TWO LINES

Two Lines

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]  

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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]

Divergence Paths

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. 

See also

E N D   N O T E S


[i] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/new-zealand/joint-statement.pdf

[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

[iv]  https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/new-zealand/joint-statement.pdf

[v] The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement. Peking: Foreign Language Press 1965 p8

[vi] Lovell (2019) Maoism a global history. London: Bodley Head p147

[vii] The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and the Statement p5. Hoxha claimed “Khruschev’s downfall is a result of the struggle waged by the Marxist-Leninists.”  Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p5

[viii] Open Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to all Communists of the Soviet Union.  July 14, 1963 https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sino-soviet-split/cpsu/openletter.htm

[ix] Statement on the March Moscow Meeting.  the New Zealand Communist Review. June 1965

[x] Peking Review No. 49/50 December 13, 1960  https://www.marxists.org/subject/china/peking-review/1960/PR1960-49-50.pdf

[xi] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House pp78-109

[xii] Statement on the March Moscow Meeting.  the New Zealand Communist Review. June 1965

[xiii] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/comment.pdf p11

[xiv] It was not until June 1969, in the aftermath of the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, an International Meeting was held in Moscow with representatives of 75 parties.

[xv] Statement on the March Moscow Meeting.  The New Zealand Communist Review. June 1965

[xvi] An overview sketch of developments  compiled from the view of Tron Ogrim can be found at https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/06/research-note-tron-recalls/

[xvii] …. Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House P97.   The authorised history of the young party founded November 1941, born of war and revolution, proudly recalled:

The Party of Labor of Albania has fought with exceptional severity against modern revisionism, the offspring and agency of imperialism. The irreconcible principled struggle which it has waged from the start against the Yugoslavia revisionists has equipped it with a great revolutionary experience and acuteness to recognise and to fight better and with more determination against the Khruschevite revisionists as well as other revisionism, with Soviet revisionism at the centre, constitutes a major class enemy and the main danger to the international communist and workers’ movement.

Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1971) History of the Party of Labor of Albania. Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House p671

[xviii] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/comment.pdf

[xix] https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/comment.pdf&nbsp; p23

The full arsenal of  arguments that exposed the revisionist course at that time is available in the republished work of the Communist Party of China to be found in Documents of the CPC – Great Debate Volumes 1 & 2 available from Foreign Languages Press. Or online at  https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/china/index.htm

[xx] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p108

[xxi] Ditto p11

[xxii] Ditto p217

[xxiii] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p10

[xxiv] Ditto p31

[xxv] see :Taking the Lek https://woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/taking-the-lek/

[xxvi] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxvii] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxviii] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxix] In the Europe which breeds revisionism, revolutionary Marxism-Leninism will triumph. (January 6th 1965)

[xxx] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana : The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p208

[xxxi] Taken from the four part series, https://woodsmokeblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/tirana-builds-an-international1.pdf

[xxxii] Nils Andersson The Origins of the Marxist-Leninist Movement in Europe.  Unity & Struggle No. 28, September 2014

[xxxiii] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1971) History of the Party of Labor of Albania. Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House pp606/607

[xxxiv] Communist and Workers’ Parties and Marxist-Leninist Groups Greet the Fifth Congress of the Labor of Albania. Tirana 1966 p18

Remarks given added weight as during the Cultural Revolution period, Kang had Politburo oversight of the International Liaison Department of the CPC, responsible for contacts, communications and co-ordination with other communist organisations throughout the world. This changed in 1971 when the leadership position was held by Geng Biao /Keng Piao, formerly China’s ambassador to Albania, who remained in post throughout the 1970s.

[xxxv] Text can be downloaded from here https://archive.org/details/communistworkers00part 

[xxxvi] Enver Hoxha (1966) Report on the Activity of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania.  Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House  p210

[xxxvii] Enver Hoxha (1966) Report on the Activity of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania.  Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House  p215

[xxxviii] Enver Hoxha (1966) Report on the Activity of the Central Committee of the Party of Labor of Albania.  Tirana: The “Naim Frasheri” Publishing House p204/5

[xxxix] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p290/291

[xl] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p221

[xli] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 1962-1972 Extracts from the political diary. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p218/219

[xlii] Enver Hoxha (1977) Speeches Conversations Articles 1965-1966. Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House p215

[xliii] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 p303

[xliv] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 p305

[xlv] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies (1981) History of the Party of Labor of Albania 1966-1980 (Chapters VII, VIII, IX) Tirana: The “8Nentori” Publishing House  p41.

The 2nd volume of the authorised History published in 1981 covers the period 1966-1980. The first chapter, labelled Chapter VII covering the 5th Congress was not a reproduction of the original Chapter VII that ended the first volume (printed 1971). It was re-written to reflect the new anti-China, anti-Mao analysis to be found in the two volumes of Enver Hoxha’s Reflections on China and other post-1976 Albanian publication.

[xlvi] Jacques Grippa against the Cultural Revolution by Ylber Marku & Counter-revolutionary plot in the People’s Republic of China by Jacques Grippa

[xlvii] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 P596 Hoxha bitterly complained about the Chinese comrades and the 6th Congress, dismissing the greetings sent as “full of stereotyped phases, which the Chinese use constantly” in his entry for November 9th 1971 with its intemperate language and accusations of “opposition to our party over line.” p609

[xlviii] Hoxha (1979) Reflections on China 1 p598

[xlix] Institute of Marxist-Leninist Studies.(1981)  History of the Party of Labor of Albania 1966-1980 (Chapters    VII,VIII,IX) Tirana: The “8 Nentori” Publishing House  p39/40.

[l] See: Tirana builds an International. woodsmokeblog.wordpress.com

Ho Chi Minh

The MLM publishing house, Foreign Language Press has embarked on producing a new three volume edition of the Selected Works of Ho Chi Minh. The first volume was made available in 2021.

In “The Path Which Led Me to Leninism” Ho Chi Minh describes the excitement of reading Lenin’s writings on colonialism (although the recollection comes from 1960, he is referring to his experiences in 1920).  Ho’s early writings attacks “the hydra of western capitalism” for “stretching its horrible tentacles towards all corners of the globe.” He accuses the French of hypocritically talking about a “civilizing mission” while bringing “misery, ruin, and death” to their colonies. He criticizes the French Socialist Party for silence in the face of these policies and applauds the Communist International for taking up the colonial question. As he explains, “Uncle Ho” embraced Leninism because it offered a “path to liberation” for the Vietnamese people. But there is more than nationalistic motive when Ho describes Leninism as “the radiant sun illuminating our path to final victory, to socialism and communism”.

Ho Chi Minh, real name Nguyen Tat Thanh (1890-1969), Vietnamese Communist leader and the principal force behind the Vietnamese struggle against French colonial rule. He came to symbolise Vietnam’s struggle for independence. His personal qualities of simplicity, integrity, and determination were widely admired, not only within Vietnam but elsewhere as well. In the struggle to complete the liberation of Vietnam, Ho died before the withdrawal of US forces, and defeat of the Saigon regime it had bankrolled and militarily underpinned.  He died on September 2 at the age of seventy-nine.

The revolutionary internationalism and national liberation that motivated the commitment that this outstanding communist displayed throughout his life was evident in the commemorative issue of Vietnam magazine that marked his funeral in 1969.

“deepest condolences on the passing of Chairman Mao”

IN September 1976 around eighty Marxist-Leninist organisations sent messages or letters expressing deepest condolences on the passing of Chairman Mao Zedong (old style: Tsetung).

Reproduced in the political weekly, Peking Review, from the Red Banner of Dominica to the East London Marxist-Leninist Association and the Marxist-Leninist Organization of the Faroe Islands, organisations large and small, there were common themes and sentiments expressed that reflected the assessment (at that time) of Mao’s political legacy within the anti-revisionist movement.

  • the passing of Chairman Mao Tsetung, they say, was a great loss beyond measure not only to the Chinese people but also to the revolutionary people of the world. they point out that Chairman Mao was the greatest Marxist of the contemporary era and the great teacher of the proletariat and the oppressed people of the whole world
  • the messages and letters highly praise Chairman Mao for inheriting, defending and developing Marxism-Leninism.
  • that the magnificent contributions he made to the Chinese revolution and the world revolution are indelible.
  • Mao’s leadership of the anti-revisionist struggle, not surprisingly featured in the various evaluation. Inspiration from that rupture and the antidote of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, had seen the creation and revitalisation of revolutionary struggles throughout the world.
  • many organizations express determination to turn their grief into strength, study and disseminate Mao Tsetung Thought more assiduously and carry the cause of the proletarian revolution through to the end.

What was recognised was the practical Mao “masterly leadership” that acted upon the ideas and analysis – to apply the universal truth of the doctrine of the proletariat to the practice of the Chinese revolution.

Columbian Marxist-Leninists pointed out a common observation, that he led his Party in the armed struggle of peasants and the people in a prolonged and great revolutionary war and seized victory of the new-democratic revolution for the working class and the Chinese, people, thereby pointing out a brilliant road of victory for the revolution of colonial and semi-colonial countries. The identification of the success of the Chinese Revolution with Mao was a shared perspective of the Party he led, and those who studied its history. Hence, the magnificent contributions he made to the Chinese revolution and the world revolution are indelible.

The eulogies that poured forth from the international communist movement were on the positive side, noting his achievements, in a precise emphatic manner.  Afterall, Argentina communists noted:

With his experience in leading the Chinese revolution, he has contributed to the development of the revolution of the oppressed countries and peoples. The exposure before the whole world of the counter-revolutionary role played by imperialism and social-imperialism is another contribution made by the Chinese revolution led by Chairman Mao.

Mao would have been remembered for the revolutionary victory of 1949 alone. It was a world shaping event that has had reverberations ever since – the liberation of a third of the earth’s population should never be put into the shadows. Yet the subsequent contribution to the international communist movement in leading the anti-revisionist struggle (at home and abroad) was an action of equally significance.

Chilean communists noted,

Comrade Mao Tsetung made manifold contributions to the development of the Marxist-Leninist theories and enriched the theory of class struggle during the period of the socialist revolution and socialist construction and during the period of consolidating and developing the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was a manifestation of this theory.

Although with hindsight the Cultural revolution proved to be a failed practice as it did not prevent the restoration of capitalism in China after Mao’s death, at the time, the Brazilian letter echoed many when it said, Mao

exposed the counter revolutionary essence of revisionism and pointed out that its principal representatives are members of the Soviet clique which is today “headed by the renegade Leonid Brezhnev. He stressed that under this new, tendency, the Soviet Union has turned from a ‘socialist’ country into a social-imperialist state.

