Acknowledged by the conclusions of the Fourth Congress of the WPB, Ludo Martens further made more concrete and more elaborated review of how revisionism developed and how “young” communist organisations (as the WPB herself) made opportunist mistakes in political analysis. He made (as you will see) a critical review on “early” analyses of Mao Zedong and affirmed how Mao Zedong later corrected some weak and non-consistent points in his “early” analysis. So the later positions of Mao Zedong are considered to be correcter.
I am explaining this because this differences noticed between the political analysis by the “earlier” Mao Zedong (in the years 49-57) and those made by the “later” Mao Zedong” ( in the sixties) is used by conscious REVISIONISTS in the WPB (and so it just SEEMED to be in concordance with the political positions made by Ludo Martens and approved by the Fourth Congress)..... in a REVERSED way (as I will explain later): by first just “suggesting” and later on clear affirming that the “earlier” Mao Zedong is the most correct Mao and the “later” Mao is the “leftist” and “utopian” (it is just not said “revisionist”) one.
“The complete collapse of the socialist system in Soviet Union, undermined and subverted since decades, and the victory of counter-revolution in that country, make it necessary for all communists to reevaluate the evolution of the international communist movement during the last fifty years.
Since the surprise attack of Kruschev against Stalin during the XXth Congress of the CPSU in 1956, the international communist movement has been politically undermined by revisionism; a series of splits have gravely divided and weakened it. To evaluate these last fifty years is essential if one is to eradicate the roots of revisionism, and to establish the unity of the international communist movement, on the basis of marxist-leninist principles and proletarian internationalism.
In this report, the Belgian Party of Labour (Parti du Travail/Partij van de Arbeid) takes into account two specific aspects of the struggle against revisionism: the struggle for communist unity and the struggle for the defence of proletarian internationalism, against bourgeois nationalism.(...)
For the unity of Marxist-Leninist Parties
Following deep political and ideological differences and often bitter political struggle, the international communist movement split after 1956.(...)
Whatever opinion one may uphold concerning the validity or even the necessity of these splits at a given moment in history, the necessity and the possibility to overcome them exists today. For two reasons:
First, revisionism has weakened and divided the international communist movement till it finally openly showed its true aspect: a political line serving the bourgeoisie and imperialism.
After the destruction of socialism in the Soviet union, and the dislocation of Lenin’s country, all communists must understand that revisionism is the most dangerous ideological enemy of Marxism-Leninism. In fact, revisionism represents nothing less than the presence of the bourgeoisie in the communist movement.
Furthermore, the divisions and splits of the last thirty-five years have gravely weakened the international communist movement as a whole.(...)1”
But this unity has to be based on an ideological and political struggle of firm principals. (this call for unity as later repeated by the revisionists -Boudewijn Deckers in the first place - but now without link to principal ideological and political struggle)
Ludo in his analysis concretely illustrated how principal political and ideological discussions are linked to the unification of communists... and how unity is sometimes broken because of raised antagonist contradictions in this struggle.
“Since the foundation of the First International by Marx and Engels in 1864, the defence of the revolutionary line and the defence of unity have always been two essential aspects of Marxist politics.
At the beginning of the working class movement, Marx stressed the importance of unity on the largest possible scale. “Our Association has been created to establish a central point of communication and cooperation between the worker’s societies of different countries tending towards the same objectives: the defence, progress and complete emancipation of the working class” (Marx-Engels: The Class Party, Tome 11, Maspero, 1973, p. 93).(...)
But in the First International, Marx and Engels fought for scientific socialism to be adopted by the different sections.
As a result of this two-pronged tactical approach, Marxism became the main ideological stream amongst the conscious workers.
The Second International was founded in 1889 by Engels. Coinciding with a period of relatively rapid development of capitalism in Europe, millions of workers adhered to the Marxist doctrine. But, under the influence of relatively pacific conditions in Europe, “during all the period of the Second International, the international working class movement was divided into two main fractions: the revolutionary Marxists, and the opportunist, so-called Marxists. Engels led a firm struggle against the opportunists” (Debate on the General Line of the ICM. Beijing.1965. P.323).
Lenin followed the same principle: in the Second International, from 1900 to 1914, he firmly defended the revolutionary essence of Marxism, while maintaining the unity of the movement. But strong, openly bourgeois currents, like those of Bernstein, had already weakened the German social-democratic party, the main party of the Second International. By maintaining unity, Lenin did the utmost to help the development of the left wing in the Second International. In August 1914 “the revisionists of the Second International have gone from a secret to an open alliance with the bourgeoisie” (Ibidem. P.326). As from then on, Lenin prepared the foundation of a Third International. (...)
