20. Communists under Revisionist Rule

The acrimonious Sino-Soviet split did have ramifications for Eastern European parties however the dimensions or the organizational strength of the opposition to the official line interpretation “in accordance with the new historical conditions” laid down by the CPSU, should not  be overestimated amidst the stress and tension within the individual parties. This posting provides an introductory survey to little known occurrence of East European Communist dissidents, these episodes, looking at the appearance of anti-revisionist groupings,  reflect a sporadic , and often individual response against the dominant power structure and ideological hegemony in Eastern Europe.

There is not much evidence that China went to work trying to foster pro-China faction within the East European countries; in the only example of another anti-revisionist party created out of the existing ruling party it was the Albanian support that was decisive. The Chinese informed the Party of Labour that “it knew nothing” about the formation of the KPP/  Communist Party of Poland, that :

It had not been informed by the Polish Marxist comrades, but also that it did not maintain secret links with them and did not help them apart from the open stand in its press about the struggle against revisionism.”     Enver Hoxha, Reflections On China I (1962—1972) The «8 Nentori» Publishing House1979 p218

Norwegian Maoist, one-time International Secretary of the AKP (ML), Tron Øgrim (1947 – 2007) recalled, on the subject of illegal Marxist-Leninist parties in the revisionist “Eastern Bloc”, that “in ALL the former eastern states (as well as the western) there were Chinese supporters in the “old parties” down to the “individual, personal” ones. We met such people round in Norway when we expanded the AKP(m-l) everywhere during the 60s – people who had just dropped out on an individual basis in sympathy to the Chinese line during the early 60s.”

It was true that only one party recognised and publicised by both Albanian and Chinese parties was the CPP of Mijhal, although Tron Øgrim internet gossiping said: “In Romania I heard about a secret “Maoist” faction existing for some time inside the Ceausescu party, never heard any name for it.” (Internet posting June 8, 2005)


Opposition to Khrushchev within the Communist Party was clearly evident through the purge of leading members and throughout the party. However the extent this was then manifest in organised political opposition adopting a strategy to challenge revisionist rule was difficult to gauge. The most widespread of political statements purports to have originated in the Soviet Union was the “Programmatic proclamation of the Soviet Revolutionary Communists (Bolsheviks)”. Various language editions of this pamphlet was produced and circulated within the Maoist movement, and it represented an anti-revisionist platform attacking the revisionist ruling clique.




The best known of Eastern Europe’s dissident “Chinese Faction” was Kazimierz Mijal (1910- 2010) founder-leader of the Polish opposition group calling itself the Communist Party of Poland. This brief treatment is a marker for a more extensive documented exploration of anti-revisionism in Poland, which can be found at https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/poland/index.htm providing party articles and autobiographical material on Mijal’s long political career.

Kazimierz Mijal illegally left Poland holding an Albanian passport and then onto exile in Tirana. The oppositionist underground Komunistyczna Partia Polski / Communist Party of Poland was the most publicised of the Marxist-Leninist forces operating in the revisionist countries, supported clandestine by Albanian aid in production and distribution of its printed journal Red Flag and via the Polish language broadcasts of Radio Tirana.  Mijal went to China, where he was well received. In 1966, the leader of that party, Kazimierz Mijal was received in Beijing by Chairman Mao on December 21, 1966. He went there twice. The second time he was there was 1975; again there was a picture in Remin Ribao received by Kang Sheng and Geng Biao and some other leaders. During the Albanian China split, Mijal sided with China. So in 1978 he fled to China under threats to his life from Hoxha (according to himself). He went from China and illegally entered Poland, where he was arrested during the 80s after living there illegally for some time. The Communist Party of Poland had faded from the political scene however in the 1980s the organization Polish Association of the Defense of the Proletariat / Stowarzyszenie Obrony Proletariatu was considered to be supporters of ideas of Kazimierz Mijal. The Polish Party of the Working Class – Initiative Group/ Polska Partia Klasy Robotniczej – Grupa Inicjatywna posted some of Mijal’s articles on their website.


DDR: German Democratic Republic

For some East Germans, the Chinese example reflected back their own state’s digression from the path of both independence and communist tradition. There was respect for China’s independent-mindedness but political sympathy for the Chinese was especially strong among the group known as the ‘old comrades’ (alte Genossen), that is, people who had joined the German Communist Party (KPD) in the 1920s.  A series of East Germans were expelled from the SED around the time of the Sino–Soviet Split in 1963 for siding with the Chinese against the Soviets.




Outside of Albania obvious signs sympathetic to the anti-revisionist line were often only oblique observed :  in Hungary  the indication of dissent was evident  when the ruling Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party journal “Tarsadalmi Szemle” accused some Hungarian Communists of being unable to understand that in the present era “war is not fatally inevitable, that the forces of socialism are capable of preventing the outbreak of a world war and local wars and that on the international level the struggle against imperialism is the main front of the class struggle.”



A Maoist Coup in Bulgaria

Rumours would occasional surface in western press accounts as that of the mysterious unsubstantiated “pro-Chinese faction” in Bulgaria. The faction was exposed by the Bulgarian counter-intelligence service and between 28 March and 12 April 1965 most of the plotters were arrested under an operation called “Fools” (Duraci – from the Russian).