The transition (that not all could make) from anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists to a more fully developed Maoist theory and practice involved a critical participation in the revolutionary struggle rather than a nostalgia for certainties and a vicarious historic past.

His thought has become Marxism-Leninism of our epoch

There was a recognition that his thought transcended what had gone before e.g. the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Honduras reaffirms that the theoretical basis guiding its activity is Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, under the victorious banner of which, our Party is carrying out its present political tasks and directing the struggle of the Honduran people for democratic rights, the achievement of national independence in opposition to U.S. imperialism, the elimination of feudal remnants and the building in future of a socialist society in Honduras.”

Maoism was not in the lexicon of its practioners. The continuity of the anti-revisionist movement had encompassed those who remained at the position associated with Enver Hoxha, the Albanian leader and those who embraced the developments and innovations of the Cultural Revolution period in going beyond the defensive anti-revisionism of the mid-fifties. That contradiction did not last and the emphasis given in the condolences letters sent provide some evidence of the fault lines within the international movement at Mao’s death. Whereas others would referred to Marxism-Leninism, parties like the Philippine party, engaged in substantial armed struggle, refounded in 1968, would openly proclaim, hold high the invincible banner of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.

There has been a consistency in the evaluation offered on the legacy of Mao. The Letter from Central Committee of Communist Party of the Philippines [on the death of Mao] stated:

Comrade Mao Tsetung was the most outstanding Marxist-Leninist of our time. In the course of more than 50 years of revolutionary practice, Comrade Mao Tsetung made immortal new contributions in every field of Marxist science. He propounded comprehensively the theory of the new-democratic revolution, the concept of protracted people’s war and the strategy of encircling the cities from the countryside, all of which have enormously enriched the Marxist theory of revolution in colonies and semi-colonies. In the course of socialist revolution, Comrade Mao Tsetung systematically summed up the historical experience of ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat, analysed and. drew lessons from the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, unequivocally pointed out for the first time in history that classes and class struggle still exist in socialist society after the socialist transformation of the ownership of the means of production has in the main been completed and that the bourgeoisie is right, in the Communist Party and put forth, the brilliant theory of continuing the revolution, under the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the course of unremitting struggle against the Right and “Left” opportunist lines and counter-revolutionary revisionist lines within the Party at various stages of the revolution, Comrade Mao Tsetung developed a series of principles which are of extreme, importance in the building of a correct Marxist-Leninist Party of the proletariat. By exposing and opposing the betrayal of communism, by the Khrushchev-Brezhnev revisionist renegade clique, Comrade Mao Tsetung developed greatly the Marxist-Leninist cause of uncompromising struggle against opportunism and revisionism.

The idea that Mao’s contributions were a qualitative development was clearly expressed in the contributions that came from the international communist movement; that this was not formally and substantially codified as ‘Maoism’ until two decades later should not detract from the recognition given at the time of Mao’s death. His inspirational practice and ideas stood out as a departure from the revision-riddled Soviet dominated movement which it criticised and challenged. Chairman Mao Tsetung inherited, defended and developed Marxism-Leninism. This shared judgement lay the foundation for recognition of the universality that was part of Mao’s legacy, in the words of Sri Lankan Marxist-Leninists that “The beacon of Mao Tsetung Thought will shine for ever more brilliantly and continue to inspire and guide all mankind”.

Whilst (Spanish Marxists-Leninists were) proclaiming, “His teachings and all his writings are of immense benefit to us Communists and a genuine guide to our revolutionary action”, within a few years they had totally reversed their evaluation under Albanian prompting.

Just as the pre-existing divisions surfaced in the late 1970s, echoed the content and emphasis in the letters of condolence sent from the variety of organisations and groups, self-defining Maoists have marked out their trenches today  reflecting the diversity in today’s movement. Adherents of Maoism remain world wide in scope and variable in number. There are competing claims to authenticity and legacy of Mao’s teachings even when wanting Maoists to unite. 

* * *

THE memorial meeting in Melbourne on September 19 was attended by more than 700 workers, farmers, students and personages from other circles. Speaking at the meeting, E.F. Hill, Chairman pf the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)’ recounted Chairman Mao’s exploits in leading the Chinese revolution and in the struggles against modern revisionism and the bourgeoisie within the Party. He said that Chairman Mao “was an outstanding teacher of the working class, working and oppressed people — a great proletarian internationalist just as he was a great patriot of China — the greatest Marxist-Leninist of our time.”

THE Belgium-China Association held a memorial meeting in Brussels on September 25. It was attended by about 1,000 people. A huge portrait of Chairman Mao hung in the centre of the rostrum and a streamer below the portrait read: “Mao Tsetung Thought is invincible.”

MORE than 10,000 Parisians staged a march and rally on September 11 in the deepest mourning for Chairman Mao-Tsetung. At 3 p.m., “workers, peasants, students, teachers and other working people, many of them women, began marching slowly and silently from The Republic Square. A big wreath at the head of the procession bore the inscription: “To Comrade Mao Tsetung, the greatest Marxist-Leninist.” Big streamers read: “Eternal glory to Comrade Mao Tsetung, the great teacher of the international proletariat!” “Long live socialist China!” “Long live Mao Tsetung Thought — Marxism-Leninism of our time!”

A MEMORIAL meeting held in Duesseldorf on September 18 by the Germany-China Friendship Society was attended by more than 3,500 people including the organization’s activists from more than 30 cities. The meeting heard addresses by Lois Snow, widow of American friend Mr. Edgar Snow, and other foreign friends who once worked in Yenan in the years of the War of Resistance Against Japan and during the Chinese Liberation War. … Similar memorial meetings were held in more than 20 other West German cities on September 14 and 15. West German Marxist-Leninist organizations in Frankfurt, Hamburg, Mannheim, Koeln, Munich, Hanover, Stuttgart and other cities held, torchlight marches or memorial meetings on September 16 and 17 in tribute to the memory, of Chairman Mao.

OVER 10,000 Italian people, carrying a portrait of Chairman Mao and torches, staged a solemn march in Rome on the evening of September 18 to express their deep mourning for Chairman Mao Tsetung.

OVER 2,300 people staged a torch march in Oslo on the evening of September 17 to deeply mourn Chairman Mao Tsetung. The march was sponsored by the National Norway-China Friendship Association. On the same evening, the Oslo branch of the National Norway-China Friendship Association held a memorial meeting attended by about 1,200 people.

SOME 1,200 members of the Swedish Communist Party and other Swedish people took part in a inarch and a memorial meeting in Stockholm on September 17.

Link to relevant pdf copies sourced from massline.org

Eternal Glory  [ Peking Review #38 September 13 1976  Announces the death of Mao Zedong.]

Peking Review #39 September 24 1976  mass memorial meeting in Beijing (undoctored photos)

Peking Review #40 September 30 1976

Peking Review #41 October 8 1976

Peking Review #42 October 15 1976

Peking Review #43 October 22 1976

Peking Review #44 October 29th 1976

Peking Review # 45 November 5th 1976

China Pictorial #11  November 1976 Memorial issue after the death of Mao Tsetung. (doctored photos)

Research note: Indonesian exile in Tirana, Beijing, Moscow


Draws on material curated by Jürgen Schröder  at the mao-project website, the core information provided in the Wikepedia article, Indonesian Communist Exiles in Albania (2021) and that in an article by Prabono Hari Putranto,  API: An Indonesian Journal of the late 1960s–1970s from Albania . Other sources acknowledged in text. Further documentation available at the Indonesia section of Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line  https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/indonesia/index.htm    e.gJustus Maria Van der Kroef (June 1977). The Indonesian Maoists: doctrines and perspectives. School of Law, University of Maryland.


In Indonesia, in September 1965 the rumours of a coup d’etat being organized by the Council of Generals, indicate that the Army generals will move on October 5, 1965, the national celebration day of Defense.

The so-called September 30th movement against the coup plans of the generals is formed by the communists, under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Untung, the commander of the 3rd Sukarnos’ bodyguard. It goes public with a press release and tries to eliminate approximately 60 generals, but only succeeds with six, rather unimportant ones. Progressive officers with the support of the PKI want to eliminate the ‘Against the People’ side of state power, which leads to a right-wing coup. The PKI then claimed that Sukarno would not allow all communists to be killed. In reality, the chairman of the PKI, D.N. Aidit, Lukman and other leaders of the PKI and the trade unions were amongst those brutally murdered in widespread massacres unleashed by the military.


The Indonesian Tribune published in its January issue (No.3) the self-criticism adopted by the Political Bureau of the Cen­tral Committee of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in September 1966. The self-criticism entitled “Build the PKI Along the Marxist-Leninist Line to Lead the People’s Democratic Revolution in Indonesia”, says that the disaster which has caused such serious losses to the PKI and the revolutionary move­ment of the Indonesian people after the outbreak and the defeat of the September 30th Movement has lifted up the curtain which for a long period has hidden the grave weaknesses of the PKI.

An editorial in Hongqi [Red Flag], No.11, 1967, People of Indonesia, Unite and Fight to Overthrow the Fascist ­Regime, commented

“… the Political Bureau of the In­donesian Communist Party sums up the experience and lessons of the Party in leading the Indonesian people’s revolutionary struggle, criticises the right opportunist errors committed by the leadership of the Party in the past, points out the road for the Indonesian revolution, and lays down the principles for future struggle.” [i]

The Banned Thought website, notes that the PKI self-criticism, republished by Beijing’s FLP in a pamphlet “People of Indonesia, Unite and Fight to Overthrow the Fascist Regime”, (Peking: FLP, 1968), was co-authored by Sudisman, (the fourth-ranking PKI leader before October 1963) assumed the party’s leadership and led the Political Bureau after the murder of the Aidit by the Army during the 1965 massacres.

“Apparently the full document (which is not included in the pamphlet from China) specifically blames Aidit for the revisionist road after 1951 and the resulting catastrophe. But the ideological thrust of the self-criticism is against the so-called Bandung theses, a revisionist line that led to uncritical support of Sukarno among other things. Sudisman himself was arrested by the fascist regime in December 1966, put through a show-trial in 1967-68, and then executed. This PKI self-criticism was publicized internationally, especially by another Political Bureau member, Jusuf Adjitorop, who was based in Beijing after 1965.”

