Mehmet Shehu and class struggle Albanian style

In the autumn of 1982, Enver Hoxha explained, he had “examine a problem that is as delicate and important, as well as dangerous for the fate of the Homeland. I do not want to dwell on the issue of which we are now aware, that the enemy and traitor Mehmet Shehu, for 40 years has worked in our country, organising plots to overthrow popular power and liquidate the Party. We know these plots because we discovered them ourselves. Today I want to emphasise the issue that all the plots have been revealed by the Politburo and not State Security.” [i]

As far as the outside world could see, Hoxha had internally attacked and humiliated his most important and loyal companions. For decades Hoxha’s most loyal acolyte was his long-standing comrade-in-arms, prime minister Mehmet Shehu. An old revolutionary who had distinguished himself as a commanding officer of a brigade in the Spanish Civil War, returning to occupied Albania, via a spell in an internment camp in France. He had a fearsome reputation as ruthless military strategist, commander of 1st Partisan Assault Division of the National Liberation Army. He led the forces which liberated the capital, Tirana, from the Germans in November 1944. Albania was the only country in Europe, indeed the only country in the world occupied by any of the Axis powers, which freed itself without a foreign army landing on its territory in force.

After the German withdrawal, General Shehu became chief of the general staff under Enver Hoxha.  When Xoxe was sacked as Albania’s internal affairs minister in October 1948, he was replaced with Mehmet Shehu. He served as the Prime Minister of Albania from 1954 to 1981. From 1974 he was also the Minister of People’s Defence while from 1947 to his death he was a deputy of the People’s Assembly. Shehu was clearly the number two in the power hierarchy. [ii]

The backstory lays in the previous winter, when on December 17. a marathon session of the Secretariat was held to review and analyse the self-criticism of the former Prime Minister, Mehmet Shehu because of a family matter involving the engagement of his son, Skender to a volleyball player who happened to have family with a “bad political biography”, links to an exiled anti-communist dissident in the US. Whether the suspicion aroused by this liaison or the speculation that Shehu’s favoured re-establishing official links with foreign western powers sealed his fate has remained unproven.

When Hoxha learned of this engagement he confronted the prime minister and accused him of neglecting the class struggle. Shehu had the engagement annulled.

Hoxha gave him the task of writing a self-criticism

The session, that began in the afternoon continued until late hours, involved a litany of criticisms and accusations that politically “crucified” Mehmet. He was attacked and humiliated at the Politburo meeting. Hoxha himself sent out many and partially contradictory signals. He acted as an interrogator, but at the same time staged himself as a kind of impartial arbiter. He also ostensibly cleared Shehu of any possible allegation of having acted with hostile intent.

However, it was reported that Shehu appeared demolished and paralysed. The next morning Shehu was found shot in his bed with a pistol next to him. He committed suicide according to official sources.

Hoxha declared him an enemy before the Politburo. A few hours later, at a CC emergency plenum, he spoke of a “masked and dangerous enemy” whose aims and plans had to be revealed. Hoxha claimed that the suicide could only be explained by the fact that Shehu’s conscience must have been burdened by “other mistakes, exceptionally serious ones, and acts still unknown to the party.”

In conclusion, he had Shehu posthumously expelled from the party as a “dangerous enemy” along with his wife Fiqrete as his “close collaborator in anti-party and hostile activities.” The Shehu family was immediately placed under house arrest.

Whether Mehmet Shehu committed suicide as officially stated, or was killed on orders from Hoxha to resolve an argument is still rumoured today. Enver dismissed such speculation in his presentation of the case against his old colleague:

“The foreign news agencies related the fact as we had given it, that Mehmet Shehu «committed suicide in a crisis of nervous breakdown.» Here and there some comment secretly paid for by the Yugoslavs was made. However, even the Yugoslavs were unable to exploit this act in their official press, apart from charging a students’ newspaper in Zagreb to write about the «drama» which had occurred at the meeting of the Albanian leadership (according to the version which the UDB had planned). According to this newspaper, «… Mehmet Shehu fired some shots with a Chinese revolver of this or that calibre(!), but Enver Hoxha’s comrades killed him. The fate of Enver Hoxha is not known…»

A scenario modelled on westerns with gunfights which occurred in the saloons at the time! But what could they do? This is what they wanted! But their agent was buried like a dog, or better to say that their trump card, the super agent of the CIA and the UDB in Albania was thrown away for nothing.” [iii]

Mehmet Shehu, who had delivered a speech, The History of the Albanian People is written in blood [iv] joined the litany of traitors: Yugoslav use of the Koci Xoxe group, Khrushchev revisionists through Liri Belishova and Koco Tashko, the putschist plot of Beqir Balluku, Abclyl Killezi and others the subject of such accusations.

Jon Halliday’s speculative discussion in London Review of Books described Hoxha’s allegations as widely greeted with derision as a figment of Hoxha’s paranoia. Support for the credibility of the accusations was sought by delving into official British state archives, “this does not prove anything except wishful thinking”. The well-researched investigation From the Annals of British Diplomacy: The Anti-Albanian Plans of Great Britain during the Second World War according to Foreign Office Documents of 1939-1944 by Arben Puto contains no reference to British intelligence’s speculations. Published in 1981 in an English language edition, the foreword is dated April 1976. However, Halliday offers the scenario that Puto found the files in which Shehu was portrayed as a ‘pro-British element’. He had to show them to Hoxha, who saw documents drawn up by British intelligence agents, some of whom were later active in the invasion of Albania in 1949, which list his prime minister as No 2 on a list of ‘pro-British elements’ to be protected and ‘built up unobtrusively’, Halliday suggests “would have been enough to detonate lethal suspicion in a chronically suspicious mind.”

This provoked readers’ response, raising the point:

“if Mr Halliday is right in thinking that Puto passed information concerning Shehu culled from FO archives to Enver Hoxha, this must have happened by autumn 1972. In which case the question obtrudes itself: why, despite his ‘chronically suspicious mind’, and the ‘lethal detonation’ which these documents set off, did Hoxha sit on them and take no further action for another nine years?” [v]

Associated Press reported in July 2001, nearly 20 years after his reported suicide, the remains of former Prime Minister Mehmet Shehu were found on 21 July near the Erzen River in the village of Ndroq between Tirana and the Adriatic. [vi]

The death of Mehmet was a curtain-raiser for the last major purge of the Hoxha era. Idrit Idrizi suggests the purging of prominent party leaders clearly elevated and consolidated the position of Ramiz Alia, as his successor. The succession to Hoxha (aged 73 in December 1981) was a political concern. A number of party leaders who had started rising to power in the course of the 1970s, with striking aggression and cynicism, had helped Hoxha push his old guard into the abyss. [vii]

The Albanian leadership would publicise its past struggle citing examples of early anti-party groups like the Koci Xoxe’s group, and in later years, the Party uncovered and liquidated the hostile groups of F. Pacrami and T. Lubonja, of B. Balluku, P. Dume and H. Cako, and of A. Kellezi, K. Theodhosi and K. Ngjela. In a reference to Lenin calling purging a law of development of the revolutionary party of the working class,    

“Our party has never allowed opportunist softness, liberalism and sentimentality in the implementation of this law.” [viii]

The ripples from the suicide of Mehmet Shehu led to a deeper investigation of his political career. Released in the 6th volume of his Selected Works was Enver Hoxha’s Speech delivered at the 4th Plenum of the CC of the PLA in September 24, 1982, A Synopsis of the Secret Activity of the Enemy Mehmet Shehu laying out allegations, unsubstantiated by others investigation, and in the absence of non-party archival sources, testimony or Wikileak type revelations. Enver Hoxha also laid out the details of Shehu’s alleged plans to poison him at the alleged behest of the Yugoslav authorities in the publication The Titoites (1982). [ix]

The Albanian leadership, as if to emphasis the political nature of the incidents, was told by Enver Hoxha that these traitors were “not discovered by the State Security. The State security then acted to conduct the investigation … [Again] This work was done by the Central Committee, not by the State Security. All of these constitute a major minus for State Security … those who acted in the most dangerous way, it turns out that they were gathered in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and in the Ministry of National Defense.”   Alluding to Begir Balluku , after 22 uninterrupted years of service as the Minister of Defense  with a group of officers purged, tried and then shot in 1974/75. Enver Hoxha alleged in his memories that the “enemy groups” of Abdyl Këllezi (Minister of the Economy) and Beqir Balluku (Minister of Defense) had drafted their inimical plan based on suggestions from Zhou Enlai, Premier of the People’s Republic of China.[x]

Hoxha claimed that for 40 years, Mehmet Shehu had been working with many accomplices and on behalf of several enemy secret services to destroy socialism in Albania. One by one Minister of Health Llambi Ziçishti, his brother Mihallaq, who had previously served as head of the Sigurimi, and Foreign Minister Nesti Nase ended up behind bars. The purge of several of the highest-ranking political officials in communist Albania from 1981 to 1983, included the arrest of the removed minister of the interior, Feçor Shehu, for “high treason”. [xi]

The arrest of Foreign Minister Nesti Nase in mid-September, after Hoxha had already sent him into early retirement in the June of that year, on an alleged lack of initiative. Around the same time as Nase’s arrest, accusations were also levelled against Minister of Defence Kadri Hazbiu, who had previously headed the Ministry of the Interior for some 26 years, from 1954 to 1980. Now he was suspected of not having been sufficiently vigilant. In the face of hostile harangement before the Party leadership bodies, Hazbiu’s denial of treason and his reiteration of his loyalty to Hoxha critically threatened the success of the show trial against him.

The arrests within the political elite were then accompanied by allegation that back-dated the activities of seemingly regime loyalist to involvement in crimes in the early days of communist rule. Those levelled against Minister of Defence Kadri Hazbiu were that he had been involved in the crimes of Koçi Xoxe, the minister of the interior executed in 1948 and Enver Hoxha’s former arch-enemy, and subsequently in Mehmet Shehu’s conspiracy plans. That such traitors could remain brooding within, and rise to the leadership of the Party and State, for such a length of time does not seem to have stimulated a response other than repeat the constant, and much-vaunted calls for vigilance and implementation of party education. No structural or managerial issues addressed why they survived and thrived, even nurtured during the building of socialism in Albania.

Hazbiu was accused of not having carried out comprehensive purges of ‘Feçor Shehu’s main brood’ in the Ministry of the Interior, expanding the circle of suspects. During the “trial” against Hazbiu, the two Deputy Defence Ministers Veli Llakaj and Nazar Berber, faced Hoxha who accused them as complicit saying  Shehu had planned a military coup with them.

The purge also reached the PLA Institute for Marxist-Leninist Studies. It was not its director, Hoxha’s wife, but the deputy director Ndreçi Plasari who was held accountable for the praise of Mehmet Shehu in the institute’s publications. He was also accused of having concealed a document of the British secret service concerning the then prime minister, which he had found in the London archives. [An event raised earlier and alluded by Jon Halliday.] Plasari ‘s compliant self-reproach was that he had been an opportunist, a coward and politically short-sighted. However, he never acted with, nor had he ever suspected that Shehu was a traitor.

Enver Hoxha accused them all of being traitors and part of a monstrous conspiracy on behalf of hostile foreign powers and under the leadership of Shehu. The documentation of accusations  from the Politburo and Secretariat of the Party of Labour of Albania of “hostile activities” implicated dissidents real and imagined from within the Party and state are translated and reproduced in the extensive postings on the anti-regime Memorie.al of archival material sourced from the Central State Archive (fund of the former Central Committee.)

In connection with the alleged conspiracy under the leadership of Mehmet Shehu, two prominent court proceedings, one civil and one military, took place almost parallel to each other. In the first, the defendants were Mehmet Shehu’s wife Fiqrete, his son Skënder, former Foreign Minister Nesti Nase and former Health Minister Llambi Ziçishti. The second trial was directed against Kadri Hazbiu, who was arrested two days after the CC plenum, the former Minister of the Interior Feçor Shehu, three Sigurimi officials, Mehmet Shehu’s head bodyguard and a hairdresser also accused of collaboration in conspiracy. The accused in the first trial also appeared as witnesses in the second.

Kadri Hazbiu, Feçor Shehu and Sigurimi official Llambi Peqini refused to accept the charge that they had been members of a counterrevolutionary organisation. All three were sentenced to death. They were shot on the night of 9 to 10 September 1983. The same fate befell the former Minister of Health, Ziçishti. The rest of the accused received long prison sentences.

The main defendants were executed and buried in secret locations in 1983.

Anti-party groups, revolutionary justice and class struggle

The Party leadership was in no doubt that, the struggle against anti-party elements, groups and views, like the entire class struggle within the party, was an ideological struggle for the Marxist-Leninist ideology and purity of its theory, of its general line, and of the communists themselves.

The danger of capitalist restoration was understood in terms of individual degeneration of individual members, lack of Party diligences and foreign conspiracies. In post-war Albanian politics, any dispute, whether over internal or external policy, has always been given a foreign dimension reflecting both traditional Albanian xenophobia and practice from the Stalin era.

Class struggle within the Albanian party was seen in orthodox Stalinist terms that avoided the thesis of “capitalist roaders” and regenerative class exploitation developing that emerged during the cultural revolution in Mao’s China. Against the Maoist position, they can hardly argue that there is no danger of the formation of opposing, hostile currents and lines in the party, but the emergence and formation of such currents and lines, while not an unalterable fate were also rarely prevented, as seen in the experience of the Party of Labour of Albania.  

Hoxhists raise criticism of Mao aimed at the fact that he was alleged to approve the formation of hostile lines in the party and allowed recognized revisionists to continue working in the party.[xii] They misrepresent the two line struggle, personalised as Mao Tse-tung’s thesis of the bourgeoisie sitting in the middle of the party, tolerated and Mao Tse-tung allowing hostile currents to developed in the Central Committee, even though their anti-Party activities were well known.

Whereas Vice-director of the Institute of Marxist-Leninist studies, Ndreci Plasari, repeated the well-rehearsed position that “class struggle within the party is directed against enemies and traitors; against deviations, distortions and violations of party decisions and directives; against shortcomings, mistakes and gaps in the work of the leading organs and basic organizations of the party; against opportunism, dogmatism, sectarianism, and any kind of alien, un-Marxist views.”[xiii]

He noted that all the enemies and traitors who have emerged from the ranks of the Party have been rightists. Opposing the onslaught from the CPSU [xiv], Mehmet Shehu had warned:

“Messrs. plotters! Albania is a hard bone as sharp as a knife which sticks in the throat of whoever tries to bite at or swallow it.”

Not as famous as the Stasi or KGB, the Sigurimi [Drejtorija e Sigurimit të Shtetit] gets a bad press from Enver Hoxha; in essence, he implied that the Directorate of State Security failed in its duty to protect the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania. Formed in December 1944 (dissolved August 1991) the mission of the Sigurimi was to prevent counterrevolutions and to suppress opposition to the existing political system. [xv] Yet, there was Hoxha explaining, that in the circumstances of an attack at the very heart of the regime, by its hidden enemies, “I want to emphasise the issue that all the plots have been revealed by the Politburo and not State Security.”

The standard western view suggests the history of communist rule in Albania is a history of recurring purges, mass arrests and campaigns of “ideological purification.” In 1948, when President Josip Broz Tito in neighbouring Yugoslavia broke with Stalinism, the Albanian party was purged of identified individuals closely associated with “Titoites and revisionists”; in 1960, top leaders were executed as “modern revisionists and Khrushchevites”; in 1977, attention was turned to the “pro-Chinese elements” and in December 1981 Hoxha’s prime minister of 28 years, Mehmet Shehu, “committed suicide” and then was denounced as an agent of the KGB, the CIA, British Intelligence and the Yugoslav secret service.

The narrative remains the same: behind domestic opponents lay foreign hands: Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, or China, after Albania broke from successive alliances with each of those countries, Albanian communists were purged and some executed. “They have been very few in numbers, but the danger they posed was very great”. One estimate indicated that at least 170 communist party Politburo or Central Committee members were executed as a result of the Sigurimi’s investigations.

Deputy director of the PLA Institute for Marxist-Leninist Studies, Ndreçi Plasari, subjected to questioning in the aftermath of Mehmet Shehu’s death, had summarised that

“class struggle within the ranks of party organisations is linked, and cannot but be closely linked with the class struggle in the ranks of the people against the blemishes from the old society, against petty-bourgeois psychology and all remnants of old reactionary ideologies, against backward customs, as well as with the struggle against the [external-added] bourgeois-revisionist aggression.”[xvi]

The Sigurimi had proved effective in smashing the various plots of Albanian émigrés given Western support for their efforts to overthrow the Communist government in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and even in September 1982, The New York Times reported “The Albanian Interior Ministry announced that a ”band of Albanian emigre criminals” landed by boat on the Adriatic coast of Albania and were ”liquidated” five hours later.”  But in the face of the political and ideological opposition at the apex of the state, and although it was responsible for purging the party, government, military, and its own apparatus, the Directorate had failed to detect Mehmet Shehu’s alleged forty years of counter-revolutionary activity.

Unspoken incompetence characterises the narrative that spun around the death of the Albanian communist Mehmet Shehu. There is the failure to detect his alleged activities over the span of four decades, and his failure to decisively fulfil the alleged sabotage and destruction of socialism in Albania. There is also the implicit criticism raised that the Directorate of State Security failed in its duty to protect the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania.

Enver tells it to Zhou

Enver Hoxha explained at length, in a conversation with Zhou Enlai, the Albanian leadership limiting view on class struggle within the party, and capitalist restoration. The degeneration of party life and conspiratorial activity by traitors and revisionists elements are seen as key factors in the undermining of the socialist state. The PLA analysis was that a worker aristocracy made up of bureaucratic cadres was being created in the Communist Party of the USSR, and that bureaucratic distortions led to ideological and political distortions, to the creation of the current of modern revisionists.[xvii]

 “The seizure of power by the Soviet modern revisionists from within, without using weapons or violence, is so to speak, a new phenomenon. We think that in fact Stalin had not envisaged this, for the Soviet Union least of all. He never underrated the ferocity of the elements left over from the exploiting classes who, the closer they draw to their grave, the more fiercely they fight socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat, but we think that considering the state these remnants were in, Stalin assessed the internal situation as sound and correctly foresaw that the ally which could revive these remnants was foreign imperialism. Stalin put the stress on the danger from outside, while we can say that he did not foresee the full implication of the danger of the revisionist elements who, as a result of many subjective and objective circumstances, might emerge within the party and the socialist state and be gradually transformed, wittingly or unwittingly, consciously or unconsciously, with or without a premeditated plan, into an anti-Marxist trend, especially within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union itself. He was convinced that if some anti-party hostile activity emerged within the party, this might be developed and organized in the usual ways, but he was also firmly convinced that this activity would be attacked and liquidated by the same methods and forms that had been used to expose and liquidate all such activities in the past.

… If there is anything for which we can blame Stalin it is the fact that after the war, and especially in the last years of his life, he did not realize that the pulse of his Party was not beating as before, that it was losing its revolutionary vigour, was becoming sclerotic and, despite the heroic deeds of the Great Patriotic War, it never recovered properly and the Khrushchevite traitors took advantage of this. Here, if I am not mistaken, is where we must seek the origin of the tragedy that occurred in the Soviet Union

…  generally speaking, no errors of principle will be found, but we shall see that little by little the Party was becoming bureaucratized, that it was becoming overwhelmed with routine work and dangerous formalism which paralyze the party and sap its revolutionary spirit and vigour. The Party had been covered by a heavy layer of rust, by political apathy and the mistaken idea spread that only the head, the leadership, acted and solved everything. It was this concept of work that led to the situation in which everybody, everywhere, said about every question: «The leadership knows this», «the Central Committee knows every Committee does not make mistakes», «Stalin said this and that’s the end of it». Many things which Stalin may not have said at all were attributed to him. The apparatuses and officials became «omnipotent», «infallible», and operated in bureaucratic ways, misusing the formulae of democratic centralism and Bolshevik criticism and self-criticism which were no longer Bolshevik. There is no doubt that in this way the Bolshevik Party lost its former vitality, it lived by correct formulae, but only formulae; it carried out orders, but did not act on its own initiative.

