Established in Canada in 2021, this site provides access to English-language pdfs of anti-revisionist literature and the name should sound familiar. The original “8 Nëntori” Publishing House, literally meaning “8 November” in Albanian, honours the founding of the Party of Labour of Albania on November 8th, 1941. It published Enver Hoxha’s Selected Works, his Reflections, his many theoretical works, his memoirs, historical notes, and more.
The new incarnation, while republishing material from the Hoxha’s canon, aims “to promote discussion among Marxist-Leninists, even reprinting controversial figures and literature. In this work, we should note that reprinting does not mean we endorse the content — nor does it necessarily represent our views — it only means that we acknowledge that there may be some value in studying it.” Amongst its existing list are titles from the usual suspects, Lenin, Stalin, Dimitrov, Zhdanov, Ramiz Alia , Nexhmije Hoxha, and Wang Ming and Kim Il Sung. Being based near Ottawa (formerly at Toronto), there are some specifically Canadian communist literature reprinted.
Amongst its publications is a new collection Congress of Betrayal – The November 8th Publishing House (wordpress.com) partially of previous untranslated comments from Enver’s Diary and other more familiar material. This selection covers the decade 1955-1966, covering such events as the 20th Congress and the denunciation of Stalin, including his epochal 1960 Moscow Meeting speech, the Hungarian counter-revolution and its source, the “anti-party” plot of Molotov et al., to the break of diplomatic relations by the Soviets in 1961, and the removal of Khrushchev and the 23rd Brezhnev Congress in 1964-66.
seek truth to serve the people
What it illustrates is the argumentation forcibly and persistently offered in the through-going contradictions with the revisionist developments under Khrushchev. Far from being a pawn in the Sino-Soviet split, as if Albania was a side show in the anti-revisionist struggle, it highlights the contribution made sincerely and independently in that anti-revisionist struggle. Having read Albania Challenges Khrushchev Revisionism (New York 1976) or The Party of Labor of Albania in Battle with Modern Revisionism (Tirana 1972) you will know what to expect, and the speech delivered at the meeting of 81 Communist and Workers’ parties in Moscow (November 16, 1960) is included in the collection. That self-reverential sense that “we have done our sacred duty to Marxism-Leninism” still pervades the selection but then again, reality proved the life-and-death class struggle they were engaged in. The disruption of the international movement and eventual disintegration did see the attempted formation and reorganisation of anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist forces. Something the Albanian party did pay close attention too.
Any evaluation of the struggle experienced by the Party of Labour of Albania led by Enver Hoxha should acknowledge it opened up the gates for the formation of the new Marxist-Leninist parties and the end of the old “fossilized and demobilized” Communist parties in the early stages of that struggle. The subsequent stance raises other questions which seems to have influenced some of the selected inclusions in the collection, before Hoxhaism was clearly delineated from Maoism,to reinforce the (contested) position that the PLA were the only forces to assess every deviationist move of the USSR correctly from the very beginning.
Congress of Betrayal | CONTENTS
KHRUSHCHEV ANNULS THE INFORMBUREAU DECISION (May 23, 1955)
WE ARE ALONE AGAINST TITO (May 25, 1955)
DITYRAMBS FROM TITO TO KHRUSHCHEV (February 18, 1956)
ON KHRUSHCHEV’S SECRET SPEECH (February 26, 1956)
THE AMERICAN IMPERIALISTS CAN NEVER CHANGE THEIR ESSENCE (March 8, 1956)
THE “ITALIAN WAY TOWARDS SOCIALISM” (March 18, 1956)
THE TRAITORS REHABILIATED UNDER THE PRETEXT OF THE “CULT OF THE INDIVIDUAL” (March 30, 1956)
A REVISIONIST PLOT AGAINST THE PARTY (April 16, 1956)
THE LESSONS WE SHOULD DRAW FROM THE PARTY CONFERENCE OF THE CITY OF TIRANA (April 21,1956)
THE 20th CONGRESS DID NOT PUT MATTERS RIGHT (May 26, 1956)
MOLOTOV HAS BEEN SACRIFICED FOR TITO (June 4, 1956)
KHRUSHCHEV SUGGESTS TO USE THE EXPERIENCE OF HITLER (June 23, 1956)
ANOTHER SLANDER LAID ON STALIN (July 2, 1956)
THE FOREIGN PRESS SALIVATES OVER THE MANOEVRE OF KHRUSHCHEV (July 3, 1956)
THE CHINESE ARE FOLLOWING THE ROAD OF THE SOVIETS (September 17, 1956)
IN NO WAY WILL WE MAKE CONCESSIONS ON PRINCIPLES (November 13, 1956)
The early sixties saw differences in the communist movement went beyond the boundaries of an internal dispute, and emergence of two main lines of demarcation, two opposite and ultimately irreconcilable lines confront each other. The struggle between two worldviews are very often materialized in the form of “power struggle” between the two leading characters, and as this happened it distorted the presentation and understanding of what was at stake. That these positions were identified with the two most prominent and successful parties complicated the development and consequences of the struggle as these enveloped both party and state relations and the world communism in ideological and strategic questions. Framed as a ‘split in world communism’, the actual ideological contest to defend Marxism and the communist vision could be less of the focus than the easy trope of Khrushchev versus Mao.
The two principal meetings of the world’s Communist Parties seeking a resolution to the issues that had arisen were those held in Moscow in 1957 with the Declaration of representatives of 12 ruling parties of the socialist countries and the 1960 Statement of 81 Communist and Workers Parties. Though ostensibly to build the unity of the Communist Movement, they were dominated by the widening rift between the CPSU and the CPC, and at each both sides fought to have their views incorporated into the final documents. The documents of those meetings became reference points in the polemic that followed. A position reaffirmed in various statements, such as the joint statement released by the Chinese and New Zealand parties in Peking May 1963:
The Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of New Zealand reaffirm their loyalty to the Moscow Declaration of 1957 and the Moscow Statement of 1960 and hold that these two documents, unanimously agreed upon by the Communist Parties of various countries, are the common programme of the international communist movement. [i]
A few years previously, a leading ideologue in the CPSU leadership had told a plenum on 22-26 December 1959, when Suslov presented a detailed report on “the trip by a Soviet party-state delegation to the People’s Republic of China” in October 1959,
“… that the Soviet Union would try to restore “complete unity” by continuing “to express our candid opinions about the most important questions affecting our common interests when our views do not coincide.” Although the aim would be to bring China back into line with the USSR, Suslov argued that if these efforts failed, the CPSU Presidium would “stick by the positions that our party believes are correct.” [ii]
From studies of declassified materials from CPSU Central committee meetings it is clear that from late 1962 on, Soviet leaders no longer held out any hope that the acrimonious polemics would be resolved with the capitulation of the Albanian and Chinese parties to the Moscow line. Toward the end of 1962, a series of conferences of fraternal Parties in Eastern Europe and in Italy were used as forums from which to attack both the Albanian Party of Labour and the Communist Party of China.
The only genuine unity, both sides argued, was on their terms, each citing Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. Still for all the fine words and sentiments, Khrushchev publicly attack the Albanian Party of Labour at the 22nd Congress of the C.P.S.U. late in 1961.The Albanian party had been told: accept without question the revisionist line of the leaders of the CPSU.
An editorial in China’s Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) acknowledged that the earlier platform set forth in the Declaration and the Statement was far from fit for purpose as
“the formation of certain questions in the Declaration and the Statement is not altogether clear and there are weaknesses and errors…we made certain concessions at that time in order to reach agreement. On more than one occasion, we have expressed our readiness to accept any criticism of us on this point. Despite all this, the Declaration and the Statement set forth a series of revolutionary principles which all Marxist-Leninist parties should abide by.” [iii]
However, the concessions made included the formulation that the CPSU leadership were pursuing as the strategy for the International Communist movement and could reference and defend as their adherence to the platform agreed in the two documents. When accused of being “betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement” they simply quoted the relevant part of the document that supported them. When either side can selectively use the positions in their argument, the coherence and integrity of the compromised documents reduces its effectiveness in forging a united approach for the parties concerned.
Time and time again, the anti-revisionist argument employed the fact that the Declaration and the Statement pointed out that all communist parties must wage struggles against revisionism and dogmatism, and particularly against revisionism, which is the main danger in the international communist movement, for their opponents to turn around and identify them as the dogmatists to be targeted.
On the Declaration and Statement, the Albanian view was that the two documents contained a scientific Marxist-Leninist analysis of the deep revolutionary processes in the modern world. Collection of anti-revisionist articles repeated the sentiments that they constituted a sound basis on which the Communist and Workers’ parties should build their line of actions on the revolutionary conclusions of the Moscow Declaration in their struggle for peace, national liberation, democracy and progress to an exploitation-free classless society (e.g. Oppose Modern Revisionism and Uphold Marxism-Leninism and the Unity of the International Communist Movement, Tirana 1964).