Between 1956 and 1964, a vital ideological struggle was carried out in the international communist movement. It is essential to dwell on this period, when the necessity of choosing between Marxism-Leninism or revisionism, revolution or reformism, continuation of the revolution or political degeneration, dictatorship of the proletariat or capitalist restoration were made very clear. (...)
All the foundations of progressive degeneration that was to lead, between 1985 and 1990, to the open restoration of capitalism, were formulated in these fundamental documents. It is impossible to lead a consequent struggle against the treacherous Gorbatchev line, without exposing its roots in Kruschtchev’s positions. Because, as today’s free-for-all capitalism in the ex-USSR takes on political forms of fascist character, one may very well oppose the dictatorship of Yeltsine from a reformist, social-democratic position, inspired by Kruschtchev.
Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party’s historical merit was to defend Marxism-Leninism against Kruschtchev’s revisionism, notably in the publication entitled: “Debate on the General Line”. Thirty years after its publication, this document is still fully valid; even more: the dislocation of the USSR has underlined its actuality.(...)
In 1962, the CCP stressed the importance of unity in these terms: “The cause of the proletariat has always had an international character. Communists of all countries must unite in a joint struggle for the triumph of their cause. Without solidarity and unity based on proletarian internationalism, no country can achieve revolutionary victory or consolidate it. The only correct way of protecting and strengthening this unity is to respect the principles determining the fraternal relations between communist parties and countries. These principles are: unity based on Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, mutual help and assistance, independence and equality, unanimity of view achieved through discussion” (Modern Leninism and revisionism. La Cité Editions. P.116-117).
As far as political differences between different parties are concerned, the CCP wrote: “As the issues of common interest for fraternal parties are extremely complex, and the conditions in which these parties work are very different, and as the objective situation continually changes, divergent opinions are often inevitable between communist parties, they must be solved patiently, in a spirit of proletarian internationalism, and according to the principles of equality and unity of outlook achieved through discussion” (Leninism and modern revisionism. La Cité Editions. Lausanne. P.20).(...)
During the 1963 struggle the CCP, while criticizing revisionism, steadfastly defended the unity of the international Communist Movement, even though there were grave dissensions in the movement. “If you do not correct your revisionist errors, we shall continue to criticize you, without hesitation and quite frankly, in the interest of the CPSU, the Soviet people and the Soviet State, and for the unity of the socialist camp and the international communist movement” (Debate on the general line of the Communist International Movement. Foreign Language Editions. Beijing. 1965. P.344). “In the International Communist Movement, we even stay in contact with revisionists; so why should we not do the same with Marxist-Leninists?” (Debate on the general line of the Communist International Movement. Foreign Language Editions. Beijing. 1965. P.360).(....)
One could question the validity of maintaining unity with parties considered as right opportunists or left sectarians.
Mao Zedong once said: “The important thing is to know how to learn”. We consider this position as fundamental, concerning our attitude towards the International Communist Movement. Maintaining the unity of the movement allows each party to learn more and faster.2
So, presuming opportunist and revisionist mistakes earlier made been corrected on the Fourth Congress, Ludo could say (the positions taken by Ludo Martens and later on negated by revisionist Boudewijn Deckers in a subtile way are in italic-fat):
“Our party has endorsed the principle of maintaining relations with communist parties whose political line we consider as being right or left opportunist.
First of all, because we can be mistaken in our judgement.
Secondly, because experience has showed that we can benefit from some aspects of their work among the masses, of their experiences, their theoretical work etc.
Third, because fundamental divergences concerning the ideological line must not prevent certain forms of cooperation and joint struggle in the areas of racism, trade-union rights, anti-imperialist struggle.
Fourth, We have to take into account possible changes. Some parties that we consider as revisionist or leftist, or some fractions of these parties, could evolve positively.
Finally, parties with which we have grave divergences may completely degenerate and go over to the side of bourgeois order. The fact of having maintained relations with these parties can give us “negative” lessons, that we can formulate better for having followed, step by step,the evolution of these parties.” (...)
About Mao Zedong’s thesis
(...) The Belgian Party of Labour (PTB/PVDA) takes Marxism-Leninism and the thought of Mao Zedong as an ideological guide. Our party recognizes that Mao Zedong has made two major contributions to the science of Marxism-Leninism.
