Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of Power!
A PROPOSAL CONCERNING THE GENERAL LINE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT
Communist Party of China
|Foreign Languages Press|
The Red Flag
A PROPOSAL CONCERNING THE GENERAL LINE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT
|The letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in reply to the letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of March 30th, 1963.|
June 14th, 1963
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPCh) has studied the letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) of March 30th, 1963.
All who have the unity of the socialist camp and the International Communist Movement (ICM) at heart are deeply concerned about the talks between the Chinese and Soviet Parties and hope that our talks will help to eliminate differences, strengthen unity and create favourable conditions for convening a meeting of representatives of all the Communist and Workers’ Parties.
It is the common and sacred duty of the Communist and Workers’ Parties of all countries to uphold and strengthen the unity of the ICM. The Chinese and Soviet Parties bear a heavier responsibility for the unity of the entire socialist camp and ICM and should of course make commensurately greater efforts.
A number of major differences of principle now exist in the ICM. But however serious these differences, we should exercise sufficient patience and find ways to eliminate them so that we can unite our forces and strengthen the struggle against our common enemy.
It is with this sincere desire that the Central Committee of the CPCh approaches the forthcoming talks between the Chinese and Soviet Parties.
In its letter of March 30th, the Central Committee of the CPSU systematically presents its views on questions that need to be discussed in the talks between the Chinese and Soviet Parties, and in particular raises the question of the general line of the ICM. In this letter we too would like to express our views, which constitute our proposal on the general line of the ICM and on some related questions of principle.
We hope that this exposition of views will be conducive to mutual understanding by our two Parties and to a detailed, point-by-point discussion in the talks.
We also hope that this will be conducive to the understanding of our views by the fraternal Parties and to a full exchange of ideas at an international meeting of fraternal Parties.
1. The general line of the ICM must take as its guiding principle the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory concerning the historical mission of the proletariat and must not depart from it.
The Moscow Meetings of 1957 and 1960 adopted the Declaration and the Statement respectively after a full exchange of views and in accordance with the principle of reaching unanimity through consultation. The two documents point out the characteristics of our epoch and the common laws of socialist revolution and socialist construction, and lay down the common line of all the Communist and Workers’ Parties. They are the common programme of the ICM.
It is true that for several years there have been differences within the ICM in the understanding of, and the attitude towards, the Declaration of 1957 and the Statement of 1960. The central issue here is whether or not to accept the revolutionary principles of the Declaration and the Statement. In the last analysis, it is a question of whether or not to accept the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism, whether or not to recognize the universal significance of the road of the October Revolution, whether or not to accept the fact that the people still living under the imperialist and capitalist system, who comprise two-thirds of the world’s population, need to make revolution, and whether or not to accept the fact that the people already on the socialist road, who comprise one-third of the world’s population, need to carry their revolution forward to the end.
It has become an urgent and vital task of the ICM resolutely to defend the revolutionary principles of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement.
Only by strictly following the revolutionary teachings of Marxism-Leninism and the general road of the October Revolution is it possible to have a correct understanding of the revolutionary principles of the Declaration and the Statement and a correct attitude towards them.
2. What are the revolutionary principles of the Declaration and the Statement? They may be summarized as follows:
Workers of all countries, unite; workers of the world, unite with the oppressed peoples and oppressed nations; oppose imperialism and reaction in all countries; strive for world peace, national liberation, people’s democracy and socialism; consolidate and expand the socialist camp; bring the Proletarian World Revolution step by step to complete victory; and establish a new world without imperialism, without capitalism and without the exploitation of man by man.
This, in our view, is the general line of the ICM at the present stage.
3. This general line proceeds from the actual world situation taken as a whole and from a class analysis of the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world, and is directed against the counter-revolutionary global strategy of US imperialism.
This general line is one of forming a broad United Front, with the socialist camp and the international proletariat as its nucleus, to oppose the imperialists and reactionaries headed by the United States; it is a line of boldly arousing the masses, expanding the revolutionary forces, winning over the middle forces and isolating the reactionary forces.
This general line is one of resolute revolutionary struggle by the people of all countries and of carrying the Proletarian World Revolution forward to the end; it is the line that most effectively combats imperialism and defends world peace.
If the general line of the ICM is onesidedly reduced to „peaceful coexistence“, „peaceful competition“ and „peaceful transition“, this is to violate the revolutionary principles of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement, to discard the historical mission of Proletarian World Revolution, and to depart from the revolutionary teachings of Marxism-Leninism.
The general line of the ICM should reflect the general law of development of world history. The revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and the people in various countries go through different stages and they all have their own characteristics, but they will not transcend the general law of development of world history. The general line should point out the basic direction for the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and people of all countries.
While working out its specific line and policies, it is most important for each Communist or Workers’ Party to adhere to the principle of integrating the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of revolution and construction in its own country.
4. In defining the general line of the ICM, the starting point is the concrete class analysis of world politics and economics as a whole and of actual world conditions, that is to say, of the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world.
If one avoids a concrete class analysis, seizes at random on certain superficial phenomena, and draws subjective and groundless conclusions, one cannot possibly reach correct conclusions with regard to the general line of the ICM but will inevitably slide on to a track entirely different from that of Marxism-Leninism.
What are the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world? Marxist-Leninists consistently hold that they are:
the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp;
the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist countries;
the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism; and
the contradictions among imperialist countries and among monopoly capitalist groups.
The contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp is a contradiction between two fundamentally different social systems, socialism and capitalism. It is undoubtedly very sharp. But Marxist-Leninists must not regard the contradictions in the world as consisting solely and simply of the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp.
The international balance of forces has changed and has become increasingly favourable to socialism and to all the oppressed peoples and nations of the world, and most unfavourable to imperialism and the reactionaries of all countries. Nevertheless, the contradictions enumerated above still objectively exist.
These contradictions and the struggles to which they give rise are interrelated and influence each other. Nobody can obliterate any of these fundamental contradictions or subjectively substitute one for all the rest.
It is inevitable that these contradictions will give rise to popular revolutions, which alone can resolve them.
5. The following erroneous views should be repudiated on the question of the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world:
a. the view which blots out the class content of the contradiction between the socialist and the imperialist camps and fails to see this contradiction as one between States under the dictatorship of the proletariat and States under the dictatorship of the monopoly capitalists;
b. the view which recognizes only the contradiction between the socialist and the imperialist camps, while neglecting or underestimating the contradictions between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist world, between the oppressed nations and imperialism, among the imperialist countries and among the monopoly capitalist groups, and the struggles to which these contradictions give rise;
c. the view which maintains with regard to the capitalist world that the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie can be resolved without a proletarian revolution in each country and that the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism can be resolved without revolution by the oppressed nations;
d. the view which denies that the development of the inherent contradictions in the contemporary capitalist world inevitably leads to a new situation in which the imperialist countries are locked in an intense struggle, and asserts that the contradictions among the imperialist countries can be reconciled, or even eliminated, by „international agreements among the big monopolies“; and
e. the view which maintains that the contradiction between the two world systems of socialism and capitalism will automatically disappear in the course of “economic competition”, that the other fundamental world contradictions will automatically do so with the disappearance of the contradiction between the two systems, and that a „world without wars“, a new world of „all-round co-operation“, will appear.
It is obvious that these erroneous views inevitably lead to erroneous and harmful policies and hence to setbacks and losses of one kind or another to the cause of the people and of socialism.
6. The balance of forces between imperialism and socialism has undergone a fundamental change since the 2nd World War. The main indication of this change is that the world now has not just one socialist country but a number of socialist countries forming the mighty socialist camp, and that the people who have taken the socialist road now number not 200.000.000 but 1.000.000.000, or a third of the world’s population. The socialist camp is the outcome of the struggles of the international proletariat and working people. It belongs to the international proletariat and working people as well as to the people of the socialist countries. The main common demands of the people of the countries in the socialist camp and the international proletariat and working people are that all the Communist and Workers’ Parties in the socialist camp should:
adhere to the Marxist-Leninist line and pursue correct Marxist-Leninist domestic and foreign policies;
consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and the worker-peasant alliance led by the proletariat and carry the socialist revolution forward to the end on the economic, political and ideological fronts;
promote the initiative and creativeness of the broad masses, carry out socialist construction in a planned way, develop production, improve the people’s livelihood and strengthen national defense;
strengthen the unity of the socialist camp on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, and support other socialist countries on the basis of proletarian internationalism;
oppose the imperialist policies of aggression and war, and defend world peace;
oppose the anti-Communist, anti-popular and counter-revolutionary policies of the reactionaries of all countries; and
help the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed classes and nations of the world.
