REFLECTIONS ON CURRENT SECTARIAN FORAYS IN THE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT.
Introduction and Background
Comrades who follow the line of "Alliance" and "International
Struggle Marxist-Leninist" (ISML) - will now be familiar with the recent
and attacks launched upon Alliance by Vijay Singh, the editor of "Revolutionary
Democracy". "Alliance" and "Communist League" (UK), have over the years,
repeatedly attempted to establish a meaningful dialogue with Singh. Most
recently, for instance, in the polemics between "Revolutionary Democracy"
& "Proletarian Path" - Alliance called for a principled debate (See
Despite the lack of response, Alliance held back
from drawing any final conclusions regarding the enmity of Revolutionary
Democracy. However, Singh's renewed and repetitive attacks lead us to conclude
that the time is ripe for for a full and frank reply.
To remain silent upon long unresolved matters
now, is now intolerable and would lead to a situation which:
i) Leaves lies to remain un-challenged - the most egregious
of which is that Alliance & ISML avoid open debate;
It is for these reasons, that we are compelled to examine
some items of past history. We expressly point out - that this is
an entirely distasteful task, especially so, given the many important
questions for the Marxist-Leninist movement to deal with. However, under
the guise of an honest broker - Singh strews around sectarian mischief
with gay abandon. Alliance perceives this behaviour as being, in
certain measure, a threat to a non-sectarian agenda. Singh is perpetuating
and exacerbating the divisions among Marxist-Leninists. We are left no
choice but to wade through the history of relations with Singh.
ii) Perpetuates a camouflage over Singh's own political history,
allowing him to continue his posture as 'the authority' of the international
iii) And what is even worse: it would endanger the goal of ISML,
namely to foster a principled debate leading to a principled unity of the
ML-ist movement of the world.
We believe that underlying many of the differences
between Singh and ourselves - is that Singh is intent on a sectarian
and dogmatic approach to the Marxist-Leninist movement. To show
this is a pattern of behaviour, we trace his approach back to his early
political alliance with the sectarian of the two wings of the Marxist-Leninist
Organisation of Britain.
While this may be considered an arcane piece of
"leftist train-spotting" - we believe that without a knowledge of that
background Singh's current attitudes are not explicable.
We must remind the reader of Lenin's attacks
on sectarianism of any sort, tracing his own views back to Marx
"And now we very clearly perceive the two lines of Engels's (and Marx's)
recommendations, directions, corrections, threats and exhortations. The
most insistent of their appeals to the British and American socialists
was to merge with the working-class movement and eradicate the narrow and
hidebound sectarian spirit from their organisations."
Lenin closely linked sectarianism to dogmatism:
V. I. Lenin: "Preface To The Russian Translation Of Letters By Johannes
Becker, Joseph Dietzgen, Frederick Engels, Karl Marx, &
Others To Friedrich Sorge & Others"; April 1907; Collected Works, Vol
12: Moscow, 1972;p.372.
"Studieren, Propagandieren, Organisieren. You cannot be an ideological
leader without ....theoretical work, just as you cannot be one without
directing this work to meet the needs of the cause, and without spreading
the results of this theory among the workers and helping them to organise.
Lenin advised that the best means of exposing
sectarianism was "More Light"! i.e. public debate and exposure:
Such a presentation of the task guards Social-Democracy
against the defects from which socialist groups
so often suffer, namely, dogmatism and sectarianism.
There can be no dogmatism where the supreme and
sole criterion of a doctrine is its conformity
to the actual process of social and economic development; there can be
no sectarianism when the task is that of
promoting the organisation of the proletariat".
"What The Friends Of The People" Are & They Fight The Social-Democrats
(A Reply to Articles in Russkoye Bogatstvo Opposing the Marxists); 1894;
In Collected Works, Moscow, 1972; Vol. 1, p.298 OR AT: http://www.marx2mao.org/Lenin/FP94iii.html
The Charges Laid By Singh:
In a series of open attacks, placed in the e-pages of
the ISML e-list [and who knows where else?] - Singh charges as follows:
Charge (i) That Alliance
attempts to stifle debates of importance to Marxist-Leninists.
From here, we rebut these various charges. Documentation
is provided via links, both to 3 appendices of recent correspondence, and
others to older documents.
Charge (ii) That ISML
was founded as a sectarian diversion, to lead Marxist-Leninists away from
the "only true path" of the ICMLPO (H).
Charge (iii) That the raison
d'être of ISML and Alliance is to conduct an anti-Stalin & anti-Hoxha
Charge (iv) That the ISML
has attempted to hide the history of the Italian section of ISML.
SINGH'S CHARGE (i):
stifles debates of crucial importance"
Singh bravely declaims against the "tyrannical Kumar"
- defending apparently - 'freedom of speech" - thus:
"At the risk of incurring the wrath once again of Kumar and his
calls of get off the list.."
Yet we fear that these such postures, are in reality,
an obfuscation. In fact, it is a case of calling "Day" - "Night".