For the first time in history, he developed the theory and strategy of the national-democratic revolution in a large oppressed Third World country, as a preparatory step leading to socialist revolution, and he led the Chinese revolution, through great difficulties, until the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
After Kruschev took over in the USSR, Mao Zedong led the struggle against modern revisionism and, through the development of the cultural revolution, enriched the theory of the continuation of class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
For a large debate about the work of Mao Zedong
(...) The objective is not to repeat the slogans and affirmations that were the hallmarks of the the Maoist movement during the 60’s and the 70’s, but to scientifically discuss, on the ground of the experiences of the last decades, the theoretical positions of Mao Zedong, which are still fully valid. One must discard all “preliminaries” that make it impossible to achieve unity with the communists of other schools of thought, one must convincingly refute their criticisms of certain aspects of Mao Zedong’s positions, recognize their pertinent criticisms and achieve mutual political and ideological progress. A scientific debate will surely show how contradictory, and even opposed, the interpretations of our “common heritage” can be, among the parties referring to the thought of Mao Zedong.
The critical evaluation of some of Mao Zedong’s theories
(...) During the Twentieth Congress, Kruschev launched his surprise attack on Stalin, in order to impose his revisionist line.
At first, the position of Mao Zedong and the CCP was hesitant. They did not consistently defend the Marxist-Leninist work of Stalin, but followed Kruschev in some of his opportunist criticisms of Stalin.
The fundamental document about this is entitled “The Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, drafted on the 5th of april and the 29th of December 1956.
This text defends Stalin and the “fundamental experience of the revolution and edification in the Soviet Union” (The historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Beijing. 1961. P.33). Nevertheless, in the criticisms concerning Stalin, we notice a strong tendency towards a reconciliation with revisionism.
In fact, some of the criticisms formulated by Mao Zedong and the CCP simply repeat Kruschev’s calumnies. The CCP formulates some unfounded affirmations, with no serious facts to back them up. The conclusion is in the same tone: Kruschev has taken steps to correct Stalin’s errors! The document affirms that “During the last period of his life, a series of victories and the eulogies which were dedicated to him went to Stalin’s head. In his way of thinking he discarded, partially but gravely, dialectical materialism and succumbed to subjectivism. He started to have blind faith in his own wisdom and authority; he refused to do research and serious study concerning complex situations, or to lend an attentive ear to the opinions of his comrades or the masses. Consequently, some of the positions and political steps he took were in contradiction with objective reality; he often persisted in applying these erroneous measures, and was unable to rectify his mistakes in due time. The Communist Party of the Soviet union has already taken steps to rectify the errors of Stalin” (The historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Foreign Language Editions. Beijing. p. 42).
Nothing is correct in these affirmations formulated by Kruschev. During the last year of his life, Stalin wrote: “The economic problems of socialism in the USSR” and supervised the drafting of the Report that Malenkov presented on October 5th 1952 at the XIXth Congress. These two documents prove that Stalin correctly applied dialectical materialism, that he did research and enquiries, and that he perceived the weaknesses of the Party and the theoretical errors that were to produce, a few years later, Kruschtchev’s revisionism.
In the “Historical Experience”, the CCP even took up one of Kruschev’s most outlandish accusations against Stalin: “(Stalin) was not sufficiently vigilant on the eve of the anti-fascist war” (The historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat. 1961. Foreign Language Editions. Beijing. p. 9-10).
Further on in this document, the CCP copies Kruschtchev’s positions about the extinction of class struggle, that were previously developed by Bukharin in the thirties. The CCP does not present any concrete analysis of the complex and crucial period of the purges. They repeat the banalities of Kruschev about the necessity of “perfecting democracy rather than insisting on the deepening of class struggle”: “After the destruction of the exploiting classes and the liquidation, for the essential, of the counter-revolutionary forces, the dictatorship of the proletariat was still necessary to fight what was left of the interior counter-revolution...but it should have been mainly directed towards the agressive forces of outide imperialism. In these conditions, it was necessary to develop and progressively perfect, in the political life of the country, the different democratic methods, develop socialist legality, reinforce the people’s control over state organisms, develop democratic methods in the administration of the State and the factories, tighten the bonds between state organisms and the factories, on one hand, and the large masses, on the other hand(...) fight even more firmly against the bureaucratic tendencies, instead of insisting on the deepening of class struggle after the liquidation of the classes, which was what Stalin did, hindering the healthy development of socialist democracy” (The historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat, 1961. Foreign Language Editions. Beijing. p.54-55).(...)
