ALLIANCE Marxist-Leninist (North America)
COMPASS  June 1995 No. 117; Communist League

    We thank you for your critical letter on our articles dealing with Dimitrov.

    With respect, we do not think you are being completely frank when you say that your letter merely asks for 'clarification' of our position. You express - as you have every right to do -- fundamental disagreement with our characterisation of Dimitrov as 'a pioneer of revisionism'.

    In present circumstances, where no Marxist-Leninist International exists, each organisation or party which aspires to Marxism-Leninism must necessarily make its own analysis of the world and determine its own policy on that basis. It must then consider with an open mind any criticism which may be levelled at its analysis, and correct this analysis with a self-criticism where this is seen to be appropriate.

    In this spirit, we have studied carefully your thesis that Dimitrov's political principles, in particular those adopted at the 7th Congress of the Comintern in 1935:

    and our considered, collective response follows.     The first point which must cast doubt on the thesis that Dimitrov was a Marxist-Leninist is the fact that the revisionists, while denigrating Stalin, heap praise upon Dimitrov. For example, at an international conference held in Sofia in June 1972 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Dimitrov's birth, the Soviet revisionist Boris Ponomarev said:     while Tito sent a message saying:     In other words, the same revisionists who present Stalin as 'a mass murderer' extol Dimitrov as 'a great Marxist-Leninist', Furthermore, as the Albanian historian Shyqri Ballvora points out, they hail the 7th Congress of the Comintern as representing a change in the strategy of the Comintern in the direction of the formulations later adopted by the 20th Congress of the CPSU under Khrushchev, that is, as heralding:     Ballvora holds that the revisionists are mistaken in this analysis and that the decisions of the 7th Congress of the Comintern were completely in accord with the principles of Marxism-Leninism:     But if this is so, why should the revisionists claim that the line of the 7th Congress of the Comintern represented a change in its strategy in the direction of the formulations later adopted by the 20th Congress of the CPSU under Khrushchev?

    Clearly, it is necessary to examine the formulations of the 7th Congress of the Comintern in greater detail than Ballvora has done in the passage cited above.

    'COMpass' has always endorsed the Leninist tactics of endeavouring to bring about the formation of united fronts of the working class around specific progressive objectives.

    The 'Popular Front' (more correctly, People's Front) is a different kettle of fish, since it aims to include in the front members of the capitalist class and their political parties. Thus, Dimitrov welcomes the inclusion of the French Radical Party in the French Popular Front:

    which he characterises as a bourgeois party:     Although a Popular Front is a front which includes representatives of the bourgeoisie, Dimitrov maintains that it does not represent class collaboration in the usual sense of the term. He asserts that it is pseudo-Left elements who are     But what is 'class collaboration'? It is defined as     In other words, Dimitrov claims that the united front against fascism constitutes an example of the exceptional cases where the working class and the capitalist class have common interests:     In December 1922, while Lenin was still politically active, the 4th Congress of the Comintern defined fascism as the establishment by the bourgeoisie of an open terrorist dictatorship in the conditions where it has become impossible for it to rule effectively through the machinery of 'parliamentary democracy'.     At the 7th Comintern Congress in 1935, however, Dimitrov took over the definition of fascism adopted by the 13th Plenum of the ECCI in December 1933:     It is clear at first glance that this definition differs radically from the 1922 Comintern definition in that it attributes the imposition of fascism no longer to a capitalist class, but to finance capital.

    Furthermore, this definition attributes the imposition of fascism not to finance capital as a whole, but only to certain elements of finance capital -namely, the 'most reactionary', 'most chauvinistic' and 'most imperialist' elements of finance capital.

    But this is in clear violation of Lenin's classic definition of imperialism as 'the monopoly stage of capital':

    And if there are 'most imperialist' elements of finance capital, then clearly there must be 'less imperialist' elements. In other words, Dimitrov accords with the pioneer of revisionism, Karl Kautsky, who characterises imperialism not as the monopoly stage of capitalism, but as a policy:     Dimitrov's un-Marxist definition of imperialism and fascism also 'serves as a basis for a whole system of views which run counter to Marxian theory and Marxian practice all along the line'. For if fascism is the dictatorship of the 'most reactionary', 'most chauvinistic' and 'most imperialist' elements of finance capital, then there must be 'less reactionary', 'less chauvinistic' and 'less imperialist' elements within finance capital which are not pro-fascist in policy and so may be recruited into a popular front against fascism.

