was nothing but tall promises, as no promise can be realised in foreign trade without the solid basis of alternative socialist pricing system , but China also trades and calculates on the basis of imperialist world pricing system. Like all other countries China also treat some country as most fovoured and give some special concession. But the fact remains that China also bases her calculation on the basis of imperialist world pricing system. Price discrimination against exporters of raw materials is due to the failure of the socialist countries to formulate a socialist theory and practice of international trade and socialist international pricing system. That is why the socialist countries have been forced to rely on imperialist world price as a guide and naturally , the imperialist world price brings with it the inherent discrimination against the exporters of raw materials.
With this background , let us discuss how the CPC commemorated Lenins memory on Lenins birth centenary in 1970. In critising the revisionists and social-imperialists of the Soviet Union, the CPC published and circulated an article entitled ‘Leninism or Social-imperialism?’ jointly brought out as an editorial by Peoples Daily, Red Flag and Jeifang Jambao. We will quote from this joint editorial extensively so that the readers may see the points clearly. the editorial article says :
Now let us examine what stuff this Breznev doctrine is made of.
First the theory of limited sovereignty. Breznev and company say that safeguarding their so-called interests of socialism means safeguarding super sovereignty. They flagrantly declare that Soviet revisionism has the right to determine the destiny of another country including the destiny of sovereignty….
…you have imposed your all-highest super sovereignty on the people of other countries , which means that sovereignty of other countries is limited whereas your own power of dominating other countries is unlimited……
Secondly , the theory of international dictatorship. Breznev and company assert that they have the right to ‘render military aid to a fraternal country to do away with the threat to the socialist system.’ They declare: ‘Lenin had foreseen that historical development would transform the dictatorship of the proletariat from a national into an international one , capable of decisively influencing the entire world politics.
This bunch of renegades completely distorts Lenins ideas.
In his article Preliminary draft theses on the National and Colonial questions Lenin wrote of transforming the dictatorship of the proletariat from a national one (i.e., existing in one country and incapable of determining world politics, into an international one i.e., dictatorship of the proletariat covering at least several countries and capable of exercising a decisive influence upon the whole world politics). Lenin meant here to uphold proletarian internationalism and propagate world revolution.
This is how the CPC commemorated Lenins memory and upheld Lenins ideas ! In this case also the CPC critised and opposed the Breznev doctrine from the nationalist standpoint, notfrom the standpoint of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. In its denunciation of Breznev doctrine the CPC miserably failed to defend Lenins stand and equally distorted Lenins concept of international dictatorship. The Soviet revisionist clique is most cunningly using Lenins concept of an integraded world socialist economy , international dictatorship , common military , economic and foreign policy and rendering military help to other ‘socialist countries’. to legitimatize its own nefarious designs. It is the task of the Marxist-Leninists to lay bare this vile and dangerous designs behind Breznev doctrine and at the same time to resolutely defend and upheld Lenin, not to make pretence of upholding Lenins teachings while knavishly betraying his principles behind empty revolutionary rhetoric and thus propagating a negative attitude towards proletarian internationalism.
The CPCs editorial denounced the right of rendering the military aid by a socialist country to another socialist country to do away with the threat of socialist system, completely remaining mum about the class character of the military aid as well as the class aim of this aid and who receives it. The Marxist-Leninists do uphold the theory and practice of rendering military aid by a socialist country to a socialist country , nay , even to the national liberation struggle of the oppressed people and at the same time oppose the rendering of military help direct or indirect by the bourgeoisie and imperialists to the counter-revolutionaries of other countries. The CPC article ignored this class character, absolutised the formal outlook of state sovereignty and non-interference.
We know that there are two kinds , two classes of international integration of world economy: imperialist and socialist. World integration of economy is one of the laws of social development, independent of the human will and Lenin said in his Colonial Theses that this tendency is bound to develop and consumate more fully in socialist society. While upholding socialist integration of world economy , international trade , the Marxist-Leninists must at the same time , expose the imperialist integration. But the CPC, in the name of opposing ‘Breznev doctrine’ opposes from start to finish the Leninist idea and concept of socialist integration, international union of socialist countries and international dictatorship. Opposing and distorting Lenins concept of ‘International dictatorship’ it says that Lenin meant only propagation of world revolution and of proletarian internationalism. Did Lenin speak of proletarian internationalism in abstract terms ?