During the Great Debate in 1963, the CCP and Mao Zedong defended Stalin in a more consistent manner, but there wer still grave shortcomings. The vital importance of the ideological and political struggle against trotskysm, bukharinism and bourgeois nationalism was completely left aside. Referring only to “two types of contradictions”, the CCP refused to analyse concretely the political lines and positions concerned. The following quotation is, in fact, an unavowed defence of bukharinist positions. “In the struggles led both inside and outside the Party, Stalin did not distinguish at certain moments and for certain problems between the two categories of contradictions, whose natures are different-contradictions between the enemy and us and contradictions among the people (...) The process of elimination of the counter-revolution(...) allowed many counter-revolutionary elements to be justly punished; but honest people where also unjustly condemned, and thus he made the mistake of enlarging the repression in 1937 and 1938” (Debate on the general line of the international communist movement. Foreign Language Editions. Beijing. 1965. p. 129).
In fact, in his report of march 1937, which was the starting point of the purges, Stalin fought not only against the rightist tendency that underestimated necessary vigilance, but he also explicitly warned against the tendency towards arbitrarily enlarging the purges and repression. Stalin also criticized the bureaucratic tendencies that kept the necessary purges from being carried out in accordance with party principles. It is Stalin himself who denounced, at the beginning of 1938, the exagerations and deviations of the purges, which he afterwards rectified.
On the petit-bourgeois influence in the Maoist movement
It is important to dwell on these mistakes in the writings of Mao Zedong, because they had a strong influence on the young marxist-leninist movement that developed in Europe from 1963 on. This movement was marked by petit-bourgeois ideologies, whose common characteristic was anti-stalinism. The positions of Mao Zedong that we spoken about have encouraged an interpretation of “maoism” as a new theory opposed to stalinism, and thus leninism. Our party has always defended the positions stated in “The Question of Stalin” of the CCP. But the study of the theory and practise of Stalin was neglected, or forgotten. The CCP stated in 1966: “Comrade Mao Zedong developed Marxism-Leninism in an outstanding, creative way, in all realms; he has brought it up to a new, superior level” (Little Red Book. Introduction of 1966). In our Party, it was generally acknowledged that “in all realms” the ideas of Mao Zedong were “superior” to those of Stalin or even Lenin. It was not deemed necessary to study in which areas Mao Zedong had brought a true enrichment to the Marxist-Leninist theory.
In the past, our party accepted the idea, often stated in the Chinese texts, that Stalin, as opposed to Mao, did not understand that class struggle continued under socialism. Proof of this was apparently given in Stalin’s Report on the 1936 Constitution project, where he says: “All the exploiting classes have been liquidated. Remains the working class; remains the peasant class; remain the intellectuals”. On this passage, professor Thomson made a classic comment: “Here, the exploiting classes have been eliminated; the class struggle, apparently, is ended” (Stalin: Questions of Leninism. Tirana Editions. 1970. p. 702. Thomson. p. 131). In fact, a comprehensive study of Stalin’s works shows how wrong this conclusion is. For Stalin, the elimination of the landlords, the capitalists and the kulaks did not at all mean the end of the class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Several of Thomson’s “Maoist” positions are characteristic of the petit-bourgeois intellectuals who were impressed by the mass movement in socialist China, but continued to be influenced by anti-communism.
Thomson wrote, in 1971: “Stalin followed the Leninist line down to 1935, but subsequently, he departed from it in two ways; on the one hand, the new constitution rested on the assumption that, as far as internal relations were concerned, the dictatorship of the proletariat could be relaxed; and for this reason it was welcomed by the new bourgeoisie, who accepted it as confirmation of their privileges. This was a “rightist” deviation. On the other hand, since the dictatorship of the proletariat could not in fact be relaxed, it was maintained by administrative methods as a function of the security police. This was a “Leftist” deviation – the error of what Lenin had called “over-administration” – which had already manifested itself in the leftists excesses that had marred the struggle against the kulaks. The two deviations complemented and supported each other. Enemies were treated as friends and friends as enemies.” (Thomson, George. From Marx to Mao Tse-Tung. China Policy Study Group.London. 1971. p.35-136).
In Europe, many Marxist-Leninist organisations were influenced by the errors of Mao Zedong and CCP, that they have often “improved” in the same way as professor Thomson did.