All Communist and Workers’ Parties in the socialist camp owe it to their own people and to the international proletariat and working people to fulfil these demands.
By fulfilling these demands the socialist camp will exert a decisive influence on the course of human history.
For this very reason, the imperialists and reactionaries invariably try in a thousand and one ways to influence the domestic and foreign policies of the countries in the socialist camp, to undermine the camp and break up the unity of the socialist countries and particularly the unity of China and the Soviet Union. They invariably try to infiltrate and subvert the socialist countries and even entertain the extravagant hope of destroying the socialist camp.
The question of what is the correct attitude towards the socialist camp is a most important question of principle confronting all Communist and Workers’ Parties.
It is under new historical conditions that the Communist and Workers’ Parties are now carrying on the task of proletarian internationalist unity and struggle. When only one socialist country existed and when this country was faced with hostility and jeopardized by all the imperialists and reactionaries because it firmly pursued the correct Marxist-Leninist line and policies, the touchstone of proletarian internationalism for every Communist Party was whether or not it resolutely defended the only socialist country. Now there is a socialist camp consisting of 13 countries, Albania, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Under these circumstances, the touchstone of proletarian internationalism for every Communist Party is whether or not it resolutely defends the whole of the socialist camp, whether or not it defends the unity of all the countries in the camp on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and whether or not it defends the Marxist-Leninist line and policies which the socialist countries ought to pursue.
If anybody does not pursue the correct Marxist-Leninist line and policies, does not defend the unity of the socialist camp but on the contrary creates tension and splits within it, or even follows the policies of the Yugoslav revisionists, tries to liquidate the socialist camp or helps capitalist countries to attack fraternal socialist countries, then he is betraying the interests of the entire international proletariat and the people of the world.
If anybody, following in the footsteps of others, defends the erroneous opportunist line and policies pursued by a certain socialist country instead of upholding the correct Marxist-Leninist line and policies which the socialist countries ought to pursue, defends the policy of split instead of upholding the policy of unity, then he is departing from Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
7. Taking advantage of the situation after the 2nd World War, the US imperialists stepped into the shoes of the German, Italian and Japanese fascists, and have been trying to erect a huge world empire such as has never been known before. The strategic objectives of US imperialism have been to grab and dominate the intermediate zone lying between the United States and the socialist camp, put down the revolutions of the oppressed peoples and nations, proceed to destroy the socialist countries, and thus to subject all the peoples and countries of the world, including its allies, to domination and enslavement by US monopoly capital.
Ever since the 2nd World War, the US imperialists have been conducting propaganda for war against the Soviet Union and the socialist camp. There are two aspects to this propaganda. While the US imperialists are actually preparing such a war, they also use this propaganda as a smokescreen for their oppression of the American people and for the extension of their aggression against the rest of the capitalist world.
The 1960 Statement points out:
US imperialism has become the biggest international exploiter.
The United States is the mainstay of colonialism today.
US imperialism is the main force of aggression and war.
International developments in recent years have furnished many new proofs of the fact that US imperialism is the chief bulwark of world reaction and an international gendarme, that it has become an enemy of the peoples of the whole world.
US imperialism is pressing its policies of aggression and war all over the world, but the outcome is bound to be the opposite of that intended — it will only be to hasten the awakening of the people in all countries and to hasten their revolutions.
The US imperialists have thus placed themselves in opposition to the people of the whole world and have become encircled by them. The international proletariat must and can unite all the forces that can be united, make use of the internal contradictions in the enemy camp and establish the broadest United Front against the US imperialists and their lackeys.
The realistic and correct course is to entrust the fate of the people and of mankind to the unity and struggle of the world proletariat and to the unity and struggle of the people in all countries.
Conversely, to make no distinction between enemies, friends and ourselves and to entrust the fate of the people and of mankind to collaboration with US imperialism is to lead people astray. The events of the last few years have exploded this illusion.
8. The various types of contradictions in the contemporary world are concentrated in the vast areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America; these are the most vulnerable areas under imperialist rule and the storm-centres of World Revolution dealing direct blows at imperialism.
The national democratic revolutionary movement in these areas and the international socialist revolutionary movement are the two great historical currents of our time.
The national democratic revolution in these areas is an important component of the contemporary Proletarian World Revolution.
The anti-imperialist revolutionary struggles of the people in Asia, Africa and Latin America are pounding and undermining the foundations of the rule of imperialism and colonialism, old and new, and are now a mighty force in defence of world peace.
In a sense, therefore, the whole cause of the international proletarian revolution hinges on the outcome of the revolutionary struggles of the people of these areas, who constitute the overwhelming majority of the world’s population.
Therefore, the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the people in Asia, Africa and Latin America is definitely not merely a matter of regional significance but one of overall importance for the whole cause of Proletarian World Revolution.
Certain persons now go so far as to deny the great international significance of the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggles of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples and, on the pretext of breaking down the barriers of nationality, colour and geographical location, are trying their best to efface the line of demarcation between oppressed and oppressor nations and between oppressed and oppressor countries and to hold down the revolutionary struggles of the peoples in these areas. In fact, they cater to the needs of imperialism and create a new „theory“ to justify the rule of imperialism in these areas and the promotion of its policies of old and new colonialism. Actually, this „theory“ seeks not to break down the barriers of nationality, colour and geographical location but to maintain the rule of the „superior nations“ over the oppressed nations. It is only natural that this fraudulent „theory“ is rejected by the people in these areas.
The working class in every socialist country and in every capitalist country must truly put into effect the fighting slogans, „Workers of all countries, unite!“ and „Workers and oppressed nations of the world, unite!“; it must study the revolutionary experience of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, firmly support their revolutionary actions and regard the cause of their liberation as a most dependable support for itself and as directly in accord with its own interests. This is the only effective way to break down the barriers of nationality, colour and geographical location and this is the only genuine proletarian internationalism. It is impossible for the working class in the European and American capitalist countries to liberate itself unless it unites with the oppressed nations and unless those nations are liberated. Lenin rightly said:
The revolutionary movement in the advanced countries would actually be a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe and America were not closely and completely united with the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of „colonial“ slaves who are oppressed by capital.
Certain persons in the ICM are now taking a passive or scornful or negative attitude towards the struggles of the oppressed nations for liberation.
They are in fact protecting the interests of monopoly capital, betraying those of the proletariat, and degenerating into social democrats.
The attitude taken towards the revolutionary struggles of the people in the Asian, African and Latin American countries is an important criterion for differentiating those who want revolution from those who do not and those who are truly defending world peace from those who are abetting the forces of aggression and war.
9. The oppressed nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America are faced with the urgent task of fighting imperialism and its lackeys.
History has entrusted to the proletarian Parties in these areas the glorious mission of holding high the banner of struggle against imperialism, against old and new colonialism and for national independence and people’s democracy, of standing in the forefront of the national democratic revolutionary movement and striving for a socialist future.
In these areas, extremely broad sections of the population refuse to be slaves of imperialism. They include not only the workers, peasants, intellectuals and petty bourgeoisie, but also the patriotic national bourgeoisie and even certain kings, princes and aristocrats who are patriotic.
The proletariat and its Party must have confidence in the strength of the masses and, above all, must unite with the peasants and establish a solid worker-peasant alliance. It is of primary importance for advanced members of the proletariat to work in the rural areas, help the peasants to get organized, and raise their class consciousness and their national self-respect and self-confidence.
On the basis of the worker-peasant alliance the proletariat and its Party must unite all the strata that can be united and organize a broad United Front against imperialism and its lackeys. In order to consolidate and expand this United Front it is necessary that the proletarian Party should maintain its ideological political and organizational independence and insist on the leadership of the revolution.
The proletarian Party and the revolutionary people must learn to master all forms of struggle, including armed struggle. They must defeat counter-revolutionary armed force with revolutionary armed force whenever imperialism and its lackeys resort to armed suppression.
The nationalist countries which have recently won political independence are still confronted with the arduous tasks of consolidating it, liquidating the forces of imperialism and domestic reaction, carrying out agrarian and other social reforms and developing their national economy and culture. It is of practical and vital importance for these countries to guard and fight against the neo-colonialist policies which the old colonialists adopt to preserve their interests, and especially against the neo-colonialism of US imperialism.
In some of these countries, the patriotic national bourgeoisie continue to stand with the masses in the struggle against imperialism and colonialism and introduce certain measures of social progress. This requires the proletarian Party to make a full appraisal of the progressive role of the patriotic national bourgeoisie and strengthen unity with them.
As the internal social contradictions and the international class struggle sharpen, the bourgeoisie, and particularly the big bourgeoisie, in some newly independent countries increasingly tend to become retainers of imperialism and to pursue anti-popular, anti-Communist and counter-revolutionary policies. It is necessary for the proletarian Party resolutely to oppose these reactionary policies.