For Kumar and the ISML Editorial board had both invited
Singh onto the list, and tolerated
him using it for his own sectarian ends. We did - it is true - simply point
out to him, that if he did not accept the viewpoints and non-sectarian
aims of ISML - he could if he choose to - simply leave. However even
most recently, Alliance has made the pages of ISML and Alliance available
for Singh: Appendix
One: e-list ISML: Dimitrov Debate; & Alliance's call open principled
Message 7:Message 3252; From: "Bhagat Singh; Jun
46 July 2002: Appendix Two;
Yet Singh's inversion of day and night - is aimed
at achieving these ends:
It confuses who it is that covers
up debate; and
It confuses who it is
that refuses principled replies.
In reality, Singh's own conduct for years
has for many years been evasive while "discreetly" placing
himself at the sectarian centre of the dis-organisation of a principled
unity and debate amongst Marxist-Leninists. We will show this citing some
key documents over the last 30 years.
Let us first examine his conduct of the debate upon
the role of Georgii Dimitrov. In
reality, who has refused debate? We charge that is
It is well known that the Communist League and Alliance
have published a series of documents that consider the history of Dimitrov
(See Dimitrov Page at the Alliance site: Dimitrov
For a long time - for approximately 30 years - both
Communist League & the Alliance organisation have asked, the movement
at large and Singh - for a scientific consideration &/or
a refutation - not simple invectives or dogmatic Holy Chants to
Here for example is W.B. Bland, in
a letter to Singh written in 1995:
"When I was told to expect a letter from you which would "expose the
error of our characterisation of Dimitrov as a revisionist", I looked forward
to receiving it. I accept unreservedly that we are not infallible, so that,
however hard we strive to publish the truth, we are indeed capable of making
errors. Consequently, we welcome correction of our errors. Indeed, the
principle of dialectics, in its original meaning, was that one party puts
forward a proposition (the thesis), while another puts forward a counter-proposition
(the antithesis), and out of this process of contradiction emerges a new
proposition (the synthesis) which differs from both the thesis and antithesis
but contains some elements of both and is closer to truth than either.
I was hoping that your antithesis might assist us in correcting errors
in our thesis and so attaining a synthesis closer to truth than either.
But in order that this could be so, two things were necessary:
Invariably, Singh's response has been thus far, to "prove"
his case regarding Dimitrov - by a reliance on the INCOMPLETE
Firstly, the antithesis must be based on principle, and not on mere
... You are .. . accusing us, quite falsely, of 'intentionally
disregarding' a text of which we were ignorant."
W.B.Bland to Vijay Singh; Ilford, June 1995;
Letter One; See
Some Correspondences on Dimitrov
In other words, unless there is a document
where Stalin is recorded as explicitly stating that Dimitrov
is a revisionist, then .... Dimitrov must be a Marxist-Leninist.
But this ignores the fact that the historical minutes
and records are in the hands of the international capitalists and their
Singh's attitude is further based upon a blind refusal
to examine the facts themselves. As Bland pointed out to Singh:
"You say that we:
Singh suggests to the unwary reader
that the following equation may be applied to the solving of difficult
". . . reject the opinion of Stalin as given in the obituary of Dimitrov,
which expressed a positive appraisal for the role of Dimitrov".
(Your letter: p. 1, para. 1).
Yes, it is true that we reject the assessment of Stalin in the CPSU's
obituary, signed by Stalin and others, to the effect that Dimitrov:
'. . . gave all his heroic life to the supreme service of the cause
of the working class, the cause of Communism".
(Obituary of G. M. Dimitrov: in: 'World News and Views', Volume 289,
No. 28 (9 July 1949); p. 326)."
W.B.Bland Addressed to Vijay Singh;
Ilford, June 1995 Letter One; In Two Unpublished Letters On Dimitrov;
Correspondences on Dimitrov
"he/she who rejects the assessment of a great Marxist-Leninist
on any question" - irrespective of new facts - MUST
be a revisionist and worse - a conscious traitor to the class.
Bland in the past had anticipated and replied to
Singh's solecism as follows:
"This in no way means that we do not regard Stalin as the greatest
Marxist-Leninist of his era, and certainly not that we regard ourselves
as superior Marxist-Leninists to Stalin. But we should not assume that
he had supernatural intuitive powers which could unfailingly detect any
concealed revisionist despite his concealment. It is now more than forty
years since Stalin died, and a great deal has happened since. In the
light of hindsight many things become clear and it would be the height
of foolishness to maintain that because Stalin accepted Dimitrov as an
honest Marxist-Leninist in 1949, this assessment is in 1995 sacred dogma
which it is heretical to question.
The bottom line is that over numerous times,
Singh over the past 30 odd years has 'declined' to place himself on record
with a considered and full scientific rebuttal of the analysis of
Bland and the Communist League to which he takes such great exception.
