When the Marxist-Leninist Organisation of Britain (MLOB) split leading to the formation of the Communist League led by Bill Bland, many Marxist-Leninsts world wide were perturbed about the reasons for the demise of the MLOB. This lengthy memorandum was sent to comrades of a fledgling organisation in India, who had while resident in the UK, been closely affiliated to the Marxist-Leninist Organisation of Britain.
    The MLOB had been led, for a historically produtive and effective period, by the team of Bill Bland and Mike Baker. The charismatic Mike Baker exercised quite a hold on various comrades, while the more background plodding style of Bland usually led to an under-estimation of him. What were the real, and political issues that underlay the split.
    In broad terms they can be characterised as a tendency to ultra-leftism and sectarianism on the part of Baker and a tendency to prevent that on the part of Bland.
    The concrete issues that these took expressions were:
    The nature of the anti-fascist front [i.e. the relationship of the anti-fascist front to the broad socialist front- the Red Front];
    the attitude to social democracy during the anti-fascist struggle [the slogan "social-fascism"];
    the degree to which the Communist Party Germany in the 1930's should be a 'model' for current day Marxist-Leninist parties [Baker saying it was among the highest expressions of proletarian organisations yet, while Bland disagreed];
    the nature of the People's Socialist Republic Albania [i.e. Was it socialist or not?];
    and the nature of a personal leadership versus democratic centralism itself.

    After the split, the adherents of Baker (the minority of the MLOB) in Britain, essentially were no logner effectively active. But Mike went on to express the natural outcome of his own positions - Baker became an open adherent of the Movement for Workers Councils espousing the views of Jan Appel (alias Max Hempel). In the translation of the magnum opus written by the anti-Bolshevik Council Communist Appel - "Fundamental Principles of Communist Production & Distribution", Baker writes:

Editorial Note: The Memorandum was sent in the name of "BC" who had been elected into leadership position of the Communist League. There is no doubt that the memorandum was written by Bill Bland however. BC himself became politically inactive in about 1984. The memorandum has received only one editorial amendment - the sections have been given numbers to allow for ease of reading & to allow a table of contents to be listed. In our opinion the items of most current general interest to the movement are the sections up to number 10.
Alliance June 2002.

Table Contents:
    Baker holds that the essence of modern revisionism is not abandonment of Marxist-Leninist principles to serve the needs the capitalist class but "failure to bring Marxism-Leninism up-to-date":
      It is, of course, axiomatic that the world changes, so that Marxist-Leninist tenets which were valid at one time may cease to be valid at a later time and need to be replaced by new tenets – or, in other words, that Marxism-Leninism needs constantly to be brought up-to-date to conform with changing reality. An aspiring Marxist-Leninist who fails to bring Marxism-Leninism up-to-date to conform with changed reality is not a Marxist-Leninist, but a dogmatist.

    Can it be said, however, that the essence of the revisionism of, say, the Communist Party of Great Britain is dogmatism, that it has clung to Marxist-Leninist tenets which have become no longer valid as a result of changing reality in Britain and the world?

    On the contrary, the essence of the revisionism of the CPGB is that it has abandoned basic principles of Marxism-Leninism -- the principle that the capitalist state is an organ of dictatorship on the part of the Capitalist class, that the working class needs to smash the capitalist state in order to abolish capitalism, that the working class needs its dictatorship in order to construct socialism. The essence of the revisionism of the CPGB is not that it has clung to the revolutionary tenets on which it based itself in the 1920s, but that it has abandoned Marxist-Leninist principles in order to revive what is essentially the revisionism of Bernstein.

    Clearly, Baker’s definition of revisionism has no validity.

    What, then, is its purpose?

    As is obvious from the quotation given above, the purpose of Bakers' erroneous definition of revisionism is to "justify" him in classing as a "revisionist" anyone who rejects his theory that capitalism is entering a "third stage" of development, beyond imperialism. Its purpose is to "justify" him -in classing as a "revisionist" anyone who continues to up-hold Lenin's analysis to the effect that imperialism is the highest, i.e. the last stage of development of capitalism.

    Baker’s concept of "corporate state monopoly capitalism" is based on the concept of the "corporate state".
    A corporate state is one which is based on "corporations", these being organisations consisting of "representatives" of the employers and "representatives" of the workers" within each sector of the economy. The term was first widely used by sociologists linked with the Catholic Church, who presented them as a revival of the mediaeval guilds adapted the conditions of modern capitalism:     The official aim of the campaign was to "abolish" class struggle while retaining an essentially capitalist society:     A corporate state is, therefore, one in which the representative institutions are based, not on representatives of political parties elected by geographical constituencies, but on representatives of the corporations:     The fully developed fascist dictatorship in Italy took the form of a corporate state:     The reality behind the picture drawn by the above apologists for fascism is that the corporate state is designed to provide a "democratic facade" to the terroristic dictatorship of monopoly capital similar to, although more restricted than, that which "parliamentary democracy" provides for the dictatorship of monopoly capital in contemporary Britain:     The role of the corporations as a "democratic facade" for a fascist dictatorship is illustrated by the f act, that the dictatorship itself was established in October l922, and the first the Bill to establish these corporations was not enacted until February l934, and the first meeting of any of these corporations took place in January 1935:     Baker uses the term "corporate state" extensively in his writings, but , as with many of the scientific terms which flow from his pen, he appears to have no clear understanding of its meaning.

    In one place he simply equates the term with a Labour government within "parliamentary democracy", speaking of compromise with the Labour Government (i.e., the corporate state (M Baker: 'Workers', Control"; London; 1976; p.21).

