19; APRIL 1996
THE PATH TOWARDS A NEW COMMUNIST,
PART 1 : THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONALS
1. THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL - THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING MENS'
ASSOCIATION 1867- 1874
2. THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL 1889-1914
3. THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL 1921-1943
4. THE COMINFORM 1947-1956
PART 2 : WORLD CHANGES FOLLOWING
A. THE WORKING CLASS AND PEASANTS MOVEMENTS
1. THE LOSS OF THE TWO SOCIALIST STATES - USSR AND THE PSRA
2. THE IDEOLOGIES CONTENDING FOR PROGRESSIVE FORCES
Right Pro-USSR revisionism; Castroism, Trotskyism, Maoism, Marxism-Leninism
3. THE FRAGMENTATION OF THE EMBERS OF THE EX-USSR, AND THE WARSAW
4. THE DISINTEGRATION OF CHINA=S
CREDIBILITY AS A ASOCIALIST STATE@
5. STATES THAT STILL CLAIM TO BE SOCIALIST
B. CHANGES IN IMPERIALISM
1. THE FAILURE OF BOTH KEYNESIAN AND FRIEDMANITE ECONOMICS
2. THE STRUGGLE FOR MARKETS - GIANT CAPITALIST BLOCKS FORM
3. TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES.
4. REFORMISM AND SOCIAL DEMOCRACY
PART 3 : THE CURRENT SITUATION
1. MEETINGS AND JOURNALS NOT AIMED AT A NEW INTERNATIONAL
2. MEETINGS AIMING AT FORMING A NEW INTERNATIONAL
1. PYONGYANG DECLARATION; APRIL 1992
2. EUROPE MEETING NOVEMBER 1993; Reported 1994 by CL.
3. QUITO DECLARATION; AUGUST 1994
4. RESOLUTIONS OF STALIN TODAY SEMINAR@
MOSCOW; NOVEMBER 1994 5. PARTI DU TRAVAIL BELGIQUE (PTB); BRUSSELS
6. PTB; BRUSSELS : PROPOSITION FOR UNITY MAY 1995
7. SUCHI STATEMENT MAY 1995
8. COMMUNIST PARTY PHILIPPINES MAY 1995
9. COMMUNIST LEAGUE: REPLY TO PTB MAY 1995
10. MARXIST LENINIST CP (TURKEY) REPLY TO PTB, JUNE 1995
11. ISCHIA STATEMENT AND PRINCIPLES; MARCH 1996
Only by understanding these, can various strategy and
tactics aiming to establish today=s
new Marxist-Leninist International be sensibly assessed. We will assert
here that today, the world=s
Marxist-Leninist forces are astonishingly fragmented. This is undoubtedly
due to the success of revisionist and bourgeois ideology. So successful,
that it has even fogged such basic issues as : AWhat
is Socialism?@ But we will also
assert that the potential for growth is unparalleled in the last 40 years.
There are plenty of Alost communist
souls@ out there.
THE PATH TOWARDS
A NEW COMMUNIST, MARXIST-LENINIST INTERNATIONAL
What world conditions confront Marxist-Leninists today?
What were the conditions that confronted the previous historic Three
Until recently they had a revisionist Ahome@,
but now they are again looking for a theoretical and practical home from
which to develop their progressive politics. Marxist-Leninists must try
to ensure that this time their home will have a good and solid foundation.
A non-sectarian but principled line will definitely attract some, if not
many, of these people. One aspect of the present phase is marked by pulling
these people into a principled debate.
Why? Because this is one way to convince some communists,
that Marxism-Leninism is the only way for these people to fulfill their
progressive vision. Obviously, life and practical politics will convince
yet more people of the need for Marxism-Leninism politics. But here, we
are as yet only talking of the highest levels of consciousness - those
who already think of themselves as Marxist-Leninists, or at least as convinced
socialists. But before we start to convince these people, we Marxist-Leninism
ourselves must be clear as to what is socialism.
MARXIST-LENINISTS UNDERSTAND SOCIALISM AS A MINIMUM TO MEAN :
ASocialism is that social
system constructed by the working people, led by the working class, after
their seizure of power. This is a social system in which the exploitation
of human by human has been abolished, a social system in which production
is planned with the aim to maximise the welfare of the working people.
The working peoples in a socialist revolution, take steps to achieve these
goals following immediately and directly after, the completion of the national
democratic revolution in a colonial or semi-colonial type country. In those
countries that have already settled the National Democratic tasks, the
socialist revolution is the first and only revolution in the agenda. This
socialist revolution in both types of countries is heralded by the seizure
of power, and the creation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The
socialist revolution then seizes the commanding means of production under
the state, socialises the land, and moves in steps to establish the collectivisation
To try and analyse the current situation before
us, it may be of help to briefly show some of the struggles undergone by
the previous internationals.
PART 1 : THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONALS
We will briefly examine some aspects of the history
of the Internationals. We try to concentrate on two aspects of these.
First : How and why they were founded and
Second the main struggles in the parties
making up the International that led to their final dissolution. The conditions
of the previous internationals are relevant to us today. We should be aware
that each were dissolved under adverse conditions and that all were formed
at the points of a high tide in the workers movement. At the end
of Part One, we try and draw some overall conclusions that may apply to
the current situation.
1: THE FIRST
INTERNATIONAL - THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING MENS' ASSOCIATION (IWMA) 1867-1874
The IWMA was in fact a broad United Front. The
First International was composed of communists, anarchists and Chartist
inspired trades unionists. The trades unions at first provided militant
strength, but were only at an early stage of development. Marx and Engels
had articulated the philosophy of a labour based political economy, of
a revolutionary dialectical materialism, of the need for a workers revolution.
But as yet, they had not fully unmasked the Apre-Marxist@
socialist pretensions. This explains their continued ideological warfare
even after the foundation of the IWMA. The Communist Manifesto was first
published in 1847, yet Bakuninism and Proudhonism continued to plague the
workers movement. Both, when coupled to a reactionary trades union leadership,
were in the end to destroy the First International.
It is true that it was the logical consequence of
the ringing cry: @Workers of
The World Unite!@ raised by the
Founders of the Communist movement Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. But
the IWMA was not a pre-meditated organised formation. Marx and Engels were
far seeing political leaders of the workers. But even so, the IWMA was
actually set up because of the pressing needs of a daily struggle. The
First history of the IWMA was written down, by WILHELM EICHOFF,
when Marx responded to his request for information. This elicited Marx=s
rough draft, upon which Eichoff elaborated. Eichoff describes the formation
of the IWMA:
AThe immediate motive for
the formation of the IWMA was the latest Polish insurrection. The London
workers sent a petition to Lord Palmerston with an appeal in which they
called on him to intervene on behalf of Poland. At the same time they issued
an address to the workers of Paris, calling on them to take joint action.
The Parisians responded by sending a delegation to London. To welcome them,
a public meeting gathered at St.Martin=s
Hall, Long Acre, on September 28th 1864 at which Britons, Germans, Frenchmen,
Poles and Italians were represented in large numbers. This meeting gave
birth to the IWMA. Apart from the political purpose for which the meeting
was called, it also raised the subject of general social conditions..@
Wilhelm Eichoff " IWMA: Its Establsihemnt Organisation & Poltical
& Soical Activity & Growth"; July 1868; In Karl Marx & Frederick
Engels; Collected Works (Hereafter M&E CW) Vol 21; Appendix 21; Appendix
3; p. 322-23.
But the labour aristocracy grew and developed
opportunism. This became entwined with the sectarianism of the Bakunin
school to poison the IWMA. This led to the fierce debate in the ABroad
Front@ inside the First International.
became progressively narrower, as the determination and the principles
of the IWMA were made ever clearer by Marx and Engels. At the apex of the
international struggle was the APARIS
COMMUNE@ of 1870. Following
this the disagreements between the wings of the Broad Front were forced
into the open. It was then that the opportunists showed their stripes.
It was then that GEORGE ODGER of the English Trades Union repudiated
Marx=s Report AThe
Civil War In France@ which after
Marx=s Address, was adopted by
the General Council of the IWMA on May 30 1871. This was only a fortnight
after the fall of the Paris Commune. In it Marx had expounded :
AThe theory of the state,
the revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.. on the basis of
the Paris Commune. Lenin described this work as one of the fundamental
documents of scientific communism. In it, he wrote, Marx had given a Aprofound,
clear cut brilliant, effective analysisA
of the Paris commune.@
But the English Trades unionists BENJAMIN LUCRAFT
and Odger reneged on the position of the IWMA, and insisted that their
names be struck off the address. As Marx said :
AMen like Odger.. were apologists
for MARIE J.L.THIER and JULES FAVRE.. the bitter opponents
of the French working class.. the principal instigators of the massacres
of the June 48.. Mr Odger knew nothing of the International for the last
Marx: Address to Council: M&E CW; Vol 22; p.610.
The fall of the Paris Commune, and the apologists
of those like Odger, prompted the London Conference of the IWMA
(September 17th 1871) to modify its rules and to re-organise. Marx=s
minuted interventions show his counter attack was aimed to ideologically
strengthen the IWMA :
Cited In Introduction to Vol 22; M&E CW; Moscow; 1986; p.xxii.
AMarx: The General Council
has called a conference to consult the delegates of the various countries
about the measures to be taken to guard against the risks which the Association
is running in a large number of countries, and to set up a new organisation
to meet the needs of the situation.@
Clearly one section of the broad united front, the Trade
Unions had fallen into overt social reformism, their leaders rejecting
the revolutionary path. Simultaneously, the anarchist MIKHAIL BAKUNIN
was intriguing to take over the International. In the London Conference
of the IWMA, Marx pointed out that Bakunin=s
sectarianism with its mistaken policy of Aabstention
from politics@, had actually
inspired the criminal inactivity of progressives during the crucial first
days of the Paris Commune. Bakunin was attacking the IWMA from the pseudo-left.
Marx: Record of Marx's Speech at Opening of London Conference. Minutes
of Session Sep 17th; 1871; M&E CW; Vol 22; p.613.
(See M&E CW: Volume 22; Ibid; p.616).
Bakunin was supported by the reformist leading elements
of the trade unionists, in an un- holy alliance of anarchism and open reformism.
Marx and Engels were forced to enter into polemical and political struggle
to expose Bakunin. At the Hague Congress of the International (1872),
Bakunin and his ally Guillaume were expelled for:
"Creating within our Association a secret society, the ALLIANCE
OF SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY which claimed to direct the International to
aims contrary to its principles.@
Bakunin was therefore expelled for factional activity.
As Engels pointed out, despite the successful expulsion of Bakunin, the
divisions in the International forced some decisive rear guard action:
M&E CW: Marx to Editor of 'Le Corsaire'; Vol
23; p. 257.
AThere were two elements
in London both striving to gain the upper hand in the General Council.
One was the French Blanquists.. A small coterie who replaced discernment
of the real course of the movement with revolutionary talk, and propaganda
activity with petty spurious conspiracy leading only to useless arrests...
The second dangerous element in London comprised the English working class
leaders in whose face Marx at the Hague Congress had flung the words: It
is a disgrace to be among these English working class leaders for almost
all of them have sold themselves to Sir Charles Dilke, Samuel Morley or
even Gladstone (Leaders of the then English Government - Editor).. The
activity of the International in England would not only come under the
control of bourgeois radials but probably even under the control of the
Government itself.. A transfer was therefore necessary.. New York was the
only place.. With security for the Association=s
archives and an international composition of the General Council itself.@
Both Marx and Engels knew that their own leadership
would be far more remote if the move to New York took place. They knew
this would expose the IWMA to further dangers. Why therefore, did they
then, propose such a drastic step?
