N.Sanmugathasan, General Secretary, Ceylon Communist Party
It has become necessary for all Marxist-Leninists to reassess Mao Tsetung Thought because of late it has begun to be attacked from both the right and the left. I t is not difficult to understand why the right attacks Mao. The present revisionist leadership of China, under Teng Hsiao-ping and the imperialists of all kinds have all the reasons in the world to attack Mao because they hate everything he stood for. Teng Hsiao-ping is currently engaged in the process of de-Maoisation of China, of reversing all the policies of Mao, of reversing the correct verdicts of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Therefore he has every reason to attack and abuse Mao. But, what is more difficult to understand is why the left personified by the Party of Labour of Albania and certain other so-called Marxist-Leninist parties have chosen precisely this moment to lend weight to Teng’s elbow by coming out with a wholesale condemnation and rejection of Mao Tsetung Thought.
The present anti-Maoist activities of Teng can only be compared to the denunciation of Stalin by Khrushchov in 1956. It does not need much intelligence to perceive this parallel. Stalin was a great Marxist-Leninist who took part, with Lenin, in founding the Soviet state and after Lenin’s death, in constructing socialism in the Soviet Union and then defending it successfully against the savagery of Hitler’s attack. Khrushchov reversed all these, restored capitalism in the Soviet Union, collaborated with U.S. imperialism and shattered the unity of the world communist movement which Stalin had built. Mao, too, was a great Marxist-Leninist who liberated one-fourth of the world’s population from imperialism and feudalism and, there afterwards, constructed socialism in China and by means of the Cultural Revolution showed how to carry on the class struggle under conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat and prevent China from going the way of the Soviet Union.
Teng has reversed this whole process and is now busy restoring capitalism, in reversing all the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution. It is a little insulting to our intelligence to suggest, as the Albanian comrades are doing, that Mao should be compared to Khrushchov and not to Stalin and that Teng is China’s Brezhnev. One question pops up immediately. Why did the Albanian comrades remain silent so long? Nay, why did they hail Mao as a great Marxist-Leninist as late as 1977 at their Seventh Congress? No convincing reason is forthcoming. The only reason trotted out is that the Chinese Party was a closed book to them and they did not know what really was happening there. If that were really so, despite the fact that both parties were members of the Cominform in the post- Second World War period, who opened this closed book to the Albanians now? Surely not Teng Hsiao-ping?
Recently, our Party delegation which visited the Iron and Metallurgical Works at Elbassan which was built with Chinese aid was’ told that Chinese economic sabotage had started even during Mao’s lifetime, i.e., before September 1976. Then, why did Enver, in his report to the Seventh Congress, refer to Mao not only as a great Marxist-Leninist but also as a great friend of the Albanian people? Surely, Enver must have been aware of the sabotage! He need not have abused him. But need he have praised him if the charge is true? Even before the detailed questions to be analysed later, let us first answer the central question. What is Mao Tsetung Thought?
Mao Tsetung Thought is Marxism- Leninism as applied to the specific, concrete revolutionary practice of China and our era. As the Chinese comrades have themselves put it, “Marxism-Leninism holds that the fundamental question of revolution is political power and that the seizure of power by armed force is the central task and the highest form of revolution. This is the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism. Whoever denies this or admits it in words but denies it in deeds is not a genuine Marxist- Leninist. But specific conditions vary in different countries. And in what way would this task be carried out in China? On the basis of the great practice after the October Revolution, Lenin, in his Address To the Second All- Russian Congress of Communist Organizations of the Peoples of the East in November 1919, told the communists of the Eastern peoples that they must see the characteristics of their own areas and that, relying upon the general theory and practice of communism, they must adapt themselves to peculiar conditions which do not exist in the European countries.
Lenin stressed that this was ‘a task which until now did not confront the communists anywhere in the world.’ Obviously, the seizure of political power and the victory of the revolution are out of the question if the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism is not integrated with the concrete revolutionary practice of a specific country.” Comrade Mao Tsetung set out to integrate the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete revolutionary practice of China. The strategy and tactics that he used to achieve this aim have now come to be known as Mao Tsetung Thought.
Unfortunately some European “Marxist-Leninists” do not. see, as Lenin did, the specific characteristics of a country like China, which, was heir to a very ancient civilisation, and where lived a quarter of the world’s population and which was oppressed both by feudalism and by foreign imperialism. They see only the dogma and accuse Mao Tsetung of having allegedly deviated from it. But they do not pause to study and understand the specific characteristics of the concrete revolutionary situation. What seems’to have attracted the Albanian comrades’ attention to the mistakes of Mao Tsetung was the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which Enver Hoxha describes as being neither a revolution, nor great, nor cultural, and in particular, not in the least proletarian.