The anti-revisionists maintain that at the time revisionism is the main danger in the international communist movement: “In the last few years many events have further confirmed the conclusion of the Declaration of 1957 and the Statement of 1960 in this respect.” [iv]
Both sides continued to differentiation between parts of the Declaration and the Statement, with the defence of their revolutionary principles the foundation of the anti-revisionist position. The editorial argued that the CPSU leadership had “tore up these documents [the Declaration of 1957 and the Statement of 1960] on the very day they were signed.”
In contrast, the suggestion of an alternative platform was made in the 25 Points on the General Line of the International Communist Movement put forward in June 1963 that effectively jettison the platform that the CPSU leadership still used in defence of its new policies.
The Khrushchov revisionists stated the People’s Daily “are pressing forward with their anti-revolutionary line of ‘peaceful coexistence’, ‘peaceful competition’ and ‘peaceful transition’. They themselves do not want revolution and forbid others to make revolution.” The editorial concluded that betrayal of the revolutionary principles “can only lead to a split” [v]
The escalation and hardening of the public polemics were clearly signalled on both sides with the words far from reflecting fraternal relations. Whereas there was an appeal to the agreement that relations “should follow the principles of independence, complete equality, mutual support and the attainment of unanimity thought through consultation” , the article charged that “Khrushchov revisionists practise big-power chauvinism, national egoism and splittism, waving their big baton everywhere, wilfully interfering in the affairs of fraternal parties and countries, trying hard to control them and carrying out disruptive and subversive activities against them, and splitting the international communist movement and the socialist camp.”
Referencing the 22nd Congress of the CPSU, the charge was that the Soviet leadership was “casting to the four winds all the basic theses of Marxism Leninism and all the revolutionary principles of the Declaration and the Statement.” Furthermore, “they are enforcing the dictatorship of the privileged bourgeois stratum in the Soviet Union and have embarked on the road to capitalist restoration.”
The stark division in positions expressed were directed to a wider audience. Periodically there was issued calls to an end to the public polemics which “had an unfriendly character and are abusive of sister parties” however as British academic Julia Lovell, and others observers, noted,
“The Soviets’ riposte was robust. They printed 3.2 million copies, in thirty-five different languages distributed to eighty-five countries, of just one of several open letters to the CCP refuting the latter’s ‘slanderous attacks’. They poured energy and money into sponsoring local activists all over the world to write anti-Chinese copy, to show anti-China films, and give anti-Chinese lectures. As relations became deeply hostile in late 1962, the New York Times speculated that Khruschev now wished for a ‘Soviet-American Alliance Against China.’.” [vi]
The Chinese criticism of the new Soviet leadership following Khrushchev’s departure was observed and interpreted through ideological lenses, that they remain loyal to the general line of “the founder of their faith and the maestro who ‘creatively developed Marxism-Leninism’, simply because Khrushchov was too disreputable and too stupid to muddle on any longer, and because Khrushchov himself had become an obstacle to the carrying out of Khrushchov revisionism. The only way the Khrushchov revisionist clique could maintain its rule was to swop horses.”
“While proclaiming they are building ‘communism’ in the Soviet Union, they are speeding up the restoration of capitalism.” [vii]
The distrust in the leaders of the CPSU was mirrored in attitudes towards US imperialism where the base line was that “the destiny of mankind and the hope of world peace cannot be left to the “wisdom” of U.S. imperialism or to the illusion of co-operation with U.S. imperialism.”
Reconciliation between the parties, ensuring the much-proclaimed unity of the international movement was no longer a feasible option, especially as a condition laid down by the anti-revisionists involved the prospects of the CPCU repudiating the revisionist general line laid down at the 20th and 22nd Congresses. Sham unity would no longer tolerated.
The lines of demarcation had been drawn by both sides.
Since the 81 Parties’ Meeting in 1960 there had been talk of the holding of an international meeting of the world parties – provided such a meeting was held with the object of reaching ideological unity and not with the object of forcing an organisational split.
The Communist Party of China’s representatives met in Moscow on July 15, 1963. But on the day preceding, the leaders of the C.P.S.U. published to the world its slanderous attackson the Chinese Party contained in the now notorious Open Letter. [viii]
Others testify to how the CPSU leadership asserted its paternal assumptions. The talks held by the New Zealand Party delegation in Moscow in 1963 were later described in terms that
“Our frank and free presentation of views was, as comrades know, met with the same tirade of abuse and subjectivism which had been inflicted upon other Party delegations seeking a similar down-to-earth critical and self-critical study of problems on the basis of Marxist-Leninist science.”
The attitude of the C.P.S.U. leaders may be summed up: “There shall be no criticism of our line. You must submit to this line even though you consider it revisionist. This line is the line to which all world Parties must adhere without question. We shall see to it that any who do not do so are ostracised from the world movement.” Thus the line of “compulsory unity with revisionism” or open split emerged as the line of the C.P.S.U. leaders. [ix]
In March 1965 the CPSU managed to finally convene their “schismatic”, “fragmented meeting. The divisive meeting was quite small and most unseemly. It was a gloomy and forlorn affair” was the judgement of People’s Daily/Red Flag in their “A Comment on The March Moscow Meeting” (March 23 1965). Of the 26 parties invited, 19 attended who were “were rent by contradictions and disunity” (and not only according to Chinese reporting). They described the divisive March Moscow meeting as “now hatching a big plot for a general attack on China and a general split in the international communist movement. The time had passed when the CPC could proclaim “Eternal, Unbreakable Sino-Soviet Friendship” [x]
Giving it the description as a “consultative meeting” did not alter its intention as preparation for an international conference of the Communist and Workers Parties. Still, it failed to act as a drafting meeting. The Albanian paper Zeri I Popullit called it “a major crime against the world communist movement” explaining that the “incorrigible revisionists and renegades from Marxism-Leninism” had sought to “bring about the final split in the communist movement in the organisational plane”. The Albanian commentary noted that for all the demagogic oaths about unity and solidarity, the meeting showed that the CPSU leadership could not even “define a common line for revisionism and to eliminate the division that exists within their ranks”. [xi]
The reaction of the Communist Party of New Zealand to the March meeting convened in Moscow by the leadership of the C.P.S.U. reflected the scepticism at what was seen as an attempt to foist this improper meeting upon the World Communist Movement, under cover of soft words and Marxist-Leninist phrases, further disunity in the world movement: “ It makes clear that the leaders of the C.P.S.U. (and their supporters in other places) persist in their revisionist ideas and are determined to impose them upon the world movement.” [xii] The Chinese comment explained the initial approach of the party to the divergences with the CPSU:
“In the incipient stages of Khrushchov revisionism and in the course of its development, we invariably proceeded from the desire for unity and offered our advice and criticism, in the hope that Khrushchov might turn back. We indicated on many occasions that the points the fraternal Marxist-Leninist Parties had in common were basic while the differences among them were partial in character, and that they should seek common ground while reserving their differences.” [xiii]
What had developed under Khrushchov and subsequent was the policies the new leaders of the CPSU adopted towards fraternal countries and fraternal Parties remained the views expressed in the Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU of JuIy 14, 1963, in Suslov’s anti-Chinese report at the February 1964 plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU and in the resolution adopted on this report, and actions of unscrupulous interference in the internal affairs of the fraternal Parties and engage in disruptive and subversive activities against them. The inability to bring its anti-revisionist critics to heel was clear when only 19 of the 26 invited Parties attended march Moscow meeting. Significant absentees included five of the Parties from the socialist world, namely, Albania, China, Korea, Rumania and Vietnam. Indonesia (the largest Communist Party outside of the socialist world) and Japan also refused to attend. As the Chinese observed, “the number of those obeying Khrushchov’s baton was already decreasing.”
The pressures of the world Parties (including some like Italy and Britain, who attended) and the failure to get a representative gathering forced a change in the character of the meeting – from one which was to organise and prepare a meeting of world Parties in 1965 to a down-graded “consultative meeting.” This was a setback for the revisionist leaders of the C.P.S.U. The meeting itself demonstrated that it could not prepare and proceed to convene a conference of world Parties. But it is equally clear from the communique that the organisers have not given up their hopes of imposing their revisionist ideas on the world movement. [xiv]
The observations of the New Zealand party were concerns shared by others who identified with the criticisms raised by the Albanian and Chinese parties and their supporters.
“What is the attitude of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. towards criticisms of its line and policy? Were they welcomed, studied, analysed, verified or, where necessary, corrected? Comrades know from the development of the ideological dispute that this was not the approach of the leaders of the C.P.S.U. On the contrary, it was an arrogant, conceited and commandist stand. Stand-over methods and economic and political pressures were exerted in an effort to enforce the Soviet leadership’s point of view. Under the cover of words like “proletarian internationalism,” its opposite, great-power chauvinism, was enforced. On the ideological front, the theoretical bankruptcy of the Soviet leaders became quickly exposed. Abuse of other parties and distortions of Lenin were used in an attempt to bolster an impossible case. Quotations from “Left-Wing Communism,” by Lenin, became favourite missiles to hurl at all who dared to criticise the policy of the Soviet leadership from a fundamental Marxist-Leninist viewpoint.” [xv]
These were a manifestation of the same struggle being waged on a national scale, the differentiation of forces within individual parties. The growth and consolidation of the new Marxist-Leninist groups proved largely marginal, with the Communist Party of New Zealand being an exception in the industrialised world aligning to the developing anti-revisionist camp. [xvi]
The historical analogy within the anti-revisionist struggle against revisionism saw the CPSU leadership line as taking them right back to the struggle of Lenin and the Mensheviks in 1903, on the membership rule of the Party, on the role of the vanguard party and the issues of how imperialism in the early part of the century turned Labour leaders into “the Labour lieutenants of Capitalism in the ranks of the working class”.