Marxist-Leninists while exposing the bourgeois class character of the world federation, integrated world economy etc. , upheld , at the same time, socialist world federation,, integrated world socialist system , international dictatorship of the proletariat and proletarian internationalism most concretely in each concrete historical period. Let us see , how in similar situation Marxist-Leninists dealt with the problem.
During the first world war , Lenin repeatedly attacked the suggestions that a group of capitalist states might form federation after the war . In a discussion of the national question in March, 1916, Lenin dismissed Trotskys ideas of the peaceful union of equal nations under imperialism as an opportunist utopia. In April 1916, Lenin introduced a resolution at the International Socialist Conference at Kienthal, Switzerland, denouncing as a mirrage all proposals for a United States of Europe, “compulsory courts of arbitration” disarmament, and “democratic diplomacy”. Again , in an article in January 1917, Lenin branded the phrases about a federation of nations which he said were flaunted by bourgeois nationalists as disgusting hypocrisy. And this very Lenin, it must be noted, not only stood for federation of Soviets of many nations but actually created in USSR. The CPC’s article quoted extensively above do not show any sign of awareness of the class character of supranational federation.
Stalin said, when reporting upon the impending creation of a federal constitution for the USSR in 1923 that “the entire East will see that our federation is the banner of liberation , the advance guard in whose steps it must follow.” At the same time Stalin criticised the American federal system based on bureaucratic centralisation , exploitation and force . He also said that the future world federation can be genuine and lasting only under socialism and not under any system of exploitation. Hence, any other projects for supranational federation, either regional or global were opposed by Lenin and Stalin , while at the same time upholding and propagating world socialist federation.
The League of Nations wrote the Soviet legal authority Pavel Stuchka, in 1926, cannot be transformed into a superstate or a federation of states or even into a confederation because of irreconcilable contradictions among different States that constitute the League membership.
From the first days of the United Nations Organizations existence the Soviet leaders expressed their views in clearest terms , stating the differences between a federation of exploiting and a federation of socialist countries. The New Times’ editorial of December 3, 1945, protested when certain imperialist politicians were calling for the UNs radical reconstruction into a world federation. “These capitalists who demand a world state” wrote The New Times, are least of all concerned to abolish the social and national oppression existing in the world today. The value of these widely boasted remedy is, therefore , nil.
Thus we see that the Marxist-Leninists while exposing the bourgeois character of the institutions and federation sponsored by the imperialists, upheld the institutions and federation sponsored by the Communists . But the CPC editorial condemns all these concepts and institutions absolutely, irrespective of the character of these institutions, upholding bourgeois national exclusiveness and narrow bourgeois nationalism and repudiating proletarian internationalism.
The CPC editorial article could have exposed and flayed the Breznev doctrine mercilessly as being imperialist and exploitative. But the CPC has avoided the real class battle of establishing proletarian internationalism as living principle. It has denounced without any discrimination or any historical and class perspective all the institutions, including the organization of the Communist International, elsewhere , through which the concept of proletarian internationalism and international socialism can take concrete material shape.
In this connection it is necessary to note that at no time and at no place the Communist Party of China did criticise Khruschev’s dismantling of the Machine Tractor Stations and de-socialisation of one of the main means of production of the Socialist economy. On the contrary ,Mao Tse Tung in his Critique of Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR, published by Monthly Review Press said, My view is that the last of the three appended letters is ENTIRELY WRONG. It expresses a deep uneasiness , a belief that the peasantry cannot be trusted to release agriculture machinery but would hang on it … Elsewhere in the same book , Mao said , Stalins point of view in his last letter is almost altogether wrong. The basic error is mistrust of the peasants. This was written long after Khrushchev dismantled the MTS and introduced capitalism in the Soviet Union. The last letter of Stalin addressed to A.V. Sanina and V.G. Venzher was against the selling of the Machine Tractor Stations to the collective farms. It appears that Mao Tse Tung also supported the selling of the MTS to the collective farms. This is not the place of the discussion of the points raised by the capitalist roaders of all hues including Mao regarding the role of the law of value in a socialist society. The Communist Information Service will discuss all this points on another occasion. In connection with Stalin’s opposition to selling the Machine Tractor Stations to the collective farmers Mao raised the question of belief and non-belief , trust and mistrust of the peasantry and thus betrayed his extremely poor understanding of Marxism-Leninism , especially the dictatorship of the proletariat. The question of belief and non-belief or trust or mistrust is extremely loose , non-class approach. Socialisation of all the means of production , especially the main means of production is a question of fundamental principle of socialism. The economic foundation of socialism is the socialist ownership of the instruments and means of production. Socialism is the first social system in history to create the conditions for the equality of the people with regard to the means of production, thereby laying the basis of an end to the exploitation of man by man. The socialisation of the means of production does not mean that the working class becomes the owner of the means of production to accrue benefit for its class only. Nor socialisation does mean that the workers become owners factory wise. The socialisation of the means of production is for the socialist mode of distribution of the wealth of the society, firstly , each according to the work and then each according to the need. No particular class, nor a section of a class can be the owner of the means of production , the society as a whole is the owner.