He calls it a palace putsch on an all China scale’for a liquidation of a handful of reactionaries who had seized power. This is a naive and childish description of, perhaps, one of the greatest revolutionary events of our time. To call a revolution that convulsed the entire Chinese society and involved the militant action of millions upon millions of Chinese people a palace putsch passes one’s understanding. Let us try and understand what the Cultural Revolution was all about. In 1965, on the eve of the Cultural Revolution, China was poised on the path of capitalist restoration, a path that had already been taken by the Soviet Union. Liu Shao-chi, who was correctly dubbed the Khrushchov of China, was the head of the state.
Teng Hsiao-ping was the General Secretary of the Party. Mao was virtually reduced to a minority in the Central Committee. He found working conditions in Peking impossible and had to go to Shanghai to fire his first counter shot. If Mao had to go outside the Party leadership and appeal to the people to bombard the Headquarters of the Party and thus give a personal leadership to the Cultural Revolution, it was because the leadership of the Party was riddled with revisionists and capitalist roaders. Mao had no other alternative, if he wanted to safeguard his Party and keep China from changing colour.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is an example of how to carry on class struggle under conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat in China, to prevent China from changing colour and going down the path of capitalist restoration, and to preserve China as a base for world revolution. A question that is asked is: Why call it a Cultural Revolution? I t was so called because it was in the cultural front that both the revisionists and the revolutionaries fired their first shots. Like the role of the Petofi Club in the Hungarian counter revolution in 1956, cultural activities played a big role in the attempt of the revisionists in China to put the clock back. Besides, the whole revolution was about the question of capturing and influencing men’s minds, to create a new kind of socialist man, devoid of selfishness and the lust for personal power and grandeur.
That is why it was called a Cultural Revolution. I t was certainly great because nothing like that had ever before happened in history. We repeat that it was one of the most momentous events of our time. I t certainly was not a hoax, as Enver Hoxha claims. Nor did it liquidate the Communist Party of China. I t only demolished its bourgeois headquarters, that part of its leadership that had gone revisionist. In its place, it introduced new blood. Of course, there was chaos. Every revolution produces a certain amount of chaos. That is inevitable. As Mao has pointed out, revolution is not a dinner party. Destruction always precedes construction. To say that the revolution was led by non-Marxist elements is simply absurd. It was led by one of the greatest Marxist- Leninists, Mao Tsetung himself.
That Mao and the revolutionaries did not achieve all the aims they set out to achieve by means of the Cultural Revolution is true. This was because, half-way through the revolution, acting on the pretext that the revolution had gone too far to the left, certain leaders like Chou En-lai succeeded in rehabilitating people dethroned by the Cultural Revolution. That this could not be prevented represented the weakness of the social classes represented by Mao and the revolutionaries.
Others ask: Why did Mao call upon the youth to rise up in revolt through the Cultural Revolution? This question has been raised by the Albanian Party. One is tempted to reply: Did not the Albanian Party call upon the youth to construct their railways and to terrace their mountain sides. The youth is not a class by itself. They come from different classes. But they have the common trait, particularly under socialism, of being idealistic, self sacrificing and willing to change society.
Therefore, they can play a vanguard role—which means taking the lead in march- ing in the forefront of the ranks. That is why Mao appeal- ed to the youth. But this does not mean that working class youth were not in the forefront of, the Cultural Revolution. Youth from the working class and peasantry formed the bulk of the Red Guards even though there were small sections of workers who were opposed to the Revolution. Let us not forget that the driving force of the January Storm in Shanghai—one of the outstanding and pace setting events of the Cultural Revolution—was the organisations of revolutionary workers in Shanghai, led by Chang Chun-chiao, Yao Wen-yuan and Wang Hung-wen.
But this, by no means, suggests the repudiation of the leading role of the proletariat in the revolution. As far as Mao is concerned right throughout his theoretical writings and in practice, he has stressed the leading role of the proletariat and has referred to the peasantry as the main force. He has never deviated. In the very first essay in Volume I of his Selected Works, answering the question: Who are our enemies? Who are our friends?, he has stated in his “Analysis of the Classes in Chinese Society,” “The leading force in our revolution is the industrial proletariat.”