Engels F: "On the Hague Congress of the International"; M&E CW:
Vol 23: p.265-266.
Because the IWMA would otherwise have fallen into
the wrong hands. A direct parallel will be later discussed to the manner
in which the Third International was dissolved. This parallel is that of
the entry into the workers movement of hidden revisionists.
so called AAlliance of Socialist
Democracy@ was a historic
pioneer. It was a pioneer showing how to wreck a workers organisation from
the inside. Engels thought that it was the first example in the history
of the workers movement, showing how internal sabotage could be used by
the bourgeoisie to disrupt the workers movement:
AThese are, citizens, the
facts.. For the first time in the history of working class struggles, we
stumble over a secret conspiracy plotted in the midst of that class and
intended to undermine not the existing capitalist regime but the very Association
in which that regime finds its most energetic opponent. This is a conspiracy
got up to hamper the proletarian movement. Thus whenever we meet it, we
find it preaching the emasculating doctrine of abstention from political
action; and while the plain profane Internationals are persecuted and imprisoned
over nearly all of Europe, the valiant members of the Alliance enjoy a
quite exceptional immunity. A
Engels F: "Address of the General Councial to All Members of the IWMA:
Aug 4th, 1872"; M&E CW: Vol 23.
The First International was therefore moved to New York.
But this proved to be its undoing. Petit-bourgeois Associations professing
and various mystical religions including AShaker@
inspired communes, joined the IWMA. They believed in the possibility of
intellectually convincing the bourgeoisie of the wickedness of their ways
and of reforming capitalism. They infiltrated the IWMA and tried to change
it from a revolutionary organisation into a reformist organisation. After
some battles, the IWMA was dissolved in 1874. This dissolution was the
end result of the AUnity@
of sectarian anarchist trends represented by Mikhail Bakunin, and the social
reformism of the Trade union aristocracy. Bakunin=s
factionalism, had forced the First International away from Marx and Engels=
direct control; and away from the radical influence of the masses of the
workers in the English and German trades unions. Lenin described the new
AAfter the Hague Congress
of the International 1872; Marx had the General Council of the International
transferred to New York.. The First International had played its part and
now made way for a period of a far greater development of the labour movement
in all countries in the world, a period in which the movement grew in scope
and mass socialist working class parties in individual national states
But the IWMA which had been born of an urgent pressing
need for international solidarity, had welded some Auniform
tactics@. Lenin summarised the
work of the First International :
Lenin V.I.; "Karl Marx"; CW Moscow; 1977; Vol 21; p.49.
"In uniting the labour movement of various countries striving to channel
into joint activity the various forms of non-proletarian pre-Marxist socialism
(Mazzinni, Proudhon, Bakunin, liberal trades unionism in Britain, Lassallean
vacillations to the right in Germany etc) and in combatting the theories
of all these sects and schools, Marx hammered out a uniform tactic for
the proletarian struggle of the working class in the various
Engels himself looked back on the role of the First
International in 1890 May, when it had been dissolved for 16 years. Here
he explicitly recognised that non-Marxist strands of the workers movement
could not be shut out, but should be brought into a United Front, on a
principled basis. He showed how this strategy of the United Front had succeeded
inside the IWMA :
Lenin V.I.; "Karl Marx"; CW Moscow; 1977; Vol 21; p.49.
"The IWMA came into being. Its aim was to weld together into one huge
army the whole militant working class of Europe and America. Therefore
it could not SET OUT from the principles laid down in the Communist Manifesto.
It was bound to have a programme which would not shut the doors on the
English Trade Unions, the French Italian and Spanish Proudhonists and the
German Lassalleans. This Programme - the Preamble to the Rules of the International
was drawn up by Marx with a master hand.. For the ultimate triumph of the
ideas set forth in the Manifesto Marx relied solely and exclusively upon
the intellectual development of the working class, as it necessarily had
to ensue from united actions and discussion. The events and vicissitudes
in the struggle against capital, the defeats more the successes, could
not but demonstrate to the fighters the inadequacy hitherto of their universal
panaceas and make their minds more receptive to a thorough understanding
of the true conditions. The working class of 1874, at the dissolution of
the International, was altogether different from that of 1864 at its foundation.
Proudhonism and Lassaleanism in Germany were dying out, and even the arch-conservative
TRADE UNIONS were saying AContinental
socialism has lost its= terrors
for us@. Yet by 1887 Continental
Socialism was almost exclusively the theory heralded in the Manifesto.@
The 2nd International was started in 1889 with the direct
participation of Engels. This next period was marked by the ideological
triumph of Marxism within the Labour and socialist movement. But to battle
this, the bourgeoisie continued to refine their counter-attack. This took
the form of a corruption of the Marxist ideology by opportunists and hidden
revisionists. In his ACritique
of The Draft Social Democratic Programme of 1891" of the German party,
Engels defined opportunism. He was here criticising the uncritical support
given to the bourgeois proposals for protective tariffs by the workers
AThis forgetting of the
great, the principal considerations for the momentary successes of the
day, this struggling and striving for the successes of the moment regardless
of later consequences, this sacrifice of the future of the movement for
its present, may be Ahonestly
meant@, but it is and remains
opportunism, and Ahonest opportunism@
is perhaps the most dangerous of all@.
Engels F; Sep 1891; ACritique
of The Draft Social Democratic Programme of 1891"; M&E CW: Vol 27;
Moscow 1990; p. 227.
These words were very much to the fore of Engels=
mind, now in his seventies. He saw the Trades Unions moving towards a clearer
picture of the class struggle. But as they did so, the leaders of the Trades
Unions were courted by the bourgeoisie. As Engels and the AMarxists@
prepared the Inaugural Congress of the Second International in Paris on
July 14-20 1889 (The centenary of the Storming of the Bastille), they encountered
opposition. This came from the opportunism of the so called APOSSIBILISTS@
of France. These Possibilists, as their name implies, were social reformists
and allied themselves to the opportunist British SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC FEDERATION
(SDF). This was led by HENRY MAYERS HYNDMAN.
Engels F: 1890; "Preface to the 4th German Edition of the Communist
Manifesto"; M&E CW: Vol 27; p.58-59.
To Summarise The Work of the First International
1) It was set up as a response to a practical need for an organisation
of the international workers in response to capitalist provocations in
2) It was formed at time when the full strategy and tactics of
the Marxist-Engelist revolution was being finalised. A single unitary line
at this time was not possible. It was a united Front of Broad dimension
in the beginning.
3)Through this strategy of a united front, the principle of a
unitary single line became possible, even though at the outset it was not.
4) But objective circumstances ie petit bourgeois influences
in the IWMA, made it necessary to dissolve the IWMA to prevent it from
falling into the wrong hands. For the first time the bourgeoisie had penetrated
the workers movement by hidden conscious disrupters and saboteurs.
2. THE SECOND INTERNATIONAL
This round was won by the Marxists. Three hundred
and ninety-three delegates attended from 20 parties and organisations,
whereas the rival congress held by the Possibilists was puny.
But in Britain, the opportunists under Mr Hyndman
had found common ground with the new Labour bureaucrats. They had origins
in the old artisan era, not in the modern class system that produced the
factories. They preached social moderation and reformism to the workers.
They rejected a view of a working class independent resolute action. They
were however unable to stop the momentum of truely independent revolutionary
Trades Unions. For example the 8 Hour Day Movement led by the British Gas
workers, who were inspired by ELEANOR MARX AVELING.
Britain was a key nation for the international working
class movement as both Marx and Engels=
explicitly recognised. Disrupting the British workers was a key task for
the social reformists and their capitalist leaders. Therefore now the opportunists
resorted to confusing the workers by holding an international congress
at the very same time as the Marxist International was due to hold its
Second international meeting. As Engels remarked, the Marxists had been
AThis situation is the inevitable
consequence of the mistakes committed by the Marxist Congress (ie Paris
1889), the most important question was left unresolved - that of the future
Obviously a trap had been set by the opportunists. Now
the trick was how to expose the opportunism of Hyndman and the Possibilists.
As Engels pointed out :
Engels F: "The International Workers Conrgress of 1891"; M&E CW
Vol 27; Ibid; p.73.
AIt is certain that new attempts
will be made from than one quarter to prevent the Ascandal@
of 2 rival working mens congresses. We would not be able to reject these
attempts, on the contrary; if there is a repetition of Athe
scandal@ it is in our greatest
interest to ensure that the responsibility falls on the Possibilists and
their allies. Anyone who has the slightest experience of the international
movement knows that in the event of a split, he who provokes it or appears
to provoke it, is always in the wrong in the eyes of the workers. Therefore
in the event that there are 2 Congresses in 1891, let us act in such a
way that it is not we who can be accused of being the cause.@
Therefore under some very clearly defined conditions
as suggested by Engels (see Engels Letter to P.Lafargue Sep 2nd 1891; M&E
CW: Vol 27; p.233), the joint meeting took place. Engels declared it a
AWe have every reason to
be satisfied with the Brussels Congress.. It was right to vote for the
exclusion of the Anarchists... No less important was the way the door was
thrown wide open to the English TRADE UNIONS, the step which shows how
well the situation had been understood. And the votes which tied the TRADES
UNION to Athe class struggle
and the abolition of wage labour@
meant that it was not a concession on our part.@
Engels F: "The International Workers Congress of 1891"; M&E CW
Vol 27; Ibid; p.73.
Engels Letter to P.Lafargue Sep 2nd 1891; M&E CW: Vol 27; p.233.
At the very start of the Second International then,
the ideological broader Front of the previous First International was already
narrower, by the immediate exclusion of the anarchists and the adoption
of the AClass struggle and the
abolition of wage labour@.
There developed an enormous growth of the mass movements.
But these mass labour movements were torn between two contending forces.
Either the Marxist Internationalists forces led by Engels - or the Trade
Union aristocrats who were trying to take control. As yet neither side
had ideologically completely won. The Labour Aristocrats had not yet
been fully exposed. It is for this reason that Engels insisted on an open
discussion. In his Closing speech to the Zurich meeting sponsored by
the Socialist Workers Group of Aug 12 1893, he contrasted the First to
the Second International :
"The Old International had reached its zenith. The perpetuation of
the Old International would have led to sacrifices out of proportion with
the results; it transferred its seat to America, it withdrew from the scene.
The proletariat in the various countries was left to organise itself in
its forms. This happened and the International is now much stronger than
before. In accordance with this we must continue to work on common ground.
We must permit discussion in order not to become a sect, but the common
standpoint must be retained. The loose association, the voluntary bond
which is furthered by congresses is sufficient to win us the victory which
no power in the world can snatch from us again.A
But, as is well known the Second International too was
dissolved, in 1914, due to the opportunist stand of the Second International
on the inter-imperialist First World War. This was Lenin=s
assessment of The Second International :
"The Second International existed from 1889-1914, up to the war. This
was the period of the most calm and peaceful development of capitalism,
a period without great evolutions. During this period, the working class
movement gained strength and matured.. but the workers leaders had become
accustomed to peaceful conditions and had lost the ability to wage a revolutionary
struggle. When in 1914, there began the war.. these leaders deserted to
their respective governments. They betrayed the workers, they helped to
prolong the slaughter, they became the enemies of socialism, they went
over to the side of the capitalists."