Now, there were hundreds of collective farms in the Soviet Unions , highly developed , developed and ordinary. Collective farm was not and cannot be a single institution of the collective farmers as such the Machine Tractors Stations could not be and was not sold to the peasant class as a whole . It was sold to those collective farms who were financially in a position to buy it. Not all the collective farms were in a position to buy it. Firstly, the sale of machine Tractor Stations to some of the Collective farms meant handing over the property of the whole peopleof the society to a particular section of the people of the society who became the master of one of the key means of production. Secondly, it meant the abolition of the prospect of socialist mode of distribution so far the agricultural products were concerned, as the owners of the means of production became the absolute owners of the production and accrued the benefits for themselves only. Thirdly, and it is most important one, it meant the loosing of unchallenged authority of the dictatorship of the proletariat as one of the vital sectors of national economy and its ‘means of production’ were no longer in the control of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Fourthly, the proletariat lost the possibility of retaining its leading role and political control. Fifthly, firm workers-peasants alliance was lost its significance and sixthly , classification and division among the peasantry became a fact and as a result of which the big collective farmers, the owners of the means of production were exploiting the other peasantry. Similar things are happening in the factory, after the introduction of ‘New reform’ and khozraschot, when responsibility for production and sale was given factory-wise.
Mao Tse Tung raised the question of belief and non-belief or trust or mistrust of the peasantry of Stalin. Did Lenin or Stalin believing and trusting the working class, hand over the means of production to the workers factory-wise and production unit-wise? Lenin and Stalin opposed the slogan of factory to the workers because that does neither usher socialised production nor socialised distribution , nor socialism. Here lies the difference between Mao Tse tung – a peasant reformer and Lenin and Stalin- the proletarian revolutionaries– an anarchist and syndicalist in the ultimate sense and the Marxist- Leninists.
9. On the Question of Nations and Nationalities.
“We have affirmed that it would be a betrayal of socialism to refuse to implement the self-determination of nations under socialism. (Lenin: The discussion on self-determination summed up.).
China is a multi-national country. She became a multinational country as a result of military expansion of the feudal empire by the Chinese emperors who annexed vast territories of non-Chinese people in the North, West and South of present-day China.
The Second Congress of the Communist Party of China , held in May, 1922 , stated that the immediate aim of the revolution was to set up a federal Republic on the basis of equality of all the peoples inhabiting in the peasant territory of China. The declaration stated most clearly and categorically that China proper [ mark the word proper carefullly] and Mongolia , Tibet and Chinese Turkestan [now Sinkiang] shall be united on the basis of a system of free federation and the Chinese Federal Republic shall be formed.
At the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of China, held in 1928 , the Party regarded the right of self -determination up to and including secession as the principal means of ensuring the political unity and voluntary union of the peoples of different nations and nationalities of China. The Congress adopted a document whose Article 3 spoke of Chinas Union and the recognition of the right of self-determination.
The First National Congress of Chinese Soviets in November , 1931 , held at Juichen , the then capital of the Chinese Soviet Government stated , The Chinese Soviet Republic unequivocally and unconditionally recognises the right of all nations to self-determination. It continued, “This means that the regions like Mongolia, Tibet, ,Sinkiang, Yunnan, Kweichew and others , in which the majority of the population belong to non-Chinese nationalities, the working masses of these nationalities have the right to determine whether they wish to secede from the Chinese Soviet Republic and set up their own independent state or enter a Union of Soviet Republic or form an autonomous region within the Chinese Soviet Republic.
The right of different nationalities of China to national ‘self-determination’ was recorded in the Constitution of the Chinese Soviet Republic that was adopted at the Second National Congress of Soviets. The Soviet power in China, Article 14 of the Constitution stated , recognises the right of small nations [ mark the words small nations] to self-determination , their right to secede and form independent states.