Stalin was the first to reject any conception that his views represented
some kind of dogma: "The Marxist-Leninist theory is not a dogma but a guide
('History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks):
Short Course'; Moscow; 1939; p. 356)."
W.B.Bland; Letter addressed to Vijay Singh;
Ilford, June 1995 Letter One; In Two Unpublished Letters On Dimitrov:
Correspondences on Dimitrov
Yet it should not be forgotten (by him or anyone
else), that he first introduced some younger comrades to the writings
and analysis of Bland. Perhaps, however, this was because of his mistaken
belief at the time that they were in fact written not by Bland but by one
Mike Baker. It is quite
conceiveable that Singh's attitude to the Dimitrov question is at least
a reflection of his tutelage to Baker. The personal history of Mike
Baker has some relevance to the current discussion.
Who was Mike Baker, and what might
be his relevance to this current discussion?
The break between Baker and Bland took place because
Baker refused to accept democratic centralism and collective decision-making
in the MLOB, as these stood in the way of his attempts to lead the organisation
into sectarian policies. This is discussed in detail in the
memorandum sent to the "Indian Comrades" by the Communist League in 1976
- to be found at the following web-page: Debate Within the MLOB.
[This is discussed in detail in the memorandum sent to the "Indian
Comrades" by the Communist League in 1976 - to be found at the
following web-page: Debate
Within the MLOB].
Baker had already left the realms of Marxism-Leninism
in 1976, but by 1990
he had degenerated even further, becoming an open adherent of the "Movement
for Workers Councils" espousing the views of
(alias Max Hempel). In the foreword to his translation
of the magnum opus written by the anti-Bolshevik
Council Communist Appel - "Fundamental Principles of Communist
Production & Distribution", Baker writes:
"In the literature of revolutionary theory... the historic document
now placed before the English speaking world.. may with some justice be
claimed as the highest theoretical achievement of the German and Dutch
revolutionary movement... (whose-ed) last dying embers were extinguished
in the torture chambers and death camps of national Socialism or
in the Gulags and liquidators of Stalin's "first land of victorious
Yet incredibly, as late as 1995,
Singh was still defending Baker as a "brilliant Marxist-Leninist".
The perpetrators of this act of historical and scientific
effacement were not Gen. Maercker's Freikorps, nor yet Ernst Rohm's brown-shirted
thugs but the leaders of the International Communist movement.............the
chosen ideological vehicle according to whose deceptive pseudo-proletarian
and pseudo-revolutionary slogans that bogus "vanguard party of the victorious
workers and peasants" was erected was that peculiar vulgarization of the
scientific world outlook and method of Marxism which is indelibly associated
with the name of V.I.Lenin";
(Translators Foreword to Appel J; "Fundamental Principles of Communist
Production & Distribution" ; 1990 published by the Movement for
Workers Councils London; ISBN: 0-9516131-0-3; pp.iii-iv).
"You say that you:
We leave it to the Marxist-Leninist movement,
to consider whether Baker or not - a self-proclaimed syndicalist by the
year 1990 - was a "brilliant Marxist-Leninist".
" . . . stand by the understanding that the late Mike Baker was a 'brilliant
Marxist-Leninist"'. (Your letter: p. 4, para. 2).
But this 'brilliant Marxist-Leninist' refused to accept a decision
of the MLOB that he should be replaced as Secretary, and stole the name,
funds and the printing press of the MLOB. You imply that these are:
". . . not political issues",
(Your letter : p. 4, para. 2).
'. . . organisational question".
(Your letter : p. 4, para. 2).
However, I can recall no differences within the MLOB on what you call
‘political issues'. However, democratic centralism is not a mere
organisational question but a vital principle of Marxism-Leninism:
"In order to function properly . . . , the Party must be organised
on the principle of centralism, having one set of rules and uniform
Party discipline . . . ; the minority must submit to the majority, and
lower organisations to higher organisations".
('History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks):
Short Course'; Moscow; 1939; p. 49).
You not merely deny my statement:
". . . that Baker retired from political activity after the split in
(Your letter: p. 4, para. 2).
But allege that this statement is a conscious lie:
"As you are perfectly aware, the MLOB published a number of seminal
works (after the 'split')."
(Your letter: p. 4, para. para. 2).
I was aware of no such thing. I know of nothing published by the MLOB
after what you call the 'split'. I called in to Collett's once a week for
several months and was informed that they had no material from the MLOB.
However, you go on to say that:
". . . at a later stage the MLOB was dissolved when its members dropped
their allegiance to Marxism-Leninism".
(Your letter: p. 4, para. 2).
So what was the end-result of Baker's 'brilliant Marxism-Leninism'?
The dissolution of the organisation in which he played the leading role
in initiating. While the second-rate people from whom Baker broke away
carried on (as the Communist League) plodding away at the task of building
a Marxist-Leninist Party, the brilliant Marxist-Leninist Baker renounced
W.B.Bland; Ilford, June 1995
Letter One; In Two Unpublished Letters On Dimitrov
Addressed to Vijay Singh: See: Some
Correspondences on Dimitrov
Within the MLOB], but some further remarks are pertinent.