    In another place, he appears to define a corporate state as one which imposes state control of wages:

    Elsewhere again, he appears to define a corporate state as one which imposes state control of wages and nationalises the key sectors of the economy, speaking of the:     None of the above "definitions" bears the remotest resemblance to the correct definition of a corporate state. All the functions which Baker appears to imply are the prerogatives of a corporate state – the placing in office of a 'social-democratic' government, state control of wages, nationalisation of the key sectors of the economy -- can be, and often are, practised by what Baker calls, "traditionally structured" monopoly capitalist states.     Nevertheless, although this state is described by Baker as one which has "eliminated the last vestiges of independent proletarian organisation", although it comprises:     it is not a fascist dictatorship, -- nor, in fact, a corporate state --- - since it preserves "parliamentary democracy". For within this state, "at the appropriate tactical moment",     Which Baker defines a few lines before as:     In other words, "at the appropriate tactical moment",     According to Baker, monopoly capital aims to construct this "not fully fledged corporate state", which is associated with "parliamentary democracy", relatively peacefully -- that is, without the aid of the violence of fascist organisations, through social-democracy:     Later, however, "at the appropriate tactical moment" , and     What is this "appropriate tactical" moment when, and "only when", monopoly capital seeks to 'impose fascist dictatorship?
    It is reached when, and "only when", according to Baker,
    Firstly, the socialist revolutionary movement threatens to embrace a majority of the working class, in revolutionary struggle;
    Secondly, a strong, steeled Marxist-Leninist Party has gained the leadership of a majority of the working class, so that the approach of socialist revolution is seen to be imminent:     The "not fully-fledged corporate state" envisaged by Baker is one which is:     So, as Baker appears to admit, his 'not fully-fledged corporate state", is designed to effect , so far as the working class is concerned, what is done by a "fully-fledged fascist dictatorship":     In other words, so great is Baker's contempt for the working class, so devoid of any semblance of class consciousness does he regard it, that he puts forward the theory that it is likely to surrender all the fundamental rights and liberties it has won by more than a hundred years of struggle, without the slightest resistance, that it will meekly assist social-democracy in destroying its trade-unions -- in gagging and binding itself!

    While the revisionist CPGB preaches the illusion of "peaceful transition to socialism", Baker preaches the illusion of "peaceful transition to fascism".

    History, of course, proves the opposite. Both in Italy and in Germany the "corporate state" was erected after the violent destruction of the working class organisations by fascist bands, after (in the case of Italy, long after) the establishment of the fascist dictatorship.

    Even Palmiro Togliatti is compelled to say:

    Baker’s concept -  is that monopoly capitalism unleashes fascist violence "only when" social revolution appears imminent. In Italy, when fascist violence was unleashed in 1920-22, the working-class had suffered severe defeat in the sabotage of the occupation movement, and had not recovered from its resultant demoralisation. The "appropriate tactical moment" when monopoly capital unleashes fascist violence, strives to replace parliamentary democracy, occurs
for any reason ---and not merely because of the imminence of socialist revolutiion – "parliamentary democracy" has become, at least temporarily unworkable in the interests of monopoly capital.

    What, then, is the political effect of Baker's erroneous concepts concerning the "corporate state"?

    The political policy which must logically follow from these erroneous concepts is

    Baker’s erroneous concept of the "corporate state" thus serves as a new "theoretical framework" that seeks to justify a policy of sabotage in the building of a genuine anti-fascist united front at the earliest possible moment.     Baker presents the advent of a "corporate state" -- whether in its "earlier" form of the semi-fascist "not fully-fledged corporate state", or in its "later" form of the full fascist dictatorship – as:     Lenin, on the other hand, characterises two stages in the development of capitalism: firstly, the stage of competitive capitalism;

    Secondly; the stage of monopoly capitalism or imperialism, which he characterises as:

    of capitalism, that is, as its last stage of development:     In putting his "theory" of a "third stage" in the development of capitalism, a 'stage
beyond imperialism’, Baker is magnanimously prepared to excuse:     of Lenin’s definition, the result of his     Now, of course, Marxist-Leninists do not regard the writings of Marx, Lenin, etc. as some kind of "holy writ". As has been said, they accept that as the world changes certain tenets of Marxism-Leninism lose their validity - and must be replaced by new tenets.

    Nevertheless, Marxist-Leninists do not discard long-established tenets of Marxism-Leninism without incontrovertible evidence that they are not – or are no longer -- valid.

    In analysing the relationship of different forms of state to society, Marxists-Leninists distinguish the economic basis of society, which is primary, from the superstructure of society, which is secondary and determined from the requirements of the economic basis:

    Now, the transition from the first stage of capitalism, that of competitive capitalism, to the second stage of monopoly capitalism, represents a change in the economic basis of society.
    But a change in the form of the state within capitalism, represents a change not in the economic basis of capitalism, but of its superstructure, as Baker admits when he refers to:     But such a change of the state superstructure, unlike a change in the economic basis, does not represent not represent the transition to a new stage in the development of capitalism.

    Of course, the development of the economic basis of capitalism from the stage of competitive capitalism to that of monopoly capitalism brings about a modification of the state superstructure. Lenin analysed state-monopoly capitalism as an inevitable development of capitalism, a stage of development of imperialism, characterised by the facts that:

    True, Lenin speaks of "the transformation of monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism"? Could it be that he means that state monopoly capitalism is a stage in the "development of capitalism beyond monopoly capitalism?

    This interpretation is not possible, since Lenin describes imperialism as "the era of the transformation of monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism", and uses everywhere "imperialism" as a synonym for monopoly capitalism:

    Clearly, Lenin's meaning is not that state monopoly capitalism is a new stage in the development of capitalism beyond monopoly capitalism, beyond imperialism, but that within monopoly capitalism, within imperialism, "free enterprise" monopoly-capitalism develops into state-monopoly capitalism.

    Does Baker's concept of "corporate state-monopoly capitalism", with its modified state superstructure, -- whether in its imaginary "not full-fledged" form, or in its real form of a fascist-dictatorship – contain qualitatively new features in its economic basis which distinguishes it from the state-monopoly-capitalism analysed by Lenin? Clearly, it does not.

    Baker's concept of "corporate state monopoly capitalism" as a new "third stage" in the development of capitalism – a concept, which has real meaning only as a fascist dictatorship -- involves such absurdities as requiring one to believe that, with the imposition of fascist dictatorship in Italy in 1922, and in Germany in 1933, those monopoly capitalist societies advanced to a new "third stage" in the development of capitalism – only to revert to the "second stage" with the restoration of to "parliamentary democracy" in these countries following World War II.

    It would, however, be a mistake to dismiss Baker's anti-Leninist concept of the "third" stage as a pathetic, and unsuccessful attempt to establish himself as "a greater Marxist-Leninist than Lenin".