In his essay on the, May 4th Movement, he has stated “it is impossible to accomplish the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal democratic revolution without these basic revolutionary forces and without the leadership of the working class.” He has further analysed in detail this question in his essay “On the Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party.” Therein, he states, “The Chinese proletariat is the basic motive force of the Chinese Revolution. Unless it is led by the proletariat, the Chinese Revolution cannot possibly succeed.” He has returned to to this position several times in his writings.
In practice, too, he has given prominence to the organisation of workers, e.g. those of the Anyuan coal mines. But, Enver Hoxha has written that Mao has said that all other political parties and forces must submit to the peasantry and its views. In support of this contention he quotes the following two sentences from Mao’s “Report On An Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan”: “Millions of peasants will rise like a mighty storm, a force so swift and violent that no power, however great, will be able to hold it back,” “they will put to the test every revolutionary party and group, every revolutionary, so that they accept their views or reject them.”
This is nothing short of gross dishonesty. Mao wrote this essay not to urge the hegemonic role of the peasantry in the Chinese Revolution; but to urge the then leadership of the Chinese Communist Party to give leadership to the already emerging peasant movement in the countryside. I t must be pointed out that the then leadership of the Chinese Communist Party was only interested in the alliance with the national bourgeoisie and neglected the task of forging the worker-peasant alliance. Mao correctly wanted this policy changed. But he has never argued for the hegemonic role of the peasantry in the revolution.
He has always described the peasantry, which in China formed between 80 to 90% of the population, as the main force in the revolution and declared that “without the poor peasants there would be no revolution.” Enver Hoxha further cites the thesis about the “revolutionary villages” and that the “countryside must encircle the city” as proof that Mao had elevated the peasantry to the position of the leading role. But what did Mao mean? As far as we could understand it, Mao pointed out that in the semi-colonial countries of the present time, the forces of the enemy were superior to the initially inferior forces of the people and that the enemy forces were concentrated in the cities, e.g. the headquarters of the government, the military, the police, the radio, the railway, the postal department, etc. were all in the cities. In such a situation, the enemy forces were, at the beginning, superior to the initially weaker people’s forces. In such a context, Mao suggested that it would be folly to hit our heads against the stone wall of the enemies’ superior might. Instead, he suggested that the people should move away, as far as possible, from the enemies’ centers of power.
In countries like China where the majority of the people lived outside the cities, this would mean going among the people, organizing them and building up revolutionary bases within which a people’s army could be built and trained. This would change a disadvantage into an advantage and would oblige the enemy to send his forces in search of the people’s forces. In such an event the enemy should be lured deep among the people and destroyed by using the tactic of pitting ten against one. The people’s army will learn and grow in actual combat with the enemy till a qualitative change is reached when the people’s forces would have become superior to the forces of the enemy.
This is the theory known as protracted guerilla warfare. When the people’s forces had become superior to those of the enemy it would then be possible to surround the cities and finally liberate them. This was the brilliant military strategy and tactics worked out by Mao in the course of guiding the Chinese revolution. By no means does it negate the leading role of the proletariat or allocate such a role to the peasantry. The leading role of the proletariat is realised through the proletarian ideology of Marxism-Leninism and as expressed through the Communist Party. I t does not mean that the proletariat should numerically be the superior force or that all actions must originate or take place in the cities. This is so because, in an undeveloped and big country like China, the proletariat is numerically weak, while the vast countryside gives ample room for the people’s forces to manoeuvre.
Neither do these tactics mean doing no work or less work in the cities. In the conditions of illegality that prevailed in pre-revolutionary China, Mao has said that in the enemy occupied Kuomintang areas their policy should be to have well selected cadres working underground for a long period, to accumulate strength and bide our time. Besides, when we consider the practice of the Chinese Revolution, we find that the greater number of the forces that formed the first Workers and Peasants Red Army which Mao led to the Ching Kang mountains in 1927 were composed of coal miners from Anyuan among whom Mao had worked earlier.
Nevertheless, Mao did not offer this tactic as a universal solution to all countries. On September 25th, 1956, in a talk with the representatives of some Latin American Communist Parties, he had said that the Chinese experience in this connection may not be applicable to many of their countries, though it can serve for their reference. He begged to advise them not to transplant Chinese experience mechanically. Comrade Mao Tsetung is also being criticised by Enver Hoxha for alleged non-Marxist conceptions about the two stages of the democratic revolution and the Socialist revolution. None are so blind as those who have eyes and yet do not see.
