Foreign language Press ~ New Roads ~

The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Publishing House , Foreign Languages Press established in 2016 have extended their publishing programme beyond « Colourful Classics » (see previous posting   here) and have four titles in their New Roads collection that publishes original works and essays that analyze the challenges and answer the questions posed by Marxist-Leninist-Maoists today, and shed light on lesser known aspects of the history of the communist and workers movement.


From Victory to defeat : China’s socialist road and capitalist development (Pao-Yu Ching)

Preface by J. Moufawad-Paul

How can a country that developed the most advanced socialist society in the history of the world change directions so quickly and so completely? In From Victory to Defeat Pao-Yu Ching dissects this question, providing economic analysis of what it means to actually “build socialism” with all of the necessary contradictions and obstacles that must be overcome.

Addressing seven commonly asked questions, Pao-Yu Ching gives accessible explanations to the complicated issues China faced in its socialist transition and the material basis for its capitalist reversal.


Silage Choppers and Snake Spirits : the lives and struggles of two Americans in modern China (Dao-Yuan Chou)

Forward by Juliet de Lima-Sison

Silage Choppers and Snake Spirits follows the journey of two Americans who left the United States to experience first-hand the events of the Chinese revolution. Sid Engst came from a poor farming family in upstate New York and found himself on the run from Chiang Kai-shek’s generals in the barren hills of northern China. Joan Hinton went from working on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos to wearing disguises and ducking the Nationalist government in the Chinese communist underground. The two married and stayed in China to raise a family and help build a new society.

This biography follows their experiences working alongside ordinary Chinese people, from the Inner Mongolian steppe to a state commune in Beijing. Their lives and struggles offer an unusual insight into the events that make up modern Chinese history from Liberation to the Cultural Revolution.


Which East Is Red? The maoist presence in the Soviet Union and Soviet bloc Europe 1956-1980 (Andrew Smith)

This short essay tell the little known story of antirevisionists and Maoists in post-Stalin Eastern Europe. Interrogating the myth of a monolithic Marxism in Eastern Europe, overwhelmingly supportive of Khrushchev, Andrew Smith answers the question he posits: To what extent was Eastern Europe red?


Mao Zedong’s “On Contradiction” – Study Companion (Redspark Collective) contradictions-207x300

On Contradiction is Mao Zedong’s seminal text on dialectical materialism. Perhaps his most well-known work, it’s been read and studied by millions all over the world and is required reading for all those who seek to objectively analyze the world and struggle to solve the contradictions in it. The Redspark Collective prepared this study companion to assist readers by providing historical and modern day context and examples.

Redspark maintains a news site that focus on organisations engaged in people’s war

Also distributed from their webstore are some titles from the French language publishers Soleil Rouge.

Foreign-Language-Press-LogoSMALL-300x300

Remembering Amol

Active in the Iranian student movement outside Iran, the Organization of Communist Revolutionaries (Marxist–Leninist) was founded in 1970 and adopted ‘Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought’. It was one of a number of Iranian Maoist organization formed in opposition to the Shah regime in Iran. Throughout its organisational changes, it has always self-identified as a Maoist party line and maintained that Iran is not a capitalist society but is a “semi-colonial-semi-feudal” one, and generally saw the US threat to Iran’s sovereignty as the immediate danger to the revolution.

In 1976, The Union of Iranian Communists (Sarbedaran) was formed after the merger of the Organisation of Communist Revolutionaries and the Pooya Group. The term “Sarbedaran” was used later in 1981 after the organization armed its members in the forests near Amol in Northern Iran.

Union of Iranian Communists (Sarbedaran)
اتحادیه کمونیست‌های ایران

Prior to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, the Union of Iranian Communists were active amongst the student movement outside Iran. In the heightened struggle of the early years of the Islamic Republic, UIC, like other Iranian left parties, were based inside the country engaged in the fierce, and often bloody clashes against the regime. A number of smaller leftist groups operated in Iran during the years after the 1979 revolution. They included Maoist groups such as the Toufan Marxists-Leninist Organization, the Toilers Party (Ranjbaran), Komala, the Union of Iranian Communists (Sarbedaran), Rah-e Kargar (Kargar) and the Marxist Mojahedin, which after several permutations became known as the Combatant Organization on the Road for the Emancipation of the Working Class (Paykar).As it expanded its activities inside the Iran after 1979, other groups such as “Group of struggle in the path of working class liberation” and “Red Battle” rallied to the UIC.

“The UIC (S) did participate in some workers struggles at this time, such as “project syndicate of Abadan” and “Union of worker councils of Gilan” and also joined the war against the Islamic Republic in Kurdistan (and formed a guerrilla organization in Kurdistan named “Tashkilate Pishmargeye Zahmatkeshane Kordestan”). UIC (S) did also participate in peasant struggles in Turkaman, Sahra and Arab protests in Khuzistan. It also formed front organization such as “Militant Women Society” and “SETAD (Revolutionary Mass Organization of university and school Students).”  [Source: Wikipedia]

There were internal struggles in the organisation that the Islamic regime had lost all its progressive characteristics that despite the regime’s defiance of the United States, its attacks on non-Islamic forces inside Iran meant that opposition to the regime would be the principal characteristic. There were expression that sought retrenchment rather than adventurism, or the approaches to other militant groups. One ‘close fit’ identified as potential unity target was Peykar, in the West often referred to as the Marxist Mojahedin. It was a secular splinter group from the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMoI), the largest of Iran’s guerrilla groups. Its members broke away from the PMoI to support of secular Marxism Leninism, rather than the Leftist Islamist modernism of the People’s Mujahedin. Maziar Behrooz – sympathetic to the the Fadaiyan, one of the many Marxist organizations that fought to bring down the Shah of Iran, concludes that with the failure to reach agreement with the Peykar over a possible merger, UIC “had become a minor player in the movement”.

[Source: Behrooz, Rebels With A Cause: The failure of the Left in Iran. London: I. B. Tauris, 2001]

From exile in Paris, Mujahedin leader Masoud Rajavi was instrumental in the establishment of the National Council of Resistance (NCR) emphasizing a Programme of democracy to work for the overthrow of the Khomeini regime. Within Iran armed opposition with bombings and assassinations continued. In the aftermath of the Mujahedin uprising in September 1981 uprising the struggle within Iran took on a clearer picture with smaller left-wing opposition groups, including the Fedayeen (Fedayân in Persian language), and the Maoist Union of Iranian Communists engaged in small-scale insurgency against the forces of the Islamic Republic..

The Union of Iranian Communists (Sarbedaran) adopted people’s war as a line of struggle of the party. Around 200 of the group members went into hiding in the forests around the Caspian town of Amol in September, 1981 to set up a base area. They staged sporadic attacks for food and necessities until accelerating activity when they closed the Haraz Road 15 km to Amol in Mazandaran Province on November 9th.      amol map

Although Iran was in the middle of a war with Iraq, on November 13th, Iranian armed forces dispersed the group which had to retreat further into depths of the forest. Some casualties were reported on both sides. As a result of this serious encounter, the group lost nearly half of its members. Two days later, another communist group attacked a military post 30 km from Amol. On Dec, 21, 1981, the guerrillas attacked a newly established military post, but were forced to retreat. On Jan, 3, 1982, during clashes with the Pasdaran – the Informal name for the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (the Iranian Revolutionary Guards) – one of the guerrilla leaders was killed.

1982 Amol uprising  

  1982 amol uprising

1982 the UIC (S) mobilized forces in forests around Amol and launched an armed uprising on 25 January 1982, led by Siamak Zaim. The first target was the Basij building that housed the paramilitary volunteer militia established in 1979 by order of Ayatollah Khomeini. Then they started building barricades and making announcements asking people to join them. Their expectation to stage a public uprising did not find much support. People backed the military and took arms against the communist guerrillas killing eleven in front of the Basij building. But the civilian death toll was reportedly also high at 40 people.

The uprising was eventually a failure and the group went through a difficult period with most of its leadership and cadres arrested or killed. Zaim was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard after they retook Amol by force, and eventually executed in 1984.

The analysis of the Amol Uprising from another leftist perspective was, not unsurprisingly, more critical than that of the UCI and its successor organisations.

“The ill-prepared operation was intended to ignite mass urisings throughout the country, but was instead disastrous. Calling themselves the Sarbedaran (literally ‘those who are ready to be hanged’), the attackers carried out the operation at a time when differences within the organisation had reached fever pitch, the vital disagreement between those proposing retreat and those calling for an offensive against the IRI (- the Islamic Republic of Iran). The 1982 operation showed the latter had the upper hand, but the fiasco engulfed both factions. After 48 hours the attackers retreated into the jungle, and by the summer were uprooted by IRI forces, over 250 members were arrested and later executed. Among those executed were such notables of anti-Shah activity abroad as Siyamk Za’im, Abdol Rahman Azmaiesh, Hosein Riahi (alias Puya), mastermind of the military operation, and Farid and Vahid sari’olqalam.”

[Source: Behrooz, Rebels With A Cause: The failure of the Left in Iran. London: I. B. Tauris, 2001.]

Aftermath

The UCI were not the only left-wing group to be militarily defeated by the forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the government responded to the armed challenge of the guerrilla groups by expanded use of the Pasdaran in counterintelligence activities and by widespread arrests, jailings, and executions. Further campaigns in 1983 reduced rebel control over the countryside, and the Kurdish Democratic Party had to move its headquarters to Iraq, from which it made forays into Iran. By the end of 1983, key leaders of the Fadayan, Paykar (a Marxist-oriented splinter group of the Mojahedin), the Union of Communists, and the Mojahedin in Iran had been killed, thousands of the rank and file had been executed or were in prison, and the organizational structure of these movements was gravely weakened. Only the Mojahedin managed to survive, and even it had to transfer its main base of operations to Kordestan, and later to Kurdistan in Iraq, and its headquarters to Paris.

The pro-Soviet Communist Party of Iran, the Tudeh party had secured itself a measure of freedom during the first three years of the regime by declaring loyalty to Khomeini and supporting the clerics against liberal and left-wing opposition groups. But the party’s position deteriorated in 1982, as relations between Iran and the Soviet Union grew more strained over such issues as the war with Iraq and the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. The government began closing down Tudeh publications as early as June 1981, and in 1982 members of the Tudeh as agents of a foreign power. In February 1983, the government arrested Tudeh leader Nureddin Kianuri, other members of the party Central Committee, and more than 1,000 party members. The party was proscribed, and Kianuri confessed on television to spying for the Soviet Union and to “espionage, deceit, and treason.”