Generally speaking, the bourgeoisie in these countries have a dual character. When a United Front is formed with the bourgeoisie, the policy of the proletarian Party should be one of both unity and struggle. The policy should be to unite with the bourgeoisie, in so far as they tend to be progressive, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal, but to struggle against their reactionary tendencies to compromise and collaborate with imperialism and the forces of feudalism.
On the national question the world outlook of the proletarian Party is internationalism, and not nationalism. In the revolutionary struggle it supports progressive nationalism and opposes reactionary nationalism. It must always draw a clear line of demarcation between itself and bourgeois nationalism, to which it must never fall captive.
The 1960 Statement says:
Communists expose attempts by the reactionary section of the bourgeoisie to represent its selfish, narrow class interests as those of the entire nation; they expose the demagogic use by bourgeois politicians of socialist slogans for the same purpose.
If the proletariat becomes the tail of the landlords and bourgeoisie in the revolution, no real or thorough victory in the national democratic revolution is possible, and even if victory of a kind is gained, it will be impossible to consolidate it.
In the course of the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed nations and peoples, the proletarian Party must put forward a programme of its own which is thoroughly against imperialism and domestic reaction and for national independence and people’s democracy, and it must work independently among the masses, constantly expand the progressive forces, win over the middle forces and isolate the reactionary forces; only thus can it carry the national democratic revolution through to the end and guide the revolution on to the road of socialism.
10. In the imperialist and the capitalist countries, the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat are essential for the thorough resolution of the contradictions of capitalist society.
In striving to accomplish this task the proletarian Party must under the present circumstances actively lead the working class and the working people in struggles to oppose monopoly capital, to defend democratic rights, to oppose the menace of fascism, to improve living conditions, to oppose imperialist arms expansion and war preparations, to defend world peace and actively to support the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed nations.
In the capitalist countries which US imperialism controls or is trying to control, the working class and the people should direct their attacks mainly against US imperialism, but also against their own monopoly capitalists and other reactionary forces who are betraying the national interests.
Large-scale mass struggles in the capitalist countries in recent years have shown that the working class and working people are experiencing a new awakening. Their struggles, which are dealing blows at monopoly capital and reaction, have opened bright prospects for the revolutionary cause in their own countries and are also a powerful support for the revolutionary struggles of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples and for the countries of the socialist camp.
The proletarian Parties in imperialist or capitalist countries must maintain their own ideological, political and organizational independence in leading revolutionary struggles. At the same time, they must unite all the forces that can be united and build a broad United Front against monopoly capital and against the imperialist policies of aggression and war.
While actively leading immediate struggles, Communists in the capitalist countries should link them with the struggle for long-range and general interests, educate the masses in a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary spirit, ceaselessly raise their political consciousness and undertake the historical task of the proletarian revolution. If they fail to do so, if they regard the immediate movement as everything, determine their conduct from case to case, adapt themselves to the events of the day and sacrifice the basic interests of the proletariat, that is out-and-out social democracy.
Social democracy is a bourgeois ideological trend. Lenin pointed out long ago that the social democratic Parties are political detachments of the bourgeoisie, its agents in the working-class movement and its principal social prop. Communists must at all times draw a clear line of demarcation between themselves and social democratic Parties on the basic question of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat and liquidate the ideological influence of social democracy in the international working-class movement and among the working people. Beyond any shadow of doubt, Communists must win over the masses under the influence of the social democratic Parties and must win over those left and middle elements in the social democratic Parties who are willing to oppose domestic monopoly capital and domination by foreign imperialism, and must unite with them in extensive joint action in the day-to-day struggle of the working-class movement and in the struggle to defend world peace.
In order to lead the proletariat and working people in revolution, Marxist-Leninist Parties must master all forms of struggle and be able to substitute one form for another quickly as the conditions of struggle change. The vanguard of the proletariat will remain unconquerable in all circumstances only if it masters all forms of struggle — peaceful and armed, open and secret, legal and illegal, parliamentary struggle and mass struggle, etc. It is wrong to refuse to use parliamentary and other legal forms of struggle when they can and should be used. However, if a Marxist-Leninist Party falls into legalism or parliamentary cretinism, confining the struggle within the limits permitted by the bourgeoisie, this will inevitably lead to renouncing the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
11. On the question of transition from capitalism to socialism, the proletarian Party must proceed from the stand of class struggle and revolution and base itself on the Marxist-Leninist teachings concerning the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Communists would always prefer to bring about the transition to socialism by peaceful means. But can peaceful transition be made into a new world-wide strategic principle for the ICM? Absolutely not.
Marxism-Leninism consistently holds that the fundamental question in all revolutions is that of state power. The 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement both clearly point out: „Leninism teaches, and experience confirms, that the ruling classes never relinquish Power voluntarily.“ The old government never topples even in a period of crisis, unless it is pushed. This is a universal law of class struggle. In specific historical conditions, Marx and Lenin did raise the possibility that revolution may develop peacefully. But, as Lenin pointed out, the peaceful development of revolution is an opportunity „very seldom to be met with in the history of revolutions“.
As a matter of fact, there is no historical precedent for peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism.
Certain persons say there was no precedent when Marx foretold that socialism would inevitably replace capitalism. Then why can we not predict a peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism despite the absence of a precedent? This parallel is absurd. Employing dialectical and historical materialism, Marx analysed the contradictions of capitalism, discovered the objective laws of development of human society and arrived at a scientific conclusion, whereas the prophets who pin all their hopes on “peaceful transition” proceed from historical idealism, ignore the most fundamental contradictions of capitalism, repudiate the Marxist-Leninist teachings on class struggle, and arrive at a subjective and groundless conclusion. How can people who repudiate Marxism get any help from Marx?
It is plain to everyone that the capitalist countries are strengthening their State machinery — and especially their military apparatus — the primary purpose of which is to suppress the people in their own countries.
The proletarian Party must never base its thinking, its policies for revolution and its entire work on the assumption that the imperialists and reactionaries will accept peaceful transformation.
The proletarian Party must prepare itself for two eventualities — while preparing for a peaceful development of the revolution, it must also fully prepare for a non-peaceful development. It should concentrate on the painstaking work of accumulating revolutionary strength, so that it will be ready to seize victory when the conditions for revolution are ripe or to strike powerful blows at the imperialists and the reactionaries when they launch surprise attacks and armed assaults.
If it fails to make such preparations, the proletarian Party will paralyse the revolutionary will of the proletariat, disarm itself ideologically and sink into a totally passive state of unpreparedness both politically and organizationally, and the result will be to bury the proletarian revolutionary cause.
12. All social revolutions in the various stages of the history of mankind are historically inevitable and are governed by objective laws independent of man’s will. Moreover, history shows that there never was a revolution which was able to achieve victory without zigzags and sacrifices.
With Marxist-Leninist theory as the basis, the task of the proletarian Party is to analyse the concrete historical conditions, put forward the correct strategy and tactics, and guide the masses in bypassing hidden reefs, avoiding unnecessary sacrifices and reaching the goal step by step. Is it possible to avoid sacrifices altogether? Such is not the case with the slave revolutions, the serf revolutions, the bourgeois revolutions, or the national revolutions; nor is it the case with proletarian revolutions. Even if the guiding line of the revolution is correct, it is impossible to have a sure guarantee against setbacks and sacrifices in the course of the revolution. So long as a correct line is adhered to, the revolution is bound to triumph in the end. To abandon revolution on the pretext of avoiding sacrifices is in reality to demand that the people should forever remain slaves and endure infinite pain and sacrifice.
Elementary knowledge of Marxism-Leninism tells us that the birth pangs of a revolution are far less painful than the chronic agony of the old society. Lenin rightly said that „even with the most peaceful course of events, the present [capitalist] system always and inevitably exacts countless sacrifices from the working class“.
Whoever considers a revolution can be made only if everything is plain sailing, only if there is an advance guarantee against sacrifices and failure, is certainly no revolutionary.
However difficult the conditions and whatever sacrifices and defeats the revolution may suffer, proletarian revolutionaries should educate the masses in the spirit of revolution and hold aloft the banner of revolution and not abandon it.
It would be „left“-adventurism if the proletarian Party should rashly launch a revolution before the objective conditions are ripe. But it would be right-opportunism if the proletarian Party should not dare to lead a revolution and to seize State Power when the objective conditions are ripe.