Up to this period the stand of the Communist Party of China so far the question of the right of self-determination of the nations up to the right of secession and the question of China proper and conquered and annexed China concerned , were Marxist-Leninist, unambiguous and unequivocal.
On August 25, 1937, Mao Tse Tung, in his For mobilization of all nations forces for victory in the war of resistance wrote : Mobilze the Mongolians , the Hui and all other minority nationalities in accordance with the principles of national self-determination and autonomy in the common fight against Japan.(-Selected works , vol. 2).
Small nations became minority nationalities this time and naturally minority nationalities live in the territory of majority nationality having no territory of their own and as such, they have no right of self-determination , at best they can have autonomy ! The departure from the Marxist-Leninist stand on self-determination began in 1937.
In the preamble of the Constitution of the Communist Party of China adopted at the Seventh Congress of the Party in 1945, it was stated that the Communist Party of China would fight for the establishment of a new democratic Federal Republic as an independent , free , democratic single and mighty alliance of all revolutionary classes and a free union of all nationalities.
Ambiguity, amorphousness, verbosity are the cover for opportunism. Federal Republic and free union of all nationalities without the recognition of the right of self-determination and secession is nothing but rhetoric.
However , after the nation-wide victory of the Chinese revolution in 1949 the Communist Party of China discovered that the Leninist-Stalinist principle of national self-determination and federal structure of the state organization was “unsuitable” for China and as such it revised its former Leninist-Stalinist stand (which was in the process of revision since 1937) on the national question , though, strangely enough it still advocates the principle of national ‘self-determination’ so far the other multinational countries of Asia are concerned, viz, the national ‘self-determination’ of Kashimiries, Nagas and Mizos of India and Kachins and Karens of Burma! The Communist Party of China did not explain why the principle of national ‘self-determination’ and secession was suitable for India and Burma and unsuitable for China.
Let us study the post revolution Constitution of the Peoples’ Republic of China in this connection.
The preamble of the Constitution of the Peoples’ Republic of China adopted on September 20, 1954 by the First National Peoples’ Congress says: All nationalities of our country are united in one great family of free and equal nations. The unity of China’s nationalities will continue to gain strength founded as it is on ever-growing friendship and mutual aid among themselves.
In his The foundations of Leninism Stalin said “formerly, the question of the oppressed nations was usually regarded as purely a juridical question. Solemn proclamations about the national equality of rights, innumerable declaration about the “equality of nations”- that was the stock in trade of the parties of the Second International…” This can be safely applied in the case of China. Without recognizing any right to be Free and equal the preamble declared China as One great family of free and equal nations. In spite of the fact that the husband and wife constitutes the basic unit of a family the right of divorce and separation for both, in case of need, is a recognized democratic right. Lenin said that the recognition of the right of self-determination and secession was like that of divorce and separation of husband and wife. The right is a security and guarantee in case of need. Without this right free and equal one great family were nothing but empty phrases.
Chapter one, Article 3 of Constitution of 1954 says: “The Peoples’ Republic of China is a single multinational state.” The “single” means the repudiation and rejection of the Leninist principle of federal structure of the multinational state as a “traditional step towards complete unity”. This “single” means the repudiation and rejection of the Leninist principle of “voluntary union” on the basis of free and equal rights. It means forcible and compulsory union which has got no relation with Marxism-Leninism.
The Article 3 of the Constitution further says: “Regional autonomy applies in areas where people of national minority live in compact communities. NATIONAL AUTONOMOUS AREAS ARE INALIENABLE PARTS OF THE PEOPLES’ REPUBLIC OF CHINA.”
Comrade readers! Can you hear the voice of Morarji Desai in the Chinese Constitution? Article 14 of the Chinese Soviet Constitution and the Second Congress of the Communist Party of China called these people “small nations” and Mongolian, Tibetans. Yunnanese, Sinkiangese, Kewichewans were recognised as distinct nations, annexed territories and nations. Now, in 1954 Constitution they are called ‘national minorities’ within the territory of China ! The Second Congress of the Communist Party of China, in categorical and clear terms said of “China proper” and conquered and annexed territory — conquered and annexed by the feudal emperors. How can, then, the Communist Party of China, the Constitution of Peoples’ Republic of China justify that it is following Marxist-Leninist path when its Constitution declares the conquered people as national minorities and the conquered territories as “inalienable parts of the Peoples’ Republic of China? We do not find any difference between a Morarji Desai, an Indira Gandhi, who claim Kashmir, Nagaland and Mizoram as inalienable parts of India by virtue of British conquest and integration with India on the one hand and the Communist Party of China on the other. It means, like that of Indias integrity theory, the peoples of Mongolia, Tibet, Siankiang, Yunan, Kewichew have no right even to demand self-determination as they have got no territory of their own to set up independent states!