Engels F; Closing Speech Zurich; M&E CW: Vol 27; Ibid: p.404-405.
Lenin V.I.; March 1919: "The Third Communist International"; V.I.L.
CW: Vol 29; p. 241.
The collapse of the Second International reflected the
rise of opportunism :
"The collapse of the Second International.. signifies the complete
victory of opportunism, the transformation of the Social Democratic parties
into national-liberal parties, is mainly the result of the entire historical
epoch of the Second International - the close of the 19 th Century and
the beginning of the 20 th Century. The objective conditions of this epoch
- transitional from the consummation of West European bourgeois and national
revolutions to the beginnings of socialist revolution - engendered and
fostered opportunism.. a split in the working class and socialist movements..
which in the main was a cleavage along the lines of opportunism (Britain,
Italy, Holland, Bulgaria and Russia); in other countries we see.. trends
along the same line (Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland).
The crisis created by the great war has torn away all coverings.. exposed
an abscess. and revealed opportunism as the true ally of the bourgeoisie..
In Russia the complete severance of the revolutionary.. proletarian elements
from the petty bourgeois opportunist elements has been prepared by the
entire history of the working class movement. Those who disregard that
history and declaim against "factionalism" ..are) incapable of understanding
the real process of formation of a proletarian party.. are rendering that
movement the worst possible service."
Lenin V.I.; September 1919: "The Collapse of the Second Communist
International"; V.I.L. CW: Vol 21; p. 256-258.
The collapse had completed the full exposure of SocialDemocracyy.
Now the united Front was even narrower, because it was split into two.
On one side was social reformism On the other were the Marxists. The leadership
of the latter was won by the Internationalists at Zimmerwald and then passed
to the Bolsheviks of the Russian Communists.
To Summarise the Work of The Second International
The collapse of the Second International created the
need for a new International, which was formally founded in 1919, after
the Bolshevik Revolution. But in reality the actual founding of the International
had been earlier :
"The Third International actually emerged in 1918, when the long years
of struggle against opportunism and social chauvinism, especially during
the war led to the formation of Communist parties in a number of countries.
Officially the Third International was founded at the First Congress in
March 1919, in Moscow.. the new Third, "International Working Men's Association"
has already begun to develop to a certain extent, into a union of Soviet
Socialist republics.. The epoch making significance of the Third, Communist
International lies in its having begun to give effect to Marx's cardinal
slogan, the slogan which sums up the centuries-old development of socialism
and the working class movement, the slogan which is expressed in the concept
of the dictatorship of the proletariat."
1) It was set up at the time of intense proletarian-isation and
growth of the labour trades unions in the metropolitan countries. At its
very beginning it started with the ideological achievements of the end
of the First International. Namely the exclusion of anarchism insistence
on class struggle and abolition of wage labour.
2) During this period the labour aristocracy grew and ensured
that the bourgeoisie further penetrated workers movements and led them
to senseless slaughter.
3) It was the opportunist leaders of the mass proletarian parties
and trades unions who betrayed the Aprincipal
consideration@ & who Arepudiated
4) In the belly of the rotten 2nd International the foul conditions
already had given rise to the germ of the new Third International.
5) Conditions had radically changed from the times of Engel=s
injunctions not to appear Asplittist@
and for Aopenness@.
Now the class traitors had unmasked themselves and the Ademarcation@
had been drawn.
3. THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL 1919-1943
Lenin V.I.; April 1919; "The Third International & Its Place in
History"; Vol 29; p.306-307.
In fact even longer before 1918, the need for a new
International was recognised. This was the meaning of the formation of
the ZIMMERWALD LEFT. Thus even in The Conference of the Russian
Social Democratic Labour Parties (RSDLP) Abroad, Lenin had pointed this
out in February 1915. Because of the enormous advances made ideologically
the new international was immediately at a very much higher level. This
was reflected in the more cohesive and narrower nature of its membership.
It was now no longer a united Front of Marxists and fellow travellers.
It was now fully a COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL (CI), A COMINTERN.
Undoubtedly the victory of the Bolshevik Revolution
made this possible. The Asocial
democratic@ conceptions of change
were clearly exposed, the demarcation lines were clear. But now the new
CI was Ain vogue@.
A tendency developed for the old Centrist parties to disguise themselves
and to apply for membership to the CI. The Communists, to maintain the
movement=s higher level, insisted
on clearer Rules of conduct for parties.
This was not possible in the previous Internationals,
as social opportunism had not been so clearly exposed. Even at the First
Inaugural Congress of the CI, there was no insistence upon strict Terms
of Admission, as Lenin later admitted. This became necessary as the true
Communist parties developed in other countries, and separated away from
the Communist Atrends@.
As they did this, the Centrists tried to penetrate the movement of the
new CI :
AThe First Inaugural
Congress of the Communist International did not draw up precise conditions
for the admission of parties into the Third International. When the First
Congress was convened, only communist trends and groups existed. It is
in a different situation that the Second World Congress of the CI is meeting.
In most countries Communist parties and organisations, not merely trends,
now exist.. Parties and groups only recently affiliated to the Second International
are more and more frequently applying for membership in the Third International,
though they have not become really Communist. The Second International
has definitely been smashed. Aware of this.. the intermediate groups and
parties of the ACentre@
are trying to lean on the CI.. At the same time however they hope to retain
a degree of Aautonomy@
that will enable them to pursue their previous opportunist or ACentrist@
polices. The CI is to certain extent becoming the vogue. In certain circumstances
the CI may be faced with the danger of dilution by the influx of wavering
and irresolute groups .. The Second World Congress deems it necessary to
lay down absolutely precise terms for the admission of new parties and
also to set forth the obligations incurred by the parties already affiliated.@
These terms of Admission stressed the nature of Communist
- as opposed to centrist and reformist activity. They insisted on the need
for the organisations joining the CI to remove ACentrists@
from responsible positions in their apparatuses :
Lenin V.I.; July 1920; "The Terms of Admission Into the Communist Internatonal";
Lenin CW; Vol 31; Moscow 1986; p.206.
A1. Day by day propaganda
and agitation must be genuinely communist in character..
The struggles over the application of these Terms of
Admission continued for some time on an open basis, as the social reformists
tried to slip into the CI. The Italian and British parties in particular
fought against strict Terms, but they were defeated by Lenin=s
arguments to the CI.
2. Any organisation that wishes to join the CI must consistently and
systematically dismiss reformists and ACentrists@
from positions of any responsibility in the working-class movement...
6. It is the duty of any party wishing to belong to the CI to expose
not only avowed social-patriotism, but also the falsehood and hypocrisy
of socialist-pacifism. It must systematically demonstrate to the workers
that, without the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism no international
arbitration courts, no talk of reduction in armaments, no Ademocratic@
reorganisation of the League of nations will save mankind from new imperialist
7. It is the duty of parties wishing to belong to the CI to recognise
the need for a complete and absolute break with reformism and ACentrist@
policy,.. The CI demands imperatively and uncompromisingly that this break
be effected at the earliest possible date. It cannot tolerate a situation=
in which avowed reformists such as TURATI, MODIGLIANI and
others are entitled to consider themselves members of the Third International...
16. It is the duty of parties which still kept their old Socials-democratic
programmes to revise them as speedily as possible and draw up new communist
programmes in conformity with specific conditions in their respective countries
nd in the sprit fo the CI decisions. As a rule the programs of all parties
belonging to the CI must be approved by a regular congress of the CI or
by its Executive Committee..
17 All decision of the CI=s
congresses and of its executive committee are binding on all affiliated
18. In view of the forgoing, parties wishing to join must change their
name. Any party wishing to seek affiliation must call themselves the Communist
party of the country in question (Section of the Third Communist International).
The question of a party=s name
is not merely a formality, but a matter of major political importance.
The CI has declared a resolute war on the bourgeois wold and all yellow
Social Democratic parties. The difference between the Communist parties
and the old official Social Democratic or socialist parties.. must be made
absolutely clear to the rank-and file worker.@
Lenin V.I.; July 1920; "The Terms of Admission Into the Communist Internatonal";
Lenin CW; Vol 31; Moscow 1986; p.206-211.
But at this moment, just as occurred in the CPSU(B),
the open enemies of socialism went underground. This occurred in all the
communist parties of the world. This of course was bound to affect the
Both the Communist League and Alliance in previous
issues have discussed the various aspects of this including :
Role of the 7 th World Congress of CI in promoting class peace and
social reformism (Alliance 4);
Subversion of the correct strategy of revolution in colonial and semi-colonial
countries (Alliance number 5);
the subversion of the struggle for the second stage of the revolution
in effecting the socialist revolution ( Alliance 12 on Dimitrov in Bulgaria);
the perversion of correct United Front Tactics and the opportunism
of the Peoples= Front Governments.
We have also discussed the setting up of the Cominform (Alliance 7).
Here we can only reprise a few key elements of these discussions.
It must be stressed that a few comrades world wide,
have expressed disquiet with these views. If comrades present a reasoned
view on scientific grounds, contrary to either CL or Alliance printed views,
both organisations must and will regard it as a fraternal duty to objectively
evaluate the critique. Both organisations are prepared unemotionally to
acknowledge any proven errors in our analysis. But to date only one
cogent written and detailed historical reply has been given. This was on
the role of Dimitrov, and was replied to in print by the CL. Naturally
both organisations - the CL and Alliance Marxist-Leninist (North America)
will continue to review their analysis to date, taking into account the
factual and detailed evidence that other comrades bring forward.
That the CI had been penetrated by revisionism, was
clearly shown by the manner in which the dissolution of the CI took
It is true that Stalin was elected to be one of the
45 members of the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI)
at its last Congress in August 1935. In fact however he was not elected
as one of the 7 members of the Secretariat. This was dominated by hidden
revisionists GEORGI DIMITROV, OTTO KUUSINEN, DIMITRY MANUILSKY, ANDRE
MARTY, WILHELM PIECK, PALMIRO TOGLIATTI. Stalin=s
views on why to dissolve the CI, were not the same as those of the Secretariat
. Though when it was moved by the Secretariat he agreed :
AThe dissolution of the Communist
International is proper and timely.@
Does this mean that Stalin was of one mind as the Secretariat
in this regard? In fact the reasons offered by the secretariat for the
dissolution were :
Stalin J.V. "Answer to Reuter's Correspondent, May 1943"; In JVS CW:
Vol 15; London; 1984; p.131.
Firstly that the world situation was too complicated
for an international Center to be able to function and such a Center had
become a drag on the development of national parties :
ALong before the war, it
became more and more clear that, with the increasing complications in the
internal and international relations of the various countries, any sort
of international Center would encourage insuperable obstacles in solving
the problems in facing the movement... The organisational form of the Communist
International has .. become a drag on the further strengthening of the
national working-class parties.@
Resolution of the ECCI Presidium Recommending the Dissolution of the
Communist International (May 1943); In Jane Degras Editor: "Documents of
the Communist International'; Volume 3: London; 1965; p. 477.
Secondly that the political maturity of the national
parties and their leaders had made an international center unnecessary.
The decision had been made, declared the Presidium of the ECCI :
ATaking into account the
growth and political maturity of the communist parties and their leading
cadres in the separate countries.@
Resolution of the ECCI Presidium Recommending the Dissolution of the
Communist International (May 1943); In Jane Degras Editor: "Documents of
the Communist International'; Volume 3: London; 1965; p. 477.
