Re-tuned to Radio Tirana


“Ju flet Tirana” (“This is Tirana speaking”) foreign language programmes of Radio Tirana began on November 22nd 1964.

The new building of Radio Tirana was inaugurated in December 1965 with 8 transmitting studios, 5 recording studios, 5 montage studios, central and a large music studio.

Radio Tirana presents

China helped Socialist Albania soon after the inception of the Sino-Albanian alliance in the 1960s build an extensive broadcasting facilities. In 1945, there were only two radio transmitters in Albania. By 1969, there were 52 transmitters, all but eight of them short wave and Radio Tirana broadcasted propaganda in 17 languages to an oversea audience of friends and sympathisers.

During the 1970s, the station broadcast to Europe on 1214 kHz, causing interference problems for the British BBC Radio One on the same frequency. During the 1980s and early 1990s the international service was broadcast on 1395 kHz (along with various short wave frequencies) and was received throughout Europe during the evening and through the night. Radio Tirana also upset many amateur radio operators in Europe by operating transmitters in the 7 MHz (40 metre) amateur band. []

There were constant requests for reception reports.

Front and backof the QSL card sent out in the Summer of 1976sw_international_broadcasters_tirana_2

Front and back of the QSL card sent out in the Summer of 1976.

In October 1966 inaugurated at Durres (Fllaka) was a medium wave transmitter with a power of 500 kW, and 5 years later neighbouring it was installed a second transmitter of 500 kW ; both transmitters broadcast the programmes of Radio Tirana external services.

At the time of the building works Western speculation was that the Chinese were installing a missile base in Albania, mistaking the transmitter sites for rocket-launching pads. During the inaugural ceremonies in 1966, there may have been an allusion to such speculation when the transmitters were referred to as “our ideological rockets”. They reached far and wide thanks to Chinese-built transmitting stations, which made Radio Tirana on short wave one of the clearest signals in the region despite coming from a country which was one of the poorest and smallest in Europe.

The external service Radio Tirana was one of the largest broadcasters in Europe, with a massive megaWatt transmitter operating on 1395 kHz, broadcasting in 20 foreign languages, apart from Albanian targeting Albanians living abroad. These broadcasts were in the following languages: Chinese, Arabic, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, Portuguese, Indonesian, English, French, German, Swedish, Spanish, Persian, Russian, Greek and Bulgarian. 1977 ATA cover.jpg

Partly sustaining this foreign language output were native speakers, a small community of ideological sympathisers, resident in Tirana’s “German villas”, working to polish the presentation of the written and audio propaganda output of the Albanian institutions. Employed as translators in Albania; either in the state publishing houses, Radio Tirana or ATA (Albanian Telegraphic Agency), with some contributions at Tirana University.

“Habla Tirana. Habla Tirana. Están en sintonía de radio Tirana…”

At the beginning, there were three 30 minute radio-broadcasts in Spanish: one for Spain, more for Latin America and a joint one for both. Later, there were  two 1 hour broadcasts: for Spain and  Latin America.

A study* lists at least 23 Partido Comunista de España (marxista-leninista) militants as working as translators in Albania, the last ones to leave in 1990. The mail of PCE (m-l) came to the Spaniards of Radio Tirana always in the name of Luis Buhalance.

Other marxist-leninists, although less in numbers, came from Latin America to work at Radio Tirana and “Albania Nueva”, a bi-monthly illustrated political & social magazine. They worked as professors of Spanish language, they prepared news or edited them, they corrected the texts translated into Spanish from Albanian, and also hosted radio programs. Engaged in translating political works and the numerous writings of Enver Hoxha produced by the state publishing houses, there were also people like Ramon Sanchez Lizarralde who engaged in fiction translation, mainly the works of Ismail Kadare. Their activity and engagement lasted for a certain period of time (generally 2 to 4 years), then later they went back to their country and were replaced by other incoming couples. They were part of the propaganda machinery of the communist regime, as well, to transmit the voice and successes of the socialist Albania in the world.

