Sunday, June 26, 2011

International Communist Movement and Mao Zedong Thought by Harsh Thakor

Democracy and Class Struggle publishes this contribution of Harsh Thakor not because we agree with all of the views expressed in this document, but because we find this document a useful summary of some of the debates in the movement in the last few years. Readers are invited to post their views on this document.


A major deviationist trend within the Marxist-Leninist Movement are the distortions of the polemics of Comrades Marx,.Lenin,Stalin and Mao Tse Tung .The chief proponent of this are the Nepalese U.P.C.N(M) and the Kasama group of U.S.A. Com.Mike Ely initiated the Kasama Project Group,a breakaway group from the R.C.P., U.S.A . The Kasama trend almost reduces Com Stalin to a non-Leninist and all Mao’s ideology as an anti-thesis of Stalinism..The Kasama project is one of the greatest ever Marxist-Leninist efforts to create a forum for debate, which has been lacking in the history of the Communist Movement ,but they deviate from strong theoretical foundation. Howevever its reading of Com.Mao’s cultural revolution and theories are virtually analyzed as something different or separate from Leninism.

 The other trend that needs to be combated is that of Maoist third worldism propogated by the Leading Light Communist Organisation (LLCO)that advocates that the entire first world working class is reactionary and only the third world proletariat is revolutionary.It also upholds Lin Biao’s line as the revolutionary line as against that of Com.Mao Tse Tung. Infact it attributes the theory of Peoples War to Lin Biao.It slashes Bob Avakian from a left sectarian standpoint and even overlooks Avakian’s positive points.True it upholds Lenin and Stalin but claims that Com.Mao later veered towards revisionism with Zhou En Lai etc.

It terms some of the major third world Maoist struggles like that led by the Communist Party OF Phillipines or C.P.I.(Moaist) as that led by armed revisionists.Infact there is a significant connection between the Lin Biaoist ideology with that of rejecting the first world proletariat as a counter-revolutionary force strategically.Upholding Lin Biao’s line is counter to the correct trend in the International Communist Movement.True Lin did propogate the Peoples War concept but it was fundamentally derived from Com.Mao Tse Tung and not an original formulation of Lin Biao as advocated by the Leading Light group.

I have quoted comments and writings of intellectuals like Joseph Ball and Mike Ely.(Kasama group)Ball logically refutes Kasama’s looseness on the assessment of Stalin but he too finds fault with Mao’s line towards the end.

Significant points have been raised by this section on the class nature of the first world proletariat who reflect a general reactionary attitude and compared with workers of the third world countries live in relative luxury. However only for a temporary period first world workers will they not identify themselves with the struggles of the third world people. We must take into account the anti-war protests of European workesr and strikes combating the Imnperialist system.

Both these trends are harshly critical of the R.C.P.(U.S.A) led by Bob Avakian but from deviationist perspectives. Infact the R.C.P.took a progressive stand criticizing the Nepalese Maoists multi-party co-ordination nad defended the vanguard role of the single proletarian party. Infact Kasama has taken several ecclectical positions on Lenin and the dictatorship of the Proletariat. They see Maoism as something anatagonistic to Stalin’s ideology and even different from Leninism. True they foster a democratic spirit of discussion and debate and welcome a huge range of views but basically do not derive at a proletarian class analysis.I consider the R.C.P.U.S.A more progressive than the Kasama or the feel Avakain makes some very valid points in democracy Can we do better than that?”True the R.C.P has fallen victim to losseness in theory and practice and hardly drawn out a mass revolutionary programme for the working class.Nor has it given adequate support to the third world movements.A revolutionary writer Joseph Ball,a staunch opponent of the rightist trends within Kasama is sympathetic to certain aspects of the L.L.C.O . but also partially to the. R.C.P.Ball was critical of the m Nepalese Comrades multi-party approach which Bob Avakain also opposed.

Quoting Joseph Ball in defense of Avakian “Well, I didn’t think my comments on the UCPN(M) would go down too well here to be honest.It is true that you have a lot of good things to say about the exploitation of the Third World, and the First World worker’s complicity in all of that. My article on the UCPN(M) reflects some of this. RCP-USA is very aware of this type of analysis too. However, they still think revolution in the USA is possible for reasons other than economic ones. I reserve judgement on this line but I find it a lot easier to see how revolution could occur in Third World nations.I am afraid where Monkey Smashes Heaven (Leader of L.L.C.O.)fails and where Avakian succeeds is that his theory of the state in ‘Democracy Can’t We Do Better Than That?’ and ‘Democracy; More Than Ever Can’t We Do Better Than That?’ is correct wheras MSH and other groups that have shared its line seem to have a fairly anarchist view of the state. As far as I can tell, MSH favours a sort of Shanghai Commune approach to state organisation under socialism (correct me if I am wrong). This does not really take into account the full dialectical relationship between the need to use the state to defend the revolution and the need to advance the erosion of the differences between leaders and led and the withering away of the state.This criticism should be taken in the spirit in which it is intended.I’m not trying to ‘sell’ Avakian here but I think MSH tends to see his line in black and white, when it’s really shades of grey. After all, RCP-USA dropped its involvement in US labor unions precisely because it was felt that the strictly economic problems of US workers were pretty unimportant compared to the problems of the Third World proletariat. Not the MSH line, I know, but not really the MSH’s version of the RCP-USA line either.

Personally,the author recognizes the disparity between the first world and third world proletariat but feels disqualifying the role of the first world section would be capitulation.True the first world proletariat is complacent and much better paid but in recent times they have been affected by great level sof unemployment,jobcuts and also been launched into major strikes against globalization and anti war struggles.


A.First World v.Third World

1. Joseph Ball states: Here are two comments by Mike that worry me.

. The white working class in the USA is not going to form some sort of revolutionary core. In global terms, it is in effect a ruling class. They elect the US leaders that subjugate the world proletariat and ensure a flow of super-profits (whether through direct investment returns or unequal exchange) that keeps the US working class affluent.

This does not mean we should automatically label them as an enemy for all time as MIM/Monkey Smashes Heaven etc do. The art of revolution is about winning sections of the ruling class over to the proletarian side. This is what the Nepalese Maoists are doing and Mao was a master at this. However, you must do this from a proletarian base, not try to form your base in the ruling class.
The comment about Czechoslovakia is also a little worrying. Now, the USSR was led by capitalist roaders by 1968 and there was no way we should support the invasion of Czechoslavkia. But what were the Czechs trying to do in 1968?

After World War II, the Western nations saw a huge increase in affluence. The West (and Japan) virtually monopolised advanced industry on a world scale. Other nations had been forcibly prevented from industrialising since the nineteenth century by the imposition of unequal treaties, direct colonial rule and so on. This lack of world competition from non-imperialist nations greatly boosted the growth in wages of western industrial workers, as wages did not have to be kept down to keep the goods western workers produced competitive in price terms. This was a more or less deliberate policy put in place in order to buy them off and prevent revolution.

After Stalin died, the Warsaw Pact nations could not develop up to the same level of the West. There are many reasons for this. Some have drawn attention to the prevention of technology transfer by the US and I think we need to seriously consider this as a factor in the Eastern bloc’s lack of development. (Without exaggerating things, the Soviet bloc was not quite as poor as we are taught in the West now).

The seizure of land and resources without payment from Native Americans made US workers much more affluent than European workers (higher wages had to be paid to dissuade US workers from going off and stake a claim to land, not a problem in Europe, where peasants had been dispossessed of their land). This rich ‘home market’ for goods allowed a massive amount of capital to be generated by US business.

After the War, America was desperate to halt the advance of Soviet power. They did this by using this capital to revive the economies of Western European imperialist nations (Marshall Aid). These economies themselves had been developed through the plunder and impoverishment of the oppressed nations. Marshall Aid was also used to help relatively less well-off countries like Italy that had not developed large foreign empires.

There was a more or less deliberate attempt to establish an affluent West that would embarrass the less affluent socialist nations. Nations like Poland and Czechoslovakia in particular felt aggrieved that they could not be a part of this affluent club of Western countries. They had been relatively closer to the West than other Eastern bloc countries before the war and unlike some other Eastern European countries, they had not supported the Nazis.

The whole East European dissident business was really just an attempt by East European nations to get into the club of rich Western imperialist nations and get a share of the super-profit. It wasn’t really a movement for liberation against Soviet imperialism (unlike for instance the struggle against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan).

We need to understand that socialism in this day and age is a movement of the Third World masses and has been since at least the end of World War II. Most of the First World masses do not support it because they don’t really need it and wouldn’t really benefit from it. It is the Third World who will really benefit from equality and the right to develop their economies free of the imperialist strangle-hold. Once we grasp this we can understand why socialism apparently failed in Eastern Europe. We need to do this so we can stop wasting our time trying to come up with variants of socialism or bold new ideas for revolutionary movements that will appeal to Western workers. The Third World proletariat is our core.
Mike Ely reply’s

1. However I still believe it was correct and important to try (with great energy and effort) to extend the revolutionary movement of the 1960s outside its core areas (among sections of Black people and radicalized students) — including especially to other sections of the working class. I had been (at that time) working to build support for the Black Panther Party in a couple cities, and like many young revolutionaries was deeply worried that the U.S. could reach some decisive crisis (in the years of the 1970s) under conditions where the influence of revolution had not spread broadly enough to carry through a successful socialist revolution. There was worry that Black people might be crushed in a revolutionary attempt that did not have broad enough support.

A key section of society to reach and influence were white working people — and I was particularly enthusiastic about going into the Appalachian coalfields where coal miners (often spearheaded by recently returned Viet Vets) were waging a fierce and intensifying struggle against their own conditions and their own direct oppressors.

I hope this makes clear my point (about answering Stokely’s call).

Joseph writes two things that made me pause:

“The white working class in the USA is not going to form some sort of revolutionary core.”

The working class in the U.S. is highly multinational. And “white working class” is not some separate class or monolith — and will not (by itself) form a revolutionary core. (In my opinion) any revolutionary core (for making revolution, but also for driving forward to the formation of a new socialist society and state) has to be rooted among the oppressed of all nationalities in the U.S.

There is stratification and bourgeoisification in the U.S. working class (quite a bit of it). But if you go down into the most oppressed levels of that class you will find that large numbers (and often overall a majority) are white (for example a majority of people on welfare, and until recently a majority of people in prison etc.) I can’t imagine a successful revolutionary movement in the U.S. that had not succeeded in influencing and winning over sections of white working people, and training the most advanced among them as communists. And this is true, even while, it is the working people of the oppressed nationalities that have had the most advanced consciousness and combativity since World War 2 (a dynamic uneveness which I assume we can expect to see continued, in new forms and manifestations, into the future).

I have tended to view the U.S. ruling class as the heights of capital — as the commanding centers of finance and monopoly, of the military and government. It will be to the advantage of revolution to have them in disarray, divided and ineffectual. But I don’t expect to “win sections over to the proletarian side” — though there might be some degrees of paralyzed neutrality if things fall particularly well.
I am saying that a revolutionary movement without any white working people supporting it is unlikely to succeed. And I also think that working people (of all nationalities) are oppressed by this system in ways far more significant than any advantages they get from living in the U.S.

The idea that the working people of the U.S. (or sections of them) are part of the ruling class does not correspond with reality.