    The 4th Congress of the Comintern in 1922 correctly put forward for colonial-type countries the slogan of an anti-imperialist united front including the national bourgeoisie:

    On the basis of Dimitrov's false and anti-Marxist-Leninist definitions of fascism and imperialism, the 7th Congress of the Comintern took over the 1922 Congress's conception of the anti-imperialist united front, which was correct for colonial-type countries, and applied it incorrectly to imperialist countries.     Dimitrov's theses support the formation of a united front or Popular Front government:     Dimitrov is somewhat vague about the manner in which such a government could come into being. However, he makes it clear that he is speaking of a government formed before the victory of a socialist revolution:     that is, he is speaking of a government formed through the parliamentary process, as in France:     Yet although such a government is to be formed without socialist revolution, through the parliamentary process, it should carry out a programme of revolutionary demands, that is, a programme that makes significant in-roads into the power of the capitalist state:     It is true, as Ballvera says, that Dimitrov does not completely discard at this time the Marxist-Leninist principle:     In the 1930s, when the Comintern was still functioning and Stalin was still in an influential position in the CPSU, it was impossible to put forward within the frontiers of the Soviet Union a political line which was openly in violation of this principle. Thus Dimitrov's 1935 formulation states:     No one at the congress appears to have asked why, if a Popular Front government had already carried out 'fundamental revolutionary demands' which had changed the character of the capitalist state, a socialist revolution should still be necessary!     On Lenin's insistence, the Comintern was a highly centralised international organisation:     In fact, even under revisionist leadership, a centralised Comintern was a significant barrier to the adoption of openly revisionist ideas, since individual parties could raise objections to these ideas.

    Consequently, as soon as the 7th World Congress of the Comintern was over, its revisionist leadership initiated steps to decentralise the organisation, giving individual parties 'day-to-day management' of their affairs:

    Lenin had in 1919 dismissed as 'a reactionary, petty bourgeois dream' the concept that there could be a form of state intermediate between the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and that of the proletariat:     At the 7th World Congress of the Comintern in August 1935, Dimitrov had endorsed this view, dismissing as 'Right opportunism’ the concept that there could be some intermediate kind of state between the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and that of the proletariat:     By September 1936, however, Dimitrov had repudiated this position and was presenting a state with a Popular Front government as precisely such an 'intermediate state':     Although the 2nd World War broke out in September 1939, it took the Comintern two months to publish an analysis of the character of the war. This analysis appeared in November 1939 under the signature of Georgi Dimitrov, who characterised the war as an unjust imperialist war on both sides, but in which Britain and France were principal warmongers:     On the day of the German attack on the Soviet Union, 22 June 1941, leaders of the Comintern reorganised the ECCI so as to place management of ECCI's work in the hands of a triumvirate of three leading revisionists Georgi Dimitrov, Dmitry Manuilsky and Palmiro Togliatti:     In June 1943, the Comintern was dissolved, and this was followed by the appearance of blatant open revisionism in the international communist movement.     In 1944, the leader of the Communist Party of the USA, Earl Browder, initiated the adoption by the Party of a totally revisionist programme. He presented the agreement between the Soviet Union and the Western imperialist powers at Teheran as an indication that inter-class antagonisms had been largely eliminated, so that American capitalism could be peacefully transformed into socialism by class collaboration through the institutions of 'American democracy'.

    William Foster, who was opposed to Browder's Teheran theses, wrote to Dimitrov asking for his support in opposing Browder, but Dimitrov wrote back supporting Browder:

    In March 1946, Dimitrov publicly supported the concept of peaceful transition to socialism, maintaining that     The editor of Dimitrov's 'Selected Works', Spass Roussinov, explains this change of line by 'changed conditions':     In November 1939, Dimitrov accepted the Marxist-Leninist thesis that war was inevitable under imperialism:     In April 1948, however, Dimitrov put forward the concept that, as a result of new international conditions:     In February 1952, Stalin refuted this revisionist concept of Dimitrov's, emphasising that war remained inevitable under imperialism:     You make the point that the Albanian leader Enver Hoxha paid tribute on several occasions to Dimitrov as a 'heroic Marxist-Leninist figure'.

    Now it is undoubtedly true that Hoxha was a staunch Marxist-Leninist and we differed from his assessment of Dimitrov only after exhaustive examination and re-examination of the facts had convinced us beyond doubt that it could not be reconciled with those facts.

    However, it is necessary to bear in mind that in a Marxist-Leninist Party democratic centralism necessarily operates, so that it is not always possible to know whether an individual member of such a Party -- even a leading member -- agrees with the line of that Party or not.