Even in ordinary times, when it is leading the masses in the day-today struggle, the proletarian Party should ideologically, politically and organizationally prepare its own ranks and the masses for revolution and promote revolutionary struggles, so that it witl not miss the opportunity to overthrow the reactionary regime and establish a new state power when the conditions for revolution are ripe. Otherwise, when the objective conditions are ripe, the proletarian Party will simply throw away the opportunity of seizing victory.
The proletarian Party must be flexible as well as highly principled, and on occasion it must make such compromises as are necessary in the interests of the revolution. But it must never abandon principled policies and the goal of revolution on the pretext of flexibility and of necessary compromises.
The proletarian Party must lead the masses in waging struggles against the enemies, and it must know how to utilize the contradictions among those enemies. But the purpose of using these contradictions is to make it easier to attain the goal of the people’s revolutionary struggles and not to liquidate these struggles.
Countless facts have proved that, wherever the dark rule of imperialism and reaction exists, the people who form over 90 per cent of the population will sooner or later rise in revolution.
If Communists isolate themselves from the revolutionary demands of the masses, they are bound to lose the confidence of the masses and will be tossed to the rear by the revolutionary current.
If the leading group in any Party adopt a non-revolutionary line and convert it into a reformist Party, then Marxist-Leninists inside and outside the Party will replace them and lead the people in making revolution. In another kind of situation, the bourgeois revolutionaries will come forward to lead the revolution and the Party of the proletariat will forfeit its leadership of the revolution. When the reactionary bourgeoisie betray the revolution and suppress the people, an opportunist line will cause tragic and unnecessary losses to the Communists and the revolutionary masses.
If Communists slide down the path of opportunism, they will degenerate into bourgeois nationalists and become appendages of the imperialists and the reactionary bourgeoisie.
There are certain persons who assert that they have made the greatest creative contributions to revolutionary theory since Lenin and that they alone are correct. But it is very dubious whether they have ever really given consideration to the extensive experience of the entire world Communist movement, whether they have ever really considered the interests, the aims and tasks of the international proletarian movement as a whole, and whether they really have a general line for the ICM which conforms with Marxism-Leninism.
In the last few years the ICM and the national liberation movement have had many experiences and many lessons. There are experiences which people should praise and there are experiences which make people grieve. Communists and revolutionaries in all countries should ponder and seriously study these experiences of success and failure, so as to draw correct conclusions and useful lessons from them.
13. The socialist countries and the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations support and assist each other.
The national liberation movements of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the revolutionary movements of the people in the capitalist countries are a strong support to the socialist countries. It is completely wrong to deny this.
The only attitude for the socialist countries to adopt towards the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations is one of warm sympathy and active support; they must not adopt a perfunctory attitude, or one of national selfishness or of great-power chauvinism.
Lenin said: „The foreign policy of the proletariat is alliance with the revolutionaries of the advanced countries and with all the oppressed nations against all and any imperialists.“ Whoever fails to understand this point and considers that the support and aid given by the socialist countries to the oppressed peoples and nations are a burden or charity is going counter to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
The superiority of the socialist system and the achievements of the socialist countries in construction play an exemplary role and are an inspiration to the oppressed peoples and the oppressed nations.
But this exemplary role and inspiration can never replace the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations. No oppressed people or nation can win liberation except through its own staunch revolutionary struggle.
Certain persons have one-sidedly exaggerated the role of peaceful competition between socialist and imperialist countries in their attempt to substitute peaceful competition for the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations. According to their preaching, it would seem that imperialism will automatically collapse in the course of this peaceful competition and that the only thing the oppressed peoples and nations have to do is to wait quietly for the advent of this day. What does this have in common with Marxist-Leninist views?
Moreover, certain persons have concocted the strange tale that China and some other socialist countries want „to unleash wars“ and to spread socialism by „wars between States“. As the Statement of 1960 points out, such tales are nothing but imperialist and reactionary slanders. To put it bluntly, the purpose of those who repeat these slanders is to hide the fact that they are opposed to revolutions by the oppressed peoples and nations of the world and opposed to others supporting such revolutions.
14. In the last few years much — in fact a great deal — has been said on the question of war and peace. Our views and policies on this question are known to the world, and no one can distort them.
It is a pity that although certain persons in the ICM talk about how much they love peace and hate war, they are unwilling to acquire even a faint understanding of the simple truth on war pointed out by Lenin.
It seems to me that the main thing that is usually forgotten on the question of war, which receives inadequate attention, the main reason why there is so much controversy, and, I would say, futile, hopeless and aimless controversy, is that people forget the fundamental question of the class character of the war; why the war broke out; the classes that are waging it; the historical and historico-economic conditions that gave rise to it.
As Marxist-Leninists see it, war is the continuation of politics by other means, and every war is inseparable from the political system and the political struggles which give rise to it. If one departs from this scientific Marxist-Leninist proposition which has been confirmed by the entire history of class struggle, one will never be able to understand either the question of war or the question of peace.
There are different types of peace and different types of war. Marxist-Leninists must be clear about what type of peace or what type of war is in question. Lumping just wars and unjust wars together and opposing all of them undiscriminatingly is a bourgeois pacifist and not a Marxist-Leninist approach.
Certain persons say that revolutions are entirely possible without war. Now which type of war are they referring to — a war of national liberation or a revolutionary civil war, or a World War?
If they are referring to a war of national liberation or a revolutionary civil war, then this formulation is, in effect, opposed to revolutionary wars and to revolution.
If they are referring to a World War, then they are shooting at a nonexistent target. Although Marxist-Leninists have pointed out, on the basis of the history of the two World Wars, that World Wars inevitably lead to revolution, no Marxist-Leninist ever has held or ever will hold that revolution must be made through World wWr.
Marxist-Leninists take the abolition of war as their ideal and believe that war can be abolished.
But how can war be abolished?
This is how Lenin viewed it:
[…] our object is to achieve the socialist system of society, which, by abolishing the division of mankind into classes, by abolishing all exploitation of man by man, and of one nation by other nations, will inevitably abolish all possibility of war.
The Statement of 1960 also puts it very clearly: „The victory of socialism all over the world will completely remove the social and national causes of all wars.“
However, certain persons now actually hold that it is possible to bring about „a world without weapons, without armed forces and without wars“ through „general and complete disarmament“ while the system of imperialism and of the exploitation of man by man still exists. This is sheer illusion.
An elementary knowledge of Marxism-Leninism tells us that the armed forces are the principal part of the State machine and that a so-called world without weapons and without armed forces can only be a world without States. Lenin said:
Only after the proletariat has disarmed the bourgeoisie will it be able, without betraying its world-historical mission, to throw all armaments on the scrap heap; and the proletariat will undoubtedly do this, but only when this condition has been fulfilled, certainly not before.
What are the facts in the world today? Is there a shadow of evidence that the imperialist countries headed by the United States are ready to carry out general and complete disarmament? Are they not each and all engaged in general and complete arms expansion?
We have always maintained that, in order to expose and combat the imperialists’ arms expansion and war preparations, it is necessary to put forward the proposal for general disarmament. Furthermore, it is possible to compel imperialism to accept some kind of agreement on disarmament, through the combined struggle of the socialist countries and the people of the whole world.
If one regards general and complete disarmament as the fundamental road to world peace, spreads the illusion that imperialism will automatically lay down its arms and tries to liquidate the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations on the pretext of disarmament, then this is deliberately to deceive the people of the world and help the imperialists in their policies of aggression and war.
In order to overcome the present ideological confusion in the international working-class movement on the question of war and peace, we consider that Lenin’s thesis, which has been discarded by the modern revisionists, must be restored in the interest of combating the imperialist policies of aggression and war and defending world peace.
The people of the world universally demand the prevention of a new World War. And it is possible to prevent a new World War.
The question then is, what is the way to secure world peace? According to the Leninist viewpoint, world peace can be won only by the struggles of the people in all countries and not by begging the imperialists for it. World peace can only be effectively defended by relying on the development of the forces of the socialist camp, on the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and working people of all countries, on the liberation struggles of the oppressed nations and on the struggles of all peace-loving people and countries.
Such is the Leninist policy. Any policy to the contrary definitely will not lead to world peace but will only encourage the ambitions of the imperialists and increase the danger of World War.
In recent years, certain persons have been spreading the argument that a single spark from a war of national liberation or from a revolutionary people’s war will lead to a world conflagration destroying the whole of mankind. What are the facts? Contrary to what these persons say, the wars of national liberation and the revolutionary People’s Wars that have occurred since the 2nd World War have not led to World War. The victory of these revolutionary wars has directly weakened the forces of imperialism and greatly strengthened the forces which prevent the imperialists from launching a World War and which defend world peace. Do not the facts demonstrate the absurdity of this argument?
15. The complete banning and destruction of nuclear weapons is an important task in the struggle to defend world peace. We must do our utmost to this end.