* Learning the Spanish Language for Ideological, Political, and other Curious Reasons. European Journal of Social Sciences Education and Research Vol 2, Issue 1 January-April 2015

New Zealander June Taylor, one of the many foreigners who worked at Radio Tirana as announcers and translators was hired in 1974 to read and translate news and stayed at the radio station for 19 years. “News arrived at the very last minute. The quality of translation left much to be desired and they were packed with boring slogans,” Taylor said. Phrases like “the army and the people are one and indivisible”, or how the “working collective of the Enver Hoxha tractor combine fulfilled the plan three months ahead of schedule” were among those she read out for years.          [Linda Spahia , Radio Tirana dumps Marxism, gets religion Reuters, December 16, 2002]

A consequence of the Sino-Albanian split was that Albanian relays of Chinese broadcasts were discontinued from July 1978. The relays consisted of half-hour broadcasts in Czech, English, Hausa (to reach Nigeria), Italian, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish and Turkish, totalled 91 hours. There were also New China News Agency transmissions in French and Spanish for 54 hours a week.

In 1987, 66 hours of programmes were broadcast in 20 foreign languages every day. Political propaganda predominated and included: Introducing Albania, Listeners’ Letters, Culture and Art in Socialist Albania and The Song of Our Life. Radio Tirana also presented programs of revolutionary music from around the world, while the programme, “What we saw in socialist Albania” offered interviews with foreign visitors to Albania.

Here is an archived five minute studio tape of part of one of the last English broadcasts just before the influence of Enver Hoxha collapsed in Albania.

During the last months of the socialist era, overtly political programming was drastically scaled down, and the long-established practice of playing “The International” at the end of each broadcast was abandoned. The interval signal of Radio Tirana during this period was the first few bars of the Albanian revolutionary song With a Pickaxe in One Hand and a Rifle in the Other (Në njërën dorë kazmën në tjetrën pushkën). This song also served as the signature tune of Radio Tirana’s foreign language broadcasts.

After the collapse of the regime, the foreign radio service was cut to seven languages and just three hours a day. Now with spare transmitting capacity and unused equipment and no programme, the aging facilities were offered out. Religious broadcaster Trans World Radio became the main client of Radio Tirana’s foreign service and its saviour from bankruptcy. Other paying clients served include Voice of America of the United States, Germany’s Deutsche Welle and the Italian RAI.

After diplomatic relations were restored between the two former allies a rental agreement between the Albanian Radio television and the Chinese Film and Radio Television leased the Radio Centre of Short Waves in Elbasan (Cerrik) to the Chinese in December 2003 for at least 15 years. The arrangements discussed in greater detail in THE HISTORY OF RADIO TIRANA TRANSMITTERS

Related postings

For an earlier posting on Radio Tirana

A previous discussion on  Friendship Publishing II  and  Friendship publishing

Just Read…How the East Is Read

“Intruder in Mao’s Realm” is what Richard Kirby calls his account of living in China from 1975- 1977 when teaching English in provincial China. His account forty years after the event was not going to be that of a maoist loyalist [being a self-described soft Trotskyist], and he recalls incidents that do not reflect flattering on himself, nor his hosts, but it is a record of lived history. A well written memoir with stories that reflect some of the reality and anxieties of the time, it is an intruder’s eyewitness account that provides colour and texture at a time of transition for China. His frustration as a foreigner is clear although his sympathy on a personal level in always there.

It is in a well-established genre of writing, autobiographical, even self-indulgent, with description and travel behind the bamboo curtain, personal accounts of China of its day, limited and empirical judgements abound. He questioned the society he was in, and found, like elsewhere it couldn’t live up to the aspiration it publicised. For many westerners such scepticism resulted in disappointment for ardent sinophiles and Maoists alike.