In the early days of the Islamic Republic’s campaign against leftist organizations, the smaller groups bore the brunt of the clerics’ attacks. The regime arrested and executed party leaders, decimating their organizational structures well before the interrogations, torture, executions and forced disappearances of political prisoners during the summer of 1988 constituted a widespread and systematic effort by the Islamic Republic to eliminate all political opposition. The exact number of prisoners executed is not known. Estimates deaths range from the regime’s official declaration of “fewer than a thousand” to “estimates that 4,500 to 5,000 prisoners were executed that summer”.

[Source: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center.(2009) Deadly Fatwa: Iran’s 1988 Prison Massacre. New Haven, Connecticut]

In spring 1983 the 4th council of Union of Iranian Communists was held attempting to reorganise, however state repression resulted in most of the leadership and cadres being arrested and shot in that year’s wave of repression unleashed by the regime. The UIC, along with the other Iranian leftist forces were disrupted and neutralised within the country. In 1985 the UIC had again tried to organize militant struggle against the Islamic Republic but, again, this ended in failure. After this year they mainly operated in Kurdistan and abroad. Although “In the late ’80s they dropped some of their old slogans and strategies such as “Peoples’ war in rural areas and uprising in cities”, “Revolution Path” etc. Instead they launched a new strategy and their slogan became “Protracted People’s War: siege the cities via villages”. [Source Wikepedia]

In 1984 the remnants of the UIC in exile were active in the re-groupment of Maoist organizations from all over the world, in the founding of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement. It was central to the publication of Jahani Baraye Fath (جهانی برای فتح, a Persian translation of the RIM publication ‘A World to Win’). UIC militants in London were active in maintaining the organisational task as a central contact for RIM. Politically they followed the development within RIM – signatories to the 1993 Declaration, Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism! formulated their political stance. UIC members held the ‘Founding Congress of Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist)’, duly established on May Day, 2001, publishing the magazine Haghighat (حقیقت, Persian for ‘Truth’). It has an internet presence with English language pages

In the new century the successor organisation CPI (MLM) , its membership mainly outside of Iran engaged in public polemics with  other parties (eg  Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan http://sholajawid.org/ ) and supported the new synthesis of “communist theory” by the RCP, USA leader Bob Avakian that resulted in the disintegration of RIM.

****

The Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) published on the 32nd anniversary of Amol Uprising (24th of January 1982) this memorial article:

The History Proved who the imperialist lackeys are

It is about 30 years since comrade Behrooz Fathi — a leader of the Union of Communists of Iran (Sarbedaran) and one of the Amol insurrectionists while under arrest and savage torture by the Islamic rulers, shot back at his torturers and interrogators who were accusing the Union of Communists of Iran and the armed insurrection of Sarbedaran in Amol of being an ‘American’ project, that: History will prove who the imperialist lackys are!

For those revolutionary communists who had organized and led the Sarbedaran insurrection it was clear that the ‘anti-imperialism’ of the Islamic reaction ruling in Iran was nothing but imposing a more horrendous version of the same system of oppression and exploitation which existed under the Shah, while adding to it religious obscurantism and religious tyranny. Thirty Four years of Islamic Republic of Iran had proven that the Islamist rulers in Iran never set their foot outside the capitalist imperialist system. The fact that the ideological roots and social program of the IRI goes back as deep as 1400 years in history but this was not in contradiction with the fact that this regime tightened the totality of economic life of Iran into the world network of capitalist imperialist system even deeper that the Shah and by carrying out super exploitation of the life of more 70 million people have delivered unimaginable wealth to the imperialist system. This regime while trumpeting ‘anti-imperialism’ has been tightening its life cord to the world system even tighter and today has prepared to enter into unity and solidarity with the imperialist powers more openly in order to keep its lifeline which is dependent on the world capitalist system continuing.

Indeed the history proved who the lackeys of imperialism are!

Islamic Republic’s ‘anti-imperialism’ was on the one hand a bargaining process with the imperialist powers in order to consolidate the position of the Islamist strata of the comprador-feudal class of Iran and on the other hand it was to impose the outmoded Islamic ideology, morality, culture and values in opposition to the equally outmoded ideology and values that the Shah’s regime had imposed on the society with the help of the imperialists. This opposition was an all and all reactionary opposition and the rule of the theocratic regime in Iran, a regime which has mixed State and religion has been among the main sources of unprecedented degeneration and backwardness in the social relations among the people including intensification of oppression of women, spread of old culture and values, ignorance and superstition by leaps and bounds.

The Islamic Republic inaugurated its system with a crack down on women’s rising against imposition of Islamic morality and traditions, with suppression of the just struggles of the oppressed nations in Khuzestan, Kurdistan and Turkmen-Sahara, by attacking freedom of thought and artistic creation and revolutionary movements of the workers and toiling masses of Iran and it consolidated its regime with massacre of the enlightened vanguards of the people whom it had captured – the political prisoners. It was against this regime that the Union of Communists of Iran called upon the people in 1981 to rise up and join the insurrection to overthrow the regime. The October 1981 statement of Sarbedaran called:

“Oh People of Iran! The Islamic Republic, Khomeini and his cohorts are nothing but an ensemble of clerical filth, tyranny and bullying. The fraudulent Khomeini has restored the despotic monarchy in its religious version and upon the tortured and mutilated bodies of our young revolutionaries. The regime of whiplash and gallows of Khomeini and company sheds the blood of hundreds of youth and teens, men and women and even the children of our people every day. The sounds of gunning down of the people in countless prisons and detention centers of the Islamic Republic are heard all over. Monstrosity and crimes of Khomeini and his band have made the whole nation mournful and have pushed the country towards complete decadence and collapse. The regime of ignorance, arrogance and backbiting of this swindler old fox have brought stagnation and destruction to industry, agriculture, science and national culture and destroyed individual and social security and well-being in our country. Oh workers comrades! Toiling brothers and sisters of every city and countryside! Let us stand up with one heart and united! Fear not the hollow browbeating and empty artillery and gunfire of this bunch of wicked hoodlums. We must burn down throne and courts of this rude bunch that have in their brainless heads a dream of monarchial rule.”

Defeat of Sarbedaran insurrection and other revolutionary struggles in other parts of the country, especially in Kurdistan meant consolidation of the Islamic regime. Despite of 32 years of passing of the defeat of Sarbedaran insurrection still the memory and lessons and its historical call resonates that the only road to liberation is through overthrow of the Islamic Republic system in its totality and establishment of a radically different and new political power and state—an state which not only does not belong to the capitalist class and its servants and is not based on any of the ideological-cultural institutions, values and traditions of this class but it aims to uproot all this and has a completely opposite class character to the ruling reaction. The name of this state is Dictatorship of Proletariat and it aims to rely on the conscious masses of people and annihilate all forms of and all roots of oppression, discrimination, exploitation, ignorance and suppression.

Thirty two years after the Sarbedaran insurrection, the necessity of a revolutionary movement for overthrow of the Islamic Republic and establishment of a proletarian state continues – a challenge before the society especially its communist vanguards. That without seizing political power all is illusion and that seizing political power is impossible without leadership of a revolutionary communist party with a correct political and ideological line continues to be true.

The lessons of defeated revolution of 1979 as well as the Sarbedaran insurrection clearly demonstrates that without intervention of the revolutionary communist forces, with a revolutionary vision and program there will never be a change in the situation towards emancipation of the people and the society will fall from bad to worse situations. If we, the revolutionary communists fail to play our role in the intense and increasing crisis in this society and in the world, again and again the reactionary forces of one kind or another will occupy the scene and become the main players. In order to realize this urgent historic task today we need more than ever a solid core of the revolutionary communists who are equipped with the highest achievements and levels of understanding of the International Communist Movement and become, in Iran as well as the region the principal players on the political stage.

In 1980s a just war was initiated by Sarbedaran for overthrow of the Islamic Republic which represented the interests of the majority of the people of Iran against the reaction of capital, imperialism and Islam. The realization of those goals and political tasks continues to be the only way for emancipation of the majority of the people of this society and depends on the forces which have a new understanding and awareness of the libratory character of the future society and are preparing the revolution – a revolution of the kind of the socialist revolutions of 20th century in Russia and China but at the same time very different from them and unprecedented in the human history.

CPIMLM

January 22, 2014

 

 

Why Bother?

This “open letter” is both belated and contrived to commemorate an anniversary that may have no significance outside what Phil Ochs sang as “a small circle of friends”.That anniversary is that a decade has passed this month since work began on EROL – the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line.

Sparked by a conversation on that gloriously sunny day at the London Radical Book Fair the question was raised “Why the effort on EROL”; after all, as you rightly commented revisionism isn’t going anywhere. The point has been made since the mid-1960s that the identifier of “anti-revisionism” is a politically passé term since Maoism has now superseded the need for using such a term as a prefix. Underlying the question was the thought that, given the ongoing struggles and need to rebuild a movement, was this really a furrow worthy ploughing? It is an argument that deserved greater reflection than given in that moment.

The trajectory of modern revisionism hit a brick wall: although even with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there are still on the English left, aging remnants along the British Road arguing the same failed politics, while Trotskyism thrashes in its last stages unable to shake off its legacy as the failed competitor in a struggle nearly a century old. The only advanced this century has been the stalled revolutionary struggles in the Global South largely led by Maoist forces who drew their initial inspiration from the anti-revisionist struggle associated with the Albanian and Chinese communist parties. It is that history that EROL addresses but not from the perspective of bourgeois scholarship or sectarian belief that one red thread persisted throughout its history.

What have we spent nearly ten years building is an archive of revolutionary endeavour. Cynics claim that ‘history belongs to the victors! Don’t belief a word of it! History belongs to those who keep records and tell their story.

The function of making the record accessible has provided an access point to a political trend and argumentation and built a foundational backstory that illustrates the legacy and past attempts to tackle the strategic and tactical challenges facing a revolutionary movement.

EROL focus is on document publication – a low priority in conventional academic and commercial publishing. Initially encouraged by a non-sectarian American Trotskyist (thank you David), the bulk of the administrative duties and political tone of EROL since started up in 2009 has been borne by an equally industrious and non-sectarian veteran of the American New Communist Movement as the Maoists were known (thank you Paul).

By the early 2000s, very little of the anti-revisionist record was easily available in English. The entire experience was in danger of languishing in the margins, being largely forgotten. For the most part, the documents in question had been published in in books or periodicals at the time of the birth and demise of the anti-revisionist movement.

Today there is no equivalent resource seen in the incredible wealth and diversity of items posted by EROL. No pay walls or subscriptions here – a true product of unpaid voluntary labour for the greater good, it allows access and has more holdings than even a National Library collection of record. The digital medium makes somethings possible that would be very difficult in the physical world such as the international co-operation and co-ordination for such political depositories such as the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line that allows access to material that is scattered, rare and uncatalogued.

The internet provided a medium for the development of an accessible collection that initially was constructed from the personal resources of the EROL team, and subsequently built from contributions and further research facilitated by the growth of relevant websites.