Clearly for the anti-revisionists, the ascendancy of bourgeois ideology within the working-class movement or its political parties ends in their adaptation (capitulation) to capitalism and imperialism. It was not about personalities; the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism is a class struggle.
“The present polemic” wrote the Albanian leader, “is of a major character, dealing with the most fundamental theoretical and practical issues of communism. Having been started by the revisionists, it has become unavoidable and indispensable.” [xvii]
The point emphasised was that the ideological struggle – and its practical consequences – were in order to wage the struggle against imperialism and reaction successfully and further strengthen the unity of the international proletariat. There was the wider context expressed by the Chinese party led by Mao Zedong that
“the emergence and development of Khrushchov revisionism is by no means a matter of a few individuals or an accidental phenomenon. It has profound social and historical causes. So long as imperialists and reactionaries exist and so long as there are classes and class struggle in the world, Khrushchov revisionism will inevitably recur in one form or another and the struggle against it will not come to an end.” [xviii]
“to expose their true revisionist features”
“The Chinese Communist Party has on many occasions made clear its stand on the question of the public polemics, and we now once again announce it to the world: Since there are differences of principle between Marxism-Leninism and modern revisionism and since the modern revisionists have maligned us so much and refused to acknowledge their mistakes, it goes without saying that we have the right to refute them publicly. In these circumstances, it wiII not do to call for an end to the public polemics, it will not do to stop for a single day, for a month, a year, a hundred years, a thousand years, or ten thousand years. If nine thousand years are not enough to complete the refutation, then we shall take ten thousand.” [xix]
Participants in these struggles recognised that the struggle between these two opposing lines presented the prospect of a split as a fait accompli; the question was how the ideological division would be formulated in organisational developments. How would ‘true international solidarity’ be expressed? So far respecting norms and non-interference in the internal affairs of other parties had been violated with charges and counter-charges of factional activity thrown around when Marxist-Leninists had no avenue but to organise themselves in new groups to continue to defend revolutionary positions and challenge revisionism within their national parties. The position had shifted from the thesis of the 1960 Declaration that revisionism was “the main danger in the international communist movement”, it had become the main enemy in the international communist movement.
Enver Hoxha raised the opinion
“There can be no hope or illusion that the Khrushchevite revisionists will mend their ways and return to correct positions of principle.” [xx] He was candid in a private meeting, telling his Malayan guests: “We do not forget that the leaders of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union are enemies who have carried on and still carrying on utterly anti-Marxist and anti-Albanian activity against our Party and people”. [xxi] After all, the Soviet leadership not only opposed the Albanian party, it broke off diplomatic relations with Albania extending the dispute to the nation-state as it scrapped all economic, culture, military and other agreements in an attempt to isolate and break Albanian opposition.
So, what could involve raising the struggle against modern revisionism “to a higher level”? A visiting New Zealand delegation were told in October 1965 that, in the opinion of the Albanian party “not unity with the revisionists but the definitive split with them is on the agenda” [xxii] .
In a conversation with a delegation of the Communist Party of Malaya in January 1965, Enver Hoxha spoke of the serious difficulties in the international communist movement created by the revisionists. He judged that while they had been exposed by the anti-revisionist struggle, that while was no unity of opinion in the revisionist ranks, the CPSU leadership had not “yet lost their power and influence”. The counter-attack of the Marxist-Leninists, Hoxha said “must settle them completely…. Our Party of Labor is of the opinion that our Marxist-Leninist parties should not give any ground in the contradictions they have with the modern revisionists.” [xxiii]
The circumstances had changed in the composition of the international communist movement since the Moscow meeting in 1960 with the emergence of a series of new Marxist-Leninist parties and groups waging “a stern principled struggle” outside, and within the ranks of the old parties. The bilateral meetings were valued by the Albanian leadership as “our Marxist-Leninist internationalist unity becomes stronger through co-operation between the parties” [xxiv] The assistance given by the Albanian party went beyond the level of propaganda support. [xxv]
1965 had begun with raised expectations. An Editorial in Zeri i Popllitt proclaimed “In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph.” The editorial said, “History has proved that, as the principal stronghold of capitalism and world imperialism, Europe and North America are also the cradles of opportunism and revisionism in the international workers’ movement.”
Surveying the history of opposition to such ideological current it described the Khrushchev group as “the main bulwark of revisionism of the most rabid type.” It declared
The revisionists are bent on paralysing the fighting will of the European working class, making it depart from the path of revolutionary struggle and become apathetic by spreading all kinds of pacifist and reformist illusions. The revisionists try to push their line of betrayal to turn some European Communist and Workers’ parties with glorious traditions from parties carrying out the social revolution into parties for social reform, from militant, organised and disciplined revolutionary vanguard of the working class into amorphous organisations, with no clear objectives and devoid of sound Party discipline, where all kinds of bourgeois careerists, careerists and opportunists can join or leave as they please.” [xxvi]
Having unleashed attacks upon the Chinese Communist party, the Albanian Party of Labour and “all the healthy forces of the revolutionary communists in their Parties and countries”,
“With their opportunists, traitorous and divisive line and manoeuvres, the European revisionists are entirely responsible for the grave situation created in the world communist movement, and in particular, for the great harm and damage done to the European workers’ and communist movement.” [xxvii]
The article stated the need “uniting the revolutionary forces in Europe with the anti-imperialist struggle for liberation of the oppressed people of Asia, Africa and Latin America.”
Forecasting that a new revolutionary upsurge will take place in Europe, unchecked by the “temporary boom” of capitalism for “The main obstacle on the path of revolution in Europe today is Khrushchovian revisionism which strangles revolutionary enthusiasm, paralyses the fighting will and spirit of the working class …and keeps the Communist Parties of Europe far away from the revolutionary path.” Given these circumstances the Albanian paper states the perspective that:
The struggle of the revolutionary Marxists of Europe and North America, as a component part of the struggle of all the communists in the world, is of particular international significance today because this is carried out inside the citadel of modern revisionism, a citadel which must be demolished and smashed to smithereens.
With their organized legal and illegal forces, the Marxist-Leninists in Europe are carrying out work inside and outside their parties, to oppose the propaganda and organisation of the revisionists, forming and strengthening Marxist-Leninists groups and new Parties and carrying on inner-Party struggles to defend their principles trampled upon by revisionists, combat their tactics, reduce the sphere of their activities, expose their line and aims, isolate them from the masses of Communists and finally eliminate them. [xxviii]
The article cites the example of the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists of the Soviet Union “awakening and waging an active and determined struggle “, but without providing evidence or examples beyond the generalities. An explanation for the lull in polemics following Khrushchev expulsion from power was that the Soviet leadership was in a transitory stage of determining new tactics so as to avoid struggles and blows from Marxist-Leninists.
It is precisely because of this difficult position and the contradictions with which they are confronted that the present Soviet leaders are trying to maintain “silence” or “lull”. In appearance, they try their best to present themselves as being more restrained than their chieftain, N. Khrushchov, creating a false impression that they can mend their ways while in reality they stubbornly pursue the original Khrushchovian line.
Such a period of “lull” and “silence” benefits the imperialists and revisionists but harms the communist movement and the cause of Marxism-Leninism and socialism, because in this period the revisionists endeavour to consolidate their positions with a view to launching a more violent attacks on Marxism-Leninism.” [xxix]
Having described revisionism as an ulcer on the healthy body of the revolutionary movement and communist movement in Europe and the rest of the world, the article concludes with a rallying call that “Now is the time for revolutionary Communists to combat treason, liquidate modern revisionism and re-establish the original Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist unity of all communists of the world”.
This ambiguous sentiment was read as a call for the internationalisation of the anti-revisionist forces in a recognisable movement structure. Speculation was on whether, and how, the complete break with revisionism would manifest itself amid the reconstruction of the communist movement that saw Marxist-Leninists organise independent of the revisionist parties.
In the fight against revisionism the cultivation of organised anti-revisionists had resulted in separate pre-party organisations for communist unity, against revisionism. The intensification of the anti-revisionist struggle led away from reconciliation or acceptance of the revisionist path set out by the 20th and 22nd Congresses of the CPSU. Stating that the parties of western Europe stood “in the service of the monopolistic bourgeoisie of their countries” and that that they were following an “opportunistic, traitorous, and splitting course of action” there was not much hope given of transforming those parties for revolutionary struggle.
