Lin Biao


Reading a Norwegian critique of ‘Third worldism’ sparked the curiosity to return to source. The publishers Routledge have reprinted (under a Revivals series label) a collection of documents from China on The Lin Biao Affair. 9781138203921

This anthology reproduces the information given by the party leadership as well as ‘Project 571’ and the speeches and writings of Lin Piao between 1965-1970.Included is Mao’s interpretation of events, available here online .

While in the late Mao period, there was the nation-wide Campaign to Criticize Lin Piao and Confucius: the common western complaint was about the thread-bare-ness of the official account of the Lin Biao incident.

The post-Mao leadership’s offensive against the Cultural Revolution’s ultra -left saw the shackling together in the 1980 Trial of the Lin Biao and Jiang Qing “Counter-Revolutionary Cliques”.

Subject to varying academic interest in journal articles, the Lin Biao affair has received scant attention since his demise. For a long time the standard text available was a popular Penguin paperback, The Rise And Fall of Lin Piao (1976 ) by Jaap Van Ginneken  that relied extensively on high level Chinese documents.

Subsequently books have echoed the revisionist stance of the sceptically received, The Conspiracy and Death of Lin Biao (1983) by Yao Ming-Le  and Stanley Karnow . Translated from a Chinese manuscript  smuggle out to the West, this account (regard as  great political fiction?) chronicles the events surrounding the death of Lin Biao, Mao’s chosen successor killed in a plane crash while fleeing after an attempted coup. Alternative edition published under the more explicit title The Conspiracy and Murder of Mao’s Heir.

The siniologist Frederick C Teiwes & Warren Sun, The Tragedy of Lin Biao: Riding the Tiger during the Cultural Revolution (1996)  offer an interpretation which radically undermines the standard view of Lin Biao presenting him as someone basically uninterested in power or even politics, who was thrust into leading positions and the successor role by Mao against his wishes.

While The Culture of Power: The Lin Biao Incident in the Cultural Revolution (1999) by ,  Qiu Jin daughter of the former commander-in-chief of the Chinese air force, who served under Lin and, along with thousands of others, was imprisoned as a result of the purges that followed Lin s death, intriguingly speculates that Lin was unaware of the “plot” against Mao, since he was extremely ill, but it was rather something concocted by his “princeling” son and wife.

The true “reversal of verdict” on Lin Biao has taken place on the leftist margins associated with Third Worldism which critics see as an ideological variety of Lin Biaoism – if singularly based on the text of Long Live the Victory of People’s War!.

In 2006 the Spanish group Gran Marcha Hacia el Comunismo (Long March Towards Communism) called for a reassessment of the Lin Biao affair in the document “Acerca de la Cuestión de Lin Piao” (On the Question of Lin Piao) .

In its maoist phase, what was to become LLCO published in 2008 a study, Two Roads Defeated in the Cultural Revolution, Part 2: Lin Biao’s Road and the document, “The sun rises in the East and sets in the West.”

There was a small revival of interest as internet distribution made available the arguments summarised by N. Brown’s Long Live the Revolutionary Spirit of Lin Biao! posted at in December 2013.

These were answered in a flurry of counter-reaction of ideological criticism from internet Maoists-identifying commentators, and from the Gonzaloist trend.

Comintern Again

How to honour and uphold the historic significance of the slogan raised by Marx and Engels in Communist Manifesto: Workers of the World Unite!

 Even before the new century there were conscious efforts to find adequate avenues to expression internationalism among co-thinkers that challenged a legacy from the Communist Party of China against rebuilding another Communist International. Such indifference had influenced vast sections of the embryonic Marxist-Leninist forces that emerged in the 1960s.

 Observing the Centenary of the Communist International is not a ritual or mere academic exercise. The contemporary organisations want to develop from bilateral relations and exchanges. Part of the contemporary drive to have a structure to express the internationalism and solidarity is motivated by the belief that the creation of militantly engaged parties, on a national scale, will be giant steps towards a new mass international, however we cannot wait for the emergence of such parties before developing the scaffolding of such an international in the period ahead. Across the leftist spectrum of communist organisations there are expressions of the intention of re-establishing the Marxist-Leninist international, often demanding energetic efforts, with the provision according to present concrete conditions, for the rebuilding of a Communist International.