This site is purposeful, in the words of a committed Canadian blogger:

“it is important to examine the strengths and limitations of revolutionary organizations that were once significant so as to avoid repeating past errors.  Often we tend to repeat the past’s mistakes, even when we think we are forging a new path, and there is sometimes little to know historical memory over an experience that can and should teach us something about how to organize as communists now.”

[JMP, Learning From Documents of Past Struggle (continued) May 31, 2013 ]

The transnational experience of the anti-revisionist movement offers the possibility of assessing the experienced gained in the historical process of development, growth and implosion of the emergent Marxist-Leninist movement. EROL goes some way to make this available and whether that experience of ML groups and parties in the advanced capitalist countries is utilised in future party-building, it is clear that changes comes from within.Fracturing of the CRCU the pioneering ML organisation in Britain, as charted in this research note, signposts some of the internal factors that contributed to its diminutive existence.

As best we can, we try to pass on and, where necessary, rediscover this laboured past and make it available for a new generation to weigh and assess. EROL’s publishing work aimed to do this for a small but significant fragment of our revolutionary heritage.

IN providing primary material, EROL reduces a dependency on partisan historical interpreters   and provides a basis for assessment of rival explanations based on direct access to source materials. EROL goes someway to illustrate the inherent complexity of political action, the validity of argument and interpretation and the contributions and failures of the movement. Even without an editorial narrative it illustrates that political struggle involves far more than following a single line or leader. Navigating the ideas and actions presented by the various actors in the drama of the anti-revisionist movement enriches an understanding of the struggles of the age.

The contributions made in the early phase of the anti-revisionist period to forging and forcing democratic, social, economic’ and cultural progress has never been adequately recognised or appreciated. The shortcomings were explained by the paucity of material. That is no longer the case. The rarity of surviving copies, limited distribution, the costs of acquisition, the preservation of the records of that anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist trend are all barriers that EROL dismantles.

Most of what was included would probably not have been saved in archives or re-published elsewhere. There laid out in their own words, they can be read, studied, analysed and evaluated. Not least, by any means, in redressing the want of educational and study material, has been the contribution of EROL – an online archive accessible, saveable, useable for activist, the curious, enthusiastic scholars and reluctant students pursuing assignments, will find their sources wherever they may be.

There is a duality in such an archive, not to survey the past, but in our need to look forward and consider where we are going. For the 21st-century reader, this history can provokes reflection about the tactics and strategy of struggle, about the nature of working class advanced, about the shape of communism in a different national sections. The echoes of past politics are played out in the debates and discussions of today, and knowledge of those previously contested position can inform the debates of today. As EROL stalwart, Paul Saba noted in his insightful review of Max Elbaum’s history of the movement;

“Many in the NCM considered themselves too busy making history to spend much time studying history’s lessons. As a result, mistakes were made, wrong directions taken, that otherwise might have been avoided.”

[Lessons from One Left to the Next: Revolution in the Air Reissued. Viewpoint magazine July 19, 2018]

Perhaps there are too few reminiscence pieces and the extensive collection of original documents, internal and those once in the public domain draw upon what is available and there is a monolingual basis in its presentation. There are other sites in specific languages yet EROL has always had an internationalist intention, hence the different national sections.With 19 separate national sections providing information in English on, and primary documents from, anti-revisionist movements, organisations and parties, the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line is the first web stop for any historical investigation of global Maoism. EROL maintains this history that had faded into obscurity. In providing the source material from the movement (as Canadian editor Malcolm pointed out) we do not want to force conclusions on people from that period but to provide documents so that those studying them can draw their own. EROL does accept original contributions on the history of the ML movement but it would be a different forum to undertake the task to explain mistake individuals clearly identified from that history, what lines were worth pursuing and how struggles exposed the weaknesses of the organisations involved.


 

 

 

MLM Line Struggle on new internationalism

IMG_001In the second decade of the 21st century the calls for a substantive gathering of organisations and parties have grown in recent years, there is an added sense of urgency provided by the 100th anniversary celebration of the Communist International, inaugurated on March 6, 1919 with its First Congress in Moscow. It is widely seen as “the highest form of proletarian internationalism and international organization of the proletariat as a world class.”

May Day 2019, fifteen organisations pledge to organize a preparatory meeting this year for an International Joint Conference of the MLM parties and organizations stating this was a call for a unity based on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, on the path of people’s war for the development of the world proletarian revolution. [2019 MAY DAY RED AND INTERNATIONALIST !]

Other groupings equally publicize that they are making strides towards holding the ‘United Maoist International Conference’ UMIC. that started as an initiative in the Meetings of MLM Parties and Organizations in Latin America associated with Communist Party of Brazil – Red Fraction and Communist Party of Ecuador – Red Sun.[i] Existing forums, and the existence of other initiatives, such as “Maoist Road” are associated with various “united front” approaches, are not regarded in the same light as an ideological-defined international. Ever since May 2016 and the 5th Meeting of MLM Parties and Organizations of Latin America, parties and organizations from different parts of the world started to work systematically for the preparation of a Unified Maoist International Conference.

What it hopes for is that the proposed “International Maoist International Conference will seal and open. It will seal an entire stage of struggle of the communists in the struggle against the dispersion of forces and open a new phase in the struggle of the Communists for the reconstitution of the Communist International.”.

In returning to the theme of ‘global Maoism’ and the search for consolidation evidence of an enduring transnational ideological appeal, the focus is on the contribution offered from South America. In one camp much of the theoretical justification draws upon the work of the Communist Party of Brazil – Red Fraction in El Maoista magazine. An emerging network of fraternal groups are raising fundamental questions and problems of advancing a two-line struggle in the international communist movement. Principally advancing the contribution of the universal validity of Gonzalo Thought and of People’s war in their particular understanding of Maoism.[2]

The focus on the nature and form of the revolutionary party and task of initiating the People’s war divides maoist organisations with some of those engaged in armed struggle against it ( as with the Communist Party of the Philippines), while others in far from favourable conditions, supporting it.[3]

IMG_002

An alternative view from South America that illustrates some of the difficulties in arriving at an agreed position is in the Columbian view [4] that covers the divisions in historical legacy and contemporary strategy equally intent to unite the various self-identifying Maoist strands beyond the principles of mutual support, cooperation and mutual or common benefit.

Unlike the CPB (RF) other organisations express reservations about uncritical wholesale adoption of Gonzalo Thought with the Columbian view, and others [e.g. Norwegian blog, MLM Thoughts and American group, Mass Proletariat [5]] there is opposition of the personality cult developed around the leadership theory of “Guiding Thought” associated with one of the small Gonzaloist trend[6] .

“ The Marxist Leninist Maoist theory about leaders is diametrically opposed to the cult of personality called “guiding thought”, “ways” and “synthesis” keyed in the RIM; this anti-Marxist conception of leaders in the same experience of the RIM checked to lead to revisionism, to the disaster of communist organisation and defeat, renunciation or delivery of the revolution. Of those anti-Marxist theories derives the pilgrim prophecy that the party of the proletariat can’t be built, it can’t successfully lead the revolution in one country, but has a great leader that gives shape and national content to Marxism Leninism Maoism.” UOC (MLM): 145

The inability to agree on the past has consequences

Columbian argues there were hesitations and the germ of a division within the Comintern about the policy of the United Fronts and Popular Fronts: on one side an interpretation that resulted in class conciliation when arguing that there was an anti-fascist bourgeoisie open to a reformist programme; in contrast was that in striving to secure the immediate objective – the defeat of fascism – this should be achieved without sacrificing the vital interests of the movement.

Could the 7th Congress be a stumbling block to new internationalism? Any overall assessment of the 7th Congress has a pedigree in the movement with differing interpretations provided from individuals and to the smallest groups.[7]

“Such line struggle was unveiled in the Seventh Congress not expressly condemned the tendency to give up the independence of class in the front; not clearly demarcated borders between Marxism and opportunism in this matter, tolerating eclecticism that ultimately favoured an opportunist line application of the International by many communist parties, and that degenerated frankly towards browderist conception, according to which the fight against fascisms suppressed the class struggle in each country – give up the fight against fascist bourgeoisie – and considers the fascist imperialism as progressive, hiding the reactionary nature and rapacious all imperialism – whether or not a fascist – diverting the labour movement towards social-democratic class conciliation and the renunciation of the anti-imperialist struggle. Two diametrically opposed interpretations of the Unite Front and Popular Front, where the Communists had formal unity in orientation, but real division in their understanding and practical application”   UOC (MLM): 131

Internationalism is in the DNA of the politics

The absence of an international structure since 1943 is seen as contributing to the progress of a revisionist wave that engulf the various national sectors. The Communist Party of Brazil (Red Faction) quoting Mao in support:

“In a post-World War II period, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the parties of some Eastern European countries set aside the fundamental principles of Marxism. They spread a cloak of silence about the class struggle, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the leadership of the Party, democratic centralism, the links of the Party with the masses, etc., and the atmosphere that was lived there was of little interest for these things. ”  [8]

 The Philippine party has long argued that there is no need for a “father-party” and that bi-lateral relations should be the standard relationship with internationalist relationship – In 1994 guidelines for such relationships stated:

“The CPP favors bilateral relations with foreign parties as the principal form of its international relations. Bilateral relations logically and necessarily follow from the principle and reality of the integrity and independence of the CPP as well as its equality with every foreign party with which it relates. The CPP can better handle its bilateral relations than multilateral ones in ideological and political terms and in the most concrete forms of cooperation. “ [9]

UOC (mlm), reject accepting the autonomy of parties against centralised direction, argues that organisationally the form should be a world party of the proletariat and not a World Federation of proletarian parties.

“The Communist party of each country must be a contingent of the International Communist movement, a section of the International and its struggle, part of the world struggle for communism that subordinates the interests of the struggle in each country to the interests of the World Proletarian Revolution.” UOC (MLM): 139

An added factor to the differences in assessment and evaluation of the historical legacy is evident in the documents and line struggle that has emerged over the contemporary response to the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement [RIM] that shapes the current positions in the call for overcoming the great dispersion of forces which has characterized the ICM over the recent decades.

Without collaboration in actual policies or coordination of a general outlook, where is the internationalism in collective decision-making? The UOC (mlm) is not alone in believing that the way forward is to push the ideological struggle, to rally the like-minded and draw lines of demarcation to create a smaller but coherent movement.