    For what are the conclusions which logically and incontrovertibly, flow from Baker’s "theory" that "corporative state-monopoly capitalism" represents a new "third stage" in the development of capitalism, so that it (i.e. the fascist dictatorship) and not imperialism (monopoly capitalist) is the "last" stage in the development of imperialism and even of "the eve of the socialist revolution"?

    The conclusions which flow from it --- conclusions which Baker has not dared, at least as yet, to put on paper, although he has implied them verbally in discussions within the MLOB --- are that the replacement of "parliamentary democracy" by fascism is historically progressive, since it advances capitalist society to its "final" stage, to "the eve of the socialist revolution", and consequently, resistance to fascism is fundamentally reactionary!

    One recalls the words of the German revisionist Wilhelm Pieck at the 13th. Plenum of the ECCI in December 1933, in the days when he was still following a "leftist" course:

    In discussions within the MLOB, Baker not infrequently expressed the view that the strategy and tactics of the Communist Party of Germany in 1929-33 should be adopted as the model for Marxist-Leninist Parties in developed capitalist countries.

    It is of significance that, although the CPG had in 1933 250,000 members (five times the membership of the Bolshevik Party at the time of the socialist revolution in Russia), a para-military organisation of 100,000, and more than 5 million supporters, there was virtually no resistance to the imposition of the fascist dictatorship in January of that year:

    To Marxist-Leninists, who hold that the imposition of a fascist-dictatorship represents a serious setback for the working class and the revolutionary socialist movement, it might seem from this that the strategy and/or critics of the CPG in 1929-33 were seriously defective.

    But to those who, like Baker, may regard the imposition of a fascist dictatorship as a historically progressive development, it is natural that the strategy, and tactics of the CPG in 1929-33 should be regarded as highly successful, as the model which should be adopted by Marxist-Leninists in developed capitalist country.

    In examining the strategy and tactics of the CPG in 1929-33, it is mainly with tactics that we are concerned. Not all the tactics adopted by the CPG in this period were originated in this period, some dating from an early period when socialist-revolution in Europe was regarded as imminent. But by 1925 it had become clear, that the post-World War I revolutionary tide had subsided in Europe and that capitalism was entering a period of stabilisation:     And of course, tactical principles which may be perfectly correct in a period of revolutionary upsurge, may cease to be correct at a later period. Indeed, in introducing united front tactics in 1921, the Communist International made precisely this point.

    It was long Baker's contention within the MLOB that so long as fundamental strategy was correct, tactics – even incorrect tactics were of minor importance.

    But the science of socialist revolution is made up of two parts: strategy and tactics:

    It:     They:     They:     Correct tactics can only be determined on the basis of accurate knowledge of, and scientific analysis of, the concrete objective conditions especially the relation of class forces -- existing at the particular time in the particular country:     It will be noted that Stalin states that tactics "pursue less important objects" than strategy. Does this mean that, as Baker holds, tactics are of less importance than strategy so that Marxist-Leninists need play less attention to tactics than to strategy?

    In one sense tactics may be regarded as of less importance than strategy -- in the sense that an individual battle (such as a strike) may be lost through the adoption of incorrect tactics without affecting the outcome of the war as a whole.

    But strategy is put into operation during each phase of the war through tactics, so that if a whole series of battles are lost as a result of the continued adoption of incorrect tactics, a correct strategy may be rendered null and void.

    Furthermore, certain battles in a war between states must be regarded as "decisive" in that their outcome affects the history of the war at least for a long time to come. If, as a result of the adoption of incorrect tactics by the General Staff of one state involved in such a battle, the army of that state is smashed to pieces, its soldiers disarmed and taken prisoner, then these incorrect tactics have clearly affected the history of the war for a long period.

    If the establishment of a fascist dictatorship in a developed capitalist country results in the smashing of the army of .the working class, then this will clearly affect the history of the class war for a long period. If this is so, then the struggle against fascism represents a decisive battle in the class war, and it is supremely important that the General Staff of the working class -- the Marxist-Leninist Party should have elaborated the correct tactics for the struggle against fascism.

    A task of cardinal importance for the Marxist-Leninist Party is to win the support of a majority of trade unionists to a progressive and ultimately a revolutionary -- policy.

    This requires that every member of the Party should work actively within his appropriate trade union in accordance with the strategy and tactics laid down by the Party.

    It requires that two or more Party members within the same union should form an organised fraction for this purpose.

    It requires that a Party fraction should strive to win non-Party progressive trade unionists to collaborate with the fraction, so that they may participate in broader, non-disciplined progressive groups -- led, if possible by the Party fraction -- with the aim of winning them to support within the trade union the strategy and tactics laid down by the Party, in their own interest.

    Such proggressive trade unionists can then be invited to study classes organised by the Party, they can be sold appropriate Party literature, etc. with the aim of winning them into membership of the Party -- and so into membership of the narrower, disciplined Party fraction within the trade union.

    The name by which such "progressive groups" within the trade unions are called is not of great importance. Nevertheless, a trade unionist who is prepared to struggle for higher wages and better living conditions and who recognises that this can only be done from below against the existing leadership of his union, may be yet far from being a revolutionary socialist. To insist that such "progressive"  groups within the trade-unions be called "red" or "revolutionary" is to place a barrier against participation in them by such trade unionists, to hold back the struggle to transform the reformist-led trade unions into real organs of working class struggle, to retard the recruiting of progressive trade unionists to the Party.

    The insistence on calling such 'progressive groups" within trade unions by the name of Red Trade Union Opposition or, Revolutionary Trade Union Opposition was thus a "leftist" tactical error.

    The transformation of reformist-led trade unions into real organs of struggle can be accomplished only from within these trade unions by correct fractional struggle which exposes the role of the right-wing bureaucratic leaders to the rank-and-file:     In some unions the bureaucracy will succeed in using the union machinery to prevent their expulsion by the will of the majority of the membership. In such cases it is correct, provided certain conditions pertain, to break away from the old union machinery and establish new "independent unions" (independent, that is, of the right-wing bureaucracy).