On this score my views respect both viewpoints but are more in favour of Mike Ely as ultimately the white proletariat has to be won over.
Joseph Ball:

1. Celticfire asks ‘What would a genuinely revolutionary people or movement look like to you?’. My answer is a struggle of the Third World peoples to liberate their nations from imperialism, politically and economically and then unite to destroy US imperialism, break down the borders between Third World and First World and thus end the division of the world working class that prevents socialism in the First World countries.

Why hasn’t this been a reality in the past 30 years (at least not a reality led by Maoists?) Well, Mike mentions Kampuchea and I think Mike’s own work is very interesting in this regard. Mike wrote of Kampuchea in 1997:

‘The Khmer Rouge was driven back into rural base areas in western Cambodia–where they still exist as an armed force. At the time, a section of the population clearly fought to defend the Democratic Kampuchean government–and for years a sizable section of the population supported Pol Pot for his incorruptible reputation, his identification with the peasants and his relentless fight against foreign domination…Pol Pot kicked the U.S. imperialists out of Cambodia. And that’s why they hate him. By vilifying Pol Pot, the U.S. is pressing ahead with their attempts to slam the door on all dreams of social change–to declare that communist revolution and even national independence for oppressed countries must be rejected and denounced. They cannot be allowed to get away with this.’

I first read this a few years ago when I was getting into the Maoist line. I was impressed by Mike’s courage in defending someone generally regarded as indefensible but at the same time I believed Mike’s line was incorrect. To some extent I could see what Mike was trying to do. Before the overthrow of Democratic Kampuchea western leftists had been gravitating towards the idea of the Third World as the ‘storm centre’ of world revolution and this notion was generally associated with Maoism. After the overthrow of Democratic Kampuchea, this line tended to disintegrate. Marxists started to disavow the ideas of Third World national liberation and economic self-sufficiency for Third World countries. The death toll of Democratic Kampuchea was blamed on ‘nationalism’ and these attempts at economic self-sufficiency. Mike was trying to fight a rear-guard action to defend these notions by partially defending Pol Pot. ( I’d be interested to know Mike’s opinion of Pol Pot these days. )

My subsequent reading has demonstrated to me that despite serious errors, Democratic Kampuchea was socialist up until late 1976. After that point, it became revisionist, as Pol Pot came under the wing of Deng Xiaoping. Deng, Pol Pot and the US then came up with a tacit agreement that Kampuchea and China would make war on Vietnam to as part of an effort to further the aims of the US imperialist bloc to which they both now belonged to. Preparation for war led to mass killings and starvation in Kampuchea, much worse than anything that had happened in the first 2 years.

The fact was that there was a chance for a Third World based anti-imperialist movement to encircle and strangle US imperialism in the second half of the twentieth century. It was undermined by revisionism and the Three Worlds Theory, which provided the ideological underpinning for Pol Pot’s revisionism. The correct verdict is not turning away from the idea of the Third World proletariat as the vanguard or the idea of national liberation and neither is it an effort to rehabilitate Pol Pot’s line-Democratic Kampuchea in 1977-8 was firmly imbeded in the imperialist system, it was not a ‘liberated’ country. What we should accept is that revisionism and capitulation to the West temporarily side-lined a project, that with more ideological coherence, could lead to the liberation of humanity.

B.Multi-Party System

The most controversial trend within the Marxist-Leninist Movement is the finding fault with Comrades Lenin, Stalin and Mao and deploying of the multi-party System. The chief proponent of this are the Nepalese U.P.C.N(M) and the Kasama group of U.S.A. Com.Mike Ely initiated the Kasama Project Group,a breakaway group from the R.C.P., U.S.A . His writings slander the achievements of Com.Stalin to a considerable extent ,and even deride Com.Lenin and Com.Mao on many an occasion. The Kasama trend almost reduces Com Stalin to a non-Leninist and all Mao’s contributions achievements as an anti-thesis of Stalinism..True, Kasama project is one of the greatest ever Marxist-Leninist efforts to create a forum for debate, which has been lacking in the history of the Communist Movement .and made a historic contribution by launching outstanding debates on Maoist polemics .

However such forces are forgetting the important contribution of Lenin on the dictatorship of the Proletariat and the revisionist character of parliamentary democracy.Infact it was Trotsky who promoted the multi-party system and the institutions of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. By promoting multi-party system the proletarian revolutionary centre of power is denied and infact a Socialist State can be toppled. Let us remember the experiences of the Communist Movement in Nazi Germany or worldwide. It was the Leninist Party that promoted the building and consolidation of Socialist Societies in Soviet Union and China. Whether the Bolshevik Revolution,the civil War, the collectivization era, the Soviet World War Victory: all these achievements were the result of the foundation of the Leninist Party. Similarly in China although Mao called for continuous Revolution under the dictatorship of the Proletariat he called for a revolt within a proletarian party Structure.

The sweeping victories of the Socialist Revolution,The Great Leap Forward, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution were unprecedented in history and can be attribute to Comrade Mao’s persistence with upholding the Leninist Principles of the Dicatatorship of the Proletariat. True there were opposing factions of revisionist nature like Lin Biao ,Liu Shao –Chi Etc ,but the struggle against them through mass campaigns was led by the proletarian party. It was the revolutionary trend within the proletarian party that fought the Lin Biaost forces politically and the rise of Lin Biao or Liu Shao Chi cannot be attributed to the lack of a multiparty System. True ,it was defeated by Deng Xiaoping’s rightist forces, but a multi-party Sustem may have promoted such forces much earlier. In Soviet Union Comrade Stalin violated democratic Centralism to a considerable extent and any dissent was put down .Comrade Mao, tried to correct this by initiating a broad mass Movement of the Chinese masses against the reactionary Forces, and got several members of the party to go through self-criticism and reform. It was historic that a mass Movement was led within the very Communist Party ,unlike in the Soviet Union. Mao had learnt from the Stalin era that a revolutionary Movement was required even within a socialist System.Below I am reproducing a debate between Mike Ely and Joseph Ball . on the multi-party System.

Mike Ely:First, let me say, as an introduction… that I don’t believe that multiparty competitive elections are a form that all future socialist society need universally adopt.

I think that it is not possible to assert or assume any single form of state organization. Capitalist politics have many forms — constitutional monarchy, electoral democracy, fascism etc. And I assume that socialism will have a great many diverse forms over its historical transition — and it already has had quite diverse forms already — starting with the Paris Commune, the Russian Soviets, the stages of Stalin-era state, and the many Chinese forms from Chingkang mountains to the Cultural Revolution.

But I am interested to see an experiment in such an electoral form in some future revolution — including the one that the Nepali Maoists want to initiate. Competitive electoral democracy may not be possible or appropriate in some countries or in some revolutions or in some moments — there may not be “other” parties able to participate in such a process. But I would not rule it out, either.

Besides competitive electoral democracy, there may be other radical forms of socialist democracy we should consider (or invent together with the people): commune forms, cultural revolution style formations, and perhaps even yet-unimagined forms made possible by modern communications.

I think there may also be future cases where a party-state remains the only option possible — though even there our experience shows we would need to incorporate radical new proposals for popular input and supervision.

(An example from history: In 1918, Lenin tried to have a coalition government with the Left Social-Revolutionaries, but that coalition broke down over signing a peace treaty with Germany. Then a Left SR shot Lenin. The assassin declared that Lenin was restoring capitalism and caving in to imperialism. In other words, you can try to have a broader approach, but sometimes you don’t find viable partners in the actual political moment. Does Joseph Ball want to argue that this Russian attempt was wrong in principle, because the Left SR’s were inherently a bourgeois party — rather than a quite radical peasant-and-middle-class party? Was Lenin violating the dictatorship of the proletariat by bringing them into the government? Was Mao wrong in bringing a wing of the left GMD into his 1949 government? Hasn’t previous communist theory held that a worker peasant alliance in early USSR, or even a broader governmental united front in China can be a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat?)

Joseph Ball:

1. It’s sometimes claimed that the multi-party elections in this system will take place under the dictatorship of the proletariat. But this makes no sense at all. If it’s a dictatorship of the proletariat how can you allow bourgeois parties to compete for power with the party of the proletariat? It is absurd to believe that elections could routinely take place between two parties both with a proletarian line. The proletariat has a common interest. It’s vanguard should be encouraging unity not institutionalising a split so we can blindly copy bourgeois democracy. Multi-party democracy has a material basis in capitalism because different factions of the bourgeoisie have different selfish interests. Not so the proletariat. The proletariat’s essential interests can only be realised by the liberation of all humanity. Essentially, it has no selfish interests (though of course proletarians may act selfishly due to false consciousness or embourgeoisement). Where the proletariat does split, it is between socialist roaders and capitalist roaders. Some Maoists talk as if this split should be institutionalised by encouraging different parties and factions. This is ridiculous! A split between capitalist roaders and socialist roaders is by its nature class warfare. It is not some friendly expression of opinion. How can those taking the socialist road set up institutions that give their enemies a potential power base? Does the bourgeoisie do such a thing? No, they only tolerate phony communists. Real communists (and even many militant reformists) are rapidly suppressed in the bourgeois system. The proletariat can get rid of bad party leaderships by exercising power in the organs of revolutionary power and through inner-party struggle, if they are members of the Communist Party. They can achieve this only if they actually express power by becoming the administrators of the state and all society. This will make them a thousand times freer than Bhattarai’s half-baked reformist schemes for multi-party competition.
Joseph Ball:

“The proletariat has a common interest.”

Therefore, (by deduction) it can only have one party. And further, it would be wrong to “split” into two parties. The bourgeoisie (which has rivalries and competing interests inherently) can have multiple parties, but we can have only one.

Further (by logical deduction from that initial assertion), a plan for a multiparty election under socialism must be a plan for allowing the supposedly overthrown bourgeoisie itself to repeatedly contest for power.

Then comes the second assertion: Allowing the bourgeoisie to organize and contest for power is inherently opposed to a dictatorship of the proletariat.

Finally, if you scan that list of assertions and deductions, you get presented with a conclusion that the plan for multiparty elections violates the principle of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The author also refutes the Western multi-party democracy but still feels the question of a Socialist multi-party system remains unanswered .Mike Ely’s has analyzed the scope and development of bourgeois democracy which should not be confused with the creation sof structures in Socialist Societies.Eg He quotes so many oppressive forms.Historically he is correct about the alliances of Mao and Lenin but those were experiences after the Communist party had already seized revolutionary power.There was no multi-party system prevalent in the PARIS Commune,Chingkang mountains,Russian Soviets or Cultural Revolution.

However after the creation of a Socialist state there is a possibility that other parties could be allowed to participate in order to democraticize the superstructure .Afterall even sections of the proletariat can differ and may need different bodies representing them. The Communist party could still function as the vanguard and lead mass movements without imposing itself and allowing other viewpoints.Infact such a system can be a greater test for the democratic credentials of the Communist Party and it’s actual support of the people.Howevere this still has to be in opposition to the Western bourgeois electoral system.

C. Russia in World War 2

Another point of debate was the role of Soviet Russia in the World War.2

Joseph Ball:Mike Ely’s comments are so full of unproven assertions, derived from bourgeois slanders of socialism, that it is hard to know where to begin.
Mike Ely states-’When the Soviet army swept through Nazi Germany, there was systematic rape of German women — in retribution for the atrocities the Nazis had committed on Russian soil. Is that justified — or is it an example of how far that Soviet army had come from being a red army?’

