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]
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.
E N D N O T E S
[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
[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
[xix] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/comment.pdf 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