    The pamphlet "What is to be Done Now?" was written and published by Baker in collusion with Scott in 1973, without it having been approved by the MLOB. The promise extracted from Baker that this would not recur proved one of the "fetters" which Baker found intolerable in relation to the MLOB. However, in the circumstances in which it appeared, it must be presumed to express Baker's views on the conditions under which it is correct to form such new "independent trade unions". Marxist-Leninists, writes Baker, must take care to avoid:

    We are in agreement with this formulation, which is in line with Lenin's scathing criticism of the moves to set up minority "red unions" in Germany in 1919-20:     In flagrant contradiction with this sound principle of Marxist-Leninist tactics, Solomon Lozovsky, the leader of the Red International of Labour Unions, was telling the ECCI Trade Union Commission in 1929:     Already, in line with this policy, the 4th. Congress of the RILU in March/April 1928, had adopted a resolution calling for the transformation of the Communist fractions in the trade unions into new "revolutionary unions".
    The 5th, Congress of the RILU ratified:     As a result of this pernicious 'leftist" policy, by the end of 1932 the Red Trade Unions had a membership of 95,000, against a membership of the reformist-led trade unions of more than 5 million.

    Already by the middle of.1932, however, voices were being raised in condemnation of this policy:

    At the 13th Plenum of the ECCI in December 1933, B.A.Vasiliev pointed out that:     The "Materials" published by the ECCI for the 7th, World Congress of the CI in July/August 1935 were designed to turn the international communist movement on to a right revisionist course and so were blunt about the effects of the former "leftist" policy in relation to the trade-unions, pointing out that the Party had:     And at the congress itself, Wilhelm Pieck, reporting on behalf of the ECCI, said:     On March 5th., 1933 the CPG appealed for a general strike against the fascist coup. As Ossip Piatnitsky told the ECCI President in July 1934, there was a:     The policy of the ECCI and the CPG towards the trade union movement in 1929-33 was clearly a most harmful "leftist" one.

    Furthermore, the same objections already considered to calling "progressive groups" within trade unions by the name of "Red" or "Revolutionary"
    also apply equally
    to insistence on calling "independent trade unions" by the name "Red" or "Revolutionary".

    This places a barrier against membership of them by trade unionists who recognise the need for an "independent trade union" to struggle for their day-to-day interests, but may ye be far from being revolutionary socialists.

    This, too, is a "leftist" error.

    Marxist-Leninists recognise that "parliamentary democracy" is a false facade which conceals the dictatorship of the capitalist class. It is their aim to replace "parliamentary democracy" by the more democratic dictatorship of the working class.

    Nevertheless, Marxist-Leninists understand that the "parliamentary democratic", form of capitalist state, as distinct from the fascist corporate state, is associated with possession by the working people  of certain democratic rights and liberties which are valuable to them in their day-to-day struggles, and which facilitate the building of a movement of socialist revolution.

    It is clearly of benefit to the development of the movement of socialist revolution that workers should be able legally to form independent organs of struggle, that a Marxist-Leninist Party should be able to operate legally, to publish literature legally, to hold meetings and demonstrations legally, to stand candidates for election legally, so that they may use the positions to which they are elected to raise the political level of the working people.

    Thus, the replacement of "parliamentary democracy" by a fascist dictatorship is detrimental to the interests of the working-class, is detrimental to the building of the movement for socialist revolution.

    If this analysis is correct, then it is clearly vitally important in the interests of the working-class, in the interests of the socialist revolutionary movement, to construct an effective resistance force against fascism.

    If, on the other hand, this analysis is rejected and it is held that there is no qualitative distinction between a "parliamentary democratic" state and a fascist state; then the construction of an effective resistance to fascism is held to be of little or no importance, and "anti-fascism" is regarded merely as an aspect, a slogan, of the socialist-revolutionary movement:

    The "leftist" leadership of the CI held in 1929-43, that there was no qualitative distinction between a ''parliamentary democratic" state and a fascist state, and this line was loyally followed by the Communist Party of Germany:

    At the 11th Plenum of the ECCI in March/April 1931, Dmitri Manuilsky said;

    A resolution of the Central Committee of the CPG in March 1932 called for the overcoming of:     This "leftist" misrepresentation was associated with the claim that the restrictions imposed by "parliamentary democracy" – even though the CPG remained legal, was able to hold meetings and demonstrations legally, was able to contest elections at all levels - - amounted to ‘fascism’.:

    As early as January 1931, Thalmann was telling the CC of the CPG:

    In June 1932, the CC of the CPG was describing the Papen government as:     At a conference of Party functionaries in August 1932, Thalmann was declaring:     In December 1932 the CI journal was saying:     This "leftist" political misrepresentation continued right through the period to the actual imposition of the fascist dictatorship from December 1930, when the CPG paper, declared:     If the replacement of "parliamentary democracy" by a fascist dictatorship is detrimental to the interests of the working class, is detrimental to the building of the movement for a socialist revolution, then it is clearly, vitally important to construct an effective resistance to fascism.

    Baker's "Theses on the Anti-Fascist United Front", published in November 1974, are an eclectic melange of some of Baker’s own views with some which were adopted by a majority of members. With Baker's principal thesis the Communist League entirely agrees:

    If, on the other hand, this analysis is rejected, and it is held that there is no qualitative difference between a "parliamentary democratic" state and a fascist state then the construction of an effective resistance to fascism, in the form of a broad anti-fascist united front, is held to be of little or no importance, and "anti- fascism" is regarded merely as an aspect, a slogan, of the socialist revolutionary movement.

    This latter was, logically enough on the basis of the false premise that the position of the CPG. In the earlier part of the period under consideration: that the fight against fascism is the fight for socialist revolution:

    Later however, as the pressure for a united front against fascism rose among the working class, including the rank-and-file of the CPG, this slogan "for the building of a united front against fascism" --- was adopted by the Party, but, in line with the political position described in the previous paragraph, was termed a "red" or "revolutionary" united front against fascism, thus presenting a barrier to participation in it of anyone who did not already support socialist revolution:     Even when, on the initiative of the CPG, the "anti-fascist united front" was given organisational form in May 1932 as "Anti-Fascist Action", this was described as,     and workers were urged to join:     And, answering questions from social-democratic workers in mid-July 1932, Thalmann made it clear that the aim of Anti-Fascist Action was:     Furthermore, it was made quite clear that organisations and functionaries of the Social-Democratic Party would be refused participation in the "anti-fascist united front":     This "leftist" formulation enabled the SPG leaders to make offers of participation in a united front against fascism to the CPG, knowing in advance that they would be rejected. Thus, instead of exposing the opposition of the SPG leaders to organising a genuine anti-fascist united front, it was the CPG leaders who were exposed:     The tactics of the CPG in relation to the building of a broad anti-fascist united front were clearly harmfully "leftist".     Up to the time of World War 1, parties representing the interests of the working class were generally known as "social-democratic" parties, and the systematised views of these parties as "social-democracy".