Joseph Ball-Where is their evidence that there was ‘systematic rape’, i.e. rape sanctioned by the authorities as whole? All the evidence is that the Soviet authorities wanted to prevent rape as they believed such behaviour discredited the socialist ideals that the war had been fought for. In Iraq the sexual humiliation of prisoners by the yanks was clearly state sanctioned. When the US advanced into Germany at the end of World War 2, 500 soldiers a week were being charged with rape.

The fact that the Red Army still had some of the bad characteristics of bourgeois armies is a great tragedy but this was the first attempt at socialism and Mao did address many such problems in his theories of the People’s Army.

Mike Ely says ‘What did it mean in the Soviet Union when the most lofty and revolutionary of the youth were organized to deport whole peoples and imprison hundreds of thousands with a great deal of arbitrary injustice? It is one thing to ask what became of those targeted, and it is another (also important) thing to ask what becomes of the revolution and the revolutionaries, if the revolutionary gun gets pointed too long and too often at large sections of the people themselves.’

Joseph Ball-these policies took place in the context of a Nazi invasion that was intended to either annihalate or enslave the Soviet people in its entirity. The Nazis used the familar tactic of divide and rule, offering the prospect of survival to some people if they would betray their comrades. It was necessary to use harsh measures to defeat this tactic. If the divide and rule tactic had succeeded, then the Nazis would have won and world civilisation would have been extinguished. The whole world owes the Soviet people and their leader, Joseph Stalin for their world-historic victory over the Nazis.

D. Revolutionary Internationalist Movement

Another trend that has to be combated was that of prematurely forming a Communist International. This was led by the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement in it’s founding conferences in 1980 and 1984.In India and world over there have been wrong trends towards this approach. One tendency embraces the formation of a Communist International, while the other led by C.P.I.-M.L. led by K.N.Ramchandran , in the early stages promoted the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement in its early stages in 1980 and 1984and blamed the Socialist C.P.C.led by Com.Mao of neglecting the formation of a Communist International.

It was the late Com.Harbhajan Singh Sohi,who was the greatest protagonist of the Correct International Line and approach towards the formation of a Communist International. With Comrade Moni Guha,earlier he had pioneered the struggle against the 3 worlds theory advocated by Deng Xiaoping of China and attributed to Com.Mao by several major components of the Communist Revolutionary camp.. A dialectical process involving unity of Communist Parties is required. Mutual exchange has to take place Actual experience should be shared, which would pave the way for more advanced form s of collective positions on issues and rallying of more forces worldwide. Mutual Exchange and Common stands, bilaterally and laterally, and multilateral platforms on the basis of the general line were required.

Today the R.I.M has virtually collapsed.It has been instruemtal in the capitulation of the Nepalese Maoist party and the collapse of the Shining Peru.

It is significant that the Communist PARTY OF Phillipines was never a part of R.I.M. or the C.P.I.(Maoist) today.The CO R.I.M dominated the leadership of the third world armed struggles and such aisngle centre caused havoc.The R.C.P(U.S.A.)played agreat role in imposing itself on the struggles of the third world parties.

Below I am reproducing a resolution of the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L) on the condition  for forming an International Organisation.

1.The vanguard the Communist parties , practicing proletarian internationalism have to exist. International Communist Unity and concerted action of Communist parties have to exist. The proletariat in each country fulfils it’s internationalist duty by striving for carrying out revolution.

2.Carrying out revolution I one’s own country and striking at imperialism worldwide are distinct though inter-related the 3rd International took up this task .Unfortunately it dissolved itself in 1943 when it found that it’s form was no longer suitable

3. Ever since the dissolution strong efforts have been made to establish proletarian internationalism with their own revolutionary practice. This was initiated by the C.PC from it’s lessons of a protracted Peoples War.It valiantly ought the revisionism of Khrushchev.

Since the fall of proletarian power in the C.C.P. there is no Socialist base in the World. History remembers that despite the achievement of C.P.C under Mao ,the party did not go towards establishing he Communist International or establishing an International Organisation. Instead it stressed for he Communist Parties of the camp to apply he universal truths of Marxism-Leninism in the concrete situation of their country. It emphasized that other countries should not copy the Chinese Experience to-to but apply the Chinese experience in accordance to their own condition.

The main reason for the C.P.C’s caution was Imperialism was devising through its local regimes new forms of neo-colonial rule and only a native communist party could analsye and review such situations. An outside force could not grasp the concrete reality. Thus he necessity of political independence of each country’s communist party.

b.Chauvinistic tendencies may develop under Communist Parties .The more developed and advanced may act chauvinistically and deliver big-brother ttreatment to the less developed or successful parties.

The victory of a revolution in a country under the leadership of a Communist Party indicates that certain crucial contemporary problems of he revolutionary movement have been resolved by it ,and thus the experience can be passed on to Communist Parties of othe Countries.At presnt there is no such party in the World..The ideological political struggle against Oppurtunism withi the revolutionary Camp is firce and bitter in each country.

A dialectical process involving unity of Communist Parties is required. Mutual exchange has to take place Actual experience should be shared, which would pave the ay for more advanced form s of collective positions on issues and ralying of more forces worldwide. Mutual Exchange and Common stands,bilaterally and laterally,,and multilateral platforms on the basis of the general line are required

Today in India and in other Countries the reorganization of he Communist Party is still in the process of being realized It is crucial to struggle to implement the correct line and establish its content with opportunism. In this process Communist revolutionaries have to strive to achieve unity on the basis of settling various line questions in connection with the revolutionary practice of the masers of the Indian people.

Joseph Ball:

What I always say to the ‘Avakian is a mediocrity’ brigade is read ‘Mao’s Immortal Contributions’. Don’t be put off by the (slightly idealist) title. The work itself is clearly not the work of a mediocrity. Don’t forget at the end of the 70s, when Avakian was working on this book, the communist movement was falling apart, following the restoration of capitalism in China. Avakian stood against revisionism and upheld the line of the so-called ‘Gang of Four’ when thousands of communists around the world were not doing so and were leading the proletarian movement to ruin. In that sense he anticipated the struggles in Peru and Nepal that followed this line. It’s also worth noting that the Naxalites praise Avakian for clarifying matters on the issue of the so-called Gang of Four.

You might ask me whether ‘McWorld vs. Jihad’ or recent comments about the importance of ‘individual rights’ in a socialist society or a worrying approach to the evaluation of Stalin’s legacy meet the high standard of ‘Mao’s Immortal Contributions’. Well, I’m not going to go into that here. Suffice to say that communists must unite with national liberation struggles, individual contributions are welcome in so far as they further social goals (otherwise what use are they?) and that Stalin’s contributions far outweigh his errors (for example, Hitler did not win the war in Europe and the Soviet people were liberated from poverty and backwardness).

The science of revolution makes progress by uniting with the good in an individuals work and by studying and learning from errors. It does not proceed by pure negation. Even when a revolutionary makes mistakes, we do not unite with right-wing criticisms of these mistakes.

E. Dissent within a Socialist Society

A most important debate is the one initiated by Com.Bob Avakian ,of the Revolutionary Communist Party,U..S.A.It has historical significance.He feels that Socialist Society should allow for the greatest dissent and criticism ..In Stalinist Soviet Union opposition was suppressed and in Mao’s China there was unjust persecution of Intellectuals writers. Scientists and Artists who differed from the system..Theoretically,a Socialist Structure represents the dictatorship of the proletariat and thus,the press ,cultural organs etc represent their cause.The experiment lies whether in such a state allowing for ideas that are considered reactionary,or poetry ,music or novels which do not represent the proletarian cause,or intellectuals who are critical of the Socialist System is progressive.We must remember the huge range of ideas that persisted within the Russian Socialist Movement like Plekhanov,Trotsky,Bukarin, Zinoviev Etc In 1957 Mao initiated the hundred Flowers campaign ,inviting criticism of the rightist forces,which led to tremendous dissent. We may not agree with the works of views of Boris Pasternak,Alexander Solzhenityn,Roy Mededev in Russia,Milovan Djilas,bit I don’t think it would be progressive to ban them.Einstein and Freud too had some reactionary political views but yet made immortal contributions.It is significant that Stalinist Russia banned the works of Freud and Einstein. In the author’s view the broadest amount of debate must exist within a Socialist System, but that must be to consolidate the dictatorship of the Proletariat and not to destroy it.


Here it must be said that there has been a problem in previous socialist societies. There has been a tendency to see intellectual activity that is not directly serving or linked to the agenda of the socialist state at any given time as not that important—or as disruptive of that agenda.
Now in bringing forward this understanding and pointing to these weaknesses, Avakian has been retracing the experience of proletarian revolution in the intellectual and scientific realms. In his reenvisioning of socialism, Bob Avakian has been emphasizing the role of dissent in socialist society. Avakian has said that dissent must not only be allowed but actively fostered, and this includes opposition to the government.

Avakian has written that it would be a good thing to allow even reactionaries to publish some books and speak out in socialist society. This would contribute to the process through which the masses of people would come to know the world more fully and be able to sort out more thoroughly what does and does not correspond to reality, and what does and does not correspond to their fundamental interests in abolishing exploitation, oppression, and social inequalities. This is an important way in which the masses will be better able to take part in running society and transforming that society and the world as a whole toward the goal of communism.

Quoting a revolutionary Journal the Comrade(1991 after the collapse of U.S.S.R and revisionist East European regimes )“A section of Communist revolutionary forces is getting engaged in analyzing and debating the historical experience of the dictatorship of the proletariatand the cause of capitalist restoration in the erstwhile countries ,and is ending up with he verdicts of the alleged mistakes of Comrades Stalin and Mao. That is tantamount to affirming in practice the very link between the recent developments in revisionist countries and he past practices of Socialism which need to be refuted, and so lends credibility to the propaganda plank of the bourgeoisie.

These comrades have hardly thought over what the alleged mistakes were of Stalin and Mao and the relevance of their reviews of the available theory and practice of Socialism to heir task of countering the bourgeois propaganda. It is not clear which target group they have in mind- ,which can hardly be the common masses of the people. Analysis and debate concerning the Theory and practice of socialism amongst Communist Revolutinary forces s necessary. However open debate is for correcting or refuting ideological deviations and not for seeking unanimity of views between contending sides.A so called friendly public debate serves only to add to the confusion of the people. It actually hides the character of the conflict of views behind it's friendly signboard thus lowering the guard of the revolutionary masses against hostile ideological tendencies, secondly it invariably projects a lot of loud-thinking and tentative stands of the participants. Organised Communist Revolutionaries are expected to provide reliable leadership to the democratic revolutionary movement o he India people, can not afford too such a thing.
The current offensive of the bourgeoise is against the concept of the Leninist party, especially the class distinctive politics and the democratic centralist organization of the party.The Communist revolutionaries should come out in defence of the party concept, but give greater attention to the building o the party. That would be he most appropriate step in countering the bourgeoisie propaganda offensive.
The class enemy would train it's guns at the dicatatorship of the proletariat, the party and the great revolutionary leaders. The class enemy's frenzied attacks should make the Communist Revolutionaries better appreciate these precious assets and prompt them to grasp, defend and promote the same vein more firmly.They should never look back and only The criticism of the revolutionary masses, for the advancement of the revolutionary cause, should prompt Communist Revolutionaries to analyze and ponder over any faults and defects and where it lies.”

