A WORLD TO WIN    #23   (1998)


For Your Reference

Proposals for the Unification of the International Communist Movement

The following are excerpts from a document by the Party of Labour of Belgium (PTB) and the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks of the former USSR. This document, which liquidates the dividing line between Marxism and revisionism, is subjected to initial polemics by two articles in this issue, the editorial Workers of All Countries Unite and A New October Requires Maoism. Further comments from readers are welcome — AWTW


1.    The collapse of the Soviet Union and the introduction of naked capitalism in that country and in Eastern Europe, as a consequence of the counter-revolutionary policy of Gorbachev and Yeltsin, represent a turning point in the international situation. It is a victory for imperialism and reaction.

2.    These counter-revolutionary events exacerbated all the basic contradictions in the world: the contradictions between the socialist countries and imperialism, the contradictions between the oppressed people in Asia, Africa, Latin America and imperialism, the contradictions between the monopolies and the imperialist powers and the contradictions between the working cass and the bourgeoisie. The forces of reaction, racism, fascism and war have started their offensive on a world scale.

3.    In this situation, parties and organizations that have stayed loyal to the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism are trying to draw the lessons from the counter-revolutionary processes which destroyed socialism in the Soviet Union. Faced with the offensive unleashed by the reactionaries, they feel the need to unite for a counter-offensive in favour of the oppressed and exploited masses, in order to keep high the flag of socialism and communism and to restore confidence in the socialist future of mankind for all those who are fighting against capitalism and imperialism.

The Former Divisions between Marxist-Leninist Parties Can Be Overcom

1.    Since 1956, the International Communist Movement has been divided and has fallen apart. The revisionist line adopted by Khrushchev is the first and main cause of division. Later on, the anti-revisionist movement itself split under the influence of ultra-leftist attitudes.

2.    Today, as a result of the restoration of capitalism under Gorbachev, the “pro-Soviet” tendency crumbled into innumerable tendencies. In the sixties, a “pro-Chinese” tendency emerged but split into various tendencies after Mao̓s death. There has been a “pro-Albanian” tendency, which also split after the collapse of socialism in Albania, and a “pro-Cuban” tendency, mainly in Latin America. Some parties, finally, maintained an “independent” position vis-a-vis the tendencies mentioned.

3.    Whatever one̓s opinion about the correctness or necessity of these splits at a certain point in history, it is nowadays possible to overcome these divisions and to unite the Marxist-Leninist parties, which are divided into different currents.

4.    All Parties that remain loyal to Marxism-Leninism are aware that revisionism has weakened and divided the International Communist Movement and that it has finally degenerated into open treason.

5.    After the complete restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, all the communists must agree that revisionism is the most dangerous ideological enemy of Marxism-Leninism. Life has proved that revisionism represents the bourgeoisie within the communist movement.

6.    In the past, several parties and organizations gathered on the basis of a specific political and ideological orientation. Within the various groupings, some parties succeeded in striking deep roots among the masses, acquired a revolutionary experience of their own, and succeeded in linking Marxism-Leninism to the reality of their country. Within each of these groupings, some organizations have deviated to left or right opportunism, roamed about without a grip on the struggle, and disappeared.

7.    In the present situation, all parties that stick to the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism feel the need to overcome the former divisions and to unite.

8.    Communists must unite on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. When it comes to uniting on an international level parties and organizations with a quite different history, it is impossible to require ideological unity befrehand. We have to accept that disagreements, however serious they might be, may exist for a long time; we have to accept criticism and counter-criticism, and to preserve unity by keeping in mind the common interests of the whole movement. Upholding both Marxism-Leninism and unity are two aspects of a consistent revolutionary policy.

Fighting Revisionism and Defending Marxism-Leninism

1.    Since it was created in 1919, the International Communist Movement has stirred history and changed the outlook of the world. The Second Congress of the Communist International held in July 1920 adopted a constitution, requirements for admission, a Manifesto and other essential resolutions which characterized the International Communist Movement vis-a-vis social democracy. Until 1956, it maintained its revolutionary orientation and its unity; its strength and its influence in the world never ceased to increase.