.. Careerism, servility, charlatanism, cronyism, anti-proletarian morality, etc. developed and eroded the Party from within, smothered the spirit of the class struggle and sacrifice and encouraged the hankering after a «good», comfortable life with personal privileges and gain, and with the least possible work and toil. «We worked and fought for this socialist state and we won. Now let us enjoy it and profit from it. We are untouchable, our past covers everything.» This was the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois mentality which was being created in the Soviet Union and the great danger was that this was developing in the old cadres of the Party with an irreproachable past and of proletarian origin, cadres who ought to have been examples of purity for the others.

…the lack of revolutionary vigilance, the weakening of the class struggle inside and outside the Party, the enfeebling of the revolutionary spirit in everything, lack of profound revolutionary political and ideological work on a mass scale and the bureaucratization of the Party brought about that a whole stratum of the Party completely lost the features of the proletariat, of revolutionaries, and became bourgeois, created its own cadres in the Party and the state and took power into its own hands.”

<< It is of decisive importance that the working class and its Party never allow the cadres to become bureaucratic and degenerate, never allow the emergence of the new bureaucratic bourgeoisie, as in the Soviet Union, where the bureaucratized and degenerate cadres, the new bureaucratic bourgeoisie, seized the leadership from the hands of the working class. «In the Soviet Union,» says Comrade Enver Hoxha, «the cadres, naturally the bad cadres — carried out the counter-revolution… Cadres have their place, their role, but they must not impose their law on the Party, but the Party and the class must impose their law on them… The cadres must understand this hegemony of the Party and its class correctly from the ideological angle and fight for the implementation of principles in practice» [xviii]

There is an evident lack of appreciation of the application of mass line, supervision from below and the transformation of social relations that sees greater control of the conditions of social life reside at a lower level within a developing socialist society. Instead, on the main focus to nipped the process of degeneration in the bud and prevent the weakening of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Albania, Hoxha said,

“…. The main task it [the Party] has set itself is to keep the revolutionary spirit consistently high, to temper and retemper itself ideologically and politically day by day, to keep its ranks pure, to purge itself of rotten elements, sluggards, mere talkers, careerists and incorrigible bureaucrats through an active struggle within the Party and the real and factual verification of the activity of each party member in struggle and life.” [xix]

There was a consistent view, expressed by Nexhmije Hoxha (1977) [xx]  that

 “All the internal enemies, without exception, are at the same time, in one way or the other, agencies of external imperialist and revisionist enemies regardless of whether these connections and this collaboration are realized directly or indirectly. The threads which unite the former with the latter are numerous. They are not united only by their common anti-communist ideology and identical aim of eliminating the Party and the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the whole socialist order in our country. They are united also by the support they render each other in the practical activity they carry out, the former from within, the second from abroad, to achieve this aim.”

The explanation repeated, that class struggle in Socialist Albania had its source

…in the existence of remnants of the exploiting classes and in their aims and efforts to regain their lost class power, riches, privileges and prerogatives; in the hostile imperialist-revisionist encirclement and in the aims and efforts of external enemies to destroy our socialist order by means of ideological aggression or military aggression; in the emergence of new capitalist elements and new internal enemies, who become a great danger to the Party and the proletarian power, to socialism; in the blemishes from the old society which continue to exist for a long time in the consciousness of men, blemishes which become an obstacle to the proletarian ideology and policy of the Party as dominant ideology and policy; in the so-called «bourgeois right» in the field of distribution, which socialist society is obliged to use, although it limits it more and more; in the differences between town and countryside, physical work and mental work, etc., which cannot be eliminated immediately.

… The class struggle has its source not only in these things mentioned above, but also in another aspect, which is sometimes overlooked: in the aims and efforts of the working class and its ally, the cooperativist peasantry, under the leadership of the proletarian party, to uproot every last trace of capitalist society, to carry the socialist revolution through to complete and final victory, to the complete construction of socialist and communist society, to defend every victory of the revolution and prevent a return to capitalism, to eliminate classes completely, as well as to contribute in the elimination of imperialist-revisionist oppression and exploitation and the triumph of socialism on a world scale.”

Speeches reiterated the reciprocal connection and interdependence between internal and external enemies so the waging of the class struggle in Albania cannot be taken separately from national patriotism:

“All the internal enemies, without exception, are at the same time, in one way or the other, agencies of external imperialist and revisionist enemies regardless of whether these connections and this collaboration are realized directly or indirectly. The threads which unite the former with the latter are numerous. They are not united only by their common anti-communist ideology and identical aim of eliminating the Party and the dictatorship of the proletariat, and the whole socialist order in our country. They are united also by the support they render each other in the practical activity they carry out, the former from within, the second from abroad, to achieve this aim.” [xxi]

E N D N O T E S


[i] September 20 1982, Meeting of the Secretariat of the PLA Central Committee.

[ii] Yet part of the post-justification apparently suggested a long-standing personal feud going back to when Hoxha imprisoned Shehu briefly in 1946. Nexhmije Hoxha, following the restoration of capitalism in Albania in 1991, spent six years in prison. Upon release she wrote two volumes of her memoirs which narrates some of the early post-war experiences that the PLA had of Mehmet Shehu and the relations between Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu, ‘Miqësi e tradhtuar (in Albanian), ‘Betrayed Friendship, Historical Notes and Memories on the Relationship between Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu’, Tirana, 2004.

Nexhmije Hoxha , Relations between Enver Hoxha and Mehmet Shehu during the National Liberation War (revolutionarydemocracy.org)   Revolutionary Democracy Vol. XIV, No. 2, September 2008

[iii] Source: A Synopsis of the Secret Activity of the Enemy Mehmet Shehu. Speech delivered at the 4th Plenum of the CC of the PLA . Enver Hoxha, Selected Works, Vol. 6, pp. 568–596  

[iv] Albania Today #1 1978

[v] The Strange Death of Mehmet Shehu, London Review of Books Vol. 8 No. 17 · 9 October 1986.  Frank Walbank’s Letter Vol. 8 No. 20 · 20 November 1986. Typically, ping pong disputed correspondence ensued as Halliday’s replied to reader’s critical points questioning the scholarship involved. Halliday had edited and provided commentary in the western published Artful Albanian: Memoirs of Enver Hoxha (Chatto & Windus. 1986)  But perhaps better known later as co-author of best-selling although critically panned, ‘Mao – the Unknown Story’.

[vi] The Shehu’s family fate was equally dramatic: Skender Shehu returned from studies in Sweden shortly after his father’s death. He was detained in January 1982 and condemned to 15 years on charges of treason, espionage and sabotage, as well as plotting to assassinate Hoxha. He said the charges were trumped up. His mother Figret, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on murky accusations, one year after the death of Mehmet Shehu, died after seven years of internal exile in 1988.

The oldest son, unable to bear the family disgrace, Vladimir, electrocuted himself in 1982 after refusing to provide incriminating evidence to authorities trying to build a posthumous case against their father

The middle brother, Bashkim Shehu, a writer, was arrested after being accused the same year of disseminating unlawful propaganda. He was released in 1989 but rearrested several months later on the same charges. His untranslated autobiographical novel, Vjeshta e ankthit: Esse [Autumn of Fear: Essay] was published in Albania in 1994 . His father’s death was subject to literary treatment at the hands of Albania’s best-known novelist in The Successor by Ismail Kadare [translated by David Bellos. Canongate 2005]. Two versions of his death circulate among the people. The first, that The Successor killed himself, unable to bear the disclosure of his supposed crimes against the state; the second, unspoken, is that he was murdered by order of The Guide himself.

[vii] Idrit Idrizi, Enver Hoxha’s Last Purge: Inside the Ruling Circle of Communist Albania (1981–1983). East European Politics and Societies and Cultures Aug. 2021, doi:10.1177/08883254211036184.

[viii]  “The Class Struggle in the Party Is the Guarantee That the Party Will Always Remain a Revolutionary Party of the Working Class” Albania Today [38] 1 /1978. p19

[ix] The Titoites (1982) Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p623-628 [English-language edition]

[x] Hoxha, Enver; (1979). Reflections on China: extracts from the political diary. Naim Frasheri. pp. 110 and 124

[xi] The following accounts draws heavily upon Idrit Idrizi, Enver Hoxha’s Last Purge: Inside the Ruling Circle of Communist Albania (1981–1983) . East European Politics and Societies and Cultures Aug. 2021, doi:10.1177/08883254211036184.

[xii] See №4 / 1978 of “The Way of the Party” — Theoretical Organ of the KPD/ML))

[xiii] “The Class Struggle in the Party Is the Guarantee That the Party Will Always Remain a Revolutionary Party of the Working Class” Albania Today [38] 1 /1978.

[xiv] Khrushchev’s in his speech on Albania at the October 1961 22nd Congress of CPSU – The Road to Communism – was explicitly hostile to the anti-revisionist criticisms raised from the Albanian authorities, and scathing of its leadership under Hoxha.

“For a long time now there has existed in the Albanian Party of Labor an abnormal, evil situation in which any person objectionable to the leadership liable to meet with cruel persecution.

Where today are the Albanian Communists who built the Party, who fought Italian and German invaders? Nearly of them are victims of the bloody misdeeds of Mehmet Shehu and Enver Hoxha”.

The Albanian leaders reproach us with meddling in the internal affairs of the Albanian Party of Labor. I should like to tell you what form this so-called meddling took.

A few years ago the Central Committee of the CPSU interceded with the Albanian leaders over the fate of Liri Gega, a former member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Albanian Party of Labor, who had been sentenced to death along with her husband. This woman had for a number of years been a member of leading bodies of the Albanian Party of Labor and had taken part in the Albanian people’s struggle for liberation. In approaching the Albanian leaders at the time, we were guided by considerations of humanity, by anxiety to prevent the shooting of a woman, and a pregnant woman at that. We felt and still feel that as a fraternal party we had a right to state our opinion in the matter. After all, even in the blackest days of rampant reaction, the tsarist satraps, who tortured revolutionaries, scrupled to execute pregnant women. And here, in a socialist country, they had sentenced to death, and they executed, a woman who was about to become a mother, they had shown altogether unwarranted cruelty. (Stir in the hall. Shouts: “Shame! Shame!”)

Comrades Liri Belishova and Koço Tashko, prominent figures in the Albanian Party of Labor, were not only expelled from the Party’s Central Committee but are now being called enemies of the Party and the people. And all this merely because Liri Belishova and Koço Tashko had the courage honestly and openly to voice their disagreement with the policy of the Albanian leaders and took a stand for Albanian solidarity with the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries.

People who today advocate friendship with the Soviet Union, with the CPSU, are regarded by the Albanian leaders as enemies.

[xv] External link: History of the Museum | Welcome (muzeugjethi.gov.al)

[xvi] Plasari (1978) p17

[xvii] Enver Hoxha Our Party Will Continue to Wage the Class Struggle As It Has Always Done — Consistently, Courageously and with Maturity (June 24, 1966) The 8th November Publishing House 2022

[xviii] Quoted in Nexhmije Hoxha 2022 p38 Enver Hoxha, Contribution to the Discussion at the Meeting of the Secretariat of CC of the PLA, March 26, 1975, Central Archives of the Party.

[xix]  Enver Hoxha Our Party Will Continue (2022)

[xx] Nexhmije Hoxha (1977) Some Fundemental Questions of the Class Struggle p16

Originally Published as: “Some Fundamental Questions of the Revolutionary Policy of the Party of Labour of Albania About the Development of the Class Struggle” in the theoretical and political organ of the Central Committee of the Party of Labour of Albania, «Rruga e Partisë», Nr. 6, Tirana, 1977. Reprinted 2022. Toronto: The November 8th Publishing House. P16

Nexhmije Hoxha, née Xhulgini, (1921-2020) Member of the Central Committee of the Party and from 1966, Director of the Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies. The wife and companion for forty-three years of Enver Hoxha, she was in fact a convinced, important and active communist who joined the Party very early in its history, rose in its ranks in her own right, and never shrank from her duty, as she conceived it. As head of the Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies, she oversaw the publication of her husband’s voluminous writings.

[xxi] Nexhmije Hoxha  2022 p16

186. The November 8th Publishing House | v 2.0

Established in Canada in 2021, this site provides access to English-language pdfs of anti-revisionist literature and the name should sound familiar. The original “8 Nëntori” Publishing House, literally meaning “8 November” in Albanian, honours the founding of the Party of Labour of Albania on November 8th, 1941. It published Enver Hoxha’s Selected Works, his Reflections, his many theoretical works, his memoirs, historical notes, and more.

The new incarnation, while republishing material from the Hoxha’s canon, aims “to promote discussion among Marxist-Leninists, even reprinting controversial figures and literature. In this work, we should note that reprinting does not mean we endorse the content — nor does it necessarily represent our views — it only means that we acknowledge that there may be some value in studying it.” Amongst its existing list are titles from the usual suspects, Lenin, Stalin, Dimitrov, Zhdanov, Ramiz Alia , Nexhmije Hoxha,  and Wang Ming and Kim Il Sung. Being based near Ottawa (formerly at Toronto), there are some specifically Canadian communist literature reprinted.

Amongst its publications is a new collection Congress of Betrayal – The November 8th Publishing House (wordpress.com) partially of previous untranslated comments from Enver’s Diary and other more familiar material. This selection covers the decade 1955-1966, covering such events as the 20th Congress and the denunciation of Stalin, including his epochal 1960 Moscow Meeting speech, the Hungarian counter-revolution and its source, the “anti-party” plot of Molotov et al., to the break of diplomatic relations by the Soviets in 1961, and the removal of Khrushchev and the 23rd Brezhnev Congress in 1964-66.

seek truth to serve the people

What it illustrates is the argumentation forcibly and persistently offered in the through-going contradictions with the revisionist developments under Khrushchev. Far from being a pawn in the Sino-Soviet split, as if Albania was a side show in the anti-revisionist struggle, it highlights the contribution made sincerely and independently in that anti-revisionist struggle. Having read Albania Challenges Khrushchev Revisionism (New York 1976) or The Party of Labor of Albania in Battle with Modern Revisionism (Tirana 1972) you will know what to expect, and the speech delivered at the meeting of 81 Communist and Workers’ parties in Moscow (November 16, 1960) is included in the collection. That self-reverential sense that “we have done our sacred duty to Marxism-Leninism” still pervades the selection but then again, reality proved the life-and-death class struggle they were engaged in. The disruption of the international movement and eventual disintegration did see the attempted formation and reorganisation of anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist forces. Something the Albanian party did pay close attention too.

Any evaluation of the struggle experienced by the Party of Labour of Albania led by Enver Hoxha should acknowledge it opened up the gates for the formation of the new Marxist-Leninist parties and the end of the old “fossilized and demobilized” Communist parties in the early stages of that struggle. The subsequent stance raises other questions which seems to have influenced some of the selected inclusions in the collection, before Hoxhaism was clearly delineated from Maoism,to reinforce the (contested) position that the PLA were the only forces to assess every deviationist move of the USSR correctly from the very beginning.

Congress of Betrayal | CONTENTS

KHRUSHCHEV ANNULS THE INFORMBUREAU DECISION (May 23, 1955)

WE ARE ALONE AGAINST TITO (May 25, 1955)

DITYRAMBS FROM TITO TO KHRUSHCHEV (February 18, 1956)

ON KHRUSHCHEV’S SECRET SPEECH (February 26, 1956)

THE AMERICAN IMPERIALISTS CAN NEVER CHANGE THEIR ESSENCE (March 8, 1956)

THE “ITALIAN WAY TOWARDS SOCIALISM” (March 18, 1956)

THE TRAITORS REHABILIATED UNDER THE PRETEXT OF THE “CULT OF THE INDIVIDUAL” (March 30, 1956)

A REVISIONIST PLOT AGAINST THE PARTY (April 16, 1956)

THE LESSONS WE SHOULD DRAW FROM THE PARTY CONFERENCE OF THE CITY OF TIRANA (April 21,1956)

THE 20th CONGRESS DID NOT PUT MATTERS RIGHT (May 26, 1956)

MOLOTOV HAS BEEN SACRIFICED FOR TITO (June 4, 1956)

KHRUSHCHEV SUGGESTS TO USE THE EXPERIENCE OF HITLER (June 23, 1956)

ANOTHER SLANDER LAID ON STALIN (July 2, 1956)

THE FOREIGN PRESS SALIVATES OVER THE MANOEVRE OF KHRUSHCHEV (July 3, 1956)

THE CHINESE ARE FOLLOWING THE ROAD OF THE SOVIETS (September 17, 1956)

IN NO WAY WILL WE MAKE CONCESSIONS ON PRINCIPLES (November 13, 1956)

TITO ATTACKS SOCIALISM, KHRUSHCHEV APPEASES (November 22, 1956)

TO KEEP OUR UNITY STRONG FOR IT IS VITAL (January 3, 1957)

WHAT ARE RAKOSI’S MISTAKES? (January 8, 1957)

THE THESES OF THE 20th CONGRESS HAVE CREATED A DANGEROUS SITUATION (February 13, 1957)

ON THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION AND THE TASKS OF THE PARTY (February 13, 1957)

EPITHETS AGAINST OUR PARTY AND PEOPLE (April 11, 1957)

ECONOMIC COOPERATION WITH THE AMERICAN IMPERIALISTS (May 28, 1957)

AN “ANTI-PARTY GROUP”? (July 4, 1957)

THE YUGOSLAV AGENT PANAJOT PLAKU SENDS A LETTER TO KHRUSHCHEV (July 22, 1957)

KHRUSCHEV “DEFENDS” US BEAUTIFULLY (August 5, 1957)

ZHUKOV DOES NOT AGREE WITH KHRUSHCHEV (October 17, 1957)

ZHUKOV DISMISSED FROM ABROAD (October 25, 1957)

A DECLARATION THE ULTRA-REVISIONISTS OPPOSE (November 16, 1957)

TOGLIATTI’S “POLYCENTRISM” IN EMBRYO (November 19, 1957)

THE MORE THE SOVIETS CONCEED, THE MORE THE SITUATIONS WORSEN (January 9, 1958)

KHRUSHCHEV’S “COEXISTENCE” (March 12, 1958)

KHRUSHCHEV MEETS WITH ALL THE BOURGEOIS (March 24, 1958)

THE SOVIETS DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE BETRAYAL OF THE TITOITES (April 9, 1958)

COMECON CONSULTATION WORK STARTED (May 20, 1958)

MEETING OF THE POLITICAL CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL OF THE WARSAW PACT (May 24, 1958)

MODERN REVISIONISM MUST BE FOUGHT MERCILESSLY UNTIL ITS COMPLETE THEORETICAL AND POLITICAL DESTRUCTION (June 22, 1958)

LENIN’S BOOK ON THE STRUGGLE AGAINST REVISIONISM CAME OUT (July 4, 1958)

KHRUSHCHEV SETS CONDITIONS FOR HIS ARRIVAL IN ALBANIA (May 19, 1959)

THE VISIT THROUGH OUR COUNTRY BEGAN (May 27, 1959)