Nuclear weapons are unprecedentedly destructive, which is why for more than a decade now the US imperialists have been pursuing their policy of nuclear blackmail in order to realize their ambition of enslaving the people of all countries and dominating the world.
But when the imperialists threaten other countries with nuclear weapons, they subject the people in their own country to the same threat, thus arousing them against nuclear weapons and against the imperialist policies of aggression and war. At the same time, in their vain hope of destroying their opponents with nuclear weapons, the imperialists are in fact subjecting themselves to the danger of being destroyed.
The possibility of banning nuclear weapons does indeed exist. However, if the imperialists are forced to accept anagreement to ban nuclear weapons, it decidedly will not be because of their „love for humanity“ but because of the pressure of the people of all countries and for the sake of their own vital interests.
In contrast to the imperialists, socialist countries rely upon the righteous strength of the people and on their own correct policies, and have no need whatever to gamble with nuclear weapons in the world arena. Socialist countries have nuclear weapons solely in order to defend themselves and to prevent imperialism from launching a nuclear war.
In the view of Marxist-Leninists, the people are the makers of history. In the present, as in the past, man is the decisive factor. Marxist-Leninists attach importance to the role of technological change, but it is wrong to belittle the role of man and exaggerate the role of technology.
The emergence of nuclear weapons can neither arrest the progress of human history nor save the imperialist system from its doom, any more than the emergence of new techniques could save the old systems from their doom in the past.
The emergence of nuclear weapons does not and cannot resolve the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world, does not and cannot alter the law of class struggle, and does not and cannot change the nature of imperialism and reaction.
It cannot, therefore, be said that with the emergence of nuclear weapons the possibility and the necessity of social and national revolutions have disappeared, or the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism, and especially the theories of proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat and of war and peace, have become outmoded and changed into stale „dogmas“.
16. It was Lenin who advanced the thesis that it is possible for the socialist countries to practise peaceful coexistence with the capitalist countries. It is well known that after the great Soviet people had repulsed foreign armed intervention the CPSU and the Soviet Government, led first by Lenin and then by Stalin, consistently pursued the policy of peaceful coexistence and that they were forced to wage a war of self-defence only when attacked by the German imperialists.
Since its founding, the People’s Republic of China too has consistently pursued the policy of peaceful coexistence with countries having different social systems, and it is China which initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
However, a few years ago certain persons suddenly claimed Lenin’s policy of peaceful coexistence as their own „great discovery“. They maintain that they have a monopoly on the interpretation of this policy. They treat „peaceful coexistence“ as if it were an all-inclusive, mystical book from heaven and attribute to it every success the people of the world achieve by struggle. What is more, they label all who disagree with their distortions of Lenin’s views as opponents of peaceful coexistence, as people completely ignorant of Lenin and Leninism, and as heretics deserving to be burnt at the stake.
How can the Chinese Communists agree with this view and practice? They cannot, it is impossible.
Lenin’s principle of peaceful coexistence is very clear and readily comprehensible by ordinary people. Peaceful coexistence designates a relationship between countries with different social systems, and must not be interpreted as one pleases. It should never be extended to apply to the relations between oppressed and oppressor nations, between oppressed and oppressor countries or between oppressed and oppressor classes, and never be described as the main content of the transition from capitalism to socialism, still less should it be asserted that peaceful coexistence is mankind’s road to socialism. The reason is that it is one thing to practise peaceful coexistence between countries with different social systems. It is absolutely impermissible and impossible for countries practising peaceful coexistence to touch even a hair of each other’s social system. The class struggle, the struggle for national liberation and the transition from capitalism to socialism in various countries are quite another thing. They are all bitter, life-and-death revolutionary struggles which aim at changing the social system. Peaceful coexistence cannot replace the revolutionary struggles of the people. The transition from capitalism to socialism in any country can only be brought about through the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat in that country.
In the application of the policy of peaceful coexistence, struggles between the socialist and imperialist countries are unavoidable in the political, economic and ideological spheres, and it is absolutely impossible to have „all-round co-operation“.
It is necessary for the socialist countries to engage in negotiations of one kind or another with the imperialist countries. It is possible to reach certain agreements through negotiation by relying on the correct policies of the socialist countries and on the pressure of the people of all countries. But necessary compromises between the socialist countries and the imperialist countries do not require the oppressed peoples and nations to follow suit and compromise with imperialism and its lackeys. No one should ever demand in the name of peaceful coexistence that the oppressed peoples and nations should give up their revolutionary struggles.
The application of the policy of peaceful coexistence by the socialist countries is advantageous for achieving a peaceful international environment for socialist construction, for exposing the imperialist policies of aggression and war and for isolating the imperialist forces of aggression and war. But if the general line of the foreign policy of the socialist countries is confined to peaceful coexistence, then it is impossible to handle correctly either the relations between socialist countries or those between the socialist countries and the oppressed peoples and nations. Therefore it is wrong to make peaceful coexistence the general line of the foreign policy of the socialist countries.
In our view, the general line of the foreign policy of the socialist countries should have the following content:
to develop relations of friendship, mutual assistance and cooperation among the countries in the socialist camp in accordance with the principle of proletarian internationalism;
to strive for peaceful coexistence on the basis of the Five Principles with countries having different social systems and oppose the imperialist policies of aggression and war; and,
to support and assist the revolutionary struggles of all the oppressed peoples and nations.
These three aspects are interrelated and indivisible, and not a single one can be omitted.
17. For a very long historical period after the proletariat takes Power, class struggle continues as an objective law independent of man’s will, differing only in form from what it was before the taking of Power.
After the October Revolution, Lenin pointed out a number of times that:
a. The overthrown exploiters always try in a thousand and one ways to recover the „paradise“ they have been deprived of.
b. New elements of capitalism are constantly and spontaneously generated in the petty-bourgeois atmosphere.
c. Political degenerates and new bourgeois elements may emerge in the ranks of the working class and among government functionaries as a result of bourgeois influence and the pervasive, corrupting atmosphere of the petty bourgeoisie.
d. The external conditions for the continuance of class struggle within a socialist country are encirclement by international capitalism, the imperialists’ threat of armed intervention and their subversive activities to accomplish peaceful disintegration.
Life has confirmed these conclusions of Lenin’s.
For decades or even longer periods after socialist industrialization and agricultural collectivization, it will be impossible to say that any socialist country will be free from those elements which Lenin repeatedly denounced, such as bourgeois hangers-on, parasites, speculators, swindlers, idlers, hooligans and embezzlers of state funds; or to say that a socialist country will no longer need to perform or be able to relinquish the task laid down by Lenin of conquering „this contagion, this plague, this ulcer that socialism has inherited from capitalism“.
In a socialist country, it takes a very long historical period gradually to settle the question of who will win — socialism or capitalism. The struggle between the road of socialism and the road of capitalism runs through this whole historical period. This struggle rises and falls in a wave-like manner, at times becoming very fierce, and the forms of the struggle are many and varied.
The 1957 Declaration rightly states that „the conquest of Power by the working class is only the beginning of the revolution, not its conclusion“.
To deny the existence of class struggle in the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the necessity of thoroughly completing the socialist revolution on the economic, political and ideological fronts is wrong, does not correspond to objective reality and violates Marxism-Leninism.
18. Both Marx and Lenin maintained that the entire period before the advent of the higher stage of Communist society is the period of transition from capitalism to communism, the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In this transition period, the dictatorship of the proletariat, that is to say, the proletarian state, goes through the dialectical process of establishment, consolidation, strengthening and withering away.
In the „Critique of the Gotha Programme“, Marx posed the question as follows:
Between capitalist and Communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. There corresponds to this also a political transition period in which the State can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.
Lenin frequently emphasized Marx’s great theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat and analysed the development of this theory, particularly in his outstanding work, „The State and Revolution“, where he wrote:
[…] the transition from capitalist society — which is developing towards communism — to a Communist society is impossible without a „political transition period“, and the State in this period can only be the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.
He further said:
The essence of Marx’s teaching on the State has been mastered only by those who understand that the dictatorship of a single class is necessary not only for every class society in general, not only for the proletariat which has overthrown the bourgeoisie, but also for the entire historical period which separates capitalism from „classless society“, from Communism.
As stated above, the fundamental thesis of Marx and Lenin is that the dictatorship of the proletariat will inevitably continue for the entire historical period of the transition from capitalism to communism, that is, for the entire period up to the abolition of all class differences and the entry into a classless society, the higher stage of Communist society.
What will happen if it is announced, halfway through, that the dictatorship of the proletariat is no longer necessary?
Does this not fundamentally conflict with the teachings of Marx and Lenin on the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat?