Baker and following him - Singh - denied
that Albania under Hoxha was a socialist state:
"Baker's position has for some years been that, because the
APL has an incorrect policy in relation to China and the maoist groups,
"its economic basis cannot be socialist".
Correspondingly and inversely - after Singh finally
and belatedly did adopt the position of support for the Peoples Socialist
Republic of Albania - he remained reluctant to critique its degeneration
under Ramiz Alia. If anything, this was at least being consistent,
as Bland pointed out:
Within the MLOB).
Of course Marxist-Leninists are perfectly entitled
to change their minds after due reflection and thought. However - we are
mindful that a principled manner of doing this entails an
open and honest self-criticism:
I note that you do not accept that the Albanian Party of Labour is
following a revisionist course. Naturally, I find this consistent with
the fact that you have not got round to analysing the class basis of the
Indian social system, with your support of Dimitrov's revisionism, with
your support of racial discrimination, and so on.
Yours sincerely, W. B.Bland".
Ilford, 18 November, (Between 1989-1991-Editor Alliance)
Correspondences on Dimitrov
"As to self-criticism in our Party, its beginnings date back to the
first appearance of Bolshevism in our country, to its very inception as
a specific revolutionary trend in the working-class movement. We know that
as early as the spring of 1904, when Bolshevism was not yet an independent
political party but worked together with the Mensheviks within a single
Social-Democratic party -- we know that Lenin was already calling upon
the Party to undertake "self-criticism and ruthless exposure of its
own shortcomings." ………………… Lenin was a thousand times right when he said
at the Eleventh Party Congress in March 1922:
Is it not strange that this self-righteous Singh - has
never made a public self-criticism of these positions? We are forced to
ask, what distinguishes his behaviour from that of Hardial
Bains in this regard? So much for the piety of Singh's pompous
remarks on "self-criticism" in his exchange with Comrade Gazza (see: Appendix
Two; e-list of ISML: ISML & [ICMLPO(h)]; & on "self-criticism").
"The proletariat is not afraid to admit that this or that thing has
succeeded splendidly in its revolution, and this or that has not succeeded.
All revolutionary parties which have hitherto perished, did so because
they grew conceited, failed to see where their strength lay, and feared
to speak of their weaknesses. But we shall not perish, for we do not fear
to speak of our weaknesses and shall learn to overcome them".
There is only one conclusion: that without self-criticism there can be
no proper education of the Party, the class, and the masses; and that without
proper education of the Party, the class, and the masses, there can be
(Vol. XXVII, pp. 260-61).
J. V. Stalin: "Against Vulgarising The Slogan Of Self-Criticism"; 1928:
In "Works"; Volume 11; Moscow, 1954; pp.135-36. OR AT: http://www.marx2mao.org/Stalin/AVSC28.html
We are forcibly reminded of the assessment made
by Comrade Bland some years before his death, when in an interview
he characterised Singh as an "un-principled opportunist". We have
not before published this fact, preferring to avoid even the semblance
of a personal attack, and it will be readily seen that the web and print
published version of that interview does not cite Singh's name (Bland Memorial
Interview with Communist League). However, Singh has taught us that this
is not the time to disguise unpleasant truths. Perhaps we should not be
surprised that for one who was for so long an acolyte of Baker, Singh
continues to espouse an essentially dogmatic and sectarian approach to
the problems of Marxist-Leninist unity.
In Summary - the Charge (i)
That Alliance attempts to stifle debates of importance is
false. In reality Singh has persistently refused to engage in any meaningful
debate on serious questions.
SINGH'S CHARGE (ii):
"ISML Was Founded as a Diversion
to the ICMLPO"
Disingenuously, Singh makes the
following remark to a member of the ISML e-list:
"At the risk of incurring the wrath once again of Kumar and his calls
of get off the list I must state that given that the ISML was formed subsequent
to the ICMLPO it would seem incumbent on the former to state the
reasons formally why the former was established and what are the political
differences of the ISML with the ICMLPO."
From this, it can be seen that Singh pretends
to be unaware of the background of the formation of the ISML and the reasons
for this. Of course, in reality he is fully aware of all this history.
This can be said with absolute certainty for the following reasons:
Singh to Gazza: Message 6; June 9 2002; See:Appendix
Two; e-list of ISML: On ISML & [ICMLPO(h)]; & on "self-criticism".
And then poses a question:
"Maybe you can also make your own enquiries on the reasons why the ISML
was established despite the prior existence of the ICMLPO. Did this help
the process of establishing international ML unity? Who, then, is responsible
for the disunity in the international movement? Are there not profound
political differences between the international trends? In such a situation
is talk of unity in general correct? "
Singh to Gazza: Message 8: Jun 10, 2002; See: Appendix
a)When invited to the Founding Conference of ISML at Ischia he
never raised doubts about the meeting itself, but rather declared
that he "could not attend for lack of time and finances" - [Personal Communication].