Comrade Mao Tsetung has explained his point of view in several of his writings. The most important one of these is his article “On New Democracy.” He has pointed out: “The Chinese revolution is a continuation of the October Revolution and part of the world proletarian-socialist revolution. The Chinese revolution must take two steps. First the new democratic revolution and then the socialist revolution. These are two essentially different revolutionary processes which are at once distinct and interrelated. The second process, or the socialist revolution, can be carried through only after the first process, or the revolution of a bourgeois democratic character, has been completed. The democratic revolution is the necessary preparation for the socialist revolution, and the socialist revolution is the inevitable sequel to the democratic revolution.” Thus it is quite clear that Mao had no misconceptions about the existence of a Chinese wall, between the democratic and socialist revolutions. He has stressed this when he said, ”
I t is correct and fits in with the Marxist theory of development to say that of the two revolutionary stages the first provides the conditions for the second and that the two must be consecutive without an intervening stage of bourgeois dictatorship. ” It is however a Utopian view, unacceptable to true revolutionaries, that the democratic revolution has not its specific task to be accomplished during a definite period of time, and that this task can be merged and carried out simultaneously with what is of necessity a future task, i.e., the socialist task, thus accomplishing both at one stroke.”
Thus Comrade Mao Tsetung has clearly stated that the democratic revolution is the necessary preparation for the socialist revolution, and the socialist revolution is the inevitable sequel to the democratic revolution. This naturally means that during these two different stages of the revolution, the working class will have different allies. Specifically, Comrade Mao Tsetung said that, during the democratic stage of the revolution, it would be possible both to unite and struggle with the national bourgeoisie which has a dual nature. On the one hand it has contradictions with foreign imperialism and domestic bureaucratic capitalism. On the other hand, it has contradictions with the working class and the peasantry.
Consequently it has a dual nature in the Chinese people’s democatic revolution. Mao has pointed out, “From this dual nature of the national bourgeoisie, we can conclude that at a certain period and under certain circumstances, it can take part in revolution against imperialism, bureaucratic capitalism and warlordism, and it can become a part of the revolutionary forces. But at other times, it may serve the big bourgeoisie by assisting the counter-revolutionary forces.”
This view about the temporary alliance between the working class and the national bourgeoisie had earlier been stated by both Lenin and Stalin. In his “Preliminary Draft of the Thesis on the National and Colonial Ques- tions,” Lenin has said, “The Communist International must enter into a temporary alliance with bourgeois democracy in colonial and backward countries, but must not merge with it, and must unconditionally preserve the independence of the proletarian movement, even in its most rudimentary form.” In his “Chinese Revolution and the Tasks of the Communist International,” Stalin has concluded that an alliance with the national bourgeoisie was permissible. Mao was aware of the need for vigilance and of the need to both unite with and struggle with the national bourgeoisie. He has said, “The people have a strong State apparatus in their hands, and they do not fear rebellion on the part of the national bourgeoisie.” This is somewhat similar to the sentiments voiced by Lenin when he introduced the New Economic Policy. He said, “There is nothing dangerous to the proletarian State in this so long as the proletariat keeps political power firmly in its hands, so long as it keeps transport and big industry firmly in its hands.”
Enver Hoxha denies that such a situation existed in China after the democratic revolution but, apart from making a categorical statement he does not adduce any facts to justify the statement. But it is well known that even in the first years of People’s China big banks and big industrial and commercial enterprises were state owned and that enterprises such as banks, railways and airlines were operated by the state. Besides, the most important arm of the state machinery, the People’s Liberation Army, was exclusively under the leadership of the Communist Party. Neither was Mao unmindful of the necessity for the class struggle even after the revolution. In 1957, he said, “In China, although in the main socialist transformation has been completed with respect to the system of owner- ship, and although the large scale and turbulent class struggles of the masses characteristic of the previous revolutionary periods have in the main come to an end, there are still remnants of the overthrown landlord and comprador classes, there is still a bourgeoisie, and the remoulding of the petty bourgeoisie has just started. The class struggle is by no means over.”
Earlier in 1952 he had said, “With the overthrow of the landlord class and the bureaucrat-capitalist class, the contradiction between the working class and the national bourgeoisie has become the principal contradiction in China; therefore the national bourgeoisie should no longer be described as an intermediate class.” The democratic stage of the revolution in China lasted for about seven years. By 1956 privately owned industrial and commercial enterprises had been converted into joint state-private enterprises and the co-operative transformation of agriculture and handicrafts had taken place. Sections of the bourgeoisie had become administrative personnel in joint state-private enterprises and were being transformed from exploiters into working people living by their own labour.