KHRUSHCHEV CONTINUES HIS VISIT TO THE SOUTH (June 2, 1959)

FROM KHRUSHCHEV’S STAY IN ALBANIA (June 3, 1959)

SOME MATTERS FROM THE TALKS WITH KHRUSHCHEV WHICH AROUSE DOUBT (June 6, 1959)

POLICY OF SOFTNESS, COMPROMISES AND CONCESSIONS TOWARDS AMERICAN IMPERIALISM (March 25, 1960)

OUR SUSPICIONS ABOUT THE IMPROPER WORK OF THE SOVIET GEOLOGISTS ARE CONFIRMED (March 30, 1960)

OPPOSING VIEWS WITH THE SOVIET AMBASSADOR (May 16, 1960)

KHRUSHCHEV’S SECOND LETTER — WHAT IS HIDDEN BEHIND HIS ACTIONS (June 8, 1960)

A MEETING WHICH IS TURNING INTO A PLOT (June 21, 1960)

KHRUSHCHEV WILL NEVER DECEIVE THE PARTY OF LABOUR OF ALBANIA (June 22, 1960)

WE SHOULD NOT SUBMIT TO ANY PRESSURE (June 24, 1960)

OUR STRUGGLE AGAINST THE NEW, DISGUISED REVISIONISTS HAS BEGUN (July 27, 1960)

THEY SUMMON US TO MOSCOW TO FORCE US TO CAPITULATE (August 16, 960)

KHRUSHCHEV AND HIS COLLEAGUES INCREASE THE PRESSURE ON US (September 10, 1960)

RADIOGRAM TO COMRADE HYSNI KAPO IN MOSCOW (October 1, 1960)

WE ARE NOT FOR SERENADE NOCTURNE (October 7, 1960)

A DISHONOURABLE AND ANTI-MARXIST ACT BY KHRUSHCHEV (November 8, 1960)

SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE MEETING OF 81 COMMUNIST AND WORKERS’ PARTIES IN MOSCOW ON BEHALF OF THE CC OF THE PLA (November 16, 1960)

WE HAVE DONE OUR SACRED DUTY TO MARXISMLENINISM (November 16, 1960)

RADIOGRAM TO COMRADE HYSNI KAPO IN MOSCOW (November 30, 1960)

ON THE MEETING OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COMMUNIST AND WORKERS’ PARTIES WHICH WAS HELD IN MOSCOW IN NOVEMBER 1960 (December 19, 1960)

THE PRINCIPLED AND CONSISTENT STRUGGLE AGAINST IMPERIALISM AND REVISIONISM HAS BEEN AND REMAINS THE ROAD OF OUR PARTY (December 20, 1960)

SLANDERS AND PRESSURE DO NOT FRIGHTEN US —WE DO NOT FALL ON OUR KNEES (February 201961)

FLAGRANT TROTSKYITE VIOLATION OF EVERY NORM OF MARXISM AND EQUALITY (August 4, 1961

THE POLITICAL BUREAU APPROVES THE STATEMENT AGAINST THE MODERN REVISIONISTS’ ATTACKS (October 20, 1961)

TWENTY YEARS OF THE PARTY OF LABOUR OF ALBANIA (November 7, 1961)

THEY TRY TO INTIMIDATE US, WE TERRIFY THEM (November 25, 1961

THE SOVIET GOVERNMENT HAS BROKEN OFF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH US (December 3,1961)

PANORAMA OF THE YEAR 1961 (December 31, 1961).

WHY HAS GROMYKO GONE TO VISIT TITO? (April 17, 1962)

A NEW AGREEMENT WHICH WILL SERVE THE ARMING AND THE WARMONGERING PLOTS OF THE USA AND THE USSR (May 25, 1962)

THE KHRUSHCHEVITES ARE COWARDS, COMPROMISERS AND TRAITORS (October 23, 1962)

KENNEDY REVEALS KHRUSHCHEV’S COURSE OF BETRAYAL (June 12, 1963)

MODERN REVISIONISM IN THE SERVICE OF AMERICAN IMPERIALISM (June 14, 1963)

THE MODERN REVISIONISTS ON THE WAY TO DEGENERATING INTO SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS AND TO FUSING WITH SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY (April 7, 1964)

AN OPEN LETTER (October 5, 1964)

THE FALL OF THE TRAITOR NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV (October 17, 1964)

THE FALL OF KHRUSHCHEV DOES NOT PUT AN END TO KHRUSHCHEVITE REVISIONISM (November 1, 1964)

 THE CHINESE WANT TO IMPOSE THEIR OPINIONS ON US (November 3, 1964)

BREZHNEV IS TRYING TO FOOL THE CHINESE FIRST OF ALL (November 7, 1964)

TOGLIATTI’S “TESTAMENT,” THE CRISIS OF MODERN REVISIONISM AND THE STRUGGLE OF THE MARXIST-LENINISTS (November 13, 1964)

TWENTY YEARS OF SOCIALIST ALBANIA (November 28, 1964)

MODERN REVISIONISM — THE MAIN DANGER AND ENEMY IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST AND WORKERS’ MOVEMENT (October 6, 1965)

ON BREZHNEV’S REPORT TO THE 23rd CONGRESS OF THE CPSU (March 30, 1966)

THE OFFICIAL PROCLAMATION OF REVISIONISM …… The Khrushchevites, Tirana 1984, pp. 183-202, 2nd Eng.


Other sources of anti-revisionist material from Albania

Representative Anti-Revisionist Materials from Albania (marxists.org)

Banned or suppressed news in or about Albania (bannedthought.net)

Enver Hoxha Archive – English (250x.com)

Enver Hoxha Internet Archive – Marxists

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hoxha/works-index.htm

Enver Hoxha – Selected Works – Left side of the road

Hoxha Works – Marxist Leninist Books

https://marxistleninistbooks.blogspot.com/2022/06/hoxha-works.html


Enver Hoxha – Enver Hoxha’s Books in English

http://www.enverhoxha.info/english/books.php

TWO LINES

Two Lines

The early sixties saw differences in the communist movement went beyond the boundaries of an internal dispute, and emergence of two main lines of demarcation, two opposite and ultimately irreconcilable lines confront each other. The struggle between two worldviews are very often materialized in the form of “power struggle” between the two leading characters, and as this happened it distorted the presentation and understanding of what was at stake.  That these positions were identified with the two most prominent and successful parties complicated the development and consequences of the struggle as these enveloped both party and state relations and the world communism in ideological and strategic questions. Framed as a ‘split in world communism’, the actual ideological contest to defend Marxism and the communist vision could be less of the focus than the easy trope of Khrushchev versus Mao.

The two principal meetings of the world’s Communist Parties seeking a resolution to the issues that had arisen were those held in Moscow in 1957 with the Declaration of representatives of 12 ruling parties of the socialist countries and the 1960 Statement of 81 Communist and Workers Parties. Though ostensibly to build the unity of the Communist Movement, they were dominated by the widening rift between the CPSU and the CPC, and at each both sides fought to have their views incorporated into the final documents. The documents of those meetings became reference points in the polemic that followed. A position reaffirmed in various statements, such as the joint statement released by the Chinese and New Zealand parties in Peking May 1963:

The Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of New Zealand reaffirm their loyalty to the Moscow Declaration of 1957 and the Moscow Statement of 1960 and hold that these two documents, unanimously agreed upon by the Communist Parties of various countries, are the common programme of the international communist movement. [i]

A few years previously, a leading ideologue in the CPSU leadership had told a plenum on 22-26 December 1959, when Suslov presented a detailed report on “the trip by a Soviet party-state delegation to the People’s Republic of China” in October 1959,

“… that the Soviet Union would try to restore “complete unity” by continuing “to express our candid opinions about the most important questions affecting our common interests when our views do not coincide.” Although the aim would be to bring China back into line with the USSR, Suslov argued that if these efforts failed, the CPSU Presidium would “stick by the positions that our party believes are correct.” [ii]

From studies of declassified materials from CPSU Central committee meetings it is clear that from late 1962 on, Soviet leaders no longer held out any hope that the acrimonious polemics would be resolved with the capitulation of the Albanian and Chinese parties to the Moscow line. Toward the end of 1962, a series of conferences of fraternal Parties in Eastern Europe and in Italy were used as forums from which to attack both the Albanian Party of Labour and the Communist Party of China.

The only genuine unity, both sides argued, was on their terms, each citing Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. Still for all the fine words and sentiments, Khrushchev publicly attack the Albanian Party of Labour at the 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U. late in 1961.The Albanian party had been told: accept without question the revisionist line of the leaders of the CPSU.

An editorial in China’s Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) acknowledged that the earlier platform set forth in the Declaration and the Statement was far from fit for purpose as

“the formation of certain questions in the Declaration and the Statement is not altogether clear and there are weaknesses and errors…we made certain concessions at that time in order to reach agreement. On more than one occasion, we have expressed our readiness to accept any criticism of us on this point. Despite all this, the Declaration and the Statement set forth a series of revolutionary principles which all Marxist-Leninist parties should abide by.” [iii]

However, the concessions made included the formulation that the CPSU leadership were pursuing as the strategy for the International Communist movement and could reference and defend as their adherence to the platform agreed in the two documents. When accused of being “betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement” they simply quoted the relevant part of the document that supported them. When either side can selectively use the positions in their argument, the coherence and integrity of the compromised documents reduces its effectiveness in forging a united approach for the parties concerned.

Time and time again, the anti-revisionist argument employed the fact that the Declaration and the Statement pointed out that all communist parties must wage struggles against revisionism and dogmatism, and particularly against revisionism, which is the main danger in the international communist movement, for their opponents to turn around and identify them as the dogmatists to be targeted.

On the Declaration and Statement, the Albanian view was that the two documents contained a scientific Marxist-Leninist analysis of the deep revolutionary processes in the modern world. Collection of anti-revisionist articles repeated the sentiments that they constituted a sound basis on which the Communist and Workers’ parties should build their line of actions on the revolutionary conclusions of the Moscow Declaration in their struggle for peace, national liberation, democracy and progress to an exploitation-free classless society (e.g.  Oppose Modern Revisionism and Uphold Marxism-Leninism and the Unity of the International Communist Movement, Tirana 1964).

The anti-revisionists maintain that at the time revisionism is the main danger in the international communist movement: “In the last few years many events have further confirmed the conclusion of the Declaration of 1957 and the Statement of 1960 in this respect.” [iv]

Both sides continued to differentiation between parts of the Declaration and the Statement, with the defence of their revolutionary principles the foundation of the anti-revisionist position. The editorial argued that the CPSU leadership had “tore up these documents [the Declaration of 1957 and the Statement of 1960] on the very day they were signed.”

In contrast, the suggestion of an alternative platform was made in the 25 Points on the General Line of the International Communist Movement put forward in June 1963 that effectively jettison the platform that the CPSU leadership still used in defence of its new policies.

The Khrushchov revisionists stated the People’s Daily “are pressing forward with their anti-revolutionary line of ‘peaceful coexistence’, ‘peaceful competition’ and ‘peaceful transition’. They themselves do not want revolution and forbid others to make revolution.” The editorial concluded that betrayal of the revolutionary principles “can only lead to a split” [v]   

The escalation and hardening of the public polemics were clearly signalled on both sides with the words far from reflecting fraternal relations. Whereas there was an appeal to the agreement that relations “should follow the principles of independence, complete equality, mutual support and the attainment of unanimity thought through consultation” ,  the article charged that “Khrushchov revisionists practise big-power chauvinism, national egoism and splittism, waving their big baton everywhere, wilfully interfering in the affairs of fraternal parties and countries, trying hard to control them and carrying out disruptive and subversive activities against them, and splitting the international communist movement and the socialist camp.”

Referencing the 22nd Congress of the CPSU, the charge was that the Soviet leadership was “casting to the four winds all the basic theses of Marxism Leninism and all the revolutionary principles of the Declaration and the Statement.”  Furthermore, “they are enforcing the dictatorship of the privileged bourgeois stratum in the Soviet Union and have embarked on the road to capitalist restoration.”

The stark division in positions expressed were directed to a wider audience. Periodically there was issued calls to an end to the public polemics which “had an unfriendly character and are abusive of sister parties” however as British academic Julia Lovell, and others observers, noted,

“The Soviets’ riposte was robust. They printed 3.2 million copies, in thirty-five different languages distributed to eighty-five countries, of just one of several open letters to the CCP refuting the latter’s ‘slanderous attacks’. They poured energy and money into sponsoring local activists all over the world to write anti-Chinese copy, to show anti-China films, and give anti-Chinese lectures. As relations became deeply hostile in late 1962, the New York Times speculated that Khruschev now wished for a ‘Soviet-American Alliance Against China.’.” [vi]

The Chinese criticism of the new Soviet leadership following Khrushchev’s departure was observed and interpreted through ideological lenses, that they remain loyal to the general line of “the founder of their faith and the maestro who ‘creatively developed Marxism-Leninism’, simply because Khrushchov was too disreputable and too stupid to muddle on any longer, and because Khrushchov himself had become an obstacle to the carrying out of Khrushchov revisionism. The only way the Khrushchov revisionist clique could maintain its rule was to swop horses.”

“While proclaiming they are building ‘communism’ in the Soviet Union, they are speeding up the restoration of capitalism.”  [vii]

The distrust in the leaders of the CPSU was mirrored in attitudes towards US imperialism where the base line was that “the destiny of mankind and the hope of world peace cannot be left to the “wisdom” of U.S. imperialism or to the illusion of co-operation with U.S. imperialism.”

Reconciliation between the parties, ensuring the much-proclaimed unity of the international movement was no longer a feasible option, especially as a condition laid down by the anti-revisionists involved the prospects of the CPCU repudiating the revisionist general line laid down at the 20th and 22nd Congresses. Sham unity would no longer tolerated.

The lines of demarcation had been drawn by both sides.

Since the 81 Parties’ Meeting in 1960 there had been talk of the holding of an international meeting of the world parties – provided such a meeting was held with the object of reaching ideological unity and not with the object of forcing an organisational split.

The Communist Party of China’s representatives met in Moscow on July 15, 1963. But on the day preceding, the leaders of the C.P.S.U. published to the world its slanderous attackson the Chinese Party contained in the now notorious Open Letter. [viii]

Others testify to how the CPSU leadership asserted its paternal assumptions. The talks held by the New Zealand Party delegation in Moscow in 1963 were later described in terms that

 “Our frank and free presentation of views was, as comrades know, met with the same tirade of abuse and subjectivism which had been inflicted upon other Party delegations seeking a similar down-to-earth critical and self-critical study of problems on the basis of Marxist-Leninist science.”

The attitude of the C.P.S.U. leaders may be summed up: “There shall be no criticism of our line. You must submit to this line even though you consider it revisionist. This line is the line to which all world Parties must adhere without question. We shall see to it that any who do not do so are ostracised from the world movement.” Thus the line of “compulsory unity with revisionism” or open split emerged as the line of the C.P.S.U. leaders. [ix]

In March 1965 the CPSU managed to finally convene their “schismatic”, “fragmented meeting. The divisive meeting was quite small and most unseemly. It was a gloomy and forlorn affair” was the judgement of People’s Daily/Red Flag in their “A Comment on The March Moscow Meeting”  (March 23 1965). Of the 26 parties invited, 19 attended who were “were rent by contradictions and disunity” (and not only according to Chinese reporting). They described the divisive March Moscow meeting as “now hatching a big plot for a general attack on China and a general split in the international communist movement. The time had passed when the CPC could proclaim “Eternal, Unbreakable Sino-Soviet Friendship” [x]  

Giving it the description as a “consultative meeting” did not alter its intention as preparation for an international conference of the Communist and Workers Parties. Still, it failed to act as a drafting meeting.  The Albanian paper Zeri I Popullit called it “a major crime against the world communist movement” explaining that the “incorrigible revisionists and renegades from Marxism-Leninism” had sought to “bring about the final split in the communist movement in the organisational plane”. The Albanian commentary noted that for all the demagogic oaths about unity and solidarity, the meeting showed that the CPSU leadership could not even “define a common line for revisionism and to eliminate the division that exists within their ranks”. [xi]

The reaction of the Communist Party of New Zealand to the March meeting convened in Moscow by the leadership of the C.P.S.U. reflected the scepticism at what was seen as an attempt to foist this improper meeting upon the World Communist Movement, under cover of soft words and Marxist-Leninist phrases, further disunity in the world movement: “ It makes clear that the leaders of the C.P.S.U. (and their supporters in other places) persist in their revisionist ideas and are determined to impose them upon the world movement.” [xii]
The Chinese comment explained the initial approach of the party to the divergences with the CPSU:

“In the incipient stages of Khrushchov revisionism and in the course of its development, we invariably proceeded from the desire for unity and offered our advice and criticism, in the hope that Khrushchov might turn back. We indicated on many occasions that the points the fraternal Marxist-Leninist Parties had in common were basic while the differences among them were partial in character, and that they should seek common ground while reserving their differences.” [xiii]

What had developed under Khrushchov and subsequent was the policies the new leaders of the CPSU adopted towards fraternal countries and fraternal Parties remained the views expressed in the Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU of JuIy 14, 1963, in Suslov’s anti-Chinese report at the February 1964 plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU and in the resolution adopted on this report, and actions of unscrupulous interference in the internal affairs of the fraternal Parties and engage in disruptive and subversive activities against them. The inability to bring its anti-revisionist critics to heel was clear when only 19 of the 26 invited Parties attended march Moscow meeting. Significant absentees included five of the Parties from the socialist world, namely, Albania, China, Korea, Rumania and Vietnam. Indonesia (the largest Communist Party outside of the socialist world) and Japan also refused to attend. As the Chinese observed, “the number of those obeying Khrushchov’s baton was already decreasing.”

The pressures of the world Parties (including some like Italy and Britain, who attended) and the failure to get a representative gathering forced a change in the character of the meeting – from one which was to organise and prepare a meeting of world Parties in 1965 to a down-graded “consultative meeting.” This was a setback for the revisionist leaders of the C.P.S.U. The meeting itself demonstrated that it could not prepare and proceed to convene a conference of world Parties. But it is equally clear from the communique that the organisers have not given up their hopes of imposing their revisionist ideas on the world movement.  [xiv]

The observations of the New Zealand party were concerns shared by others who identified with the criticisms raised by the Albanian and Chinese parties and their supporters.

“What is the attitude of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. towards criticisms of its line and policy? Were they welcomed, studied, analysed, verified or, where necessary, corrected? Comrades know from the development of the ideological dispute that this was not the approach of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. On the contrary, it was an arrogant, conceited and commandist stand. Stand-over methods and economic and political pressures were exerted in an effort to enforce the Soviet leadership’s point of view. Under the cover of words like “proletarian internationalism,” its opposite, great-power chauvinism, was enforced. On the ideological front, the theoretical bankruptcy of the Soviet leaders became quickly exposed. Abuse of other parties and distortions of Lenin were used in an attempt to bolster an impossible case. Quotations from “Left-Wing Communism,” by Lenin, became favourite missiles to hurl at all who dared to criticise the policy of the Soviet leadership from a fundamental Marxist-Leninist viewpoint.” [xv]

These were a manifestation of the same struggle being waged on a national scale, the differentiation of forces within individual parties. The growth and consolidation of the new Marxist-Leninist groups proved largely marginal, with the Communist Party of New Zealand being an exception in the industrialised world aligning to the developing anti-revisionist camp. [xvi]  

The historical analogy within the anti-revisionist struggle against revisionism saw the CPSU leadership line as taking them right back to the struggle of Lenin and the Mensheviks in 1903, on the membership rule of the Party, on the role of the vanguard party and the issues of how imperialism in the early part of the century turned Labour leaders into “the Labour lieutenants of Capitalism in the ranks of the working class”.