Perhaps the Fifth National Peoples Congress of the Peoples’ Republic of China, held on March 5(on the birth day of Karl Marx) 1978, after the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution for the restoration of socialist path changed this repugnant and reactionary nationalist clause? The Fifth National Peoples Congress, of course, adopted a revised Constitution. Article 4 of this Constitution says: The Peoples Republic is a unitary multinational state. Instead of a single of 1954-Constitution the 1978 – Constitution says ‘unitary: The latest constitution is mere explicit and un-ambiguous. However, the revised Constitution has not revised the last line of the Article 3 of the 1954 Constitution, which reads: All the national autonomous areas are inalienable parts of the Peoples Republic of China. The reactionary nationalist clause remains, as it was, in spite of tall claims of Cultural Revolution.
It is true that the communists do not favour atomised states of feudal days. Communists unite as many people of different nations and nationalities as they can, taking advantage of the former annexed areas of feudal or imperialist empires adopting, of course, Leninist-Stalinist principle of national self-determination up to the right of secession based on federal structure of state as free and equal voluntary partners as transitional stage to complete unity. Communists neither conquer forcibly nor colonise like those of feudal and imperialist robbers.
Lenin said, The way to the common goal complete equality, the closest association and the eventual amalgamation of all nations obviously run along different routes in each concrete case, as, let us say, the way to a point in the centre of this page runs left from one edge and right from the opposite edge. If a Social Democrat [read Communist] from a great oppressing, annexing nation [like that of China] while advocating the amalgamation of nations in general [as the Communist Party of China has done] were for a moment forget that his Nicholas II, his Wilhelm, George, Poincare etc. [and in case of Chinese Communist his emperor Ching and Republican Chiang Kai-Sheik and other warlords] also stand for amalgamation with small nations (by means of annexations Nicholas II for amalgamation with Galacia, Wilhelm II for amalgamation with Belgium etc.) [and Chiang Kai-Shiek for “amalgamation” with Mongolia and Tibet] such a Social Democrat would be a ridiculous doctrinaire in theory and abettor of imperialism in practice.
In the internationalist education the workers of the oppressor countries, emphasis must necessarily be laid on their advocating freedom for the oppressed countries to secede and their fighting for it. Without this, there can be no internationalism. It is our right and duty to treat every Social Democrat of an oppressor nation who fails to conduct such propaganda as a scoundrel and an imperialist. This is an absolute demand, even where the chance of secession being possible and practicable before the introduction of socialism is only one in a thousand.
It is our duty to teach the workers to be indifferent to national distinctions, there is no doubt about that. But it must not be the indifference of the annexationists. A member of an oppressor nations must be indifferent to whether small nations belong to his state or to a neighboring state or to themselves, according to where sympathies lie: without such indifference he is not a Social Democrat. To be an internationalist Social Democrat one must not think only of ones own nation, but place, above it the interests of all nations, their common liberty and equality. Everyone accepts this in theory but displays an annexationist indifference in practice. There is the root of evil.
On the other hand, a Social Democrat from a small nation must emphasise in his agitation the second word of our formula: Voluntary integration of nations. He may, without failing in his duties as an internationalist, be in favour of both the political independence of his nations and his integration with the neighbouring states X, Y, Z etc. But in all case, he must fight against small nation narrow-mindedness, seclusion and isolation, consider the whole and the general and subordinate the particular to the general interest.
People who have not gone into the question thoroughly think that it is contradictory for the Social Democrat of oppressor nations to insist on the freedom to secede while Social Democrats of oppressed nations insist on the freedom to integrate. However, a little reflection will show that there is not, and cannot be any other road to internationalism and the amalgamation of nations, any other road from the given situation to this goal.(– The discussion on self-determination summed up; all emphases in the above quotations are of Lenins).
What should we call, then, the leadership of the Communist Party of China? Abettor of imperialism in practice? How should we treat the leadership of the Communist Party of China? As scoundrel and an imperialist?