He was in China when the 1965 massacre occurred part of a sizeable delegation that had travelled to the People’s Republic of China to participate in the anniversary celebration of the Chinese Revolution. Others had left Indonesia to study in Eastern Europe, including Albania. Despite the terror inside Indonesia, the party’s skeleton apparatus continued to function in exile.

The PKI self-criticism that emerged from militants in China was distributed internationally, this was publicised in broad terms by oversea ML organisations in the Federal republic of Germany, the  KPD / ML-ZK, summarised the new program as the three banners:


– Building a ML Party free from subjectivism, opportunism and revisionism,
– armed agrarian revolutionary struggle of the people under the leadership of the party and
– revolutionary united front against feudalism, bureaucratic imperialism, based on the class alliance of the workers with the poor peasants under the leadership of the party.  [ii]

In the aftermath of the massacres, revisionist lies and their defamation of the People’s Republic of China was evident in  their portrayal of the counterrevolutionary coup d’état in Indonesia in 1965. In their historical falsification, they claimed that it was the Mao Tse-tung ideas that disarmed the Indonesian Communist Party and then plunged it into a coup adventure. “The tragic consequences of the events of September 30th, which were inspired by the ‘ideas of Mao tse-tung’, showed the damage that Beijing’s adventurous policies can do to the national liberation movement.”

German Maoists protested that:

“The social-imperialists are now unscrupulously twisting the facts and presenting the desperate attempt by progressive sections of the army under Lieutenant Colonel Untung to fend off the counterrevolutionary coup as the real cause of the counterrevolution. We recognize the core of this argument again: whoever leads the fight against fascism is calling fascism on the scene. Anyone who aggressively fights imperialism must reckon with its annihilation by imperialism.

The lesson: If the Communist Party does not prepare itself and the people in good time and on all sides for the path of armed struggle, it will subject the masses to imperialist rule. The Indonesian example shows who is going this way. The lesson that the Indonesian CP itself has drawn from its defeat is just as clear: Maintaining friendship with the modern revisionists’ means giving up the resolute struggle against imperialism. ” [iii]

In addition there was criticism of the Soviet Union’s stance of maintaining a normal and political trading relationship (in much the manner China was criticised for in relation to the military coup in Chile in 1973). The Communist League drew a direct connection when in February 1974, the KB publishes the third revised edition of the brochure “Chile from ‘peaceful transition’ to fascist military dictatorship” with the article “How the Indonesian CP criticized its mistakes after the fascist military coup in 1965” [iv]

 Very quickly a union delegation from the SU arrives in Indonesia in January 1967 “to exchange views on common interests” in the aftermath of the military smashing the PKI’s trade union organisation. The ‘Komsomolskaja Pravda’ in an article on Indonesia (in March 1967 1967) argued , it is early to judge the policies of the new Indonesian government, but if the current leaders see to it that the country does not fall under imperialist influence, Indonesia deserves a leading place in the modern world. “

Following the massacres of half a million people, members and sympathisers of the Partai Komunis Indonesia/Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) by Indonesian military and civilian allies in 1965-6, those communists and progressives aboard wisely stay there avoiding the murderous repression of the Suharto regime that saw between 600,000 and 750,000 people were imprisoned.

For exiled members and sympathizers [v] of the pro-Chinese Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) there was a dilemma of where they should be based to rebuild the opposition to the military regime. Beijing was an option rejected as the dominant view was that neither the Chinese government nor the PKI wished for the party would be perceived as too closely linked to China. The seemingly unlikely choice of the Albanian capital Tirana offered a number of positive possibilities. It was a friendly environment for the PKI who had opted not to condemn the Albanian party at the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1961.  The PKI could operate in a supportive political environment, indeed In March 1967 Radio Tirana  broadcasts in Indonesian twice daily. (Radio Tirana discontinued its Indonesian broadcasts in 1991).

Geographically Albania was close to other centres of exiled Indonesian student activists across Eastern Europe. In the early 1960s, scholarships had been offered to Indonesians to study in countries such as Rumania, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, the Soviet Union and Hungary and, by September 1965, hundreds of Indonesian students had received scholarships to study in the Eastern bloc.

Tirana was already a destination for Indonesia party members studying and working in the capital. A political presence made clear at the 5th congress of the Party of Labour of Albania (PPSh) in November 1966. The PKI delegation at the congress was led by Jusuf Adjitorop, a candidate member of the PKI politburo before the coup.  He survived the purge of PKI by being in China for medical treatment prior to the coup.

In his address to the Albanian party congress, Adjitorop called for the reconstruction of PKI under the banner of Marxism–Leninism and Mao Tse-Tung Thought, calling for protracted armed struggle of the peasantry to overthrow the rule of Suharto and Nasution. [vi]

According to Prof. Justus van der Kroef there were about forty Indonesian communists staying in Tirana in the early 1970s, around half of them organized in the Persatuan Peladjar Indonesia (‘Indonesian Students Association’). The Tirana-based group were assumed to act as spokespersons of the party. [vii]

An English-language bimonthly journal, Indonesian Tribune, was issued from Tirana. The publishing house of Indonesian Tribune was called Indonesia Progresif (‘Indonesian Progressive’). The Persatuan Peladjar Indonesia (‘Indonesian Students Association’) in Albania published the journal Api Pemuda Indonesia (‘Flame of Indonesian Youth’).

Swie Siauw Poh and Ernest Pinontoean were key organizers of the Tirana group. The writer Chalik Hamid, who had travelled to Albania to study journalism before the coup, was one of the members of the group that produced Indonesian Tribune and Api Pemuda Indonesia and worked as translator for Radio Tirana. He stayed in Albania until 1989.

The account given  to journalist Martin Aleida who interviewed Chalik Hamid, in Tirana,  had API  started by Anwar Dharma, an ex-correspondent of the PKI’s  Harian Rakjat (People’s Daily) in Moscow who had  reported on his unwarranted expulsion by the Soviet authorities due to his critical views towards them (Dharma 1966). Anwar Dharma then moved to China and was instructed by the Delegation of the Indonesian Communist Party in Beijing to go to Albania to start there a publication in Indonesian and in English. After his arrival in Tirana, Anwar Dharma also initiated an Indonesian programme for Radio Tirana. (Chalik Hamid was one of Anwar Dharma’s first contact persons in Tirana, and it was him who taught Dharma to speak Albanian).

Chalik Hamid on his role in Albania suggested it is not entirely correct to say that it was an official command from the PKI as the party was already disbanded. The PKI’s remnants in Beijing at that time, even in the publications of API never called themselves as PKI but as Delegasi CC PKI (‘The Delegation of CC PKI’)  [viii]

“API – Api Pemuda Indonesia” (‘Flames of Indonesian Youth’) had two different editions of API were issued, one in the Indonesian language, the other in English and/or French, both with differing contents and The Indonesian version is published monthly, but the English/French edition bi-monthly.

Indonesian Tribune and Api Pemuda Indonesia were the two main organs of the pro-Chinese PKI. These publications were illegal inside Indonesia, and one could be arrested for possessing a copy

The political ideology of API which was already stated on the title page Marxisme – Leninisme – FMTT is discussed in every issue of API. There is a section called Belajar Marxisme – Leninisme – Fikiran Mao Tje Tung (‘Learning about Marxism – Leninism – Thoughts of Mao’) which usually contains translated works of Marx, Lenin or Mao and sometimes also an analysis of their works.

 The magazine had a section called Komentar Radio Tirana (‘Commentaries of Radio Tirana’) which provided insights about some particular issues which were trending at that time. In March 1967 Radio Tirana started to broadcast in Indonesian twice a day, therefore it seems likely that this section was a highlight of the broadcasting materials of every month. 

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY

Tirana was also convenient for communication with solidarity organizations operating in Western Europe. For example, in the Federal Republic of Germany, solidarity is practiced at universities, for example in Munich (1967/ 1968), later also in Tübingen (1969) and in Heidelberg (1969),

A group, the Indonesia Working Group, in Cologne were active and  Indonesians in Berlin regularly published Mengabdi Rakyat as a bulletin to oppose the New Order regime. [ix] The Indonesian Revolutionary Group (GRI), from Berlin, were students organising in the Federal republic of Germany.

Representatives of the Indonesian youth group in the FRG built working relationship with local German the Marxist-Leninist  K-Groups, Rote Fahne reports their presence In Cologne when the KPD held a major rally at the end of its 1st party congress (June 26, 1974) with 6,000 people.

Solidarity activities in protest to the two-day visit of the Indonesian President Suharto to the Federal Republic of Germany in September 1970 were organised by exiled Indonesians, their supporters and German Maoists such as the KPD / ML local group Frankfurt call for a demonstration , an Indonesia Teach In was organised  in Bonn and awareness raising material published such as  at the University of Tübingen were the student Marxist-Leninist groups distributed an article “The Indonesian people in the anti-fascist struggle “. [x]

The KPD / ML carried an article in Roter Morgen  on “10 years of fascist dictatorship in Indonesia. Heroic armed struggle of the Indonesian communists”. [xi]

Next door Indonesians in the Netherlands, partly due to its past colonial links to the region, had established communities and developed solidarity networks that saw the Tirana produced API distributed by mail to Indonesia; safer to post from non-Eastern bloc states , such as the Netherlands. Daraini’s study refers to several Dutch organizations: Indoc, and an organization initiated by the founder of Indonesian Studies in the Netherlands, Professor Wim Wertheim I (1907-1998) to support the struggle of human rights’ issues in Indonesia under the governance of New Order,    Komitee Indonesië, a solidarity group with the oppressed and democracy activists in Indonesia, and PPI Amsterdam. The latter student organization was renowned for being progressive in comparison with another, similar student organization. PPI Amsterdam at that time published a bulletin called Berita Indonesia (Indonesian News) distributed to various places including Australia and the USA.

Solidarity activities around Indonesia from 1975 became conflated with campaigning on the issue Indonesian aggression in East Timor e.g. Tapol in the UK promoting human rights, peace and democracy in Indonesia, established in 1973 by Carmel Budiardjo, a political prisoner in Indonesia . [xii]

June 1976 saw a three-day international conference on East Timor and Indonesia begins in Bonn: “The organizers were the Journal of Contemporary Asia (Stockholm / London) and the Bonn Committee for the Independence of East Timor.”  [xiii]

The experience of exile elsewhere _ Beijing

The exile community in China was quite diverse and consisted of PKI members and sympathisers, students who had been studying in the Eastern bloc and in the Soviet Union, and pro-Sukarno people. On 30 September 1965, there happened to be a 500-strong Indonesian delegation in China for celebrations of China’s national day, 1 October, which marked the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Chinese Revolution.