It is necessary to focus a little
more on that document, for here it was pointed out that very few individuals
and groups had in reality seen through Maoism, at an early juncture. Of
these, three were later to find themselves in the ISML:
b) He was fully appraised in person, of the reasons and
raison d'être of the ISML, by three of the founding
members of the ISML: Cmde W.B. Bland in London on several occasions; Cmde
H.Kumar in Delhi on three occasions; and Cmde J.Sherif in Moscow.
c) He has been directed to an article dealing with this very issue
in Alliance (Number 19) at his own request, has been given copies of this
to read at his leisure, and he knows that our Subject-Index page lists
this article on the web at: "History of Three Cominterns Alliance 19 ".
"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 although 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 erstwhile Maoist parties did repudiate
Maoism. However a far more common reaction was for the Maoist parties to
attack Hoxha and the PLA. Even of 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 yet fully shed
of the ICMLOP(H) - which we termed the Quito grouping was noted in Alliance
19. Moreover Singh himself refers to, an article by the Communist League,
which publicised the founding of the Quito group and was re-printed in
"Alliance 19: April 1996; Toronto; p. 23; at: "History of Three Cominterns":
"So far as the ICMLPO is concerned there is the joint statement of
Quito of 1994 which was the basis of many parties and organisations across
the globe to unite. You may know about this document as it was published
by the Communist League."
Drawing from multiple sources
he knows that the attitude of member organisations of the ISML has been
far from hostile to the ICMLOP(H). However, since Singh apparently listened
to but did not hear the face to face discussions in which he participated,
nor read the materials generously provided, we will take the liberty at
this juncture of a long quotation that is a direct reprint of materials
19, as follows:
Singh to Gazza: Message 9 June 10, 2002; See: Appendix
"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 :
It should be apparent then why it is that the ISML was
formed - it was formed, in part, because key pro-Hoxha-ite parties were
EXCLUDED from the Quito grouping.
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 1 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 "Europe" Nov, 1993; and Quito; a Pro-Albanian block.
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
"Communist 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:
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:
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 (in
the Quito Declaration) that:
"Communist Call"; In "Unity & Struggle"; July 1995 Printed August
1995; re-printed in Appendix to Alliance 19.
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; p.5; Printed
August 1995; re-printed in Appendix to 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 meetings
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 behaviour 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". [See: "Martens, Ludo - Polemics On Mao";
to 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?@
Engels F; "Letter to Mr Wischnewetzky; In Selected Correspondence Moscow;
1955: pp.375-76; Cited Approvingly by Lenin in CW Volume 12; p.363."'
Alliance 19; April 1996: "The Path Towards A
New Communist, Marxist-Leninist International: pp.30-31; at: Alliance
END CITATION FROM ALLIANCE 19
We still do not know why this was, but we do know
the facts of the matter.
MOREOVER: the groups that came together at the ISML
foundation in Ischia, Italy - genuinely believed, and STILL DO - that even
now - the debate between Maoists and Hoxha-ites still needs to proceed
within one principled forum. We in Alliance, and those faithful to the
dictates of the Principles of ISML - believe that there are still potentially
honest but confused comrades who do not support Hoxha.
Let us pre-empt Singh at this point and again, state
that we of Alliance are openly pro-Hoxha . No honest person familiar with
our work and publications could state otherwise without blushing for shame.
BUT - we cannot think it right at this time to refuse
meaningful dialogue in a principled manner with Maoists. As
the Founding Principles of ISML state at the web-site
"Many recent meetings of Marxist-Leninists, have recognised the need
for a New International. Yet, despite the urgent need and desire of an
International, the truth is that the communist movement is divided into
many contradictory camps, which are incapable of discussing and debating.
Sectarianism not only divides the movement but acts as a brake for the
theoretical development of the movement. The main enemy we must fight and
defeat, that Marx and Engels had to fight against, is still revisionism.
Revisionism is born and spread from capitalism, and the bourgeois culture
of egoism and individualism. Unfortunately revisionism has survived inside
the communist movement, and this has caused the defeat of the first experience
So the goal of ISML has been made quite
Principles & Founding Statements
"The Editorial Board of "INTERNATIONAL STRUGGLE - Marxist-Leninist",
holds that without ... a firm theoretical and historical
clarity, it will be impossible to form a principled "United" International.
At a critical stage in the development of the Russian Communist movement,
Comrade Lenin called for "LINES OF DEMARCATION":
Furthermore ISMLS states that the following is necessary:
"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
These "Lines of Demarcation" are required now, more than ever before. These
lines can only be drawn by a scientific and clear debate aimed at
answering the questions above.
(Works Vol 5; Moscow 1977; p.367).
The answers to these central questions will undoubtedly assist us in
taking up the challenges of all the theoretical questions thrown up by
the world today. These theoretical questions include the development of
global finance capital, which has taken advantage of the weakness of the
world proletariat in the wake of the victory of the world revisionist movement."