A sideline concern

Kirby initiated a visited China through SACU – Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding:

“Back in those early days, the prospective China traveller had to submit to a mild ideological screening. When my turn came, this was conducted by Betty, a no nonsense woman in her sixties, who with her coiled grey hair, and wire glasses evidently modelled herself on the serve female cadre beloved of Chinese propaganda posters.” [Earnshaw Books 2016: 12]

Alas Richard missed out there; as someone who worked with Betty for a few years, there were few as warm and welcoming, thoughtful and generous and politically concerned as Betty. She did work hard, and expected the same dedication from others, and in her Wiltshire home, she was as relaxed as she made her guests of which there were many.

There is a niche area of study tied up with study of China’s quest for soft power in the early twenty-first century that looks at foreign friends of Mao’s China that builds on the work of New Zealand academic Anne-Marie Brady [Making the Foreign Serve China: managing foreigners in the People’s Republic 2003] who produced, what many thought a hostile account, in Friend of China – The Myth of Rewi Alley [Routledge 2015]. Exploring the theme of the role of foreigners in China’s diplomatic relations and their sensitive place in China after 1949 – a sensitivity much commented on by Richard Kirby – Brady critically examines fellow New Zealander as a prolific propagandist on the new China, an outspoken ‘foreign friend’ of the Chinese regime. A follow up discussion on the techniques of hospitality and international image building can be found in the May 2014 RHS lecture ‘The Uses of Foreigners in Communist China’ by Dr Julia Lovell, author of Maoism: A Global History.

“Intruder in Mao’s Realm” joins the bookshelves with other accounts of a variety of experiences ranging from one month field visits to years or decades in China. Sidney Rittenberg’s The Man Who stayed Behind [Duke University Press 2001] told less than it could, as did Sidney Shapiro, An American in China: thirty years in the People’s Republic [New World Press Beijing 1979] and Living In China by 20 authors from abroad that included chapters by veterans of life in Mao’s China: Rewi Alley, David Crook, Elise Cholmeley, Sidney Shapiro. [New World Press Beijing 1979]. These authors were all friends of China.

reading mao in beijing.png

Figure 1 Mao’s American Friends

Among two “eyewitness accounts” from the committed left whose residency in Beijing overlap and provide contrasting frank accounts of their experiences are ex-CP, early anti-revisionist activist memoir:

Muriel Seltman, What’s Left? What’s Right? A Political Journey via North Korea and the Chinese Cultural Revolution – 2014 Matador; 2nd Revised ed.,

and a long-time resident communist working in China, David Crook’s Hampstead Heath to Tian An Men – The autobiography of David Crook published online . The Crooks published two standard sociological studies, Revolution in a Chinese Village, Ten Mile Inn (London: Routledge & Paul, 1959) and The First Years of Yangyi Commune (Routledge & K. Paul, 1966). The British sinologist Delia Davin wrote in David’s obituary that through that “classic study” and other writings and talks, the Crooks “provided a positive picture of China to the outside world at a time when cold war simplifications were the norm.”

Delia Davin “David Crook A communist who fought against Franco, spied for Stalin and wrote a classic book on change in China” The Guardian, Sunday 17 December 2000

There has been a long pedigree of foreigner’s visiting the little known Chinese communists, one of the best known Edgar Snow, author of the classic travelogue and history’s first journalistic draft, Red Star Over China published in 1937. Like others who became regular visitors behind the “bamboo curtain”, Snow and his wife Helen, went on to produce running commentaries on developments in China : Red China Today : the other side of the river Random House [1962] and China’s Long Revolution [1971] were both mass market paperbacks bring news to an international audience.

The Wall Has Two Sides: a portrait of China today [1962] by Felix Greene was the only US-based correspondent who visited China much in those years. He spent several months there in 1957, 1960 and 1964, travelling (unescorted) throughout the country.