Some members of this politically diverse delegation stayed in China but not all. The Beijing contingent grew as many PKI members left the Soviet Union for China due to splits inside the PKI. In China, a separate party leadership emerged, known as the Delegation of the Indonesian Communist Party. Mirroring Sino-Soviet rivalries, the Delegation urged Indonesian leftists in the USSR to join them in China. Hundreds did so. These rival factions were separated by mutual distrust until they each disbanded toward the close of the cold war.

“There were debates among party members about ‘what had gone wrong’ with the PKI, including questions about why there had been no resistance to the military purges. Older PKI members from the pre- Aidit period (before 1951) argued that the party leadership had placed too much trust in President Sukarno and that, by operating wholly as a legal party, the leadership had exposed the membership to grave dangers of political repression. Debates within the exile community in China exposed the inter-generational differences in political experience and these were testament to the growth and development of the PKI as a mass party between 1951 and 1965. The situation led to dissatisfaction among the exiles and added to the uncertainty of their stay in China.”  [xiv]

Taomo Zhou’s study [xv] looked at this issue.

For  members of the Indonesian and Filipino Communist Parties living in China during the Cultural Revolution, political upheavals in their home countries—the September Thirtieth Movement in Indonesia in 1965 and the Plaza Miranda Bombing in Manila in 1972—turned their originally temporary travels abroad into long-term exiles. The rise of anti-communist, authoritarian regimes led respectively by Suharto and Marcos made it unsafe for these exiles to go back and stranded them indefinitely in another land.

The foreign policy pivot at the start of the Seventies saw the 1972 Sino-US rapprochement, and China redirected its foreign policies and retracted its support for foreign revolutionary forces. As China sought normalization of diplomatic relations with Suharto’s Indonesia and Marcos’ Philippines, the exiles’ very existence became an embarrassment to Beijing.

The Chinese government moved them in the early 1970s from Beijing to Nanchang, 1250 km away, the provincial capital of the landlocked Jiangxi in southeast China. Taomo Zhou observed that as for the exiles, many had left for Western countries by the early 1980s. The Indonesians who stayed became naturalized Chinese citizens and some even transformed themselves into devoted advocates for Deng Xiaoping’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

Living in Moscow

David Hill has explored the phenomenon of Indonesians living in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) when the military regime came to power in their homeland. [xvi] Moscow was a popular destination for Indonesian students in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the Soekarno regime pursued both socialism and close ties with the Soviet Union.  By mid-1965 when General Suharto seized power in the country and began his purges on communists, several thousand Indonesian students were enrolled in various courses in Soviet universities.

With the rise in Jakarta’s New Order under Major-General Suharto after  October 1965 saw thousands of Indonesians abroad effectively isolated. Faced with detention or execution if they returned home, Indonesian leftists and other dissidents became unwilling exiles. Several thousand Indonesians were then studying in the USSR, where they were one of the largest foreign nationalities in Soviet universities and military academies.

  After the 1965–66 purges in the Soviet Union, as in the Indonesian Students Association in Czechoslovakia (Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia, PPI) there was a split between the pro- and anti-Suharto camps. Those ideologically inclined decided to move to China. The most influential grouping of Indonesians who remained in Moscow after 1965 was known as the Overseas Committee of the Indonesian Communist Party. They echoed the Soviet positions, calling  the KPI line before the coup on September 30, 1965, the Chinese line and advocated the united front with Sukarno and Suharto.   Around 2,000 choose to stay in the Soviet Union. Revisionist supporting Indonesian exiles in Moscow published a Russian-Bahasa Indonesia journal in the 1970s titled OPI, an abbreviation of the organization’s title Organisasi Pemuda Indonesia. The journal focussed on Indonesian politics and the role of young people.

 There were fragments elsewhere and Vannessa Hearman writes of “The last men in Havana: Indonesian exiles in Cuba” . A small group of six Indonesians exiled from Suharto’s New Order regime who settled in Cuba from the early 1970s onwards. [xvii]


[i] See Five Important Documents of the Political Bureau of the CC PKI (marxists.org)

[ii] Roter Morgen No. 8, Hamburg 1970

[iii] Rote Fahne No. 34, Berlin January 14, 1972

[iv] KB: Chile from the ‘peaceful transition’ to the fascist military dictatorship, Hamburg 1974

See also :  Dharma, Anwar (1966): Soviet Revisionists’ Shameless Collaboration with Indonesia’s Fascist Military Regime Condemned. Beijing Review No. 42, 14 October 1966, 30–32

[v] Knowledge of the Indonesian exile communities did not grow until the 2000s attracting some academic research. The life stories of how they found themselves in exile and the social and political issues they faced are appearing in studies

Hill, D. T. (2008). Knowing Indonesia from Afar: Indonesian exile and Australian Academics (pp. 1–13).

Hill, D. T. (2010). Indonesia’s exiled Left as the Cold War thaws. Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, 44(1), 21–51. 70

Hill, D. T. (2014). Indonesian Political Exiles in the USSR. Critical Asian Studies, 46(4), 621–648.

Sipayung, B. A. (2011). Exiled Memories: The Collective of Indonesian 1965 Exiles. International Institute of Social Studies.

 Ibnu Nadzir Daraini (2017) Imagining the Homeland: The use of the Internet among Indonesian Exiles in the Netherlands

[vi] Communist and Workers’ Parties and Marxist-Leninists Groups Greet the Fifth  Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania held in Tirana from November 1 to November 8, 1966.  Tirana: The Naim Frasheri Publishing House 1966

[vii] Van der Kroef (1977)

[viii] API: An Indonesian Journal of the late 1960s–1970s from Albania

[ix]  Daraini (2017) p22

[x] Roter Pfeil/ Red Arrow  No. 10, Tübingen September 29, 1970.

[xi] Roter Morgen No. 41, Dortmund October 11, 1975, p. 7

[xii] https://www.tapol.org/news/international-solidarity-movement-east-timor-weapon-more-powerful-guns

See: https://etan.org/ifet/support.html  and https://timorarchive.ca/.

[xiii] Workers’ Struggle No. 83, Hamburg June 28th, 1976, p.47

[xiv] Hearman (2010) p.90

[xv] Reluctant Revolutionaries: Indonesian and Filipino Communist Exiles in the People’s Republic in the Wake of Sino-US Rapprochement

[xvi] David T. Hill (2014) Indonesian Political Exiles in the USSR, Critical Asian Studies, 46:4, 621-648, DOI: 10.1080/14672715.2014.960710.

David Hill,  Emeritus Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and Fellow in the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University in Australia

[xvii]  Hearman V., “The last men in Havana: Indonesian exiles in Cuba”  Review of Indonesian and Malaysian Affairs, vol. 44, no. 1 (2010), pp. 83–109.


Bank Holiday Fun

The photograph is of a man in mid-flight from a chasing policeman. This is his tale of being arrested.

tron-grim-April 6, 1968ogrim

Flanked by a younger Tron and detail from the cover of Tron Øgrim the revolutionary fireworks by Bo Brekke, Tron Øgrim runs from a policeman during an illegal demonstration against the Vietnam War in April 1968.

Tron Orgrim’s reminiscence are taken from a posting made in February 2004. Enough time has passed to safely transgress the reticence of disclosure particularly as it contains no revelations, no implications of damaging reputation or betrayal of trust. It is a familiar activists’ memory, a minor element in a mosaic of a revolutionary life lived reproduced out of fond memory and respect for the man from the north who, in equal measure, enlightened and entertained and infuriated an audience of “leftist trainspotters” before his untimely death in 2007.

If you live in a glass house
You shouldn’t throw napalm!

We were about 10, all from the (then Maoist) SUF youth union of the SF party (about to break with it 45 years ago in March 1969) and the SOLIDARITETSKOMITEEN FOR VIETNAM (SOLKOM) the absolutely dominating solidarity movement in Norway which we lead from about 1967.

On the other side of the street (to the left in the picture, you don’t see it) it’s the park of the royal castle. We came down the street on the backside of the royal castle, and our predetermined tactic when the small police guard would follow us after the attack, was to divide our forces in every side-street in order to give the police as few to follow as possible.

We ran forward and threw our stones {at Oslo’s American embassy]. Some windows shattered (I have never been a good thrower and I gotta admit that I probably smashed nothing…)

  • Hey! Shouted the police (they were possibly only 3, maybe 4).

The first side-street was downtown from the enemy and away from the town. I was in the group running away from the town.

A girl I knew ran towards the town. A thin, long-legged comrade (later for many years RV parliamentarian in the county of Nordland) ran past her, as she had rather short legs… when a policeman ran past her too, following in his heels, she understood she could slow down.

For us running away from the town centre, there was immediately a side-street, straight ahead and to the left.

Some comrades ran straight on, as I was behind them, it was my task to run to the left. At this time together with one comrade – as he had diabetes he was of course called “melis” (icing sugar).

Two policemen behind us and we being (at the time) young and fleet, we ran away from him. Then came a bloody traitor of a taxi driver and picked him up.

Next side-street, straight ahead on the street on the back of the royal castle or to the left. “Melis” took the left side, and I ran straight on.

One of the policemen jumped out and followed “Melis” running.

The policeman in the taxi followed only me, and got me after 20 metres.

Having arrested me, he waited for his colleagues, who had followed “Melis” into a building of flats. (As the outer entrance of Oslo apartment houses were usually not locked at this time, this was open).

We waited for a long time, and then he came back: “I followed that guy into the backyard. As he wasn’t there I ran up all the stairs but couldn’t find him. I really don’t know where he has disappeared.”

“Melis” at the time was in a trash can in the back yard, having pulled the cover over his head. So he got away too.

So I was the only one arrested that night.

And got a month. Had my day in court too, political defence and some funny details. That’s another story.

Still feel well about the whole thing, including out running that cop, and mildly irritated about the stupid reactionary taxi guy.

And of course, NOW the US imperialists got their OWN armed guards in the embassy – armoured glass in the windows – and are putting up a HUGE BERLIN WALL around their fortress – and even the TORIES in Oslo dislike them openly:

We got them on the run comrades!

 

125. Silage Choppers and Snake Spirits

It was by chance I finished reading the lives and struggles of Joan Hinton and Sid Engst on International Women’s Day. From her contribution at Los Alamos to the suburban farms of distant China in transformation, Joan’s talent and dedication shines through her life.