The author although sympathetic to this objective differs with this writing on the point of debate.Without debate we cannot derive the correct revolutionary standpoint or bring it to the revolutionary masses.We have to evaluate how Comrades Marx,Lenin and Mao arrived at their theories.The very scope of debate facilitated it.Marx never envisaged that Russia would be the first country to have a proletarian revolution while Lenin did not forsee that the revolution sin colonial or semi-colonial countries would be rural –based which Mao discovered.It is this approach that hardly enables us to detect or analyse the true errors and the root causes for revisionism returning.

3.Lenin and Stalin

Today inspite of his inconsistencies and errors we have to defend Com.Stalin tooth and nail. True he commited gross errors but we have to uphold his role in winning the world War and saving the first Socialist State.Here Mike Ely of Kasama group has even given a greater ecclectical point virtually blaming it on the Leninist ideological basis.Personally I feel Stalin made greater errors than what Mao evaluated but that no way should make the Communist camp slander Stalin as a revisionist from the mid-1930’s.The Kasama trend is semi-neutral with revolutionaries like Bukharin and Zinoviev and Trotsky .It hardly understands the situation Stalin faced and the fact that it was the entire party that was responsible.Infact the Kasama slanders writers like Grover Furr.Kasama criticized several aspects of Bob Avakian’s views and analysis of Stalin but were even more ecclectical.The author supports the general approach of intellectuals like Joseph Ball and Grover Furr.

Mike Ely states :The reason the Soviet Union developed the way it did was not simply because they had an “idea” of a one-party state — but also because the polarization from which they emerged was a particularly punishing one: they seized the cities for socialism, but had little root among the majority of the population (the peasants), and in the course of the civil war, the flower of the working class’ revolutionary generation died at the front. This created particularly severe choices — and you found one part of the population arming itself to impose the socialist society on other (and rather large) parts.In some ways, Soviet society remained a society locked in civil war — and the side of the revolutionaries found themselves deporting, jailing and silencing large numbers of people. That is not great conditions for the flowering (and preservation) of socialism. So in some ways, I think that the one-party state emerged from the particular conditions of that Russian revolution…. conditions that also framed the decline of forward revolutionary energies, and produced conditions in which capitalism was restored (without visible resistance within the party or the population)

This reflects the view of the trend of Kasama on Leninism itself, unable to defend the polemical aspects of the Bolshevik party and Lenin’s policies.The first Bolshevik state was created and defended because of Lenin’s ideology which developed the concept of the proletarian party and combated liberalism.

There was explicitly a policy (high in Stalin’s government) of “punishing ten to make sure one doesn’t go free.” There was a terrible rachetting up of harshness, so that the punishment for a casual remark could be denunciation, imprisonment and worse. (Should someone disappear into prison for saying “I wish the Tsar was back”? Mao, by contrast, said that people should be allowed to make such remarks without fear.)

There was in the 1930s USSR a conscious policy of “mopping up” — i.e. asusming that the time had come to remove everyone who had ever been suspect, or a problem, or had gotten some taint on their record (support for non-bolshevik parties in their past, involvement with an internal opposition, travels or relatives abroad, history of “making trouble,” and so on.)The heaviest means were directed in ways that dragged down large numbers of people — for no justifiable reason — while terrorizing the rest.Who (among the people) would want to participate in Soviet politics after that? And those that

did were trained to be the most servile yes-men and cautious careerists. Not only is that unjust, but it is deadly for the revolutionary process (for the existance of a “revolutionary people” to carry forward the revolution).

§ I don’t think the purges themselves are some kind of “rosetta stone” that “tell us all we need to know.” We are focusing on these purges of 1937-38, because they are a stark example of the previous communist approach to their own history — not because those purges are themselves the single decisive event of this history.

I think the study of the Soviet experience needs to study the whole arc… It is not so simple that a period of “red terror” condemns the revolution (though it has to be sharply debated whether the purges were an example of “red terror” against reactoinaries).

I think that the politics and directions of the 1930s should (overall) be sharply criticized (based on what we now know about socialism, about preventing the restoration of capitalism, and about the events in the Soviet Union). But it is not a matter of “raw numbers of execution” alone — all of this has to be seen in context (of isolatin, of Nazi threat, of the weaknesses of the Soviet state, of the extreme urgency of preparing national defense, the large swaths of resentful and angry people, etc.)

Soviet Revolutionary said

This kind of essay is what is wrong with “Communists” today. It is pure through and through Trotskyite opportunism, masquerading as anti-revisionism but in reality attacking the legacy of the USSR.It seems Ely does not understand what Lenin taught us: the resistance of the bourgeoisie will increase tenfold with their overthrow. Kasama just wants to hug cuddle and lecture the counterrevolutionaries that must be smashed.Why does Kasama attack Comrade Stalin like this? What do they gain from it? They claim to be about defending Communism from the ultra-leftist RCP, and you claim to uphold the legacy of the USSR, yet you only concentrate on the negatives of the Soviet Union. If this is how you feel about Stalin, then why do you even bother CLAIMING to uphold the USSR from 1924 to 1953? You obviously see Comrade Stalin and the Bolsheviks as a “new oppressor” who should have been “carefully kept far far away from revolutionary preparations and future state power”.Communism is under attack in all institutions of education. we have the DUTY to defend the Soviet legacy of Comrades Lenin & Stalin. How can we defend our legacy if we are just providing more ammunition for the capitalists to attack us with our own words? This essay helps only capitalists.

Laventi Beria states :Stalin did actually talk about relying on the masses at times (look at the “Mass Line” part of the study guide on this site) and attempted to apply the mass line and initiate mass movements, most obviously during the collectivization campaign as Ludo Martens shows –

It was guys like Yezhov and Yagoda who were responsible for the killings of innocent party members during the purges, not Stalin. Indeed, it was Stalin who specifically had Beria brought in from Georgia to correct the gross injustices that occured under Yezhov

Mike Ely: The repressions of the late thirties were no small matter. There were executions in the hundreds of thousands, and most of them were on false charges. IN quite a number of cases, people were arrested and killed for (a) having made anti-government statements, (b) having been at one time or another in an oppositional movement, (c) having been denounced by someone for being an oppositionalist.

I think we need to decide (once and for all): Do we think that mass arrests and executions on flimsy evidence is defensible for socialists or not? Do we think that people deserve prison and execution for merely having oppositional views (oppositional views inside the communist party, or oppositional views outside the party.)

I think that we should be clear in our believe that socialism will not succeed if there is not a climate of lively and open debate — which *requires* people knowing, clearly, that their statements in that political debate will not be criminalized. And so we have to be clear on this.

It won’t do to deny that there were mass executions in the Soviet society — the evidence is irrefutable. It won’t do to pretend that those executed were probably guilty of treason and nazi-sympathies (this theory is nonsense and contradicted by all the evidence). And it will not do to UPHOLD the method of such mass executions — no one on the planet wants to support a movement that (morally and politically) thinks it is ok to kill hundreds of thousands of people on flimsy evidence.

Mao opposed it, and never did anything like this in China. The Maoists explained that counterrevolution was not MAINLY some external foreign conspiracy, but emerged from the complex choices and problems of socialism itself. We should uphold this more advanced understanding — and on that COMMUNIST BASIS (!) criticize the weaknesses and mistakes of the soviet experience.

1. Joseph Ball;

2. There’s a lot I could say here, like asking if a memo from an MVD Colonel to Khruschev, allegedly in 1954, is enough to prove that Stalin was responsible for 681,692 deaths, when it is accepted that Khruschev tried to gather as much archival evidence as possible to make Stalin look bad as part of his power struggles.

There’s not much point in debating such issues on Kasama because anyone defending socialism is lied about and misrepresented here. Ely refuses to consider any evidence that does not fit into his anti-Stalin line. People cannot engage in a meaningful debate when their views are being treated so dishonestly by the people they are debating with. The debate achieves nothing and nobody learns anything from it, in such circumstances.

Many have criticised me for posting comments on Kasama for this reason. They were right and I was wrong. You just can’t debate with people who you have a completely antagonistic relationship with. No more can be achieved through debate with revisionists like the Kasama clique. It’s time that a vigourous ideological struggle against revisionism began, that takes in Bhattaraists, Castroists, Trotskyites and all others that raise the red flag in order to bring it crashing to the ground. If there are any socialists still visiting the Kasama website I would urge them to support this vital struggle against revisionism. Without the struggle against revisionism, Marxism will become extinct.

4. Mao Tse Tung and his contributions

Mao Tse Tung made a historic contribution to the development of Marxism-Leninism in the spheres of philosophy, practice and Theory

A. Peoples War

It was Mao who developed the first military line of the proletariat in semi-colonial third world countries through his work on protracted peoples War. Since the Chinese revolution the peoples of the third world countries have launched heroic armed struggles either officially upholding the Maoist concept of protracted peoples War or unofficially implementing it without officially upholding it.Comrade Mao innovated Lenin’s colonial thesis to the condition sof third world countries and was the first Marxist to discover a peasnt based revolution with the countryside and rural areas becoming the principal areas of struggle and encircling the towns.He developed the concept of setting up guerilla zones and developing military base areas.We are commemorating 75 years since the Long March,the greatest march in history. In the 1935 Tsunyi conference Mao ‘s line won where the left sectarian line of Wang Ming and the right deviationist Chang Ku Tao were defeated.In the latter case the Vietnamese struggle against America is the best case. Vietnam won the war deploying the Maoist method of Peoples War. Heroic Maoist armed struggles were waged in Peru,Nepal India and Phillipines,Till the early 1990’s the Peruvian Sendero Luminosos almost in every way implemented the Maoist mass line in their main periods.Amed actions were launching very reminiscent of the Maoist led Chinese party in the armed struggle which threatened the very foundations of the autocratic Peruvian regime.

They superbly encircled the Peruvain towns upto 1992 and looked on the verge of triumphing.Sadly they met with a major setback just on that periphery of triumph.The Philippines Communist Party was theoretically the soundest making a historic self-criticism in 1988 through a rectification programme.They have waged armed struggle since 1968 .They claim they will capture power in 10 years The Peruvian party had along period of mass preparation before launching the Peoples War.Today the Phillipines movement has built up legal forms and liasons of struggle in urban areas.. In India in 1946-51 the mass line in Telengana was implemented but today in India we have an armed struggle with strong distortions of the mass line, however commendable or historic the effort. In Nepal at one stage sustained efforts were made which later veered towards capitulationism.