Many friends of China and “political tourists” offered their observations and experiences during a sojourn in the People’s Republic to provide partial insight into the attitudes, ideals, and life styles of the Chinese people:

Israel Epstein, I Visited Yenan: an eyewitness account of the communist-led liberated areas in North West China. First published in 1945, it was reprinted by Beijing-based Foreign Language Press in 2003 as part of the China Society for People’s Friendship Studies series-

Stuart Gelder, The Chinese Communists [Victor Gollancz 1946] is an early example of the reporter drafting the historic record in the drive for national liberation following the defeat of Japan.

Robert Payne, Journey to Red China [Heinemann 1947] was a visit to the liberated region of north China providing an account of people he met there, recording the things they said and hope.

The classic account of newly liberated China was in the prophetic adventure recounted in Jack Belden’s China Shakes the World first published in 1949 [Penguin 1973 ] Reprinted by Foreign Language Press in 2004, James Bertram, Return to China [Heinemann 1957] provided an impression of post-liberation China on the cusp of the Great Leap Forward.

In the early seventies among English-language offerings were,

Daily Life in Revolutionary China [1972] by an Italian Communist Maria Antonietta Macciocchi .

Jack Chen, A Year in Upper Felicity: life in a Chinese Village during the Cultural Revolution, set in North Honan province. [Harrap 1973]

Arthur Glaston & Jean Savage, Daily Life in People’s China based on Marco Polo Bridge People’s commune near Beijing. [Thomas Y. Cromwell Company 1973]

William Hinton, was another American friend of China – a card carrying farmer and Maoist so to say – whose studies around Chinese agricultural developments recorded the changing fortune of Mao’s China and after through, amongst others, Fanshen: a documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village, based on events in 1948 ; the sequel Shenfan: The Continuing Revolution in a Chinese Village and Iron Oxen: a documentary of revolution in Chinese farming [1970] ,the Hundred Day War: the cultural revolution at Tsinghua University [Monthly review Press 1972] and The Privatization of China: The Great Reversal [Earthscan 1992].

The Swedish writer Jan Myrdal provided a parallel account through Report From a Chinese Village [1963] set in Lin Ling in northern province of Shensi, and a follow up visit in China: the revolution continued [1970] and China Notebook 1975-78 [Liberator Press Chicago 1979]

Of course, other accounts followed as China “Open-up” in the eighties onwards

Other reads here

and here  and here and Reading about the ‘Naxalites’

Old disputes and a new internationalism



The struggle against the new course initiated by the Soviet Union led to ideological division and political splits from the late 1950s in the international communist movement that remained until the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. Whilst the CPSU saw its leadership increasing diminished by dissident and autonomous behaviour among those institutionally aligned to Moscow, from these disputes arose an anti-revisionist trend associated with the ruling parties of Albania and China that did not materialise on an organisational basis with a “Beijing Centre” to rebuild and lead component sections .

Components of this pro-China trend as the anti-revisionists were more commonly labelled, were never as formalized and homogeneous as the pro-Soviet tendency. At an early stage, the Albanian Party of Labour sided with the CPC. Only one Western classic communist party came out as anti-revisionist, the Communist Party of New Zealand. Many of the mainstream (non-splinter group) communist parties in South-East Asia, like the Burmese Communist Party and Communist Party of Thailand. The pro-CPC movements were, after the initial split from the Moscow-line Communist Parties, in many cases, based amongst the wave of student radicalism that engulfed the world in the 1960s and 1970s. The anti-revisionist struggle was inspiration for newly re-established parties like in the Philippines and elsewhere.

Whereas the various streams of Trotskyism had unsuccessfully attempted to construct their version of the 4th International from the 1940s to the present day, it was not until the pivotal year 1977 that Albania’s ruling communist party serious attempt was made to rally an alternative international movement. It was in the following decade that there were three substantive attempts to co-ordinate the international alignment of a fractious and diverse maoist constellation of organisations, one of which was self-consciously described itself as “the embryonic centre of the world’s Maoists” until its demise towards the end of the first decade of the new century.