2.    In order to reappear on the world scene as a significant current, the International Communist Movement must claim this common history.

3.    Lenin continued the revolutionary work of Marx and Engels and developed it under the new conditions of imperialism. He drew up the principles of the creation of the Communist Party, elaborated the strategy and the tactics of the socialist revolution and put them into practice. He denounced social democracy as the ideology of the bourgeoisie and of imperialism inside the working class movement. He formulated the guidelines for socialist construction under the dictatorship of the proletariat. He set up the Communist International and defended proletarian internationalism.

4.    Stalin applied the Leninist principles and under his leadership the Bolshevik Party transformed a backward and ruined country into an industrialized socialist country. The collectivization and modernization of Soviet agriculture, socialist industrialization, the cultural revolution, the building of strong defence forces, the victory in the patriotic anti-fascist war, the reconstruction of the country and the adoption of a consistent foreign policy defending world peace and supporting the anti-colonial and anti-neocolonial struggles in Asia, Africa and Latin America are achievements of historical and worldwide significance.

5.    Stalin maintained the idea that class struggle goes on under socialism. He stressed the fact that the old feudal and bourgeois forces didn̓t cease their fight for restoration, and that the opportunists within the Party, the Trotskyites, the Bukharinists, the bourgeois nationalists and the bureaucratic elements, helped the anti-socialist classes and strata to gather their forces together.

6.    Khrushchev imposed a revisionist line on the Soviet Party and part of the International Communist Movement. This line was formulated in his report to the XXth Congress, his secret report on Stalin, and his report to the XXIInd Congress.

7.    In 1956 Khrushchev launched an attack on Stalin̓s internal and foreign policy in order to change the fundamental ideological and political line of the Party. Subsequently, a gradual degeneration of the political and economic system followed. Khrushchev̓s theories on the “state of the whole people” and “the prty of the whole people” led to the destruction of the dictatorship of the proletariat and a cessation of the class struggle against bourgeois forces and influences. The theory of “cooperation between the Soviet Union and the United States in the struggle for peace and security for all peoples” strongly jeopardized the anti-imperialist struggle. The theory of “the parliamentarian and peaceful path to socialism” strengthened the social-democrat tendencies within several communist parties.

8.    Brezhnev never questioned the revisionist programme of the XXth and XXIInd Congresses. He even “developed” the thesis on “the state and the party of the whole people”, and declared that the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union was no longer possible. He destroyed all revolutionary vigilance and let bureaucratism, technocratism, careerism and corruption develop. In regard to other communist parties and socialist countries, he often applied a policy of intrusion and control.

9. Under Gorbachev and Yeltsin, revisionism was pushed to its final consequences, the Soviet Union was dismantled and a “wild” capitalism was installed.

10. In the whole world, the bourgeoisie celebrates the defeat of socialism. In fact, we have witnessed the defeat of the revisionism that Khrushchev initiated 35 years ago. This revisionism ended in complete economic failure, in capitulation to imperialism, in capitalist restoration, social catastrophe and reactionary civil wars.

11. Khrushchev started his destructive work by alleging that his criticisms of Stalin̓s errors were aimed at restoring Leninism in its original purity. Gorbachev made the same demagogical promises to disorient the leftist forces. But the criticism of “Stalinism” was only a trick to camouflage attacks on all Marxist-Leninist principles. The day Gorbachev completely destroyed “Stalinism”, he declared his open hostility to Leninism and his adherence to social democracy.

12.    The discussion about the experience of the CPSU under Stalin must be reopened inside the International Communist Movement. Anti-Stalinism has been the Trojan horse for anti-communism, introduced in the ranks of the International Communist Movement.

13.   For a certain period of time, there will continue to be differences in the assessment of the different policies put into effect by comrade Stalin. These discussions should be dealt with in a scientific manner and on the basis of a revolutionary class perspective.