In the early seventies, Harpal Brar published a series of pamphlets criticizing the opportunist positions of professor Thomson and of different British M-L organisations. He wrote: “The anti-Bolshevism of these gentlemen is invariably accompanied by their loud professions of “support”and “praise” for China and Mao Zedong... Under the fraudulent cover of concern for the Soviet peasantry, they are concerned to denounce and discredit the CPSU(c)’s Leninist line on the agrarian question, and secondly,to catch the simpletons among the revolutionaries with tales of alleged differences between China and the USSR, between comrade Mao Zedong and comrade Stalin, and to muddle them up completely, by leading them away from Leninism. How do certain of our comrades in the movement react to this fraudulent trick? Instead of tearing the mask from these bourgeois tricksters, instead of convincing them of practising deception, they swallow the bait, walk into the trap, and allow themselves to adopt an anti-Stalinist and therefore anti-Leninist position... Not everyone who “praises” China is a Marxist (502).
Up to today, there are people who maintain the anti-communist thesis according to which Stalin led the class struggle by using administrative methods and the State Security forces. A Marxist-Leninist group writes: “One of the fundamental errors of Stalin” was that he fought bureaucracy not “by the mobilization of critical masses, but unilaterally, through the State Security, which was itself bureaucratized” (RF, 5-95, p. 17).
For the defence of proletarian internationalism
Stalin had to build socialism in a continuous struggle against all bourgeois trends inside the party.
Three bourgeois trends put Soviet socialism at risk.
Trotskyism, which, under a “leftist” pretence, developed an anti-Soviet and anti-communist line, fitting perfectly the interests of imperialism, in particular German imperialism.
Bukharinism reedited the Social-democratic line under socialism and was preaching the extinction of classes, the incorporation of capitalist elements in socialism and the conciliation with Menshevik currents.
Bourgeois nationalism was raising the masses of some nationalities, under the impulse of the national bourgeoisie, against socialism while agitating the slogan of “independence”.
These three ideological fights had a historical importance for the strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat.(...)
Unprincipled alliances against the “social-imperialism”
The adoption by the CCP of the theses on State capitalism, social-imperialism, social-fascism has had very serious consequences.
First of all, nationalism led socialist China to unprincipled alliances with American imperialism and reaction.
The theory of the Three Worlds, formulated by Mao was accepted both by the tendency of the so-called “Gang of Four” and by that of Deng Xiaoping. Here is the main thesis: “Of the two superpowers, the Soviet Union is the most ferocious imperialism, the most adventurous, the most retort and the most dangerous source of a world war.” (The theory of president Mao on the division into three worlds, important contribution to Marxism-Leninism, Beijing 1977 p.33) The Soviet Union is under a “fascist dictatorship that allows Soviet social-imperialism to militarize more easily the entire national economy and the state apparatus.” (The theory of president Mao on the division into three worlds, important contribution to Marxism-Leninism, Beijing 1977 p.36-37)
During his trip to the US, Deng Xiaoping formulated extreme conclusions of that thesis, supporting an alliance with the extreme-right of American imperialism. For instance, he declared: “We consider that the danger of war comes from the USSR”. “What we need are practical and realistic measures, e.g. a unity between the US, China, Japan, Europe in order to face Soviet hegemonism” (Beijing Information, Feb 1979, p.14)
US imperialism had a double tactics in its struggle against the Soviet Union. The extreme right wanted to push at a maximum the militarization of the economy in order to “bleed the USSR white” by pushing it into an unbearable military effort; it mobilized all the fascists forces against communism and was ready for military adventures. The liberal fraction thought that the extreme militarization would hurt, in the long run, the economy and the international position of the US; it followed the tactics of political and economical infiltration, it wanted to link the rising bourgeois forces in the Soviet Union to the US big bourgeoisie, to corrupt Soviet cadres, to foster the development of pro-capitalist ideological trends. The goal was to realize the peaceful counter-revolution. Deng Xiaoping was fighting against this second fraction in order to link himself to the first. (...)
The second aspect is that this nationalist orientation led to the abandon of all critiques of revisionism and to ally oneself with the revisionists that had divergences with the “most dangerous power”. This was made first of all on the basis of nationalist bourgeois positions that were shared on both sides. (...)