Clearly for the anti-revisionists, the ascendancy of bourgeois ideology within the working-class movement or its political parties ends in their adaptation (capitulation) to capitalism and imperialism. It was not about personalities; the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism is a class struggle.

“The present polemic” wrote the Albanian leader, “is of a major character, dealing with the most fundamental theoretical and practical issues of communism. Having been started by the revisionists, it has become unavoidable and indispensable.” [xvii]

The point emphasised was that the ideological struggle – and its practical consequences – were in order to wage the struggle against imperialism and reaction successfully and further strengthen the unity of the international proletariat. There was the wider context expressed by the Chinese party led by Mao Zedong that

“the emergence and development of Khrushchov revisionism is by no means a matter of a few individuals or an accidental phenomenon. It has profound social and historical causes. So long as imperialists and reactionaries exist and so long as there are classes and class struggle in the world, Khrushchov revisionism will inevitably recur in one form or another and the struggle against it will not come to an end.” [xviii]

“to expose their true revisionist features”

“The Chinese Communist Party has on many occasions made clear its stand on the question of the public polemics, and we now once again announce it to the world: Since there are differences of principle between Marxism-Leninism and modern revisionism and since the modern revisionists have maligned us so much and refused to acknowledge their mistakes, it goes without saying that we have the right to refute them publicly. In these circumstances, it wiII not do to call for an end to the public polemics, it will not do to stop for a single day, for a month, a year, a hundred years, a thousand years, or ten thousand years. If nine thousand years are not enough to complete the refutation, then we shall take ten thousand.”  [xix]

Participants in these struggles recognised that the struggle between these two opposing lines presented the prospect of a split as a fait accompli; the question was how the ideological division would be formulated in organisational developments. How would ‘true international solidarity’ be expressed? So far respecting norms and non-interference in the internal affairs of other parties had been violated with charges and counter-charges of factional activity thrown around when Marxist-Leninists had no avenue but to organise themselves in new groups to continue to defend revolutionary positions and challenge revisionism within their national parties. The position had shifted from the thesis of the 1960 Declaration that revisionism was “the main danger in the international communist movement”, it had become the main enemy in the international communist movement.

Enver Hoxha raised the opinion

“There can be no hope or illusion that the Khrushchevite revisionists will mend their ways and return to correct positions of principle.” [xx] He was candid in a private meeting, telling his Malayan guests: “We do not forget that the leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union are enemies who have carried on and still carrying on utterly anti-Marxist and anti-Albanian activity against our Party and people”. [xxi] After all, the Soviet leadership not only opposed the Albanian party, it broke off diplomatic relations with Albania extending the dispute to the nation-state as it scrapped all economic, culture, military and other agreements in an attempt to isolate and break Albanian opposition.

So, what could involve raising the struggle against modern revisionism “to a higher level”? A visiting New Zealand delegation were told in October 1965 that, in the opinion of the Albanian party “not unity with the revisionists but the definitive split with them is on the agenda” [xxii] .

In a conversation with a delegation of the Communist Party of Malaya in January 1965, Enver Hoxha spoke of the serious difficulties in the international communist movement created by the revisionists. He judged that while they had been exposed by the anti-revisionist struggle, that while was no unity of opinion in the revisionist ranks, the CPSU leadership had not “yet lost their power and influence”. The counter-attack of the Marxist-Leninists, Hoxha said “must settle them completely…. Our Party of Labor is of the opinion that our Marxist-Leninist parties should not give any ground in the contradictions they have with the modern revisionists.” [xxiii]  

The circumstances had changed in the composition of the international communist movement since the Moscow meeting in 1960 with the emergence of a series of new Marxist-Leninist parties and groups waging “a stern principled struggle” outside, and within the ranks of the old parties. The bilateral meetings were valued by the Albanian leadership as “our Marxist-Leninist internationalist unity becomes stronger through co-operation between the parties” [xxiv] The assistance given by the Albanian party went beyond the level of propaganda support.  [xxv]

1965 had begun with raised expectations. An Editorial in Zeri i Popllitt proclaimed “In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph.”  The editorial said, “History has proved that, as the principal stronghold of capitalism and world imperialism, Europe and North America are also the cradles of opportunism and revisionism in the international workers’ movement.”

Surveying the history of opposition to such ideological current it described the Khrushchev group as “the main bulwark of revisionism of the most rabid type.” It declared

The revisionists are bent on paralysing the fighting will of the European working class, making it depart from the path of revolutionary struggle and become apathetic by spreading all kinds of pacifist and reformist illusions. The revisionists try to push their line of betrayal to turn some European Communist and Workers’ parties with glorious traditions from parties carrying out the social revolution into parties for social reform, from militant, organised and disciplined revolutionary vanguard of the working class into amorphous organisations, with no clear objectives and devoid of sound Party discipline, where all kinds of bourgeois careerists, careerists and opportunists can join or leave as they please.” [xxvi]

Having unleashed attacks upon the Chinese Communist party, the Albanian Party of Labour and “all the healthy forces of the revolutionary communists in their Parties and countries”,

“With their opportunists, traitorous and divisive line and manoeuvres, the European revisionists are entirely responsible for the grave situation created in the world communist movement, and in particular, for the great harm and damage done to the European workers’ and communist movement.”  [xxvii]

The article stated the need “uniting the revolutionary forces in Europe with the anti-imperialist struggle for liberation of the oppressed people of Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

Forecasting that a new revolutionary upsurge will take place in Europe, unchecked by the “temporary boom” of capitalism for “The main obstacle on the path of revolution in Europe today is Khrushchovian revisionism which strangles revolutionary enthusiasm, paralyses the fighting will and spirit of the working class …and keeps the Communist Parties of Europe far away from the revolutionary path.” Given these circumstances the Albanian paper states the perspective that:

The struggle of the revolutionary Marxists of Europe and North America, as a component part of the struggle of all the communists in the world, is of particular international significance today because this is carried out inside the citadel of modern revisionism, a citadel which must be demolished and smashed to smithereens.

With their organized legal and illegal forces, the Marxist-Leninists in Europe are carrying out work inside and outside their parties, to oppose the propaganda and organisation of the revisionists, forming and strengthening Marxist-Leninists groups and new Parties and carrying on inner-Party struggles to defend their principles trampled upon by revisionists, combat their tactics, reduce the sphere of their activities, expose their line and aims, isolate them from the masses of Communists and finally eliminate them. [xxviii] 

The article cites the example of the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists of the Soviet Union “awakening and waging an active and determined struggle “, but without providing evidence or examples beyond the generalities. An explanation for the lull in polemics following Khrushchev expulsion from power was that the Soviet leadership was in a transitory stage of determining new tactics so as to avoid struggles and blows from Marxist-Leninists.

It is precisely because of this difficult position and the contradictions with which they are confronted that the present Soviet leaders are trying to maintain “silence” or “lull”. In appearance, they try their best to present themselves as being more restrained than their chieftain, N. Khrushchov, creating a false impression that they can mend their ways while in reality they stubbornly pursue the original Khrushchovian line.

Such a period of “lull” and “silence” benefits the imperialists and revisionists but harms the communist movement and the cause of Marxism-Leninism and socialism, because in this period the revisionists endeavour to consolidate their positions with a view to launching a more violent attacks on Marxism-Leninism.” [xxix]

Having described revisionism as an ulcer on the healthy body of the revolutionary movement and communist movement in Europe and the rest of the world, the article concludes with a rallying call that “Now is the time for revolutionary Communists to combat treason, liquidate modern revisionism and re-establish the original Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist unity of all communists of the world”.

This ambiguous sentiment was read as a call for the internationalisation of the anti-revisionist forces in a recognisable movement structure. Speculation was on whether, and how, the complete break with revisionism would manifest itself amid the reconstruction of the communist movement that saw Marxist-Leninists organise independent of the revisionist parties.

In the fight against revisionism the cultivation of organised anti-revisionists had resulted in separate pre-party organisations for communist unity, against revisionism. The intensification of the anti-revisionist struggle led away from reconciliation or acceptance of the revisionist path set out by the 20th and 22nd Congresses of the CPSU. Stating that the parties of western Europe stood “in the service of the monopolistic bourgeoisie of their countries” and that that they were following an “opportunistic, traitorous, and splitting course of action” there was not much hope given of transforming those parties for revolutionary struggle.

Along with the public refutation of all the slanders and attacks made against the Party of Labor of Albania, the Communist Party of China and the other Marxists-Leninists, the Albanians called for the unequivocal rehabilitation of Stalin “for the revisionists concretized their attack on Marxism-Leninism and the proletarian dictatorship with their attack on J.V.Stalin.”  [xxx]  

By 1965 the fight to transform those Moscow aligned communist parties had given way to establishing alternative poles of attraction in reconceiving the revolutionary movement. Evidence of this ambition of a Comintern-lite arrangement peppered the events of the year. A more favourable attitude towards a new international was discernible in the Albanian position. The PLA was more assiduous about maintaining bi-lateral relations with the new groups with regular visits by their representatives, and name checks on Radio Tirana and in ATA reports.

Speculation was not unanticipated, raised by the obvious intentions in Moscow to resolve important problems by seeking to hold a planning conference for a global meeting of parties scheduled originally for autumn 1964. Such an action would cement not only the divisions between the parties but might not their opponents be motivated to organise what would be the first anti-revisionist organised council after all the CPC’s Proposal for a General Line issued in June 1963 signalled an alternative platform for world communism.

Supporters, or what opponents dubbed them, the “Peking faction” were seen in the Albanian capital as a general test for a future international founding congress of “the Peking line”. There was even mischievous western media speculation that the next occupiers to be house in the Soviet Embassy in Tirana was to become a centre for a new international headquarters of anti-revisionists/pro-Chinese communists. There was some Western speculation that the Tirana “summit” meeting of “Marxist-Leninists” should be seen as the embryo of a Marxist-Leninist International in opposition to the Moscow centred organisations. The list of these delegations, as reported by Radio Tirana, included the Belgian Marxist-Leninist CP delegation, headed by Jacques Grippa; representatives of the New Zealand CP and the Communist Party Australia Marxist-Leninist; leading members of Marxist-Leninist groups and editors of Marxist- Leninist publications from Austria, France, Italy, Spain and Britain, and representatives from Chile, Ghana and Guinea.

The significance of the gathering of these Marxist- Leninist representatives was that this was the first time that a state event of a ruling Communist Party has been attended by the leading members of the newly emerging anti-revisionist forces. Whether there would be a declaration that formalised the political divisions – the split with Moscow – so as to likely leave a lasting imprint on the international Communist movement was an expectation that increased prior to the 1966 Fifth Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania.  [xxxi]  

______________________________________________________________________

The judgement of the Swiss based Marxist Leninist Nils Andersson was that

“An important demonstration of the reality of the Marxist-Leninist movement was the celebration of the 5th Congress of the PLA in November 1966, which was attended by the CP of China and 28 Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations from the five continents. There was great enthusiasm, for Albania it was one of the great moments in its history, it had defeated the revisionist and imperialist blockade; for new parties it was the first time they had been able to get together in such great numbers.” [xxxii]

The participation of representatives of the new Marxist-Leninist groups in the 5th Congress was seen as an important event in the international communist movement. The official authorised history of the PLA said that such internationalist solidarity manifested by such engagement:

“expressed the love, support and the great authority the PLA had won in the international arena by its resolute struggle for socialism and the preservation of the purity of Marxism-Leninism.” [xxxiii]

Mao’s Message of Greetings to the Fifth Congress of the Albanian Party of Labour was read out by Kang Sheng, head of the delegation of the Communist Party of China. He then addressed the internationalist audience invited to the 5th Congress of the PLA:

“At present, Marxist-Leninist Parties and organizations are emerging in quick succession in all continents and they are growing and becoming increasingly consolidated every day. They are drawing a clear line of demarcation between themselves and the modern revisionist clique theoretically, ideologically, politically, organizationally and in their style of work. They are directing their efforts towards building themselves into Marxist-Leninist Parties of a new type. These new-type proletarian revolutionary parties represent the fundamental interests of the proletariat and revolutionary people in their respective countries; they represent the future and the hope of these countries, they represent the core of leadership in their revolutions. The birth and growth of the new type Marxist-Leninist Parties and organizations is a great victory of Marxism-Leninism in its struggle against modern revisionism.” [xxxiv]

The 5th Congress ratchet up the unfilled expectation when Belgian party leader, Jacque Grippa, introduced a new element to the Congress with a message from the new established illegal Provisional Central Committee of the Communist Party of Poland (although Party leader Mija was at the Congress). For the first time a Marxist-Leninist party formed in opposition to a ruling revisionist party was given recognition and publicity by an estranged “fraternal” Albanian party at a time of a bitter struggle waged within the international communist movement between Marxist-Leninists and modern revisionists. The significance of a split from a ruling party and creation of an illegal oppositionist Marxist-Leninist party was not repeated elsewhere in Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union. These organisations sent greetings to the fifth congress and their flattering messages among the 28 republished in a 212 paged publication from the <Naim Frasheri> Publishing House, purveyors of Albanian political propaganda. [xxxv]

In the major report to the Congress, Enver Hoxha gave encouragement to the speculation when to the assembled Marxist-Leninists he called for a not- too-clearly defined “separate unity” composed of these forces. He did this by declaring that the PLA believed that “the creation of links cooperation and coordination of activities in conformity with the new present- day conditions was an indispensable and urgent matter.”

Marking the Soviet October Revolution, a Zeri i Popullit editorial of November 7th, praised the role of the 5th Congress on the question of unity by quoting from Hoxha’s report: “All the Marxist Leninist parties and forces, as equals and independents, should form a bloc with the CCP and the CPR, a bloc of iron to break all our enemies.”

Did Hoxha feed the expectations of the newly emergent anti-revisionist movement when he declared to the 5th Congress audience that:

“The unity in the communist movement and the socialist camp will be re-established, but it will be established by the Marxist-Leninist without the treacherous revisionists and in resolute battle against them. (Prolonged applause)” [xxxvi] . The opinion of the Albanian Party was that “we must not reconcile and unite with the revisionists, but break away and separate from them.”

Perhaps hinting at the reformation of an alternative arrangement  with each party equal and independent rather than recapture of the Moscow dominated structures, especially when referring to revisionists as “the fifth column” and  a “trojan horse”, the Albanian leader said, “We think it is high time to draw a demarcation line with modern revisionism,  with all its group, and to wage a tit-for-tat struggle, so as to isolate them from the people and from the revolutionary Soviet communists.”  [xxxvii]

Hoxha’s report stated that the anti-revisionist struggle must be promoted to a new height.

“ ..thanks to the struggle of the Marxist-Leninist forces, to the reaction against the revisionist line and methods, a great process is taking place and deepening : that of the differentiation of the forces of Marxism-Leninism and revisionism, both in a national and in an international scale. Tens of new parties and Marxist-Leninist groups have been founded in different countries of the world, including some socialist countries. We wholeheartedly hail these Marxist-Leninist parties and groups and wish them ever greater successes in their just struggle for the lofty revolutionary ideals of the working class. (Prolonged tumultuous applause. Ovations) ….. for in the growth of these new revolutionary forces we see the only just way to the triumph of Marxism-Leninism and the destruction of revisionism. (Prolonged tumultuous applause. Ovations)”  [xxxviii]

The cultivation, and encouragement (some might say “talking-up”) of these newly emergent forces – “tens of new parties” – related to the background consideration to Enver Hoxha Congress report set out in his “Theses on the Unity of the International Marxist-Leninist Movement”, a diary entry for October 10 1966. Prior to the 5th Congress Hoxha consider the necessity of consultation among the anti-revisionist parties and groups on general meetings which the Albanian leadership advocated for strengthening the unity of the international communist movement. Included in the diary (published 1979) was a reference raising questions why the Chinese party was avoiding such a course of action (which some reviewers wondered if added after the fact to pre-date a political opinion subsequently formed).

“the joint meeting and the taking of joint decisions is important. The meeting will be informed of and study the forms of work and organisation and set tasks for each party…There is no one to oppose the idea in principle; the most they can do is leave it to melt away from lack of action. But it is they who will be wrong and not us.”  [xxxix]

There was a militant crescendo in the rhetoric “to spare no effort to support the just revolutionary struggle of the Marxist-Leninist parties and forces, it [PLA] will tirelessly work for the consolidation and strengthening of the Marxist-Leninist movement and the anti-imperialist unity of the peoples of the world.”  [xl]

“Marxist-Leninist must strengthen their unity on a national and international scale and their resolute struggle against imperialism and revisionism. The time we are living is not to be spent on academic, endless and empty discussions, but in daring militant actions full of revolutionary selfless spirit and sacrifice….The ranks of the Marxist-Leninist parties and forces must be closely united and well-organised, prepared and tempered to fight on…. Establishment of links for co-operation and co-ordination of actions in conformity with the new actual conditions….. consolidate their co-operation and they must work out a common line and a common stand on the basic questions, especially in connection with the struggle against imperialism and modern revisionism.”  [xli]

Enver Hoxha in conversation with V.G.Wilcox thought

“The militant revolutionary spirit of the heroic times of the Comintern and the time of Lenin and Stalin should characterize world communism today.”  October 1965 [xlii]

He told the world in his Congress report, November 1st 1966

“in the forefront of present-day struggle against the US-led imperialism, against modern revisionism with the Soviet leaders at the top, stands strong and steadfast the Communist Party of China and the great People’s Republic of China, headed by the prominent Marxist-Leninist, Mao Tse-tung (Prolonged applause. Ovation)

Yet in his diary, he supposedly written a more hostile judgement as Hoxha confided of the need to urge the “Chinese comrades somewhat to activize themselves in the support of the new Marxist-Leninist parties [xliii]

We think, in particular, that the time has come for our Marxist-Leninist parties to develop the most appropriate and fruitful different working contacts.

‘’it is up to us, to both your big party and Our Party, in the first place, to take the first steps to concretize closer, more effective links with the whole world Marxist-Leninist movement, so that our Marxist-Leninist unity is further tempered and our joint activity against our common enemies is strengthened. [xliv]

The PLA reiterated the party’s readiness and ‘lofty internationalist duty’ to give all the aid in its power to these new Marxist-Leninist forces. A later interpretation concluded that from the 5th Congress the international communist movement “had set out on the road to revival on a Marxist-Leninist basis.” [xlv]

Divergence Paths

Again, there was speculation, prior to the PLA’s 6th party congress, when Enver Hoxha raised the expansion and consolidation of the Marxist-Leninist movement which was seen as having experienced some neglect due to the domestic preoccupation with the Cultural Revolution. Albania felt this having, from September 1967 to May 1969, no resident Chinese ambassador to its closest ally in Tirana. He told the Tirana party conference, in January 1969, that the international Marxist-Leninist movement had entered a more advantage stage of development. The new emerged Marxist-Leninist parties constituted an overt detachment from modern revisionism and from the old communist parties:

“This is the picture of a new revolutionary situation in the fold of the international working class which is splitting and at the same time being re-organised. In its fold there is being consolidated the conscious and revolutionary part of the proletariat to wage the struggle of the vanguard against socialists, the social democrats and modern revisionists who still have very strong positions, especially in the strata of workers aristocracy that deceives the bulk of workers.”

The assertion of these new Marxist-Leninists forces engaged in a vanguard role might have signalled the intention of an approaching consolidation on an international scale, particularly in light of the looming Moscow Meeting scheduled for that May. He emphasised the right of independent action for these parties within their national boundaries on domestic issues reaffirming the complete equality of parties, “big or small, old or young”.