Does this not license the development of „this contagion, this plague, this ulcer that socialism has inherited from capitalism“?
In other words, this would lead to extremely grave consequences and make any transition to Communism out of the question.
Can there be a „State of the whole people“? Is it possible to replace the State of the dictatorship of the proletariat by a „State of the whole people“?
This is not a question about the internal affairs of any particular country but a fundamental problem involving the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism.
In the view of Marxist-Leninists, there is no such thing as a non-class or supra-class State. So long as the state remains a State, it must bear a class character; so long as the State exists, it cannot be a State of the „whole people“. As soon as society becomes classless, there will no longer be a State.
Then what sort of thing would a „State of the whole people“ be?
Anyone with an elementary knowledge of Marxism-Leninism can understand that the so-called „State of the whole people“ is nothing new. Representative bourgeois figures have always called the bourgeois State a „State of all the people“, or a „State in which Power belongs to all the people“.
Certain persons may say that their society is already one without classes. We answer: No, there are classes and class struggles in all socialist countries without exception.
Since remnants of the old exploiting classes who are trying to stage a comeback still exist there, since new capitalist elements are constantly being generated there, and since there are still parasites, speculators, idlers, hooligans, embezzlers of state funds, etc., how can it be said that classes or class struggles no longer exist? How can it be said that the dictatorship of the proletariat is no longer necessary?
Marxism-Leninism tells us that in addition to the suppression of the hostile classes, the historical tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the course of building socialism necessarily include the correct handling of relations between the working class and peasantry, the consolidation of their political and economic alliance and the creation of conditions for the gradual elimination of the class difference between worker and peasant.
When we look at the economic base of any socialist society, we find that the difference between ownership by the whole people and collective ownership exists in all socialist countries without exception, and that there is individual ownership too. Ownership by the whole people and collective ownership are two kinds of ownership and two kinds of relations of production in socialist society. The workers in enterprises owned by the whole people and the peasants on farms owned collectively belong to two different categories of labourers in socialist society. Therefore, the class difference between worker and peasant exists in all socialist countries without exception. This difference will not disappear until the transition to the higher stage of Communism is achieved. In their present level of economic development all socialist countries are still far, far removed from the higher stage of communism in which „from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”“is put into practice. Therefore, it will take a long, long time to eliminate the class difference between worker and peasant. And until this difference is eliminated, it is impossible to say that society is classless or that there is no longer any need for the dictatorship of the proletariat. In calling a socialist State the „State of the whole people“ is one trying to replace the Marxist-Leninist theory of the state by the bourgeois theory of the State? Is one trying to replace the State of the dictatorship of the proletariat by a State of a different character?
If that is the case, it is nothing but a great historical retrogression. The degeneration of the social system in Yugoslavia is a grave lesson.
19. Leninism holds that the proletarian Party must exist together with the dictatorship of the proletariat in socialist countries. The Party of the proletariat is indispensable for the entire historical period of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The reason is that the dictatorship of the proletariat has to struggle against the enemies of the proletariat and of the people, remould the peasants and other small producers, constantly consolidate the proletarian ranks, build socialism and effect the transition to communism; none of these things can be done without the leadership of the Party of the proletariat.
Can there be a „Party of the entire people“? Is it possible to replace the Party which is the vanguard of the proletariat by a „Party of the entire people“?
This, too, is not a question about the internal affairs of any particular Party, but a fundamental problem involving the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism.
In the view of Marxist-Leninists, there is no such thing as a nonclass or supra-class political Party. All political Parties have a class character. Party spirit is the concentrated expression of class character.
The Party of the proletariat is the only Party able to represent the interests of the whole people. It can do so precisely because it represents the interests of the proletariat, whose ideas and will it concentrates. It can lead the whole people because the proletariat can finally emancipate itself only with the emancipation of all mankind, because the very nature of the proletariat enables its Party to approach problems in terms of its present and future interests, because the Party is boundlessly loyal to the people and has the spirit of self-sacrifice; hence its democratic centralism and iron discipline. Without such a Party, it is impossible to maintain the dictatorship of the proletariat and to represent the interests of the whole people.
What will happen if it is announced halfway before entering the higher stage of Communist society that the Party of the proletariat has become a „Party of the entire people“ and if its proletarian class character is repudiated?
Does this not fundamentally conflict with the teachings of Marx and Lenin on the Party of the proletariat?
Does this not disarm the proletariat and all the working people, organizationally and ideologically, and is it not tantamount to helping restore capitalism?
Is it not „going south by driving the chariot north“ to talk about any transition to Communist society in such circumstances?
20. Over the past few years, certain persons have violated Lenin’s integral teachings about the interrelationship of leaders, Party, class and masses, and raised the issue of „combating the cult of the individual“; this is erroneous and harmful.
The theory propounded by Lenin is as follows:
a. The masses are divided into classes.
b. Classes are usually led by political Parties.
c. Political Parties, as a general rule, are directed by more or less stable groups composed of the most authoritative, influential and experienced members, who are elected to the most responsible positions and are called leaders.
Lenin said: „All this is elementary.“
The Party of the proletariat is the headquarters of the proletariat in revolution and struggle. Every proletarian Party must practise centralism based on democracy and establish a strong Marxist-Leninist leadership before it can become an organized and battle-worthy vanguard. To raise the question of „combating the cult of the individual“ is actually to counterpose the leaders to the masses, undermine the Party’s unified leadership which is based on democratic centralism, dissipate its fighting strength and disintegrate its ranks.
Lenin criticized the erroneous views which counterpose the leaders to the masses. He called them „ridiculously absurd and stupid“.
The CPCh has always disapproved of exaggerating the role of the individual, has advocated and persistently practised democratic centralism within the Party and advocated the linking of the leadership with the masses, maintaining that correct leadership must know how to concentrate the views of the masses.
While loudly combating the so-called „cult of the individual“, certain persons are in reality doing their best to defame the proletarian Party and the dictatorship of the proletariat. At the same time, they are enormously exaggerating the role of certain individuals, shifting all errors onto others and claiming all credit for themselves.
What is more serious is that, under the pretext of „combating the cult of the individual“, certain persons are crudely interfering in the internal affairs of other fraternal Parties and fraternal countries and forcing other fraternal Parties to change their leadership in order to impose their own wrong line on these Parties. What is all this if not great-power chauvinism, sectarianism and splittism? What is all this if not subversion?
It is high time to propagate seriously and comprehensively Lenin’s integral teachings on the interrelationship of leaders, Party, class and masses.
21. Relations between socialist countries are international relations of a new type. Relations between socialist countries, whether large or small, and whether more developed or less developed economically, must be based on the principles of complete equality, respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and must also be based on the principles of mutual support and mutual assistance in accordance with proletarian internationalism.
Every socialist country must rely mainly on itself for its construction.
In accordance with its own concrete conditions, every socialist country must rely first of all on the diligent labour and talents of its own people, utilize all its available resources fully and in a planned way, and bring all its potential into play in socialist construction. Only thus can it build socialism effectively and develop its economy speedily.
This is the only way for each socialist country to strengthen the might of the entire socialist camp and enhance its capacity to assist the revolutionary cause of the international proletariat. Therefore, to observe the principle of mainly relying on oneself in construction is to apply proletarian internationalism concretely.
If, proceeding only from its own partial interests, any socialist country unilaterally demands that other fraternal countries submit to its needs, and uses the pretext of opposing what they call „going it alone“ and „nationalism“ to prevent other fraternal countries from applying the principle of reIying mainly on their own efforts in their construction and from developing their economies on the basis of independence, or even goes to the length of putting economic pressure on other fraternal countries — then these are pure manifestations of national egoism.
It is absolutely necessary for socialist countries to practise mutual economic assistance and co-operation and exchange. Such economic co-operation must be based on the principles of complete equality, mutual benefit and Comradely mutual assistance.
It would be great-power chauvinism to deny these basic principles and, in the name of „international division of labour“ or „specialization“, to impose one’s own will on others, infringe on the independence and sovereignty of fraternal countries or harm the interests of their people.
In relations among socialist countries it would be preposterous to follow the practice of gaining profit for oneself at the expense of others, a practice characteristic of relations among capitalist countries, or go so far as to take the „economic integration“ and the „common market“, which monopoly capitalist groups have instituted for the purpose of seizing markets and grabbing profits, as examples which socialist countries ought to follow in their economic co-operation and mutual assistance.
22. The 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement lay down the principles guiding relations among fraternal Parties. These are the principle of solidarity, the principle of mutual support and mutual assistance, the principle of independence and equality and the principle of reaching unanimity through consultation — all on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
We note that in its letter of March 30 the Central Committee of the CPSU says that there are no „higher-ranking“ and „subordinate“ Parties in the Communist movement, that all Communist Parties are independent and equal, and that they should all build their relations on the basis of proletarian internationalism and mutual assistance.