“Work to finalize the new Communist International, task that does necessary to clarify in the ideologically to unite politically and build the organisation. The union of Marxist Leninist Maoist in the Program for the World Proletarian Revolution, for Socialism and Communism, is not possible without the principled and intransigent struggle against opportunism, without close ties between the communist organisations in different countries, agreeing joint political campaigns internationally, materially contributing to the tasks, organising meetings or conferences where expands and debates issues of historical experience, the current political situation and the General Line, practicing the method of start from a base unit to fight for conquer a greater degree of unity.” UOC (MLM): 148

Mapping out the existing divisions

The C(m)PA, together with CPm Italy and the then CPI ML-Naxalbari, were signatories of the resolution called “Special Resolution” published on May 1st, 2012 that formalized the liquidation of RIM. [10]

RIM was conceived as an embryonic political centre however the type of International that would emerge was less certain. A proposal of the character of its replacement was put forward by the Columbian UOC (mlm) in 2016.

The main subjective cause of the emergence and dominance of revisionism within RIM were said to be

“the incorrect method of secret discussion of differences, tolerance with opportunist tendencies given the excessive cult of personality and thinking of leaders that long ago had taken flight in the movement; concessions to opportunism that handcuffed to the parties when revisionism openly rose in the ranks of the RIM, and they condemned to their Committees – gnaw it by cancer revisionist avakianism – to silent before revisionist betrayal vile of the revolution in Nepal, to the proletariat, to MLM and to the own statements of RIM, all of which led to its bankruptcy.” UOC (MLM):137

Furthermore, “made common cause with the false Maoism “new” PCN(M) whose lie and program required full compliance with the Peace Agreement of 2006.The betrayal they don’t see in the agreement but rather the politicking by Prachanda and Bhattarai inside the reactionary state. They have not broken with the revisionist line of “Prachanda Path” or are afraid to admit were wrong.”

The Communist Party of Brazil (Red Faction) analysis reflects similar concerns:

“RIM ceased to play a positive role when the revisionists of the “RCP” from United States – taking advantage of the problematic situation of the left due to the bend in the People’s War in Peru – turned to totally hegemonize it.” false leaders such as Prachanda and Bathharai or failed prophets like Avakian were exposed and demoralized as “new revisionism”, opposed to Maoism.”

The essential condition to go forward to a great regrouping of communists is the clear demarcation of areas with all kinds of opportunism, to elaborate ideological and political unity in a General Line, which provides a solid bases to pursue the innumerable discussions and inevitable struggle to transform the world.

“A General Line that collects the historical experience of the Proletarian Revolution, that defends the principles of Marxism Leninism Maoism examining its light the specific situation of the world contradictions of imperialism and that to provide clear guidance facing to the critical current problems of World Proletarian Revolution. UOC (MLM):139 [11]

Modern General Line for the 21st century to encompass the complex, highly diverse and rapidly changing world-wide processes of change has a scaffolding of a “general line” guiding the tactics and the strategy of the movement, in that the Columbian suggestions these include:

An underdeveloped implication in the general tasks of the communist is to “make greater efforts and sacrifices for concentrating the revolutionary force in the weak links of the global chain of imperialism” is revolutionary migration – perhaps as seen in support for the Kurdish forces fighting in Syria in the last decade?

 Nature of the Party

 Colombians are critical of the theory of militarized party popularise from the Peruvian experience. While clearly identifying the armed struggle of the masses as the highest form of political struggle, they argue:

“In adopting orthodox argument that “the theory of militarized party, affined to guevarism and “leftism”, very radical in appearance but is actually a theory that undermines the role of the Party and breaks the conscious discipline, feature not only of Party members, but also the actuation of the broad masses in the era of capitalism, for the first time in history they exercise its quality role as protagonists of the revolution.” UOC (MLM): 140

The conscious unity of Party members, rather than the hierarchal obedience necessary in a fighting unit, and emersion and contact with the revolutionary masses so that “the policy of the Communists is public, but the character of the organisation is always clandestine” is the approach of the UOC. A militarised party is thought to denigrate the development of the party ideologically, minimising line struggle through criticism and self-criticism, Marxist education, and too readily categorises line struggle as the plots of police and imperialism shutting down arguments allowing ideas to move freely within the ranks, it allows resolution by those who believe in eliminating opportunistic thoughts by physically liquidating their carriers attacking the ranks of the Party and its wider relationships.

In the new century the legacy of struggle and the positive methodology of the old parties were ill-appreciated when nuances of leftism prevailed that counterpoised this approach with the preparation of the people’s war which can subsume the political to the weapon, that despise the ideological and political work among the masses forging their class consciousness about the role of the armed people and revolutionary objectives of their armed struggle. In substituting in a small consciously committed group as the cutting edge it draws upon foci theory and the ‘propaganda of the deed’ both discredited in experience, and contemptuous of the mass line and organising the class to face its fight. The tasks of communist seen as traditionally in the struggle to obtain revolutionary leadership of the working class and its institutions through agitation and propaganda, to communicate to the masses a true picture of class relations and interests that exists in society, explain why the socialist transformation is necessary and unavoidable and their own crucial role to perform in this historical transformation.

The French Maoist Communist Party, argued[12]:

“On People’s War some members of parties and organisations do recognize the universality of Maoism but deny the universal nature of people’s war because it has not been defined by Mao.”

They stick to the thesis that:   People’s wars can take only place in countries where the oppressed peasantry is important, where vast areas are not accessible because the means of communication are few and insufficiently developed etc. – In the imperialist countries such conditions do not exist.

Combatants of People’s War recognise contentious concerns that question what seldom appears in partisan propaganda and sometimes erupt in polemical fury. But here, in a statement not dated by time, is a quietly spoken observation from a leading combatant:

“Our capacity has been reduced to the military needs of the war.” In response to the intense state repression, they have increased their attention to the military attacks and counter-attacks at the expense of the political education of their soldiers, the ethical foundation of their cadres and the politicisation of their supporters.

The militarised party as a party building strategy has some serious flaws, not least what happens when the general command is “decapitated” by the enemy, how can that vanguard leadership be maintained in the ranks if exercised in a command structure less democratic-centralism and more directed, how can momentum be maintained in the struggle if mass involvement is not regarded as militarily important?

IMG_004Veteran chairman-founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines Jose Maria Sison’s comments on the question of people’s war in industrial countries were critical of a tendency without naming names:

“There is no protracted people’s war of any kind going on in any industrial capitalist country. What has been protracted is merely idle talk or hot air about the possibility of waging protracted people’s war.  No serious preparations for it are being made.

It is only a “Left” opportunist, a fake Maoist or even an agent provocateur who has disdain for the lasting admonition of the Communist Manifesto to win the battle for democracy against the bourgeois class dictatorship and who clamors for proclaiming and starting a people’s war in an industrial capitalist country without the necessary preparations of the subjective forces and the favorable objective conditions that I have mentioned.” [13]

And Sison’s article was immediately counter with the call to Defend and apply the universality of Protracted People’s War! attributed to Ard Kinera, contributor to TFM website.
Earlier in this year arguments on the internet that focused less on Gonzalo/Guzman and more on those who raise the banner of Gonzalo Thought and how they interpret and what applies in their struggles. It started with an article commenting on the demise of a small American activist group and encompassed the position that nobody should charge Chairman Gonzalo with the simplifications of many of his supporters in Peru and abroad. [14]

IMG_005

So what it initiated was polemical exchanges on the understanding of the contribution of Chairman Gonzalo and the interpretation and application by some of those activists who identified and support that contribution regarding them as an ultra-left deviation. This was followed by counter thesis from the US Red Guard associate, Struggle Sessions, A Crackle of Hens in response to the attacks on “our German Comrades”. This was reinforced in late January by Tjen Folket Media’s contribution, “Answer to Blog Post Against Gonzaloby Øystein Iversen. [See texts in Political Puritanism collection]

Anything less than fulsome references to Chairman Gonzalo is objectionable on the grounds that as he the one who more than any other has summarize Maoism and more than that:

“Gonzalo, furthermore, did not simply “summarize” Maoism; he synthesized it aIMG_006nd in doing so brought the whole of the ICM out of increasing darkness. Through the application of this synthesis he developed greater analysis which pushed MLM even further.”

(Kavga’s A Crackle of Hens )

As like-minded ally Øystein Iversen, one of Tjen Folket Media’s contributors, argued:

“Studying and following the PCP and Chairman Gonzalo’s example is necessary and important for communists in all countries that wish to reconstruct communist parties today, because these must be constituted as Maoist parties.”

Any other position mildly critical puts one in the camp of the international right-opportunists as with the Norwegian blogger opinion:

“I have no desire to keep people away from studying Gonzalo. On the contrary – Gonzalo has written a lot of sense and should be studied. But not uncritical. Not everything he writes is good (see, for example, my article on “Great Leader or Collective leadership?”).”

For these comrades, although they recognize the universality of Maoism, they ignore one part of it and counterpoises the Leninist theory of insurrection without allowing for the enrichment provided by Maoism. They truncate Marxism and an essential element of the military theory supplemented by Mao.

Among the parties (including the PCMF), some organisations recognize the universality of the people’s war, others oppose it. The dissolution of some pre-party building groups like the Red Guard Austin (followed by fellow co-thinkers) raised speculation that this was done to give actuality to what was proposed as protracted people’s war as a strategy in the imperialist countries.

It is the relatively recent issue of what lessons to draw from the Peruvian revolutionary struggle that is shaping the contemporary politics and alignments within the international communist movement.

Clearly on this issue and others there is no unity. The struggle of two lines on these issues, goes through the debate in the ICM and the RIM and therefore through the whole movement including MAOIST ROAD beyond. It is part of the ideological struggle to revive and prepare for the gathering of Maoists all over the world; what is anticipated will be a leap forward in the development of the Internationalist Communist Movement and encouragement in the formation of Maoist communist parties in each country.

However convergence is unlikely to unify the different organisations as the various joint statements and declarations expressed different criteria for the construction of the ICM from the outset. The history of these declarations constitutes part of the struggle for the reunification of the communists in the world, increasingly separating on distinct political lines. There are mutual accusations of “revisionism” due to discrepancies in the content and the alleged monopoly on the only “true” and “scientific” understanding of maoism results in the quick transformation of differences into matters of principle as initiatives developed in separate ways, expressing distinct political lines in active opposition to others. Certainly the hostility directed at the exiled leader of the Philippine Party from either side of the debate does not bode well for a majority international alignment to emerge.