Even its enemies recognised the impetus the Comintern gave: the CIA analysis, The Third (Communist) International: Structure and functions. Interim Report November 1, 1947, was that

“During the twenty-four years of its official existence the Third (Communist) International played a key role in the world-wide organisation and development of the revolutionary Marxist movement. As the first global political machine in history, it coordinated the efforts of groups of determined and fanatical agitators and revolutionaries in almost every nation and colonised area of the world. To no small degree the enormous growth of world communism in our generation has been due to its integrating and compulsive force.”

There are various contending poles of attractions that are pretty much self-defining since the demise of RIM.

See previous postings

Italian initiative posted on Maoist Road website (July 29, 2019) in the year of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Third International, “let us organize a preparatory meeting this year” inviting all 15 parties and organisations that signed the MAY DAY Joint Declaration 2019 were invited to the preparatory meeting suggested for Italy in January 2020. The call also reached out to all parties and organisations that did not signed, to participate if they ask with a letter to info

The rallying call ending with the slogans


Organisations associated with 2019 joint May day declaration:

Committee for Building the Maoist Communist Party, Galicia, Spanish State
Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan
Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary Maoist)
Communist Party of Turkey / Marxist – Leninist
Democracy and Class Struggle, British State
Elkadehin Party , Tunisie
Maoist Communist Party of France
Maoist Communist Party – Italy
Maoist Communist Party Manipur
Maoist Revolutionary League – Sri Lanka
New communist party – Tunisia ( under foundation)
Red Youth of Germany
Revolutionary Communist Party (PCR-RCP Canada)
Union Obrera Comunista (MLM) – Colombia
Workers Voice – Malaysia

Around the same time (July 20, 2019) Maoist Outlook, a Nepalese magazine published an editorial entitled “Let us prepare for building proletarian international!”

“After the death of Mao, the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) that was constituted among revolutionary communist parties and organisations of different countries on the theoretical foundation and ideological guideline of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism had played an important role for revolution. The new democratic and socialist revolutions and the national liberation movements had started developing in several countries in a new way. But, as a result of serious right-revisionist deviation in a section of main leadership rank of the erstwhile Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and in the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA as well the RIM has reached an almost dead and defunct condition now. Hence, the RIM cannot work anymore, and the need to form a new international has been imminent task.

Several communist parties and organisations that were inside and outside of RIM are actively engaged in revolution today. Besides, new Maoist parties have been built up in many countries in this course. Their concern of building a revolutionary international is growing and some efforts are also underway in this process. But, they are still inadequate.

Therefore, we have to pay special attention to building a proletarian international, now. In this context, we have to pay special attention mainly in two things. Firstly, the ideological basis of such an international should be Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the parties’ political programmes should correspond to the socio-economic condition of the given country and secondly, the Maoist parties and organisations, no matter which were and which were not in RIM before, should create a common understanding among them going through intensive and extensive interactions and necessary two-line struggles. We have to make a special effort for both of these tasks. This is how the proletarian international can be built.

Dear comrades, imperialism, different forms of reactions and right-revisionism can create hindrances to this task and our own limitations and weaknesses too can stand as challenges before this mission. We have to go ahead confronting all the hindrances and challenges of this sort. Let us unite and come forward for the preparation of building a proletarian international on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!….”

There are existing “poles of attraction” – as explored in previous postings – including ICOR associated with the international work of the German party, MLPD. Although an ideologically heterogeneously association of more than 40 “autonomous, independent and self-reliant” communist parties and organizations, the CPI (ML) Red Star, sees its participation in the International Coordination of the Revolutionary Parties and Organizations (ICOR) as constituting “an initial step towards rebuilding the Communist International “.It does not mean creating a copy or replica of the Communist International reconstituted in 1919. It states:

“Firstly, it should be rebuilt according to present concrete situation, taking in to consideration the vast changes that have taken place in the objective conditions during the last century, especially after the dissolution of the CI. Secondly, it should be rebuilt based on a thorough evaluation of the experience of the CI during the 24 years of its existence. Thirdly, it should be taken up as a process involving ever increasing number of the Marxist-Leninist parties and Organizations and through continuous deliberations among them. It is based on these concepts.

The whole process calls for serious discussions among the constituents as well as all other revolutionary organizations which have not become part of this process .”