The Peoples’ Daily of China, in its editorial of November 18, 1954, hailing its Constitution wrote: Our country is a unified multinational country. How can it be called a unified country, if this union is not voluntary? Even in 1944-49 a large-scale rebellion against the Kuomintang domination took place in Sin kiang and a Peoples Democratic Government was proclaimed there and they named that Government as East Turkestan Republic dropping the Chinese name Sin Kiang. They even expressed their resentment against the attitude and behaviours of the Chinese Communists. (We will again come to this point in our booklet Why was Stalin made a Controversial Figure?) During the Long-March, the Chinese communists had to negotiate and pacify the hostilities against them with many small nations and nationalities by promising to accord their rights. Tibet was brought, under control by military might and even in1954 a great rebellion took place there against the forcible integration. A real union can only emerge on the basis of the recognition of the right of disunion whenever necessary as Lenin said.
The same editorial shamelessly said, Like the Soviet Union, we have not only proclaimed the principle of equality of nationalities, but have also insured the exercise of their, primarily, the right of equal participation in running the state by all nationalities. The Soviet Union was under the dictatorship of the proletariat whereas China was under the New Democracy, where the Constitution of 1954 did not make any provision for even nationalising the capitalist enterprises. On the contrary the Constitution safeguarded the property rights of the capitalists. There were eight democratic Parties uniting mainly 1,140,000 capitalists who were receiving a fixed interest totalling 120 million Yuan per annum. There were 1200 Deputies in the National Peoples Congress of whom 265 represented the democratic Parties. And of the 1000 seats in the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference 195 seats were held by these Parties. The state was the joint dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and other classes. It was not even the dictatorship of the proletariat in essence. The Soviet Constitution could insure, by dint of its proletarian character of the state, the principle of equality and the exercise of that right by granting the right of secession to those nationalities who were in a position to secede and form independent states, could grant independence to Poland and Finland, but the Peoples’ Republic of China, could only make solemn promise because of the nationalist character of the state. Go through any bourgeois constitution, including the constitution of India, you will find all these high-sounding honeyed phrases like equality unified mutual benefit great family of nations unity in diversity etc. These are all abstract and empty rhetoric so long these are not insured and backed by the recognition of the right of national self-determination and secession.
What are the arguments in support of this volte face of the Communist Party of China? It offers the following bourgeois nationalist, big nation chauvinistic arguments: The Chinese (Hans) constitutes the overwhelming majority (94%) of the population, they are the principal nation in the country and occupy the leading position, politically, economically and culturally. The Hans constitute 94% of Chinese population the Journal Sing Kiang Hung chi wrote in its No 23 issue of 1960, and they are the most advanced as regards their political, economic and cultural development. The merging of nationalities should, therefore, be put into effect, on the basis of one nationality. The specifics of the Han nation the same Journal wrote will become the common national specifics of national minorities. The newspaper Sin Kiang Jhipao wrote in its March 21, 1960 issue that This merging is Marxist and Communist assimilation. It is an inevitable trend in societys development. Those who oppose such assimilation oppose socialism and communism and oppose historical materialism.
This reactionary theory of assimilation through the superior culture and language is not at all a new one. Kautsky, a renegade, also advocated it. Let us quote Stalin on this point. Stalin said:
True, Mr. Kautsky, an ex-Marxist and now a renegade and reformist, asserts something that is the very opposite of what Lenin teaches us. Despite Lenin, he asserts that the victory of the proletarian revolution, in the Austro-German federal state in the middle of the last century would have led to the formation of a single, common German language and Germanisation of the Czechs because the mere force of unshackled intercourse, the mere force of modern culture of which the Germans were the vehicles, without any forcible Germanisation would have converted into Germans the backward Czechs petty-bourgeois, peasants and proletarians who had nothing to gain from the decayed nationality. (See, Preface to the German edition of Revolution and Counter Revolution) [Stalin, Political Report of the C. C. to XVI Congress of the C.P.S.U.(B); Vol:12].
While Kautsky the renegade saw the possibility of Germanisation of the backward Czechs through assimilation by higher culture the Communist Party of China advocate and practices, Hanisation of the culturally and linguistically backward minority nationalities through assimilation by superior culture and asserts it as Marxism-Leninism, historical materialism. Why do not they call themselves Kautskyiete, instead of calling Marxist-Leninists? That would have been fair and honest.