14. History shows that, after the XXth Congress of the CPSU, the majority of communist parties strongly underestimated Khrushchev revisionism.

15. In the sixties, Mao Zedong and Enver Hoxha were best able to grasp the dangers of revisionism. Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Sung, Che Guevara and other communist leaders made important contributions to the fight against revisionism.

16.    In the light of the degeneration of the Soviet Union there is a need to re-evaluate the work of comrade Mao Zedong. By leading the national democratic revolution and by transforming it into a socialist revolution in a large Third World country, he made a contribution of worldwide significance. Mao Zedong resisted Khrushchev and later on Brezhnev̓s revisionism. He made the first attempt in history to bring the masses into the fight against degenerative tendencies within the Party.

17.    Different opinions in the International Communist Movement on the merits of Mao Zedong will remain for a certain time; they must be approached scientifically, seeking truth from facts and in a revolutionary class spirit.

18.   The ideological struggle against revisionism is a complex and prolonged task. Revisionism, which destroyed so many parties, will not disappear spontaneously. Tito̓s revisionism had been criticized by the International Communist Movement as early as 1948. Khrushchev, in developing his opportunist course, did no more than refurbish Tito̓s revisionist ideas. If revisionist ideas and theses are not analyzed and criticized in depth, they will continue to exist and liquidationist currents can strike again and claim new victims. The relationship between the lines of Khrushchev and Brezhnev and the policies of Gorbachev must b analyzed in detail, as well as the development of the degenerative process from its origins until its outburst.

19.   The pernicious influence of revisionism facilitated a revival of social democracy (a bourgeois trend) and Trotskyism (an anti-communist trend). Struggle against the social democratic and Trotskyist ideologies is a condition for the development of the Marxist-Leninist movement.

Fighting Splitism and Maintaining Unity

1.    Khrushchev started to destroy the unity of the International Communist Movement by cutting all relations with those parties that opposed his revisionism. In some countries, where the leadership was following Khrushchev̓s revisionism, it was correct for the communists to set up new Marxist-Leninist parties.

2.    But subsequently, sectarianism and ultra-leftism resulted in innumerable unjustified splits. Real differences were exaggerated to the point of antagonism and split. There have been important ideological and political conflicts about Czechoslovakia in 1968, Cambodia in 1979, Afghanistan in 1980, the liquidation of the tendency around Chiang Ching in 1976, the Three Worlds Theory in 1977, the line of Deng Xiaoping in the early 1980s, and so on.

3.    All these conflicts were important. Fundamental disagreements have to be clarified, but it requires time and a serious materialist and dialectical analysis and debate. Each party should seriously study the different colliding points of view and formulate its own point of view while preserving the unity of the movement.

4.    Every party applies the Marxist-Leninist principles to the present reality according to its own conception. Nobody can demand concessions on questions judged to be questions of principle. Every party defines its policy in complete independence. But this doesn̓t contradict the duty to maintain the unity of the International Communist Movement, for this unity is also a question of principle of first importance.

5.    The habit of the CIA and other secret services to exploit disagreements between communist parties is very well documented. The enemy is aware of the importance of unity among communists and often supports all centrifugal tendencies, sponsoring at the same time right revisionism and leftist positions, in order to accelerate divisions and splits.

6.    By safeguarding the movement̓s unity, each party will be able to learn more and faster. We can learn not only from the parties with which we generally agree, but also from those with whom we have major differences.

7.    First of all, our judgment can be wrong. Secondly, experience has taught that parties can draw lessons from certain aspects of the mass work, the experiences, the theoretical work, and so on of parties with whom we have differences.

Thirdly, fundamental disagreements must not preclude certain forms of cooperation and common struggle in regards to racism, trade union rights, anti-imperialist struggle, etc.

Fourthly, we must take possible developments into account. Some parties with which we disagree may correct themselves, or some factions may develop positively.

Finally, the parties with which we disagree may degenerate completely, and openly turn to the bourgeoisie. Maintaining relations with such parties can teach us many useful lessons by negative example.....