The Peruvian Sendero Luminoso led the greatest armed struggle since the Chinese revolution and took a military struggle to the greatest depth since the armed struggle of the C.C.P. led by Mao. Some forces like that uphold Lin Biao as the percursor of the Peoples War theory forget that it was Comrade Mao Tse Tung who laid the foundation of this theory and Lin Biao only elaborated it.Overall what is significant is that it was Comrade Mao Tse Tung’s military theories as a development of Leninism that led to the building of popular armed struggles and even victorious triumphs in Vietnam against America and France.In the trends that deferred armed struggles and still built mass movements like that of Nagi Reddy in India in the early 1970’s. Mao’s protracted Peoples War writings were a major factor.Struggles in Punjab are a major example.A very important factor in armed struggle was the leadership of the proletariat and the preparation. In this regard I would highlight the contribution of Comrades in India like Nagi Reddy and D.V Rao on the need for adequate agrarian revolutionary movement before creating the Peoples Liberation Army and launching the armed struggle.In fact the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L) of India is theoretically sounder than the C.P.I.(Maoist)on this question.Below I am reproducing 2 outstanding writings by Com.Mike Ely on Peoples war and the fact that the proletriat did lead the Chinese Revolution.

a.There is a distinction conceptually between “peoples war” and “protracted peoples war.”

Protracted peoples war is a specific strategy of rural base areas, waged in semi-feudal countries. But Maoists have also discussed peoples wars that are less “protracted” and that emerge from compressed insurrections in highly urbanized capitalist countries.

The word Preparation is a major leap: because it acknowledges that the preconditions for initiating a war don’t always exist, and there is (of necessity) a preparatory period (preparing the revolutionary forces, and perhaps also awaiting particular objective conditions and crisis). Previously in the ICM there were forces who denied (functionally) any need for preparation — and treated the initiation of peoples war as merely a matter of will and the courage to decide. It was tied to a view (promoted even by the RCPUSA) that the people of the third world were always (more or less) in a revolutionary situation, so that (even if there was a conjunctural element to launching armed struggle in advanced countries) there was probably not (in this view) much conjunctural element in launching people’s war in a semifeudal-semicolonial country.

In fact, there is both a need to do serious preparation (among the people, and in the preparation of the revolutionary core), and also a need for favorable objective conjunctures (involving both internal and external factors).

b..Leadership of the Proletariat

The fact that the Chinese revolution was a national liberation struggle and a radical anti-feudal agrarian revolution led by communists represented (in a real sense, at some levels of abstraction and mediation) a revolution led by the proletariat. In the sense that it was led as part of an ongoing process aimed for communism. That it was led by ideas and organization uncharacteristic of the peasants, or the local merchants but that (in fact) were a product (and extension) of the most class conscious movements of the working class (and the theory that led them). . There was always a concerted effort for this revolution did seek (whenever possible) to sink roots among the workers, and bring them to the fore as a class-in-itself becoming a class-for-itself.One early example of this was when the Maoist armies started taking cities — there were quickly line struggles over who to “rely on” in the cities: Some wanted to rely on the existing administration(i.e. take over the state as it existed, but run it with new methods), some wanted to apply the methods from the countryside (i.e. find the most radicalized poor peasants living on the fringes of urban life), and Mao argued (strongly) that the revolution finally had a chance to connect with, mobilize and relying the masses of working people in these urban areas (and that this focus had an important strategic component). So while I am arguing that the notion of “proletarian leadership” does not rest on the presence and initiative of people (literally) of working class origin — Mao and the other Maoists were quite conscious of wanting to make and strengthen that link, in order the strengthen the social basis for proletarian ideas within a movement (and within a country) of overwhelmingly non-proletarian classes. This same approach came forward in the GPCR, where the revolution was first triggered in schools among the youth (red guards) and among the soldiers (the publication of the Red Book), but where mao struggled to bring the actual workers into the conflict (not just as fresh footsoldiers in a key social sphere, but as a potentially transformative force.)
The major error is to universalize the Chinese thesis to the conditions in all Countries.Although leading a great armed Struggle in Peru Comrdae Gonzalo generalized the theory of Maoist Peoples War to even European countries which was an error Peoples War propounded by Mao cannot be launched in a European country.

B.Cultural Revolution

The seeds of this movement were planted in Mao’s Great Debate where he classified the Kruschevite revisionist.Mao upheld Stalin’s Socialist and claimed that Kruschev’ revisionist clique usurped power.Mao was the first Marxist to recognize the need for continuing class struggle under the dictatorship of the Proletariat. And thus founded the theory of continuous revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. ComMao created the most democratic society in the history of mankind in the Chinese revolution from the Socialist to the stage of the Cultural Revolution. The revolutionary creative energy of the masses was harnessed to phenomenal heights.

Achievements of the Cultural Revolution.

The most sweeping changes were made in the history of mankind in the spheres of medicine education,industry,agriculture ,army and political functioning.

Compiled from Marxist Leninist Maoist Research Group

This installment describes how workers transformed their factories, how peasants were empowered, and how health care was brought to the vast majority of the population in the countryside during the CR.

Narrowing and Overcoming Class Differences and Inequalities in Socialist Society

Under socialism, production is planned to meet the needs of society rather than maximize profit. However, as noted earlier, many inequalities continue to exist in socialist society. These include significant differences in education, cultural level and technical expertise, wage inequalities, differences between the rural areas and the more advanced cities, and in access to decision making power. These social relations and class differences must be transformed step by step through mass initiatives and campaigns in order to advance along the socialist road. Below we look at the radical transformations of the Cultural Revolution in industry and agriculture. [1]

Workers Transform Their Factories

After the Cultural Revolution was launched in the spring of 1966, politically conscious workers in China’s industrial centers watched events closely. Some made contact with local Red Guard groups and began to discuss their grievances with the top-down system of management that had been widely imposed in the early 1960s. One of the first groups to organize themselves in the factories was the “revolutionary technicians,” many of who were former workers. They began to criticize the formally educated “technical authorities” in their plants who relied on Western or Soviet technical methods and refused to experiment or listen to workers’ suggestions for innovations.[2]

The mass uprising of hundreds of thousands of workers in Shanghai in January 1967 was a signal to workers elsewhere, particularly workers in large state-owned enterprises who had participated in the Great Leap Forward, to organize and seize power from managers and party cadre who were running their factories like capitalist enterprises. These power seizures were led by varying combinations of rank and file workers, work group leaders, technicians, middle-level managers, and revolutionary cadre at various levels.[3] Where these in-plant uprisings took place, elected revolutionary committees–composed of workers, technicians and party cadre–took over directing the daily activities of the factories. This new form of factory management was promoted as a model and spread nationwide during 1967 and early 1968.

This political mobilization and surge of China’s industrial workers enabled them to make many of the transformations within the factories that had first been attempted with varying degrees of success during the Great Leap Forward. Piece wage systems were abolished; by 1971, individual and group bonuses had been eliminated in most plants.[4] Production teams took over managerial responsibilities for their units. They took attendance, planned daily tasks, recorded use of materials, scheduled maintenance, performed quality control and coordinated production with other units. In some factories, yearly production quotas were determined after a lengthy process of consultation with all units in the plant, and production teams determined their own pay within the basic wage scale, based on length of experience, level of skill, and their attitude towards work and fellow workers.[5]
At the same time, the 8 grade wage system—in which the differential between the highest paid skilled workers and the lowest paid unskilled workers averaged three to one—was not a subject of struggle. One reason for this was that seniority allowed workers’ wages to increase over the years; in some cases, senior skilled workers made more than managers.[6]

As the Cultural Revolution progressed, managers and full-time cadre in all industrial enterprises were required to work on the shop floors on a regular or rotating basis. Those with intellectual backgrounds were given training in a particular skill. Members of in-plant revolutionary committees, as well as their administrative staff, participated in labor and made regular visits to the shop floor to assess conditions and make decisions. “Triple combinations” of workers, technicians and administrators were organized to solve technical problems and make innovations at the point of production.

Though it undoubtedly varied greatly from plant to plant, political study was a part of the daily work routine. Mao’s works were not studied as abstract theory, but as a method of investigating and solving production problems and political issues in the factories. In late 1967, a campaign in the factories was launched to criticize Liu Shaoqi’s “70 Articles” from the early 1960s in order to clarify the differences between socialist and capitalist mechanisms of production both within the factories and in the system of nationwide economic planning and organization.[7]

Particularly in the large state-owned enterprises, dependence on advanced foreign technology, Soviet or Western, was criticized. The large oilfields at Daqing in northeast China, which had been opened and operated with Chinese equipment and engineering, were held up a national model for self-reliant effort which created new production methods and products suited to Chinese conditions. This policy helped protect China’s political independence as well.

In addition, news of the progress of the Cultural Revolution and revolutionary struggles around the world was widely available in the plants. Individual workers could make their views known on any subject within or outside the plant by pasting dazibaos on the walls or by speaking out at “mass airings” in front of the entire factory staff. This system promoted a constant give-and-take between the workers and the factory’s revolutionary committee.

In order to raise the technical and educational level of greater numbers of workers at all skill levels, a variety of schools and training institutes were set up inside the factories. In one large Shanghai machine tools plant, a “July 21 university” enrolled its first class of fifty two workers in 1968, with an average age of 29. A two and a half year course prepared to them to become technicians in the factory with a high level of political consciousness. By 1974, there were 34 factory-run full-time workers’ universities in Shanghai.[8]

Women worked in skilled industrial jobs for the first time

In many factories, “spare time schools” were set up, where hundreds of workers studied technology, politics and culture. Since women were more recent arrivals to many factories, these in-plant training courses created increased opportunities for them to move into higher skilled jobs. A factory worker in Beijing described the classes she had attended that were given by veteran skilled workers:

They taught us about electricity, how to read blueprints, geometry, chemistry, all kinds of things that we needed to know to do our job well. I thing that by having the actual experience of working in the factory combined with theory in the classes, we learned much quicker, and we did not slow down production.[9]

The new system of factory management was put to use in solving a thorny production problem at the Anshan Iron and Steel Works, the largest, but also one of the oldest industrial complexes in China. In the 1960s, the plant’s production of rolled steel was beginning to fall. In 1971, leading cadre at one of Anshan’s old smelting mills claimed that its output could only be raised through an infusion of state funds, causing their renovation plan to remain on paper for years.

After these leaders were criticized for not relying on the workers in the mills, the responsible revolutionary committee organized a dozen “three-in-one” teams who worked closely with shop floor workers to solve the difficult technological problems of modernizing the mill. Using only internal funds, the workers rebuilt the old mill and were able to double its output.[10]

The mass campaign at Anshan rooted out conservative views on how to increase production and state funds by relying on the workers’ political consciousness and their hands-on understanding of production. During the Cultural Revolution this orientation was capsulized in the phrase “grasp revolution, promote production.” Despite some disruptions during the Cultural Revolution, industrial production in China grew by more than 10% yearly from 1966 to 1976. [11]

These revolutionary innovations in industry were not uniform. In more than a few factories, workers faced strong resistance from party cadre, managers and technicians to the new system of factory administration. However, it was deeply rooted in some areas. In December 1976, even after the military coup that brought an end to the Maoist era, an Italian teacher visited a power station in Shanghai where the workers still shared in management at all levels, and young workers were sent to universities to return to the plant as technicians.[12]

As the Deng Xiaoping regime consolidated power in the late 1970s, these transformations were wiped out. Under the new “manager responsibility” system, all authority was placed in the hands of factory managers. They decided how production was organized, whether to hire or fire employees, how much to pay workers, and how much they, the new bosses, would get paid.

Peasant Empowerment and Learning from Dazhai

Learn from Dazhai

While the mass upsurges of the Cultural Revolution were concentrated in the cities, major social transformations took place in the rural areas, where 80% of the people still lived. With encouragement from Red Guard groups in village middle schools, peasants in many areas formed independent mass associations. This movement launched a frontal challenge to the traditional political culture of submission to authority in the countryside.