Stalin could not but reject this obviously false
analysis. At the same time, as a genuine Marxist-Leninist, he could not
oppose the dissolution of the CI as it had become revisionist led. As such
it no longer served the interests of the world=s
working class. But, he supported the dissolution of the CI, in order to
take back the initiative , and to move towards anew organisation that would
be led by Marxist-Leninists. This would be the COMMUNIST INFORMATION
BUREAU OR THE COMINFORM.
But as a Marxist-Leninist, he was bound by the principles
of DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM. He could NOT therefore directly
express the real reasons for his support of the dissolution of the CI.
In his reply therefore, Stalin gave four reasons for his support of the
Dissolution, but these boil down to one. It would help as the dissolution
AWill result in a further
strengthening of the United Front of the Allies and other united nations
in their fight for victory over Hitler-ite tyranny.@
Stalin J.V. "Answer to Reuter's Correspondent, May 1943"; In JVS CW:
Vol 15; London; 1984; p.132.
Stalin was obviously not saying that the dissolution
was a concession to the Western imperialist powers. We know that Stalin
clearly held that concessions to imperialism which WERE contrary
to the interests of the world working class would be impermissible concessions:
ASTALIN : America demands
that we renounce in principle the policy of supporting the emancipation
movement in other countries, and says that if we made this concession everything
would go smoothly. Well, what do you say, comrades? Perhaps we should make
CHORUS OF SHOUTS : No!..
STALIN: We cannot agree to these or similar concession without being
false to ourselves.@
Stalin J.V. April 1928; "Report to the Active of the Moscow Organisation
of the CPSU(B);"; In JVS CW: Vol 11; Moscow; 1954; p.59-60.
Stalin accepted the ECCI decision to dissolve recognising
that the next step would be to organise a different forum that would take
on the hidden revisionists - the Cominform.
4. THE COMINFORM 1947-1956
Alliance has previously discussed the setting up of
the Cominform in Alliance 7, June 1994. This reprinted an article of The
Communist League entitled AThe
Cominform Fights Revisionism@.
The Cominform was set up in October 1947 at Szklarska Poreba in Poland.
Here we will reprise this previously printed history only very briefly.
The Communist Information Bureau was set up by Stalin with the only most
trusted Marxist-Leninists he could find. These were ANDREY ZHDANOV AND
GEORGI MALENKOV, with:
To Summarise The Work of The Third International
1) The Comintern was set up following a period of theoretical and practical
clarity. The Rules for Admission became possible to write in a fully Bolshevik
manner; as the Old Yellow 2nd International and Social-democracy were now
2) However the Third International too became infiltrated by hidden
revisionists who claimed to be Marxist-Leninists. These hidden revisionists
led it first into Ultra- Leftism, and then into a Right revisionism.
3) Stalin therefore willingly agreed to its dissolution.
4) Instead of relying on the old now useless Third International, Stalin
set up the Cominform, on the basis once more, of the clear policies of
Marxism in order to expose the many hidden revisionisms that had spring
AZhdanov who appeared in
the role of master of ceremonies.@
The question of the leadership of the Cominform leadership
is very significant. It is of note that previous leaders of the ECCI such
as Dimitrov, were deliberately excluded by Stalin. There is only one explanation,
that Stalin had become convinced of their inability, not to say sabotage,
in the previous Third International:
AAs early as June 1946,
Stalin had spoken with Dimitrov and Tito about the need of establishing
an Information Bureau.. Rather than simply reviving the Comintern, on which
Stalin heaped a torrent of insults and abuse which caused Dimitrov to become
alternately pale and flushed with repressed anger@.
Eugenio Reale: "The Founding of the Cominform"; In Milorad M.Drachkovitch
& Branko Lazitch (Eds): "The Comintern: Historical Highlights: Essays
Recollections & Documents"; Stanford (USA); 196; p. 257.
Eugenio Reale: "The Founding of the Cominform"; In Milorad M.Drachkovitch
& Branko Lazitch (Eds): "The Comintern: Historical Highlights: Essays
Recollections & Documents"; Stanford (USA); 196; p. 260.
The intent of the new body, was to expose the hidden
revisionists. Due to the influence of the 7 th World Congress and the so
called Popular Front Government, a creeping Parliamentarism had entered
the soul of the workers movement. It was essential to re-educate the workers
of the pitfalls of this. But to do so, meant exposing the hidden revisionists
leaders of especially the European Communist Parties. The first to be exposed
were the the revisionist lines of the French and the Italian Communist
Parties. This exposure formed the bulk of the First Conference. The criticism
was opened by Zhdanov :
AAt the foundation conference
Zhdanov castigated the French and Italians for allowing inertia to govern
their conduct for collaboration with the bourgeoisie of their countries
and for meekness towards the Catholics and the Social Democrats.@
The Italians and French were forced to concede errors.
They had taken the line of the Parliamentary Road to socialism, after
EARL BROWDER but before Khrushchev. They recanted. Both LUIGI LONGO
and JACQUES DUCLOS recanted on behalf of their parties. As Duclos
said at his final speech :
AThere was opportunism,
legalitarianism and parliamentary illusions... If we courageously carry
out this self-criticism before the party, we shall arouse among the masses
a state of mind favourable for the fight. The French people must be mobilised
against American imperialism.@
Deutscher Isaac, "Stalin A Political Biography"; Harmondsworth; 1968;
Duclos Jacques; "Statement at Cominform Meeting September 1947"; In
Philipp J. Jaffe: "The Rise & Fall of Earl Browder"; in 'Survey' Vol
18, No.12 (Spring) 1972; p.57.
The Cominform next turned its attention to JOSIP
BROZ TITO. As the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (CPY) was exposed,
another strand of revisionism was purged from the international movement.
This was another form of RIGHT REVISIONISM.
Both the French and the Yugoslav versions of revisionism
depend upon clouding the distinction between the First stage of the National
Democratic Revolution and the progress to the Second stage ie the Socialist
Revolution. This was particularly important at this time as the victory
of fascism had created the possibility of moving rapidly from the first
stage to the second stage of revolution in a number of countries. Both
the Western European CP=s and
the CPY refused to do so. After the exposure of the CPY, Stalin was able
to pull the Warsaw pact countries towards the Second Stage. Of these other
countries, only the Albanian CP had of itself moved to the second stage
(See Alliance Issues numbers 10,12, and 18).
Stalin was progressing to Aclean
house@ effectively. Stalin had
suggested that the CPY lead the attack against the French and Italians.
The CPY had willingly done this, when they attended the First Cominform
Congress. But they now balked at the criticisms levelled at them, and they
stood on ceremony saying the CPY had full internal autonomy. They rejected
the right of the Cominform to criticise them!
When Stalin died the Khruschevites dissolved the
Cominform hastily to re-incorporate the Yugoslav revisionists under Tito.
The international Marxist-Leninist movement was then effectively leader-less
for a period of time. The movement internationally was hijacked by Khruschevite
revisionism. For objective reasons, including the strength of both internal
(ie Albanian) and external revisionism, Enver Hoxha was not able to provide
a strong enough center to weld the international Marxist-Leninist movement
To Summarise The Work Of the Cominform:
1) The Cominform was set up to combat the revisionisms that
had crept into the Comintern.
SOME OVERALL CONCLUSIONS FROM
THE PREVIOUS INTERNATIONALS
2) To enable The Cominform to fight effectively, Stalin ensured
that the leadership was not the same as the leadership of the Comintern.
3) The Cominform did an effective job as seen by the exposure
of right revisionism in the French, Italian and Yugoslav parties.
4) The effect of this exposure on the Warsaw Pact countries was
to move them toward socialism.
5) After Stalin=s death
the Cominform was dissolved by Khrushchev and its actions were reversed.
1) At various times the International has been a broad front
and at more recent times it has been a narrow fighting Bolshevik vanguard.
Now, we are left with a number of contending Aisms@.
These claim to have either superseded, or to have supplemented Marxism-Leninism.
Until they are either exposed or vindicated, we contend that it is not
possible to form a Single unitary line in the International Marxist-Leninist
movement. We contend that a single line this will require as it did, in
the earlier Internationals - the First and the Second - some vigorous discussion
2) When it came after a period of clarification within the movement,
the International could act as a vanguard and continue the exposure of
various brands of revisionism.
3) But opportunism and its agents have infiltrated all the Internationals
4) After the dissolution of previous Internationals, there was
merely a very brief period before the next International was set up. This
allowed it to capture the highest level attained by the previous International.
After the Cominform was dissolved however a long hiatus was experienced.
Ideology was corrupted further.
5) The previous Internationals had one main, or at worst 2 main,
internal ideological enemies to confront. In the days of Marx and Engels
this was social reformism and anarchism. In the days of Lenin it was social
reformism, and then ultra-Leftism. In the days of Lenin and Stalin it was
mainly right revisionism espousal of parliamentarism and its illusions.
Furthermore, we must have principled discussions
about what is the correct line? If the issues arising from basic questions
such as the Stages of the Revolution were so important for Stalin to clarify
with respect to the French and Italians, and the CPY - why should we not
clarify them today with respect to Mao Ze Dong?
No doubt the practical politics of today, will further,
and finally, assist us in sifting the wheat from the chaff over the next
PART 2 : THE WORLD CHANGES
FOLLOWING STALIN=S DEATH
We try now to synopsise the wide changes in the world
over the last forty years, before we proceed to discuss the many attempts
that have been made the world over, of which we are aware, to re-create
a new International. This cannot be a full history. It is meant to provide
a framework to understand our needs now. We discuss some of the key changes
in this order:
FIRST our own movement,
SECOND the capitalist developments.
A. THE WORKING CLASS AND PEASANTS
1. THE LOSS OF THE TWO SOCIALIST STATES - USSR AND THE PRA
As discussed above, the heroic struggle of the Soviet
peoples in the anti-fascist war liberated the world at the end of the Second
World War. Stalin=s tactics had
wrested away from the imperialist domination a significant section of both
Europe and parts of the East. They were pulled towards socialism. But these
positions of command were lost by the revisionists. Other than the USSR
itself, only one state would successfully accomplish the transition from
the First stage of the National Democratic Revolution to the Second the
Socialist stage. This state was Albania.
But over the past 43 years, the world proletariat
has suffered serious defeats. After the death of Stalin, the USSR rapidly
fell, to its combined internal, external, open and hidden foes. The world=s
communist movement was then splintered into several shards. Trotskyite
forces previously defeated in the principled debates by the CPSU(B) led
by Stalin, were now assisted by newer forms of open revisionism. The economic
restoration of capitalism in the USSR has been described by Bill Bland.
(See 1980: "Restoration of Capitalism in The USSR"; Alliance 14 - also
now on the web.
There were two principal theses of the 20 th Party
Congress of the CPSU(B) in 1956:
Firstly, the denigration of the role of Stalin;
Secondly intertwined with this, was the acceptance
of the Peaceful Road to Socialism.
The great majority of the world=s
communist parties, would follow Khruschevite revisionism. A few would follow
Chinese left revisionism. Only the PARTY OF LABOUR OF ALBANIA (PLA)
was to fight consistently against both these major new revisionism. All
other major sections of the world=s
communist movements fell into opportunism.
Most communist parties fell into Right revisionism.