The Columbian s list support for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, the fight against oppression of women, and “work on the preparation and development of People’s War taking the specific conditions of each country” [UOC (MLM): 149] among others as tasks expected of the Partyas part of the new International and directed by it.UOC (MLM): 150

Columbian view advances a scaffolding of attributes and policies to build the new internationalism, specifying:

Specific tasks for communists in the imperialist countries are

    • building the party, noting “immigrant workers…constitute the most important sector of the social base of the party in the imperialist countries”
    • Uncompromising struggle against opportunism and the labour aristocracy
    • striving for leadership of working class economic resistance, “especially and primarily the struggle of the union movement”
    • supporting anti-imperialist revolutionary struggles, even if not yet directed by MLM.
    • Whereas in the oppressed countries the broad approach is
    • new Democracy Revolution in semi-feudal oppressed countries
    • building the worker-peasant alliance
    • -work for class independence of the union movement and combat opportunism
    • practice solidarity with the struggle for socialist revolution in the imperialist countries

Another pole of attraction expressed by the Communist Party of Brazil (Red Faction) argued its fundamentalist position:IMG_007

“So the problem in the ICM is not principally rooted in that Maoism is not formally acknowledged, but how some understand it, and this is why it is important to start with who defined Maoism as the new, third and superior stage of our ideology; because it is only by starting from what was scientifically established by Chairman Gonzalo that we can understand Maoism as one unit, as one harmonic system. If one does not take the work of Chairman Gonzalo as a starting point, one falls into eclecticism, counterpoising quotes but not understanding the ideas.”

In mid-2018, the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan published a critique to the Joint Declaration of May 1st signed by 8 Maoist parties and organizations, entitled “A Glimpse at the Joint International Statement of the Eight Latin American Maoist Parties and Organizations.

The Afghanistan organisation explicitly argued that Gonzalo thought “is continuing to play a negative historical role and was even behind the composition of a joint international statement in celebration of international workers day to promote sectarianism…”. Whilst others have generalised criticism of concepts associated with the Peruvian struggle in particular, the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan statement emphasised that alongside MLM struggles against Avakian’s New Synthesis and Prachanda Path style revisionism–– “a struggle should also be waged against the deviation that has emerged as Gonzalo Thought.”

The Communist Party of Brazil (Red Faction) counters that:

“The Campaign for Maoism cannot make a great leap only with declarations, studies and debate if it does not advance in more People’s Wars in the world, in addition to further development of those that are taking place. On the other hand, no party can advance the central and principal task of reconstituting or constituting a CP to initiate the People’s War, without understanding and assuming the contributions of universal validity of Gonzalo thought, as an inseparable and indispensable part for the application of Maoism as ideological-political embodiment.” [15]

Furthermore, in order to attack Maoism, revisionism in its most varied expressions points increasingly and centrally against Gonzalo thought, in order to prevent a correct assimilation of Maoism, to empty and reduce its content, and to sterilize it. So the campaign in defence of Chairman Gonzalo and the campaign for Maoism are two strategic and inseparable campaigns, as the Maoist Communist Party (France) recently affirmed, defending Chairman Gonzalo is defending Maoism.

The most obvious demarcation line within the self-identifying Maoist movement is the analysis and evaluation of the Peruvian experience led by Abimael Guzmán, universally known throughout his party career as chairman Gonzalo. These differences impact on the conclusions drawn and lessons learnt, and are reflected in the strategic way forward.

 Within the two-line struggle the demarcations are being clearly signalled, with opposition to the position of adoption of Chairman Gonzalo’s Maoism is to oppose in fact the whole application of Maoism and People’s War and to the unification of the International Communist Movement based on these principles. This is to follow the path of what the Brazilians harshly characterise as the rightist liquidationist tendency, describing it as a more recalcitrant and pernicious form of the new revisionism.

“This opportunist and revisionist tendency is a counter current in the International Communist Movement opposed to Maoism, the unity of the ICM and the People’s War. It represents the shift to liquidationism for some of those who remained for years hidden in centrism, sunk in their ideological, political incapacity and absolute lack of initiative.“

Exclusion from the new internationalism will be an ideological choice of whether the so-called “fourth sword” is grasped and welded against any other analysis based on the concrete realty of the national arena that struggle is undertaken. In advancing its Gonzalo banner it drops the cornerstone of Mao’s success in revolutionary struggle in China, the relevance of the politics to the condition of the day.


Documents | MLM Line Struggle on new internationalism

The Debate in the international communist movement Maoist Road#1 June2011

UOC (MLM) (2016) Proposal for developing a General Line for Unity of the International Communist Movement.

Communist Party of Brazil (Red Faction) (2018) Combat Liquidationism and unite the International Communist Movement under Maoism

Ragnar V. Røed (2019) A pull towards the right Tjen Folket Media

Sison (2019) “On the Question of People’s War in Industrial Capitalist Countries”

+ Response by Ard Kinera (2019)“Defend and apply the universality of Protracted People’s War!”

Political Puritanism Collection

maosite1917 | Red Guards Austin – the end

MLM Thoughts | Gonzalo and ultra-left deviation

Kavga| A Crackle of Hens (Struggle Sessions)

Øystein Iversen | “Answer to Blog Post Against Gonzalo”

MLM Thoughts |Reply to Øystein Iversen

MLM Thoughts |Great Leader or Collective leadership?

MLM Thoughts |Reply to Rangnar V. Røed


Related posts

Albania: On the character of our epoch

America’s Maoist Mushrooms

Chinese defence of Stalin – what’s that about?

Global Maoism

Guilty to the charge of promoting revolution

MLM Line Struggle USA

Old disputes and a new internationalism

On Reading JMP

Protracted people’s war as a strategy for the imperialist countries

Reaching Out: Global Maoism

The Gonzaloists are gathering

Tirana builds an Internationale (4 instalments)

To keep our red flag flying in Peru (4 instalments)

____________________________

       ENDNOTES

[1] Gonzaloists are gathering Text Here

[2] For the variety of approaches and trends within the broad self-defined Maoist movement explore the online collection at https://emaoism.wordpress.com/

[3] See posting Protracted people’s war as a strategy for the imperialist countries

[4] Proposal for developing a General Line for Unity of the International Communist Movement. Negation of the Negation , Organo teorico de la Union Obera Comunista (MLM) No.5 August 2016 [English language edition] 2016 Communist Worker Union (mlm) Columbia General Line There is competing maoist grouping associated with the RCP, USA, the Revolutionary Communist Group of Colombia.

[5] see http://bannedthought.net/USA/MassProletariat/2019/MP-OurPresentSituationAndSomeLessons-190201.pdf

[6] Promoted by the Organization of the Workers of Afghanistan (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, principally Maoist), Communist Party Marxist Leninist Maoist – Bangladesh, Communist Party Marxist Leninist Maoist – France and supported by the Marxist Leninist Maoist Centre of Belgium. See  http://lesmaterialistes.com/fichiers/pdf/revues/Theguidingthought.pdf

[7] Examples from the British movement include Bland, The Cominform Fights Revisionism https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/uk.postww2/bland-cominform.pdf , and Stalin and the Comintern, paper delivered by N. Steinmayr to The Stalin Society, London, September 2000. http://www.oneparty.co.uk/compass/intercom/stalcom.html. Other views are available.

[8] Mao Tsetung (1977) Selected Works, Volume V. Beijing: Foreign Language Press, p. 412

[9] Guidelines on International Relations of the Communist Party of the Philippines GuidelinesOnIntlRelations-CPP-1994

[10] For a criticism from Communist Party of India (M-L) Naxalbari On the Present Situation of the RIM and the Challenge of Regrouping Maoist Parties at the International Level see  2011 Maoist Road 1

[11] Draws upon the example of A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement . Text Here ~ http://www.bannedthought.net/China/MaoEra/GreatDebate/AProposalConcerningGeneralLineOfIntlCommunistMovement-1963-Full.pdf

The Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Reply to the Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of March 30, 1963

Documents gathered in THE POLEMIC ON THE GENERAL LINE Text Here ~ http://www.marx2mao.com/Other/PGL65.pdf

[12] Argued in their contribution to Maoist Road that “The Communists’ Unity on a World Wide Scale Is Achieved Through Ideological Struggle” Maoist Road #1

[13] Sison (2019) “On the Question of People’s War in Industrial Capitalist Countries” + Response by Ard Kinera (2019)“Defend and apply the universality of Protracted People’s War!” 2019 On the Question of People’s war in Industrial Capitalist Countries

[14] Political Puritanism Collection 2019 political-puritanism

[15] CPB (RF) 2019 2018 Combat Liquidationism and unite the International Communist Movement under Maoism and the People’s War

 

Tjen_Folket_Media

 

101. The Soviet View: The Evils of Maoism

The criticism of anti-Sovietism was commonly attributed to China’s analysis of the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 70s. What was less publicised in the western world was the anti-Chinese diatribe that spew forth from the propaganda machinery at the behest of Moscow. What was addressed in the multitude of pamphlets and monographs was the ideological and institutional challenge presented by the analysis from principally China, but also Albania, and the propaganda offensive to undermine such support that it might attract.

The extensive library of the “evils of Maoism” publications utilised not only Russian academics but a network of sympathetic commentators and the writings of Wang Ming to oppose Mao’s alleged nationalist deviation, all forming part of a charge sheet of a wide variety of sins, from anti-Sovietism through disruption of leftist unity to interference in internal party affairs. Describing Chinese foreign policy as one of fomenting tensions and opposing détente, not only a source of disorientation and splitting of revolutionary forces, but a “factual ally of imperialism” (as described in the Czech party publication Rude Pravo in November 21st 1975). An argument opportunistically illustrated with Mao shaking hands with German politician Franz Joseph Strauss. Throughout the Seventies there was a wide and varied cast of conservative and right-wing visitors to China given a public welcome in Beijing from whom to select.

In framing the issues as a problem of China’s making, there is the attempt to side-step the criticisms raised and focus on the polemical assertions thereby characteristically describes Maoism sinocentric character, and as by Leningrad Propagandist VADIM VASILYEVICH CHUBINSKIY, an ‘expert on Chinese affairs’, habitually attacking Maoism as a non-Marxist ideology:

“A form of peasantism which is connected with Chinese nationalism and chauvinism, an old tradition in China which Maoism took over. In the final analysis, Maoist theories come down to Great Power chauvinism. Soviet scientists have determined that there is no substance to Maoism as an ideology.”

A staple explanation that the Cultural Revolution could be reduced to a single motive in that the “present power struggle between the various factions and groups has its essence in conflicts which Maoism has had since the very beginning.” However the party and state in China were more complex a phenomena than that presented in the propaganda: Chubinskiy argued in his lecture of April 18th 1976 that,

“There are two main groups: the one led by Mao’s wife, CHIANG CHING, together with the Shanghai leadership, which is the more adventurist, extreme grouping – Maoism in its pure form; the less extreme group of so-called pragmatists and realists, drawn from the military and party apparatus, formerly led by CHOU-ENLAI and then TENG HSIAO-PENG. However, it should be emphasised that both groups are identical in their hostility to Marxism-Leninism. It is just a question of the “tempo” of Maoism.”

“MAOISM UNMASKED” by L. KYUZADZHYAN, published in Izvesitya on October 15 1975, a lengthy commentary exposing the ideological dangers and propaganda difficulties posed by Maoism for “true socialism”.