In a divergence observation, the public pronouncements of the Albanian leader altered radically by the end of the Seventies. With political rewriting and self-justification, this later interpretation of events presented a more critical analysis of relations within worldwide anti-revisionist movement, although there was no mention of the unseen side dramas. Jacques Grippa, the leader of the Communist Party of Belgium (m-l), and European fixer among the pro-China groups, took the opportunity at the 5th Congress to tell the Albanian party his great dissatisfaction with certain Chinese policies. Grippa eventually sided with Liu Shao-chi. [xlvi]  

The authorised History (volume 2) stated the new Marxist-Leninist parties had:

“pinned their hopes especially on the support of the Party and PR of China as a “great Marxist-Leninist Party” and a “big socialist country”. In general, they were disillusioned when they did not find the immediate support that they hoped for. In reality, as been known later, at first Mao Tse-tung, and his associates, did not approve of the formation of the new parties and groups and had no faith in them.”

Indeed, Hoxha’s reaction to the news that no party delegation from China would be attending the 6th Congress scheduled for 1971, as convey in his diary was the belief that they had “no confidence in the new Marxist-Leninist parties and groups which are being created….does not want to be stuck with them…and this is in conformity with its vacillating revisionist line.”  [xlvii]  His comment was that, “For the international communist movement, of course, this opportunist revisionist line of the Communist party of China is not good, because it weakens and confuses it. But everything will be overcome.” [xlviii]

The Albanians charged later that the Chinese were “exploiting those organisations for their own narrow interests”, recognising anyone, and everyone, provided they proclaimed themselves “followers of ‘Mao Tsetung thought’”. [xlix]

In contrast to the alleged Chinese role in ‘disrupting and impeding’ the revival of the Marxist-Leninist movement worldwide, the History (1981) highlights the 7th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania in 1976 as when the parties entered a new phrase of sorting itself out and development on what is described as Albania’s echo of the sound proletarian basis. [l]

WHEN THE Albanians made speeches condemning Mao it was accomplished without a hint of self-criticism for the PLA’s years of conciliation to the “Chinese revisionists”. Hoxha had confided in his diary that China was a “great enigma” but that the PLA proceeded from the general idea that Mao was a Marxist-Leninist.

The PLA was apparently blameless. In the publications produced by the Albanian publishing houses, the PLA was a vociferous defender of China as a socialist country, the Communist Party of China as a great Marxist-Leninist party and Mao as a great Marxist-Leninist. So it was difficult to deduce any significant difference between them. Supporters and the Albanians find it difficult to manufacture reasons for Enver Hoxha and Party of Labour of Albania to keep silence on Mao’s as well as CPC’s alleged deviations and revisionism, until Mao was dead.

Indeed in 1971, Hoxha had said in his Report to the Sixth Congress:

“Great People’s China and Albania, the countries which consistently pursue the Marxist-Leninist line and are building socialism. The role of the People’s Republic of China this powerful bastion of the revolution and socialism, is especially great in the growth and strengthening of the revolutionary movement everywhere in the world. “

Furthermore, there was full agreement from Tirana on the correct line which the Communist Party of China advocated in putting forward “A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement” in 1963, which it gave political support. Even with the voluminous anti-revisionist propaganda commentaries and its own public role since 1960 criticising Khrushchev and the cosying up to US imperialism, Tirana did defer in the leadership of the struggle against Khrushchev to the CPC. The PLA accepted the hegemony of the CPC and Mao in the international anti-revisionist communist movement even though it thought that, from 1972, China had entered the dance with US imperialism with Nixon’s visit to Beijing that marked the collapse of America’s isolation and containment policies towards People’s China.

After the breach in the relationship, what was exposed was the disconnect between his public utterances and supposed entries into Hoxha’s private diary at the time, his increasing sceptical views on China and its relationship with Albania. The deterioration in the relationship between the two allies simmered for the rest of the decade until the rupture in 1977/78 offered stark ideological alignment that divided the anti-revisionist movement.

There was never really an explanation why the Albanians themselves were so hopelessly confused by Mao and such “anti-Marxist” theory that they adopted large portions of it or, worse still, they recognized it all along but were willing to help promote this “revisionist” line on revolutionaries around the world.

The accelerated interest and concern for the anti-revisionist parties to assist its own foreign policy objectives partly sprang from its growing contradictions with China. This international support and sympathy crafted out of an image of purity and principled struggle, standing up to face China as it had faced down the Soviet leadership. Socialist Albania would not surrender to a revisionist malignancy but expressed its insistence of remaining faithful to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. Personified in Enver Hoxha’s writings was a presentation essentially based on the promotion of the ideological orthodoxy of Marxism-Leninism.

The Albanian position presented a stark choice as it cleaved at an association that had developed over a decade and a half, challenging the young anti-revisionist organisations to choose between its analysis and that of the Chinese authorities.

That emergence of two main lines of demarcation within the anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist movement, and the Maoist recalibration that was witnessed in the early 21st century could be seen as proof of dialectics in action as unity is sought to advance the struggles for a fairer and just society. 

See also

E N D   N O T E S


[i] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/new-zealand/joint-statement.pdf

[ii]  Mark Kramer, « Declassified materials from CPSU Central Committee plenums », Cahiers du monde russe [Online], 40/1-2 | 1999, Online since 15 January 2007: http:// journals.openedition.org/monderusse/14 ; DOI : 10.4000/monderusse.14

[iii]  The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement Peking: Foreign Language Press 1965

[iv]  https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/new-zealand/joint-statement.pdf

[v] The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement. Peking: Foreign Language Press 1965 p8

[vi] Lovell (2019) Maoism a global history. London: Bodley Head p147

[vii] The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement p5. Hoxha claimed “Khruschev’s downfall is a result of the struggle waged by the Marxist-Leninists.”  Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p5

[viii] Open Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to all Communists of the Soviet Union.  July 14, 1963 https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sino-soviet-split/cpsu/openletter.htm

[ix] Statement on the March Moscow Meeting.  the New Zealand Communist Review. June 1965

[x] Peking Review No. 49/50 December 13, 1960  https://www.marxists.org/subject/china/peking-review/1960/PR1960-49-50.pdf

[xi] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House pp78-109

[xii] Statement on the March Moscow Meeting.  the New Zealand Communist Review. June 1965

[xiii] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/comment.pdf p11

[xiv] It was not until June 1969, in the aftermath of the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, an International Meeting was held in Moscow with representatives of 75 parties.

[xv] Statement on the March Moscow Meeting.  The New Zealand Communist Review. June 1965

[xvi] An overview sketch of developments  compiled from the view of Tron Ogrim can be found at https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/06/research-note-tron-recalls/

[xvii] …. Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House P97.   The authorised history of the young party founded November 1941, born of war and revolution, proudly recalled:

The Party of Labor of Albania has fought with exceptional severity against modern revisionism, the offspring and agency of imperialism. The irreconcible principled struggle which it has waged from the start against the Yugoslavia revisionists has equipped it with a great revolutionary experience and acuteness to recognise and to fight better and with more determination against the Khruschevite revisionists as well as other revisionism, with Soviet revisionism at the centre, constitutes a major class enemy and the main danger to the international communist and workers’ movement.

Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1971) History of the Party of Labor of Albania. Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House p671

[xviii] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/comment.pdf

[xix] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/comment.pdf&nbsp; p23

The full arsenal of  arguments that exposed the revisionist course at that time is available in the republished work of the Communist Party of China to be found in Documents of the CPC – Great Debate Volumes 1 & 2 available from Foreign Languages Press. Or online at  https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/index.htm

[xx] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p108

[xxi] Ditto p11

[xxii] Ditto p217

[xxiii] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p10

[xxiv] Ditto p31

[xxv] see :Taking the Lek https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/taking-the-lek/

[xxvi] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxvii] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxviii] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxix] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxx] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana : The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p208

[xxxi] Taken from the four part series, https://woodsmokeblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/tirana-builds-an-international1.pdf

[xxxii] Nils Andersson The Origins of the Marxist-Leninist Movement in Europe.  Unity & Struggle No. 28, September 2014

[xxxiii] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1971) History of the Party of Labor of Albania. Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House pp606/607

[xxxiv] Communist and Workers’ Parties and Marxist-Leninist Groups Greet the Fifth Congress of the Labor of Albania. Tirana 1966 p18

Remarks given added weight as during the Cultural Revolution period, Kang had Politburo oversight of the International Liaison Department of the CPC, responsible for contacts, communications and co-ordination with other communist organisations throughout the world. This changed in 1971 when the leadership position was held by Geng Biao /Keng Piao, formerly China’s ambassador to Albania, who remained in post throughout the 1970s.

[xxxv] Text can be downloaded from here https://archive.org/details/communistworkers00part 

[xxxvi] Enver Hoxha (1966) Report on the Activity of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania.  Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House  p210

[xxxvii] Enver Hoxha (1966) Report on the Activity of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania.  Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House  p215

[xxxviii] Enver Hoxha (1966) Report on the Activity of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania.  Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House p204/5

[xxxix] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p290/291

[xl] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p221

[xli] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p218/219

[xlii] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p215

[xliii] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 p303

[xliv] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 p305

[xlv] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1981) History of the Party of Labor of Albania 1966-1980 (Chapters VII, VIII, IX) Tirana: The “8Nentori” Publishing House  p41.

The 2nd volume of the authorised History published in 1981 covers the period 1966-1980. The first chapter, labelled Chapter VII covering the 5th Congress was not a reproduction of the original Chapter VII that ended the first volume (printed 1971). It was re-written to reflect the new anti-China, anti-Mao analysis to be found in the two volumes of Enver Hoxha’s Reflections on China and other post-1976 Albanian publication.

[xlvi] Jacques Grippa against the Cultural Revolution by Ylber Marku & Counter-revolutionary plot in the People’s Republic of China by Jacques Grippa

[xlvii] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 P596 Hoxha bitterly complained about the Chinese comrades and the 6th Congress, dismissing the greetings sent as “full of stereotyped phases, which the Chinese use constantly” in his entry for November 9th 1971 with its intemperate language and accusations of “opposition to our party over line.” p609

[xlviii] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 p598

[xlix] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies.(1981)  History of the Party of Labor of Albania 1966-1980 (Chapters    VII,VIII,IX) Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House  p39/40.

[l] See: Tirana builds an International. woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com

Content Listing

Floating around the internet is a 4 volume English language compilation entitled “The Collected Writings of the Communist Party of Peru 1968-1999” comprising some 1116 pages. A few are in Spanish. It has been seen in pdf and epub file format. Production wise it has some obscure last lines on various articles where the spacing and setting is off but the entries seem to be of released material from the CPP. No formal identification to its production is evident.

This contents listing is a research aid to the material.

Who were the splitters.

The enhanced republication by the Foreign Language Press of the second volume of the Documents of the CPC – The Great Debate covers the period from the first exchange of letters between the CPC and the CPSU regarding the general line of the International Communist Movement (February-March 1963) to Khrushchev’s dismissal in October 1964

Included in the volume are the open letters that were distributed as anti-revisionist contributions to the theoretical debate, and intra-party letters that were not supposed to be publicly spread, containing criticisms regarding the way the debate was being conducted. The CPC made the letters public in May 1964, after the CPSU began quoting parts of them out of context in articles in Pravda to discredit the CPC. The intra-party letters, adding the date they were written, are included in this volume. The primary material is sourced from the political weekly Peking Review, allowing for the reader’s interpretation and analysis of the argument present.

There is much to consider in the arguments presented at the time, and re-reading them again after 40-odd years when they were first approached, the strength and clarity of the anti-revisionist position remains persuasive. This body of work remains foundational for any understanding of the struggle against modern revisionism. Among these comprehensive repudiation of revisionist positions, this appreciation seeks to signpost and focus on one of the text,  the editorial of the People’s Daily and the Red Flag from February 4, 1964, The Leaders of the CPSU Are the Greatest Splitters of Our Times.

“the greatest splitters in the international communist movement”

A modern myth on the left has developed that the division in the international communist movement was the fault of Mao Zedong. This was reflected and dramatically expressed by a small oppositionist group to the Eurocommunist CPGB

“There can be no question that the Chinese Communist Party committed a terrible crime against humanity when it separated China from the Socialist Camp and the World Communist Movement, and immediately launched a campaign to split both.”

[The Appeal Group, Behind The Revolutionary Mask (1974) 23.]

There has emerged an attitude (and argument) that all that has past no longer matter, that such political divisions were no longer relevant for the Marxist left today, that the choices taken then should not have consequences now. In fact, unity is all. The demarcation drawn at the time involved, not just essential issues of principles and analysis; it had consequences for policies and actions. Nor was it initiated by criticism of the Soviet leadership but by the actions to supress the concerns raised by revolutionaries.

It is fundamentally flawed to frame the Great Debate in terms of a Chinese-led march away from a healthy communist movement. By the early sixties it was pregnant with antagonistic contradictions reflecting differing worldviews that could not coexist in a unitary structure.  As noted in the publishers’ note to the first of the planned trilogy of volumes, they “show that the core of the Great Debate was not the struggle between the two Parties in two different countries; it was actually between the path to socialism upheld by Marxists-Leninists, and the path toward the restoration of capitalism upheld by modern revisionists.”

The Chinese editorial looked at the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and opportunism and between the forces defending unity and those creating splits runs through the history of the development of the communist movement.

A topic returned to in Lenin’s Fight Against Revisionism and Opportunism, compiled by Cheng Yen-shih, (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1965)

What was drawn from that history was that like everything else, the international working-class movement tends to divide itself into two. The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is reflected in the communist ranks. It identified opportunism and revisionism as the political and ideological roots of splittism.

The position of the Communist Party of China was that;

“Between the 20th and 22nd Congresses of the CPSU, the leaders of the CPSU developed a rounded system of revisionism. They put forward a revisionist line which contravenes the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, a line which consists of “peaceful coexistence,” “peaceful competition,” “peaceful transition,” “a state of the whole people” and “a party of the entire people.” They have tried to impose this revisionist line on all fraternal parties as a substitute for the common line of the international communist movement which was laid down at the meetings of fraternal parties in 1957 and 1960.”

Whereas one can question whether the compromise resolution of either of those meetings could actual sustain unity within the international communist movement, they were platforms to build an understanding of the dangers of revisionism within the movement. However, the basis for correction and consolidation was undermined. The Soviet leadership were accused of having

“violated the principles guiding relations among fraternal countries as laid down in the Declaration and the Statement, pursued a policy of great-power chauvinism and national egoism towards fraternal socialist countries and thus disrupted the unity of the socialist camp.

It was easy to point to Albania (then the treatment of the People’s Republic of China) as an example of the political, economic and even military pressure to bear on fraternal countries, and evidence of the leaders of the CPSU having completely ignored the declared principle of achieving unanimity through consultation among fraternal parties and habitually make dictatorial decisions and order others about. They have recklessly torn up joint agreements with fraternal parties, taken arbitrary decisions, engaged in public attacks

Yet the public relations offensive from Moscow ascribe criticisms and opposition to their revisionist and divisive line to a desire to “seize the leadership.” Citing the dissolution of the Comintern, the Chinese communist party reiterated that it

“this resolution corresponded to reality and was correct. In the present international communist movement, the question of who has the right to lead whom simply does not arise.” And in its subsequent behaviour, there was no attempt to establish a Comintern structure based in Beijing. Whereas what was observed was that,

“Apparently, the leaders of the CPSU consider themselves the natural leaders who can lord it over all fraternal parties. According to their logic, their program, resolutions and statements are all infallible laws. Every remark and every word of Khrushchev’s are imperial edicts, however wrong or absurd they may be. All fraternal parties must submissively hear and obey and are absolutely forbidden to criticize or oppose them. This is outright tyranny. It is the ideology of feudal autocrats, pure and simple”

The charge rejected in the article is that of supporting the Anti-Party groups in fraternal parties describing “groups of defectors, which oppose the communist parties of the United States, Brazil, Italy, Belgium, Australia and India.”; there is a counter-accusation that

“The leaders of the CPSU have stirred up trouble and created splits in many communist parties by encouraging the followers of their revisionist line in these parties to attack the leadership, or usurp leading positions, persecute Marxist-Leninists and even expel them from the Party”

Within the Communist Party of Great Britain, as elsewhere, those who raised question of line were silenced and expelled. Administrative measures were the response of the party leadership to the arguments raised by anti-revisionist members. The Central Organisation Department in March 1964 identified those “giving complete support to the general line of the Communist Party of China “and had resigned (or in some cases were expelled) from the Party. They presented the situation as one where they had “embarked on a course of deliberately building up all breakaway splinter groups.

Inner party disenchantment with aspects of the party’s line had been simmering for years; the avenues to challenge and engage in “any real discussion of core policies was blocked”. Similarly with the Great Debate the scope and extent of participation saw the leadership steadily refuse to become involved in the political questions which arise in the Chinese-Soviet documents. Party experts were giving the lead on the issues in which they echoed the Soviet leadership’s main positions. A limited right to reply was exercised but no extensive investigation undertaken by party members that would involve questioning organisational loyalty.

There was the recollection that : “although we managed to get some resolutions passed in our own branch for London District and National Congresses in 1957 and 1959, they were swallowed up in the Black Hole of merged resolutions and disappeared forever.” Administrative measures neutered the possibility of an internal criticism of what was seen as the opportunism of the leadership and the incorrect policies, the status quo was protected by the position whereby critical members distinguished the organisation itself, the instrument for the emancipation of the working class, from the individuals making it up. As inter-Branch communication was against the rules, any attempt to communicate with others to mount a challenge was seen as factionalism and grounds for expulsion. So inner-party critics had very little room to manoeuvre with the application of centralism rather than democratic centralist principles and practices.

An example of what was presented as the activities of anti-party splitters was recalled by Muriel Seltman, expelled from the CPGB with her husband Peter in 1963:

“…. we distributed a copy of an article produced by the Chinese Party to Party members at a London District Meeting of the Communist Party. In this way, we violated Branch boundaries—you were not allowed to take any action except through your Branch. We did this because the London District Secretary, John Mahon, had made a speech criticising the Chinese for “racism” on account of their special references to “Asia, Africa and Latin America.” We decided to “defend” the reputation of the CCP and distributed the alleged offending speech which had been given by the Chinese delegate at the World Congress of Women to show the Party members that the speech was not racist. We knew perfectly well what we were doing, although we asserted we had not really broken Party rules as we had not gone outside the Party, and in any case, the material we distributed was written by a “fraternal” Party. After various letters between the London District Committee and Peter and me, we were expelled.”

Everyone who tried to change the line of the CPGB at local or national level quickly discovered that the Party and its organs were completely and bureaucratically controlled by a clique of full-time revisionist officials. There could be no open discussion, criticism or revolutionary activity within the Party.

In the autumn of 1963 an “Appeal to All Communists” was made in the name of The Committee to Defeat Revisionism, for Communist Unity (CDRCU) led by Michael McCreery, and public meetings organised, calling for a complete ideological and organisational break with revisionism and for setting up an organisation to work for the building of a Marxist-Leninist Party to replace the revisionist dominated CPGB.

McCreery’s contribution in “The Way Forward” analysed the ideological and organisational revisionisms of the CPGB and urged the need to build a new party based on Marxist-Leninist ideology and politics.  Circumstances had “compelled all those who remain loyal to the 1960 Statement of the international Communist movement to expose him [Khrushchev], and his followers throughout the world, and struggle actively to safeguard the Communist movement from their anti-Leninist ideas.”