A new communist movement had arisen in the 1960s in opposition to Soviet endorsed revisionism. In its formative years during the polemical exchanges on the general line of the international communist movement, regardless of Albania’s vocal and strident challenges against modern revisionism, the ideological leadership belonged to the Communist Party of China led by Mao Zedong. In the struggle against Khrushchev and his successors, the CPC were sensitive to the problem of the equality of parties. The Chinese leadership had suffered in the progress of the Chinese Revolutions the negative experiences of advice and pressure from the Soviet Party and Comintern, an intervention repeated by Wang Ming’s contributions during the 1960s.

This well-known history is offered as an argument against efforts to institutionalise the emerging anti-revisionists organisationally as well as ideological and politically. Despite fraternal aid and assistance, expression of solidarity and internationalism provided to friendly parties and funding via Albania, the mantra of self-reliance was over-riding. When the Albanian party was manoeuvring at its Fifth Congress in 1965 to consolidate the supporting Marxist-Leninists organisations into a more institutional arrangement, the CPC did not support the move regardless of the pending mass upheaval unleashed in the Cultural Revolution.

From the 9th Congress in 1969, the Communist party of China ceased its practice of inviting fraternal delegates from other parties to its congresses. Unlike the Albanian party who cultivated such visits. The practice of sending delegates to other fraternal parties’ gatherings was also discontinued. It could be argued that despite China supporting some revolutionary forces financially and through training in other countries in the 1960s and the early 1970s, the global impact was not ideological but largely through lower-key, cultural dissemination. As the intensity of the Cultural Revolution waned in China bi-lateral visits were resumed however in the 1970s these included an eclectic range of invitees and clearly no moves were from Beijing to revive a (Maoist-orientated) communist international.

There were a number of considerations that questioned the need for such an arrangement:

  • Such a centre would never be able to understand the concrete realities of revolution in each country
  • It would hinder the development of competent, self-reliant leadership in the different parties
  • On a practical level there was no capacity for the international coordination of the revolutionary movement, certainly neither Albania or China had the financial or personnel resources to sustain such an international
  • The unspoken objection was the experience of the Comintern itself whereby its policies became identified with the needs of the Soviet Union.

Obviously during the 1960s and 70s a great many organisations uncritically adopted the positions of both the Albanian and Chinese policies, not a bad thing if agitating around the issue of natural justice for Albania over its confiscated gold reserves held in Western nations, however the negative side could be (and was) the lack of independent examination of the vital questions of revolution, especially since there was an objective difference – and all too obvious – in the role of China as a developing socialist state and the tasks of pushing the revolution forward in specific countries. In terms of foreign policy this was starkly seen when the “three World theory” was taken up and championed by supportive-China organisation while others, in the light of Albanian opposition that further divided criticism of China’s foreign policy by the error of denouncing Mao Zedong Thought to follow the Albanian baton.

Late 1970s

Following Mao’s death in September 1976 , the arrest of leftist in the leadership was seen as a reactionary coup and betrayal of Mao Zedong Thought by some. The RCP, USA emerged as the leading element of these unreconstructed Maoist trend, although strong represented, if not widely known, in Latin America.

The following year proved decisive for the original anti-revisionist movement as there were further splits over China’s foreign policy, the international Maoist movement was divided into three camps. One group, composed of various ideologically nonaligned groups, gave weak support to the new Chinese leadership under Deng Xiaoping. Another camp denounced the new leadership as traitors to the cause of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The third camp sided with the Albanians in denouncing the Three Worlds Theory of the CPC.