—   K N Ramachandran Editor, (2019) Proletarian Internationalism Demands Initiating Reorganisation of the Communist International .New Delhi: Red Star Publications

Already there has been a failed attempt to replicate and replace the 3rd International when in September 1938, the founding conference of the Fourth International was held near Paris. That attempt has a fractured sectarian history as Trotskyists co-thinkers compete for the mantle and claiming to be a leadership worthy of the name. The Fourth International of 21 delegates was unable to play a decisive role in the post-war period; it did not succeed in becoming a structure that could unite Trotskyists let alone become a mass force because of its flawed politics – seeing itself born out of “the greatest defeats of the proletariat in history” –  together with sectarian divisions amongst self-proclaimed Trotskyists and the mistakes made by its leaders.

In the centenary of its founding it is informative to review why the Comintern was dissolved. When the Second Congress of the Comintern took the decision to build it as a ‘united world party of the international proletariat’, the CPSU was the only leading party and the possibility for revolution breaking out in a number of countries had looked imminent. But soon the international scene had changed with the imperialists re-establishing their dominance.

Along with this, in the following decades many communist parties emerged which were leading the revolutionary struggles in their country. They were developing their tactical line according to conditions in their country. As pointed out in the Statement dissolving the Comintern in 1943 itself:

“The Seventh Congress of the Communist International held in 1935, taking into consideration the changes which had come to pass in the international situation as well as in the labour movement, changes which demanded greater flexibility and independence for its sections in solving the problems facing them , then emphasized the need for the E.C.C.I., when deciding upon all problems of the labour movement, “to proceed from the concrete situation and specific conditions obtaining in each particular country and as a rule avoid direct intervention in internal organizational matters of the Communist Parties.”

1935 Comintern leadership.png

The leadership of the Communist International in 1935.

Front row,from left to right: G. Dimitrov, P. Togliatti, W. Florin, Wang Ming;

back row: O. W.Kuusinen, K. Gottwald, W. Pieck and D. S. Manuilski.

According to this 1943 Statement: “Proceeding from the above-stated considerations, and taking into account the growth and political maturity of the Communist Parties and their leading cadres in individual countries, and also in view of the fact that during the present war a number of sections have raised the question of dissolution of the Communist International”, after seeking opinion of the presidium members, the ECCI decided to dissolve the Comintern in June, 1943.

Had the issue been raised prior to 1943?

“On the evening of 20 April 1941, after a concert of Tajik performers at the Bolshoi Theater, members of the Soviet leadership, including Dimitrov, had enjoyed dinner and drinks. When a toast was proposed to Dimitrov’s health, Stalin suddenly remarked: “Comm[unist] Parties ought to be made independent, instead of sections of the CI.” He added that they had to take root in their own countries and focus on their own specific objectives, goals hampered by their existence as sections of the Comintern.”

Secret Cables of the Comintern, 1933-1943 (2014)

From the sympathetic left there has developed a spectrum of criticism around the 7th Congress as Neil Redfern recalls,

the MLPC published The Unholy Alliance: the United Front against Fascism and War. This document (written by me) made many correct criticisms of Comintern policy, but effectively treated the post-1935 Comintern as a counter-revolutionary organisation, rather than as one making serious opportunist errors. Unsurprisingly, it was roundly criticised at the conference which founded the RIM. Accusations of Trotskyism were made.”

On the occasion of its centenary, the following documents look at why it was dissolved in 1943.

  • The ECCI PRESIDIUM, Recommending the Dissolution of the Communist International   001 
  • The ECCI PRESIDIUM, On the Dissolution of the Communist International 002
  • J.V. Stalin, On the Dissolution of the Communist International 003
  • Extract from The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov 1933–1949 004

And Chinese reaction from

A criticism by the Editorial Board of The Marxist-Leninist (August, 2010)…reproduced in CPI(ML) Red Star pamphlet, Proletarian Internationalism Demands Initiating Reorganization of the Communist International edited by: K N Ramachandran.