These parties upheld Khrushchev=s
Many of these parties held State governmental power in Europe, in the post
war era. Under Stalin=s guidance
and pushing, and assisted by the Cominform, they had started to move from
the first stage of the socialist revolution (ie The national liberation
struggle) to the second stage. But after Stalin=s
death, they were encouraged by Khrushchev to halt at the stage of the first
revolution. In this they followed the model of Yugoslavia, and Titoite
revisionism. This was exposed by the Cominform under Stalin=s
leadership as a right deviation in the Communist movement in 1949. But
Khrushchev resurrected Tito and Yugoslavia into the Communist movement
in 1955. The USSR now became the leader of this Right Revisionist Block.
It proceeded to establish relations of a colonial type with those countries
where the right revisionists had taken state power.
Left revisionism also held state power in
some countries. Left revisionism in this era, can be characterised as a
Revolutionary Nationalism, posing as socialism. This was epitomised
best by MAO ZE DONG and MAOISM and the Peoples Republic
of China (PRC). However others taking this line included Vietnam, North
Korea, and later Cuba. For a period of time, the COMMUNIST PARTY OF
CHINA (CPC) took the leadership of this block. Initially it also was
pro-Khrushchev, as evidenced by only a vacillating defence of the role
of Stalin. This is seen in the centrist articles by the CPC entitled AOn
the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat@.
However ultimately the interests of the CPC diverged and the CPC attacked
Khruschevite revisionism, only to establish its own version of revisionism.
Despite the outward form of Aleftism@
the Cuban party diverged from the CPC also. The Cuban party accepted the
leadership of the Moscow Right revisionists in exchange for a colonial
type aid against the very tangible threat from the nearby USA.
Only the PLA took a determined and consistently
anti-Khrushchev line. In fact, there was left only one socialist state
- The Peoples Republic of Socialist Albania (PSRA). The heroic but
isolated position of ENVER HOXHA, and the PLA was constantly under
threat. Unfortunately, this did lead the PLA for a time into an erroneous
alliance with the CPC. Ultimately however, the PLA exposed the CPC for
its international crimes against the working class (eg in India, Bangla
Desh, Persia/Iran, Chile, Angola etc). Following his death in 1985, imperialism
and its internal hidden allies in the guise of Ramiz Alia swooped in. The
PRA finally fell to imperialism in 1990. (See Revisionism Raises its Head
in Albanis"; Compass Journal of The Communist League (UK); No.79b; August
2. THE IDEOLOGIES CONTENDING FOR PROGRESSIVE
All these above processes culminated in the following
trends. These were in the main anti-reformism in words. But in practice
many of them were aligned with reformist trends internationally, in particular
the first trend. These ideologies would contend for the allegiance of honest
comrades throughout the world:
i) Right pro-revisionist USSR revisionism - appealed to the
older communists and the layer of the trade union bureaucracy. Its ideological
basis was the peaceful road to socialism; and the recognition of the class
character of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact countries as socialist. It was
coupled to a denial of the positive role of Stalin in the world=s
The objective character of these parties was to
serve the interests of the new USSR capitalist class. These parties were
numerically the strongest faction on the left in most countries of the
world. They were also the lowest in theoretical development and the least
militant in class struggles, but they found solace in size. Two variants
were adopted by the Right revisionists, CASTROISM and GEUVERAISM.
These also appealed to activists of generally a low theoretical level of
development; attracted by >charisma=.
A full critique of these forces is to date only available in CL literature.
(See Communist League: "Cuban Revisionism" Compass No.101; November
Internationally it was supported by the revisionist
USSR, with abundant resources.
ii) Trotskyism - appealing to the lowest level
progressives or socialist layers of the people. It was strongest in metropolitan
countries with the notable exception of Sri Lanka. This was because Trotskyism
is incapable of solving the peasant question. It is often the first level
of entry into the class struggle for petit bourgeois individuals especially
students. Because of its inchoate ideological basis, it tends to be the
most receptive to the so called ANew
Left@, and forms of >spontaneity=.
These include those that profess Aanti-leadership
Marxism@; Black Power groups;
so called anti-Psychiatry groups; so called Radical Feminism, so called
Gay Liberationists etc.
Its ideological basis is TROTSKYISM, - the
denial of the role of the peasantry; the denial of the role of the national
liberation struggle as the first step in the socialist revolution; and
the denial of the possibility of socialism in one country. This meant denial
of the fact that the USSR had created socialism. Because Trotsky termed
the USSR a Adegenerated workers=
state@, some brands of Trotskyism
followed Trotsky to the letter, and objectively represented the interests
of the Russian capitalist class. This included the followers of ERNEST
MANDEL (of the AOfficial@
4 th International - represented in Britain by the International
Marxist Group) . Those that denied Trotsky=s
formulation, such as TONY CLIFF (Of the International Socialists
now the Socialist Workers Party of the UK), objectively represented
the interests of Western capitalism. Many critiques of classical Trotskyism
are available [See Communist League: "Revisionism In Russia Trotsky
Against the Bolsheviks Parts 1 & 2"; Reprinted from 1979].
Thus far there has been no Marxist-Leninist critique
of the newer Arevisionist@
Internationally they were supported by the academic
bourgeois left and had an international apparatus centred around several
quarrelling Trotskyite leaders each of them claiming to be the Atrue@
4th Communist International.
iii) Maoism; - appealing to militants of primarily petit bourgeois
background in many countries (eg Metropolitan countries, India etc); but
who were politically at a higher level than Trotskyites, as they correctly
assessed the USSR in Stalin=s
life as socialist. Often however they were ultra-leftists. During the Vietnam
War of liberation against USA imperialism, they often led the Anti-war
movement in the metropolitan countries. A reasonably full critique of Maoism
is available in the works of Enver Hoxha and also in works by Alliance,
CL and MLCP(Turkey).
[See Enver Hoxha: "Imperialism & Revolution"; Selected Works (Hereafter
EH SW); Tirnana; Colume V 985; p. 553.
Hoxha E: "Some Preliminary ideas about the Chinese Cultural Proletarian
Revolution"; In Volume IV p. 252; EH SW Tirana 1982;
Hoxha E: "Reflections on Cultural Revolution"; In EH SW Vol IV; p.
See Communist League (CL): Combat December 1975: "Cultural Counter
Revolution China" Reprint";
Also CL: "The Thought of Mao Tse Tung"; London 1977.
See also Alliance; Communist League & Marxist-Leninist Communist
Party (Turkey): "Upon Unity & Ideology. An Open letter to Comrade Ludo
Martens"; London 1966]
Objectively these parties represented the interests
of the CPC. Since in the period of >rampant
Maoism=, the CPC was transformed
into the agency of pro-US comprador Chinese capital, these parties then
objectively represented the interests of the USA capitalist class. Internationally
these parties were also supported by an elaborate network from the CPC.
iv) Marxism-Leninism. This supported Stalin unequivocally and
rejected Maoism, and recognised the value placed by Hoxha on Stalin=s
work, and Hoxha=s drive to develop
the PRSA into a full socialism.
OF ALL THE FORCES PROFESSING A COMMUNIST BASIS,
ONLY THE MARXIST-LENINIST HAD NO ORGANISED BASE INTERNATIONALLY.
3. THE FRAGMENTATION OF THE EMBERS OF THE EX-USSR,
AND THE WARSAW PACT COUNTRIES.
Objectively the parties internationally that took
this stand represented the interests of the working class and peasantry
of the world, led by its vanguard in the sole remaining socialist state
- the workers and peasants of Albania. Although after the open exposure
of Maoist revisionism by the PLA and Hoxha, the PLA did support certain
parties through the world this was not systematic. Moreover it was deliberately
not accompanied by moves to a New International. Instead there were Friendship
Societies throughout the world. Various parts of the would excelled in
this task: Notably Britain, USA, France, Germany and India. However these
Friendship societies were not aimed at the formation of a new International.
After the death of Stalin, the formerly socialist
state of the USSR was taken over by the new embryo >Soviet=
ruling class capitalists. The capitalists were divided into two opposing
groups: capitalists linked to heavy industry; and, a section linked to
light industry. In March 1985, Gorbachev as General
Secretary; took up a pro-light industry programme. But now, the inter-capitalist
struggle took on another dimension - "How much to link with foreign capitalists?"
Light entrepreneurs wanted to link with foreign capital, but, heavy industrialists
were reluctant, having the former socialist heavy base. Gorbachev proposed
a foreign capital penetration headed by the USA; and radical privatization
of the economy. The industrialists launched a failed coup in August, which
lasted 3 days.
In December, 1985 the USSR was finally replaced by
the so called Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and
Yeltsin came to power. Yeltsin represents those capitalists inclined towards
foreign capital. He is resisted by that section of Russian capital who
wish to limit entry of foreign capital into the Russian market. He is resisted
by Zhuganov. Zhuganov is the representative of the heavy industrial based,
national capitalist class. They are the most against making linkages with
foreign capital. Yeltsin is the representative of the light industrial
capitalist class who interested in links with foreign capital. The destruction
of the USSR formally ended the pretence of the Right revisionists to any
claim to socialism. In the few Warsaw Pact countries still not openly adopting
capitalism, a crisis ensued. But most had already concluded that capitalism
in these economies now needed an open market for full and further development.
In the world communist movement these events had
enormous repercussions as many honest comrades in the right revisionist
parties grappled with reality. Many could not take the inevitable but belated
conclusion, that they had been lied to for years. Many left the progressive
movement. Those that stood self-analysis with honesty, were left without
any party anchorage. The net result was the total eclipse of the Right
revisionist parties. Many of these dissolved, and a new Centrist revisionism
arose from the members of these parties.
This all left an enormous vacuum for many honest
comrades, because their political level was not yet at a Marxist-Leninist
level. This is seen inside the former USSR itself. There utter confusion
reigns with Acommunist parties@
numbering in excess of 100 in the Russian republic alone. In other countries,
usually no party claiming to be communist has yet been able to absorb these
4. THE DISINTEGRATION OF CHINA=S
CREDIBILITY AS A ASOCIALIST STATE@.
The launching of the Chinese so called AGREAT
PROLETARIAN CULTURAL REVOLUTION@,
in 1966, led to enormous confusion. Mao launched this struggle within an
inner party battle aimed to seize control of the Chinese state for the
pro Chinese comprador bourgeoisie. This was aimed at the National bourgeoisie
of China led by Liu Shao Chi. Mao=s
strategy was to destroy his opposition by destroying the CPC itself, using
the Army. This anti-Party view of Mao became apparent. This blatant act
shocked some Marxist-Leninists. Nonetheless Maoism world wide largely retained
its following. As stated above it appealed to the petit bourgeoisie. With
its overt ALeftist@
face (Destroy the party bureaucrats etc@)
it often attracted young, and very militant elements. But the incorrect
influence of Mao Tse Tung Thought@;
would often physically eliminate this revolutionary cadre. As in the leftist
Individual Terrorism attacks in the Indian state. After the death of Mao,
the CPC fell more blatantly into anti-revolutionary behaviour and shed
the former Leftist trappings. As it did so, it embraced more openly capitalist
that was previously hidden as being progressive Anational
capital@ in the progressive Anew
Very few parties and groups in the world were able
to openly assess Maoism in 1968 -70. Amongst the few who warned early on
about the true nature of Maoism, were the >Communist
League= led by Bill Bland (UK);
and the >Proletarian Path=
led by Moni Guha (India), Centre d=Etude
Sur Le Mouvement Ouvrier et Paysan International (CEMOPI) led by Patrick
Kessels (France ). Even the PLA had not at that stage openly attacked Maoism.