He contended that “with the rise and development of Maoism bourgeois ideologies acquired what in their view is a priceless means of discrediting Marxism-Leninism in the eyes of unsophisticated people.” Not only that, wrote KYUZADZHYAN, but bourgeois propaganda plays on Maoism’s national tendencies to “urge on opportunist elements in Communist parties to make their own political deals.” He quoted from BREZHNEV’S 1971 24th Party Congress address, naming ROGER GARAUDY, ERNST FISCHER and the “Manifest Group” in Italy. KYUZADZHYAN opinion was that “a complex alliance of forces, from openly anti-communist to all kinds of revisionists, is being formed in which under the present ‘division of labour’ Maoism supplies the ‘theoretical’ argument against true socialism.”

KYUZADZHYAN pointed out to three other dangers said to be inherent in Maoism: referencing ISAAC DEUTSCHER for a supporting opinion, he claimed that “the arguments of Maoist theorists had much in common with those of Trotsky”; using FISCHER and GARAUDY as examples, he argued that Maoism spreads the idea “that there can be various models of socialism, with nationalist tendencies as the determining factor; and referring to American China watcher Michael Oksenberg, he argues Maoism is advocated as a developmental philosophy for the third world, although KYUZADZHYAN contends that Maoism’s subjugation of national interest to the interests of a “narrow group” distorts or even breaks off the development process.

Criticism of Chinese policies were an oblique warning to the other Moscow-orientated parties to curb such tendencies in its “client parties”, those opportunists who believed that the spectrum of socialism would incorporate Chinese communism and reach to embrace the social democracy of Western Europe and Venezuela. The anti-revisionist stance challenged the monopoly of Moscow wary of the perceived perils of encouraging Communist parties to explore independent or national approaches, thereby (as what happened) weakening the ability to guide them in their political stance. What ideally the ideologues of the CPSU wanted to establish was not so much that the enemy is within the walls of the socialist community, but rather that Maoism was outside the camp. In the early 1970s the Soviet leadership moved to a position that could not regard the Chinese leaders as Marxist-Leninists and various adjectives were used to establish them “petit bourgeois in nature”.

Polish commentator Stanislaw Glabinski had raised the thesis that Maoism was a self-serving native Chinese philosophy with roots in Chinese feudal traditions, relating to Buddhism and Taoism, rather than a Chinese form of Marxism” as discussed in Western scholarship. [Perspektywy, a Polish weekly, August 3rd 1973]

After this explanation of the non-Marxist nature of Maoism, he concludes that Maoist ideology in practice is directed against “our interests, against the interests of the Socialist community.” There was, in light of China’s relations with East Europe, a concerted Soviet effort to frustrate any notion of Chinese ‘wedge-driving’ in the geo-political alliance in Eastern Europe.

The Soviet Party theoretical journal, set out clearly the anti-Maoist line it sought to set a consensus around with which other parties could endorse at a future world communist conference. [Kommunist #12 August1975]

The article sustains an anti-China diatribe, stating Mao’s policies “discredit the ideas of socialism” portraying a power-hungry leadership devoted to militarism and repression, plagued by factionalism and scornful of its own people’s aspirations for a better life, instead through its mass criticism campaigns, such as to criticise Lin Piao and Confucius, sought “to build up the cult of violence and brutality in the country.”

Soviet commentators would cite a litany of grievances of supposed crimes and misdeeds undertaken by the Chinese authorities, somewhere near the top was Chinese ingratitude for the aid received from Russia before and since the revolution; Beijing’s anti-Soviet, anti-socialist, national-chauvinist policies, and how repeated Soviet efforts to normalise relations with the People’s Republic had founded on Chinese intransigence raising the question of “lost territories”.

In terms of damaging Soviet interests, China was seen as its active opponent to the Soviet foreign policy emphasis on détente. In doing so, “the Maoist leadership is preventing the establishment of a lasting peace in the world and is supporting the reactionary forces that want a resumption of the Cold War. The authorities in Beijing were said to be seeking to form an “anti-socialist, anti-Soviet alliance with all of the most rabid reactionary forces of the capitalist world.”

In an inflammatory paragraph, KOMMUNIST’s article emphasised the wider aspect that CPSU ideologues were attempting to establish as the benchmark for alignment amongst its allies and others. It argued,

“The dangerous and adventurist nature of the Maoist leadership’s policy lends special urgency to the Chinese problem. Maoism is a policy and an ideology has ceased to be merely a domestic problem of China, but also concerns the world socialist system and the international communist movement, turning into a factor which concerns all peace-loving states, irrespective of their social systems, and progressive forces, because it represents a growing threat to everyone. Maoism has now joined forces with anti-communism and comes out against détente, being actually an apologist for a new world war. The Chinese problem is increasingly become one of the most acute political issues of today.”

BREZHNEV’S 25th party congress speech in 1976 had alleged that the Chinese authorities sought to “warm its hands” over the flames of a world war. This thread was further untwisted in an article in the Soviet army newspaper KRASNAYA ZVEZDA (from May 1976) by YU. LUGOVSKOY which denounces Maoism as a threat to world peace.

The Soviet evidence was China supposed alliance with world reaction, its anti-Soviet propaganda (which never matched in quantity that which came out of the Soviet Union) and the belief that it was China’s interest to sit on the mountain and watch the (paper) tigers fight.

Dismissing the Chinese concept of “three worlds”- it has no “class basis” said Kommunist, lumping socialists with imperialists, and ignoring the support which socialism has given to developing countries- China’s efforts to identify with the Third World against “Superpower hegemony” were said to cover its real aim of expanding its own hegemony, especially along its southern flank indicating a threat to Vietnam and others.

In public they repeated what was spoken in private as Russian hostility towards China was publicised arguing that “Maoist policy increasingly coincided with the views of the world’s extreme reactionaries” and that “The Maoists’ aim was to use the wreckage of human civilization as a pedestal from which China could dominate the world” –

[‘Moscow criticizes West for appeasing Maoism’ The Times May 5 1976 p6]

Internal counsel from Moscow loyalists echoed the message: “We consider it necessary that our parties and countries make use of all the political and ideological means available to them for the fight against the current serious danger ‐ the creation of an “united front“ between Beijing and imperialism and the reaction ‐ and to mobilize for actions against the plot of the Chinese leadership with reactionary American forces. And we hope that the fraternal parties and the socialist countries will commit their potentials to this purpose.”

“Evaluation by the Soviet party CC of the normalization of US‐Chinese relations”. 30 August 1978 Confidential! [handwritten notes:] “Circulation Politburo, EH [Erich Honecker] 31.08.‘78 “filed. 10.10.‘78“Cold War International History Project . http://wwics.si.edu/index.cfm?topic_id=1409&fuseaction=library.document&id=63653 A

To push the point home to its unenthusiastic allies, the Kommunist article baldly stated that patient forbearance is not sufficient,

“Those who come out against the exposure of the harm done by Maoism, against criticism of the fundamental errors of the Peking leaders, against joint strategy and tactics in the struggle for the unity and cohesion of the socialist system and the international communist movement, those who try to present Maoism as some specifically Chinese ‘national model of socialism’, render help to Peking’s schimatics, whether they wish it or not.”

“A conciliatory attitude towards Maoism and Mao Tse-tung’s policies, whatever the form their manifestation takes, objectively promote the anti-Marxist, anti-socialist aims of the Chinese leadership…. Struggle against Maoism is a struggle for greater unity of the socialist countries and for the triumph of the cause of peace and security of peoples.”

So the lofty and noble aims of the anti-China article concludes with the standard prediction that “the Chinese people themselves will turn over a new leaf” and eventually rid themselves of the errors of Maoism.


 

RESOURCES OF SOVIET ANTI-MAOIST PROGAGANDA


✭ Source https://thesovietbroadcast.tumblr.com/thesovietlibrary-sovietpolemics

100. Lal Salam! Red Salute!

In Memorial

JAGMOHAN JOSHI, General Secretary of the Indian Workers Association of Great Britain (IWA GB), died from a heart attack on June 3rd 1979 leading a 4,000 strong demonstration in London against state racism, discrimination, police brutality and immigration controls.

Born in Hoshiarpur in Punjabi, India, in 1958, at the age of 21 he came to Britain to find a livelihood. He continued to be deeply involved in community and communist politics. [See The IWA (GB), Indian Communists & the AIC] He upheld the People’s Republic of China under Mao Zedong as a great beacon of socialism, and fought for Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong thought against revisionist and Trotskyite distortions of Marxism. Former members of the Birmingham Communist Association in tribute to his contribution noted:

Joshi’s communism was quite clearly not of the Eurocentric type that has typified the white left for so many years. For some of us, he was instrumental in opening our eyes to the realities of oppression in the Third World and the significance of the national liberation struggles. He did not see racism as a diversion from the class struggle – as something that will simply be resolved with the socialist revolution, but stressed the importance of black struggles. [Remembering Comrade Joshi Class Struggle, June 1983]

He stood for building alliances of all people opposed to racism, however he never accepted that the struggle was only against open fascism and not against the system which breed and promote racism. The Times described Joshi as “uncompromising and thoughtful Maoist industriously working for broad-front multi-racial British militant organisation”. Partially true: the IWA was his prime focus, but he helped bring progressive campaigning organisations in Britain together in the 1960s Joshi initiated the formation of the Coordinating Committee Against Racial Discrimination (CCARD), a broad based campaigning committee of 26 organisations, fronted by Victor Yates, MP for Ladywood, who was the first president. Maurice Ludmer of the Jewish Ex Servicemen’s Association and editor of Searchlight anti-fascist magazine played a significant role, together with Jagmohan Joshi and academic, Shirley Fossick, who later married Joshi. In 1968 he led the Black Peoples Alliance and organised marches of up to 15,000 people, however such a heady mix of pro-Maoist and Black Power activists proved an unsustainable agenda in the absence of a unifying revolutionary party. In the 1970s the Joshi-led IWA continued to challenge through participation in the Campaign Against Racist Laws (CARL).

In innumerable struggles against racism, he and the IWA GB played a leading part. There were many struggles in the community, including the rights of Sikhs to wear turbans, and against discrimination in public places, e. g. the refusa1 of many pubs to serve black people. The IWA has always supported and fought to maintain the culture of their own people. This is shown in such things as support for Punjabi schools and the promotion of cultural activities at all IWA events. The Indian Workers Association led by Joshi campaigned against discrimination and social exclusion facing Indian and other black and Asian migrants in Britain through poor housing conditions, employment inequalities such as the segregation of facilities in factories where its members worked; the operation of a ‘colour bar’ in employment and education, as well as in shops, public houses, and other leisure facilities; and the restrictions of immigration legislation introduced during the 1960s and 1970s. The IWA supported industrial disputes involving black and Asian workers at a number of workplaces in the Midlands and expressed broad solidarity with the Trade Union movement – attending May Day rallies, encouraging members to join trade unions and supporting the miners strikes of the early 1970s and 1984-1985 – although it also campaigned against racial discrimination within trade unions. [See The Rise and Fall of Maoism: the English Experience]

He clearly saw the importance of the struggle against racism, and recognised the effects of racism and imperialism on the working class in this country:

“Racialism in white workers is class collaboration and fatal for the working class struggle.” and “Loya1ty to the British nation is loyalty to the class that controls it i.e. monopoly capitalism. The white worker must reject such loyalty. Loyalty to Britain is loyalty to British imperialism. The white workers owe loyalty only to proletarian internationalism.”