The Albanian intervention saw a consolidation of some forces around the Party of Labour of Albania with a series of regional rallies and joint statements supported by the PLA and delegations of the ML organisations participated in conferences in Albania as Radio Tirana informed the world about the strengthening threads of this new international constellation. (See Albania Builds An International)

Maoism, without Mao or China

The decade of the 1980s saw confusion, disorientation and collapse of seemingly strong parties in North America and Europe and the maoist stronghold of south East Asia. Many of the foreign parties that were fraternal parties aligned with the Chinese government before 1975 either disbanded, abandoned the new Chinese government entirely, or even renounced Marxism-Leninism and developed into non-communist, social democratic parties. There was also the most successful development to date of maoist origin, the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement  [RIM]. It demonstrates that what is contemporary seen as the “international Maoist movement” evolved out of the organisations that opposed Deng and claimed to uphold the legacy of Mao Zedong.

In the autumn of 1980, a communique signed by 13 non-ruling maoist organisation was addressed “To the Marxist-Leninists, The workers and The Oppressed of All Countries” quickly followed by a position paper prepared jointly by the leaders of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Chile and the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA led by Bob Avakian. This laid out the basic principles for the unity of Marxist-Leninists and the line of the International communist movement.

It was in March 1984 that a second congress of seventeen organisations from fourteen different countries adopted the founding declaration of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement [RIM] which adhered to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.

RIM presented itself as “the embryonic centre of the world’s maoist” although absent from its ranks were major parties engaged in armed revolution (like in the Philippines and India). It regrouped a core of parties who were initially characterised as pro-Gang of Four and against the revisionist betrayal in China, maintaining a Late Maoism focus on the value of the Cultural Revolution. Indeed, in December 1993, under Peruvian influence, RIM formally adopted Marxism-Leninism- Maoism and “advanced further still in the direction of a communist international of a new type” [AWTW #23 1998 p74]

How far they were sharply demarcated from other tendencies which had developed out of the previous maoist movement? On the Struggle to Unite the Genuine Communist Forces looked at the principles and forces that RIM was looking towards in its unity drive [AWTW #30 (2004)].

January 1985 saw, “on the same side of the barricade” but not an official publication of RIM (in all but name), the relaunch of “A World to Win”. Two previous editions had appeared, the first contained an article by Sri Lankan veteran Leader, Sanmugathasan, entitled “Enver Hoxha Refuted”.

RIM included such notable organizations as the Communist Party of Peru (PCP), also known as “Sendero Luminoso” or “Shining Path,” the Communist Party of Nepal Maoist, later known as the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN(M)), the Union of Iranian Communist (Sarbedaran), but not the Communist Party of the Philippines (nor the Communist Party of India (Maoist) founded in Sep 2004) .

Towards a renewed solidarity and many conference of Marxist-Leninist Organisations

The 1990s was a busy decade that saw a repolarization of the international communist movement with rekindled interest in the need to regroup and coordinated communist parties in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact alliance. There has been a number of projects aimed at providing some kind of vehicle for unity of different organisation which self-declare their Marxist-Leninist commitment.

* Different streams, different venues, different organisations, different multilateral attempts to coalesce forces around a common position. A partial listing

Brussels annual May Day seminars

Pyongyang Declaration April 1992

Stuttgart Conference of 9 Marxist-Leninist parties from Europe September 1992

Mao Centenary Essen 1993 – General Declaration on Mao Zedong Thought

International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzmán (IEC) September 1993

European multilateral meeting of ML parties November 1993

Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement declares that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism must be the commander and guide of the world revolution. December 1993

Moscow Stalin today seminars   1994

Quito ICMLPO founding    August1994

PTB Unity Proposals May 1995

Unity & Struggle No.1 July 1995

Sochi Statement at Anti-Imperialist Convention India, Socialist Unity Centre of India May 1995

Ischia Conference (journal “International Struggle / Marxist-Leninist”) March 1995

Leningrad Declaration November 1997

2nd Conference “International Struggle / Marxist-Leninist” London 1997

International seminar on Mao and People’s war December 1998

Nine party declaration on formation of Co-ordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organisations of South Asia (CCOMPOSA) June 2001