    With the degeneration of these parties into political instruments of the monopoly capitalists of the various countries, Lenin coined a number of terms such as "social-imperialists" "social-chauvinist"; etc.; to denote an imperialist posing as a social-democrat, a chauvinist posing as a social-democrat etc.
    The crypto-revisionist leadership of the Communist International in 1930-33, coined the term "social-fascist", meaning by analogy with the terminology developed by Lenin, a fascist posing as a social-democrat.

    It is true that social-democracy, to the extent that it exerts mass influence over the working class, assists in the development of fascism. It is equally true that social-democracy, in office, is capable of severe repressive measures against the working class and the socialist revolutionary movement. But is it true that the only difference between a fascist and a social-democrat, is that the latter is a fascist posing as a social-democrat, is a crypto-fascist?

    If, this latter statement were true, then with the establishment of a fascist dictatorship social-democrats could throw off their masks and reveal themselves as fascists. But history shows that this is a rare phenomenon.

    We understand that it is the contention of one of your leading members that with the imposition of fascism in Germany, the so-called democratic leaders were simply "pensioned off.". This is contrary to historical fact. Even Baker a strong proponent of the term "social-fascism", admits that:

    The application of the term "social-fascism" to social-democracy equates social-democracy with fascism. This is untrue. Social-democracy assists in the development of fascism, but it professes anti-fascism; a fascist dictatorship is established directly, not by social-democracy but by the violence of the fascist gangs. There is a certain real competition between social-democracy and fascism for the service of monopoly capital.

    But where there is any contradiction between enemies of the working class, no matter how small these may be, it is the task of Marxist-Leninists, to strive in their tactics to utilise such a contradiction for the benefit of the working class:

    And where the working class is faced at a particular time, with two enemies, between which there is some contradiction, the task of the Marxist-Leninist Party is to direct the struggle of the working class against the principal, most immediately dangerous enemy and to strive to take advantage --of the contradiction between the principal and the secondary enemies in order to expose the latter to the working class. These were the tactics developed by Lenin when, in September 1917, the working class was faced with direct attack by Whiteguard troops under Lavr Kornilov while the social-democratic government of Aleksandr Kerensky mouthed words of resistance:     In Germany in 1930-33, the fascist party was being armed and financed by the monopoly capitalists with the aim of the establishment, through this party, of a terroristic dictatorship over the working people, while the social-democratic party although mouthing "anti-fascism", was in practice sabotaging the building of an effective resistance to fascism.

    Clearly, in those circumstances the fascist party was the principal most immediately dangerous enemy of the working class, against which the principal struggle of the working class should have been directed, while the social-democratic party was a secondary, less immediately dangerous, enemy which required primarily to be exposed -- not least because of its sabotage in practice of the anti-fascist movement.

    The use of the term "social-fascism" by the CPG in this period had the effect of equating fascism and social-democracy, of directing the struggle with equal emphasis against the principal enemy – fascism and the secondary enemy social-democracy – and so - both weakening the struggle against the principal enemy, and failing adequately to expose the secondary enemy.

    On the latter point, it must be said that our experience in the anti-fascist movement in Britain today completely confirms this conclusion: the use of the term "social-fascist" to describe not only social-democracy, but revisionism and trotskyism:

    --- not only fails to expose the leaders of these political trends to the rank-and-file,  but tends to rally the rank-and-file behind these leaders in indignation at what they consider to be mere unjustified insulting abuse.

    Nevertheless, in the period 1930-33 the CI had the CPG made constant  use of the terms "social-fascist" and "social-fascist", making it clear that they rejected any practical, distinction between social-democracy and fascism:

    The use of the term "social-fascism" by the CPG in 1930-33 was a "leftist" tactical error.     It is true that the leadership of both the CI and the CPG in this period sometimes spoke against the equation of social-democracy with fascism. But this was not done in order to present fascism as the principal most immediately dangerous enemy of the working class, but to present as the principal enemy of the working class, against which the main struggle of the working class should be directed, social-democracy:     This line was continued not only right up to the fascist coup of January 1933:     but even after it:     Far from being a model for the Marxist-Leninist Parties in developed capitalist countries, the strategy and tactics of the Communist Party of Germany in 1929-33 were examples of harmful "leftism" in many important respects, a strategy and tactics which objectively assisted German monopoly capital to impose its fascist dictatorship.     Baker declares that the Anti-Fascist United Front should struggle:     At the same time, he insists:     Many people who are prepared to participate actively in an anti-fascist united front will have illusions about "'parliamentary democracy", will not recognise that it is a facade which conceals the dictatorship of the capitalist class. In appealing to them to join in the defence of democratic rights and liberties associated with "parliamentary democracy", how does the Anti-Fascist United Front avoid appealing to those illusions? Only, it would seem, by proclaiming that "parliamentary democracy" is the dictatorship of the capitalist class, a truth which is recognised only by those who have come to accept the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

    Again Baker says:

    Many people who are prepared to participate actively in an anti-fascist united front will not recognise that the concrete freedoms of the working class can be retained and extended only by forcibly restricting the concrete freedoms of the capitalist class, and ultimately secured, only by the establishment of the dictatorship of the working class. In appealing to them to join in the defence of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, etc., how does the Anti-Fascist United Front avoid appealing to these illusions? Only, it would, seen by proclaiming that ''it favours such freedoms only for the working class, a position which is accepted only by those who have come to accept the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

    But for the Anti-Fascist United Front to take up such positions on "parliamentary democracy" and class freedom is equivalent to restricting membership to anti-fascists who have come to accept the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

    Thus, while saying in one place that the ranks of the Anti-Fascist United Front:

    and:     By saying that the propaganda of the Anti-Fascist United Front on the questions of  "parliamentary democracy" and "freedom" must be based on Marxist-Leninist principles,
Baker is thereby in effect restricting participation in it to those who have come to
accept those principles.  But it is, of course, the task of the Marxist-Leninist Party and the socialist revolutionary movement to put forward Marxist-Leninist principles; it is the task of the
Anti-Fascist United Front to resist fascism.