To quote at length the example of the Belgian party, the editorial of the People’s Daily and the Red Flag argues:

Differences have existed inside the Belgian Communist Party for a long time. The struggle within the Party has become increasingly acute as the original leading group has sunk deeper and deeper into the quagmire of revisionism and abandoned Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.

During the counter-revolutionary rebellion in Hungary, the revisionist group in the Belgian Communist Party went so far as to issue a statement condemning the Soviet Union for helping the Hungarian working people to put down the rebellion.

This revisionist group opposed the Congolese people’s armed resistance to the bloody repression of the Belgian colonialists and supported the US imperialists’ utilization of the United Nations to interfere in and suppress the movement for national independence in the Congo. It shamelessly prided itself on being the first to appeal to the United Nations, “desiring the rapid and integral application of the UN decisions.”349

It praised the Tito clique’s revisionist program, saying that it “contains ideas which enrich Marxism-Leninism.”350

 It denigrated the 1960 Statement, saying that its contents were all mixed up and that “in every twenty lines there is a phrase contradicting the general line of the Statement.”351

During the great strike of the Belgian workers towards the end of 1960 and at the beginning of 1961, this revisionist group undermined the workers will to fight by denouncing their resistance to suppression by the police and gendarmes as “rash and irresponsible actions.”352

 In the face of these betrayals of the interests of the Belgian working class and the international proletariat, it is only natural that Belgian Marxist-Leninists headed by Comrade Jacques Grippa earnestly struggled against this revisionist group. They have exposed and repudiated the errors of the revisionist group inside the Party and have firmly resisted and opposed its revisionist line.

Thus it is clear that the struggle inside the Belgian Communist Party is a struggle between the Marxist-Leninist and the revisionist line.

 How has the revisionist group in the Belgian Communist Party handled this inner-party struggle? They have pursued a sectarian and divisive policy and used illegitimate means to attack and ostracize those Communists who have persevered in a principled Marxist-Leninist stand. At the 14th Congress of the Belgian Communist Party they refused to allow Jacques Grippa and other comrades to speak and, disregarding the widespread opposition of the membership, illegitimately declared them expelled from the Party.

It is in these circumstances that Belgian Marxist-Leninists headed by Comrade Jacques Grippa, upholding the revolutionary line, have firmly combated the revisionist and divisive line pursued by the original leading group and fought to rebuild the Belgian Communist Party. Are not their actions absolutely correct and above reproach?

In openly supporting the revisionist group in the Belgian Party and encouraging it to attack and ostracize Belgian Marxist-Leninists, the leaders of the CPSU have simply exposed themselves as creators of splits in fraternal parties

349 Ernest Burnelle, Interview with a Correspondent of l’Humanité on the Congolese Question, Le Drapeau Rouge (organ of the Belgian Communist Party), July 26, 1960.

350 “The Belgian Communist Party and the Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia,” Le Drapeau Rouge, April 22, 1958.

351 Jean Blume, Speech at the Federal Congress of Brussels, on December 3, 1961, cited by Jacques Grippa in “For the Marxist-Leninist Unity of the Party and for the Marxist-Leninist Unity of the International Communist Movement,” Le Drapeau Rouge, February 22, 1962.

 352 Jean Blume, “For a Complete and Quick Victory: Two Communist Proposals,” Le Drapeau Rouge, December 29, 1960.

Documents of the CPC – The Great Debate Volume 2 1963-64 .FLP 2022:265-267

Belgium was the first Western European country to develop a significant anti-revisionist communist party, and to closely align itself with China and its polemics against “modern revisionism”.

In 1963, Jacques Grippa, a prominent leader in the pro-Soviet Communist Party of Belgium, was expelled from the Party for his anti-revisionism. Grippa had been active in the Party since the 1930’s, was a hero of the World War II Belgian resistence movement, and had headed its Brussels Federal Committee. In 1964,  Jacques Grippa and a significant number of his supporters founded an alternative Communist Party of Belgium (PCB) and published La Voix du Peuple (The Voice of the People). He addressed the Higher Party School for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on June 10, 1964. It was subsequently published as Theory and Practice of the Modern Revisionists, (Peking: FLP, 1965).

With Chinese support, both ideological and financial, Grippa helped organize pro-Chinese anti-revisionist groups in other European countries. This activity proved to be a source of contention and confusion domestically and internationally. With the outbreak of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, however, the PCB underwent a split as supporters of the Cultural Revolution clashed with Grippa and his supporters. Many left the PCB to form several new Maoist parties – the Walloon Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party Marxist-Leninist of Belgium. In 1968, Grippa came out openly in support of Liu Shao-chi, the former Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, a main capitalist-roader target deposed during the Cultural Revolution. 

Another early supporter who was to sever relations with the  Chinese party was the Danish group, the Communist Working Circle (CWC) “Kommunistisk Arbejdskreds”, (KAK) formed in 1963, headed by Gotfred Appel, publicly proclaimed its profound disagreement with the Chinese evaluation of what they termed “an unpredecentedly gigantic revolutionary mass movement” amongst the workers of Western Europe and North America during 1968.

In 1968 China Pictorial at the height of the student agitation in France had reported it in terms of a “surging tide of revolution; the progressive student movement and the workers’ movement, which support and inspire each other, have combined to form a revolutionary torrent charging violently at the reactionary rule of the French monopoly capitalist class and shaking the whole capitalist world”.

Whereas, about the Moscow supporting PCF, it reported:

“The traitorous activities of the French revisionist leading clique have had the active support and close co-ordination of the Soviet revisionist leading clique. Gnashing their teeth, the Soviet revisionists viciously attacked the French student movement as the “mutinous activities” of “leftists” and “adventurists”

Of the political militancy, the revisionist PCF’s newspaper L’Humanite, published an extremely critical article that described the young militants as members of “certain groups (anarchists, Trotskyists, Maoists etc) composed in general of sons of the big bourgeoisie and directed by the German anarchist, Daniel Cohn-Bendit. One might expect a supposed revolutionary party to support a potentially revolutionary situation but the revisionist PCF  was hostile  to the students’ actions. In China they were lauded. That difference reflected the practical choices that were available in The Great Debate.

Ho Chi Minh

The MLM publishing house, Foreign Language Press has embarked on producing a new three volume edition of the Selected Works of Ho Chi Minh. The first volume was made available in 2021.

In “The Path Which Led Me to Leninism” Ho Chi Minh describes the excitement of reading Lenin’s writings on colonialism (although the recollection comes from 1960, he is referring to his experiences in 1920).  Ho’s early writings attacks “the hydra of western capitalism” for “stretching its horrible tentacles towards all corners of the globe.” He accuses the French of hypocritically talking about a “civilizing mission” while bringing “misery, ruin, and death” to their colonies. He criticizes the French Socialist Party for silence in the face of these policies and applauds the Communist International for taking up the colonial question. As he explains, “Uncle Ho” embraced Leninism because it offered a “path to liberation” for the Vietnamese people. But there is more than nationalistic motive when Ho describes Leninism as “the radiant sun illuminating our path to final victory, to socialism and communism”.

Ho Chi Minh, real name Nguyen Tat Thanh (1890-1969), Vietnamese Communist leader and the principal force behind the Vietnamese struggle against French colonial rule. He came to symbolise Vietnam’s struggle for independence. His personal qualities of simplicity, integrity, and determination were widely admired, not only within Vietnam but elsewhere as well. In the struggle to complete the liberation of Vietnam, Ho died before the withdrawal of US forces, and defeat of the Saigon regime it had bankrolled and militarily underpinned.  He died on September 2 at the age of seventy-nine.

The revolutionary internationalism and national liberation that motivated the commitment that this outstanding communist displayed throughout his life was evident in the commemorative issue of Vietnam magazine that marked his funeral in 1969.

Bank Holiday fun : Pub crawl with Karl

Wilhelm Liebknecht (1826-1900) participated in the Paris rising of 1848 and was subsequently gaoled in Switzerland for his part in a republican revolt before being exiled to Britain in 1850.

There he met Karl Marx, becoming a family friend, sharing country walks and trips to Hampstead Heath. As his recollection of one raucous evening on Tottenham Court Road reveals, Marx and Liebknecht also enjoyed a drink.

Liebknecht returned to Germany in 1862, becoming a leading figure in the new German Social-Democratic Party and member of the Reichstag.

One evening, Edgar Bauer, acquainted with Marx from their Berlin time and then not yet his personal enemy […], had come to town from his hermitage in Highgate for the purpose of “making a beer trip.” The problem was to “take something” in every saloon between Oxford Street and Hampstead Road – making the something a very difficult task, even by confining yourself to a minimum, considering the enormous number of saloons in that part of the city. But we went to work undaunted and managed to reach the end of Tottenham Court Road without accident.

There loud singing issued from a public house; we entered and learned that a club of Odd Fellows were celebrating a festival. We met some of the men belonging to the “party,” and they at once invited us “foreigners” with truly English hospitality to go with them into one of the rooms. We followed them in the best of spirits, and the conversation naturally turned to politics – we had been easily recognised as Germany fugitives; and the Englishmen, good old-fashioned people, who wanted to amuse us a little, considered it their duty to revile thoroughly the German princes and the Russian nobles. By “Russian” they meant Prussian nobles. Russia and Prussia are frequently confounded in England, and not alone of account of their similarity of name. For a while, everything went smoothly. We had to drink many healths and to bring out and listen to many a toast.

Then the unexpected suddenly happened…

Edgar Bauer, hurt by some chance remark, turned the tables and ridiculed the English snobs. Marx launched an enthusiastic eulogy on German science and music – no other country, he said, would have been capable of producing such masters of music as Beethoven, Mozart, Haendel and Haydn, and the Englishmen who had no music were in reality far below the Germans who had been prevented hitherto only by the miserable political and economic conditions from accomplishing any great practical work, but who would yet outclass all other nations. So fluently I have never heard him speak English.

For my part, I demonstrated in drastic words that the political conditions in England were not a bit better than in Germany [… ] the only difference being that we Germans knew our public affairs were miserable, while the Englishmen did not know it, whence it were apparent that we surpassed the Englishmen in political intelligence.

The brows of our hosts began to cloud […]; and when Edgar Bauer brought up still heavier guns and began to allude to the English cant, then a low “damned foreigners!” issued from the company, soon followed by louder repetitions. Threatening words were spoken, the brains began to be heated, fists were brandished in the air and – we were sensible enough to choose the better part of valor and managed to effect, not wholly without difficulty, a passably dignified retreat.

Now we had enough of our “beer trip” for the time being, and in order to cool our heated blood, we started on a double quick march, until Edgar Bauer stumbled over some paving stones. “Hurrah, an idea!” And in memory of mad student pranks he picked up a stone, and Clash! Clatter! a gas lantern went flying into splinters. Nonsense is contagious – Marx and I did not stay behind, and we broke four or five street lamps – it was, perhaps, 2 o’clock in the morning and the streets were deserted in consequence. But the noise nevertheless attracted the attention of a policeman who with quick resolution gave the signal to his colleagues on the same beat. And immediately countersignals were given. The position became critical.

Happily we took in the situation at a glance; and happily we knew the locality. We raced ahead, three or four policemen some distance behind us. Marx showed an activity that I should not have attributed to him. And after the wild chase had lasted some minutes, we succeeded in turning into a side street and there running through an alley – a back yard between two streets – whence we came behind the policemen who lost the trail. Now we were safe. They did not have our description and we arrived at our homes without further adventures.

This account is from the book Karl Marx: Biographical Memoirs. written by Wilhelm Liebknecht some 40 years after the event. First German edition, Nuremberg, 1896; first English translation (by E Untermann), 1901. Reprinted by Journeyman Press, London, 1975.

The Sixth Congress (1971)

At the Palace of Culture of Tirana, the 6th Congress of the Partia e Punës e Shqipërisë, PPSh was held during November 1st-7th,  1971, and coincided with the 30th foundation anniversary of the party. A 90-minute documentary, 30 vjet PPSH, Kongresi VI i PPSh (’30 years of the PPSh, VI Congress of PPSh’), was produced of the party congress.

The 6th party congress adopted directives for the fifth five-year plan. The directives called for the transformation of Albania from an agrarian-industrial to an industrial-agrarian country. In December the National Assembly adopted the fifth five-year plan, based on the directives of the 6th party congress.

The 6th congress adopted a decision to replace the constitution of the People’s Republic of Albania. The subsequent 7th party congress, held in 1976, adopted a new constitution which declared Albania as a socialist state.

Enver Hoxha presented the Report on the Activity of the Central Committee of the Party of  Labor of  Albania subsequently published by the Naim Frasheri Publishing House.[i]

Nesti Nase, Foreign Minister, spoke of the great successes of the foreign policy of Albania, especially in the development of friendship and fraternal cooperation with People’s China. He pointed to the victory for China in the U.N. as another achievement of the continuous efforts made by Albania on the diplomatic front.

Albania’s Deputy Foreign Minister Reis Malile had thanked the delegations of those countries who supported the Albanian Resolution. The General Assembly, he said, has once and for all rejected the U.S. scheme of “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”. This decision is also a heavy defeat for the Soviet social-imperialists who have made every effort to isolate China. The restoration of the rights of China is a victory in the struggle of the peace-loving states to free the U.N. from the manipulation of the two big powers, and to revive the U.N.[ii]

Enver Hoxha, Haxhi Lleshi and Mehmet Shehu sent a message of congratulations on 0ctober 27 to Mao Tse-tung, Tung Pi-wu, and Chou En-lai in Peking. The message said among other things that the restoration of the rights of People’s China in the U.N. and the expulsion of the Chiang Kai-shek clique is a result of the victorious march of the Chinese people on the road of revolution and socialism under the leadership of their Communist Party headed by the great Marxist-Leninist Mao Tse-tung. lt is a result of the correct foreign policy of People’s China and its determined struggle in defense of freedom loving and peace loving peoples and states. The General Assembly has recognized that the world cannot manage without People’s China, that without its participation no important problem can be solved.[iii]

Notably there was no representation of the Communist Party of China at the 6th congress. Reportedly the Chinese ambassador to Tirana Liu Jen Hua was occupied touring the country with a Chinese electricity group.

At the 6th Congress Hoxha indirectly criticized recent Chinese foreign policy moves by declaring that, “As long as American imperialism and the Soviet revisionist imperialism are two imperialist superpowers and come out with a common counter-revolutionary strategy, it is impossible for the struggle of the peoples against them not to merge into a single current. You cannot rely on the one imperialism to oppose the other.”[iv]  At the same time Albania had opened trade negotiations with France, Italy, and the recently independent Asian and African states, and in 1971 it normalized relations with much derided neighbours Yugoslavia and the military dictatorship in Greece.

The Congress occurred at a time of victory for the two parties and states: China’s rightful place in the United Nations Organisation had been secured in October by popular vote, in part orchestrated by Albanian sponsorship and lobbying by the Albanian mission in New York.  

Over a period of twelve years, Albania’s political conduct had been based on the view, and advocacy that the day would come when the United Nations Organisation would plead the People’s Republic of China to take its rightful place in this organisation with full rights of membership of the United Nations and the UN Security Council. [v]

 However, the previous summer, before the Congress, Enver Hoxha on behalf of the party, had sent a critical, some would say harsh and rude, letter on August 6, 1971 to the leadership of the Communist Party of China saying “ ..we make known to you that we don’t approve your decision to welcome Nixon in Beijing”. It was given the title, when published for the first time[vi] as IT IS NOT RIGHT TO RECEIVE NIXON IN BEIJING. WE DO NOT SUPPORT IT. It warned such a visit “will bring many negative consequences to the revolutionary movement and our cause“.

The Albanians later said they never received a reply to the letter.

However, in October 1971 Hoxha was informed that the Chinese would not be sending a delegation to the 6th Congress of the Party of Labour and in 1972 the Chinese did send messages notifying the Albanians that they should expect a lower level of economic activity with China in the future.

All this was hidden from the attendees of the 26 foreign delegations attending the 6th Congress of the P.L.A:

  • Vietnamese Workers’ Party (Nguyen Van Tran) and National Liberation Front of South Viet Nam (Prof . Nguyen Van Hieu) 
  • the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (E. Hill)
  • the Communist Party of New Zealand (Vic Wilcox)
  • the Communist Party of Indonesia (Jusuf Adjitorop)
  • the Communist Party of Poland (Kazimierz Mijal)
  • the Communist Party of Malaya
  • the Communist Party of Brazil
  • the Communist Party of Italy (Marxist-Leninist) (Fosco Dinucci)
  • the Communist Party of Peru (Rafael Kaline)
  • the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of France (Jean Ferre)
  • the Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) (Reg Birch)
  • the Communist Party of Japan (Left) (Takayuki Anasako)
  • the Revolutionary Communist Party of Chile (Ernesto González)
  • the Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist) (Raúl Marco)
  • the Communist Party of Ceylon (M.C.N. Shafi)
  • the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador (Alfonso Jaramillo)
  • the Sudanese Communist Party (Revolutionary Leadership) (‘Xhabir’)
  • the Marxist-Leninist Party of Austria (Franz Strobl)
  • the Communist Party of Germany/Marxist-Leninist (Ernst Aust)
  • the Marxist-Leninist Party of the Netherlands (‘Kris Petersen’) [Dutch secret service]
  • the Marxist-Leninist Communist League of Sweden (Kurt Lundgren)
  • Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Belgium (Fernand Lefebvre)
  • the “Vanguardia Comunista” of Argentina
  • the Marxist-Leninist Communist League of Denmark (Benito Scocozza)
  • and the Marxist-Leninist Groups of Norway (Sigurd Allern)

ln addition to the delegations attending the Congress, many messages of greetings were received from those parties and groups that could not send delegations. These included messages from China, Korea, Burma, and Thailand, which were read to the Congress.

The message from the C.C. of the Chinese C.P. was greeted with special enthusiasm. lt praised the P.L.A. for its resolute struggle against imperialism, revisionism, and reaction, for its support of oppressed people and nations and genuine Marxist-Leninist parties. “You have made important contributions t0 the world revolutionary cause and set, a brilliant example of proletarian internationalism for the revolutionary people the world over,” it said. The message also lauded the advances made during the past five years in socialist revolution and construction, in the further revolutionization of Party and State life, in consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat. lt reaffirmed the unbreakable revolutionary friendship between the two people based on Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, in the common struggle against the common enemy. “We will always stand firmly on your side, fight shoulder to shoulder, unite as one, and advance hand in hand.” [vii]

The judgement of the Swiss based Marxist Leninist Nils Andersson was that

“An important demonstration of the reality of the Marxist-Leninist movement was the celebration of the 5th Congress of the PLA in November 1966, which was attended by the CP of China and 28 Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations from the five continents. There was great enthusiasm, for Albania it was one of the great moments in its history, it had defeated the revisionist and imperialist blockade; for new parties it was the first time they had been able to get together in such great numbers.” [viii]

At the time of the 6th Congress the situation had grown more complicated with political contradictions appearing in the anti-revisionist camp, partly due to China’s policy directions and the immature nature of those new parties whereby the role that tailism and creeping adulation could play in that recognition. The high expectations of a unified international structure emerging, evident at the 5th Congress, were stymied by the positive opposition of the Chinese party to encourage such arrangements. The overtures for party relations with revisionist parties and recalibration of foreign policies were all of concern. For the Albanians, China’s improving relations in the Balkans and overtures to Romania’s Nicolae Ceaușescu raised the hackles. Albanian scholar, Yiber Marku looked extensively at the new parties disquiet behind the scene at the 6th Congress.[ix]

Mijal centre stage with Enver

During the informal meetings with many foreign communist delegations that that occurred China’s absence did not pass without comments, some of which indicated dissatisfaction with China’s acts within the communist camp. The Austrian delegate, Franz Strobel, commenting on Nixon’s visit, wondered rhetorically, ‘when is Nixon coming to Albania?’. He labelled the Chinese decision to not send a delegation to foreign party congresses as ‘extraordinary, as the same internal situation in China… Nixon’s visit to China has caused confusion within communists.’ There is anecdotal evidence that when the Marxist-Leninist Party of Austria approached the PLA with its concerns over Nixon’s visit to China, the advice it received was to continue to support the CPC and discipline those in the organization who were arguing for the Party to publicly condemn what they characterized as the CPC’s capitulation to imperialism.