From 1993 the annual May Day Communist Seminars organized in Brussels by the Party of Labour of Belgium proved successful in attracting a wide audience from many different political heritages as the PTB increasingly diverged from their origins as part of the Maoist anti-revisionist Marxist Leninist movement. (Although there are exceptions as reportedly the RCP, USA were disinvited from the 1997 seminar and while Bill Bland was invited to Brussels in 1995 he was denied speaking rights.) Such projects set aside the clear lines of distinction drawn in the historic line struggles waged by the CPC and PLA against revisionism. The argument is that revisionism in power collapsed, so “old disputes” should no longer be an obstacle to co-ordinating forces of organisations on the same side of the barricade:

“Whatever one’s opinion about the correctness or necessity of these splits at a certain point in history, it is nowadays possible to overcome these divisions and to unite the Marxist-Leninist parties which are divided into different currents.”

[Proposal from Parti Du Travail of Belgium and the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks (AUCPB)]   See also:

1995 | Ludo Martens | On certain aspects of the struggle against revisionism – For the unity of all communists, in defence of proletarian internationalism

The ideological diversity attracted representatives of ruling parties from North Korea and Cuba to the Brussel meetings and while some parties became more vocal in support for the positions of Cuba and North Korea, neither ruling parties could construct a substantial international group recognising an authorative ideological leadership, while Vietnam was seldom mentioned.

Even the small pro-Albanian forces were regrouping after the demise of their state sponsor but failed to unite in a single international alignment. One can set aside the individual call of Wolfgang Eggers , in December 2000 for the foundation of the new Communist International (Marxist-Leninist) in the name of the KPD (ML) and accompanying “19 Theses” dismissed by Canada-based Hari Kumar because “Your approach lacks either common-sense or persuasive power or psychological insight, or, frankly, anything that can commend it”. The path towards a new communist Marxist-Leninist International by essentially old style Stalinist and Hoxha supporters was explored by Kumar (Alliance (ML) Issue No.19 1996)

The journals “International Struggle / Marxist-Leninist” and “Unity & Struggle” aimed to provide a common political platform for a new ML international that proved to have its strength in Latin America but still a divided tendency. There were 15 parties at the conference of Marxist-Leninist parties held in Quito in 1994, but only 12 approved the decision to continue the conferences and publication of an international review (Unity & Struggle). Two years earlier, one of the largest components of the Hoxhist trend, the CPdo B – Communist party of Brazil – had decided to abandon the idea of reorganising the pro-Albanian forces in order to maximise its relations with the broader defined Communist forces including the Communist Party of China. The International seminar on problems of Revolution in Latin America initiated by the Quito conference has drawn from Maoist and Guevarist tendencies to discuss revolutionary strategies.

Elsewhere on the political margins effort at regrouping the international communist movement was the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO) in 1988, the first of a series of conferences attracting around two dozen organisation, as the Marxist Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD) sought unity .It published the “International Newsletter”.. However, some of the parties and organizations within the ICMLPO identify as Mao Zedong Thought or Maoist.

This grouping metamorphosed into ICOR in October 2010 on an anti-imperialist, anti-revisionist and anti-Trotskyite platform as a union for practical cooperation and a form of organization of international cooperation and coordination for the activity of the revolutionaries of the world, and for mutual support in class struggle and party-building. It has about 51 Member in total.

The founder-leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines was involved in a non-party international broad front, the ILPS – International League of People’s Struggles, a broad international anti-imperialist and democratic mass formation emulated by the smaller World People’s Resistance Movement that seems to lasted as long as RIM did.

In December 1998 an international seminar on Mao and People’s War on the initiative of the CPI(ML) , Communist Party of the Philippines and, the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist , People’s War group saw 27 organizations represented in support of the practice of people’s war and the politics of new democracy. An invitation was extended to the Communist Party of Peru who did not attend. A short-lived website and international bulletin, Vanguard was established but no further international gatherings were sustained. The intention was to publicise the articles and news reports of Marxists-Leninist-Maoist parties, an ambition that found its expression in the present day Redspark website.