    Thus the Anti-Fascist Movement says that it stands for the defence of the democratic rights and liberties associated with "parliamentary democracy", including the freedoms of speech, of assembly, etc. against the attempts of the fascists to destroy them.    The Marxist-Leninist Party and the socialist revolutionary movement, does not take  a position in contradiction with that of the Anti-Fascist United Front. But it adds to the presentation of the position of the Anti-Fascist United Front, the view that  "parliamentary democracy" is in reality the dictatorship of the capitalist class and  needs to be replaced by the dictatorship of the working class in order that a new socialist society may be constructed; and it adds that the concrete freedoms of the working class can be secured only by ultimate suppression of the concrete freedom of the capitalist-class.

    Baker’s pretext for insisting that the anti-Fascist United Front adopt a Marxist-Leninist position on the questions of "parliamentary democracy" and "freedom" is that unless this is done, it:

    The picture which Baker draws is of course, nonsense. It is the picture of workers joining the Anti-Fascist United Front because they wish to participate in resistance to fascism but still retaining illusions about "parliamentary democracy"; in the Anti-Fascist United Front they come into contact
with members of the Marxist-Leninist Party and the socialist revolutionary movement who play the leading role in the Front, and who have long ago shed their illusions about "parliamentary democracy"; it is the picture of these workers shedding  their illusions about "parliamentary democracy" both as a result of its degeneration and as a result of the influence of Marxist-Leninists, of realising that not only fascism but even the dictatorship of the capitalist class – and then joining the fascists!

    And if as Baker demands, the Anti-Fascist United Front had put forward a Marxist-Leninist position on "parliamentary democracy", then these workers, retaining their illusions about it, would not have participated in the Anti-Fascist United Front. This would then have not become a broad organisation, and the destruction of the socialist revolutionary movement would have been inevitable.

    To sum up, what does the Anti-Fascist United Front say to a worker who approaches them, saying: "I believe in 'parliamentary democracy’, which the fascists want to destroy, which the fascists denounce as ‘useless’. Does the Anti-Fascist United Front believe in defending "parliamentary democracy" against fascist attempts to destroy it?"

    According to Baker, the reply of the Anti-Fascist United Front to such a worker should be: "Certainly not! We are not in favour of defending "parliamentary democracy" against fascist attempts to defend in destroy it. We think it is useless too".

    This can hardly be called an encouragement for such a worker to join the Anti-Fascist United Front!

    Furthermore, it implies that, while the fascists may be bad in wanting to destroy freedoms of the working class, their attempts to destroy "parliamentary democracy" are good and are favoured by the Anti-Fascist United Front. Such a formulation would be, of course, completely in line with Baker’s thesis of "The Third Stage"' – that transition from "parliamentary democratic" monopoly capitalism to fascist monopoly capitalism represents a "historically progressive" development, one which bring the working class nearer to socialist revolution.

    In concusion, insistence that the Anti-Fascist United-Front, should dissociate itself from the defence of "parliamentary democracy" and the democratic rights and liberties associated with it against fascist attempts to destroy them is a harmful "leftist" mistake.

    The position of the CL on Albania has been made clear in a number of documents, including the appendix to the China report. The section of the CL Manifesto dealing with Albania says:     The character of the economic basis of a particular society is determined by the relations of production which exist there, not by the foreign policy of its ruling party.

    The process by which a socialist society may converted into a capitalist society is presented in documented detail in our forthcoming book: 'The Restoration of Capitalism In the Soviet Union": the elimination of centralised economic planning; the ending of the practice of free allocation of means of production to enterprises; the transformation of means of production into commodities; the introduction of profit as the motive and regulator of production; the determination of production "plans", prices etc., by each enterprise; the introduction of bonus schemes drawn from the profits of each enterprise and distributed so that the lion's share - surplus value, accrues to the management personnel, the new Soviet capitalists; and so on.
    None of these developments have occurred -- to date -- in the PRA.

    On the contrary the former differentials between the incomes of directors and top officials on the one hand and ordinary workers on the other have been greatly reduced as a result of a conscious attack on what the APL correctly diagnoses as a principal economic basis of revisionism with a socialist society.

    At the same time, the pro-Chinese propaganda of ten years ago has been greatly reduced. Despite the recent death of Mao, Hoxha in his Report to the 7th. Congress of the APL in November 1976 refers, to China and Mao in a formal couple of paragraphs for the first time on page 200. The Communist Party of China has refrained from sending a delegate to the last two congresses of the APL, and the Albanian government has significantly refused to follow the Peking line of supporting NATO as a "force for peace". The extensive purges of last year indicate that there is an intense political struggle proceeding within the AFL.

    In other words, the final position of the APL has not yet been determined. So long as Albanian society remains proletarian socialist in character, the possibility remains that Albania, will not only remain a socialist enclave in a capitalist world, but that the APL will eventually play a leading role in the establishment of a new genuine, Marxist-Leninist International -- for the correction of its foreign policy in relation to China would be bound to lead to repudiation, by it of the maoist groups (as well as of Albania by the latter).

    In these circumstances, we maintain that it is the cardinal duty of every Marxist-Leninist group to do its utmost to foster solidarity with socialist Albania.

    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".

    The discussions which were held within the MLOB on Albania were "unsatisfactory" to Bakerm not as he says because Comrade WB:

    In fact, the Albanian Society published regular accounts of the social system in Albania, and of the policies adopted by the Albanian government, which Baker received as a member of the society. Further, the unpublished material from Albania was available 'to Baker as member of the committee of the Albanian Society from1968 until he allowed his membership to lapse in l975.

    Baker’s dissatisfaction with the MLOB discussions on Albania, was due to the fact that no-one including himself, was able to present any evidence to justify speaking of the revisionist degeneration of Albanian society, and so justify Baker’s wish to end the policy of working for solidarity with socialist Albania.

    Nevertheless, this did not prevent Baker from securing the passing of a resolution in 1974 instructing Conrade WB to withdraw from the position of Secretary of the Albanian Society -- a decision which has placed the operation of the society in grave difficulties since the new secretary has proved unreliable and has resigned in less than a year.