Principles & Founding Statements
"a) Defence and consistent upright acknowledgement of Marx, Engels,
Lenin, and Stalin's thoughts and works, and of the consistent contribution
to the theory and strategy of Marxism-Leninism by other Marxist-Leninist
But we recognise that several groupings will find themselves
in agreement with that formulation. It is a non-sectarian
formulation allowing a United Front. It is precisely for
that reason that ISML recognises that there are likely to be MORE
than one grouping in any one country - that considers itself as
a Marxist-Leninist grouping. Again, it is necessary to ask: Why exclude
such groups? As ISML points out:
Principles & Founding Statements
"2. It is important that the journal involve all the groups who consider
themselves Marxists-Leninists. For that reason the Editorial Board will
try to contact all the Marxist-Leninist groups, organisations and parties
who accept the Founding Principles Clause (1). The Editorial Board has
the task to inform them about the journal and to encourage them to take
part in its production and circulation and to attend the next conference.
This conference is open to attendance by more than one organisation from
those countries where the Marxist-Leninist Party has not yet been re-constructed."
And why is this? Because a FULL discussion
Principles & Founding Statements
"3. Until an open debate has achieved the clarity and the principled
agreement that is required by the international Marxist-Leninist movement,
no new, principled and meaningful Communist International can be formed.
That is why a prominent section of "International Struggle" will be the
"Discussion and Reply" section. The Editors will be scrupulously fair to
all points of view that conform to clause (1). That is to say, we guarantee
that ALL Marxist-Leninists will be able to have a written and printed reply,
either on the basis of their own, or, on their party's, or group's behalf.
Moreover, the Editors are mandated to ensure that a scientific, non-sectarian
debate proceeds on MARXIST-LENINIST LINES. That is, a debate that is conducted
on principled and factual lines; and eschews personality attacks, or character
In this spirit, despite being spurned by the ICMLOP(H)
affiliated groups, repeated attempts were made to engender fraternal discussions
and joint meetings. Singh himself is very well aware of this - since he
himself in 1999 urged Bland to attempt even further overtures to the ICMLOP(H)
via the German section - KPD Roter Morgen!
Principles & Founding Statements
ISML did so, however the KPD (Roter Morgen) simply
rejected this overture. It is quite ironic that Wolfgang
Eggers of the Communist Party Germany (ML) (originally a member of ISML)
spurns ISML on the grounds that ISML had the temerity to re-approach the
KPD (Roter Morgen) - affiliated to Quito. Now, the CPG(ML) makes sweet
talk to Singh - whose mantra is "only one 'holy-ordained' organisation
per country..... but not that of Eggers' CPG(ML) for Germany.
Meanwhile, Singh portrays himself as 'fighting for
the rights of free speech' for the CPG (ML) [See message 14 Appendix
Three]. Singh pretends to be un-aware that the CPG(ML) abuses
ISML because ISML refused the CPG(ML) insistence to cut off broad front
discussions. Yet where was Singh when "free principled discussion" was
abruptly curtailed by arbitrary expulsions from the Marxist-Leninist
List over legitimate differences of opinion on Milosevic and Kosova? [See
List"]. Perhaps he or his very close allies vociferously objected to
this stark sectarian "stifling of debate"?
But - No - Singh and his clsoe allies was, and has
remained - silent on this! Singh is moved to voice an opinion
only when he sees a narrow sectarian potential gain for himself.
Conclusion: Singh knows
all too well the reasons for the formation of ISML - the crying need
for a a non-sectarian approach. His mixture of sectarianism and dogma
reveal only how well the willing pupil of Mike Baker learned his lessons.
"Charge (ii) That
ISML was founded as a sectarian diversion, to lead Marxist-Leninists away
from the "only true path" of the ICMLPO (H) " - is quite false.
raison d'etre of ISML and Alliance is to conduct an anti-Hoxha line."
"Our (personal) understanding is that a number of organisations outside
the ICMLPO are outside because of their pronounced political differences
with the ML tradition of Lenin, Stalin, the Comintern and Enver Hoxha."
Once more Singh is being deliberately
and consciously "naive" for the sake of effect.
Singh To ISML e-List: See
Firstly: He knows very well that thus
far - as far as we know - there are only two organisations that are harbour
grave misgivings about the Comintern from 1928 onwards - the Communist
League and Alliance.
Secondly he well knows that there
is no article in the ISML journal that supports his allegation of being
"anti-Lenin, Stalin, Comintern, or Hoxha". For sectarian purpose - he is
anxious to "smear" the ISML - with Alliance and CL blood. In reality however
this attempt is doomed to failure as the link between organizations is
in reality the Founding Statements and Principles of the ISML as set out
Conclusion: There are simply
no grounds for his assertion.
raison d'etre of ISML and Alliance is to conduct an anti-Hoxha line" -
is manifestly false.