It is known that Hoxha had serious reservations about the CPC. The conclusion
must be drawn that the correct Marxist-Leninist leadership of the PLA was
hampered by an internal hidden revisionist element. When the PLA openly
attacked Chinese revisionism, some erst while Maoist parties did repudiate
Maoism. However a far more common reaction was for the Maoist parties to
attack Hoxha and the PLA. Even those parties that aligned themselves with
the PLA, not all would formally carry out a self-criticism of their Maoist
past, indicating that these parties had not fully yet shed Maoist opportunism.
There are still several significant parties that
are un-repentant Maoists. These include several European parties, in the
main led by the Parti du Travail (PTB) (Belgium). In the rest of the world,
they remain a potent force in several colonial type countries like India,
and various parts of South America including Peru.
Since the death of Mao, the PRC no longer is a state
representing the comprador capitalist class. Thus what do these parties
represent? Objectively they are often dominated by the urban petit-bourgeoisie
and they represent the capitalist class of their own countries. They do
that because they place emphasis on the peasantry, they rely on the tactics
of the encirclement of the city; they incorporate forms of individual terrorism,
and they deny the primary role of the working class. They therefore disrupt
the socialist struggle. Despite this, they contain many honest and sincere
elements that must be won over by the Marxist-Leninist movement.
5. STATES THAT STILL CLAIM TO BE SOCIALIST.
Among the few states that still claim to be >socialist=
are North Korea and to a limited extent Cuba. But both are suffering a
severe economic crisis. The former has been unable to build the industrial
base and its agriculture is on weak ground. Its development was possible
only with the support of the CPC, and was dependent upon a brutal suppression
of the workers and peasants. Cuba was totally dependent upon the USSR,
and is also in a severe economic crisis. Both of these countries were nothing
more than states ruled by national capitalist. But they were both relatively
weak national capitalists and were thus unable to maintain themselves without
The North Koreans relied on the CPC. The Cubans relied
on the USSR. Neither established socialism. Both still have supporters
claiming either or both to be Asocialist@.The
credibility of these claims is daily eroding, as both counties make overtures
to various of several capitalist countries. North Korea is currently begging
for food aid to avert mass famine. Those that still proclaim these countries
as being socialist are put under great, and expanding pressures to explain
their current economic problems. Objectively the parties that claim these
countries as socialist represent the interests of the capitalists in each
of the countries they are organised. This because they continue to obscure
the question AWhat is Socialism?@
the forces of progressives have been splintered by the successes of the
bourgeoisie in penetrating the workers and peasants parties and their states.
With Bakunin=s pioneering example
they set out to confuse the workers with their disguised versions of the
Red Flag. These draped the facade of states that duped the peoples. Since
these states were pseudo-socialist, and not truely socialist however, they
were subject tot the fores of the international crisis of capitalism. As
such they have disintegrated one by one, and their Red Facades are very
faint if visible at all.
In the midst of this confusion, the Marxist-Leninist
forces have been small. Objectively they were unable to grow until the
Red Facades were tron away. In truth, this was done by objective circumstances,
and not by the subjective force of the Marxist-Leninists themselves.
Nonetheless, the Red Facades are torn away. But the
previous 30 years have left the forces of progressives fragmented and ideologically
still at odds. Even significant sections of the Marxist-Leninists forces
are ideologically confused and most are very small.
We have now dealt with the forces that either claim
to be, or are actually in fact, on our side. We will now deal with the
forces arraigned overtly against us - those of one social reformism and
Capitalist-imperialism. There have been many changes in their positions
also over the last 40 odd years. But Lenin and Stalin=s
analysis still holds true in the main. Even that regarding the welding
of finance capital and industrial capital into imperialist capital. But
some new features have entered, that demand an urgent detailed analysis,
to be performed over the next years. In addition there are some major new
technological developments. These exacerbate inter-imperialist rivalry.
All developments only enhance the importance of Stalin=s
warning, that there will be a new inter-imperialist war.
B. CHANGES IN IMPERIALISM
1.THE FAILURE OF BOTH KEYNESIAN AND FRIEDMANITE
The initial post Second World war period allowed
a little breathing room for imperialism, through several mechanisms. One
was the development of new markets following the destruction of the war.
Simple re-equipping was necessary, which at first relieved the excess market
capacity. The destruction of the competitors of Japan and Germany allowed
the newly dominant USA to take their markets. The vehicle for this was
the MARSHALL PLAN in Europe; and McArthur=s
Occupation in Japan. The other competitors of the USA such as Britain and
the other European were countries momentarily overtaken. This meant that
in particular USA imperialism was able to dominate the world scene.
But opposing the USA, and posing a grave negative
threat to imperialism, was the sudden rise of the Socialist bloc led by
the USSR. Under Stalin and Molotov, the Marshall Plan was rejected by the
Warsaw Pact which instead developed towards socialism. The Cominform played
a crucial role here. This obstructed a significant market for imperialism.
Moreover it threatened imperialism=s
own survival, because the USSR acted as an example to the world=s
The bourgeoisies of the metropolitan countries were
thus forced to give some benefits to their workers. Thus arose the so called
WELFARE STATE. This was nothing more than concessions forced by
the militancy of the workers. Health care, social welfare rights including
unemployment insurance, educational rights for children free at the point
of access, etc were adopted by the vast majority of Western metropolitan
countries where there was a significant workers movement. Because the USA
had been so deeply penetrated by opportunism and the labour trade unions
had been corrupted for so long, this never even occurred there.
There was a cruder reason to adopt a Welfare State.
It was realised by the most astute of the ruling class, that they had somehow
to deflect the organised workers. They reasoned as follows: If indeed the
workers were unemployed due to the constant boom-slump cycles, then the
unemployed could not buy the goods being produced.
Therefore in an attempt to smooth the Acrisis
curves@ Keynes proposed that
deficit financing should be more widely used. This would reduce unemployment
enabling the workers t buy goods. But by deficit financing the State to
without taking profits from the capitalists! Thus began the cycle of printing
money and thereby causing inflation. The benefit was the lower rate of
unemployment, at minimal cost to the profits of the capitalists.
Eventually this Keynesian inflationary spiral led
to further problems for the ruling class. This was the rise of costs associated
with the inflation. If money (ie cash, loans for development, banking notes,
credit etc) was cheap, then prices in the market place were high for all
goods, including industrial goods. This was good for industrial and production
capitalist. But that section of capital that had profits from the money
markets and the banks (ie. finance capital), received a lower rate of return
because money was cheap.
Exacerbating all this was the Universal operation
of the tendency of the Fall in the rate of Capitalist Profit. This was
relentlessly operating. (For further details See Alliance 3).
To counteract this, Friedmanite economics was proposed.
This turned off the money pump, and did indeed lower the rate of inflation.
This enormously elevated the profits of the finance capitalist. But now
this was cutting profit for the industrialists. This was because the cost
of money and credit was so high, with very high interest rates. If interest
rates were high the finance capitalist was happy with higher profits. But
the cost to the industrialist was cutting into their profit margins. This
led to a great reduction in the industrial base and the resistance of industrial
capital. An erosion of the alliance between the industrialist and the finance
capitalist had become evident.
The continuing trend in most countries is to attempt
to choke off the money supply. This has led to an enormous resurgence of
the class struggle in the working class movements of so called Welfare
States. These states had apparently had class peace for some years. But
they are now in serious conflict and struggle.
2. THE STRUGGLE FOR MARKETS - GIANT CAPITALIST
Given the uneven development of capitalism, it was
inevitable that the other countries would try and catch up to the USA.
This process began in the 60's, and increasing pressure was put on the
USA to maintain its lead. The top competitors were again Germany and Japan.
By now both the UK and France, had become second class imperialist states.
Rapidly the market became further glutted again in
the 60's, and the situation became serious. By now the devastation of the
previous competitors of the USA was over. In fact because all these physically
devastates countries had had to re-tool and build from scratch once more,
they were actually better off than the USA. Western European, especially
German industries; and Eastern industries, especially Japan were full of
new Factories and not old stock like in the USA. Old obsolete technology
had been replaced by new state of the art technology. They re-entered the
chase for markets.
There was also a new phenomenon whereby the former
semi-colonies were now to an extent industrialised. The imperialist nation
took a policy in the intervening years to industrialise some of these countries.
By shifting their production to these countries the imperialist bourgeoisie
could off set the high wage bills in the home metropolitan countries. This
had led to the so called AASIAN
TIGERS@. In the main these
countries were under the control of the imperialists. These set the Atiger@
countries on an industrial footing, but ensured they were in a totally
dependent position on the imperialist home country. But occasionally these
states fell into the hands of a national bourgeoisie that challenged the
imperialist home nations, such as for instance in South Korea.
The market became even more glutted with excess goods.
It then became necessary to create international committees to arbitrate
the trade disputes that were erupting. Initially these were set up to enforce
USA domination post Second World War. But this domination was challenged
by the competitor imperialist nations. As part of this challenge, all nations
tried to retain their own market by other means, by forming huge protected
rings. Thus the rise of the so called Common Market Policies. This is the
intent behind the giant blocks of the EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY (EEC);
THE NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE ACT (NAFTA); THE SOUTH EAST ASIAN BLOC (ASEAN).
We are now in an era of open jousting between the
major blocks. This will inevitably lead to further confrontation that will
end in a new world war. Because the conflicts for markets cannot be resolved
peacefully, the imperialist nations are not willing and cannot by the logic
of capitalism - give up market share.
The pace of technology improvements exacerbated the
two trends noted above.
3. TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGES.
It exacerbated the problems for finance capital
by the proliferation of computer technology allowing for rapid trading
of currency around the world within seconds. This is the so called Aglobalization@
of the world=s economy. In addition
there has been an invention of new and more complicated forms of credit.
This led to an even more abstract isolation from a Amaterial
or real@ basis than had occurred
for any forms of money in history before.
Computerisation also directly affected the industrial
arm of capital, by the advent of so called Computer Assisted Production.
Now factories are fully run by computers and this leads to a Taylor-ism
of proportions that did not exist in Lenin=s
time. It has also cut the production time down, and thus in turn further
exacerbates the dramatic glut of goods. In turn this has led to redundancies
in the work force. This further leads to an inability to sell goods, as
unemployed workers cannot afford any.
view that under capitalism, society=s
technical advances will only exacerbate problems, and can not lead to societal
benefit, is manifestly truer now than ever before.
Reformism depends to a large extent on crumbs thrown
from the rich table of the Capitalists. In the West this reached its peak
with the Welfare State. But due to the falling rate of profit, the capitalist
class has been cutting back the Welfare State. This has to some extent
fuelled the class awareness of the proletariat in these metropolitan countries
that they have to take militant stands. This has led to a resurgence of
traditional means of political activity inducing the General Strike (As
in France) and large scale strikes in Canada. But the great problem is
that the workers are left at the moment to the leadership of the reformist
trade unions and the social reformist Social Democratic parties.
These reformist parties have held state power in
many of these countries. Either they failed to prevent cut backs in workers
living conditions; or worse, actually participated in cutting back the
workers living conditions - they have lost credibility. They have therefore
tried to present a new face. This includes attempts like those of Arthur
Scargill in the UK, to form new parties. But so far, they have not been
very successful at stemming the new rising tide of working class militancy.