    It must be remembered that in both the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Party of Labour of Albania there were numerous concealed revisionists in influential positions, so that at times both Stalin and Hoxha were in a minority on certain questions.

    In any case, it is always dangerous for a Marxist-Leninist organisation or party to accept without question the line of any other organisation or party. This is illustrated by the nature of the influence which the Soviet revisionists were able to exert on the international communist movement after they had secured control of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. If the line of a party or organisation is correct, it will stand up to any scrutiny; if it does not stand up to such scrutiny, then it needs to be, and should be, amended.

    It appears that you are suggesting that because the PLA regarded Dimitrov as a Marxist-Leninist, the CL must be wrong in holding a contrary view. We do not accept this thesis.

    Facts show that the Cominform's characterisation of Tito in 1948 as a revisionist was correct. When, therefore, in 1955 Khrushchev 'rehabilitated' Tito as a 'Marxist-Leninist', those who later formed the Communist League were correctly able to characterise Khrushchev as a revisionist and so to reject the line of the infamous 20th Congress of the CPSU the following year.

    And yet, after 20th Congress of the CPSU, we find Enver Hoxha telling the 3rd Congress of the PLA:

    Again, those who later formed the CL published in 1968 their analysis of 'Mao Tse-tung Thought' as a brand of revisionism, and the CL basically accepts this. Although it is clear from Hoxha's political diary ('Reflections on China', published in 1979) - that he personally had been critical of the CPC for some years - then in 1966 the PLA itself was still maintaining:     Indeed, it was not until 1978 that the PLA first publicly criticised Chinese revisionism:     Should we have waited to characterise Khrushchev and Mao Tse-tung as revisionists until the PLA had corrected its erroneous line on them? We do not think so.

    Is there any evidence that, before the counter-revolution in Albania, the PLA was moving towards an amendment of its line on Dimitrov? We believe that there is such evidence in relation to the Balkan Federation affair.

    Prior to the Second World War, the Communist International, in conjunction with other organisations, fostered the concept of a Balkan Federation:     The situation changed following World War II. Spass Roussinov, the editor of Dimitrov's 'Selected Works', tells us:     Nevertheless, on 17 January 1948, Dimitrov was asked, in a press interview in Bucharest, about the prospects for the formation of a federation or confederation of Balkan states. He replied:     However, on 28 January 1948, 'Pravda' came out:     On 2 February 1948, at the 2nd Congress of the Fatherland Front, Dimitrov expressed Bulgarian acceptance of the Soviet line:     Dimitrov died in July 1949, and in December at the trial of Traicho Kostov and others, the Balkan Federation proposals were correctly described as treasonable, but no blame was attached to Dimitrov in connection with the proposals:     Hoxha condemned the plan for a Balkan Federation as having the aim of annexing the whole of the Balkans to revisionist Yugoslavia:     Since Hoxha was aware that the plan for a Balkan Federation had been revived by Tito: it is difficult to believe that Hoxha still considered Dimitrov, the accomplice of the traitor and fifth columnist Tito, to be a Marxist-Leninist hero'! WE HAVE CAREFULLY RE-EXAMINED OUR POSITION ON THE ROLE OF DIMITROV IN THE LIGHT OF YOUR VALUED LETTER OF CRITICISM, BUT FIND NO REASON TO AMEND OUR ANALYSIS.
Published by The Communist League (UK).

Cominterns, History of Three Cominterns Alliance 19
Comintern and Take-over of by Revisionism:
                                                                                    Stalin & Comintern
Comintern, Dissolution of & Revisionist Take-Over of 
Comintern     Betrayal of the Popular Front
Comintern Second Congress; Alliance 5
Comintern Sixth Congress: & the colonial revolution Alliance 5
Communist Information Bureau:
                                        Cominform Documents & Commentary by NS

Dimitrov & Reichstag Fire    Reichstag Fire-Compass112
Dimitrov Georgii Alliance 12:
                                           Dimitrov & Bulgarian Revisionism
                                    Also see on Cominform  AND ALSO:
Dimitrov & Subversion of United Front Tactics; 
                                            United Front
Dimitrov & "Popular Frontism"  Betrayal of the Popular Front

Dimitrov & Bulgaria, Revolution & History of  Dimitrov 
& also:
Dimitrov & Balkan Federation; Stalin's opposition to:
                                                                                                        Compass 112
Dimitrov & Popular Front in France        Compass 112a


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