These organizations of newly empowered peasants brought the political attitudes and work habits of party cadre and leadership at all levels—the commune, production brigade and production team [13]—under intense scrutiny. Mao’s works became a weapon, a de facto constitution, for peasants in their debates with abusive and bureaucratic village leaders. According to a number of peasants interviewed in the 1990s, the term “newly arisen bourgeoisie” referred to party leaders who did not work but bossed people around like the old landlords and capitalists.[14]

Commune leaders no longer appointed production team leaders; they were elected by the team members. If the leaders did not do a good job, they would lose their positions at the end of the year. In one county in Shandong, the production team leaders had to be replaced every year.[15] An important part of the evaluation of local party cadre was how much time they spent working alongside ordinary farmers in the fields.

Beginning in late 1967, a new power structure began to replace the old party apparatus in many areas. Mass associations, composed mainly of poor and lower middle peasants, chose people to sit on newly organized village revolutionary committees. These committees exercised day to day leadership in the villages and on the communes.[16]

With the encouragement of cultural workers from the cities, peasants developed as painters, writers and performers. A vast expansion of education and health services brought immediate benefits to the lives of people in the rural areas.

Poster shows model commune, Dazhai in early 70s

The expansion of private plots and free markets in the early 1960s was reversed, with a renewed emphasis on political consciousness and collective effort. Dazhai, one brigade of a commune in a rocky and eroded part of Shanxi Province, was promoted as a model for agriculture during the Cultural Revolution. According to William Hinton, who spent decades working in the Chinese countryside:

With a spirit of self-reliance, and without aid from the state, Dazhai transformed its hills and gullies into fertile fields by cutting stone, laying up walls, and carrying in earth. This transformation was carried out through collective effort after protracted political education and in the course of constant struggle against individualism and private-profit mentality. The result was a gradually rising standard of living for all members of the brigade, expanding sales of surplus grain to the state instead of demands for relief, the accumulation of reserves against bad years, the reconstruction of most of the housing in the village, and the establishment of many community projects to serve the people and community industries to supplement agricultural income.[17]

In 1971, the Dazhai brigade was linking together hillside terraces and low-lying plots to be able to utilize farm machinery. In the preceding years, the county in which Dazhai was located had built its own garden tractors, electrical generators, a chemical fertilizer plant, a small iron blast furnace, and became self-sufficient in cement. [18]

During the Cultural Revolution, there was a big push to mechanize agriculture. In the farming area around Shanghai, the amount of land that was machine-tilled grew from 17% in 1965 to 76% in 1972. The rural industrialization program begun during the Great Leap Forward was accelerated. By the end of the Cultural Revolution, there were nearly 800,000 rural industrial enterprises, plus 90,000 small hydroelectric stations, producing 15% of China’s industrial output.[19] These advances could not have been achieved without the rapid expansion of the rural educational system during the Cultural Revolution, which produced agricultural experts, and technicians and skilled workers for commune factories and workshops.

In areas of the countryside where there was strong leadership, there were impressive gains in production, but in other areas production stagnated.[20] Many large-scale infrastructural projects that were aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and the peasants’ standard of living were undertaken during the Cultural Revolution involving tens of thousands of workers. In one part of Guangdong Province that the CCAS delegation visited in 1971, three communes had joined together to build a huge network of irrigation and flood control projects, including three large dams. Each dam had its own small hydroelectric station.

In one county in Shandong Province, large-scale infrastructural projects were often popular initiatives, an important change from the Great Leap Forward, when peasants were sent out to work by commune and village leaders with no input on their part. On some projects, schoolteachers, students and local government employees joined the construction crews after they got off work. [21]

These social and economic transformations in the Chinese countryside were thrown sharply into reverse after 1976. The achievements of the Dazhai brigade were denounced as a fraud. The communes and collectives were broken up, and land was distributed to peasant households in what became known as the “family responsibility system.” Cadres, relatives, friends and cronies were able to buy at massive discounts the tractors, trucks, wells, pumps, processing equipment and other property that the collectives had accumulated over decades through the hard labor of all members.[22] Privatization also spelled the end of the collective health care system in the countryside.

Health Care and Barefoot Doctors

Prior to the Cultural Revolution, health care resources—doctors, hospital facilities and money—were concentrated in the cities. This system left hundreds of millions of peasants with rudimentary medical care, and it impeded the flow of advanced medical knowledge back to the villages.

One of the most dynamic innovations of the Cultural Revolution was the system of “barefoot doctors” that helped narrow the gap in health services between rural and urban areas. By the mid-1970s, more than a million of these paramedics, four times as many as in 1965, were working in the countryside. Many of them were educated urban youth who were part of the movement “down to the villages.”
The first group of 28 barefoot doctors, trained by Shanghai doctors in 1968 at Chiangchen People’s Commune, set a pioneering example for the country. Their guidelines were to serve the countryside, to place prevention of diseases first, and to combine mental and manual labor—”calluses on hands, mud on feet, medicine kit on shoulder, poor and lower-middle peasants in mind.”

One of the first steps taken by these new medical workers was to train disease-prevention health workers from the peasants, enabling each production brigade to have its own health center. In one brigade, the barefoot doctors devoted a third to a half of their time to farm work. This not only created a medical corps with strong ties to the peasants, it enabled brigade doctors to help develop a rice strain that had high yields and eliminated disease-bearing mosquitoes. Finally, upon the recommendations of the peasants they worked with, the commune sent five barefoot doctors to medical school to pursue more advanced studies.[23]
Urban hospitals and medical schools turned their attention to the countryside, establishing medical centers on communes and providing doctors to staff them. A commune hospital or clinic served two purposes: as a treatment center for seriously ill patients, and as a training center for barefoot doctors and midwives. After an initial training course of six months to a year, they would return for follow-up courses during the slack season. They continued to work in the fields and were paid by their communes.

Barefoot doctors were often young women

The tasks of these new doctors went far beyond the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. They administered vaccinations, demonstrated the correct use of pesticides, introduced new sanitation methods, and taught mothers about nutrition and child care. In addition to helping rural women to give birth at home, midwives were trained to diagnose a difficult birth early enough to bring the mother to a commune hospital. At the rural hospitals and clinics visited by the CCAS delegation, medicine was free. [24]
During the same years, Red Medical Teams, an urban and industrial version of the barefoot doctors, were established. After a basic course and recurrent follow-up sessions, they staffed factory clinics and cared for the health of their fellow workers.

The training of doctors and medical staff at urban hospitals also went through major changes during the Cultural Revolution. In medical schools, the program of study was shortened from six years to three years, followed by an internship of one and a half years. The curriculum was revised to place more emphasis on preventative medicine. Most graduates were generalists, not specialists. They would spend a good part of their lives in the countryside as part of mobile teams, or they resettled there.[25]

In addition, many traditional forms of medicine, such as herbal remedies and acupuncture anesthesia, were widely used during the Cultural Revolution. Research institutes studied Chinese medicine to put it on a scientific and standardized basis, while many hospitals began to combine Chinese and Western medicine into an integrated system for the treatment of illness.

The end of the Cultural Revolution led to a rapid and drastic decline in the health care system in the countryside. The barefoot doctor system was abandoned by Deng’s regime in 1981. Doctors set up their own private practices, making medical treatment well beyond the means of most villagers. After the collectives were dissolved in 1983, health care insurance disappeared in the countryside. [26]

Radical social transformations in education, health care, culture, industry, agriculture, the position of women, and collective, internationalist values were essential to achieving the aims of the Cultural Revolution. Still, the course that the Cultural Revolution took varied tremendously across China’s huge territory. The revolutionary transformations described above were uneven, and were not implemented over a long enough period to take firm root. Particularly as they came under attack by rightist forces, the “socialist new things” did not always survive, even prior to the revisionist coup in 1976 that brought the Cultural Revolution to an end.


Quoting an extract in Daily Life in Revolutionary China

“The Cultural Revolution sets in motion the inexhaustible participation of the masses, which accelerates and puts into concrete form the appearance of proletarian democracy of which the Chinese speak. How else are we to define the politicization of the masses, which I saw during the trip? The moment the masses no longer fear coercion from the state apparatus, proletarian democracy begins to establish itself. It is here on the level of consensus, that the mass line conceived by Mao more than 40 years ago undergoes it’s broadest development This unprecedented reliance on the masses might merely conceal a pedagogical and academic character were it not based on social practice, did not explode within the heart of the ideological apparatus.

One of Mao’s most important points was, ‘Grasp the revolution and promote production “Mao always insisted tat the contradictions between the forces of production and the relations of production, and their contradictions with the superstructure will continue to exist in every human society as ling as production relations continue to exist. He also fought for revolutionary changes within the superstructure. In his essay ‘On contradiction’ Mao dealt with the question of the continuation of revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Mao dealt here with the ultimate goal of reducing the power of coercive and ideological apparatus of the state-until the state withered away. By carrying the revolution to the soul by the “Intervention of the masses in the Superstructure .. Three in one committees were formed consisting of the revolutionary Party Cadre, revolutionary representatives from the Army and representatives of the revolutionary masses and a continuous process of struggle, criticism-transformation was carried out. “In China the party is the dominant apparatus, under the dictatorship of the Proletariat, and that the ideological apparatus was carried out by the party. But at the same time the party is neither a metaphysical category nor a Thomist Credo.

In China the struggle was raging within the party itself.The proletariat intervenes in the party,the ideological apparatus of the power system an elsewhere The dominant party of the proletarian revolution fulfills it’s task ,which is to re-enforce the dictatorship of the proletariat ,by accomplishing it’s own revolution as a ruling apparatus, and by opening it’s structure to the masses. Criticism of the party and electoral replacements of committees and orther party organizations is done in open, with the participation of workers who are not members. This is the confirmation of the mass line which opens the party the “the new blood of the Proletariat Maoist.

“The Quoting Raymond Lotta in his defending Socialism Columns in ‘Revolution’One of the major distortions about the Cultural Revolution is that Mao masterminded and manipulated whatever happened. Mao is said to be responsible for every act and struggle that took place. Mao is held responsible for any and all cases of violence. There is a notion that everything issued from a single locus of power and decision-making—from Mao.

Different class and social forces were involved in the Cultural Revolution. There were the genuine Maoists in the party and mass organizations. There were anti-Mao groupings within the party who organized students, workers and peasants. And there were conservative military forces, ultra-left groupings, mass organizations that divided into rebel and conservatives camps, criminal elements, and others. Different social interests and motivations were in play.

Reasons for setback

1. At times, factionalism—in the sense of groups placing their own narrow interests above political principle– was a difficult problem to resolve. Here what we have to analyse is the need for a further democratisation of the superstructure to combat factionalism nut sill promote democracy.

In the course of the Cultural Revolution, rightist and leftist groupings all claimed to be following “Chairman Mao’s revolutionary line.” In this complex and often confusing situation, party members and the masses of people could only distinguish between correct and incorrect lines—between the socialist road and the road back to capitalism—by engaging in political and ideological study, discussion and struggle. In many cases, disputes between leftist groupings had to be resolved by the intervention of the People’s Liberation Army, which brought new problems. Further advances in the Cultural Revolution and consolidation of its achievements would have required a higher level of political consciousness and willingness to put collective interests first in order to reduce the level of unprincipled factional struggle.This very point makes us question whether again was Chairman Mao’s line the only revolutionary line..It also highlight the over-intervention of the Peoples Liberation Army.However the sincerity of the implement 2 line struggle cannot be denied.A principal factor was the lack of preparation and political consciousness.

