For Your Reference
for the Unification of the International Communist Movement
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 Overcome
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
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
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
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
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
14. History shows that, after the XXth Congress of the CPSU, the
majority of communist parties strongly underestimated Khrushchev
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
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.....