SINGH'S CHARGE (iv):
"the ISML has hidden the history of the Italian section
The reader wishing to make sense of the rebuttal
to Charge (iv) should review the full correspondences between Kumar, ISML,
Italian leaders of the ISML section Lenin Committee [Cmdes
K and A], and Singh AT: See
appendix 3. We believe that the chain of events described therein vindicates
the general approach of ISML and Kumar.
Singh alleges that ISML is so worried about "unplatable
truths" that it hides from reality:
"The reliability of this statement which reached us through the Editorial
Board of Scintilla (Italy) is thus questioned. It seems that views which
are unpalatable to some are not to be aired on the list and those who do
this should "get out". "
Singh alleges that the rationale for this hiding
from 'airing', lies in the fact that 'sections of ISML assail the views
of Stalin", and that Hari Kumar is "discreet" upon this:
Message 15: Appendix
"We have also pointed out that the ISML upholds the classic status
of Stalin but that sections of ISML assail the views of Stalin on the historic
merits of Comrade Dimitrov. Hari Kumar maintains a discreet silence
on this contradiction."
Alliance thanks Singh for praising the discretion of
Kumar - although Alliance members have often and bitterly complained about
his famous indiscretions. Hopefully, he has learnt his lessons.
Message 15: Appendix
The truth is that Singh is simply attempting
to smear ISML by equating ISML with the views of Alliance and of the Communist
We have dealt in part with this in part - under
"Charge (ii) above. The clearest refutation of Singh's attempt at equating
the views of Alliance and those of ISML - come from the Founding Principles
& the Founding Statement of ISML - and from the fact that ISML has
carried on articles on Dimitrov. So what are these accusations regarding
the Italian section of the ISML, all about?
We again recognise Singh's wish to undermine ISML.
The Facts of the Italian imbroglio
The events in temporal sequence were as follows:
In circumstances of serious illness and bereavement,
contacts with the Lenin Committee became tenuous about the end of 2000.
By January 2001, the ISML executive was simply informed that the Lenin
Committee was dissolving. ISML obtained only the volunteered reasons
of "illness" and of "limited resources" coupled to a renewed attention
on "party-building" in Italy. What contact remained, was apparently fraternal
evidenced by a message of condolence received by Communist League on Bill
Here Alliance must censure Kumar
for one matter. He did not push the Italian members of the Lenin Committee
hard enough, for fuller details regarding the dissolution. It should be
remembered however, that Kumar had attempted to meet &/or communicate
with the comrades several times - both in Italy and in the UK. The leading
comrades had been immersed in serious illness, and in bereavements. Kumar
simply and naively trusted the comrades of the Lenin Committee to behave
in a principled and open manner.
By April 2002, Singh's contacts with Scintilla
(Italy) [Being the larger remnant from the notoriously sectarian "La
Nostra Lotta" - the Italian section of "Unity & Struggle" led
by Ubaldo Buttafava] - led him to obtain an inkling that
there may have been some political content to the dissolution. Singh rushed
to paint the ISML as a a 'tool' or a 'cover' for the heretical views of
Alliance and Communist League. Singh did not give his sources until being
Kumar then applied further pressure to the ex-leading
comrades of the Lenin Committee. We believe that one of these - comrade
K has behaved impeccably. We believe that he is still severely affected
by an illness that retards his fuller involvement. We cannot however, be
quite so sanguine about comrade A.
This is the letter finally obtained in response
to repeated requests of Cmde A - now working with with Scintilla
(Italy). It appears to confirm Singh's view of the reasons for the
dissolution of the Lenin Committee and its leaving of ISML.
The message is with all the correspondence at Appendix
3, but is quoted here in full - it is after all rather brief!:
"Message 15: Subject: LC(M-L)/ISML Date: Fri, 21 Jun
2002 18:43:50 +0200 (CEST);
Our response to these statements by A of Scintila
formerly of Lenin Committe:
From: Cmde A To Hari Kumar:
as you again apply to me personally, after the dissolution of LC(M-L),
in order to know which were the reasons that led LC(M-L) to leave ISML,
I answer you briefly:
1) The main reason was our will to devote all of our time and energies
to the struggle for the
reconstruction of the Communist Party in Italy; in fact, after the
dissolution of LC(M-L), we are co-operating with other Italian communist
groups in writing an Italian marxist-leninist journal and in other revolutionary
2) There were other reasons (besides the contradictions present inside
ISML Editorial Board on the Yugoslav war), too. Many LC(M-L) comrades,
including myself, did not agree with the views - which we consider historically
groundless, wrong and absurd - publicly expressed on some matters by political
groups who were inside ISML Editorial Board: Dimitrov as an agent of nazism
after the conclusion of his Leipzig trial; Stalin a minority in the Bolshevik
Party leadership since the thirties; the Communist International in the
hands, since those years, of a majority of revisionists. It is true that
these views were never put in the pages of ISML, but the majority of comrades
inside LC (M-L) has considered it not possible to go on co-operating, inside
ISML, with political groups of other countries who have publicly supported
I hope my information satisfies your request, as I have nothing to
add and will not deal with this subject any longer.