Along with the public refutation of all the slanders and attacks made against the Party of Labor of Albania, the Communist Party of China and the other Marxists-Leninists, the Albanians called for the unequivocal rehabilitation of Stalin “for the revisionists concretized their attack on Marxism-Leninism and the proletarian dictatorship with their attack on J.V.Stalin.” [xxx]
By 1965 the fight to transform those Moscow aligned communist parties had given way to establishing alternative poles of attraction in reconceiving the revolutionary movement. Evidence of this ambition of a Comintern-lite arrangement peppered the events of the year. A more favourable attitude towards a new international was discernible in the Albanian position. The PLA was more assiduous about maintaining bi-lateral relations with the new groups with regular visits by their representatives, and name checks on Radio Tirana and in ATA reports.
Speculation was not unanticipated, raised by the obvious intentions in Moscow to resolve important problems by seeking to hold a planning conference for a global meeting of parties scheduled originally for autumn 1964. Such an action would cement not only the divisions between the parties but might not their opponents be motivated to organise what would be the first anti-revisionist organised council after all the CPC’s Proposal for a General Line issued in June 1963 signalled an alternative platform for world communism.
Supporters, or what opponents dubbed them, the “Peking faction” were seen in the Albanian capital as a general test for a future international founding congress of “the Peking line”. There was even mischievous western media speculation that the next occupiers to be house in the Soviet Embassy in Tirana was to become a centre for a new international headquarters of anti-revisionists/pro-Chinese communists. There was some Western speculation that the Tirana “summit” meeting of “Marxist-Leninists” should be seen as the embryo of a Marxist-Leninist International in opposition to the Moscow centred organisations. The list of these delegations, as reported by Radio Tirana, included the Belgian Marxist-Leninist CP delegation, headed by Jacques Grippa; representatives of the New Zealand CP and the Communist Party Australia Marxist-Leninist; leading members of Marxist-Leninist groups and editors of Marxist- Leninist publications from Austria, France, Italy, Spain and Britain, and representatives from Chile, Ghana and Guinea.
The significance of the gathering of these Marxist- Leninist representatives was that this was the first time that a state event of a ruling Communist Party has been attended by the leading members of the newly emerging anti-revisionist forces. Whether there would be a declaration that formalised the political divisions – the split with Moscow – so as to likely leave a lasting imprint on the international Communist movement was an expectation that increased prior to the 1966 Fifth Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania. [xxxi]
The judgement of the Swiss based Marxist Leninist Nils Andersson was that
“An important demonstration of the reality of the Marxist-Leninist movement was the celebration of the 5th Congress of the PLA in November 1966, which was attended by the CP of China and 28 Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations from the five continents. There was great enthusiasm, for Albania it was one of the great moments in its history, it had defeated the revisionist and imperialist blockade; for new parties it was the first time they had been able to get together in such great numbers.” [xxxii]
The participation of representatives of the new Marxist-Leninist groups in the 5th Congress was seen as an important event in the international communist movement. The official authorised history of the PLA said that such internationalist solidarity manifested by such engagement:
“expressed the love, support and the great authority the PLA had won in the international arena by its resolute struggle for socialism and the preservation of the purity of Marxism-Leninism.” [xxxiii]
Mao’s Message of Greetings to the Fifth Congress of the Albanian Party of Labour was read out by Kang Sheng, head of the delegation of the Communist Party of China. He then addressed the internationalist audience invited to the 5th Congress of the PLA:
“At present, Marxist-Leninist Parties and organizations are emerging in quick succession in all continents and they are growing and becoming increasingly consolidated every day. They are drawing a clear line of demarcation between themselves and the modern revisionist clique theoretically, ideologically, politically, organizationally and in their style of work. They are directing their efforts towards building themselves into Marxist-Leninist Parties of a new type. These new-type proletarian revolutionary parties represent the fundamental interests of the proletariat and revolutionary people in their respective countries; they represent the future and the hope of these countries, they represent the core of leadership in their revolutions. The birth and growth of the new type Marxist-Leninist Parties and organizations is a great victory of Marxism-Leninism in its struggle against modern revisionism.” [xxxiv]
The 5th Congress ratchet up the unfilled expectation when Belgian party leader, Jacque Grippa, introduced a new element to the Congress with a message from the new established illegal Provisional Central Committee of the Communist Party of Poland (although Party leader Mija was at the Congress). For the first time a Marxist-Leninist party formed in opposition to a ruling revisionist party was given recognition and publicity by an estranged “fraternal” Albanian party at a time of a bitter struggle waged within the international communist movement between Marxist-Leninists and modern revisionists. The significance of a split from a ruling party and creation of an illegal oppositionist Marxist-Leninist party was not repeated elsewhere in Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union. These organisations sent greetings to the fifth congress and their flattering messages among the 28 republished in a 212 paged publication from the <Naim Frasheri> Publishing House, purveyors of Albanian political propaganda. [xxxv]
In the major report to the Congress, Enver Hoxha gave encouragement to the speculation when to the assembled Marxist-Leninists he called for a not- too-clearly defined “separate unity” composed of these forces. He did this by declaring that the PLA believed that “the creation of links cooperation and coordination of activities in conformity with the new present- day conditions was an indispensable and urgent matter.”
Marking the Soviet October Revolution, a Zeri i Popullit editorial of November 7th, praised the role of the 5th Congress on the question of unity by quoting from Hoxha’s report: “All the Marxist Leninist parties and forces, as equals and independents, should form a bloc with the CCP and the CPR, a bloc of iron to break all our enemies.”
Did Hoxha feed the expectations of the newly emergent anti-revisionist movement when he declared to the 5th Congress audience that:
“The unity in the communist movement and the socialist camp will be re-established, but it will be established by the Marxist-Leninist without the treacherous revisionists and in resolute battle against them. (Prolonged applause)” [xxxvi] . The opinion of the Albanian Party was that “we must not reconcile and unite with the revisionists, but break away and separate from them.”
Perhaps hinting at the reformation of an alternative arrangement with each party equal and independent rather than recapture of the Moscow dominated structures, especially when referring to revisionists as “the fifth column” and a “trojan horse”, the Albanian leader said, “We think it is high time to draw a demarcation line with modern revisionism, with all its group, and to wage a tit-for-tat struggle, so as to isolate them from the people and from the revolutionary Soviet communists.” [xxxvii]
Hoxha’s report stated that the anti-revisionist struggle must be promoted to a new height.
“ ..thanks to the struggle of the Marxist-Leninist forces, to the reaction against the revisionist line and methods, a great process is taking place and deepening : that of the differentiation of the forces of Marxism-Leninism and revisionism, both in a national and in an international scale. Tens of new parties and Marxist-Leninist groups have been founded in different countries of the world, including some socialist countries. We wholeheartedly hail these Marxist-Leninist parties and groups and wish them ever greater successes in their just struggle for the lofty revolutionary ideals of the working class. (Prolonged tumultuous applause. Ovations) ….. for in the growth of these new revolutionary forces we see the only just way to the triumph of Marxism-Leninism and the destruction of revisionism. (Prolonged tumultuous applause. Ovations)” [xxxviii]
The cultivation, and encouragement (some might say “talking-up”) of these newly emergent forces – “tens of new parties” – related to the background consideration to Enver Hoxha Congress report set out in his “Theses on the Unity of the International Marxist-Leninist Movement”, a diary entry for October 10 1966. Prior to the 5th Congress Hoxha consider the necessity of consultation among the anti-revisionist parties and groups on general meetings which the Albanian leadership advocated for strengthening the unity of the international communist movement. Included in the diary (published 1979) was a reference raising questions why the Chinese party was avoiding such a course of action (which some reviewers wondered if added after the fact to pre-date a political opinion subsequently formed).
“the joint meeting and the taking of joint decisions is important. The meeting will be informed of and study the forms of work and organisation and set tasks for each party…There is no one to oppose the idea in principle; the most they can do is leave it to melt away from lack of action. But it is they who will be wrong and not us.” [xxxix]
There was a militant crescendo in the rhetoric “to spare no effort to support the just revolutionary struggle of the Marxist-Leninist parties and forces, it [PLA] will tirelessly work for the consolidation and strengthening of the Marxist-Leninist movement and the anti-imperialist unity of the peoples of the world.” [xl]
“Marxist-Leninist must strengthen their unity on a national and international scale and their resolute struggle against imperialism and revisionism. The time we are living is not to be spent on academic, endless and empty discussions, but in daring militant actions full of revolutionary selfless spirit and sacrifice….The ranks of the Marxist-Leninist parties and forces must be closely united and well-organised, prepared and tempered to fight on…. Establishment of links for co-operation and co-ordination of actions in conformity with the new actual conditions….. consolidate their co-operation and they must work out a common line and a common stand on the basic questions, especially in connection with the struggle against imperialism and modern revisionism.” [xli]
Enver Hoxha in conversation with V.G.Wilcox thought
“The militant revolutionary spirit of the heroic times of the Comintern and the time of Lenin and Stalin should characterize world communism today.” October 1965 [xlii]
He told the world in his Congress report, November 1st 1966
“in the forefront of present-day struggle against the US-led imperialism, against modern revisionism with the Soviet leaders at the top, stands strong and steadfast the Communist Party of China and the great People’s Republic of China, headed by the prominent Marxist-Leninist, Mao Tse-tung (Prolonged applause. Ovation)
Yet in his diary, he supposedly written a more hostile judgement as Hoxha confided of the need to urge the “Chinese comrades somewhat to activize themselves in the support of the new Marxist-Leninist parties [xliii]
We think, in particular, that the time has come for our Marxist-Leninist parties to develop the most appropriate and fruitful different working contacts.