Some of these delegates met in Tirana with the Chinese ambassador in Albania, Liu Zhenhua. One of them, David Benkis, representing the Communist Party of Chile (m-l), lamented the lack of financial assistance that Geng Biao had promised to give him in Albania during this congress. In another meeting, he complained of the treatment that the CCP had reserved for certain parties, which he alleged was not based on the equality among parties. A meaningful comment came from the Chilean delegate on Chinese policy when he affirmed in an informal meeting that ‘China now prioritizes the interstate relations, rather than inter-party relations. This offered the best explanation of the departure in Chinese foreign policy from its ideological radicalism, to state pragmatism in international relations.

The Belgian delegate, presumably Fernand Lefebvre, after meeting Hoxha, is reported to have said, ‘You are different from China’, without further elaborating.

At the previous 5th Congress Jacques Grippa, the leader of the Communist Party of Belgium (m-l) , and European fixer among the pro-China groups, had expressed to the Albanian party his great dissatisfaction with certain Chinese policies. He had been in China during 1966, and lamented the fact that he been kept completely uninformed about the Cultural Revolution. Grippa was not alone in his frustrations over the lack of information. Kazimierz Mijal told similarly of his meetings with Chinese diplomats in Tirana, that the information provided about the Cultural Revolution was ‘very vague’, or sometimes clearly inaccurate, as it was when he was told the Cultural Revolution would be over within the year (1968).  Grippa eventually sided with Liu Shao-chi and was expelled from the anti-revisionist movement in no small part to Albanian reports, to the Chinese and others, of Grippa’s criticism

Kazimierz Mijal, representing the PCP (m-l), in presence of the Brazilian delegate, affirmed that the ‘Chinese refusal to send a delegation leaves room for speculation by the revisionists that there is no unity between China and Albania’. Mijal reinforced his contrariety to China’s decision to not participate at the congress, when on 5 November he told the Chinese ambassador in Tirana, Liu Zhenhua, ‘I am against Chinese decision to not participate at the congress, which itself has raised debates and speculations of a possible disunity between China and Albania’.

During the informal talks, the small foreign delegations discussed also the events in China. . Some delegations, such as those of Peru, Ecuador and Brazil, asked to meet the Chinese ambassador. The main topic of their discussion in Albania was the extent of the reformation in China. These small parties were concerned about their futures, of the ideological axis upon which they had built their action. Among these groups, British communist Reg Birch is said to have a confidential document for Hoxha regarding a meeting he allegedly had with Chinese comrades, with whom he had discussed the current situation in China. No such document was found in the Albanian party archive, nor is it clear if he relayed it to Hoxha.

Disequilibrium in what were often low level contacts in the first place, saw a disentanglement by some organisations as there was an overshadowing issue that all the Marxist-Leninists had to consider, and that was the change in the relationships that the Chinese party had initiated with revisionist parties. This contrasted with the Albanian refusal to countenance such political relationships. Some of the Marxist-Leninist organisations agreed with the Albanian stance without openly criticising Mao and the Communist Party of China.

 In the informal discussion periods, the Spanish Marxist-Leninist implicit rebuke the Chinese for having re-established relations with “the revisionism of the renegade, anti-patriot and agent of the oligarchy, Santiago Carrillo,” and argued that: “One of the principal tasks of Marxist-Leninists is that of carrying on and intensifying ‘the struggle against every kind of revisionism and opportunism, wherever it may arise, regardless of the mask that it may don…. For this reason it is not possible to support, to deal with or to reach agreements with one type of revisionism in order to combat another kind) since they are all linked by the common denominator of enmity to the revolution·, to Marxism-Leninism, and are all instruments of reaction, imperialism and social-imperialism. The divergences between revisionists are nothing but a matter of struggles between rival cliques and constitute a proof of their bourgeois ideology and degeneration.”

The subsequent ritual reference to “all the Marxist-Leninists of the world, headed by the Albanian Party of Labor and the Chinese Communist Party” — indeed, the order (Albanians first, Chinese second) might be regarded as further evidence of a shifting of loyalties from Peking toward Tirana. Even in their closest period there were visible differences in the emphasis of the PLA and CPC. These political cleavages came to the forefront in 1977-78 but have their seeds in the Sino-American rapprochement at the start of the Seventies. French Marxist Leninist, Patrick Kessel recalls a visit to Tirana in 1972, and the discreet manner of the PLA’s objection to the role of the army in China during the Cultural Revolution and Nixon’s visit . The new element, evident since the 7th Congress, was, for Kessel, “the directly questioning of the part played by Mao Zedong”. [x]

Reflecting on China’s relations with the Party of Labour in  1973, Hoxha imitated in his political diaries (not published until 1979, after the Sino-Albanian break)  that “Chou En-lai, Li Hsien-nien and Mao have cut off their contacts with us, and the contacts which they maintain are merely formal diplomatic ones. Albania is no longer the ‘faithful, special friend’. For them it comes at the end of the line, after Rumania and Yugoslavia in Europe … it is quite obvious that their ‘initial ardour’ has died.”[xi]

 In April the same year Geng Biao, who was in charge of relations with foreign parties, was reported by Enver Hoxha as informing the Albanians that “China does not approve the creation of Marxist-Leninist parties and does not want the representatives of these parties to come to China. Their coming is a nuisance to us but we can do nothing about them, for we cannot send them away. We accept them just as we accept the representatives of bourgeois parties.”[xii] Whatever the truth of the matter, it was believed by many.

The deterioration in the relationship between the two allies simmered for the rest of the decade until the rupture in 1977/78 offered stark ideological alignment that divided the anti-revisionist movement.

ENDNOTES


[i]  In Enver Hoxha (1982)  Volume IV –  February 1966 – July 1975. The «8 NËNTORI » Publishing House Tirana  p683

[ii] See also  https://www.massline.org/PekingReview/PR1971/PR1971-48-SpeechesUN.pdf

[iii] Quoted in the American publication Albanian Report Vol 2 No.2 October-November 1971

[iv] Hoxha 1982: 698

[v]  Enver Bytyçi (2022) In the Shadows of Albania-China Relations (1960-1978) Cambridge Scholar Publishing, particularly Chapter 3

[vi]  Hoxha 1982 p665

[vii] https://www.massline.org/PekingReview/PR1971/PR1971-45.pdf

[viii] Nils Andersson The Origins of the Marxist-Leninist Movement in Europe.  Unity & Struggle No. 28, September 2014

[ix] The next paragraphs draw heavily on an extract from Ylber MARKU’s  Sino-Albanian relations during the Cold War, 1949-1978 : an Albanian perspective.

[x] Quoted in Tirana builds an Internationale. https://woodsmokeblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/tirana-builds-an-international1.pdf

[xi] Hoxha, Enver (1979). Reflections on China . Vol. 2. Tirana: 8 Nëntori Publishing House.

[xii] Hoxha, Enver (1985). Selected Works Vol. 5. Tirana: 8 Nëntori Publishing House.p693

Rioting Students, a note

As part of the mythology of British student radicalism two incidents – at Cambridge and Bangor University – grow in the telling. So what is this, about a riot by Maoists at Bangor University in the early 1970s?

Of the events fifty years ago contemporaries “cannot recall hearing anything about this event.” [David Mayes, studied at University of Wales, Bangor 1971]. Others reactions was along the lines of “Errrr…..don’t remember that one. But there was a lot of it about. “Although Chris Jones , [there in 73] described  Bangor “as the last stronghold of university Maoism in the U.K. I think. There were Maoist books in the Bookburn the 2nd hand bookshop. “Whence the differences?” was the most common book. I didn’t hear of any riots though. But I did hear that in 72 the Maoist students refused to take their final exams on political grounds.”

“Whence the Differences” was a collection of Chinese editorial articles produced as part of the anti-revisionist polemic, and discarded books in a second-hand bookshop would suggest faded glory rather than abandoned in the chaotic passion of youthful rebellion. Former Zoology student Gwydion Madawc Williams [“I was a teenage Maoist, but stopped believing after we learned of the bizarre flight and death of Lin Biao (Lin Piao). “] graduated 1974 recalled some details of the maoist presence:

“I heard about it when I arrived in 1974. There was a split, and some of the student Maoists joined the ICO, later the British and Irish Communist Organisation, and has evolved to be something very different, see Athol Books Home Page and Labour Affairs Magazine. Lindsey Hutchinson went otherwise and I have no idea what happened to him.”

A faction of the movement not known for their riotous behaviour despite plenty of opportunities in the Six counties. So, a riot in Bangor? Unlikely from the maoist-identifying students. Perhaps stories are getting conflated as student protests at University College of North Wales UCNW in the 1970s focused mainly on calls to expand the role of the Welsh language. Radical students would disturb lectures held in English and paint slogans in Welsh on the walls of the Main Building, resulting in a number of suspensions of these activists.

One of the known hotspots of student maoism in the UK as illustrated in London in the late 1960s when the London RSSF prove to be a nucleus for future maoist organisations. [i]   Bangor wasn’t on the radar.

The Garden House riot of February 1970 has been part of Cambridge folklore. As Cambridge Alumni Magazine tells it

“A dinner to promote Greek tourism at the Garden House Hotel was disrupted by a student demonstration against the country’s ruling military junta. The protest turned violent, the hotel was damaged, and both police and students were bloodied. Eight members of the University received short custodial sentences for their part in the disturbance.” [ii]

Cambridge was less activity than other places: students elsewhere – the LSE, Hornsey Art College, various polytechnics – always seemed to be more active and militant. Protest was not a regular aspect of student life.

There were interventions as in November 1968, a large demonstration outside the Cambridge Union against the visiting speaker Enoch Powell, who had been sacked by Edward Heath from his position as shadow defence secretary following his ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech. Student newspaper Varsity reported: “Enoch Powell’s visit to the Union last Sunday passed off without an incident. The threat of violence was never put to the test, as demonstrators outside the Union waited for hour after hour for a Powell who refused to appear.”

Students marched the town’s streets on the issue of Northern Ireland in the same month.

There was, in a reflection of the times, the development of a militant left including maoist activists [iii], and alternatives like an independent voice in the setting up of the “1/- Paper” [The Shilling Paper] a left-wing, anti-establishment alternative to the student newspaper Varsity. It was international issues that stirred what was a minority of the student body into activism.

Vietnam War was a focus for demonstrators in the late 1960s, as was the apartheid regime in South Africa. In February 1969, 200 campaigners from the Cambridge University South Africa Committee marched on Trinity College in objection to the its’ resident performing arts society The Dryden Society’s planned tour of the country. The crowd was addressed by the expelled Bishop of Johannesburg, Ambrose Reeves, and the South African poet Dennis Brutus. The tour went ahead that summer with the Dryden Society performing to segregated audiences. There were ulterior motives for several members of the touring party, who used the tour as cover to clandestinely film the conditions in which South Africa’s black majority lived on behalf of the Pan-Africanist Congress. It resulted in the critically acclaimed documentary film End of the Dialogue (known in South Africa by its Zulu name of Phela-ndaba) which drew greater international attention to the plight of black South Africans living under apartheid. [iv]

Anger at the military dictatorship in Greece came to a fore during Greek Week in 1970, which was organised by the country’s tourist board and supported by travel agents in Cambridge to promote tourism. [v]

May 10th 1970, students occupied Abbott’s Travel Agency in Sidney Street, and burnt posters on the pavement outside, as was reported in Varsity by a 20-year-old Jeremy Paxman. A series of protests culminated on Friday 13th May at the Garden House Hotel, where a dinner was being held to celebrate the conclusion of Greek Week. Around 400 students picketed the hotel, but the peaceful protest descended into violence as the police attempted to break up the demonstrators.

It was regarded as a blatant provocation: “Greece…was ruled by a military junta with an appalling record on human rights and deserved to be isolated and shunned, rather than visited and supported.” [Caird, 21 at the time]

The Shilling Paper of Friday 13 February was a call to action for the evening’s protest. The front page stated: “Tonight, the lickspittles of Cambridge gather to celebrate the ‘success’ of Greek Week in Cambridge … Whether or not they will succeed in passing their evening pleasantly at the Garden House Hotel is up to us.” The back page was given over to a cut-out poster – a red Z overlaid with “Greek fascists hold propaganda party – all invited!”

The riot was described thus:

“.. tension escalated after demonstrators began hammering on the windows, and a member of hotel staff turned a firehose on them from a first-floor window. The lights in the garden failed, and the police found themselves under a hail of stones. Tempers were frayed, windows broken, and truncheons drawn. Before reinforcements with dogs arrived, several protestors broke through to the dining-room, or were pushed in by the bottleneck of bodies on the thin terrace. Some of them were set upon by guests … whacked about the head with a soup ladle. Tables were upended, and crockery and bottles shattered on the floor. By the time the police managed to clear the demonstrators, more than £2000 of damage had been done. Two policemen had been injured by missiles.” [vi]

Arrests, police raids on student digs and exchanges in the letter columns in local papers followed.

“The demonstration, frankly, did get a bit out of hand and a number of us – including me – were arrested, eventually being charged for a variety of alleged offences including riotous assembly, possession of offensive weapons. To the authorities, this was a heaven-sent opportunity to make an example of long-haired, trouble-making leftie students who should have known better. It was an election year and we were a very convenient target.” In July, six students were jailed, with Caird receiving an 18-month sentence.

There was widespread criticism of Judge Melford Stevenson’s handling of the trial; the leader column in The Times was typical of broadsheet reaction, querying the need for such lengthy gaol terms: “An exemplary sentence should be no more severe than is necessary to set an example … While the judge was right to take a serious view of a deplorable affair, he has been very severe.”

Melford Stevenson in retirement, he told a reporter that the Garden House protest was “undoubtedly a case for deterrent sentences, and that is what I passed. The significant thing is that since then, no major incident of such student violence has happened.”

Asked if he regrets his part in the Garden House Riot, Caird says: “I genuinely don’t think I would have done anything differently. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and it was stupid to get myself arrested, but I would not hesitate to go to that demonstration again.” Caird expressed similar sentiments in a Varsity interview in November 1971, having spent 12 months at Wormwoods Scrubs and Coldingley Prison: “The only moment that really hurts is the clamping on of the handcuffs”.

The student input into the progressive struggles of the 1960s and 1970s involved a broad spectrum of political sympathies. In a situation more typical of student activism in the Britain of the 1970s, protests after Greek Week, as Emily Chan charts, seemed to be more focused on the immediate concerns of university life. [vii]  Still, in that self-referential manner inculcated at Britain’s oldest universities, Cambridge Alumni Magazine, Cam 61 said of the incident “Perhaps no episode of student protest in post-war Britain attracted so much media attention, or provoked greater public debate.”[viii]

Really? tell that to L.S.E.

FOOTNOTES


[i] See The Student Movement and the Second Wave: Maoists and the RSFF ExperienceThe RSSF/ Revolutionary Socialist Students’ Federation was a radical national student group launched in June 1968 to unite revolutionary-minded students across the UK.

[ii] CAM Issue 61 Michaelmas 2010 p22

[iii] In the early 1970s, the maoist book distributors New Era Books had a contact address in Glisson Road that was looked after by student members at the university. In 1974 the operation moved to a retail site in Finsbury Park, North London.

[iv] See: Daniel J Feather,  Creating a ‘deplorable impression’: the Dryden Society’s 1969 tour of South Africa and the making of End of the Dialogue. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13619462.2022.2076078?scroll=top&needAccess=true

[v] Following description draws heavily draws upon Emily Chan, Dissent: a brief history of student protests and demonstrations.9th November 2012. https://www.varsity.co.uk/features/5211

[vi]  CAM Issue 61 Michaelmas 2010

[vii] Emily Chan, Dissent: a brief history of student protests and demonstrations. Varsity 9th November 2012. Demands for reforms to the disciplinary system at Cambridge led to a picket of over 800 students outside the Senate House in October 1970, which attracted heavy police presence. There were protests in 1972 against the government’s plans to reform student unions. January saw around 600 took part in a local march, and a Cambridge contingent of 700 joined the NUS rally of 35,000 in London. In February 1972, a student sit-in at the Old Schools house, Cambridge University main administration offices, voiced student anger at the University’s hostile response to proposed examination reforms. This was followed by more sit-ins at Lady Mitchell Hall, a large lecture theatre and at the Faculty of Economics in February 1973, after the rejection of examination reforms to the economics tripos. The 1973 sit-ins ended with a march of 1,500 students to Senate House, where they handed in a petition with more than 3,000 signatures calling for the start of negotiations for reform in all faculties.

[viii] CAM Issue 61 Michaelmas 2010

[viii] CAM Issue 61 Michaelmas 2010

[viii] CAM Issue 61 Michaelmas 2010

[viii] CAM Issue 61 Michaelmas 2010


Post-it note news items

  1. New Australian Communist Blog Founded

May 2022

The appearance of a new Australian Maoist blog, The Waterhole was welcomed by the Swiss publication, The Red Flag:

A new blog, under the title The Waterhole, has been founded by Australian Marxist-Leninist-Maoists. We call the attention of our readers to this new development in the international communist movement. In recent months, new anti-revisionist organisations and websites have been formed in Germany, the USA and Australia, which shows the advances being made in the struggle of the communists of the world against the dogmato-revisionist trend.

On their blog, the Australian colleagues write:

The Waterhole is a Communist blog. Its audience is the Australian revolutionary movement, and it aims to serve the interests of the multinational proletariat and the Aboriginal nations in their struggles against Australian imperialism. It is completely opposed to the revisionist parties that dominate the Australian revolutionary movement. We believe the primary task of the Communists in this country is to establish a Red Faction capable of analysing Australian society and preparing for the refounding of the Communist Party of Australia. We believe that only through a revolutionary war against Australian imperialism will the multinational proletariat, the Aboriginal nations, and all who are oppressed, ever achieve peace and freedom.

We whole-heartedly greet the efforts of the Australian colleagues to struggle for the formation of such a Red Faction and for the refounding of the Communist Party of Australia. We have no doubt that all the pebbles on the path of the Australian revolution shall be crushed and that our colleagues will fulfill their goals.

The blog of the Australian colleagues can be found here: https://thewaterholeaus.wordpress.com/

DEATH TO REVISIONISM! UNITE UNDER MAOISM!