Regarding assimilation Stalin said the following:
The Beirut comrades raise the question of assimilation of the individual nationalities in the course of building a universal proletarian culture. Undoubtedly, some nationalities may, and certainly perhaps will, undergo a process of elimination. Such processes have taken place before. The point is, however, that the process of assimilation of some nationalities does not exclude but presupposes the opposite process strengthening and further development of quite a number of existing and developing nations for the partial process of assimilation of individual nationalities is the result of the general process of development of nations. It is precisely for this reason that the possible assimilation of some individual nationalities does not weaken but confirms the entirely correct thesis that proletarian universal culture does not exclude but presupposes and fosters national culture of the people, just as the national culture of the people does not annual but supplements and enriches universal proletarian culture. (Task of the University of the Peoples of the East, Vol. 7)
How beautifully the dialectical relations and the dialectical process of universal proletarian culture and national culture have been explained here! Those section of the people who has yet developed a stable written and spoken languages, who are more scattered and could not yet develop some stable elements of culture may be assimilated by process of elimination, but so far as the Mongolians, Sinkiangese and Tibetans and others are concerned the ‘assimilation’ as enunciated by the Communist Party Of China journals is absolute assimilation by the Hans, it is cultural and literary jingoism. To speak of one way assimilation “on these of one nationality” whose “backbone should be the Hans” is nothing but big-nation chauvinism.
Besides, this assimilation drive, the autonomous status of the minority nationalities of the compact areas has also been made extremely limited by the introduction of three types of autonomous units viz. (a) autonomous region, (b) autonomous districts and (c) autonomous county. There are all together five autonomous regions, twenty-nine autonomous districts and sixty-four autonomous counties. The compact region, where the non-Chinese live has also been divided into region, district and county, thus depriving the non-Chinese small nations of asingle nation to unite in a compact region. In Tibetan region the peoples Republic of China did not allow to unite all the Tibetans into one single autonomous unit and as a result a considerable number of Tibetans live outside the autonomous region, though they live in a continuous contiguous compact area.
This is the price for assimilation or Hanisation that small nations are paying. The recognition of the right of national self-determination up to secession is one of the cornerstones of proletarian internationalism. The repudiation of the Leninist-Stalinist theory and practice of the right of national self-determination is the repudiation of Marxism-Leninism.
10 Concluding Remarks
The 1949 Chinese Revolution was, undoubtedly, a great victory for the world people and world socialism in spite of its many contradictions and weaknesses. The Soviet Union, under the leadership of Stalin, played the decisive role in defeating Japan in China and Japans surrender. On August 13, 1945, Mao had to admit that the decisive factor for Japans surrender is the entry of the Soviet Union into the war. A million Red Army troops are entering Chinese North-East; this force is irresistible. (S.W. Vol. IV). Ho Chiao Mu, in his Thirty Years of the CPC, Peking, 1951, said The Soviet Army quickly annihilated the Japanese Kwantang Army and liberated North-East China. The Peoples’ Liberation Army fighting in co-ordination with the Soviet Army energetically wiped out the Japanese and puppet troops, freeing a large number of medium sized and small cities from the enemys occupation. On August, 14 Japan announced its unconditional surrender. This made the Communist Party Of Chinas position stronger. Besides this, due to the victory of World War II and general strengthening of the peoples’ forces world over the U.S. imperialism was forced to engage its mercenary forces from Europe (France, Italy etc.) to Philippines against partisan forces led by the Communist Parties. The dispersal of the U.S. forces on the one hand, and the withdrawal of the Soviet Army from the Chinese soil thus compelling the U.S. to declare non-interference militarily in the internal affairs of China putting constant pressure to withdraw U.S. forces from China enabled the Communist Party Of China to move from strategic defence into strategic offence in 1947, against Chiang Kai-Sheiks regime. These lines are not negating the invaluable importance of internal factors, but only to show that own resources theory if it is carried too far, without recognising the external factors and international help, however indirect, can only lead to narrow nationalism.