 After mentioning that Communist International played an important role in helping to form communist parties in various countries and in stimulating their growth, he [Zhou Enlai] states out-rightly:

“But by the time these parties grew up and matured, there was no longer any need for the Communist International to exist”. … For him the Communist International had only the limited role of helping the formation of the communist parties. He continues his negative approach to the Communist International again as follows: “Under the present circumstances if a new international organisation should be established it would be difficult to achieve political and economic equality among its members.” … the CPC accepted its dissolution in 1943. And it never called for re-organising the Communist International. Nor it took any steps in this direction even after putting forward A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the ICM in 1963 openly condemning the capitalist path of the Soviet leadership. This negative attitude of the CPC leadership towards the Marxist-Leninist approach of building the unity among the Communist Parties at international level along with its failure to develop the understanding about neo-colonisation put forward in 1963 based on developing the understanding about imperialism led by US imperialism in the post-World War II decades played an important role in the setbacks suffered by the ICM.

There is an appeal to the Cultural Revolution… one has to ask what the CPC leadership did when the CPI(ML) had raised the slogan “Chinese Path is Our Path and China’s Chairman Our Chairman”, and was trying to copy the Chinese Path mechanically. Did the CPC leadership do anything when the Lin Piao’s book ‘Long Live the Victory of People’s War’ was published in 1965 calling on all newly formed ML organizations to mechanically copy the CPC line? As far as we know the first critic of some of these aspects came only in 1971 when Souren Bose met them. Nobody knows what self-criticism Chou or CPC leadership did for these grievous mistakes. Was it not a fact that, by rejecting all efforts to rebuild the CI as an international platform of the communist organizations, the CPC leadership was shutting down all possibilities for discussion and development of the 1963 General Line according to fast developing international situation?

After Lenin’s death, the 6th Congress was convened only in 1928, and the function of the Comintern was mostly carried out by the ECCI. The 7th Congress was convened only in 1935 and the CI was dissolved in 1943. It shows that during Stalin’s period adequate regular attention was not given to analyze the unfolding situation and to amend the structure of Comintern according to the new situation. Besides, though constant discussions among the leaders of the communist parties were required to develop the strategy and tactics to be followed in the fast changing new situation, it did not take place. So, the form and content of the Comintern could not be developed according to the needs of the fast changing world situation, The differences in the approach to various problems went on increasing, creating a situation when the CI had to be dissolved. Communist parties should learn from this.

The view that dissolution saw the removal of some latent threat of a Communist World Revolution, although with the adoption of the United Front Against Fascism in 1935 by the Comintern, a defensive policy as a response to the triumph of fascism in Italy, Germany and other countries, it is often claimed that the main aim of this policy was defence of the Soviet Union, the only socialist country in the world, and not the advancement of proletarian revolution.

The 1943 anti-communist sentiment was that the ending of the Comintern was not to give the Communists full political autonomy, but to enable them to increase their influence in the national frame-work in their own countries. However, far from being under national camouflage the communists in fascist occupied nations were core to the national resistance movements of their native countries. While other constituent parties like the Communist Party of Great Britain, in the “democratic” imperialist countries had (since 1935) abandon their overt revolutionary aims for the time being and sought to form broadly based alliances, e.g. with social democratic parties, to defend bourgeois democracy.

  • Revolutionary Praxis analysis

“In Georgi Dimitrov’s report to the 7th. Comintern Congress in 1935 he had attacked what he called “national nihilism”. Communists were internationalists but according to Dimitrov this did not mean that they did not identify with particular nations, e.g. France, Britain. On the contrary, claimed Dimitrov, they should show themselves to be the most diligent defenders of their own countries against foreign enemies. So in Britain the CPGB attacked the Chamberlain Government on the grounds that it was not defending British interests in the face of Italian and German imperialism. With the commencement of World War Two the British communists did oppose the inter-imperialist war but somewhat uneasily. After the entry of the Soviet Union into World War they could wholeheartedly support the British state’s war drive. The same was true of the French communists who although they resisted the German occupation after 1941 supported the restoration of the pre-war French state and actually voted in favour of its efforts to retrieve its colonial possessions, e.g. Indo-China.

In the case of the CPGB their support for British bourgeois democracy led on to them completely abandoning a revolutionary road to socialism and instead they adopted a revisionist programme in 1951, The British Road to Socialism, whereby they claimed that socialism could be brought about in Britain by peaceful parliamentary means, i.e. by means of using an imperialist capitalist state. For them, Britain was different.