It is a fine quality of Communists that their deeds are consistent with their words. The only correct way to safeguard and strengthen unity among the fraternal Parties is genuinely to adhere to, and not to violate, the principle of proletarian internationalism and genuinely to observe, and not to undermine, the principles guiding relations among fraternal Parties — and to do so, not only in words but, much more important, in deeds.
If the principle of independence and equality is accepted in relations among fraternal Parties, then it is impermissible for any Party to place itself above others, to interfere in their internal affairs, and to adopt patriarchal ways in relations with them.
If it is accepted that there are no „superiors“ and „subordinates“ in relations among fraternal Parties, then it is impermissible to impose the programme, resolutions and line of one’s own Party on other fraternal Parties as the „common programme“ of the ICM.
If the principle of reaching unanimity through consultation is accepted in relations among fraternal Parties, then one should not emphasize „who is in the majority“ or „who is in the minority“ and bank on a so-called majority in order to force through one’s own erroneous line and carry out sectarian and splitting policies.
If it is agreed that differences between fraternal Parties should be settled through inter-Party consultation, then other fraternal Parties should not be attacked publicly and by name at one’s own congress or at other Party congresses, in speeches by Party leaders, resolutions, statements, etc.; and still less should the ideological differences among fraternal Parties be extended into the sphere of state relations.
We hold that in the present circumstances, when there are differences in the ICM, it is particularly important to stress strict adherence to the principles guiding relations among fraternal Parties as laid down in the Declaration and the Statement.
In the sphere of relations among fraternal Parties and countries, the question of Soviet-Albanian relations is an outstanding one at present. Here the question is what is the correct way to treat a fraternal Party and country and whether the principles guiding relations among fraternal Parties and countries stipulated in the Declaration and the Statement are to be adhered to. The correct solution of this question is an important matter of principle in safeguarding the unity of the socialist camp and the ICM.
How to treat the Marxist-Leninist fraternal Albanian Party of Labour is one question. How to treat the Yugoslav revisionist clique of traitors to Marxism-Leninism is quite another question. These two essentially different questions must on no account be placed on a par.
Your letter says that you „do not relinquish the hope that the relations between the CPSU and the Albanian Party of Labour may be improved“, but at the same time you continue to attack the Albanian Comrades for what you call „splitting activities“. Clearly this is self-contradictory and in no way contributes to resolving the problem of Soviet-Albanian relations.
Who is it that has taken splitting actions in Soviet-Albanian relations?
Who is it that has extended the ideological differences between the Soviet and Albanian Parties to State relations?
Who is it that has brought the divergences between the Soviet and Albanian Parties and between the two countries into the open before the enemy?
Who is it that has openly called for a change in the Albanian Party and State leadership?
All this is plain and clear to the whole world.
Is it possible that the leading Comrades of the CPSU do not really feel their responsibility for the fact that Soviet-Albanian relations have so seriously deteriorated?
We once again express our sincere hope that the leading Comrades of the CPSU will observe the principles guiding relations among fraternal Parties and countries and take the initiative in seeking an effective way to improve Soviet-Albanian relations.
In short, the question of how to handle relations with fraternal Parties and countries must be taken seriously. Strict adherence to the principles guiding relations among fraternal Parties and countries is the only way forcefully to rebuff slanders such as those spread by the imperialists and reactionaries about the „hand of Moscow“.
Proletarian internationalism is demanded of all Parties without exception, whether large or small, and whether in Power or not. However, the larger Parties and the Parties in power bear a particularly heavy responsibility in this respect.
The series of distressing developments which have occurred in the socialist camp in the past period have harmed the interests not only of the fraternal Parties concerned but also of the masses of the people in their countries. This convincingly demonstrates that the larger countries and Parties need to keep in mind Lenin’s behest never to commit the error of great-power chauvinism.
The Comrades of the CPSU state in their letter that „the CPSU has never taken and will never take a single step that could sow hostility among the peoples of our country towards the fraternal Chinese people or other peoples“. Here we do not desire to go back and enumerate the many unpleasant events that have occurred in the past, and we only wish that the Comrades of the CPSU will strictly abide by this statement in their future actions.
During the past few years, our Party members and our people have exercised the greatest restraint in the face of a series of grave incidents which were in violation of the principles guiding relations among fraternal Parties and countries and despite the many difficulties and losses which have been imposed on us. The spirit of proletarian internationalism of the Chinese Communists and the Chinese people has stood a severe test.
The CPCh is unswervingly loyal to proletarian internationalism, upholds and defends the principles of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement guiding relations among fraternal Parties and countries, and safeguards and strengthens the unity of the socialist camp and the ICM.
23. In order to carry out the common programme of the ICM unanimously agreed upon by the fraternal Parties, an uncompromising struggle must be waged against all forms of opportunism, which is a deviation from Marxism-Leninism.
The Declaration and the Statement point out that revisionism, or, in other words, right-opportunism, is the main danger in the ICM. Yugoslav revisionism typifies modern revisionism.
The Statement points out particularly:
The Communist Parties have unanimously condemned the Yugoslav variety of international opportunism, a variety of modern revisionist „theories“ in concentrated form.
It goes on to say:
After betraying Marxism-Leninism, which they termed obsolete, the leaders of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia opposed their anti-Leninist revisionist programme to the Declaration of 1957; they set the League of Communists of Yugoslavia against the ICM as a whole, severed their country from the socialist camp, made it dependent on so-called „aid“ from US and other imperialists.
The Statement says further:
The Yugoslav revisionists carry on subversive work against the socialist camp and the world Communist movement. Under the pretext of an extra-bloc policy, they engage in activities which prejudice the unity of all the peace-loving forces and countries.
Therefore, it draws the following conclusion:
Further exposure of the leaders of Yugoslav revisionists and active struggle to safeguard the Communist movement and the working-class movement from the anti-Leninist ideas of the Yugoslav revisionists, remains an essential task of the Marxist-Leninist Parties.
The question raised here is an important one of principle for the ICM.
Only recently the Tito clique have publicly stated that they are persisting in their revisionist programme and anti-Marxist-Leninist stand in opposition to the Declaration and the Statement.
US imperialism and its NATO partners have spent several thousand millions of US dollars nursing the Tito clique for a long time. Cloaked as „Marxist-Leninists“ and flaunting the banner of a „socialist country“, the Tito clique has been undermining the ICM and the revolutionary cause of the people of the world, serving as a special detachment of US imperialism.
It is completely groundless and out of keeping with the facts to assert that Yugoslavia is showing „definite positive tendencies“, that it is a „socialist country“, and that the Tito clique is an „anti-imperialist force“.
Certain persons are now attempting to introduce the Yugoslav revisionist clique into the socialist community and the international Communist ranks. This is openly to tear up the agreement unanimously reached at the 1960 meeting of the fraternal Parties and is absolutely impermissible.
Over the past few years, the revisionist trend flooding the international working-class movement and the many experiences and lessons of the ICM have fully confirmed the correctness of the conclusion in the Declaration and the Statement that revisionism is the main danger in the ICM at present.
However, certain persons are openly saying that dogmatism and not revisionism is the main danger, or that dogmatism is every bit as dangerous as revisionism, etc. What sort of principle underlies all this?
Firm Marxist-Leninists and genuine Marxist-Leninist Parties must put principles first. They must not barter away principles, approving one thing today and another tomorrow, advocating one thing today and another tomorrow.
Together with all Marxist-Leninists, the Chinese Communists will continue to wage an uncompromising struggle against modern revisionism in order to defend the purity of Marxism-Leninism and the principled stand of the Declaration and the Statement.
While combating revisionism, which is the main danger in the ICM, Communists must also combat dogmatism.
As stated in the 1957 Declaration, proletarian Parties „should firmly adhere to the principle of combining […] universal Marxist-Leninist truth with the specific practice of revolution and construction in their countries“.
That is to say:
On the one hand, it is necessary at all times to adhere to the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism. Failure to do so will lead to right-opportunist or revisionist errors.
On the other hand, it is always necessary to proceed from reality, maintain close contact with the masses, constantly sum up the experience of mass struggles, and independently work out and apply policies and tactics suited to the conditions of one’s own country. Errors of dogmatism will be committed if one fails to do so, if one mechanically copies the policies and tactics of another Communist Party, submits blindly to the will of others or accepts without analysis the programme and resolutions of another Communist Party as one’s own line.