But they still got a fixed rate of interest on their capital in the joint enterprises. That is, they had not yet cut themselves loose from the roots of exploitation. Clearly, the class contradiction had not been completely resolved and was not to be resolved for some more years to come. It was only during the Cultural Revolution that the Red Guards forced the cancellation of the payment of interest to the national bourgeoisie. This was China’s specific method of limiting, restricting and transforming the national bourgeoisie. Every party in different countries will have to apply different methods in overcoming the contradictions that always arise as society proceeds further and further on the socialist path. The methods each party uses would differ from country to country.
The degree of resistance en- countered by the Bolsheviks in Russia from the overthrown landlord and capitalist classes was very great. They had to take harsh measures to elminate such resistance. They were entirely justified in doing so. In China, too, counter-revolutionaries were eliminated. But, in China, Mao advocated using two different methods under the people’s democratic dictatorship, one dictatorial and the other democratic, to resolve the two types of contradictions which differ in nature—those between ourselves and the enemy, and those among the people. In his article “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship” written in 1949 and also published in the Cominform Journal, Mao had explained that “The combination of these two aspects, democracy for the people and dictatorship over the reactionaries, is the people’s democratic dictatorship.”
This method of using persuasion and not compulsion to resolve contradictions among the people may sound non-Marxist to some people. But it is a cardinal principle of Marxism that when working among the masses Communists must use the democratic method of pursuasion and education, and never resort to commandism or force. This method was particularly successful in its application to China as gauged by the fact that when, during the Korean War, the Americans raced up to the banks of the Yalu river, there was not a single Chinese traitor to be found.
This contrasts with the situation in Hungary at the time of the counter-revolution in 1956. Enver Hoxha also finds fault with the theory of contradictions, as outlined by Mao, whereby he asserts that the law of contradictions, i.e. the law of the unity of the opposites, is the most basic law of materialist dialectics and that all other laws spring from it. It would need more space and time than we have at our disposal to reply to all these criticisms. We will confine ourselves to restating what we think are the basic principles of the law of contradiction in things, as enunciated by Mao.
Contradiction is universal; contradictions express themselves in a particular form; of all the contradictions there is always a principal contradiction and also a principal aspect of the contradiction which plays the leading role in resolving the contradiction; all aspects of contradiction have identity as well as opposition, and under certain circumstances, can exchange places (identity is temporary and relative while opposition is absolute); finally, inside contradictions there are antagonistic and non-antagonistic contradictions and they must be handled properly without permitting non- antagonistic contradictions to turn into antagonistic contradictions.
It is the same fundamental failure to understand the theory of contradiction in things that makes Enver Hoxha criticise Mao’s views on the two-line theory. According to Enver Hoxha, a party can have only one line and therefore it was un-Marxist to conceive of the existence of two lines inside the party. But what Mao was referring to was the universality of contradiction, i.e. that contradictions exist in everything; even in thought, in parties and even inside an individual.
It is correct that at a particular point of time, a party or an individual can and should speak with only one voice. But formulation of that one voice is always the result of the bitter conflict between two contradictory points of view. It is this conflict of contradictions, even in thought, that pushes things forward. In this sense, there have always been two lines inside a party or even an individual. It is on the basis of the contradiction between these two lines, between what is right and what is wrong, that development and progress take place. To deny this is to deny Marxist dialectics.
Similarly, there is a failure to understand the dialectical principle of the unity of opposites between opposite aspects of a contradiction and that, under certain conditions, opposites can change places. Under capitalism, the working class and the bourgeoisie are two contradictory aspects of the same contradiction. They are opposed to each other and this opposition is absolute. But there is also an aspect of unity between the two, i.e., one cannot exist without the other. And, under certain circumstances, i.e. as a result of revolution, the working class and the bourgeoisie can exchange places. That is, the working class, from being a class that is ruled, can become the ruling class, while the bourgeoisie, from being the ruling class, would become the class that is ruled.