He argued very strongly against the idea that black workers must not expect white workers to support them in their fight against special oppression, but must themselves support the economic struggles of white workers under white leadership as the best means of indirectly achieving their economic and political emancipation.” He saw this as totally incorrect like that other argument” that workers and peasants in colonial and semi-colonial territories should wait patiently for the workers in the metropolitan countries to overthrow the imperialist power.” [Quoted in Remembering Comrade Joshi Class Struggle, June 1983]

At home and abroad, Joshi was involved: in campaigns to stop atrocities on India’s poorest people, the Dalits or so-called “Untouchables”, and in 1975, Indira Gandhi put India under a State of Emergency. The Alliance against Fascist Dictatorship in India was formed, in which Joshi and the IWA GB played a leading role, continued to campaign for the release of the 100,000 political prisoners still held by the new Indian Government after Mrs Gandhi’s downfall. He led the movement when Gandhi visited Britain in 1978, which prevented her speaking in Southall and Birmingham.

At a Memorial meeting 1,500 people packed Birmingham Town Hall on June 17th 1979 to hear speeches, poems and songs including the chorus of IWA (GB) youth and The Banner Theatre Group in Joshi’s honour.

“Comrade Jagmohan Joshi belonged to his community, but also to all people who fight racism, fascism and imperialism. The greatest contribution we can make to his memory will be to carry on the struggle”.

Words spoken by his widow Shirley Joshi but sentiments repeated throughout the day.

It is a tribute to comrade Joshi’s style of “uniting all who can be united” (noted a report in Class Struggle) that many different political and social trends were represented and Comrade Joshi’s history was recalled by many speakers: representatives of Bharatiya Dalit Mukthi, an organisation of Dalits, Bangladeshi, Kashmiri, Afro-Carribean and Azanian organisations spoke.

Maurice Ludmer, Chairman of the Birmingham Trades Council, and editor of Searchlight anti-fascist magazine, said “my association with comrade Joshi goes back 22 years. He used to discuss with me in a room above a hairdressers in Soho Road, Handsworth. Within a few years the IWA (GB) had built a membership of 28,000. Unlike many whom the press and the race relations industry claim as immigrant leaders, Joshi genuinely had a mass base”. He pointed out “The IWA (GB) played a major role in the trade union movement in Britain. Many of the sweatshops in the “Black Country” were organised for the first time by Indian workers. Comrade Joshi stood shoulder to shoulder with the whole working class in this country”.

Amrit Wilson spoke on behalf of AWAZ (Asian Women’s Group) and pointed out how Comrade Joshi fought against male chauvinism and was anxious for women to play a full part in political life.

A leader of the Sikh temple in Smethwick paid tribute. The “Friends of India”, an organisation whose basis is Hindu nationalism, but which united with the IWA (GB) in the fight against Indira Gandhi’s fascist rule, sent a message of support. A representative of the Wolverhampton Anti-Nazi League spoke of his devotion to the anti-racist and anti-fascist struggle.

From the Left in Britain, the Maoist RCLB and Communist Workers Movement praised comrade Joshi as a great communist and an outstanding fighter against imperialism. The CWM pointed out that Comrade Joshi had put into practice the Leninist line of uniting the struggle of the working class in the advanced capitalist countries with those of the oppressed nations and peoples. The CWM speaker spoke glowingly of Comrade Joshi’s work to build the IWA, unite the national minority communities and unite them with the rest of the working class, uphold Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong thought and build the revolutionary Communist party in Britain and stressed that Comrade Joshi had made, “important contributions to the struggles of the British and international working class.”. New Age, No. 14, June 1979

Political opponents, speakers from the “Communist” Party of Great Britain, Socialist Workers’ Party and International Marxist Group took the platform to acknowledge his great achievements.   Class Struggle June 28-July 11th 1979 Vol.3 No.13

An accomplished Urdu poet, writing under the pen-name of Asar Hoshiarpuri.his own words made a fitting epitaph:

“We are fighting for the light, and if I am sacrificed, it doesn’t matter;

For there will be others who will see the dawn”

Joshi (2nd left) Avtar Jouhl (far right)Avtar Singh Jouhl


 

Reaching Out: Global Maoism

woodsmoke

begin with a quote“The World’s Revolutionary People Love to Listen to Radio Peking”

RadioPeking1968

1966.  Overseas listeners, Peking Review reported in the hyperbole of the time,

listen attentively to the voice of Mao Tse-tung’s thought being broadcast from Peking. They say that they love listening to the Peking broadcasts and they regard this as being as important as eating.”

Radio Peking Peking Review #51 December 16 1966.

selected readings

Throughout the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese media outlets would carry reports quoting foreign friends as testimony that “We, the oppressed people, place on China our hope for the victory of the world revolution”. China’s propaganda, thus, espouses both a nationalist and an internationalist spirit.

How did Maoism reach such a global audience at a time and when China’s withdrawal of diplomatic missions marked an inward period? It still reached out and found willing political tourists, its messages beamed across the airwaves and propaganda was airmail worldwide as demonstrated in Evan Smith’s survey “Peking Review and global anti-imperialist networks in the 1960s” and  in  Cagdas Ungor’s  ‘Reaching the Distant Comrade: Chinese Communist Propaganda Abroad (1949-1976). The word and the deed inspires vanguard aspirations in others, for example, as discussed in Megan Ferry’s article China as Utopia: Visions of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in Latin America. Modern Chinese Literature & Culture Vol.12 No.2 (Fall 2000) pp236-269

images

Frequent articles appeared that informed the Chinese people that the world shared their love and admiration for the Chairman. This material supported China’s claim as the legitimate inheritor of Marxist-Leninist Thought and China as the world leader of revolutionary Marxism as enhanced by Mao. The main themes, expressed through the articles headlines, emphasized the international relevance and revolutionary advance that Mao Tse-tung’s Thought had as an ideological “spiritual atom bomb”.  As People’s Daily editor argued “Mao Tse-tung’s Thought [was a] Beacon of revolution for the World’s People”

“People throughout the world, and particularly the Asian, African and Latin American peoples, are passing through different stages of revolutionary struggle. They see in the brilliant example of the Chinese revolution their own future and firmly believe that Mao Tse-tung’s thought is the guide to world revolution. The revolutionary people in different countries earnestly desire to grasp Mao Tse-tung’s thought and to apply Comrade Mao Tse-tung’s revolutionary theories to their revolutionary struggles. Mao Tse-tung’s thought is having an even greater and more profound influence throughout the world, and the world revolution will win still greater victories.”

[Peking Review #24 June 10th 1966]

There were frantic efforts to support the phenomenal propaganda in the struggle to build the dissemination and distribution of knowledge. Often formulaic in tone incorporated textual and visual propaganda – China Pictorial and China Reconstructs alongside Peking Review, the revolutionary images in posters and papercuts, and whilst not unique to any one political Mao sketchtendency the use of iconographic embolismic images to signal political allegiance resonates into the contemporary world. Mao idolised in a doctrinaire way, at the expense of a revolutionary engagement, to be ‘on message’

Circulated by overseas groups and radical bookshops, not only as an act of solidarity but , as the 1977 slogan for London-based New Era Books put it, as “a propaganda weapon to build the revolutionary party” as it sold the ideology of the Chinese revolution as its own.

Chinese publications market internationally the unambiguous idea of revolutionary leadership and ideology rooted in the Chinese experience and achievement – at that time its highest expression was the Cultural Revolution.

The radical rhetoric of Ch’en Po-ta (1904–1989 : Chen Boda) personal research assistant and secretary to Mao Zedong, editor of the party journal Red Flag, Politburo member ludicrously denounced at the 10th Party Congress in 1973 as a ‘revisionist secret agent’ for his associations with Lin Biao, promoted all those elements associated with contemporary Maoism. The report delivered by Lin Piao in 1965 “Long Live the Victory of the People’s War!” championed the global peasantry taking on the industrially developed world recasting the world revolution in third wordlist terms.

Mao's Gang of Four

Figure 1 Mao’s Gang of Four: Zhou, Lin, Chen, Kang

Julia Lovell, Maoism A Global History (Bodley Head 2019) challenges the side-lining of global Maoism and its enduring appeal beyond China. Adherents outside China took seriously the message that China was the political centre of world revolution. For some militants it proved also to be its military and technical centre through the training they received.

Promoting revolution, the CPC’s International Liaison Department globalisation of Maoist thought under Kang Sheng oversaw the provision of revolutionary ideas, strategies, money and weapons to revolutionary insurgencies; he met worshipful western Maoists in Beijing and funnelled cash through Albania, and according to Lovell’s reading of secondary sources, provided intelligence to the communists in Cambodia .

China provided Radio stations – Voice of Thailand/Malaysia set in southern China and championed anti-imperialism defiance of colonialism through the institutions of Nanjing Military Academy – guerrilla training –for Zanla’s outstanding military leader Josiah Tongogara and the Tanzania camps with Chinese instructors, and Beijing’s Yafeila Peixun Zhongxin – the Asian, African and Latin American training centre near the Imperial Summer Palace – Lovell suggests its graduates include Saloth Sar and Abimael Guzman. There was Soviet precedent: the Communist University for the Toilers of the East in the Soviet Union had trained activists from the region, among them Ho Chi Minh.

“October 1949 may prove more significant that October  1917”

images (1)

“the thought of Mao is the most powerful ideological weapon to defeat the enemy, and Mao Tse-tung is the Lenin of the present era.”

Mao Tse-tung’s Thought Lights the Whole World”. Peking Review #15 1967 p17

Common sentiments expressed were that Mao was “the greatest Marxist-Leninist of our time”,Chairman Mao has carried Marxism-Leninism forward to an entirely new stage”, as for Mao Tse-tung Thought: “It is living Marxism-Leninism at its highest. Standing in the forefront of our epoch” in fact “a work of genius”. Back in 1966, the only thing it wasn’t called was “Maoism”.