‘’it is up to us, to both your big party and Our Party, in the first place, to take the first steps to concretize closer, more effective links with the whole world Marxist-Leninist movement, so that our Marxist-Leninist unity is further tempered and our joint activity against our common enemies is strengthened. [xliv]
The PLA reiterated the party’s readiness and ‘lofty internationalist duty’ to give all the aid in its power to these new Marxist-Leninist forces. A later interpretation concluded that from the 5th Congress the international communist movement “had set out on the road to revival on a Marxist-Leninist basis.”[xlv]
Again, there was speculation, prior to the PLA’s 6th party congress, when Enver Hoxha raised the expansion and consolidation of the Marxist-Leninist movement which was seen as having experienced some neglect due to the domestic preoccupation with the Cultural Revolution. Albania felt this having, from September 1967 to May 1969, no resident Chinese ambassador to its closest ally in Tirana. He told the Tirana party conference, in January 1969, that the international Marxist-Leninist movement had entered a more advantage stage of development. The new emerged Marxist-Leninist parties constituted an overt detachment from modern revisionism and from the old communist parties:
“This is the picture of a new revolutionary situation in the fold of the international working class which is splitting and at the same time being re-organised. In its fold there is being consolidated the conscious and revolutionary part of the proletariat to wage the struggle of the vanguard against socialists, the social democrats and modern revisionists who still have very strong positions, especially in the strata of workers aristocracy that deceives the bulk of workers.”
The assertion of these new Marxist-Leninists forces engaged in a vanguard role might have signalled the intention of an approaching consolidation on an international scale, particularly in light of the looming Moscow Meeting scheduled for that May. He emphasised the right of independent action for these parties within their national boundaries on domestic issues reaffirming the complete equality of parties, “big or small, old or young”.
In a divergence observation, the public pronouncements of the Albanian leader altered radically by the end of the Seventies. With political rewriting and self-justification, this later interpretation of events presented a more critical analysis of relations within worldwide anti-revisionist movement, although there was no mention of the unseen side dramas. Jacques Grippa, the leader of the Communist Party of Belgium (m-l), and European fixer among the pro-China groups, took the opportunity at the 5th Congress to tell the Albanian party his great dissatisfaction with certain Chinese policies. Grippa eventually sided with Liu Shao-chi. [xlvi]
The authorised History (volume 2) stated the new Marxist-Leninist parties had:
“pinned their hopes especially on the support of the Party and PR of China as a “great Marxist-Leninist Party” and a “big socialist country”. In general, they were disillusioned when they did not find the immediate support that they hoped for. In reality, as been known later, at first Mao Tse-tung, and his associates, did not approve of the formation of the new parties and groups and had no faith in them.”
Indeed, Hoxha’s reaction to the news that no party delegation from China would be attending the 6th Congress scheduled for 1971, as convey in his diary was the belief that they had “no confidence in the new Marxist-Leninist parties and groups which are being created….does not want to be stuck with them…and this is in conformity with its vacillating revisionist line.” [xlvii] His comment was that, “For the international communist movement, of course, this opportunist revisionist line of the Communist party of China is not good, because it weakens and confuses it. But everything will be overcome.” [xlviii]
The Albanians charged later that the Chinese were “exploiting those organisations for their own narrow interests”, recognising anyone, and everyone, provided they proclaimed themselves “followers of ‘Mao Tsetung thought’”. [xlix]
In contrast to the alleged Chinese role in ‘disrupting and impeding’ the revival of the Marxist-Leninist movement worldwide, the History (1981) highlights the 7th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania in 1976 as when the parties entered a new phrase of sorting itself out and development on what is described as Albania’s echo of the sound proletarian basis. [l]
WHEN THE Albanians made speeches condemning Mao it was accomplished without a hint of self-criticism for the PLA’s years of conciliation to the “Chinese revisionists”. Hoxha had confided in his diary that China was a “great enigma” but that the PLA proceeded from the general idea that Mao was a Marxist-Leninist.
The PLA was apparently blameless. In the publications produced by the Albanian publishing houses, the PLA was a vociferous defender of China as a socialist country, the Communist Party of China as a great Marxist-Leninist party and Mao as a great Marxist-Leninist. So it was difficult to deduce any significant difference between them. Supporters and the Albanians find it difficult to manufacture reasons for Enver Hoxha and Party of Labour of Albania to keep silence on Mao’s as well as CPC’s alleged deviations and revisionism, until Mao was dead.
Indeed in 1971, Hoxha had said in his Report to the Sixth Congress:
“Great People’s China and Albania, the countries which consistently pursue the Marxist-Leninist line and are building socialism. The role of the People’s Republic of China this powerful bastion of the revolution and socialism, is especially great in the growth and strengthening of the revolutionary movement everywhere in the world. “
Furthermore, there was full agreement from Tirana on the correct line which the Communist Party of China advocated in putting forward “A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement” in 1963, which it gave political support. Even with the voluminous anti-revisionist propaganda commentaries and its own public role since 1960 criticising Khrushchev and the cosying up to US imperialism, Tirana did defer in the leadership of the struggle against Khrushchev to the CPC. The PLA accepted the hegemony of the CPC and Mao in the international anti-revisionist communist movement even though it thought that, from 1972, China had entered the dance with US imperialism with Nixon’s visit to Beijing that marked the collapse of America’s isolation and containment policies towards People’s China.
After the breach in the relationship, what was exposed was the disconnect between his public utterances and supposed entries into Hoxha’s private diary at the time, his increasing sceptical views on China and its relationship with Albania. The deterioration in the relationship between the two allies simmered for the rest of the decade until the rupture in 1977/78 offered stark ideological alignment that divided the anti-revisionist movement.
There was never really an explanation why the Albanians themselves were so hopelessly confused by Mao and such “anti-Marxist” theory that they adopted large portions of it or, worse still, they recognized it all along but were willing to help promote this “revisionist” line on revolutionaries around the world.
The accelerated interest and concern for the anti-revisionist parties to assist its own foreign policy objectives partly sprang from its growing contradictions with China. This international support and sympathy crafted out of an image of purity and principled struggle, standing up to face China as it had faced down the Soviet leadership. Socialist Albania would not surrender to a revisionist malignancy but expressed its insistence of remaining faithful to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. Personified in Enver Hoxha’s writings was a presentation essentially based on the promotion of the ideological orthodoxy of Marxism-Leninism.
The Albanian position presented a stark choice as it cleaved at an association that had developed over a decade and a half, challenging the young anti-revisionist organisations to choose between its analysis and that of the Chinese authorities.
That emergence of two main lines of demarcation within the anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist movement, and the Maoist recalibration that was witnessed in the early 21st century could be seen as proof of dialectics in action as unity is sought to advance the struggles for a fairer and just society.
[ii] Mark Kramer, « Declassified materials from CPSU Central Committee plenums », Cahiers du monde russe [Online], 40/1-2 | 1999, Online since 15 January 2007: http:// journals.openedition.org/monderusse/14 ; DOI : 10.4000/monderusse.14
[iii] The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement Peking: Foreign Language Press 1965
[v] The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement. Peking: Foreign Language Press 1965 p8
[vi] Lovell (2019) Maoism a global history. London: Bodley Head p147
[vii] The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement p5. Hoxha claimed “Khruschev’s downfall is a result of the struggle waged by the Marxist-Leninists.” Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p5
[xvii] …. Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House P97. The authorised history of the young party founded November 1941, born of war and revolution, proudly recalled:
The Party of Labor of Albania has fought with exceptional severity against modern revisionism, the offspring and agency of imperialism. The irreconcible principled struggle which it has waged from the start against the Yugoslavia revisionists has equipped it with a great revolutionary experience and acuteness to recognise and to fight better and with more determination against the Khruschevite revisionists as well as other revisionism, with Soviet revisionism at the centre, constitutes a major class enemy and the main danger to the international communist and workers’ movement.
Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1971) History of the Party of Labor of Albania. Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House p671
[xxxii] Nils Andersson The Origins of the Marxist-Leninist Movement in Europe. Unity & Struggle No. 28, September 2014
[xxxiii] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1971) History of the Party of Labor of Albania. Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House pp606/607
[xxxiv] Communist and Workers’ Parties and Marxist-Leninist Groups Greet the Fifth Congress of the Labor of Albania. Tirana 1966 p18
Remarks given added weight as during the Cultural Revolution period, Kang had Politburo oversight of the International Liaison Department of the CPC, responsible for contacts, communications and co-ordination with other communist organisations throughout the world. This changed in 1971 when the leadership position was held by Geng Biao /Keng Piao, formerly China’s ambassador to Albania, who remained in post throughout the 1970s.