Switzerland, May 2022
EDITORIAL BOARD THE RED FLAG

  • Long Live Red May Day

The Waterhole reproduced “Long Live Red May Day “ , the joint international declaration released by many Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties across the world stating ”It represents a positive development towards a new Communist International.” It was originally published by Maoist Road at maoistroad.blogspot.com

Signatories

Communist Party of India (Maoist)

Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist

Construction Committee of the Maoist Communist Party of Galicia

Maoist Communist Party – Italy

Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary Maoist)

Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan

Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan – Shola Jawid

El Kadehines Party – Tunisia

Maoist Revolutionary League – Sry Lanka

Revolutionary Communists (RK) Norway

Revolutionary Collective Britain (Formerly RVM)

Red Road Maoist Group of Iran

Communist Party of Switzerland (RedFraction)

 Poder Proletario Organización Partidaria MLM Colombia

 Maoist Kommunist Party Turkey/NorthKurdistan

  •  Split on American blog

With nothing posted at https://struggle-sessions.com  since December 2021, this explanation was provided via the Swiss-based internet site, The Red Flag:

The dogmato-revisionist, White-chauvinist and patriarchal clique in the USA, which stood behind the blog Struggle Sessions and which was exposed time and again by revolutionaries in the USA and abroad, has been expelled from the U.S. Maoist movement. This is according to a document which was sent to us by U.S. supporters of the international communist movement.

In the light of these new developments in the struggle against dogmato-revisionism in the USA, we want to draw the attention of our readers to a new organisation which has emerged in the United States as a result of the struggle against opportunism — the Proletarian Feminist Research Group. In a recent statement, this group declared:

The threat of bourgeois co-optation of the women’s struggle takes two main forms:

1. That of the liberal-reformist response to out-and-out reaction, which has escalated its attacks on the democratic rights of women and transgender people; the liberal-reformist trend sees the solution to the oppression of women and transgender people to be found within the system of bourgeois democracy.

2. That of the revisionism which dominates the International Communist Movement, and whose backwards lines have crept unopposed into the Maoist tendency itself; this trend wears a variety of masks, but always fails to present a dialectical materialist approach to the women’s struggle or provide a proletarian class line capable of leading it, and thereby liquidates the vanguard role of communist politics.

We consequently see the urgent need for a theoretical intervention to disambiguate the correct line for the women’s and transgender struggles […].

We whole-heartedly greet this new and important advance in the struggle for proletarian feminism in the U.S. communist movement, which is necessarily part of the struggle for refounding the Communist Party of the USA on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. This is an important blow against the patriarchal-chauvinist, dogmato-revisionist line in the USA, which used to be represented by the clique behind Struggle Sessions, and which is a specifically U.S. reflection of the dogmato-revisionist trend at the world level.

The U.S. colleagues further write:

We consequently see the urgent need for a theoretical intervention to disambiguate the correct line for the women’s and transgender struggles, and to oppose the wrong ideas which inform the mechanical-materialist, chauvinistic and petit-bourgeois postmodernist positions which have been taken up by a wide set of so-called Maoist groupments across the ICM (and which are exemplified by the German and Swiss milieus, respectively). We are also aware that variations upon these lines have become commonplace within other sectors of the Maoist tendency here in the so-called United States, especially in those groups concentrated around the Struggle Sessions leadership and the eclectics of the former MCP-OC.

The effort made here to take up the struggle against the German expression of the dogmato-revisionist trend, which was first initiated by the Swiss communists through their expulsion of the «Committee Red Flag» revisionists from Switzerland in 2020, is noteworthy. However, the colleagues make a mistake when they refer to the Swiss communist movement as having «petit-bourgeois postmodernist positions» on the women’s and queer questions. This assertion should be substantiated and developed in the form of a Marxist polemic concerning the position paper of the Swiss communists on the question, «Marxism and Queer Emancipation», and the U.S. colleagues should not refer to an opinion piece written by an individual supporter of the Swiss communist movement, which does not necessarily represent the line in formation of our movement. We hope that the U.S. colleagues will follow these claims up with an actual debate, so that these important questions of the General Political Line of the international communist movement can be resolved through struggle, and not through empty accusations and rumour-mongering.

We would welcome a polemic by the U.S. colleagues. We are not afraid of being proven wrong in a debate over these important questions, which must be solved in a scientific manner if the world revolution is to win victory; neither should the American colleagues be afraid of being proven wrong by us. The only correct policy for achieving the reunification of the international communist movement is to «Let a thousand flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend!». The old revisionist clique which was expelled from the U.S. communist movement always used opportunist tactics, such as empty phrases about «secrecy», spreading rumours behind closed doors, and refusing to establish secure lines of communications with us, in order to avoid engaging with our viewpoints. It is now time for the American colleagues to prove that they have truly broken with dogmato-revisionism by giving up on this sectarian practice and openly engaging in the struggle between the two lines in the international communist movement.

The blog of the American colleagues from the Proletarian Feminist Research Group can be found here: https://proletarianfeministresearchgroup.wordpress.com/

DEATH TO REVISIONISM! UNITE UNDER MAOISM!

Switzerland, May 2022
EDITORIAL BOARD THE RED FLAG

  • Intervention on the question of uniting under maoism

The Red Flag EDITORIAL BOARD has made an intervention, posting in February 2022, “a polemic against the dogmato-revisionist strategy put forward in the document “A Proposal Concerning the Balance and General Line of the International Communist Movement”.

The October Road Is the Only Path of the Socialist Revolution in the Imperialist Countries – The Red Flag (the-red-flag.org)

Another contribution posted online was an article discussing Mao Zedong’s final contribution to marxism — his thesis that “the bourgeoisie is right in the Communist Party” – titled, Once Again, Yanan

  • Status of Red Flag

As a result of the struggle between two lines in our Editorial Board, in January 2022,The Red Flag website was formally adopted as the organ of the Communist Party of Switzerland (Red Faction). It began in March 2021 as a revolutionary online news site, journal and marxist-leninist-maoist archive. It claims to represents the most consistently revolutionary journalism in Switzerland, its name from The Red Flag, the organ of the Communist Party of Switzerland for French-speaking Switzerland. The same name has been used by Communist Parties all over the world — from the Communist Party of Germany through the Communist Party of China to the Communist Party of Peru — and it thus represents an international revolutionary tradition to which we are proud to belong.

  • Name change in Spain

The American Tribune of the People website sough to inform its readers of developments with the Spanish Workers Party (Marxist-Leninist) by summarize and contextualize a statement by the Maoist Communist Party (PCM, Partido Comunista Maoista) of the Spanish State on the Second Congress of the Workers Party (Marxist-Leninist). An unofficial translation of the full document by David Martinez is available on the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist online newspaper, Communist International, here: Spanish State: Chronicle of the II Congress of the Maoist Communist Party

In early December, the Workers’ Party (Marxist-Leninist) [Partido (Marxista-Leninista) de los Trabajadores], a revolutionary organization based in the Spanish State, held their Second Congress. In January, the group released a report of the event which celebrated the important fact that the organization had voted to adopt Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its guiding ideology and had taken the historic step of changing its name to the Maoist Communist Party (PCM, Partido Comunista Maoista).

The II Congress began by reading greetings from other proletarian organizations who sent their best wishes for a successful gathering, which the PCM appreciated, saying it “demonstrates the important work of international relations that we have been doing.”

The discussion of adopting Maoism, or Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, as the guiding ideology of the organization was the main debate of the Congress. Maoism is the third and higher stage of the proletarian ideology, developed since the time of Karl Marx, who theorized and defined Marxism in the mid 1800s through the rigorous study of philosophy, history, and human society, applying his ideas to the revolutionary movements of his era. Marxism was developed further by Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Russian Revolution and Chairman Mao, the leader of the Chinese Revolution.

PCM say the Congress conducted “important ideological work that would allow the two-line struggle to emerge and the militancy to express itself freely to show its opinions, to evaluate the work of the outgoing Central Committee and to mark the future of the organization.”

As part of this meeting, PCM studied and assessed the International Communist Movement and “the organizations that have claimed to be Maoist. We have been formed by studying the TKP/ML [Turkish Communist Party/Marxist-Leninist -Ed.], the CPI (Maoist) [Communist Party of India (Maoist), -Ed.], the Communist Party of the Philippines… and, especially, the Communist Party of Peru [PCP, Partido Comunista del Perú, -Ed.].”

The PCM highlighted that, “It was the PCP who initiated the first people’s war after the death of Chairman Mao Tse Tung, and it was Chairman Gonzalo who synthesized Maoism as the third, new and higher stage. Our Party, together with Maoism, has assumed the universally valid contributions of Chairman Gonzalo, considering that they form an indispensable part of the proletarian ideology.”

Chairman Gonzalo is the leader of the PCP who was killed by the Peruvian State under the orders of US imperialism last September, after 29 years of imprisonment and torture. Through his application of Chairman Mao’s lessons to the People’s War in Peru, Gonzalo led the work to define Maoism and fought for it to become the ideology of the International Communist Movement. The PCM’s adoption of Maoism is yet another advance for the ideology and for the World Proletarian Revolution, and a testament to Gonzalo’s immortal leadership.

The PCM focused on studying the question of Protracted People’s War, Mao’s proletarian military strategy developed during the Chinese Revolution. PCM said, “we have decided to assume the Protracted People’s War as the universal method for the seizure of power. We are fully aware that this is only a declaration of intentions, therefore we have to study and learn about its materialization and development in imperialist countries.”

The question of nations is an important one in the Spanish State, where multiple national struggles have been waged against Spanish Imperialism. At the Congress, PCM established in their analysis, “that in the Spanish State there are four nations, the Spanish, the Catalan, the Basque and the Galician. This leads us consistently to defend the right of self-determination of the nations.”

“The mass line has played a particularly relevant role in the Congress,” the PCM said. The mass line is another of Chairman Mao’s immense contributions to revolutionary theory, which establishes that the masses are the makers of history, and revolutionaries must draw their ideas from the masses, evaluate these ideas through their theory, then carry out and test them alongside the masses.

The PCM expressed it would follow the principle of the concentric construction of the three instruments of the revolution: the Party, the Army, and the United Front, which is an alliance of revolutionary and progressive organizations led by the Party. The PCM, taking up the contribution of Chairman Gonzalo, said this will be done with a “militarized Communist Party” at the center.

The PCM says that a key principle of its mass work will be to organize working women “on the oppression suffered by working women under capitalism, giving it a marked class character and a revolutionary commitment.”

While adopting the name of the Communist Party, the organization emphasized it could not really be considered a Communist Party at this stage, stating “we are a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist organization that is clear that it is not the vanguard Communist Party. Having this question clear, our Party fights for the reconstitution of the Communist Party of the Spanish State.”

To conclude, the PCM expressed their revolutionary optimism and readiness to take on their important tasks, quoting The Communist Manifesto, written by Marx and Friedrich Engels, which states:

“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

“Proletarians of all countries, unite!”

  • Canadians sent greetings

Among the greetings to the Spanish congress were a Canadian ‘group’ the COMMUNIST WORKERS FRONT (ORGANIZING COMMITTEE). Born out of a split in the Revolutionary Student Movement (RSM), the Red Fraction of the RSM (the Greater Toronto Area and Vancouver sections) on the eve of May Day 2021, the Red Fraction announced its dissolution and the formation of the Communist Workers Front (Organizing Committee).

“We are an organization of workers from across Canada, uniting in struggle to build a Communist Workers Front that serves the reconstitution of the Communist Party of Canada for People’s War. We envision a mass front that welds the working class into a revolutionary force, mainly at the point of production and secondarily among the unemployed. We will make this a reality through creative application of the ideology of the working class: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism–Gonzalo Thought, principally Gonzalo Thought.”

Greetings to the Founding Congress of the Maoist Communist Party of the Spanish State

Late last year, the Communist Workers Front (Organizing Committee) sent a letter of greetings and congratulations to the newly founded Maoist Communist Party (PCM) of the Spanish State. The PCM was born at the 2nd Congress of the Workers’ (Marxist-Leninist) Party, held last December, marking an important advance in the struggle to reconstitute the great Communist Party of Spain. The Congress adopted Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the contributions of Chairman Gonzalo as the ideology of the organization, contributing another victory to the forward march of Maoism around the world. A new name was adopted for the organization, now known as the PCM. Today, in the spirit of internationalism on the eve of another red May Day celebrated by the proletariat of Spain and Canada alike, we are happy to publicize our letter to the Spanish comrades.

On behalf of the Communist Workers Front (Organizing Committee) [CWF(OC)], we wish to congratulate you comrades of the Workers’ (Marxist-Leninist) Party of Spain [P(ML)TE] for successfully convening your 2nd Congress. This Congress will undoubtedly mark a major milestone in the two-line struggle within your organization toward the reconstitution of the Communist Party of Spain.

The Unity of the Proletariat of Spain and Canada

We are honoured to have been asked to write a greeting toward this important event. We would like to open by remarking on the historical unity between the proletariat of Canada and Spain. In the 1930s, thousands of Communists, workers, and other progressives from around the world volunteered for the People’s War against fascism and the completion of the democratic revolution being waged by the Spanish proletariat. Among these, as many as two thousand would come from Canada, including Comrade Norman Bethune. The bulk of the volunteers from Canada would be organized into the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion as a part of the XV International Brigade. Of all the volunteers from Canada, at least 721 would be martyred, mingling the blood of the proletariat of Spain and Canada together in the fight against fascism as part of the world proletarian revolution. We greet your congress in the vein of this historical unity and with the hope of sparking two-line struggle between our two organizations as part of the process of reunifying the International Communist Movement and reconstituting the Communist International.

The Similar Development of the CWF(OC) and the P(ML)TE

The CWF(OC) and the P(ML)TE have a similar origin in the rebellion of the youth against revisionism. In Spain, the culmination of the organizational split from the various revisionist organizations was carried out by the Communists-in-formation of Spain in 2018, several years before our own, with the constitution of the Communist Youth and later the P(ML)TE.

On the part of the Communists-in-formation of Canada, this process culminated in mid-2021.1 Our organization has emerged out of the struggle against the former “Revolutionary Communist Party” (RCP) led by the liquidator Joshua Moufawad-Paul who attempted to strangle the revolutionary line in Canada that had been developing for years among rank-and-file members of the “RCP” and the “Revolutionary Student Movement”.2

Having gone through a similar process in our formation as the P(ML)TE, we recognize the immense struggle that has been waged internally to consolidate yourselves ideologically and politically in order to break with revisionism on an organizational level. This process is especially important today as we are faced with the general counter-revolutionary offensive (GCRO) of imperialism, revisionism, and reaction that tries to liquidate Marxism and prevent the outbreak of the new great wave of world revolution. The formation of the P(ML)TE and the convening of its second congress around the question of Maoism has already dealt a major blow to the GCRO.

This congress is especially important as it concerns the adoption of Maoism and the universally valid contributions of Chairman Gonzalo by the P(ML)TE. The successful adoption of this ideological line will further consolidate unity within the international communist movement. In 1982, the Communist Party of Peru began the campaign for Maoism. Its purpose was to place Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism as the sole command and guide of the world proletarian revolution (WPR). This campaign has been met across the world and has seen the start of the process of constituting and reconstituting militarized Communist Parties for People’s War and the development of the revolution under this ideological line where it has already been initiated. Internationally, this campaign has seen the deepening of two-line struggle toward the unified Maoist international conference and the reconstitution of a militarized Communist International that will lead the WPR to its final victory. By convening a congress with Maoism as its centre of discussion, the campaign for Maoism has been given new strength in Spain and by extension the campaign is strengthened internationally.

Since 1982, the international proletariat have more and more armed themselves with Maoism and applied it in class struggle and two-line struggle producing new lessons. The most important among these experiences has been the People’s War in Peru. The Communist Party of Peru under the great leadership of Chairman Gonzalo synthesised Maoism as the third, new, and higher stage of Marxism and applied it to the concrete conditions of Peru producing Gonzalo Thought. While Gonzalo Thought was originally synthesised in and for the concrete conditions of Peru, it has been shown to contain many universally valid and indispensable contributions such as the militarization of the Communist Parties, Guiding Thought, Unified People’s War, etc. The importance of these contributions have been seen in the initiation and development of the People’s War in Nepal, up to Prachanda’s liquidation, as well as in the driving role they are playing in the international unity of Maoists and in the constitution and reconstitution of the Communist Parties of the world. This growing importance of Gonzalo Thought has been summarized by the Communist Party of Ecuador – Red Sun (PCE-SR) as follows:

We are principally Maoists because we consider that we are entering a stage of inflection and leap, where in countries, particularly in the third world, where the weight of Gonzalo Thought is ceasing to be incidental and becoming decisive in politics and ideology.3

We agree with this assessment by the PCE-SR completely and hope to wage further two-line struggle with the P(ML)TE around the question of the universally valid contributions of Chairman Gonzalo, which we hold must be understood today as Marxism-Leninism-Maoism–Gonzalo Thought, principally Gonzalo Thought.

It is important to note that the universally valid contributions of Chairman Gonzalo are nothing new to Spain and can be seen as early as 1987. The Communist Party of Spain (PCE) was one of the first Parties in the world to adopt Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism as their ideological basis. The PCE would even sign a joint statement with the Communist Party of Peru upholding key contributions of Chairman Gonzalo such as the militarisation of the Communist Party. We are confident that the proletariat of Spain will seize upon this great legacy and develop it with the reconstitution of a powerful militarised Communist Party guided by MLM-GT, the Guiding Thought of the Spanish Revolution and initiate People’s War in Spain yet again.


  1. Communist Workers Front (Organizing Committee). “Destroy the Old and Build the New with Gonzalo Thought as Our Weapon!” 30 April 2021.
  2. Communist Workers Front (Organizing Committee). “Documents from the Split in the Revolutionary Student Movement.”
  3. Communist Party of Ecuador – Red Sun. “Some Comments on the Document ‘On Maoism Itself’ of the RCP of Canada.” Unofficial English translation by Struggle Sessions, 5 October 2020. Also available in Spanish.

Published May 11, 2022

  • Demise of Canadian PCR

Without fanfare or much explanation the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada, founded as a party in Quebec in 2006, announced its demise last year. The party, supported by J. Moufawad-Paul, suffered an internal split in 2017, resulting in two competing factions: the PCR-RCP (Central Committee) and the PCR-RCP (Historical Direction). The PCR-RCP (Central Committee) retained control over fronts such as the Revolutionary Student Movement (that also split), as well as the rest of the party membership. It later set up a new website, leading to two competing websites of similar names. The PCR-RCP (Central Committee) announced its dissolution on November 5, 2021.

  • Amongst polemical maoist reflections there has been
  1.  Kenny Lake of the US journal  Kites  surveys and the limitations of a variety of political lines adopted in America by those seeking social change. His observations on Pac-man politics  compliments an earlier polemic on Tin Man Maoism  .
  2. These snappy titles are in vogue – Canadian blog M-L-M Mayhem!  used Straw Personing Maoism. Its true that in the imperialist metropoles Maoism still must prove itself and in Critique of Maoist Reason JMP indicate the heterogeneity within Maoism and issues that indeed needed to be worked out, so he is rightly miffed when supposedly critiqued when “that requires actually reading the source material you are claiming to critique rather than represent them through second and third hand sources, filling in the blanks as you go.” JMP’s text is published by Foreign Language Press, a MLM publishing enterprise https://foreignlanguages.press
  • Another split, a new Nepalese party formed

In Nepal, the fractious communist movement saw a  New Party Formed From Split In Chand Led CPN .

 Kathmandu, May 9, 2022:The Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) has split formally with a dissident leader of the party, Dharmendra Bastola forming a separate party named the CPN (Majority), accusing that the “Chand-led faction is getting stuck in the quagmire of parliamentary politics.” According to Bastola, the new party was formed after “rejecting the conspiracy of some of the party’s central members” to trap the party in the parliamentary system by contesting the local polls from the UML’s election symbol.

Bastola said that the new strategy of his party was to complete the scientific socialist revolution and by carrying forward the slogan of prosperity and independence of the country.

“After the Biplav [Chand]-led faction was tempted to take some central members to the polls under the UML symbol, we decided to form a new party by continuing the goal of completing the democratic revolution,” Bastola said.