Enver Hoxha also criticises the method used by Mao to deal with counter-revolutionaries and contradictory forces among the people. While admitting that the proletariat had no choice but to finish off the bourgeoisie in Russia which was a counter-revolutionary class, Mao pointed out that there was a slightly different situation in China. By 1956, the bulk of the counter-revolutionaries had been cleared out. Therefore, while still advocating harsh treatment against counter-revolutionaries and other enemies of the people, he advocated a different method of democratic persuasion and remoulding through labour for other enemies. He said that too many people should not be shot and that there must be a limit even to the number of people arrested, and that whenever mistakes are discovered they must be corrected. This policy was advocated because of the large number of petty bourgeoisie in China and of the necessity of winning over all non- working class sections of the people (other than the feudal landlords and the big bourgeoisie) to the side of the working class.
Similarly the theory of “Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom, Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend” was put forward in order to encourage struggle between contending schools of thought among the people, but under the supervision of the Communist Party. Mao held that it would be wrong to suppress wrong ideas among the people by administrative actions. Instead he held that such wrong ideas should be allowed to come out into the open and face competition and struggle. He had no doubt that the cor- rect ideas would triumph because socialism was in an advantageous position in the ideological struggle. The basic power of the state was in the hands of the working people led by the proletariat. The Communist Party was strong and its prestige high. Therefore the only method of ideological struggle should be painstaking, reasoning and not crude coercion.
This campaign to “Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom” was an ideological struggle against “poisonous weeds” and for the supremacy of Marxism in the cultural field. The opportunity was used by the rightists to call for western style democracy. There were even ugly incidents, like people being beaten up. As Mao said, “Only when poisonous weeds are allowed to sprout from the soil can they be uprooted.” A fierce counterattack was launched against the bourgeois rightists who had jumped out and exposed themselves and they were beaten back. Some of them were punished and dubbed as rightists, one of the five groups who were considered black in Chinese society.
This decision was reversed only after Teng returned to power The same is true with regard to Mao’s policy of permitting all the classes that had participated in the democratic revolution to share in the government after the revolution. This was a peculiar feature which obtained in China as the result of a section of the urban bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie allying themselves with the workers in the revolution against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism. This was a historical fact. But such a policy was carried out on the basis of the leadership of the Communist Party and the acceptance by the other parties of the transition to socialism. But this “long term co-existence and mutual supervision” of the Communist Party and the democratic parties is not to the liking of Enver Hoxha.
He forgets that even after the October Revolution in Russia, there were two parties in the government—the Bolsheviks and the Left Socialist Revolutionaries. The alliance with the latter was broken up only after they rose up in revolt against the Bolsheviks. Even in Albania, there exists even today the Democratic Front. It is useful in this connection to note that this idea of remoulding and reeducating other classes dates back to Lenin. He said in “Left Wing Communism,” “Classes have remained and will remain everywhere for years after the conquest of power by the proletariat…. The abolition of classes means not only driving out the landlords and capitalists—that we accomplished with comparative ease—it also means abolishing the small commodity producers [whom he considered engender capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously and on a mass scale], and they cannot be driven out, or crushed; we must live in harmony with them; they can (and must) be remoulded and re-educated only by very prolonged, slow, continuous organisational work.”
This, Mao’s policy, is by no means an expression of his liberalism. Enver Hoxha refers to the criticisms of the leadership of the Communist Party of China and Mao Tsetung by Stalin and the Comintern. These criticisms apparently refer to the failure by Mao to implement the principles of Marxism-Leninism consistently on the leading role of the proletariat in the revolution, proletarian internationalism, strategy and tactics of the revolutionary struggle, etc. We have already dealt with some of these points. It is true that there were differences between the Comintern and the Chinese Communist Party. But it must be admitted that in almost all the issues, Mao was proved right and Stalin, to his credit, was one of the first to admit it.
There was of course no difference between the two sides about the character of the revolution, which both considered to be bourgeois democratic, and about the key role of the peasantry and agrarian revolution, and the fact that armed revolution was the only solution for revolution in China. For his part Mao considered the USSR as the homeland of the international proletariat and correctly understood the historic importance of the October Revolution and its global impact. But there were differences on the question of strategy and tactics of the Chinese Revolution. Between 1927 and 1935, through the respective lines of Li Li-san and Wang Ming, the Comintern influence was felt on such issues as the simultaneous capturing of power in the cities, the necessity to resort to positional warfare instead of guerilla warfare, and the refusal to build rural revolutionary bases.
In fact, the Long March had to be launched as a method of escaping from the fifth encirclement campaign of Chiang Kai-shek. Today Albanian comrades (in discussion with our Party delegation that visited Albania in April 1979) have taken to belittling the Long March and are asserting that it would have been better if the Red Army had given battle where it was and saved such tremendous losses. One need hardly add, that had such a policy been adopted, there would have been no revolution, no party and no Mao.