Notes on International Communist Policy 1935 to 1941

Posted on July 21, 2019

It seems that the aim of the 7th Congress of the Communist Third International in the year 1935, regarding the establishment of a People’s Front in all the countries of the world in collaboration with the (before opposed) Social-Democrats and left-wing bourgeois element, was been reached ten years later in 1945. In this year the Communists entered the Government in France and in Italy.


The Bill Bland led Communist League (UK) long advocated an original approach to the history of the Comintern, and the lessons this history teaches militants the world over. This viewpoint argues

– that the Comintern was hijacked by revisionists by 1928 onwards.

-Whereas the standard view* is that the Bulgarian Georgi Dimitrov, was Stalin’s close confidant and trusted ally, when he served as secretary general of the Communist International (Comintern) from 1934 to its dissolution in 1943, Bland’s minority position was that the leadership of the Comintern was dominanted by revisionists , naming the revisionists as : Georgi Dimitrov (General Secretary) (Bulgaria), Otto Kuusinen (Finland), Dmitry Manuilsky (USSR), Andre Marty (France), Wilhelm Pieck (Germany), Palmiro Togliatti (Italy).

– that it has become a dogma in the Marxist-Leninist world that to reject Trotskyism is to embrace the Comintern. But Bland argues this mechanical position leads to the incorrect view, that Stalin was in agreement with “the Comintern’s disastrous policies, towards fascism – for instance.”

(*SEE: Dimitrov and Stalin, 1934-1943: Letters from the Soviet Archives. Edited by Alexander Dallin and Fridrikh Igorevich Firsov; Translated by Vadim Staklo. (2000) Yale University Press)

In a paper delivered to The Stalin Society in London, September 2000, Stalin and the Comintern, drawing on a novel position advanced by Bill Bland’s analysis, showing the variance of Stalin’s views with those of the Comintern, Steinmayr argued that:

“the dissolution of the Communist International in 1943… took place without convening a congress and, allegedly, as a result of the “growth and political maturity” reached by its communist parties. But clearly, this could not be the case, since within a short time from its dissolution most of the communist parties embraced revisionism of one sort or another and found themselves in a state of mutual ideological conflict. By declaring that its dissolution had been “proper and timely”, Stalin must have reached the conclusion that, under its revisionist leadership, the Comintern had ceased to be of any use as an organ of the socialist revolution. That Stalin and the Marxists-Leninists did not agree that a real international was no longer necessary is shown by the fact that in 1947, on Stalin’s personal initiative, a new Marxist-Leninist international, on a restricted basis, was set up in the shape of the Communist Information Bureau, or Cominform, under a new leadership which excluded Dimitrov and Manuilsky. Significantly, the first acts of the Cominform were to express strong criticism of the revisionist lines of such communist parties as those of France, Italy, Japan and, later, Yugoslavia.”

Bland, argued in Compass (January 1995, No. 116), that in approving the dissolution of the Communist International, Stalin was clearly, if obliquely, expressing the view that this organisation no longer served the interests of the world working class so that its dissolution, while a concession to imperialism, was not an opportunist concession. An argument perhaps in response to some bourgeois commentators’ assertion that the dissolution came about as Stalin wished to calm his imperialist allies and keep them from suspecting the Soviet Union of pursuing a policy of trying to foment revolution in other countries. Clutching at straws, they point out the coincidence that the decision occurred five days before the arrival in Moscow of President Roosevelt’s personal representative Joseph Davis!

Stalin, in Bland’s scenario, as a profound Marxist-Leninist could not oppose the dissolution of the Communist International because, as a loyal Marxist-Leninist Stalin was bound by the principles of democratic centralism, and could not directly express the real reasons that it was revisionist-led and so no, longer served the interests of the world’s working class. But, as a profound Marxist-Leninist, Stalin supported the dissolution of the Comintern in order that he might take the initiative in replacing it by a new organisation that would be led by Marxist-Leninists.

See also: Communist League, GEORGI DIMITROV: TOOL OF IMPERIALISM Compass March 1994 No. 112

What we do know: The Comintern was dissolved by decree in 1943. Post-facto ratification of the dissolution decree by individual sections was a pragmatic rather than constitutional procedure. However the bureaucratic structure, the personnel assignments and the delegated functions as they existed in the 1930s were actually liquidated, overseen by Dimitrov, Manuilski, Pleck and Togliatti.