Some people are now violating this basic principle, which was long ago affirmed in the Declaration. On the pretext of „creatively developing Marxism-Leninism“, they cast aside the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism. Moreover, they describe as „universal Marxist-Leninist truths“ their own prescriptions which are based on nothing but subjective conjecture and are divorced from reality and from the masses, and they force others to accept these prescriptions unconditionally.
That is why many grave phenomena have come to pass in the ICM.
24. A most important lesson from the experience of the ICM is that the development and victory of a revolution depend on the existence of a revolutionary proletarian Party.
There must be a revolutionary Party.
There must be a revolutionary Party built according to the revolutionary theory and revolutionary style of Marxism-Leninism.
There must be a revolutionary Party able to integrate the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete practice of the revolution in its own country.
There must be a revolutionary Party able to link the leadership closely with the broad masses of the people.
There must be a revolutionary Party that perseveres in the truth, corrects its errors and knows how to conduct criticism and self-criticism.
Only such a revolutionary Party can lead the proletariat and the broad masses of the people in defeating imperialism and its lackeys, winning a thorough victory in the national democratic revolution and winning the socialist revolution.
If a Party is not a proletarian revolutionary Party but a bourgeois reformist Party;
If it is not a Marxist-Leninist Party but as revisionist Party;
If it is not a vanguard Party of the proleriat but a Party tailing after the bourgeoisie;
If it is not a Party representing the interests of the proletariat and all the working people but a Party representing the interests of the labour aristocracy;
If it is not an internationalist Party but a nationalist Party;
If it is not a Party that can use its brains to think for itself and acquire an accurate knowledge of the trends of the different classes in its own country through serious investigation and study, and knows how to apply the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism and integrate it with the concrete practice of its own country, but instead is a Party that parrots the words of others, copies foreign experience without analysis, runs hither and thither in response to the baton of certain persons abroad, and has become a hodgepodge of revisionism, dogmatism and everything but Marxists-Leninist principle;
Then such a Party is absolutely inculpable of leading the proletariat and the masses in revolutionty struggle, absolutely incapable of winning the revolution and absolutely incapable of fulfilling the great historical mission of the proletariat.
This is a question all Marxist-Leninists, all class-conscious workers and all progressive people everywhere need to ponder deeply.
25. It is the duty of Marxist-Leninists to distinguish between truth and falsehood with respect to the differences that have arisen in the ICM. In the common interest of the unity for struggle against the enemy, we have always advocated solving problems through inter-Party consultations and opposed bringing differences into the open before the enemy.
As the Comrades of the CPSU know, the public polemics in the ICM have been provoked by certain fraternal Party leaders and forced on us.
Since a public debate has been provoked, it ought to be conducted on the basis of equality among fraternal Parties and of democracy, and by presenting the facts and reasoning things out.
Since certain Party leaders have publicly attacked other fraternal Parties and provoked a public debate, it is our opinion that they have no reason or right to forbid the fraternal Parties attacked to make public replies.
Since certain Party leaders have published innumerable articles attacking other fraternal Parties, why do they not publish in their own press the articles those Parties have written, in reply?
Latterly, the CPCh has been subjected to preposterous attacks. The attackers have raised a great hue and cry and, disregarding the facts, have fabricated many charges against us. We have published these articles and speeches attacking us in our own press.
We have also published in full in our press the Soviet leader’s report at the meeting of the Supreme Soviet on December 12th, 1962, the „Truth“ Editorial Board’s article of January 7th, 1963, the speech of the head of the CPSU delegation at the 6th Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany on January 16th, 1963 and the „Truth“ Editorial Board’s article of February 10th, 1963.
We have also published the full text of the two letters from the Central Committee of the CPSU dated February 21st and March 30th, 1963.
We have replied to some of the articles and speeches in which fraternal Parties have attacked us, but have not yet replied to others. For example, we have not directly replied to the many articles and speeches of the Comrades of the CPSU.
Between December 15th, 1962 and March 8th, 1963, we wrote seven articles in reply to our attackers. These articles are entitled:
„Workers of All Countries, Unite, Oppose Our Common Enemy!“,
„The Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Us“,
„Leninism and Modern Revisionism“,
„Let Us Unite on the Basis of the Moscow Declaration and the Moscow Statement“,
„Whence the Differences? — A Reply to Thorez and Other Comrades“,
„More on the Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Us — Some Important Problems of Leninism in the Contemporary World“,
„A Comment on the Statement of the Communist Party of the USA“.
Presumably, you are referring to these articles when towards the end of your letter of March 30th you accuse the Chinese press of making „groundless attacks“ on the CPSU. It is turning things upside down to describe articles replying to our attackers as „attacks“.
Since you describe our articles as „groundless“ and as so very bad, why do you not publish all seven of these „groundless attacks“, in the same way as we have published your articles, and let all the Soviet Comrades and Soviet people think for themselves and judge who is right and who wrong? You are of course entitled to make a point-by-point refutation of these articles you consider „groundless attacks“.
Although you call our articles „groundless“ and our arguments wrong, you do not tell the Soviet people what our arguments actually are. This practice can hardly be described as showing a serious attitude towards the discussion of problems by fraternal Parties, towards the truth or towards the masses.
We hope that the public debate among fraternal Parties can be stopped. This is a problem that has to be dealt with in accordance with the principles of independence, of equality and of reaching unanimity through consultation among fraternal Parties. In the ICM, no one has the right to launch attacks whenever he wants, or to order the „ending of open polemics“ whenever he wants to prevent the other side from replying.
It is known to the Comrades of the CPSU that, in order to create a favourable atmosphere for convening the meeting of the fraternal Parties, we have decided temporarily to suspend, as from March 9th, 1963, public replies to the public attacks directed by name against us by Comrades of fraternal Parties. We reserve the right of public reply.
In our letter of March 9th, we said that on the question of suspending public debate „it is necessary that our two Parties and the fraternal Parties concerned should have some discussion and reach an agreement that is fair and acceptable to all“.
* * *
The foregoing are our views regarding the general line of the ICM and some related questions of principle. We hope, as we indicated at the beginning of this letter, that the frank presentation of our views will be conducive to mutual understanding. Of course, Comrades may agree or disagree with these views. But in our opinion, the questions we discuss here are the crucialquestions calling for attention and solution by the ICM. We hope that all these questions and also those raised in your letter will be fully discussed in the talks between our two Parties and at the meeting of representatives of all the fraternal Parties.
In addition, there are other questions of common concern, such as the criticism of Stalin and some important matters of principle regarding the ICM which were raised at the 20th and 22nd Congresses of the CPSU, and we hope that on these questions, too, there will be a frank exchange of opinion in the talks.
With regard to the talks between our two Parties, in our letter of March 9th we proposed that Comrade Khrushchev come to Peking; if this was not convenient, we proposed that another responsible Comrade of the Central Committee of the CPSU lead a delegation to Peking or that we send a delegation to Moscow.
Since you have stated in your letter of March 30th that Comrade Khrushchev cannot come to China, and since you have not expressed a desire to send a delegation to China, the Central Committee of the CPCh has decided to send a delegation to Moscow.
In your letter of March 30th, you invited Comrade Mao Tse-tung to visit the Soviet Union. As early as February 23rd, Comrade Mao Tse-tung in his conversation with the Soviet Ambassador to China clearly stated the reason why he was not prepared to visit the Soviet Union at the present time. You were well aware of this.
When a responsible Comrade of the Central Committee of the CPCh received the Soviet Ambassador to China on May 9th, he informed you that we would send a delegation to Moscow in the middle of June. Later, in compliance with the request of the Central Committee of the CPSU, we agreed to postpone the talks between our two Parties to July 5th.
We sincerely hope that the talks between the Chinese and Soviet Parties will yield positive results and contribute to the preparations for convening the meeting of all Communist and Workers’ Parties.
It is now more than ever necessary for all Communists to unite on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism and of the Declaration and the Statement unanimously agreed upon by the fraternal Parties.
Together with Marxist-Leninist Parties and revolutionary people the world over, the CPCh will continue its unremitting efforts to uphold the interests of the socialist camp and the ICM, the cause of the emancipation of the oppressed peoples and nations, and the struggle against imperialism and for world peace.
We hope that events which grieve those near and dear to us and only gladden the enemy will not recur in the ICM in the future.
The Chinese Communists firmly believe that the Marxist-Leninists, the proletariat and the revolutionary people everywhere will unite more closely, overcome all difficulties and obstacles and win still greater victories in the struggle against imperialism and for world peace, and in the fight for the revolutionary cause of the people of the world and the cause of international Communism.
PROLETARIANS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!
PROLETARIANS AND OPPRESSED PEOPLES AND NATIONS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!
OPPOSE OUR COMMON ENEMY!
With Communist greetings,
Communist Party of China