“Those who knew Hinton remained captivated by her. She was stubbornly orthodox, but with an exuberant laugh and unflagging vitality. At 88, she still played the violin and attended a weekly discussion group filled with food and politics. And on many mornings Hinton could be found on the farm that she and Engst tended for decades, wearing her Mao cap and checking on her dairy cows.” Maggie Jones, New York Times

In this a book based on an oral history project, the voice of Joan comes through strongly as Dao-Yuan Chou weaves the personal experiences of Joan and Sid into the fabric of developments in China before, and after liberation in 1949.

The Engst Family in Beijing, 1967 Fred Engst, Erwin Engst, Karen Engst, Joan Hinton, and Bill Engst (Photo courtesy of Bill Engst)The Engst Family in Beijing, 1967 Fred Engst, Erwin Engst, Karen Engst, Joan Hinton, and Bill Engst (Photo courtesy of Bill Engst)

The author’s comments on this, the third edition of his work comments on what aspects of their rich and complicated lives might be relevant and useful rather than simply interesting , answering those who questioning the space allocated to both Joan’s and Sid’s early lives. That inclusion is important.

What is striking is not only the contrasts between their up bring in America and their subsequent lives in a developing China but the continuity of the actual people, their approach to life and perspectives on what was the right thing to do. Their ethical drive remained as strong to the end of the lives, disappointed and in disagreement with the post-Mao abandonment of the collective spirit that had sustained China in its socialist goals.

Their lives together date from 1948, when Joan Hinton, former physicist on the Manhattan Project, travelled to Shanghai to join her future husband Sid Engst, a radical-minded New England dairy farmer who had joined the Chinese Communists in their Yan’an base two years earlier. They settled, raised a family and made revolution in witnessing the transformation of China. Here the witness was also a participation.

Here is a biography that encompasses the sweep of the mass movements that punctuate twentieth century China with a targeting of the successes and errors at the grassroots as the turbulence of struggle is recounted with detail forensic observation about such episodes as how farm managers were bullied by bureaucrats into trying to meet impossible production targets during the Great Leap Forward. Their assessment of the years that follow doesn’t stray from the down-playing characterisation of lean, hungry years rather than the famine scenario of much of contemporary scholarship. Having been relocated to Beijing their detailed recollection of the faction-ridden Cultural Revolution in the chapter ‘Snake Spirits’ brings out the complexities of line struggles among the communists and sympathisers within the foreign community resident in the capital.

John Sexton’s earlier review recounts:

“In 1966 the family, now with three children, was transferred to Beijing and drawn into the whirlwind of the Cultural Revolution. Used to living alongside peasants, Joan and Sid chafed in the luxurious foreign ghetto of the Friendship Hotel. With a handful of colleagues, they authored a big-character poster, later personally endorsed by Mao Zedong, demanding that foreigners be treated as Chinese and allowed to join the struggle. Their wish was soon fulfilled only too well, when their friends David and Isabel Crook were arrested by one of the many Red Guard factions and locked up for 5 years.” (China.org.cn July 24, 2009)

Active in the ‘Bethune-Yanan Rebel Regiment’ that involved the foreign ‘experts’ working in Bejing institutions, Joan and Sid were part of September Eighth Fighting Group – for the date of Mao’s approval of their daziba – and actively involved before transferring to the Red Star Commune just outside Beijing.

History as biography is a well-established genre and the details herewithin realistically conveys the effort, frustration and joys of a life lived in pursuit of not a dream but building a future.

silagechoppers-207x300Dao-Yuan Chou (2019) Silage Choppers and Snake Spirits – The Lives and Struggles of Two Americans in Modern China. 3rd edition Paris: Foreign Language Press

ISBN: 978-2-491182-02-1   Price: 8 EUR / 10 USD

 

 

Foreign Languages Press

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Joan’s brother, Bill Hinton1919-2004, another farmer and American activist, wrote some seminal rural studies still worth reading ~ Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village and later Shenfan: The Continuing Revolution in a Chinese Village, as well as Hundred Day War: The Cultural Revolution at Tsinghua University.

Her son, Yang Heping (Fred Engst) wrote a paper that she would have agreed with, “On the Relationship Between the Working Class and Its Party Under Socialism”, (2015) . It fred Engst Yang hepingargues that the economic basis for the development of capitalist-roaders can be largely eliminated by abolishing “bureaucratic privileges” for Party members, and that mass organizations of the sort which developed in the Cultural Revolution can be institutionalized to criticize Party members and units in which capitalist-roaders start to develop.   PDF Format

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  • Western Lives in China, the sympathetic foreigners under Mao, remains a developing subject of academic enquiry enliven by the personal contributions of the foreign community who lived through the transformation of China in the second half of the last century.  Link to East Is Read

China’s “Foreign Friends” enthusiastic international participants during the struggles of the 1930s and 40s and the ‘Red and Expert’ in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution have been the focus of studies such as:

Anne-Marie Brady, Making the Foreigner Serve China: Managing Foreigners in the People’s Republic, Rowman and Littlefield, 2003

Brady, Anne-Marie Friend of China. The Myth of Alley Rewi, RoutledgeCurzon, 2002.

Epstein, Israel My China Eye. Memoirs of a Jew and a Journalist. Long River Press, 2000

Hamilton, John Maxwell, Edgar Snow: A Biography. Indiana University Press, 1988.

Beverley Hooper, Foreigners under Mao: Western Lives in China, 1949–1976.  Hong Kong University Press 2016

MacKinnon, Janice and Stephen R. MacKinnon, Agnes Smedley: The Life and Times of an American Radical. 1988

Porter, Edgar The People’s Doctor: George Hatem and China’s Revolution, University of Hawai Press, 1997.

Rittemberg, Sidney and Amanda Bennett, The Man Who Stayed Behind, Duke University Press, 2001

Strong, Tracy and B. Keyssar, Helene. Right in Her Soul: the Life of Anna Louise Strong. 1983

O’ Brien Neil L.O., An American Editor in Early Revolutionary China. John William Powell and the China Weekly/Monthly Review, Routledge, 2003

Wong, Jan, Red China Blues. My Long March from Mao to Now, Anchor Book, 1999.

Barlow, Tani E. Lowe Donald M., Teaching China’s Lost Generation: Foreign Experts in the PRC, China Books and Periodicals, 1987

Reaching Out: Global Maoism

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

RadioPeking1968

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

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

Radio Peking Peking Review #51 December 16 1966.

selected readings

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

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

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

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

[Peking Review #24 June 10th 1966]

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

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

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

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

Mao's Gang of Four

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

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

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

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

“October 1949 may prove more significant that October  1917”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mao wave

Old disputes and a new internationalism

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Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Late 1970s

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

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

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

Maoism, without Mao or China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Brussels annual May Day seminars

Pyongyang Declaration April 1992

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

Mao Centenary Essen 1993 – General Declaration on Mao Zedong Thought

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

European multilateral meeting of ML parties November 1993

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

Moscow Stalin today seminars   1994

Quito ICMLPO founding    August1994

PTB Unity Proposals May 1995

Unity & Struggle No.1 July 1995

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

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

Leningrad Declaration November 1997

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

International seminar on Mao and People’s war December 1998

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond RIM

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

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

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

Aftermath: “old Disputes” & internationalism

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

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

maoism will win

To keep our red flag flying in Peru 3

Part One             Part Two         Part Four

 

READINGS

 

 

MLM Line Struggle concerning the struggle in the International Communist Movement on the role of Chairman Gonzalo

 

#3

Documentary material on radical themes & occurrences

 

The Revolutionary Internationalist Movement – RIM – broke when the two-line struggle that had been raging inside the RIM was made public. The principle issues of the debate have been known for a while: the conflicting assessment of the situation in Nepal and the controversy regarding Bob Avakian’s “New Synthesis”. Surprisingly RIM had survived an earlier line struggle the previous decade that was equally significant to the international movement of the day, the political summation of the situation in Peru, the Peace Accord and the Right Opportunist Line (ROL). When PCm Italy, provided a political summation (published in Maoist Road #1) of the RIM starting with its foundation in 1984, they make it clear that the beginning of the end for the RIM was the division that was fermented in the RIM regarding the situation in Peru. It is also clear that the RCP,USA played an especially factionalizing role in the RIM, especially by organizing the CoRIM on factional lines rather than on the basis of political experience, which only hardened the divisions within the organization.

pg_discursosmallThe confusion and uncertainty that arose international, and the contested status of “Gonzalos Thought” was never really resolved and while nobody should charge chairman Gonzalo with the simplifications of many of his supporters in Peru and abroad today, the movement continues to grapple with its relationship with the imprisoned Guzman.

***

In hindsight, Guzman’s arrest on September 13th 1992 begun the disintegration of the organisation’s struggle. Prior to this there was speculation of when Lima would fall.

Dr. Guzman, there was a greater use of the former philosophy professor’s academic title after his military trial, and other militants, were convicted on October 7th 1992 by a military tribunal in Peru and sentenced to life in prison without parole and fined $25 billion.

Adolfo Olaecha was sadly mistaken when he commented on the capture of the leader of the Sendero Luminoso: “it is a big blow, of course, losing the Chairman. It will delay a few things, but in the end it will change nothing.”

The party had claim “strategic equilibrium” in the struggle against the Peruvian state, the arrests of the Chairman and seven members of the Central Committee, but the lack of contingency proved decisive. The loss of centralised leadership – the charismatic personality and bureaucratically dominant role of its leader – was not something the organisation could absorb and adjust as what followed was a period of confusion and political dissention and factional claims for ascendancy.

Initially supporters abroad responded with protests and mobilisation: A World to Win, magazine of the Maoist Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) published the call to

Move Heaven and Earth to Defend the Life of Chairman Gonzalo!

We Need Comrade Gonzalo at His Post, in the Forefront of the Revolution in Peru and the International Communist Movement! Fight for His Liberation!

— Committee of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, 15 September 1992

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National sections of the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzmán were set up with a founding congress in Duisburg, Germany although its co-ordinating Headquarters was London, the same location for CoRIM.

IEC reached out across a broad range to publicise the imprisonment of Guzman arranging delegations to Peru, producing leaflets, petitions and pamphlets, protests and embassy pickets. A 1994 production , You must tell the world ~ told the story of Dr. Guzman’s capture and imprisonment, in a video-documentary, in Spanish with English subtitles and the international campaign which arose to defend Dr. Guzman’s life and to stand with the struggling people of Peru.