The Brilliance of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought  Peking Review, Vol. 9, #27, July 1, 1966

The Brilliance of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought Illuminates the Whole World Peking Review #24 June 10th 1966

“Mao Tse-tung’s Thought – Beacon of Revolution for the World’s People” Peking Review #25 June 17th 1966

Chairman Mao is the Red Sun in the Hearts of the People of the World’, Peking Review, 22 July, 1966

The World’s Revolutionary People Ardently Love Chairman Mao Peking Review September 23 1966

The Hearts of the World’s Revolutionary People Are With Chairman Mao Peking Review #42 October 14 1966

The Radiance of Mao Tse-tung’s Thought Shines Far and Wide Peking Review #44 October 28th 1966

The World’s Revolutionary People Hail China’s
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution Peking Review Vol. 9 No 40  Sept. 30, 1966

Mao Tse-tung’s Thought Guides Advance Of World’s Revolutionary People Peking Review #50 December 9, 1966

Mao Tse-tung’s Thought Guides Advance of World’s Revolutionary People Peking Review #49 December 2nd 1966

The Hearts of the World’s Revolutionory People Are With Chairman Mao Peking Review #43 October 21, 1966

The Hearts of the World’s Revolutionary People Are With Chairman Mao Peking Review #42 October 14, 1966

One of the points hammered home in Julia Lovell’s “Maoism: a global history” was demonstratively obvious at the time:

“Maoism contains within it ideas that have exerted an extraordinary tenacity and ability to travel, that have put down roots in terrains culturally and geographically far removed from that of China.”

The transnational dimensions of the revolutionary visions that came out of China in the 1960s/70s have an enduring appeal still seen in the revolutionary hotspots in the contemporary world but still people talk in terms of the theme of ‘global Maoism’ in the absence of coherent institutional structures or programmatic unity. Lovell argues that the global spread and importance of Mao and his ideas in the contemporary history of radicalism are only dimly sensed as existing secondary material fails to synthesis and explain the legacies of Maoism throughout the world. Her engaging narrative aims to recast Maoism as one of the major stories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. However this is not an account by a Marxist sympathiser or Maophile:

Maoism in this book is an umbrella word for the wide range of theory and practice attributed to Mao and his influence over the past eighty years. … this term is useful only if we accept that the ideas and experiences it describes are living and changing, have been translated and mistranslated, both during and after Mao’s lifetime, and on their journeys within and without China.

mao wave

Old disputes and a new internationalism

woodsmoke

Background

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

“From Marx to Mao Tse-Tung”

bnc_thomson3

The only member of the Communist Party’s Executive Committee to vote against the Party’s programme, `the British Road to Socialism’, because “the dictatorship of the proletariat was missing”. [Morning Star 9th January 1989] George Thomson was the author of “From Marx to Mao Tse-Tung” (London: China Policy Study Group, 1971).

Though written over 40 years ago, this is still a fine, if dated, introduction to a Mao-influenced Marxism-Leninism. Subtitled, “A Study in Revolutionary Dialectics “ it includes a great many quotations from Marx, Lenin, Mao and others, all arranged in a way to illustrate the overall coherence and unity of MLM theory. It was translated in many languages and received a wide circulation in the international communist movement, the first volume of three books written for the China Policy Study Group by the renowned British Marxist activist intellectual, George Thomson – From Marx to Mao Tse-Tung: A Study in Revolutionary Dialectics; Capitalism and After: The Rise and Fall of Commodity production.

This is a Marxist study of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Chinese Revolution of 1949, designed to demonstrate their unity and continuity as two successive stages in the world socialist revolution. Their common theoretical foundation is expounded by means of extensive quotations from the Marxist classics, especially the writings of Lenin and Mao Tse-tung. These enable the reader to follow the two revolutions through the minds of those who led them, and at the same time they provide him with an introduction to the basic principles of dialectical and historical materialism; for that theory can only be understood in the light of the revolutionary struggles out of which it has grown and in which it finds its fullest and clearest expression

Pdf available https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/uk.secondwave/thomson-1.pdf


THOMSON, George Derwent (1903–1987)

George was a leading academic, a Cambridge graduate, who pioneered a Marxist interpretation of Greek drama. His first scholarly commentary, published in 1932, was on the Aeschylean Prometheus Bound. His Aeschylus and Athens and Marxism and Poetry won him international attention. He became a professor at Birmingham University in 1936, the year he joined the Communist Party. Thomson had a leading role in the CPGB internal party education programme in the Forties, a member of the CPGB Cultural Committee and also it’s Executive Committee.

Sharpening of Ideological Battle in Britain by George Thomson.

He resigned from the Party in the early Fifties in protest at the British Road to Socialism, but this was not much more than an act of an individual. He was around loose anti-revisionist circles, Thompson’s musician wife Katherine Thompson worked with Ewan MacColl, another anti-revisionist communist member, and A.L.Lloyd on ‘Singing the Fish’. And Thompson continued to write and was active in the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding and other pro-Chinese societies; public lecture he gave Marxism in China Today by George Thomson.

He never lost his political beliefs and his commitment to working-class education, which included giving lectures to factory workers at Birmingham’s Austin car plant, encouraging study groups in Birmingham that saw the formation of the Birmingham Communist Association.

PANAGIOTIS NOUTSOS | BRITISH MARXISM AND GEORGE THOMSON | 1987

English translation of a paper delivered in commemoration of G. Thomson organized by the Classics Department of the University of Ioannina


His Wikipedia entry notes Thomson as “English classical scholar, Marxist philosopher, and scholar of the Irish language.”

Thomson first visited the Blasket Islands off the west coast of Ireland in 1923.He spent several years with the people of the islands studying their language, history and culture. He maintained a special study of the now extinct community in Ireland, in which he perceived elements of surviving cultural resonances with historical society prior to the development of private property as a means of production. Thomson became a champion of the Irish language, writing and translating a history of Greek philosophy up to Plato written in Irish in 1929.

Thomson went on to become professor of Greek at Galway University before moving back to England in 1934 where he continued a successful academic career, including over 30 years as professor of Greek at Birmingham University. Academically he produced a stream of publications which were informally blacklisted at Oxford University, but very widely read outside the Classics establishment in Britain, and indeed were on the syllabus of many departments of Anthropology and Sociology as well as the reading lists circulated by workers’ educational organisations.

In 1938 he published his impressive two-volume commentary on Aeschylus’ Oresteia, which still needs to be consulted by any scholar working on that text. But the work of classical scholarship with which he will always be primarily associated was his 1941 Aeschylus & Athens, a Marxist anthropological study of early Greek tragedy, published by the press most closely associated with the CPGB, Lawrence & Wishart. In 1949 he followed this with The Prehistoric Aegean, and, making a kind of ‘trilogy’ of Marxist interpretations of ancient Greek civilisation from the Bronze Age to Periclean Athens, in 1954 with The First Philosophers based on a 76 page book written in Irish for the common reader in 1932 and published in 1935 under the title: Tosnú na Feallsúnachta. source



Maggie Burns produced a study, George Thomson in Birmingham and the Blaskets 0709302339 that tells the story of his life and is illustrated with photos from Ireland, Birmingham, China and Greece.

In 2003, at the Galway Conference “Irish involvement in Greek Culture, Literature, History and Politics” organised by the Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens (that included Professor Margaret Alexiou on the life and work of her father, George Thomson), the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre reminisced:

“I began to read George Thomson, a professor of Greek first at Galway and then at Birmingham and a member of the Executive Committee of the British Communist Party. He played a part, I believe, in my joining the Communist Party for a short time. In 1941, he published “Aeschylus and Athens,” which came after a history of Greek philosophy up to Plato written in Irish, entitled Tosnù na Feallsùnachta, as well as the translation of some Platonic dialogues into Irish. It was through thinking about the problems of translation involved in rendering Greek philosophy into modern languages as different as English and Irish that I had my first inklings of two truths: that different languages as used by different societies may embody different and rival conceptual schemes, and that translation from one such language to some other such language may not always be possible. There are cultures and languages-in-use that one can only inhabit by learning how to live in them as a native does. And there are theories framed in different languages-in-use whose incommensurability arises from their partial untranslatability. These were thoughts that I only developed fully some thirty-five years later in Relativism, Power and Philosophy and in Whose Justice? Which Rationality?”


Of George Thompson, it was said that “he was a noble person, he loved the people” (“Bhi se usual iseal” – Maire Guiheen).

Works by George Derwent Thomson

Aeschylus and Athens: A Study in the Social Origins of Drama . A Marxist anthropological study of early Greek tragedy, published by the publishing house most closely associated with the CPGB, Lawrence & Wishart

  • Studies in ancient Greek society 1949
  • The First Philosophers 1954
  • From Marx to Mao Tse-tung: A study in revolutionary dialectics
  • Marxism and Poetry 1946
  • The Greek language
  • Capitalism and after: The rise and fall of commodity productions
  • A manual of modern Greek
  • The Blasket that was: The story of a deserted village
  • Greek Lyric Metre
  • Os primeiros filósofos
  • Τὰ Ὁμηρικὰ Ἒπη
  • An Essay on Religion
  • Aeschylus: The Prometheus Bound y
  • La filosofía de Esquilo
  • Les premiers philosophes.
  • The human essence : the sources of science and art
  • Greek lyric metre

Ancient Philosophy and the Class Struggle | Marxism Today, February 1963, pp. 54-57

Communication | The Labour Monthly, March 1950, p. 139

Engels’ Masterpiece (Review) | The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, by Fredrick Engels

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State | The New Masses, July 22, 1941, pp. 22-23

Engels’ Masterpiece on Social Evolution (Review) | The Labour Monthly, March 1941, p. 142

The Modern Prince and Other Writings | Marxism Today, November 1957, pp. 61-62

The Flight from Reality by Hector Hawton | The Labour Monthly, April 1942, p. 128

From Lenin to Mao Tse-tung | The Monthly Review, April 1970, pp. 115-130

Greetings from Friends in Britain | The Labour Monthly, July 1961, pp. 351-354

History by V. Gordon Childe | The Labour Monthly, May 1948, p. 157

Ireland Her Own by Thomas Alfred Jackson | The Labour Monthly, March 1947, p. 95

Marxism and Spiritual Values | Marxism Today, August 1961, pp. 234-239

Class Struggles in Ancient Greece by Margaret O. Wason | The Labour Monthly, July 1947, pp. 223-226

Concerning Marxism in Linguistics by Joseph Stalin | The Labour Monthly, June 1951, p. 284

Translator, various editions:

  • The Oresteia: Agamemnon; The Libation Bearers; The Eumenides (Penguin)
  • Prometheus Bound (Translator, some editions)
  • An Anthology of Greek Drama: First Series (Translator, some editions)
  • An Anthology of Greek Drama: Second Series (Translator, some editions)
  • Aeschylus, the Laurel Classical Drama (Translator, some editions)