The Albanians also belittle the Tsunyi. Conference which elected Mao to power in 1935 as being unrepresentative. One wonders whether they expected a fully fledged legal and representative Congress to be held in the midst of one of the most hotly contested civil wars in the world. At the end of the Second World War, too, Stalin had his differences with the Chinese Communists. He doubted their ability to win in an all-out civil war against Chiang Kai-shek (who was being backed by U.S. imperialism) and maintained relationships with Chiang Kai-shek even during the civil war. But, Stalin was gracious enough to say that he had been glad to have been proved wrong.
Despite these mistakes, there is no doubt that Mao considered Stalin to be a great Marxist-Leninist and that fundamentally he was correct. Besides, Mao did not blame the Comintern and its representatives in China for the mistakes of the Chinese Communist Party. He blamed those Chinese Communists who tried to blindly follow the Soviet pattern without paying attention to the peculiar characteristics of the national situation in China. And, unkindest cut of all, Enver Hoxha suggests that the Chinese Communists’ stand against Soviet revisionism was not dictated from correct, principled, Marxist-Leninist positions.
This is not merely unkind but also completely untrue. Not only had Mao correctly understood Khrushchov’s revisionism as far back as 1956, but it was under his leadership that the Chinese Party initiated the great polemics with the publication of “Long Live Leninism” in 1960. These polemics, which consisted of several letters to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and to certain other revisionist parties of Western Europe, were brilliant for the clarity of thought and depth of argument.
They schooled a whole generation of Marxist-Leninists all over the world in revolutionary principles and styles of work. To deny this today is to fly in the face of facts. Albanians would now have us believe that Mao was always pro-American, or that he shifted his positions continuously. They told our delegation this year that, during the Second World War, there was in America a Chiang Kai-shek lobby and a Mao lobby. I t is true that there were differences of opinion among the American ruling class as to who should be supported in the common fight against Japanese fascism. Chiang? or Mao? There were honest Americans who wanted support given to the Chinese Communists because they were the only forces genuinely fighting the Japanese, not the Kuomintang under Chiang. This does not mean that Mao was a pro-American.
His attitude to U.S. imperialism has been unambiguous and consistent. During the Second World War, when Japanese fascism became the main enemy of China, he used the contradictions between Japanese fascism and U.S. imperialism and stood for an alliance with the latter. But, no sooner had the war against fascism ended and U.S. imperialism replaced Japanese fascism as the main enemy of China by supporting Chiang Kai-shek in his civil war against the communists, he characterized U.S. imperialism as the main enemy which had to be defeated before China could be liberated. And, defeat it he did!
In the years following, nobody could doubt the anti-U.S. imperialist bona fides of Mao when he sent the Chinese volunteers across into Korea to stem the U.S. led invasion of that country, and when he gave unqualified support to the peoples of Indo-China struggling against U.S. imperialism and, in fact, to all peoples struggling for their independence. His famous 1970 statement, calling for the unity of all forces opposed to U.S. imperialism and its running dogs, still rings in our ears.
But, by this time, a new element had entered the international situation. With its brutal occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968, Soviet revisionism signaled its development as a social imperialist power. A new imperialism has been born and Mao took note of the change in the relation of forces. Thereafterwards, he was to bracket Soviet social imperialism along with U.S. imperialism as the twin enemies of mankind. This was the position to which he stuck to the last when, for the last time he presided over the Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China held from August 24th to 28th, 1973.
The Report adopted at this Congress contains this excellent formulation: “Therefore, on the international front, our Party must uphold proletarian internationalism, uphold the Party’s consistent policies, strengthen our unity with the proletariat and the oppressed people and nations of the whole world and with all countries subjected to imperialist aggression, subversion, interference, control or bullying, and form the broadest united front against imperialism, colonialism and neo- colonialism, and in particular, against the hegemonism of the two super-powers, the U.S. and the USSR. We must unite with all genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and organisations the world over, and carry the struggle against modern revisionism through to the end.”
It is useful to note that there is not even a hint of the theory of the Three Worlds to be found in this report. I t is also absolutely slanderous for the Albanians to state now that Mao, at any stage, characterized Soviet imperialism as the main enemy and, therefore, called for an understanding or an alliance with U.S. imperialism. This is a monstrosity born out of Teng’s mind and had nothing to do with Mao. Thus we vehemently repudiate the thesis that the anti- Marxist-Leninist Theory of the Three Worlds was a product of Mao Tsetung Thought.