With my best greetings and personal respects, A. "
Message 19: Appendix
on Italy "
1) On the Secretive Manner in which the Lenin Committee leaders
have conducted themselves:
We do not attempt to disguise our surprise, that Marxist-Leninists
should choose to "cover-up" their criticism of an international organisation
and of a grouping with whom they had relations for several years.
So be it.
2) What of the content of the letter?
i) Cmde A: states one reason for leaving ISML was: "the
contradictions present inside ISML Editorial Board on the Yugoslav war".
The Lenin Committee signed the Joint ISML Statement on the Yugoslav
As far as we know no one coerced them!
The fact that some sections of ISML disagreed with that is hardly surprising.
It remains a confusing situation for many Marxist-Leninists.
In passing we note the fact that the Unity & Struggle group found
itself in disagreement on this matter also. We must ask Comrade A:
"What will you do Comrade A - in the Unity & Struggle Group? Perhaps
you will have to leave it and found yet another - but purer- international
ii) Cmde A: states another reason for leaving ISML was: "(We)
did not agree with the views - which we consider historically groundless,
wrong and absurd .. on some matters by political groups who were
inside ISML Editorial Board: Dimitrov as an agent of nazism after the conclusion
of his Leipzig trial; Stalin a minority in the Bolshevik Party leadership
since the thirties; the Communist International in the hands, since those
years, of a majority of revisionists."
Cmde A accepts that "It is true that these views were never
put in the pages of ISML".
Well, Kumar remembers discussions with Cmde A where several times,
A acknowledged serious deficiencies with the currently available Marxist-Leninist
histories of the period. However, the key questions to put to A
- "Was this an adequate reason for leaving a United Front (i.e.; the
international United Front of ISML)?" and
- "Was the manner of leaving principled?"
As far as we are concerned, the answer to both question is "no".
-The United Front for the goals and objectives of ISML - to which Cmde
A agreed - have NOT been fulfilled.
-The views of Alliance & of the Communist League - on the matter
of Dimitrov is a secondary matter.
As for leaving on such grounds - there is not even an attempt to portray
the historical grounds for these questions under contention. This approach
is dogmatic and sectarian.
Let us ask Cmde A: "Is this a Marxist-Leninist method of conducting
clarification in theoretical matters of considerable practical significance?"
The conduct of the leading members of the Lenin
Committee has been very shabby indeed. Even now, it is unclear to
us, to what extent the desire for unity in the Italian movement has inspired
the ex-members of the Lenin Committee. Have the comrades in their zeal
to seal unity with Scintilla, re-written their history? We do not know.
However, such overall conduct leaves doubts for their own future.
Reverting to Singh: Singh was correct to point out
the underlying tensions in the Lenin Committee. But this was not a disinterested
correction of the record. He was intent on using this shabby behaviour
of the Lenin Committee for a continuing attack upon the ISML.
Singh again ignores the call made by Kumar:
"Singh should perhaps concentrate on a point by point rebuttal of the
corpus of work built up by the CL and Alliance over the last 30 years."
Instead he asserts as he has done for 30 years:
Message 11 at Appendix
Three: Correspondence on Italy "
"On the Question of Comrade Georgi Dimitrov it has long been upheld
by some constituents of the ISML that Dimitrov was an agent of the Nazis.
The views of Comrade Stalin and the CPSU b on the merits of Comrade Dimitrov
are well-known. We do not think that there can be any scientific evaluation
of the life and activity of Comrade Dimitrov which directly contradicts
the views of Stalin and the CPSU b. It may be recalled that the ISML upholds
the classics of Marx Engels Lenin and Stalin. However some constituents
of the ISML do not uphold the views of Stalin on Comrade Dimitrov and a
range of related questions in the period 1935 onwards."
Message 14 at Appendix
Three: Correspondence on Italy "
SINGH'S CHARGE (iv):
"the ISML has hidden the history of the Italian section of ISML"
- we have shown that we are not guilty.
HOWEVER, Singh was correct to point out a secretive process
of the former Lenin Committee. This behaviour cannot be laid at the door
of either Alliance or the ISML. The un-stated but implied charge of Singh
in htis context - that the ISML is a tool/cover for ISML is false.
From several exchanges over the years, we believe
that we can honestly charge Singh with rank sectarianism. The movement
at large must make its own mind up. As to his refusal to provide a scientific
rebuttal to the challenges raised on Dimitrov - we repeat that we urge
him to perform this long-over due task. If the analyses were to be at the
high theoretical level he is capable of - irrespective of what the conclusion
is - they would aid the entire movement.
Finally, we repeat to the ICMLPO) - that both
the ISML and the ICMLPO) have a lot to gain from joint discussions-meetings.
Alliance July 1, 2002.
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