In November 1980, the CCP reestablished relations with the Spanish revisionist party, for the simple reason that it had the most anti-Soviet positions. In the same breath, the CCP called the Euro-communist line, an openly social-democrat one, the concrete application of Marxism-Leninism to the specific reality of Spain. The CCP took position against the forces in Spanish CP that were defending some Leninist positions, but were also maintaining the solidarity with the Soviet Union. “During the 10th Congress, the vast majority of the delegates were in favour of a Euro-communist line, only a minority of “pro-Soviets” persisted in its opposition” (Beijing Information, August 10 1981, p.9)
The nature of nationalism in the Chinese revolution
(...) The communists support nationalism in its negative aspect, as a rejection of the foreign, imperialist domination. But they do not support the nationalism as a positive value in itself, since nationalism links workers to their exploiters. In China, nationalism had, during a long period, a revolutionary character, since China had to be liberated from imperialist oppression. But revolutionary nationalist ideology remains within the frontiers of bourgeois revolution. In the very long struggle the Chinese communist had to maintain against imperialism, radical nationalism was one of their strongest ideological levers amongst the masses. And many were set to believe that radical nationalism was a part of the communist conception of the world. Which is wrong.
Revolutionary nationalism of the Chinese bourgeoisie
The passage from national and democratic revolution to socialist revolution is undoubtedly a very complex process.
Which is the necessary change of position of classes, in order to pass from national and democratic revolution to socialist revolution ? Which is the difference in the content of democratic dictatorship and proletarian dictatorship?
And which is the real class content of the political and ideological line, which permitted the Communist Party to mobilise the masses for the revolution ? And to which extent did the practice of national and democratic revolution influence the conception of Marxism-Leninism, held by those who led the revolution ? To which extent is the comprehension of Marxism-Leninism enclosed within the limits of national and democratic revolution?
There can resist a specific source of opportunism and revisionism in China.
This hypothesis is plausible when one examines the positions adopted by the nationalist bourgeoisie during the anti-Japanese war. Then the left wing of Kuomintang, opposed to Marxism-Leninism, developed a rather radical bourgeois conception of national and democratic revolution. One of its most outstanding representatives was Sun Fo, son of Sun Yat Sen, member of the Central Executive Committee of Kuomintang. He published in 1940-1943 a series of articles and analyses, from which we quote some.(...)
As the leadership of Kuomintang showed it’s reactionary character, corruption and dependence upon imperialist powers, it showed itself incapable of fulfilling the national and democratic tasks indicated by Sun Fo.
Many officials and intellectuals left Kuomintang and joined the Communist Party.
Besides, hundreds of thousands young students, peasants and workers were engaged in the CCP, because it was the only way to fight consequently against feudalism, imperialism and pro-imperialist bourgeoisie.
Clearly the two ideological tendencies had much in common.
Did the national bourgeoisie approve of socialism?
On the 1st of October 1949, the day of the glorious victory of the national and democratic revolution, how many leaders of the CCP had a precise idea of the passage of this revolution to the proletarian revolution, and the changes it would imply in the ideology of communists?
This is what, ten years later, Liou Chao Chi, vice-president of the Party, and president of the republic, wrote: “The triumph of the popular revolution, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, has broken once and for all the reactionary domination of Kuomintang, its bureaucratic and militarist apparatus, that crushed the people. In that way was founded, in 1949, the great People’s Republic, which is, in fact, a proletarian dictatorship. So the passage from democratic revolution to socialist revolution was realized successfully. (“Ten glorious years – 1949-1959, Complete works, Beijing, 1960, p.9). Here the democratic dictatorship of the people and the proletarian dictatorship have clearly the same content.
In the same way, in “On the right solution of the contradictions within the people”, Mao Ze Dong included the bourgeoisie within “the classes who approve of and support socialism and take part in it... In China the bourgeoisie has a double character... In the period of socialist revolution, they exploit the working class and make profits out of them, but in the same time they support the Constitution and show their willingness to accept socialist transformation.” (Part V, p.418-419). Liou Chao Chi explains this thesis: “The private capitalist enterprises came under a mixture management of State and private sector. An annual rent is accorded to the capitalists during a certain time... During this gradual transformations, capitalism has been, under certain conditions, put at the service of socialism, used in the interest of the socialist construction. In this way we have been able to liquidate capitalism totally in the field of property of means of production, and we apply ourselves to re-educate step by step the bourgeois elements in order to make of them workers who live of their own work.”(Ten years of glorious... p.13,15)
And Liou applies the same principles to the prosperous middle peasants, to whom will be paid the value of the instruments and the cattle they brought in by joining the people’s Communes.”The overwhelming majority of prosperous middle payments were very satisfied about the organisation of co-operative societies.” (Ibidem, pg 12). And Mao Ze Dong writes: “During the agrarian reform, as long as we did not touch the rich peasants, the middle peasants felt easy.” (Tome V, p.349).