For decades reformism has been triumphant. But it has a very eroded base
now. Where workers still vote in parliamentary democratic countries for
social democrats, it is because there is no alternative, and the votes
are often cynically cast. Dramatically ow voter turn outs at elections
shows the working class have realised the limits of Parliamentarism.
In the camp of the reformers are many honest militants
and workers who can be won to the revolutionary movement. Unfortunately
to win them is difficult in the absence of a mass base. This in turn is
dependent upon the building of a Marxist-Leninist party in each country.
In the reformist camp must also be placed many of
the progressive movement that have arisen. These include the movements
centring on the environmental, and women=s
rights, and various black groups. These have formed the core of the so
called NEW LEFT. Many of these elements can be won to the revolutionary
camp also. Again this will require the building of the party first.
there is a serious drift towards a new inter-imperialist world war. The
foes of capitalism and their allies in the socialist reformist camp are
not as yet confronted by a determined world organisation of the working
class that can turn the coming war into revolution. This is an urgent task.
What movements have attempted in some way to unite the
world=s forces of communists
and Marxist-Leninists? We discuss only those within the Marxist-Leninist,
but anti-Trotskyite tradition.
PART 3: THE CURRENT SITUATION:
1. MEETINGS OR JOURNALS NOT AIMING AT A NEW
Many Right revisionist parties openly dissolved themselves
even before the USSR was itself formally dissolved by Gorbachev. The members
of these former parties were usually confused and many just gave up. In
Toronto another approach took place. Under the determined leadership of
MICHAEL LUCAS, a new journal was set up in August 1992.
We will discuss these following :
1) North Star Compass Journal established in Toronto, Canada.
2) The International Committee To Resurrect The Soviet Union;
and the resulting AStalin Today@
Seminar, Moscow 1994.
3) The Anti-Imperialist Convention convened by Socialist Unity
Center of India (SUCHI); held in Calcutta, November 1995.
1) North Star Compass Journal established in Toronto, Canada, August
From the beginning this had an amazing and galvanizing
effect upon the international movement. Lucas had significant linguistic
skills. These enabled him to be a unique source of information on the underground
movement erupting in the former USSR. Because he was translating from the
original Russian journals, the NSC became a unique source of information.
This was recognized at an international level. Often when posted back to
the USSR, the NSC became the only source of what was happening in the USSR
itself. It enjoyed from the beginning of many different parties and groups
in the former USSR.
Initially the Editorial board and readership was
almost wholly composed of former right revisionists. Many of these began
to realize that repudiation of Gorbachev actually meant also, a repudiation
of Khrushchev. Those that could not accept this, mostly left the NSC collective.
But another source of confusion was and is, the role of the NSC. The fulcrum
of the NSC is a non-sectarian friendship association for the former Soviet
Peoples, and a source of unique information to the world about the socialist
movement in the former USSR. It cannot be a the germ of the new International.
Its editorial board have explicitly accepted that. But its board has expressed
itself in favour of a non-sectarian international movement aimed at forming
in due course, the new international.
2) The International Committee To Resurrect The Soviet Union; and
the resulting AStalin Today@
Seminar , Moscow 1994.
This was formed in Moscow by members of THE RUSSIAN
COMMUNIST WORKER PARTY led by VICTOR ANPILOV. It engaged in
United Front work with others, especially members of the ALL UNION COMMUNIST
PARTY (B) LED BY NINA ANDREYEVA. Despite great difficulty in practical
matters and financing, this organization made contact with many groups
abroad (See Communist League: Compass reprint of Bulletin; Moscow
9.1.93; Compass edition of November 1993).
They began distributing a newsletter. Latterly this
has not been so available. To some extent their role was superseded by
the advent of the North Star Compass. Practical difficulties of finance
and distribution have limited its role recently too.
This organization reached a peak with the AStalin
Today Seminar@ - an international
meeting to honor Stalin. It=s
importance should not be under-estimated. It set out various facts that
are important in revealing real history, rebutting lies about Stalin. But
the meeting was purely of a theoretical nature. It set no agenda for any
further meetings or for organizing practical works. It had not set itself
the tasks of an on-going agenda, further meetings or of a journal. It unfortunately
therefore had a partly academic approach to the question.
Nonetheless there were some practical resolutions
adopted and these are in the appendix. These important resolutions were
on the importance of a defense of Stalin; and on the need to fight for
the release of Communists imprisoned throughout the world; and on the revolutionary
struggle in Kurdistan; which have been more widely distributed. Unfortunately
the proceedings have only been published fully in English , as far as is
known to Alliance, and in only one forum
(See Alliance Issues 10 and 11).
Regrettably this has further limited the impact
of the Seminar. Plans to fully publish them in Russian are on going, but
are hampered by cost and time of translation.
Nonetheless, it was an important significant event
because it marked the first consciously International Marxist-Leninist
meeting to be held on the soil of the former USSR. It moreover focused
on the most key figure of the 20 th Century - Stalin - and thereby revealed
important data that the movement world wide should become far more aware
3) The Anti-Imperialist Convention convened by SUCHI Calcutta, November
The Anti-Imperialist Convention was also not held specifically
to organise international Marxist-Leninist forces. The papers of the Calcutta
meeting has been fully published, and also a ADeclaration@.
This characterizes Korea as @socialist@
(p. 3); as well as Cuba (p.14); and states that even now there are remaining
though it does not identify all of them (p.11). Unfortunately, it does
not fully spell out what constituted the:
APowerful world socialist
camp that played a significant role in the non-aligned movement of the
newly independent countries .. in the post-second world war@
Declaration Anti-Imperialist Convention, November 1995; Ibid; p.10-11.
Or when the Soviet Union stopped being socialist.
2. MEETINGS AIMING CONSCIOUSLY AT THE FORMATION
OF A NEW INTERNATIONAL.
There are several such meetings of which we are aware
of that need to be considered. In chronological order these are :
1. Pyongyang November 1992. Sponsored by the state of North
Korea and initially signed by 70 Parties, now signed by 200.
Judging from the signatories there appears to be a pattern.
November 1993; signed by 11 parties.
3. Various Meetings in Brussels, sponsored by Parti du Travail
de Belgique: May 1993; 1994; 1995; signed by about 55 parties.
4. Quito, August 1994; signed by 17 parties.
5. Sofia Fall 1995; attended by 3 parties.
6. Ischia Dec 1995; attended by 15 parties.
Meetings one and 3 appear to form one bloc; while
in the main 2 and 4 appear to form another block. It should be noted that
several signatories of the 2 blocks attended or actually co-signed both
blocks. Meetings 5 and 6 appear to be quite different. We will discuss
the Quito block first.
Meetings of AEurope@
Nov, 1993; and Quito; a Pro-Albanian block.
This block unequivocally upholds the PLA as having
been a socialist party and the PRSA as a socialist state. As such it has
on the face of it a leading role in the formation of a Marxism-Leninist
international. That this is the goal of the groups is made quite explicit:
AWe invite other Marxism-Leninist
parties and organisations which for various reasons are absent from this
meeting, to take part in this world and to join with us soon for a general
conference of the Marxism-Leninist international communist movement@.
Reprinted Communist League International Supplement March 1994; p.2.
See Appendix to this Issue Alliance 19.
Later the Quito meeting of August 1994 proclaimed the
ACommunist Call to the Workers
and Peoples@, which has been
published in a journal :@Unity
and Struggle- Organ of the International Conference of Marxism-Leninist
parties and Organisations@,
July 1995. In the Quito Declaration it is stated that :
ARevolution requires unity
of action from the working class and the peoples. We communists must create
this unity. Conception and practice are interlinked. Alliances are necessary.
In establishing such alliances we need above all to rely on our own strength,
come together with others and practice unity with revolutionary objectives.
We ... can form alliances which do not lead us to concessions in principles.
Such alliances and actions should however, never lead us to forget that
the class struggle must be carried through with force to the end.@
Furthermore it is stated that
AIt is in our higher interest
to reach a broad distribution and the review in each country. We also want
to express our appeal to join in this activity and to support our proclamation
at the conference to all Marxism-Leninist parties and organization which
have not so far participated in it so far.@
"Communist Call"; In "Unity & Struggle"; July 1995 Printed August
1995; re-printed in Appendix to this issue Alliance 19.
"Communist Call"; In "Unity & Struggle"; July 1995; p.5; Printed
August 1995; re-printed in Appendix to this issue Alliance 19.
We find all this very encouraging. Nonetheless, there
are some rather disturbing features.
These are the odd refusal to invite other well known
pro-Albanian groups to discuss the way forward. On paper it appears there
are open overtures to other groups. But in reality it appears these meeting
are held in secret and then a Apost-facto
Proclamation@ is issued ATo
Unite@. It is simply scandalous
for example that neither the Communist League (UK); nor CEMOPI ( France);
nor the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (Turkey) were invited to take
part in these forums. Other groups in other countries were also doubtless
excluded. Why not? This behavior belies the words. It betokens a sectarian
reality that is in opposition to the correct sounding words.
One further point should be made to these comrades.
If at the current stage there is confusion about the role of Mao Ze Dong
in many people=s minds, how is
it proposed to overcome this? Perhaps you feel these comrades are to be
written off as worthless? We feel this is premature and very unwise. The
time will come when some (we stress NOT all) such people are unable to
be convinced, but is it true that this time is now? We do not think so.
A principled debate with some convinced Maoists is still possible. We have
attempted this in our AOpen Letter
to Comrade Ludo Martens@. Let
us see what transpires over the next few years.
We hope these comrades will not take it amiss if
we point out that Engels said :
AHad we from 1864-1873 insisted
on working together only with those who openly adopted our platform (ie
the Communist Manifesto -ed) - where would we be today?@
The Pyongyang Declaration was perhaps the first swallow
of the new summer of the international meeting and declarations. As such
it is doubly important. It contains a simple message - that of the need
for unity and the need for socialism (See appendix). No one who is a Marxist-Leninist
will disagree with that. Unfortunately it is totally sparse about the details
as to how to achieve this. For example it states that :
AEach party should work
out lines and policies which tally with the actual situation of the country
where it is active and with the needs of its people and implement them
by relying on the popular masses.@
But there are four parties from Russian that signed
this; four from Nepal; two from Denmark; three from Dominica etc. Moreover
many parties signing this are well aware that there are many other groups
and parties that exist in their own countries. Are all these parties separate
for no special reason? Are there no ideological differences between them?
Is ideology completely irrelevant? It would appear that this may be the
case. What else can explain the statement in the AProposition
For the Unity of The International Communist Movement@
of the Parti Du Travail Belgique (PTB) that :
Engels F; "Letter to Mr Wischnewetzky; In Slected Correspondence Moscow;
1955: pp.375-76; Cited Approvingly by LEnin in CW Volume 12; p.363.
Meetings of Pyongyang and Brussels; The pro-CPC Block.
AThe former divisions between
Marxism-Leninist parties can be overcome.@?
But even if so, HOW can they be Aovercome@?
In the forerunner to this statement on AUnity@,
in May 1994 the PTB had stated that :
AWe communists.. have to
accept that some disagreements may exist for a long time, to accept criticism
and counter-criticism and to preserve unity..we favor a formula of meetings
without exclusions where Marxism-Leninist parties traditionally divided
into pro-Russian, pro-Chinese, Pro-Albanian, pro-Cuban or independent can
find each other. There should be a central initiative a realistic unitary
initiative adapted to the present reality, which guarantees optimal results.@
P.1; May 1995; Reprinted in Alliance 19 as part of Appendix.