The Maoist-Third Worldist movement, a much smaller current of thought began to appear from 2007, but soon splintered and (as with the line of “new synthesis”) took on a messianic claim having supersede its Maoist origins.

These moves in the ML milieu were not in isolation as other leftist currents as seen in the Anti-Imperialist camp, a coalition of activists from different perspectives, initiated 2001, and in the period of retreat, steps taken towards the cooperation and coordination of the Moscow orientated Communist and Workers’ Parties saw the Greek party , KKE play a central role in organising international gatherings and the publication of “International Communist Review” started in 2014.

Beyond RIM

The latter half of the 21st century’s new decade saw RIM near defunct as many of the one-time RIM organizations have become increasingly critical of each other. The intensified tensions within RIM were not unrelated to the setback of the capture of the Peruvian revolutionary leader Guzman.

Disagreements has resulted in many public splits with the RCP USA condemning the UCPN(M) as revisionist after the Nepalese party abandoned its people’s war for parliamentary participation. Only in turn for the RCP USA to be criticized by many of RIM’s surviving members for attempt to foist a “new synthesis” and the undisputed leadership of Bob Avakian upon the international communist movement. Due to growing internal problems and differences RIM ceased functioning around 2007, though there was apparently never any public announcement that the organization was disbanding.

Starting around 2012 there have been efforts by some parties and organizations around the world, to try to resurrect a new internationalism, of re-establishing a RIM mark 2, or else some new international Maoist organization. This took the form of projects and networks advertised on the internet like the Maoist Road blog . The emergence of a Gonzaloist trend in the second decade of the century saw a minor constellation coalesce on the basis of a prescriptive exclusivity that had a sense of theatre without sustained impact.

Aftermath: “old Disputes” & internationalism

Different Leftist currents exist for a reason, and that heritage has a legacy in that each current offers contending analysis and perspectives. So when one speaks about Khrushchev’s revisionism and the restoration of capitalism under Gorbachev and avoids the Brezhnev period when analysis inspired by Mao suggests that the Soviet Union had been thoroughly converted into a “Social Imperialist” entity. Disputes about the class nature of the Soviet Union is passed over and differences retained in the interests of pragmatic unity. Taking an agnostic stance on the merits of previously secured historical clarity is not attributed to other Leftists currents that would argue for an earlier date for the degeneration of the revolutionary project; outside the big tent are Trotskyists, left communists and anarchist currents. The Proposals were that such divisions can be overcome because they were now mere historical disputes as if those past judgements made were immaterial and without consequences or legacy : so what Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Three World Theory, The Cultural Revolution, military role in Poland, Hoxha’s denunciation of former ally, Mao.

The drive for internationalist solidarity that means the unity of views and actions may be for some a form of revolutionary nostalgia, sentimentally privileging the past at the expense of present concerns and the emotional reconstitution and preservation of revered histories. Against them is a past limiting progressive potential of a greater left unity, the idea of many forces on “our side” of the barricades facing a greater enemy. However these “old disputes” involved political positions that were and are important: if they were wrong, mistaken or right affects subsequent decisions and notions of solidarity that the new internationalism represents. Drawing a line under the past may seem an attractive proposition in the face of a “common enemy”; not so attractive if they are strategically regarded as accomplices of that enemy. It is a different matter of co-operating and co-ordinating with co-thinkers than that of tactically working in alliance with a diverse (and often temporary) coalition of forces. Reserving judgement can disguise the suppression of genuine revolutionary positions. It may well be that the drive for a new internationalism is based on the realistic foundation that the possibility of hegemonic leadership by one trend on the political left is no longer possible, and that the Pandora box of the broad movement, contrasting perceived sectarianism and ultra-leftism against the tolerance and pluralism of divergent views, is the authentic way forward. If that is the case such unity, without reference to Mao, means uniting without Maoism as it is understood by its most vocal proponents.

maoism will win