2. In spite of the August 1966 directive that the principal target of the Cultural Revolution was high-ranking party officials taking the capitalist road, intellectuals, especially those trained in the pre-Liberation era, were repeated, high-profile targets. At some points, nearly all teachers, writers and other intellectuals came under fire from Red Guard groups.[7].Here Bob Avakian’s concept of allowing for dissent under dictatorship of the proletariats is very valid where even rightist artist of intellectuals can express themselves.” Here it must be said that there has been a problem in previous socialist societies. There has been a tendency to see intellectual activity that is not directly serving or linked to the agenda of the socialist state at any given time as not that important—or as disruptive of that agenda.’
Now in bringing forward this understanding and pointing to these weaknesses, Avakian has been retracing the experience of proletarian revolution in the intellectual and scientific realms. In his reenvisioning of socialism, Bob Avakian has been emphasizing the role of dissent in socialist society. Avakian has said that dissent must not only be allowed but actively fostered, and this includes opposition to the government.”

Red Guard groups and workers and peasants organizations, each claiming to be flying the “red flag,” at times resorted to force during political struggle. This violated the explicit instructions of the “16 Point Decision,” one of which was that:The method to be used in debates is to present the facts, reason things out, and persuade through reasoning. Any method of forcing a minority holding different views to submit is impermissible. The minority should be protected, because sometimes the truth is with the minority. Even if the minority is wrong, they should still be allowed to argue their case and reserve their views.Here the supression of minorities is a very valid point.It again highlights the importance of Avakian’s concept of dissent.

3. Later the Gang of 4 also made left sectarian errors, unable to unite with the broadest masses. Comrade Mao often rebuked them stating that “You are trying to make the Socialist Revolution but you do not know where the bourgeoisie is-they are right there in the Communist Party ?.Often the Gang gave left sectarian slogans unable to totally unite the broad masses. Often Comrade Mao rebuked them when he stated that they often failed to hit the main revisionist targets stating “You are trying to make the revolution but you do not know where the bourgeoisie is.They are right here in the Communist Party. Often the Gang was unable to implement the mass line and raised left sectarian slogansTowards the closing stages of the G.P.C.R the revolutionary Committees became legal institutions and morally ceased to function.Revocability of Committee members stopped and no more periodic re-elections took place.

4.Not adequate information was released to the broad masses on the political happenings,[particularly in the Lin Biao period.

5.One of the shortcomings of the Cultural Revolution that was most difficult to resolve was the inability of Mao and the leftists in the CCP to find the means to subject rightist commanders in the People’s Liberation Army to mass criticism, to ferret out their connections to revisionist forces outside the army, and to remove them from power where necessary.This very point highlights the very lack of debate and democracy within the system and the excessive power in the hands of the P.L.A.

6.A huge personality cult was created around Comrade Mao Tse Tung.The best reference of this is an essay written by Rangayakaama in Frontier. Slogans like “Chairman Mao will live for 10,000 years resounded, Eulogies were raised stating that Chairman Mao is like ‘ the sun giving light wherever it shines ‘and a ‘great prophet’,Kindergarden students were made to chant “Long Live Mao for 10,000 years and hailing Mao as great ‘helmsman,’ ‘teacher,’ ‘leader’ and ‘commander’ ,all took place. It is also true that the publication of the works of Marx,Engels,Lenin and Stalin Stopped and there was a policy to focus solely on Mao only. Slogans like “Chairman Mao will live for 10,000 years resounded, Eulogies were raised stating that Chairman Mao is like ‘ the sun giving light wherever it shines ‘and a ‘great prophet’,Kindergarden students were made to chant “Long Live Mao for 10,000 years and hailing Mao as great ‘helmsman,’ ‘teacher,’ ‘leader’ and ‘commander’ ,all took place. It is also true that the publication of the works of Marx,Engels,Lenin and Stalin Stopped and there was a policy to focus solely on Mao only.

7..The fact that it was this Cultural Revolution movement was the first revolutionary movement of it’s kind. Capitalism and feudalism already had a long history .For Centuries repressive bourgeoisie society Eg.The era of emperors, monarchs ,then parliamentary governments Etc.existed. The triumph of Socialist Revolution was very recent and thus there had to be errors in the course. It was an entirely new type of an experiment like a scientist using his latest theories in carrying out a new type of an experiment. hus errors were a natural phenomenon. Socialist Russia had never embarked on such a task and Stalinism sowed the seeds of revisionism. Many remnants of the feudal and bourgeois society were left behind in the minds of people after that thinking was perpetrated for thousands of years .It would perhaps take several revolutions to overcome what was created over generations. There was a deep-rooted Confucian tradition in China.

8..Sino Soviet Border conflict.-China had to combat their ideological problem with the then U.S.S R. They had a border disputes with Russia and that was the period where the Cold War was at it’s peak with the U.S –Vietnam War in full flow.To save their state China had to create relations with bourgeoisie states for tactical purposes.On one hand Socialist China had to combat U.S imperialismon the other hand they had to stand upto the Soviet Social Imperialism.This was a complex problem. China had to fight the ‘lion’ but be aware of the ‘bear.’.

9..Persecution of writers , artist, musicians, and sectarian approach to bourgeois philosophers. Sportsmen  not enough attention was given to psychology or Freudian ideas.

Several writers, poets and artists and sportsmen were wrongly attacked and sent to be reformed. True,there were bourgeois tendencies ,but such elements also had progressive aspects which the cultural revolution leaders often failed to understand.

Quoting the the MLMSRG.:In the course of the Cultural Revolution, the development of new revolutionary leadership in the top levels of the party was incomplete and it was difficult to consolidate. The downfall of Lin Biao, Mao’s official successor as of 1969, the removal of the majority of the original members of the Central Cultural Revolution Group, and the turn to the right in the early 1970s by many party leaders and officials grouped around Zhou Enlai made it considerably easier for Deng Xiaoping and other leading revisionists overthrown during the earlier stages of the Cultural Revolution to make successful political comebacks

Some have argued that Mao was too lenient with Deng and other revisionist leaders. But it wasn’t just Mao—the balance of forces in the leadership of the party had shifted sharply to the right. The fundamental issue, concerning which further investigation and discussion is needed, is how and the extent to which Mao and his leftist supporters waged what–as the rightist offensive got under way in the early 1970s–was a steep uphill battle to mobilize the masses and the revolutionary forces in the party to defend the achievements of the Cultural Revolution. This effort would have required targeting, removing and neutralizing the top party leaders who were taking China off the socialist road.[21]”

In the early 1970s, Mao, Zhou and most of the Chinese leadership advocated a “three worlds” perspective for Chinese foreign policy[26] that was a retreat from the revolutionary internationalist line followed earlier in the Cultural Revolution. According to this perspective, the two superpowers (the U.S. and the Soviet Union—“the first world”) were the principal enemies on a world scale; the Western imperialists and Japan (the “second world”) were part of an international united front against the superpowers; and the peoples and countries of the “third world” were the most reliable revolutionary force in opposing the superpowers. The view that the neo-colonial governments of the “third world” could be united with against the superpowers undermined the position (held by the CCP leadership earlier in the Cultural Revolution) that it was essential to provide aid to revolutionary movements in these countries.

As a perspective for the world’s revolutionary movement, the “three worlds” perspective had serious flaws.[27] It downplayed the reactionary nature of the other Western imperialist countries, and it created confusion about the nature of bourgeois nationalist regimes in Asia, Africa and Latin America.[28] Emphasis on economic development in these countries and their disputes with the U.S. obscured the neo-colonial relations that persisted.

The issues raised by the Three Worlds Theory remain crucial today. Similar sentiments are heard about the central importance of struggles for national sovereignty— referring to Venezuela, Bolivia, Iran, Zimbabwe and a number of other countries.

Revolutionary internationalism in the 1960s

They should be defended against attacks by the U.S. or by other imperialist partners, surrogates, or emerging blocs. However, it is important to understand that these countries—even if led by social-democrats like Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales—are still caught in the web of imperialist economic relations. According to James Petras:

My reply is :

I think this is a harsh attack on Com.Zhou En Lai who was one of Mao and also unfair to the effort the C.C.P. made in combating the revisionist roaders. . A very important factor here is whether it was correct to elect Lin Biao as a successor in 1969,which I personally feel was wrong.One has to recognize the fact that the C.C.P.did it’s best to pursue 2 line s-truggle.It also does not do complete justice to the struggle Mao and his followers waged to defeat the rightists and win the battle for Socialism.Personalli I feel that the C.C.P delayed it’s criticism of Lin Biao because of Mao’s fear of the right triumphing.Infact an essay by Rangakayaama illustrates how so much was not disclosed about Lin Bioa before the coup.It is difficult to imagine how differently Lin Biao wa sassed before and after hi s fall.

The other point is that the three worlds theory was never an innovation of Comrade Mao and was aformulation of Deng Xiapoing.Mao formalized relations with Nixon for tactical relation s of survival of the Socialist State.

Certain sections find fault with Comrade Mao like the L.L.C.O.(Leading Light Communist Organisation)

Quoting the L.L.C.O

“Mao’s shift to the right following the Ninth Congress of April of 1969. Into the 1970s, Mao moved rightward in both domestic policy and foreign policy. When Mao turned to the right, he came into conflict with many Maoists. After the victory of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1969) and the Ninth Congress (1969), the Maoist prize should have been a return to the Maoist economic policies that had been defeated by Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping during the Great Leap years (1958-1962). The point of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1969) had been to reverse the creeping capitalism as the Maoist model was abandoned during the Great Leap years.Deng Xiaoping was brought back to power in 1974 to a top leadership role with Mao’s blessing. Deng Xiaoping would later preside over the complete dismantling of socialism in the 1980s. Despite coming into conflict with the revisionists at times, Mao wavered and waffled. At times, Mao even protected the revisionists. Even though Deng Xiaoping was removed from power more than once, Mao had protected him. For example, Mao personally intervened to separate Deng Xiaoping’s case from Liu Shaoqi’s at the height of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1969). Thus Mao saved Deng Xiaoping, allowing him to make a comeback. Mao failed to carry the Cultural Revolution through to the end.

Errors in global outlook and foreign policy

Errors were made in foreign policy and global outlook also. Mao correctly broke with the Soviet social-imperialists, in part, because of the Soviets had become imperialist themselves and even begun to align with the Western imperialists. Yet, in the 1970s, the CCP found itself also aligning with the Western imperialists. This rightward turn was part of Mao’s rejection of Lin Biao’s global people’s war outlook. Lin Biao was associated with the line that China ought to promote the global people’s war led by Maoism. The Lin Biao line was connected to dissemination of Maoism internationally. Lin Biao’s line put China at odds with almost every state in the world except revolutionary and popular ones. The Lin Biao line advocated fighting both Western imperialism headed by the United States and social-imperialism all at once. The correct Lin Biao line came to be seen as ultra-left by Mao. As early as 1969, Mao assigned people like Chen Yi and Deng Xiaoping to come up with a new line. Eventually the new, anti-Lin Biao line would recommend a tacit Chinese-US alliance against the Soviet Union, which the CCP characterized as “Hitler-like.” This came to be justified after the fact by “Three Worlds Theory” of the 1970s (not to be confused with “Maoism-Third Worldism”). Deng Xiaoping was the main spokesman for this line and theory during the 1970s. Lin Biao’s faction opposed this reactionary turn in foreign policy and global outlook. The endgame of the new, reactionary line was the full capitulation to imperialism that occurred under Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s. China, which had been a beacon for oppressed countries everywhere, now seemed to be selling out.