[xlv] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1981) History of the Party of Labor of Albania 1966-1980 (Chapters VII, VIII, IX) Tirana: The “8Nentori” Publishing House p41.
The 2nd volume of the authorised History published in 1981 covers the period 1966-1980. The first chapter, labelled Chapter VII covering the 5th Congress was not a reproduction of the original Chapter VII that ended the first volume (printed 1971). It was re-written to reflect the new anti-China, anti-Mao analysis to be found in the two volumes of Enver Hoxha’s Reflections on China and other post-1976 Albanian publication.
[xlvii] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 P596 Hoxha bitterly complained about the Chinese comrades and the 6th Congress, dismissing the greetings sent as “full of stereotyped phases, which the Chinese use constantly” in his entry for November 9th 1971 with its intemperate language and accusations of “opposition to our party over line.” p609
The pdf shared is not a catalogue of British-related material drawn from the online archive provided by the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line.
It contains other material produced around, and within the anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninist movement, and a listing or related material that provides background reference information to that movement without being an exhaustive bibliographical guide (or for bibliophiles, a checklist).
However, even given those limitation it provides a signpost to the literature produced, and a springboard for any research on the origins and developments within Britain’s anti-revisionist movement from the 1960 to the new century.
David Brandenberger and Mikhail Zelenov. Stalin’s Master Narrative: A Critical Edition of the HISTORY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION (BOLSHEVIKS): SHORT COURSE. New Haven: Yale University Press 2019
Published in 1938, the CPSU (B) party history was officially attributed to an anonymous central committee editing commission. A new edition of what was universally referred to as the Short Course comes from Yale University Press. Edited by the historians David Brandenberger and Mikhail Zelenov, initially under the suggestive title Stalin’s Catechism, to provide “A Critical Edition of the Short Course on the Communist Party of the Soviet Union”.
Brandenberger and Zelenov have worked in the archives to reconstruct the original draft of the most widely disseminated communist text in Stalin’s time and compares the draft with the edited text published as the authoritative history of the Party. It illustrates the deletions and marginalia additions contributed in Stalin’s true role as editor. Such editorial intervention that were included in the final printed edition are discussed more fully in the introduction by David Brandenberger and Mikhail Zelenov. It substantiates the attribution of Stalin as “author”, a judgement that saw the Short Course included as a volume in the series of Stalin’s Works.
In Portugal , prior to April 1974, political graffiti rapidly scribbled subversive political sayings waged against the fascist regime had been employed to express opposition to the “New State”.
Developments after saw “elaborated mural paintings were already being made, inspired by other revolutionary muralist traditions such as the Mexican and the Chinese ones. The new atmosphere of political freedom and social experimentation paved the way for revolutionary political messages to be inscribed in visible and accessible public spaces.” [André Carmo]
Mural na Sede Nacional do PCTP-MRPP, Avenida Álvares Cabral.
The explosion of popular street art and wall murals as a communication form was not restricted to the MRPP, by far the largest number of murals were carried out by the rival militants of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) throughout the country. The mural paintings made by the PCTP/MRPP in aftermath of the 1974 Portuguese revolution were subject to academic study of the MRPP aesthetics in André Carmo’s article Revolutionary landscapes: the PCTP/MRPP mural paintings in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area [Finisterra, XLVI, 92, 2011, pp. 25‑2451]
These murals served as elaborate propaganda for the Maoist-inspired Proletariat Party Reorganization Movement (founded September 1970), legalized as a party on February 18, 1975, following the ending of the Salazar military dictatorship. On December 26, 1976, following the First National Congress, it was renamed the Communist Party of Portuguese Workers, with the acronym PCTP / MRPP.
The production of mural paintings were deliberate acts of political intervention
“ in a specific moment of the national life, current politics were discussed at the Central Committee level and then went all the way down until reaching the graphic committee (…) after defining the political guidelines to apply in the paintings they were discussed in the graphics committee and the propaganda department.”
1975 Guide for Agitation and propaganda
The subject matter for this political wall art were calls for support in national legislative elections i.e. “In the Assembly the voice of labor against capital!” (1)and the MRPP mural in Portalegre representing Alentejo agricultural workers, and calling for vote in legislative elections in April 1976.(2)
There was support for General Ramalho Eanes’ campaign for the presidential elections in June 1976 made on the walls of the Instituto Superior Técnico: Technical University of Lisbon, (3) and Eanes’ second candidacy for presidential elections in 1981. (4) The location reflective of PCTP/MRPP base of support in the politically active youth enrolled in universities and secondary education schools of Lisbon. Carmo notes this mural painting had to face great animosity from other radical leftist organizations, above all the UDP- People’s Democratic Union. Radical left party founded in 1974. Some of the people passing by requested to be depicted in the mural painting and, consequently, some of the human figures represented were real people who had to pose for the muralists; some of them stayed near the mural painting in order to help protecting it as well as the painters, from attacks.
Mural painting on Avenida Duarte Pacheco about General Ramalho Eanes’ second candidacy for presidential elections
(6) Beside the expected commemorative calls: the May 1st commemorative mural in Alcântara Mar, (5) and later (1995) PCTP-MRPP mural in Alcântara commemorating the 18th of September, the date of the founding of the party, (6) there were the general political positions and slogans associated with the party: most memorable (7) was ‘Only Workers Can Beat the Crisis!’ the PCTP-MRPP mural on Gomes da Costa Avenue, Cabo Ruivo, a working class neighbourhood on the outskirts of Lisbon, in September 1977. It depicted a series of popular demands in line with the political ideology underlying the PCTP/MRPP, and its location reflected the audience it want to reach with its political message.
(8) People’s Government, the MRPP mural at the Estação de Rossio, the primary station in Lisbon for the Lisboa-Sintra suburban railway.
And PCTP-MRPP mural at Instituto Superior Técnico against censorship.(9)
Photographs by Rosário Félix housed by the Mário Soares Foundation
“The World’s Revolutionary People Love to Listen to Radio Peking”
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.”
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
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 Pictorialand China Reconstructs alongside Peking Review, the revolutionary images in posters and papercuts, and whilst not unique to any one political tendency 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.
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”
“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.”
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”.
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.
“Ju flet Tirana” (“This is Tirana speaking”) foreign language programmes of Radio Tirana began on November 22nd 1964.
The new building of Radio Tirana was inaugurated in December 1965 with 8 transmitting studios, 5 recording studios, 5 montage studios, central and a large music studio.
China helped Socialist Albania soon after the inception of the Sino-Albanian alliance in the 1960s build an extensive broadcasting facilities. In 1945, there were only two radio transmitters in Albania. By 1969, there were 52 transmitters, all but eight of them short wave and Radio Tirana broadcasted propaganda in 17 languages to an oversea audience of friends and sympathisers.
During the 1970s, the station broadcast to Europe on 1214 kHz, causing interference problems for the British BBC Radio One on the same frequency. During the 1980s and early 1990s the international service was broadcast on 1395 kHz (along with various short wave frequencies) and was received throughout Europe during the evening and through the night. Radio Tirana also upset many amateur radio operators in Europe by operating transmitters in the 7 MHz (40 metre) amateur band. [http://www.visit-tirana.com/news/view/150/The_story_of_Radio_Tirana-_the_first_radio_station]
There were constant requests for reception reports.
Front and back of the QSL card sent out in the Summer of 1976.
In October 1966 inaugurated at Durres (Fllaka) was a medium wave transmitter with a power of 500 kW, and 5 years later neighbouring it was installed a second transmitter of 500 kW ; both transmitters broadcast the programmes of Radio Tirana external services.
At the time of the building works Western speculation was that the Chinese were installing a missile base in Albania, mistaking the transmitter sites for rocket-launching pads. During the inaugural ceremonies in 1966, there may have been an allusion to such speculation when the transmitters were referred to as “our ideological rockets”. They reached far and wide thanks to Chinese-built transmitting stations, which made Radio Tirana on short wave one of the clearest signals in the region despite coming from a country which was one of the poorest and smallest in Europe.
The external service Radio Tirana was one of the largest broadcasters in Europe, with a massive megaWatt transmitter operating on 1395 kHz, broadcasting in 20 foreign languages, apart from Albanian targeting Albanians living abroad. These broadcasts were in the following languages: Chinese, Arabic, Turkish, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Italian, Portuguese, Indonesian, English, French, German, Swedish, Spanish, Persian, Russian, Greek and Bulgarian.
Partly sustaining this foreign language output were native speakers, a small community of ideological sympathisers, resident in Tirana’s “German villas”, working to polish the presentation of the written and audio propaganda output of the Albanian institutions. Employed as translators in Albania; either in the state publishing houses, Radio Tirana or ATA (Albanian Telegraphic Agency), with some contributions at Tirana University.
“Habla Tirana. Habla Tirana. Están en sintonía de radio Tirana…”
At the beginning, there were three 30 minute radio-broadcasts in Spanish: one for Spain, more for Latin America and a joint one for both. Later, there were two 1 hour broadcasts: for Spain and Latin America.