    Far from supporting solidarity with socialist Albania, Baker has now descended to the depths of the gutter capitalist press in suggesting that such solidarity is linked with "foreign espionage", as when he denounces Comrade WB’s association with Albania" (M. Baker:. ibid.; p. 4), as having:

    Baker's hostility to the Albanian Society however, goes back much further than his hostility to socialist Albania. Even when he favoured solidarity with Albania, he objected strongly to the Constitution of the society, maintaining that if it was not to be an "opportunist organisation" it must adopt a Marxist-Leninist position on the facets of Albanian Policy which it reported factually – that it must praise those facets which were in accordance with Marxist-Leninist principles and denounce those which were not. This is clear from his demand that the society should adopt a:     that is, a Marxist-Leninist orientation.

    The majority of members of the MLOB opposed this viewpoint, as "left-sectarian" in character, one which would have effectively alienated from it all those who while favouring solidarity with Albania and desirous of receiving factual information about it, had not yet reached a Marxist-Leninist position. Had this policy been adopted, it would have transformed the Albanian Society from a
Broad front with correct if limited aims, into the MLOB under another name.

    Marxist-Leninists distinguish between the aims of the Marxist-Leninist Party and the more limited aims of broad front organisations, which aim to secure the allegiance of persons who support those more limited aims without necessarily accepting those of the Party.

    The task of supporting those facets of Albanian policy which are in accordance with Marxism-Leninism, and of criticising those which are not is the task of the Marxist-Leninist Party (or its nucleus). The MLOB fulfilled this role (e.g. in its critical letter to the APL) and this task has been continued by the CL.

    Baker's position in relation to Albania has now become an anti-socialist policy, one in clear breach of all the principles of proletarian internationalism, one akin to that of the trotskyites in relation to the Soviet Union in the days when Soviet society was also socialist in its economic basis.

    The folly of his "leftist" attitude towards broad front organisations is shown when he maintains that, although the Albanian society spread factual information about socialism in Albania, encouraged travel to it, fostered campaigns for the establishment of diplomatic relations, assisted in the organisation of official Albanian exhibitions in Britain, etc.. , the failure to adopt Baker’s "left-sectarian" Constitution resulted only in:

        9) The question of the Allegation of the Indian Comrades concerning Comrade WB

    I have raised with Comrade WB the allegation which, we understand two of your leading Comrades have made to the effect that Comrade WB "lied" to them during his discussions with them in India in 1975. His (WBB"s - ed) reply is as follows:

    We understand that two of your leading comrades are under the impression that the majority of the MLOB voted to "dissolve" the so-called "Red Front Movement". This impression is not in accordance with the facts.

    The resolution under which the MLOB set up the Red Front Movement called for it to be an organisation of sympathisers of the MLOB for the purpose of providing an organised stepping-stone for individuals who were prepared to associate themselves loosely with the MLOB, to undertake certain forms of political activity, etc., but were not as yet prepared to undertake the obligations of
membership of a party.

    In principle, we favour the formation of such an organisation by a Marxist-Leninist organisation or Party when its organisational strength has reached the stage where this can be done effectively.

    However, when the Constitution of the Red Front Movement was drawn up on the inspiration of Baker, its first aim was declared to be:

    This is the main point of controversy which arose concerning the Red Front Movement, for the above aim is based on the "leftist" anti-Marxist-Leninist principle that the revolutionary movement can be built up from above, that is, from outside the existing mass organisations of the working class.

    It is of course, axiomatic that the Marxist-Leninist Party must be built "from above", so that the MLOB/CL may be regarded as the "inceptive nucleus" of the British Marxist-Leninist Party. Lenin was speaking specifically of the Party when he wrote:

    But when referring to the building of the socialist revolutionary movement, as distinct from its vanguard, Lenin on countless occasions denounced and ridiculed the attempts of "leftists" to build this "from above’ that is from outside the existing mass organisations of the working class, by the creation of new, artificial organisations (as has been shown earlier, in the section on the trade unions):     In violation of this Marxist-Leninist principle, Baker during the whole period in which he held the position of Secretary of the MLOB, attempted to put into, practice the notion of building the socialist revolutionary movement "from above", that is from outside the existing mass organisations of the working class by the creation of new, artificial organisations.

    At the same time, a minority of Comrades consistently opposed this notion and practice, in accordance with the principles of democratic centralism and the Constitution of the MLOB -- as the following extracts submitted to the Political Bureau in 1969 show:

    That Baker continues to put forward the first line of tactics criticised in the above memorandum, now that the "restraints" of democratic-centralism have been removed from him, is shown by his statement:     It is, of course, quite incorrect to say that the CL does not have a perspective of the formation of "independent organisations" outside the existing mass organisations (this is already been dealt with in the section on the CPG) but we are satisfied that this can only be brought 'about, not by the creation of artificial "independent organisations" outside the existing mass organisations, but as a result of correct work in those existing mass organisations (which, of course, are necessarily dominated at the moment by social-democrats, revisionists, trotskyites, etc.)

    Returning now to the Red Front Movement by the summer of 1974, this consisted of three members, all members of the MLOB, with no prospective members within range of vision. Naturally, these comrades felt it somewhat of a futile waste of time to meet solemnly as the "RFM" in addition to attending MLOB meetings, and it was in these circumstances that a discussion on the future of the organisation took place.

    Some comrades favoured the dissolution of the RFM, but a majority -- a majority which incidentally, contrary to Baker’s assertion, included Comrade WB – held that the RFM had performed a useful function in the previous period in bringing sympathisers closer to, and into, the MLOB and, favoured

    In the discussion on the second point above Baker made a self-criticism of his role in framing the Constitution of the RFM, admitting that its primary aim had been an incorrect "leftist" deviation from Marxist-Leninist principles.

    These proposals were supported by Baker. The statement by Baker:

    is contrary to fact.
    Baker opposed not the temporary freezing of RFM, but its dissolution.

    His statement in the next sentence, that Comrade WB put forward

    is also contrary to fact .Comrade WB along with Baker, supported the proposals referred to above, which included retention of the name of the RFM.

    And since the RFM was placed "on", it carried out no activities between the time of its freezing and November 1974, so that Baker's statement that, following its freezing, it:

    is no more than the product of Baker's fevered imagination.