There is no evidence whatever to support such a possibility. Comrade Mao Tsetung is a leader who has expressed his point of view on almost all conceivable subjects that came within his purview.. The fact that the apologists for the Theory of The Three Worlds cannot dig up a single quotation from Mao in support of this absurd theory is sufficient proof that he never did advocate the unity of the second and third world against the first world; or, worse still, advocate the unity of the second and third world along with one part of the first world against the other half. The favorite technique used by Enver Hoxha, right throughout his book, is to attribute to Mao views that are not his and then to proceed to demolish them. This is a most dishonest method of debate.
But, nevertheless, we have to admit that there had been mistakes committed even during Mao’s life. These constitute mistakes in the application of Mao Tsetung Thought. Some of them seem to have been committed when Mao was powerless to prevent them. In other cases, Mao himself seems to have participated in the mistakes. We refer specifically to the period following September 1971 when mistakes of a serious nature were committed in the field of foreign policy and in the sphere of relationships with foreign Marxist-Leninist parties. This was the period when Lin Piao turned traitor, tried to assassinate Mao and died in an air crash in an attempt to flee to the Soviet Union. I t was a traumatic experience for the whole of China. This opportunity was seized by the many elements who had been toppled by the Cultural Revolution to have themselves rehabilitated. Chou En-lai, who was never a genuine follower of Mao, lent his weight to this movement.
One of the most prominent to be rehabilitated was Chou En-lai’s protege, Teng Hsiao-ping. It was under their influence that many mistakes in foreign policy were committed although, in internal matters, the four leaders who were associated with Mao managed to see that a correct policy prevailed. We have to refer to one incident relating to our country. In 1972 the Chinese Government gave military aid to the government of Sri Lanka and even sent officers to train the army. I t was an indefensible act and we told the Chinese Communist Party so, by letter, in 1973.
Similarly indefensible was their attitude to Chile, Iran, etc. But there were also actions in which Mao personally participated and which cannot be defended. Examples are the receptions to the German Fascist leader Strauss and to Nixon (particularly on the second occasion when he was no longer a head of the State and had been discredited by the Watergate scandal) and fascist dictators like Marcos. This period was also marked by a reversal of policy towards foreign Marxist-Leninist parties. During the period of Cultural Revolution and the period immediately following that and even during the period preceding it, there is no question but that the Chinese Communist Party gave active support to foreign Marxist-Leninist parties even though, at stages, one could not agree with its policy of recognizing more than one party in one country—thus contributing to dis-unity. A possible reason for this change could have been a change of personnel in the leadership of the international department of the Chinese Communist Party. In 1972 died Comrade Kang Sheng, an old and trusted follower of Mao, who was the head of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party. His place was taken by Keng Piao, one of Chou En-lai’s men and who was opposed to Mao.
It was under his leadership that the policy of indifference to and non-support of foreign Marxist-Leninist parties began. Despite these and certain other mistakes, we do not think that they invalidate the basic tenets of Mao Tsetung Thought. We consider Stalin a great Marxist- Leninist despite certain mistakes he had committed. In the same way, despite certain aberrations in practice, we consider that Mao Tse-tung Thought is Marxism- Leninism of our era and that anyone who attacks Mao Tsetung Thought is in fact attacking Marxism-Leninism.
It gives us no happiness to disagree with the Albanian Party, for whose defense of the purity of Marxism in the past we had had a great respect, and from whom we had learnt much. When Teng Hsiao-ping and the present Chinese leadership dropped the flag of Mao Tsetung Thought, the Albanian Party and Enver Hoxha had a chance to unite parties of the world who had come forward to denounce the obnoxious Theory of the Three Worlds and to inherit the mantle of Mao.
But, instead they decided to do the opposite and have given comfort to both Soviet and Chinese revisionists and to all the imperialists and reactionaries of the world. Let .us remember that since the time of Lenin and Stalin, no ideology had claimed such world wide acceptance and mobilized revolutionaries all over the world as Mao Tsetung Thought. The reactionaries and revisionists would dearly love to see it smashed to pieces. That is why they are rushing to the aid of China because of their dread that China might go back to the days of Mao. In such a difficult situation all revolutionaries must make a choice. We stand by Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.
[Adopted at a special congress of the Ceylon Communist Party, held in July 1979]