Committee Formed to Defend Abimael Guzman. Prison Legal News November, 1992 p8

Abimael Guzman (also known as Chairman Gonzalo), the leader of the Communist Party of Peru, was captured by Peruvian government troops on September 14, 1992, in Lima, Peru. Mr. Guzman had been sought by government troops since 1980, when the PCP initiated the military aspect of the current people’s war to liberate Peru. The Peruvian government has a long history of torturing and killing PCP members (real or accused) it captures [see Prison Legal News Vol. 3, Nos. 4 and 9]. The Peruvian government is ranked as the leader in human rights violations involving the murder and disappearances of anti-government activists, according to human rights groups.

It is under these circumstances that the International Committee to Defend the Life of Abimael Guzman has been formed. Mr. Guzman is to be tried by a military tribunal where he faces life without parole when he is convicted of “treason”. In April of this year the Peruvian government suspended its constitution and abolished its judiciary. Guzman will not receive anything close to a fair or impartial trial. The government had earlier filed murder and subversion charges against Guzman but the Supreme Court of Peru dismissed the charges for lack of evidence. This led to the Supreme Court being abolished, accused of being soft in the “war on subversion.”

The Committee is urgently seeking to raise funds to help pay the expenses of sending a delegation of lawyers, human rights activists, professors and religious figures to Peru to meet with government officials to ensure Guzman’s physical safety and well-being are assured.

Guzman is in poor health and suffers from serious medical problems. To date he has not been allowed to meet with his physicians. Despite his upcoming show trial he has not been allowed to meet with his lawyer. These will be issues raised with the government.

The Committee is circulating a petition requesting that Guzman not be tried before a military tribunal and that he be allowed access to his lawyers and doctors. Guzman has also demanded that he be treated in accordance with international law concerning the treatment of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War.


The Black-Hooded Justice of the Fujimori Dictatorship ~ A World To Win  #18 1992

— Statement by the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr Abimael Guzmán on the October 7th Verdict

The “trial” and verdict of Dr Abimael Guzmán represents the trampling of internationally established treaties and conventions governing the treatment of political prisoners. The “trial” took place at break-neck speed, without the opportunity to call witnesses or present a defence. Dr Guzmán was denied the right to consult his attorney, [added text Peruvian Political Prisoners Mistreated – Copy.] All press and observers were banned and an international delegation of attorneys refused admittance. The faces of the judges and prosecutors were hidden behind black hoods. The “trial” and verdict are and must be considered null and void!

From the day of the arrest of Dr Guzmán on September 12th, the Fujimori dictatorship has had only one concern: to permanently silence the leader of the twelve-year insurgency as quickly as possible. Initially Fujimori had threatened to impose the death penalty on Dr Guzmán, though it is banned by the Peruvian Constitution. In the face of widespread opposition in Peru and worldwide, Fujimori has abandoned ideas on an official execution, but there is still every reason to fear an extra-legal execution under the cover of “escape attempt”, “suicide”, or “death by natural causes”. Details of these sordid plans have already appeared in the world press (see the Economist, 19 September).

The notorious record of the Peruvian regime for murdering political prisoners is well known and well documented, from the massacre of hundreds of prisoners at El Fronton prison in 1986 to the cold-blooded murder of more than forty women and men, unarmed prisoners at the Canto Grande prison, as recently as May of this year. International public opinion must help stop the hand of the Peruvian regime from adding Dr Guzmán to their endless list of murdered political prisoners.

The Western powers and the world media they dominate have played a despicable role in aiding and covering over the Fujimori regime. First Dr Guzmán was portrayed all over the world as a dangerous “terrorist” and the “most dangerous man on earth”, while the kangaroo “trial” was organised and every established legal principle was trampled, the “guardians of democracy” remained deafeningly silent.

Despite this worldwide orchestra of lies and hysteria, in the past three weeks a movement has developed around the world with remarkable speed against the threats to Dr Guzmán’s life. It has brought together a broad array of jurists, defenders of human rights, political activists, journalists, and many tens of thousands of ordinary people in countries on every continent. One international delegation has already been in Lima to express the worldwide opposition to this railroad and a second is now assembling there. This movement is expanding daily, and will continue to do so as long as the life, health, humane treatment and that Dr Guzmán are not guaranteed. This movement hold that Dr Guzmán must benefit from the broad international support from which imprisoned opponents of imperialism and reactionary regimes have always benefitted.

Oct 19, 1993

PCP leader gave a speech to his members calling for a peace accord and an end to the violence. Many were sceptical of this speech and either blamed the government for faking it, or forcing Guzman to make such a speech.

When news of the peace accord broke there was a tested solution: the bifurcation between a person of flesh and blood and his/her abstract intellectual contribution solved a problem for the post-Mao leadership; it could work for admirers of President Gonzalo. The man could make mistakes but Gonzalo Thought remains valid and true. However, the Gonzaloists position that emerged was to deny the weight of evidence, and declare not only the hoax of the ‘Peace Accords’ [which is valid on one level as no negotiation or settlement ever occurred] but that subsequent meetings, letters, books , court appearances and organisational developments like Movadef [The Movement for General Amnesty and National Reconciliation] were state-staged. Hence the demand for unfettered public appearance of the imprisoned Guzman to speak unencumbered. The RIM analysis that emerged was unacceptable in part because it criticised the man, raising questions about the leadership that had been raised to a mystical level in the movement. The person become a political cypher to be defended.

1509

Going beyond a call for a peace accord, a letter signed by four of his lieutenants on Oct. 28, called on guerrillas across the nation to suspend armed actions, “making a maximum effort to avoid such acts and denouncing them roundly and immediately.” It raised the spectre that saving the life of Guzman would become the first priority taking precedence over continuing the insurgency. Most of his followers laid down their arms, but nevertheless, even after Guzman’s capture, PCP factions, notably one known as the Red Path, sought to continue the armed struggle, it appeared that a low-level guerrilla war might persist in isolated areas of Peru for years.

The inability to accept that Guzman had recalibrated his political analysis so that the actions of 1980 had not been on the wave of advance but a period of retreat indicates the dominance of the symbolism of ideology over the notion of ideology as informed by practical theory. The narrative – the ideological stream predating 1992 – was maintained at the cost of a fractured solidarity movement glorious in its sectarian isolation and irrelevance.

In September 1992 President Alberto Fujimori has ordered a propaganda campaign against groups in Europe and the United States that support Peru’s Sendero Luminoso, described as its propaganda and support network abroad. Lima newspapers published an official list of organizations and “terrorist delinquents” accused by Fujimori of representing Sendero in nine foreign countries. Peruvian officials were talking to the governments of friendly countries to see how they can be controlled and countered. In a press conference Fujimori called Guzman’s followers overseas “ambassadors of terror” identifying Luis Arce Borja and Adolfo Olaechea – both in exile, whom assumed the mantle of the leaders of the support movement for the Communist Party of Peru outside of Peruvian borders.

To counter overwhelmingly negative coverage of what was inevitably referred to as the Shining Path / Sendero Luminoso in the American and European press, the solidarity groups tried to present a counter-narrative to the mainstream media reporting. While in exile in Europe, Luis Arce Borja started publishing El Diario International (EDI), an international edition of the sympathetic Lima newspaper, joining a stable of newsletters produced by other solidarity groups.

In labelling the advocacy groups and solidarity activists, the authorities demonstrated the inability of Peruvian diplomats to counter the groups, and second, the unwillingness of host countries to shut them down. A U.S. official stated that the listed groups and people in the United States were not regarded as a problem by U.S. authorities because “as far as we know they haven’t broken any laws.”

The growth in solidarity groups post-date the imprisonment of Chairman Gonzalo; however the Peruvian government’s presentation of an international support network with its “ambassadors of terror” belies the hostility that fractured the solidarity camp with internecine fighting amongst PCP supporter factions abroad. Scathing attacks and accusation made without proof masquerading as forthright criticism and initiating line struggle in its wake. From individuals like Luis Arce Borja, and  ADOLFO OLACHEA   to the militants in Scandinavian exile in Peru People’s Movement the political attacks upon differences with comrades occurred with each organisation swearing fidelity to the PCP- but critical of other groups, each seemingly equally sectarian in outlook, all against a background of shared opposition to what one group insisted was “CIA/SIN “peace letters” hoax” and “the traitorous campaign of capitulation under the guise of “peace talks”.

The solidarity movement did not take on a mass character.

In the United States, the cause of the PCP had been embraced as an internationalist duty by the Revolutionary Communist Party, a Maoist organization that distributes books, leaflets and posters through Revolution Books, a nationwide network of radical bookstores. It was instrumental in the formation and work of the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru. There was significant overlap between the CSRP and the Revolutionary Communist Party; the organizer was RCP member, Heriberto Ocasio, a Puerto Rican-born doctor, who indicated that there are chapters in Berkeley, Chicago and New York. Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru. They produced the newsletter, Peru Action & News.

The CSRP, Headquarters in Berkeley, San Francisco, where a local press article commented: “about a dozen activists called the Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru work in a small office under the eye of Mao Tse-tung, who from a poster on the wall exhorts all to follow his leadership.”

Fellow Americans, the Maoist Internationalist Movement had little regard for the “crypto-Trotskyist Revolutionary Communist Party-USA” but then were also hyper-critical of the “MPP-USA, publishers of New Flag magazine, and castigated them as a “cop outfit”:

“MIM has documented, the New Flag editor has engaged in splitting and wrecking, intelligence-gathering, forgery, double-dealing, snitch work, political inconsistencies, defense of capitulation, and defense of the CoRIM. When pieced together, these facts constitute proof that Agent Quispe is a police provocateur.” MIM replies to CoRIM, 8/6/97

In west London-based exile, Adolfo Olaechea, working first around Red Star Information Bureau and agitating by means of the Yenan Society, later grouped in the Maoist London Committee (of Supporters of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement), and settled on the Committee Sol Peru .Independently trying to represent the interests of the PCP, He enjoyed a certain prestige: regarded as a long-time (unofficial) ambassador of the PCP. Doing little to counter that impression that his actions and statements, whichever opinion one may have of them, to a certain degree reflected the standpoint of the PCP – but were not universally acknowledged not even within the marginal realm he operated. He was known for his involvement performing music in a London band called the Musical Guerrilla Army which in 1991 performed at tourist hot-spots (like Covent Garden) and concerts in such places as the Old White House in Brixton and the Emerald Centre in Hammersmith, west London. Typical lyrics were: “The people’s blood has a beautiful aroma…. Chairman Gonzalo, Light of the Masses…. The blood of the armed people nourishes the armed struggle.”