May 1994; Also in The Appendix to Alliance 19 ie this issue.
This seems to us a problem in several ways. Firstly
it minimizes the importance of theoretical differences. On these great
historical debates of yesteryears, it is proposed to draw a veil ( Let
us be discreet!) But these debates are our points of clarification. It
is true that we must not be dogmatic. But we cannot simply ignore these
fundamental questions. Questions such as :
AWho was a revisionist and
We do not have an unacknowledged successor to Lenin
and Stalin in our midst - despite views to the contrary! In the circumstances
who can decide these questions? No single party or person can claim any
monopoly of the ATruth@
nowadays. We are not religious freaks, but Marxism-Leninist scientists
and activists. As such we can only answer these questions on the basis
of an open and vigorous debate.
Which states were socialist?@
The Brussels-ists and the Pyongyang-ists have so
far flinched from debate. Preferring instead the warmth and friendly bonhomie
of a supposed Aunity@.
But how deep can such unity between pro-Hoxha-ites and pro-Maoists be,
let alone between any of them and pro-Castroites?! It is only the unity
of a broad front and not the unity aimed at a Marxism-Leninist movement.
Unfortunately in the real world, some views are RIGHT
and some are WRONG! Marxist-Leninists are not idealists who cloud
our differences in a miasma of GOODWILL. We do wish goodwill
to all progressives, but we insist on a determined search for the origins
of revisionism. Only with this can we build a real Aunity
of the international Communist Movement@.
That this was a contentious call even in the ranks
of the signatories of Brussels is revealed by an examination of the papers
delivered there. For example the Socialist Unity Center of India (SUCHI)
paper states that :
AWe cannot agree to anyhow
patch up our differences in name of achieving unity. Doubtless it will
take time to sort out the ideological differences. Taking a middle course
will only defeat the purpose.@
See SUCHI Document reprinted here in our Appendix; p.4.
The SUCHI then says that:
ABut Communist unity can
only be taken to means unity of genuine communists and NOT unity of all
and sundry going by the name of communist. It entails that we rely not
really on a significant representation of Marxism-Leninist trends, but
truly on a common Marxism-Leninist concept and avoid short cuts to patch
See SUCHI Document reprinted here in our Appendix; p.4.
Of course SUCHI is no doubt about the genuine Marxism-Leninist,
because it asserts :
A6. In the present international
situation there remains still now 4 socialist states namely China, Vietnam,
North Korea and Cuba. After the counter revolution in the former Soviet
Union and the Eastern European socialist states one could expect socialist
China to fill in the void. But from China under the revisionist leadership
of Deng Xiaoping it would be wrong to expect that .. In spite of this,
the class character of the state as well as state relations and motive
force of production in China is in the main socialist.@
See SUCHI Document reprinted here in our Appendix; p.4.
But what evidence is there to justify the SUCHI conclusion?
This is not presented, and in truth in the confines
of the Brussels meeting, this was not even expected to be proved! (See
article in the Appendix to this Issue, From the Communist League). Nonetheless
the SUCHI do initially state their case firmly. That is they do have an
ideological position and this is put. No beating about the bushes! But
then they draw their horns in and draw an odd conclusion, not to be vocal
about their differences! :
So do the Communist Party of
the Philippines put a firm line :
"It is our view that the PTB will be putting at risk the broadness
of participation (of parties and organisations) if the participants of
the seminar reject as splittist some other groups of parties and organs
that distinctly adhere to Marxism-Leninism and Mao Ze Dong Thought. There
is the attempt to persuade the seminar participants that Mao Ze Dong Thought
itself is splittist and that Mao criticized and opposed Stalin from the
point of view of a petty-bourgeois nationalist and a rich peasant, a Titoite
a bourgeois nationalist and a Bukharinite.@
Paper of the CP Philipines to Brussels Meeting; p.1; Also in Our Appendix
to Alliance 19:
We fully applaud stands such as these because they do
call a spade a spade. They recognise the seriousness of the issue at hand
- to help us distinguish :
Who was a great Marxism-Leninist and who was a revisionist?
We disagree about the conclusions of the SUCHI and the
CPP regarding Mao, but their view is at least clear.
We ask them :
ACan they now justify their
views in written extended critiques? A
We applaud the firmness, and suggest that they must
accept that it is not good enough to simply be firm but to fully substantiate
their line. We suggest to the SUCHI that these points of difference must
be tackled energetically but in a principled manner. This is the meaning
of Lenin=s stipulations on lines
"We declare that "Before we can unite, and in order that we may unite,
we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation, as Iskra
But we note another stand at the meeting. This was more
confused, but may unwittingly reveal the real drift of the Brussels and
Pyongyang initiatives. This is to down peddle the need for active discussion
on the highest theoretical levels. A sense of this may come from the end
of the SUCHI document, which contradicts the vigorous forthright tone of
the rest of the article.
Lenin: "What Is to Be Done? Burning Questions of Our Movements"; 1902;
In Lenin CW; volume 5; p.367.
But it is another group puts a different spin on
the problem, one that reveals the very mortal danger at the heart of this
This puts the argument that only the Amasses
will decide@ who is right or
who is wrong. This is TAILISM - intentional or not - and is expressed
by the KPD-KAZ fraktion :
AIt is primarily the progress
of the international revolution of the working class to tell us who is
right ro wrong. As it was the progress of the struggle of the ACommune
de Paris@ that destroyed the
false opinions of Blanqui and Proudhon within the hands of the revolutionaries.
That is why we should not judge parties first to their opinions about the
Communist Party China or comrade Mao Ze Dong, about the CPSU or Comrade
Staline. We will have to judge them to the conclusions they come to concerning
the victory of the dictatorship of the working class in their country,..
We will have to see if they drew lessons from the work of such important
communists like Comrade Stalin and Comrade Mao Ze Dong and if they take
this work as a basis for their communist revolutionary action@.
Arbeiterbund fur den Wiederaufbauder KPD KAZ fraktion;Munich April
But comrades of the KPD-KAZ, we will reply that Marx
and Engels did not simply say :
ALet us say nothing about
the theories of Proudhon and Blanqui till the Paris proletariat tell us
if they are right or wrong.@!
In any case, again in this block, as with the European
and Quito Block, it is the same with the Pyongyang and Brussels block.
That is both say that they are both supposedly AOpen@
to a full discussion. But in reality something else appears to be happening!
In fact when at Brussels, Comrade Bland
of the Communist League (CL; UK) was denied the right to speak at Brussels
(in contrast to a specified delegate invitation he had received), this
points to a problem. Comrade Bland had wanted to point out a basic inconsistency
of the APropositions@.
[See Appendix for Communist League Statement on this]. This basic inconsistency
was that while in parts the document referred to legitimate points of view,
in other parts it elevated Mao Ze Dong to equivalence with Marx, Engels,
Lenin and Stalin. Presumably knowing Balnd's views, the organisers of the
meeting denied bland the right ot speak. This is not an "Open process".
It IS NOT a Marxist-Leninist way to settle ideological differences.
That is why the CL and Alliance and MLCP (Turkey)
have jointly put an AOpen Letter
to Ludo Martens@. To conclude
we can only comment that the attitude of the AUnity@
is in reality to stifle debate and to simply create a new exclusively Maoist
International. We thus agree with the comments of the MLCP (See Appendix).
We look to the Brussels and Pyong-yangists to prove us wrong. We hope we
Meeting Of Sofia Fall 1995
It reflects the subjective urge of many militants and
Marxist-Leninists that the establishment of the next International was
proclaimed! By now it will come as no surprise to readers that this was
a call that was premature. Further compounding the difficulty of an ardent
proclamation is that it was proclaimed only by 3 parties. This was in retrospect
clearly subjective wishing. To their credit, these parties have retracted,
and some have aligned themselves with the Ischia initiative.
Ischia Meeting November 1995
The last meeting to be discussed is that of Ischia.
Under the aegis of AL=Uguaglianza@
a commeration of Frederick Engels=
centenary of death, was held near Naples in Ischia, Italy. It was suggested
by several groups to L=Uguaglianza,
that it consider this as a launching pad for a new Marxist-Leninist journal.
Consequently the 10 groups that took part, agreed after much discussion
to establish such a journal, by a marked majority. It is noteworthy that
the lines of dissent from this finally successful majoirty vote,
parallel the lines taken in both Bruseels and Quito in a remarkable manner.
The lines of dissent from this main agreement were as follows :
The First Line of Dissent Seemed to Parallel the
Brussels-Pyongyang approach. Namely that it was incorrect to
conduct debates that questioned any of the many strands in the international
Marxist-Leninist movement, that no one had any right to do so. This viewpoint
was defeated pointing out that without principled scientific criticism
and right of reply, the Marxist-Leninist movement becomes simply a religious
The Second Line of Dissent Seemed to Parallel
the Quito approach - Namely that there needed to be a single unitary
line at this moment for the International. This viewpoint was argued against
by the majority of the meeting who pointed out that many honest comrades
are in disagreement about certain issues. This did not however make them
into enemies of Marxism-Leninism.
What Points of Difference
Are there then, Between Ischia and Quito, or Ischia and Brussels-Pyongyang?
1. No pro-Hoxha or pro-Mao line is taken. These questions must however
be frankly discussed by the journal and the international movement before
a scientifically grounded line can be adopted. To state "Only Hoxha!" as
does Quito is premature. To state "Only Mao!" as does Brussels is premature.
Let us argue/discuss these issues out - in details- with data!
An editorial board was elected whose mandate is to ensure
that each Marxist-Leninist group - that is those groups who view themselves
as such - will receive the Editorial Principles and the Announcement
of the journal. As yet they are still in the final stages, but the
major agreements have been achieved. They are thus appended to this document.
There may still be minor changes, but the thrust as can be seen is to a
forum for principled debate and counter-debate. The editors are mandated
to bring together many groups to debate these issues.
2. A genuinely Open process will be struggled for. The movement will
certainly decide whether that has taken place or not. What is clear is
that previous attempts at this were certainly flawed.
It is this initiative that ALLIANCE MARXIST-LENINIST (NORTH AMERICA)
This document tries to bring together a coherent view
of why it is that we are fragmented. Because we are so fragmented, we need
to have clear points of discussion. We need principled guidelines for discussion.
Discussion cannot be loose, or at the level of name calling. Discussions
of Marxist-Leninist in the past have been trenchant (This is no social
soiree we are at!) But they have been based on factual, scientifically
reasoned evidence. What is the evidence to state that Hoxha was a great
Marxist-Leninist? Those that have the temerity to state that should make
their case! The same for those who state that Mao was a great Marxist-Leninist!
LONG LIVE MARX ENGELS LENIN
Any one else to
be put up on the podium in front of us needs to be rigorously justified!
The only forum that at the moment we must create
is one where everyone in a Marxist-Leninist party can have the right to
have their party=s views heard
in this debate. Any sectarian journals that limit the scope of discussion
to exclude Marxist-Leninist views is only that - sectarian. At this time,
we need to ideologically clean house. We must re-claim our
own history, or the bourgeoisie will happily constantly re-feed us a bowdlerised
version of it!
The example of Engels now who called for OPENNESS
in discussion is appropriate. We do not have a single line and cannot have
one till more principled debates take place.