READ MORE A Maoist Coup in Bulgaria

Czechoslovakia (as then was)

The more frequent evidence of sympathy with the anti-revisionist position were individual expressions of general political support  so a regular feature on Albanian’s state broadcaster was news from parties supporting the international and domestic line of the Party of Labor of Albania, and letters from listeners were also broadcast as evidence of international wide support for anti-revisionist communism. Even the slimmest evidence of support would be used to bolster the analysis of seething unrest in the revisionist-ruled east European states. So on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the proclamation of the People’s Republic of Albania, greetings from MARXIST – LENINISTS IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA was broadcast on Radio Tirana [January 16, 1976] that proclaimed:

“The Czechoslovakian people welcome the achievements of the Albanian people, welcome the construction of its beautiful socialist father-land. The Czechoslovakian Marxist-Leninists, the genuine friends of the Albanian people and the Czechoslovakian working class, look at Albania respectfully, at this banner of freedom and socialism in Europe, this banner of struggle against imperialism, social-imperialism and reaction.”

In a re-broadcast letter, which the Czechoslovakian listeners sent to Radio Tirana, there were expressions of solidarity and sympathy: a suggestion of both support for the anti-revisionist line and reassurance that they were not alone listening to the radio.

“We must admire the revolutionary resoluteness and the efforts of the work, with which the Albanian people started working for the construction in Albania – with the aim to develop and strengthen the future socialist society.”


NEXT TIME >>>>>> The Communist Resistance in East Germany


When the Albanian state media trumpeted the formation of the GDR Section of the Communist Party of Germany/ Marxist-Leninist: Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands/Marxisten-Leninisten, Albania Today declared, it “a victory for the German working class”

We know more about the clandestine activity of the German Maoist KPD / ML under the revisionist regime of the DDR as the most documented episode because of the publicity given to it by the KPD/ML led by Ernst Aust upon its formation in Roter Morgen , the memoir of Herbert Polifka , a member of the DDR Section of the KPD / ML who  published a book on the subject entitled “Die unbekannte Opposition in der DDR. Zur Geschichte der illegalen Sektion DDR der Kommunistischen Partei Deutschlands” [The unknown opposition in the GDR. The history of illegal section in the GDR the Communist Party of Germany], and the research by Tobias Wunschik, “The KPD / ML Maoists and the destruction of their section in the GDR by the Ministry of State Security.”

1926 : A heroic episode in working class history

Ninety years ago the 1926 General Strike was a heroic episode in working class history in Britain. It was an act of defiance, a challenge but essentially a defensive action provoked by an industrial dispute. Negotiation characterises most union activity; as representatives of working people, the union is there to protect and improve upon the working conditions in the work place. One of the most commonly held explanation for modern trade union membership (and it is used as a selling point) is as a form of insurance against any difficulties at work. Union officials are there to resolve any issues that arise between the ‘management’ and its work force.  When there is disruption or stoppage at the work place it is a reactive and defensive action. The appeal is to procedure and negotiation. For all their limitations, unions serve the material interest of its members – and others who are incorporated in any subsequent agreement – and regardless of the intensity of the struggle, the objective is an acceptable settlement.

1926  :  In this contemporary account of the General Strike, the judgement was made that “the 19th century trade union leadership…refused to face up to the class issues involved in the miners’ strike”.  In a real sense that was right: the unions did not envisage a constitutional challenge upon the prerogative of the owners or the state or the government of the day; the union leadership saw an industrial dispute. That mentality has shaped, guided and directed unions’ activity since their formation. In the heat of a struggle it serves well not to lose sight of that perspective that shapes the trade union movement in Britain.

The publishers of “A Workers History of the General Strike” was the Plebs League whose main activity was conducting educational classes for workers, with an explicit Marxist perspective. It had a complicated, and critical relationship with the Communist Party and was absorbed by the Labour College movement following the General Strike.

Of its authors:

Raymond Postgate, well-known  journalist and social historian;

Ellen Wilkinson as the Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Jarrow, she became a national figure when, in 1936, she figured prominently in the Jarrow March of the town’s unemployed to London, to petition for the right to work;

and editor of the Plebs magazine, J.Frank Horrabin radical writer and graphic artist , was the Labour MP for Peterborough from 1929 to 1931.

On Socialist transformation



Delving back into the archives , reproduced in this post is a series of draft papers  from the cusp of the 1990s that addressed questions that had been taken as settled but then revisited in the wake of the study of Eurocentrism and the Communist Movement and in part by the curiosity engendered by glasnost. Only two saw a wider distribution*, the others, presented here in their raw state, without corrective comments and criticism of comrades, reflect a strand of political thought roughly on the theme of “socialist transformation” they looked at the contributions of Trotsky, Stalin and Mao.


The first is “A Muddled Understanding – Trotsky on the Soviet Union”


The second was “On the Question of Stalin”


The third, focused on Eastern Europe and the Left’s analysis of events therein in 1989.

eastern europe0001



* These two focused on China and can be found at Internal Discussion document on socialist transition: “China–Continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat”  and

Looking Once More at China.

For further reading:  A blog providing links to material that appreciates the thought of Mao Zedong, that is neither exhaustive or endorsement of the material, but rather indicative of the resonance to create a better world that his political approach inspired.  A discussion on early Maoist evaluation of the Soviet experience can be found at https://wordpress.com/post/emaoism.wordpress.com/505