However, sensing imminent victory of the revolution in China, the Chinese national bourgeoisie, joined with the proletariat in 1947 so that the Communist Party Of China may not establish the dictatorship of the proletariat in China, as a result of which the Peoples’ Republic was established in 1949 without any war in five of the Chinese provinces and in her capital Peking. The ideological and political bases of this alliance was laid by Mao Tse Tung in his On New Democracy and On Coalition Government. The Maoists did never accept Lenins theory that bourgeois nationalism is the direct antithesis of proletarian internationalism. Mao on the contrary, attributed special characteristics to Chinese national bourgeoisie. Lenin said that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the key problem of the ENTIRE proletarian class struggle. He said, This is the touchstone on which real (Lenin’s emphasis) understanding and recognition of Marxism should be tested. (Vol.25, pg. 412). He further said The transition from capitalism to communism is certainly bound to yield a tremendous abundance and variety of political forms, but the essence will inevitably be the same: THE DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT. (Vol. 25, pg. 413). While Lenin defined the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry (the bourgeois democratic revolution in the shape of Peoples Democracy) as the promoter of the revolutionary process to bring about the triumph of socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, Maos On New Democracy said nothing about the power growing into the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin wrote in 1905, in his article entitled Social democracys attitude towards the peasant movement in which he pointed out that after the democratic revolution we shall at once and precisely in accordance with the measure of our strength, the strength of the class conscious proletariats, begin to pass to the socialist revolution. We stand for uninterrupted revolution. We shall not stop half-way. (Vol. 9, Pg. 237). But, Mao said, for a long time to come there will exist in China a particular form of state and political power i.e., New Democracy based on the alliance of several democratic classes a system which is distinguished from the Russian system and which is perfectly necessary and reasonable thus creating a real Chinese wall between the democratic revolution and proletarian revolution and making the New Democracy a stable system.
Consequently, after the Chinese revolution the Peoples’ Republic of China remained a four class dictatorship and the state power was shared with the national bourgeoisie and the rural bourgeoisie, under which the commanding heights of the national economy could never be socialist sector and state capitalism under this regime could never be a state capitalism controlled and guided by the dictatorship of proletariat and as such could not promote socialist revolution and socialism. As such, the character of the state of the Peoples’ Republic of Chinaqualitatively became not the dictatorship of the proletariat in essence in 1949-50. However, there was a force in the Communist Party Of China who fought against Maos petty-bourgeois, non-Marxist theory and practice. In 1950-52, the Communist Party Of China rejecting Maos petty-bourgeois line and relying on state sector that had already come into existence steered a line towards socialism and proletarian dictatorship in essence. In 1950-52, the Communist Party Of China mapped out its general policy for the period of transition from capitalism to socialism in its historic document Theses for the study and propagation of the party’s general line in the period of transition. It said, Without leadership of the Communist Party Of China armed with MarxistLeninist theory of the laws of social development and representing the interests of the working class [Mark please, there is no mention of Mao Tse Tung thought here] in our country it would be impossible to implement socialist industrialisation and socialist reorganisation of agriculture, the handicraft industry and the trade and industrial enterprises owned by private capitalists. The theses, stressing the importance of establishing Leninist norms in party life noted, Collective leadership is the highest organisational principle of our party, unnecessary, excessive accentuation of the outstanding role of an individual, no matter, who he may be, cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. In these theses, the Communist Party Of China set itself the task of educating communists and the people in a spirit of internationalist solidarity, and fraternity with the socialist countries. The whole people the theses stated must be educated in a spirit of understanding that assistance to our country from the Soviet Union and the Peoples Democracies and the powerful unity of the entire camp of peace, democracy and socialism are indispensable conditions for the successful building of socialism in our country. The first five year plan of China was chalked out on the basis of above General Line. It is to be noted that this “General Line” theses were discussed and accepted after Maos return to China from his Moscow meeting with Stalin and reporting against Stalin and the Soviet Union in the Chinese Party. It is also to be noted that the Second Plenary session of the Seventh Central Committee also banned on placing Chinese comrades at par with Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. Mao also had to write These are several regulations which were adopted at the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee but not written in resolution The sixth is a ban on placing Chinese comrades at a par with Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. Our relations to them is one of pupils to teachers and that is how it should be. (S. W., Vol. V, Pg.111).
All these were great blows to Maos bourgeois nationalist line of self reliance and building socialism in own country in own fashion. But he could gather strength, after the death of Stalin and usurpation of the dictatorship of the proletariat by Khrushchevite clique in the Soviet Union to oppose the General Line of the First Five year Plan of China and thus could launch the Great Leap Forward movement together with his theory of Correct handling of the Contradictions among the people in which he advocated and practised the four class dictatorship and class peace and class collaboration with the national bourgeoisie thus burying of prospect of a socialist revolution in China.
Ray O Light a Marxist-Leninist organisation of the USA correctly concluded in its booklet The Dictatorship of the Proletariat in the International Marxist-Leninist Movement, Maos thought became a support for Khrushchevs thought for the thought of a modern revisionism’ based on the negation of Stalin and proletarian internationalism.