The development of the support movement in Britain was hampered by the earlier experiences that shaped the relationship between activists. There was a small and diverse collection who identified as Maoists to draw upon. Within that number was missing the orthodox anti-revisionist Marxist-Leninists like the RCLB, tainted by its pro-China stance, and other groups who were now politically aligned elsewhere like the RCPB (ML) under the Albanian sway of the Internationalist trend and the CPB (ML) pro-Soviet anglocentric politics. The natural activist consistency that remain were small groups, organisations based in national minority exile communities and non-aligned individuals, amongst the Peruvian militants.

According to Olaechea:

“The representatives of the RCP USA line in this country responded to this initiative by proposing the formation of a local committee in London to support the RIM. This invitation was accepted by the revolutionaries and a series of meetings and contacts with the aim of setting up the London Supporters Committee of the RIM took place.”

Activists based in Britain proved incapable of collaborating in developing the campaign in support of the Peruvian People’s War partly because personal antagonism that were not contained and on the question of strategy there were opposing views on the 7th Congress of the Communist International, holding that the line of the United Front that emerged from this Congress was a ‘revisionist line’!

However political disagreements were aired early in the development of the support movement at the public meeting in London on November 30, 1984. This confrontation saw the International Committee of the RIM continued to function in London refusing to recognise the London Support Committee. Having the administrative centre for RIM in London may have contributed to a lower profile by activists wishing to maintain their freedom of anonymity but the lack of solidarity amongst activists contributed to lack lustre campaigning.

Luis Arce BorjaLAB

The Peruvian journalist “LAB” fled Peru, after the closing of El Diario, settled in Brussels (Belgium). Here he launched El Diario International (EDI), and where he worked with the Party of Labour, MPP-France and Co-RIM and IEC. He grew disenchanted with the working relationship and in March 1996, issued the World Mobilization Commission Call for Mobilising for Struggle, which stated:

“…The opportunist leadership of Co-RIM, is the main cause of immobilism
in the international movement of support for the People’s War in Peru.
Since October 1993 their nefarious activities have been geared to
paralysing any show of support for the People’s War and to cast doubts upon
the revolutionary condition of Chairman Gonzalo. Both bureaucratic
organisms, the Co-RIM and the IEC, are not in any way politically and
morally capable to call upon the masses and political organisations to the
defence of the Peruvian revolution.

“No working class individual would listen to or follow the calls of an
eclectic leadership who took a conciliatory position towards the police
fraud for over a year and a half and kept during that time secret relations
with the promoters of the police and capitulators’ plot abroad, a
leadership, moreover, that took steps to pigeonhole documents of the PCP.

“No political organisation abroad can take seriously the proclamations of
the International Emergency Committee (IEC), while the bureaucracy in
charge of that organism is the same bureaucracy in charge of the Co-RIM. No
one with elementary political sense would want to offer their support and
solidarity to Chairman Gonzalo if this must pass through the IEC, an
organism in whose ‘leading body,’ three individuals who are working and
coordinating actions with the Peruvian government remain….Given the
ideo-political considerations above, we issue this call to set up and
organise a WORLD WIDE MOBILISATION COMMISSION (WMC) to defend the Peruvian revolution.”

The wider response was not to rally activists in an organisation but deepen the existing divisions. As one active participant in the cyber-maoist scene recalled of the WMC

“whose creation we both supported, comrade Adolfo Oleachea being one of the initiators of the call for it and I being one of its individual endorsers, but which was later formed in a manner which I found to be quite impermissible and protested against.” Rolf Marten naturally in the summer of 1996. In years to come disillusionment set in with LAB changing perspective [ see 2006 Luis Arce Borja Remnants of a Betrayed Revolution ]

The New Flag also carried its criticism of Luis Arce Borja and Adolfo Olaechea for being two self-serving opportunists who attempt to impose their own bourgeois individualist line over the international solidarity movement. (Volume 4, No. 1, January 1997, p.45)

Internet postings saw Quispe describe El Diario Internacional as “fake” condemning “the opportunists snitches Olaechea and Arce Borja!” while asking “IS OLAECHEA A PLANT OF THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICES?” [Capitals in the original]

Quispe wrote, “CHARLATAN OLAECHEA AND THE ‘MOTHER COURAGE’ ARCE BORJA WILL BE JUSTLY JUDGED BY THE PEOPLE, ONLY THE PEOPLE TRY AND PUNISH THE SNITCHES AND PROVOCATORS.”
Co-thinkers in the Peru People’s Movement (MPP) of Switzerland were equally dismissive of the action and critical of all involved.

         “What are LAB and his World Commission of Opportunism after? Looking at this individual’s characteristics, we think LAB, together with his accomplice, the British provocateur Olaechea, aim at spreading confusion and splits between individuals and organizations that honestly support the People’s War in Peru. He focuses his attacks on the PCP-generated abroad, and mainly against the brave comrades of the MPP (USA) who exposed his treacherous position, and who at the same time, have been conducting the struggle against the opportunism of Co-RIM (mainly the “arribista” Avakian.) To this end, LAB launched the call to the World Commission of Opportunism, and gathered (in paper only) the most rotten garbage pile of revisionism (PTB) and reaction (MIM), where he would become the “maximum leader.”                                                        (March 1997)

Following the analysis by RIM that Guzman was probably the source of the “Peace Accord” the attack dogs were unleashed to repudiate such traitorous statements:

       “the Committee of the RIM (Co-RIM) have been using subterfuge and deception against the People’s War, first by remaining silent in public for about two years in the face of the blatant imperialist psychological operation against the Peruvian revolution and President Gonzalo, while subtly distributing the materials of the intelligence services, the Fujimori call for “peace negotiations” (the Fujimori line) as a “two line struggle within the PCP.” The RCP-USA has distributed these materials widely as “study packs” for a purported “investigation and analysis.” They paid no attention to the public statements and directives of the PCP’s Central Committee denouncing such CIA/Fujimori’s counterfeit materials as counterrevolutionary hoax. Co-RIM’s disguises then and now have had the same purpose: Provide credibility to the low intensity warfare carried out by the intelligence services. Co-RIM stubbornly claims: “It is clear that a struggle of two leadership has surged in the ranks of the Communist Party of Peru.” [Co-RIM’s circular, November 1994.]

The MPP and The New Flag grouping questioning the political claims advanced by RIM:

“The clique in Co-RIM and RCP-USA even attempts to negate that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the ideology of the international proletariat. They state: “People are taking up the revolutionary science of the RIM: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.” (Revolutionary Worker No. 737, December 26, 1993, center page.) People know that it was in December 1993 when the Co-RIM announced to the world it upheld Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and called it “revolutionary science of the RIM.” However, the reality is that the PCP, through the People’s War, has been upholding and applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, (principally Maoism), and its creative development Gonzalo Thought, since 1981. That is, more than 12 years before RIM! This truth cannot be suppressed any longer. (Volume 2, #1, p.14)

On weaker grounds, loyalists advanced a defence of Great Leadership inherent in their positions on Gonzalo Thought asking whether they were to “spread the same old story of “authoritarianism” or “personality cult”? The position was consistently held:

      “To us, Chairman Gonzalo is the Great Leadership of our revolution in Peru, center of Party unity and guarantee of triumph until communism, because he is a Great Leadership based on Gonzalo Thought, the creative application of Maoism to our reality in Peru – based on the whole practical experience of our revolution. It is not, and it has never been the PCP’s position that Gonzalo Thought has universal validity. However, we do insist that 1) Chairman Gonzalo and Gonzalo Thought have had, and continue to have today, a decisive role of undeniable importance in the struggle to defend and apply the principles of Maoism and impose it on world level and 2) Chairman Gonzalo and Gonzalo Thought give contributions to Marxism, like the militarization of the Communist Parties, and “we consider this experience to have universal validity, which is why it is a demand and a necessity that the Communist Parties of the world be militarized”. – Main speech of the Peru People’s Movement at the International conference in Madrid, October 27 2012

***

The response of RIM was a public polemical piece naming its critics, refuting the “campaign of vicious attacks” by a “the hard core … anti-RIM cabal includes Luis Arce Borja, a Peruvian exile who edits El Diario Internacional, published in Belgium; Adolfo Olaechea, a close ally of Arce, who distributes his publications on the Internet and usually signs himself as the Committee Sol Peru, London; New Flag, an occasional magazine also edited by a Peruvian exile, which comes out in New York City; and a small group in the US called the Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM), which,   despite its name, has nothing to do with RIM. There are a few other groups and individuals scattered around Western Europe and North America who are more loosely associated with this hard core.”   A World To Win (#22, December 1996)

In publishing an article attacking its critics, RIM was drawing lines of demarcation and distancing themselves from what they saw as disruptive fringe elements that had not contribute to building solidarity or support. Those elements were amongst the most vocal in raising the issue of the imprisonment of Guzman.

The response to “Anti-RIM Critics from the Cyberswamp: ‘Virtual Maoism’ and Real Opportunism” from this “hard core” included the observation that demonstrated how divided the potential solidarity forces were, or as RIM described it: “Even while joining   forces to attack RIM, they savagely turn on each other from time to time like crabs scrabbling to be top of the heap.” The invective could be entertaining even if not effective in resolution of the disagreements.

        “Voina’s statement that “There are in fact no PCP representatives abroad at this time” is actually a stunning admission. If there are no PCP representatives abroad, then that only serves to underscore how the RCP/CoRIM have sought to take advantage of the arrest of Gonzalo to put new organizations in place in Europe to replace those sanctioned while Gonzalo was still free, namely the El Diario of Luis Arce Borja. We instead choose to rally around what was already in place before the arrest of Gonzalo. The RCP/CoRIM’s attempts to do otherwise are a continuation of the split-and-wreck activities that the Peruvian police initiated.”

Accusations continued to fly through cyberspace with the Peru People’s Movement arguing that:

      “The RCP attempted to fool international public opinion by presenting themselves as “defending the life of Doctor Abimael Guzman” while simultaneously distributing propaganda in favor of the reactionary call for “peace negotiations.”

The Yankee revisionists, in special those infiltrated in the leadership of MIM and the RCP-USA, believed that they could fool people; these mercenaries believed that the masses of poor and oppressed people are easy to deceive. They believed that they could actively promote “peace negotiations”, presenting President Gonzalo as a traitor capitulating, and distributing counter-revolutionary propaganda, all under the phony cover of “investigating”, upholding the bourgeois sophistry of “peace negotiations are not always bad”, and manipulating “defend the life of Dr. Guzman” for their own selfish interests (collecting money, showing off as “radical revolutionaries”) and thus trafficking with the revolutionary feelings of the masses.”