    As I said earlier, the CL favours the formation of an organisation of sympathisers who are prepared to cooperate with the CL in certain fields of activity but not yet to join it, and it is our intention to form such an organisation when the CL's organisational strength permits. This will not, however, be regarded as the "inceptive nucleus" of the socialist revolutionary movement.

    It is, we understand, the view of at least two of your Comrades that the CL should publish a detailed reply to the statement issued under the name of K.Spode.

    Before dealing with this, we should like to summarise the events leading up to Baker’s expulsion from the MLOB:

Autumn 1974:

Oct. 28th., 1974: 29th 1974: Oct. 3Oth.1974: Nov. 2nd., 1974:

Nov 5th., 1974:,

Nov. 6th., 1974:

Nov. 8th. 1974:

Nov. 13th., 1974: Nov. 14th., 1974; Nov. 16th, 1974: Nov. 24th 1974:     A recital of these events alone should be sufficient to convince any objective observer of the worthlessness of Spode's statement, which, prepared in collusion with Baker, was intended to provide "evidence" to support Baker's allegation that some at least of those members who had voted for his dismissal as Secretary had beep engaged in "factional activity".

    Now anyone can allege anything against anybody. Such allegations are worthy of attention only if the "witness" is prepared to be cross-examined on the "evidence" on which the allegations, are said to be based. Indeed the right to cross-examine a witness for the "prosectuion" must be considered as one of the democratic rights which the working class should struggle to retain. Not only was Spode manifestly unwilling to be cross-examined on either of her two statements, but in the case of her first statement she was unwilling even to be examined by the Comrade whom she had then accepted as an impartial investigator. This is understandable since, as those of our Comrades who were members of the MLOB, at the time know, the alleged "factional meetings" referred to in Spode's statement never took place.

    The value of Spode’s alleged concern that the majority of Comrades in the MLOB were, 'moving towards revisionism' may be judged from the fact that she is now a member of the revisionist Communist Party of Great Britain.

    The MLOB before its change of name to that of the Communist League, did issue a reply to Spode's statement:

    We maintain that this reply is more than sufficient to convince any objective observer of the worthlessness of Spode's statement, and that anyone who is not so convinced does not wish to be convinced. In our view, the publication of a further detailed reply – which could merely state that this alleged meeting and that alleged telephone conversation did not take place, would be unlikely to convince such prejudiced observers, and would therefore, be a waste of time.

    In various documents issued by Baker during the past eighteen months, Baker has admitted that the basic cause of the events which led up to his expulsion from the MLOB was the political fact that a group of members of the MLOB – in fact the majority --- did not accept as valid his thesis of the "third stage":

    Since there was never the slightest disagreement within the MLOB on the importance of point b above, Baker is admitting that the "split" in the MLOB was brought about as a result of the opposition which he came up against in relation to point a -- his thesis of the "third stage'.

    This point is clarified in Baker's letter of March 1975:

    Thus, point b in the first quotation above has relevance to the "split" in that, as he admits in the second quotation, he wished that the strategy and tactics of the socialist revolution should be orientated on the basis of his thesis of the "third stage".

    We reject, of course the attempt to individualise the political principles involved in this controversy. Were Baker's thesis, in fact, a "creative development of Marxism-Leninism", then the description of the MLOB majority as "dogmatists" would be justified. But revisionists' habitually refer to their abandonment of Marxist-Leninist principles as "the creative development of Marxism-Leninism", and to those who remain loyal to Marxist-Leninist principles as "dogmatists" --- and we are completely satisfied that Baker's thesis of the "third stage" is a revisionist distortion of Marxism-Leninism which is objectively pro-fascist.

    Baker’s descriptions of the MLOB majority as "Plehanovists", "empirio-criticists", "liquidationists", etc. - merely illustrate his predilection for using long terms as imprecations, without the slightest concern for their scientific meaning, in an effort to deceive political children as to his erudition. Anyone who is deceived by this kind of high-flown bluster is, indeed, far from being a Marxist-Leninist.

    The events of November 1974 in the MLOB came about simply because --- as a result of the 'experience' gained by Comrades, assisted by internal documents submitted entirely in accordance with the principles of democratic centralism and the Constitution of the MLOB -- the minority which had long opposed Baker's "leftist" theory and practice grew to a majority, which was unacceptable to Baker.

    It may well be that Baker saw this change from a minority to a majority as having been brought about as the result of a factional conspiracy; but if so, this view reflects, not reality but Baker’s own psychological make-up.

    Had Baker declared openly that he regarded the "failure" of the majority to accept his theory and practice as "unacceptable", and that he intended to leave the MLOB in order to found a new organisation which would accept his theory and practice, we should, while disagreeing with his action, at least have retained some respect for his integrity. But, instead of adopting this course, Baker chose that of seeking to reduce the majority to a minority once more by disciplinary action against one or more members of the majority on the basis of "charges" which had no foundation whatsoever in fact.

    The infantile egotism of the spoiled child who declares:

    But, in fact, Baker’s actions of November 1974 -- which amounted to a coup against the MLOB -- have the most serious political implications.

    They reveal that, not only is his theory and practice objectively pro-fascist, but, that his concept of the Marxist-Leninist Party is a fascist concept -- that of an organisation composed of an irremovable "Leader" and of "followers" whose duty it is to accept without question "infallible" pronouncements of the "Leader" and to put them into effect.

    I must apologise for the length of this memorandum -- which length is due solely to our wish to deal with the political questions raised during Comrade HK’s visit to India as fully as possible.

    It is naturally, a matter of great concern to us that some Comrades for whom we have the highest respect should have adopted what we believe to be a harmful "leftist" and, that your organisation should have broken off relations with the Marxist-Leninist Organisation Of Britain, now the Communist League, in order to establish such relations with an individual who is prepared to trample underfoot every principle of Marxist-Leninist organisation. In our view, this course can only lead to your organisation becomingmerely another "leftist" sect objectively serving the interests of the enemies of the working class, instead of the genuine Marxist-Leninist revolutionary party which the working class of India so urgenlty needs.
    We request therefore that this memorandum be circulated to your membership, and be discussed, within your organisation.
    With warmest fraternal greetings, I am,
            Yours sincerely;
                BC,  Secretary,  THE COMMUNIST LEAGUE,  Britain.

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