A study* lists at least 23 Partido Comunista de España (marxista-leninista) militants as working as translators in Albania, the last ones to leave in 1990. The mail of PCE (m-l) came to the Spaniards of Radio Tirana always in the name of Luis Buhalance.
Other marxist-leninists, although less in numbers, came from Latin America to work at Radio Tirana and “Albania Nueva”, a bi-monthly illustrated political & social magazine. They worked as professors of Spanish language, they prepared news or edited them, they corrected the texts translated into Spanish from Albanian, and also hosted radio programs. Engaged in translating political works and the numerous writings of Enver Hoxha produced by the state publishing houses, there were also people like Ramon Sanchez Lizarralde who engaged in fiction translation, mainly the works of Ismail Kadare. Their activity and engagement lasted for a certain period of time (generally 2 to 4 years), then later they went back to their country and were replaced by other incoming couples. They were part of the propaganda machinery of the communist regime, as well, to transmit the voice and successes of the socialist Albania in the world.
* Learning the Spanish Language for Ideological, Political, and other Curious Reasons. European Journal of Social Sciences Education and Research Vol 2, Issue 1 January-April 2015
New Zealander June Taylor, one of the many foreigners who worked at Radio Tirana as announcers and translators was hired in 1974 to read and translate news and stayed at the radio station for 19 years. “News arrived at the very last minute. The quality of translation left much to be desired and they were packed with boring slogans,” Taylor said. Phrases like “the army and the people are one and indivisible”, or how the “working collective of the Enver Hoxha tractor combine fulfilled the plan three months ahead of schedule” were among those she read out for years. [Linda Spahia , Radio Tirana dumps Marxism, gets religion Reuters, December 16, 2002]
A consequence of the Sino-Albanian split was that Albanian relays of Chinese broadcasts were discontinued from July 1978. The relays consisted of half-hour broadcasts in Czech, English, Hausa (to reach Nigeria), Italian, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish and Turkish, totalled 91 hours. There were also New China News Agency transmissions in French and Spanish for 54 hours a week.
In 1987, 66 hours of programmes were broadcast in 20 foreign languages every day. Political propaganda predominated and included: Introducing Albania, Listeners’ Letters, Culture and Art in Socialist Albania and The Song of Our Life. Radio Tirana also presented programs of revolutionary music from around the world, while the programme, “What we saw in socialist Albania” offered interviews with foreign visitors to Albania.
During the last months of the socialist era, overtly political programming was drastically scaled down, and the long-established practice of playing “The International” at the end of each broadcast was abandoned. The interval signal of Radio Tirana during this period was the first few bars of the Albanian revolutionary song With a Pickaxe in One Hand and a Rifle in the Other (Në njërën dorë kazmën në tjetrën pushkën). This song also served as the signature tune of Radio Tirana’s foreign language broadcasts.
After the collapse of the regime, the foreign radio service was cut to seven languages and just three hours a day. Now with spare transmitting capacity and unused equipment and no programme, the aging facilities were offered out. Religious broadcaster Trans World Radio became the main client of Radio Tirana’s foreign service and its saviour from bankruptcy. Other paying clients served include Voice of America of the United States, Germany’s Deutsche Welle and the Italian RAI.
After diplomatic relations were restored between the two former allies a rental agreement between the Albanian Radio television and the Chinese Film and Radio Television leased the Radio Centre of Short Waves in Elbasan (Cerrik) to the Chinese in December 2003 for at least 15 years. The arrangements discussed in greater detail in THE HISTORY OF RADIO TIRANA TRANSMITTERS http://www.worldofradio.com/dxld6150.txt.
The struggle within the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination and the transformation of the pressure group towards advocacy of Black Power in late Sixties Britain needs no retelling as it was recorded in The Politics of Powerless (Heineman (1972) IRR/Oxford University Press). That account explored the personalities and issues involved. This note looks outside it three years tumultuous existence to focus on the drivers of radical change identified in the standard narrative as Johnny James and Ralph Bennett. Both men were founders of the London-basedCARIBBEAN WORKERS’ MOVEMENT in 1965. Bennett was general secretary; James, head of publications. Both were political workers for Labour Party activist, Dr. David Pitt in his Greater London Council (GLC) constituency of Hackney. (In 1975 Prime Minister Harold Wilson was to appointed Pitt to the House of Lords as Lord Pitt of Hampstead). They were co-opted at Pitt’s insistence onto the Executive Committee of C.A.R.D. – Campaign Against Racist Discrimination. James was assistant general secretary for membership and chairman of the International Committee. Their impact on the civil rights lobbying group reflected the growing radicalisation of self-organisation and political advocacy within Britain’s immigrant communities against the racist discrimination experienced in British society. The turn to community action was not as new as contemporary commentary would suggest. What was heard loud and clear was the anti-imperialist sentiments and concerns expressed.
Johnny and Ralph were both editorially involved in the single sheet one penny newsletter published from 1965 to 1967 by the Caribbean Workers Movement. In August 1965 the Caribbean Workers’ Weekly editorial asked:
“What are the principles which guide truly socialist actions? What would be expected from Socialist leaders, parties and groups?
The overriding feature of their policies and actions must be the furthering of the interests of all working people against their implacable enemies, in our case world imperialism led by US imperialism and British Imperialism with their local stooges.” (Caribbean Workers’ Weekly Vol 1 # 7 August 1965)
Reflecting left-wing Marxist attitudes of some of what are now referred to as the ‘Windrush Generation’, the newsletter covered a wide-range of topics, including parliamentary democracy, economic power, maintenance of the colour bar, Caribbean politics, and the use of British military forces in the Caribbean. The publications of the CWM was concerned with promoting ‘true’ socialism to the island countries, to campaign for national independence , to defeat the common enemy – imperialism, led by the ruling classes of the USA, Britain, France and others and domestically, reflective of their internationalism, to participate “in all anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, and anti-fascist activities for the benefit of working classes in all parts of the world, thus playing our proper role in the international working class movement against imperialism.”
The first issue of Caribbean Workers’ Weekly appeared July 1965 with the front page news calling for ‘Hands Off Dominica’ and comments on Jamaica’s economy and the Commonwealth Conference. The reverse has thinly-detailed article on the Klu-Klux Klan in Britain, and more substantial piece on ‘US aggression in Vietnam’. That formula was repeated in subsequent issues.
The focus of the newsletters was mainly on Britain and those in power in the Caribbean – articles on the use and abuse of political, policing and military powers, as well as corruption and financial largesse within capitalist regimes abound – but wider global concerns are reflected too, with many articles and cartoons attacking the pernicious influence of the United States in Caribbean affairs. An editorial on parliamentary democracy wrote of shedding illusions in the wake of “what flimsy structures these imperialist devised constitutional institutions proved to be.” Economic power it asserted remained with the monopolists, and it questioned the treacherous Caribbean leaders “how much easier the job of imperialists is made with local stooges to do the jobs for them.”
The Vietnam War, the rise of Black Power in the USA, and the Cuban Revolution and its support for those overthrowing the Anglo-American imperialist yoke are all covered.
Its audience was those who “escape from overwhelming unemployed and destitution by emigrating to the metropolitan country as cheap labour.” [The Carib Vol.1 No.5 February/march 1965]
Amongst the activities it carried were advertisements for film shows of Cuba’s “Island Aflame’ in the Labour Hall in Stoke Newington, and a fund-raiser party at Benthal Road both in the North London N16 district. There were monthly meetings at the Lucas Arms, the venue that marked the open declaration of the anti-revisionist movement with the creation of the Committee to Defeat Revision, for Communist Unity that some members of the CWM had been involved in. The CWM, working in a similar field, continued to reflected those early anti-revisionist concerns with the Caribbean Workers’ Weekly exposing an activist, P.Sealy, as “a Caribbean stooge of the revisionist CPGB” [Caribbean Workers’ Weekly #41 April 16-23rd 1966]. The opposition to the politics of “The British Road”, the CPGB’s political strategy was evident in the position taken by the CWM on domestic and international issues. The newsletter argued, “there is no fundamental difference between the Tories and Labour government since they both want capitalism.” [Caribbean Workers’ Weekly #38 March 26th-April 2nd 1966].
Vietnam was a weekly solidarity feature carrying reports on the war and agitation support. There were explicit and trenchant criticism contained in its articles. Typically, the article, headlined “Struggle – defeat Imperialism” wrote of the “bloody nature of imperialism, particularly US imperialism” and the need to “distinguish false friends from true friends… We are struggling resolutely for unity among Caribbean anti-imperialists.”
Using the mimeographed technology of the day, the CWM produced other literature, along with the demanding schedule of the weekly Caribbean Workers’ Weekly. There was the CARIB that carried more lengthy Marxist analysis. The Carib saw its first issue in July 1965, a stencil and staple publication of roughly 12-16 pages, published with the then recently re-badged tag ~ Caribbean and Latin American Workers.