Lin Biao was guilty for promoting the personality cult. Lin Biao issued the Red Book as part of the Maoification of the PLA, without which the Maoists would not have had the power base to launch the Cultural Revolution. However, the cult is something that the entire Maoist left, and even the right and revisionists, were guilty of to various degrees. The cult existed to various degrees before Lin Biao entered politics and after his fall, when the Gang of Four controlled much of the propaganda machinery. It is fine if people want to claim that the cult was an error, but they need to be consistent about it. The reality is that Mao himself gave his tacit support to the cult. Thinking that the blame for the personality cult can be placed entirely at Lin Biao’s feet is ridiculous. Mao could have easily gone public with his criticisms, if you believe that he had them at all — yes, we all know Mao circulated his “letter” that critiqued the cult, conveniently, after Lin Biao’s fall. Let’s be real. Mao could have announced his supposed criticism of the cult from Tiananmen for the whole world to hear, if he really wanted to. The most likely explanation is that Mao was well aware that he needed the cult as a battering ram against the Party and state, against the revisionists. Mao’s personal authority, the cult, was used to mobilize the masses against the authority of Party and state functionaries. Without Lin Biao holding the gun, creating the protective bubble, and without Mao’s personal authority, it is hard to see how the power seizures and mass movements would have been possible in 67-68. As far as mass line goes, Lin Biao, more than anyone else, spoke of “mass democracy” and “big debates.” After all, Lin Biao was the symbol of the Cultural Revolution. The whole criticism that Lin Biao as some kind of Confucian elitist against the mass line is ridiculous, and it is a criticism that can be made and was made of the entire Maoist bloc. It is a typical Zhou Enlai-ist-Dengist criticism to raise the flag of “mass line” against those who want to advance to communism. This reactionary line had the effect of discrediting Mao-influenced movements worldwide.”

My reply to this is “It is one of the most erroneous lines in the International Communist Movement to blame Com.Mao Tse Tung for errors.Was it not Comrade Mao who initiated the Great debate against Soviet Social Imperialism and founded the first Movement of revolutionary Struggle against the dictatorship of the Proletariat?Mao’s policy was to recognize the American state and not betray the revolutionary struggles Internationally.Infact Lin Biao’s peoples War theories were an over generalization and hardly corresponded to the specific charasterictics and problems of different countries.Remember the left sectarian line of Charu Mazumdar in India in the early 1970′s.Today there are so many region s yet not prepared for Peoples War in third world countries.Lin Biao may have played a great role in revolutionising the P.LA.but later even if not pro-Soviet did not wish to continue the Cultural Revolution,giving emphasis to production and insisted on the position of President being re-instated.Instaed of fighting for the correct mass line in correcting mistakes Lin turned against Com.Mao whose basic line was correct.There were great achievements in the G.P.C.R in the 1971-1975 era and the main errors were the left sectarian tendencies of the Gang of 4.I agree Lin may not have been pro-U.S.S.R but his line was conspirational .Theoretically one has to understand the tactical significance of Mao’s normalsing relations with the American state.Vietnam won the war against America because of Socialist China’s help.

Mao’s error was possibly not condemning the overthrow of Allende by America in Chile and inability to control the personality cult and excesses.The cult wAs not only the cause of Lin Biao but because of the nature of the struggle and problems inherent in the nature of the struggle.Remember it was the first revolution of it’s kind.Insufficient avenues or factions for debate and criticism were created but yet there were achievements in revolutionary democracy unprecedented in the history of mankind.China also in the Maoist period could not maintain the adequate balance in practice between Soviet Social Imperialism and U.S.imperialism and marginally drifted towards not placing enough emphasis on opposing U.S.Imperialism and supporting 3rd world liberation movements.This is highlighted in it’s silence on certain issues and stand on countries like Ethiopia.We must praise Socialist China’s efforts to aid Vietnam winning the war aginst U.S.A and not imposing itself on communist parties of other countriesThe C.C.P needed to make it’s policies more open to the public .The 3 worlds theory was never propounded by Com Mao as R.C.P ,llco and Kasama propound...He fought for the Socialist line till his death and whatever Lin;s earlier positive contribution ssupporting Lin Over Mao would virtually be endorsing capitulationism. The fact that Lin Biao was elected as a successor shows the weakness of the then C.C.P. in the mass line.The chief deviation in the reign of Lin Biao as a military commander was the excessive power in the hands of the Peoples Liberation army and their deployment against civilians.Earlier Lin had made an important contribution in the Socialist education Movement and the building of the P.L.A.Maoist revolutionaries have to condemn Lin Biao’s wrong political methods and conspiracy and remember the important mass revolutionary movement led by the Gang of 4 Criticizing Lin Biao and Confucius .The very rise of figures like Lin Biao and Liu Shao Chi have to be studied .Just because Lin had such a leading position cannot credit him with the succeses of the G.P.C.R. Liu Shao Chi was head of the state from 1956 but his line was for over a decade opposed to that of Mao’s.Later Lin virtually opposed the revolutionary Commitess and the cultural Revolution Movements.It must also be mentioned that some of the greatest mass movements of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution took place after 1970 like the Tachai Commune in 1975.The Gang of 4 of ,especially Chiang Ching made some of the most extraordinary proletarian innovations in art, culture and politics. The author feels that the Gang of 4 displayed strong left sectarian tendencies towards the end and were unable to carry out the mass line inspite of making great efforts.William Hinton reported the left sectarian sloganeering of the Gang which even Mao was critical of ..I also feel that trends like Kasama and R.C.P.wrongly blame Zhou En-Lai as an ally of the revisionist forces.Infact Zhou En-Lai was the only stalwart who stood with Mao till the end and there is hardly any evidence to substantiate his collaborating with Deng Xiaoping.The creation of factions and disputes makes the author question the need to perhaps accommodate other parties within a Socialist system .True the dictatorship of the Proletariat has to be mantained and westen multi-party democracy opposes it. However it could be debated that a Socialist multi-party system could be created giving rights to allow other Communist parties or other parties to function representing the varying viewpoints of the proletariat. The Communist party would still act as a vanguard leading revolutionary movements buy allowing for other parties to exists.It may have taken a longer process,but still lay the grounds for a stronger democratic mass Movement with greater freedom of expression and views aired out more directly to the broad masses.One of the principal aspects of study was of the P.L.A and Lin Biao.The lack of adequate scope of democracy and debate and a huge personality cult built around Comrdae Mao was the chief percusor of that phenomena.Intellectuals ,musicians and artists were wrongly persecuted.In the end several revolutionary Committees were disbanded and functioned as legal structures.

When any peoples war was launch whether in Peru,Nepal or Phillipines the theory wa s atributed to Comrade Mao Tse Tung and not Lin Biao.The Chinese armed struggle of the C.C.P. led by Mao was interpreted in the concrete conditions and there was no mention of Lin Biao as what the L.LCO keeps propounding.

A very important aspect in this movement was the emergence and fall of Lin Biao.To me I oppose 3 trends in the Communist camp. One of them rejects any criticism of the International line of the C.C.P..led by Mao.The other blames Mao for the 3 worlds theory and collaborating with Nixon..The last one upholds Lin Biao as the true proletarian revolutionary.We have to negate the false view that Mao advocated the theory of 3 worlds but at the same time also be critical of China’s inability to take strong positions against U.S.Imperialism in the early 1970’s with the silence on Chile the best example.Inadequate support was given to the third world revolutionary movements and in practice greater emphasis was placed on combating the Social Imperialism of the U.S.S.R.We have also to examine the weaknesses that led to the emergence of Comrades like Lin Biao and the fact why the C.C.P .remained silent about many of his errors till 1970 and only totally exposed his errors after his coup.Another important aspect was the personality cult created around Mao Tse Tung which cannot be ascribed to Lin Biao.Mao himself has to be held responsible for errors.An important error was the CC.P.declaring in the 1969 Congress that it was the era when Imperialism was heading for a total collapse.”This was somewhat corrected in 1973 when stating that it was still the era of Imperialism.

5 .Conclusion

Today we have a huge range of trends and debates but the author still feels that Marxism Leninsm and Mao-Tse Tung Thought is burning like a red flame.Whatever his marginal errors ComMao Tse Tung was the greatest revolutionary of his time and his contribution is on par with Marx and Lenin.New Left trends tend to de-link Mao’s theories from Lenin nad Marx and treat it as an independent identity which is a capitulationist trend.

There are several deviations of right and left while Peoples Wars are not at their ebb. Other deviations in the Communist Movement are allying with the Islamic Jihadist forces in an Anti-imperialist front ,which again hardly has any proletarian content However there is a world economic risis globally where ultimately the third world people will light the red torch and the crisis in the First World Countries will ultimately force them to join the third world Struggles.

The Middle East is a very crucial issue where the proletariat has not taken the leadership.We have to commend aspects of Kasama for encouraging such wide debates on political and historical factors and inviting participants from such a wide range of view s but ultimately they veer towards rightists stands.Polemically today the Communist Party of Phillipines,the C.P.I.(Maoist) and the C.P.R.C.I.(M.L.)are the most correct.

In fact the R.C.P.(U.S.A) is more theoretically sound than Kasama led by Mike Ely.In fact I value the R.C.P. and Com.Bob Avakian’s works on dissent in Socialist Society ,upholding the Socialist Roaders in the G.P.C.R..I admire Avakian’s democracy Can we do better than that where he effectively refuted K.Venu’s proletarian democracy which rejected the concept of dictatorship of the Proletariat.The most correct theoretical contribution on polemics was made by Com.Harbhajan Sohi of India in his writings on ‘Invincilbility of Mao Tse Tung Thought’ and ‘The Teng-Hua clique’ . Significantly even in the early 1980’s he was critical of R.I.M.forces but still upheld the revolutionary aspects of the R.C.P. and did not disqualify them from the revolutionary camp.

Written with reference to

1.Kasama project blog-particularly MLMSRG.essays.
2.Leading Light Communist Organization blog
4.Writings from Joseph Ball and Mike Ely.


Anonymous said...

I believe there is no one ideologue or political group that one will agree with 100% of the time. But a person or group who represents a particular political doctrine, shouldn't deviate so far off course that they lose the primary principle behind it. A group in the USA which has done this is the CPUSA. They promote a socialist and progressive platform when the manifesto teaches socialism as the intermediate stage to communism. Deborah Jeffries

Anonymous said...

Is there something wrong with my commentary? I've posted several. I'm trying to present the real America a country of high unemployment, foreclosures, hunger and homelessness and I speak for them because I am unemployed and barely holding on to housing. I use my education as a writer to spread marxism globally. Deborah Jeffries