Will all the classes and strata who supported the revolutionary struggle against the Japanese fascists and against Kuomintang, join up within the system of proletarian dictatorship? Deng Xiao-Ping wrote in 1959: “The unity of the Chinese people has constantly become stronger during the democratic revolution, the socialist revolution and the continuous development of the revolution.” (Ten glorious years, p.99). Are the positions of Mao, Liou and Deng then not a variant of Boucharin’s thesis about the integration of bourgeois elements and kulaks into socialism? Was one not introducing then into the socialist economic units a stratum of bourgeois elements, capable of taking power? Was the main task to “educate” these bourgeois elements? Which kind of proletarian dictatorship incorporates bourgeoisie and limits itself to educating them? Didn’t Lenin say that “the proletarian dictatorship is a harsh struggle, bloody and non-bloody, violent and non-violent, military and economic, educating and administrative against the forces and traditions of the old society ”?
And what is more, the crucial question has to be asked about the political and ideological line with which de Communist Party will “educate” the national bourgeoisie. To the extent that this party didn’t go further than a radical national and democratic revolution, an ideological fusion with the national patriotic bourgeoisie was possible. In 1956, Mao Ze Dong stated that two notorious opportunists, Wang Ming and Li Li-San, were to remain within the central committee; if not “millions of members of our party of petit-bourgeois origin, especially intellectuals, would be taken by panic.” (Part V, p.348)
There are many indications that between 1949 and 1957 the leadership of the CCP, including Mao Ze Dong, didn’t conduct a consistent ideological struggle against nationalism and against the bourgeois type of revolutionary democratism.
The transition to the dictatorship of the proletariat
We are entitled to believe that a change in the thought of Mao Zedong occurred in May-October 1957. At this time, Kruschtchev’s revisionist line has imposed itself in the CPSU, violently counter-revolutionary movements have occurred in Poland and Hungary, Chinese reactionaries and right-wingers have launched attacks against the Communist Party and socialism. It is then that Mao spells out a certain number of new theories. “Our Party has amongst its members numerous intellectuals. Part of them are rather seriously contaminated by revisionist ideas”. Revisionism has also appeared at the head of the Party. “We are now carrying out the socialist revolution, directed against the bourgeoisie... The main contradiction is between socialism and capitalism, between the socialist path and the capitalist one. The resolution of the Party’s VIIIth Congress does not mention this at all”. Then Mao makes a very significant confession: “The socialist revolution has come about so fast, that there was no thorough discussion, in the Party and around it, concerning the general line of the Party during the period of transition”. (Volume V. P.480, 535, 505).
The questions concerning the transition from the national and democratic revolution to the socialist revolution will thereafter be a central preoccupation for Mao Zedong. From this point of view, the Cultural Revolution may be seen as an self-criticism on the part of Mao Zedong, who formulates for the first time the real terms of the passage from the democratic dictatorship to the dictatorship of the proletariat. But at this time, Mao Zedong, despite his immense popularity, was very much in minority among the leading cadres. The cultural revolution was sabotaged from the start by part of the CCP executives and by the bourgeois and petit-bourgeois currents, which were very strong in the Chinese society.
It is to be noted that in the Directive of the16th of May 1966, that set off the Cultural Revolution, Mao assumes positions that are diametrically opposite to those he upheld in 1940 in “The New Democracy” and in 1957, in “Of the correct solution”. And as if to underline the fact that there is still much confusion, these two works are given as reference material for the cultural revolution...
In 1966, Mao says: “The representatives of the bourgeoisie that have infiltrated the Communist Party... absolutely deny the necessity of the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, of the revolution led by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, and the dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. Furthermore, they are loyal servants of the bourgeoisie and imperialism: they plot with them to maintain the bourgeois ideology of oppression and exploitation of the proletariat, as well as the bourgeois regime... They are a band of counter-revolutionaries, opposed to the Communist Party and the people; their struggle against us is a struggle to death, without any reference to equality. Our struggle against them must therefore also be a struggle to death, our relationship with them holds no trace of equality, it is the oppression of one class by another, in other words, the dictatorship of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie”. “The representatives of the bourgeoisie that have infiltrated the Party, the government, the army and sectors of the cultural field, are a band of counter-revolutionary revisionists. If they had a chance, they would seize power, and transform the dictatorship of the proletariat into the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie”. (The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Pekin. 1970. P.128-130, 141).