The Carib generally appeared every two months (although it had gaps through an irregular publication schedule). There was a series called Caribbean Organisations for Mass Political Education, which covered scientific socialism and Caribbean history.
Originally from Guyana, in north-eastern South America, Johnny James, active within the London Left, had contacts with other small left-wing pro-Peking organisations in London. Principal amongst them was another anti-revisionist group, the London Workers’ Committee led by elderly general practioner, Dr Alexander Tudor-Hart, which produced the monthly Workers’ Broadsheet. The radicalising Universal Coloured Peoples’ Association led by Obi Egbuna, a Nigerian-born novelist, playwright and Marxist- pioneer of the Black Power movement in Britain. See: https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/uk.secondwave/bufp-blf.pdf
Along with these groups and individual supporters, Heinneman argues that for varying reasons related to internal IWA (GB) politics, James also secured the cooperation of the Indian Social Club in Southall in the struggle to transform CARD into a more militantly active organisation. He judged that James, the “40-year old accountant” communist, had always been orientated towards realising radical change in the home islands than towards eradicating discrimination in Britain. [Heineman (1972) The Politics of Powerless. IRR/Oxford University Press p197]
An alternative evaluation would illustrate the cross fertilisation within London’s anti-revisionist milieu as James, preceding his emergence at the contentious CARD convention in 1967, had an established political record that included involvement in the Communist Party as a London District Committee member from Stoke Newington. Johnny James had been expelled from the Communist Party of Great Britain. James, along with 14 signatories had associated themselves “with the principled stand” and “fundamentally correct ’Appeal to All Communists’”, Vanguard, newspaper of the CDRCU, critics of the revisionist communist party, carried a statement in solidarity stating the party leadership had substituted insults for serious political discussion, indulged in “vulgar lies” “damaging slanders,” “scurrilous practice”.
ACTIVE IN CDRCU
After the departure of the editorial team of Evans and Jones, Johnny James was a named editor of Vanguard (along with Dave Volpe, Jack Seifert, and Michael McCreery). The fluid nature of parts of the anti-revisionist movement in London was illustrated by some of the dual membership held at that time by The Carib editorial team. They were simultaneously active in both organisation sharing similar political outlooks and orientation. It was not only in the pages of Vanguard that displayed their sympathies: Paul Noone, John James and Dave Volpe were the CDRCU’s platform speakers for the release of arrested Indian communists at a Conway hall meeting in March 1965.
Carib was advertised in Vanguard (Vol1 #9 October 1964) and carried a three part article by James described as a lecture to “advanced cadre of the Guyana National Liberation Movement”. (See: Vol 1 # 8&10). In his article “We Must Fight Racism”, James wrote unsurprisingly dismissively of government initiatives ,
Ahilya Noone (of Carib’s editorial team) submitted articles on Cuba and a substantial piece called “Women under capitalism” raising the demand “to free her from the shackles of domesticity” (Vanguard Vol 2 #1 January 1965). Not only her and James’ presence provides evidence of the symbiotic relationship as Paul Noone, also on the editorial team of Carib (and later a member of the London Workers’ Committee) joined Vanguard’s editorial team after McCreery’s death, However John James was no longer on the editorial team by the start of 1966. His comrade Paul Noone was still there but his published article “Some Methods of Work” [Vol 3 No.1 1966] was headed “Polemic”.
Noone shortly departs amidst the disintegration of the CDRCU. Work continued on The Carib before its demise sometime in 1967. That year developments within the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination had preoccupied the activists’ time.
James was once more in the public limelight with the events at CARD labelled as one of the dangerous Maoists. James “always wore a Mao button on his lapel” according to Diane Langford’s memoirs, a volunteer in the CARD office.
CARD’s November Convention
The influence of the input of grassroots radicalism was evident at the third annual convention of CARD at Conway Hall on November 4th 1967. Delegates gathered before posters of radical organizer Robert Williams, who advocated armed Black self-defense, and Pan-Africanist organiser and Kenyan Independence leader Jomo Kenyatta. They stood before signs that reflected some mantras of CARD’s early history, declaring, “Outlaw racial discrimination. Provide effective laws,” but also ones that imagined new features for the organisation, including one that stated, “Black Power means liberation, not integration as third-class citizens.” [Kennetta Hammond Perry (2016) London is the Place for Me: Black Britons, Citizenship and the Politics of Race. Oxford University Press p240]
Reflecting a consciously internationalist approach to anti-racism that would incorporate the struggle against imperialist rule, the radical coalition clashed with those whose domestically orientated approach was limited to state-sanctioned integrationist measures. In line with the words of Mao Zedong, “The evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the black people” James contended that the majority who viewed their plight as part of a wider freedom struggle were frustrated by what he described as “white liberals and a few Uncle Toms” who did not support internationalising CARD’s mission.
The Convention ended with the election of a new, predominately Caribbean national council, described in a hostile media, in the words of Anthony Lester QC, a member of the Society of Labour lawyers and one of the defeated leaders, as “a racialist takeover” of CARD. In a press statement issued in November1967 by Johnny James, one of the organisation’s newly-elected militant black leaders, had all the hallmarks of a Black Power perspective.
“Let it be quite clear that I do not like speaking to the white imperialist press reporters’, James began,’ because by nature they have to lie and distort everything one says to carry out the orders and wishes of their masters’?
(Quoted in Rosalind Eleanor Wild (2008) ‘Black was the colour of our fight’ Black Power in Britain, 1955-1976 p74 ~ PhD Thesis University of Sheffield)
At the following December’s delegate conference David Pitt retained the chairmanship of the organisation but the liberal minority abandoned the organisation, and walked out.
In the aftermath of CARD, the activists were united in the London Workers’ Committee, which emerged from the demise of the CDRCU and fusion in 1966 of the “Islington Workers’ Committee” with a group based in South London. In May 1968, the LWC formed the “Working People’s Party of England” led by a team with an ex-communist veteran from the Spanish Civil War Chairman, Alex Tudor-Hart and with Jonny James as Foreign Relations Secretary. His fellow group member, Dr Alex Tudor-Hart was a new officer of CARD following the routing of the liberals, joining Johnny James (Assistant secretary and organiser), CWM members S. Ennis and Ralph Bennett. And there were other individuals involved from the anti-revisionist movement (like Ranjana Ash) whose contributions were less publicised but no less significant.
END NOTES The Movement for Colonial Freedom
The centre of CWM activities was a small top floor office near King’s Cross at 374 Grays Inn Road courtesy of the Movement for Colonial freedom, a leading anti-colonialist campaign group and civil rights advocacy organisation. Founded in 1954, headed by Fenner Brockway, it was an amalgamation of the British Branch of the Congress Against Imperialism, the Central Africa Committee, the Kenya Committee and the Seretse Khama Defence Committee. The MCF challenged pro-Empire views within the labour movement and wider British society and sought to make the moral and political case for international labour solidarity and decolonisation. The anti-revisionist London Political Organisation contact address was Evan Gibbon’s, a member of the Communist Party in Vauxhall, who was expelled by the London District Committee in March, 1964. He was on the Central Council of the Movement for Colonial Freedom.
At times the MCF shared its cramped London office with representatives of various independence movements, including the Uganda National Conference, the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union and the Zambian United National Independence Party. This reflected the increasingly transnational political and personal networks of the 1950s and 1960s which involved British left-wing activists and nationalist, socialist and anti-colonialist immigrants and exiles from European colonies present in Britain. The three-way relationship between the Labour Party, the MCF, and the CPGB and the “taint of communism” for mainstream political respectability saw the creation of a number of other single-issue campaign groups, including among others the Anti-Apartheid Movement (UK), the Committee for Peace in Nigeria (established during the Nigerian Civil War) and British Council for Peace in Vietnam, the Chile Solidarity Campaign Committee, War on Want and the World Development Movement. In 1970 the Movement for Colonial Freedom was renamed as ‘Liberation’. Obi Benue Egbuna (1938–2014)
Nigerian novelist and short-story writer, educated at the University of Iowa and Howard University, Washington, DC. He lived in England from 1961 to 1973, where he became involved in the Black Power movement. Radical and impassioned, Destroy This Temple: The Voice of Black Power in Britain (1971) describes his spell on remand in Brixton Prison and the general political turmoil during this time. The problems he encountered when he returned to Nigeria are described in The Diary of a Homeless Prodigal (1978). He retained his Pan-Africanist politics throughout his life. His first novel, Elina (1978; first published as Wind versus Polygamy, 1964), caused great controversy in its sympathetic portrayal of a polygamous chief. Other novels include The Minister’s Daughter (1975), which sets a young student against a corrupt government minister; and The Madness of Didi (1980) in which the eponymous former priest and college professor, a thinly disguised self-portrait, is a hero to the young, but due to his radical past faces suspicion when he returns to his native village. All Egbuna’s novels display a sardonic sense of humour, as did his play The Anthill (1965). His collections of short stories include Daughters of the Sun (1970), Emperor of the Sea (1974), and The Rape of Lysistrata and Black Candles for Christmas (1980).