However the effectiveness and impact of such charges was questionable, not only for the lack of evidenced argument and consistency, but the opposition to RIM was so divided amongst itself, indulging in sectarian rhetoric, hitting out in all directions, creating a confusion that substantiating RIM’s original charges, as missives and counter-charges continued to appear in the warp cyber space they operated.

           “Some individuals in Europe use the fight against the opportunists of Co-RIM as a Trojan horse to advance individualistic ideas that are nothing more than revisionist trash. Others follow the Co-RIM to sustain that the two line struggle undertaking by the Party amongst the masses in the midst of the armed struggle is principally the issue of “peace talks” and not the Conquest of Power and the smashing of imperialism and the genocidal regime. That’s also right opportunism. Both are the two sides of the same coin that must be combated based on the principle of Unity-Struggle-Transformation.”               The Revolutionary Storm in a CO-RIM teacup. Marxmail List May 10 1996

Both the Peru People’s Movement (PPM) and their support organization in the US, the New Peru Friendship Association, USA, criticized both the Revolutionary Communist Party and later the Kasama Project, operative from 2007-2015, and took the attitude that there is no organized movement for the US proletariat at the time.

However, the PPM has continued to support both Guzmán and the “people’s war.” Guzmán had called for an end to the people’s war and condemn those who continue it as ‘mercenaries for criminal organizations.’ This is totally inconsistent with the stand that the PPM has taken. So if El Diario had it right, to support the people’s war was to support the People’s Guerilla Army that meant supporting Quispe and his leadership even though have made little if any contact with the outside world?

When the Peru People’s Movement claimed representative status, describing itself as generated organization of the PCP for the Party work abroad, the questions was raised whether : “The homepage “solrojo.org” and the Swedish “maoistiskforum.org” publish documents from a “central committee” that does not exist”

      “The writers behind the website SR36_frontSol Rojo – http://www.redsun.org/ – and produce Red Sun Magazine – mainly in Spanish with English translations – pretend to have a functioning central committee fighting for the political line chaired by President Gonzalo. In statement after statement, they have stated that the People’s War is strong and that the party leadership works satisfactorily. That way, people in Peru wonder as “waiting for the party to come back” instead of taking up the struggle to rebuild the party. The conclusion was “Through these lies, the website solrojo.org is politically entirely in the service of US imperialism and the Peruvian reaction.”

The Peru People’s Movement doubted all, operating in the sphere of cybermaoism oblivious to what occurs IRL. Their analysis reflects a blinkered sectarianism at odds with the verifiable evidence at hand so condemned the activities of Guzman’s legal representative as part of the hoax that enveloped the imprisoned leader.

AGAINST CRESPRO

         With the collaboration of the rats of the ROL and through a supposed replacement of the scoundrel so-called lawyer Crespo, they have appointed another lawyer, one Carl Peter Erlinder, for the “defense” of Chairman Gonzalo in the Interamerican Human Rights Court. As the masses and the people know, the felon Crespo is today the head of the plan for “amnesty” and an electoral cretin. With these “visits” and with this new lawyer, they aim to wipe themselves clean, to say that the Chairman is sick, among other sophisms and lies, to continue to avoid the public presentation and go on with the hoax of the “peace accords”, a hoax that has been blown to a thousand pieces over and over again by the very development of the people’s war led by the CC of the PCP……, when we celebrate the birthdays of Chairman Mao and Chairman Gonzalo, we take position and say to imperialism, reaction and revisionism, that …….., that once more their tricks shall be crushed and disemboweled; we reaffirm ourselves in that no matter how many farces and malicious stories they invent, no matter how much they want to lead the masses away from the road of the revolution and the people’s war, the people and the class are clear: only with Communist Parties of a new type, Marxist-Leninist-Maoist, militarized, that all-embracingly lead people’s wars without wavering in the principles, will we reach the society without classes, the golden communism.                       PPM December 26, 2013

The more marginal the existence, the more hectoring and grandiose the propaganda claims produced, the more insistent on the entitlement to leadership was made and maintained. The position is that:

    It is necessary that each Party and organization analyze and synthesize not only their internal struggles, their whole history of crushing revisionist lines within their ranks, but also that they take position on the history of the struggle within the ICM and the RIM. As part of this process, we point out that the main problem of the RIM has been the problems of the leadership, that is the CoRIM and the hegemonist positions and the destructive role of the RCP (USA) in it. We reject the obscure work of the RCP and its followers to isolate and slander the PCP and its Great leadership Chairman Gonzalo, and their collusion with imperialism and reaction in spreading the hoax of the “peace accords” in Peru. The campaign of isolation against the PCP and its Great leadership, that continues to have repercussions today, objectively forms part of the plans of imperialism, mainly yankee imperialism, against the revolution in Peru. One may agree with the positions of the PCP or not, but what the communists of the world must do today to combat this reactionary plan is to recognize the leadership of the PCP, its Central Committee and the whole Party, that today continues leading the people’s war under difficult circumstances, applying Gonzalo thought.

Madrid, October 19, 2013 | OPEN LETTER TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT: LONG LIVE MARXISM-LENINISM-MAOISM, UNIVERSAL IDEOLOGY OF THE INTERNATIONAL PROLETARIAT!

On Gonzalo thought unproven claims abound,

“In the application of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, principally Maoism, to the reality on a world scale and within each country, it is necessary to refer to what is now the spearhead of the international communist movement: the Communist Party of Peru and the Gonzalo Thought. The elements of the Gonzalo thought are finding verification in the theoretical and practical advances of Maoist parties and organizations. The “critical assimilation” of them is a necessary condition for the application of Maoism to today’s reality.”

There is also a fundamental question raised by, amongst others, Jose Maria Sison, and repeated in his 2019 interviewed on the 50th Anniversary of Communist Party of the Philippines:

“The CPP has opposed the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement (RIM) seeking to impose the principle of democratic centralism on communist parties in violation of the principle of equality and independence among them.

At the same time, RIM exaggerated the status and role of the RCPUSA. Since the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943, communist and workers’ parties have become equal to each other and independent from each other.

There has been no Comintern Executive Committee to treat them as national sections of a world party.”

Others from within the broadly defined international communist movement have also raised criticisms and objections of the paean of praise e,g Stefan Engel of the MLPD. The contributions of Chairman Gonzalo, uncritically evaluated (the revolution in Peru had lost momentum), presented as a Universalist checklist, divorced from analysis of concrete conditions, means what can be applicable can be lost in a mantra of learnt reiteration unthinkingly repeated and lifeless in homages in anniversary speeches. If the contribution of Guzman seems ill-served by those who praise him, former advocates, long spun out of any Maoist orbit with its advocacy of the “new synthesis”, had their own AVAKARIANIST view of the developments:

“These past fourteen years have seen major developments, including the collapse of RIM itself. Not only are some of the forces previously united in RIM now sharply opposed to each other, the previous understanding of revolutionary communism itself has, to borrow Mao Zedong’s term, “divided into two”. One strand of the old Maoism has wound up in a social-democratic liquidation of the core revolutionary principles of Marxism, exemplified tragically in the capitulation of the Maoist leadership in Nepal and the termination of the revolutionary war there. Others from the previous MLM movement are stuck in a dogmatist, religious-like upholding of sterile “Maoist” formulas that are equally devoid of revolutionary content. In opposition to this, Bob Avakian’s new synthesis of communism has fully emerged, rescuing the scientific kernel of communism while criticizing and repudiating those secondary aspects in the past understanding and actions of communists that have actually gone against communism’s liberatory nature.”

— Editorial: Introducing a transformed AWTWNS on http://aworldtowinns.co.uk/

What can be said concerning the struggle in, what consisted itself, the International Communist Movement on the role of Chairman Gonzalo was that it was inconclusive, failing to address some of the issues raised in the theory and practice of the Peruvian revolution. It continues to provoke responses as the Steering Committee of the French organisation OCML-Voie Prolétarienne   [Marxist-Leninist Communist Organisation – Proletarian Way] noted in May 1990 expressing support for the Communist Party of Peru because the positive aspects by far outweigh the reservations and criticisms we are duty bound to raise.” When such reservations were critically raised in its 2017 article “On People’s War in Peru, the betrayal by the leadership of the PCP and the capitulation of Gonzalo”, they argued:  “The way we understand the world is guided by dialectical materialism, not romantic idealism!”

An unrelated posting (in August 2018) by frequent commentator on the Democracy & Class Struggle website, Harsh Thakor, Resurrecting Flame of  Gonzalo Thought and Peruvian Peoples War, provides a brief survey of some elements that contributed to the reversal in fortune for the Communist Party of Peru at the end of the last century. He begins by stating that:

No doubt Chairman Gonzalo is the greatest Marxist-Leninist-Maoist leader after Chairman Mao…… I disagree it was Gonzalo who wrote the peace letters in Jail after 1992….

In September 2018 a joint declaration from a dozen organisations entitled “In defence of the life of Chairman Gonzalo, hoist higher the flag of Maoism!” stated accurately that:

“RIM was liquidated by revisionism’s handling of the two-line struggle. The maneuver of Avakian was, to state – as a starting point of his “criticism” of the second Right Opportunist Line, revisionist and capitulationist, in Peru – that supposedly “the author would not matter, only the line”, which precisely led to centering the debate on who “the author” was. Or did this miserable not know that the communists of the world would rise when their Great Leadership was questioned? This is how the two-line struggle was derailed. The Problem for the left in the ICM was the hard and complex situation in which the PCP entered after the arrest of Chairman Gonzalo.”

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P.S. Gonzalo and Ultra-left deviation

Recent argument on the internet have focused less on Gonzalo/Guzman and more on those who raise the banner of Gonzalo Thought and how they interpret and what applies in their struggles. It started with an article on the Norwegian blog MLM thoughts commenting on the demise of a small American activist group, raising criticisms of political puritanism and encompassed the position that nobody should charge Chairman Gonzalo with the simplifications of many of his supporters in Peru and abroad. So what it initiated was polemical exchanges on the understanding of the contribution of Chairman Gonzalo and the interpretation and application by some of those activists who identified and support that contribution e.g  maosite1917 with counter thesis from the US Red Guard associate, Struggle Sessions. See political puritanism