Nationalists and democratic revolutionaries
As of 1959, Kang Cheng demonstrates that some executives have entered the CCP with points of view that go no further than a consequent attitude towards the democratic revolution. “At the stage of the democratic revolution, showing to a certain degree a zealous attitude towards the democratic revolution( these democratic bourgeois and petit-bourgeois) can still approve, at least partially, the minimal action program of the Marxist-Leninist party; thus, aided and guided by the Party, they can still accomplish work of some utility for the revolution. But, as from the start, there existed between them and the Party differences of principle. The Party stand firmly for the leading role of the proletariat in the democratic revolution, and stands firm in its will to carry out the democratic revolution to the end, so that when the democratic revolution has been completely achieved, it can go on immediately, without discontinuing, on to the socialist revolution; they want to leave the democratic revolution in the hands of the bourgeoisie and do not want to carry it out completely, and they are even less ready for the socialist revolution”; (Ten Glorious Years. Pekin Editions. 1960. P. 275).
The same theme will be developed in 1976, during the political struggle led by Mao Zedong against Deng Xiaoping. The CCP then wrote: “In 1956, president Mao made this farseeing remark: the right-wing opportunists in the party never were proletarian revolutionaries; they are only democratic bourgeois or petit-bourgeois, infiltrated in the revolutionary ranks of the proletariat; they have never been marxist-leninists; they are only fellow-travellers for our Party” (The struggle in China against the right-wing deviationist trend that questions the correct conclusions. 1976. Foreign Language Editions. Pekin. p.189).(...)
It seems that at a certain moment of the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong realized the dangers of nationalism and that he strove to reactivate the principles of proletarian internationalism. It would be interesting to study these efforts and the resistance they induced in the Party. During the preparation of the Cultural Revolution, Mao declared to an Austrian delegation: “I know you come from a country where much has been said concerning the “yellow peril” and there certainly is nationalism in your country.
But this also exists in China, and if we make concessions to nationalism, we will lose everything. It is necessary to firmly stand on the positions of proletarian internationalism”. (Cited in: Bolschevik Partizan. no. 20., December 1991, p.97).
The survival of a democratic and national revolutionary ideology in the CPP and the Bukharinist positions that this entailed, generated important weaknesses in the Party between 1949 and 1966. (...)
Since 1900, very sharp ideological struggles have drawn a clear line between economism and opportunism, on the one hand, and Marxism-Leninism on the other, between petit-bourgeois and scientific socialism, between proletarian dictatorship and conciliation with the bourgeoisie, between nationalism and internationalism. During the whole period of Stalin, proletarian dictatorship and class struggle under socialism wereat the core of theoretical debate and revolutionary practice.
One cannot oppose the two major experiences of the socialist revolution, the soviet revolution and the Chinese revolution. But a unilateral appreciation of the Cultural Revolution has often resulted in an underestimation of Stalin’s and Lenin’s theoretical work. And this type of underestimation is a source of opportunism.3
No you will learn in next articles, how these positions (affirmed by a majority of the members on congresses – but apparently just formally by some cadres...) will be deleted in collective consciousness of the party, so that revisionism could enter the party.... the work of a (or some) cadres who enter the party (some already in the time of the founding of AMADA, the predecessor of the WPB) but did not never change class-position or held to their original bourgeois class-position. (an example of this - but he is not the exclusive only one.. there were more! - was/is Boudewijn Deckers)
The subtile but conscious way by which Boudewijn Deckers could make enter revisionism into the WPB and into the head of a lot of cadres and militants is material for next articles.
1https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/belgium-1st/aspects.htm, Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line. Ludo Martens, “On certain aspects of the struggle against revisionism - For the unity of all communists, in defence of proletarian internationalism”.First Delivered: To a seminar in India, March 1995.Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba.Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
2https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/belgium-1st/aspects.htm, Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line. Ludo Martens, “On certain aspects of the struggle against revisionism - For the unity of all communists, in defence of proletarian internationalism”.First Delivered: To a seminar in India, March 1995.Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba.Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
3https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/belgium-1st/aspects.htm, Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line. Ludo Martens, “On certain aspects of the struggle against revisionism - For the unity of all communists, in defence of proletarian internationalism”.First Delivered: To a seminar in India, March 1995.Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba.Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
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