Problems of theory and history

    [ Part 2 : Chapters 5-9 ]
    Kostas Mavrakis

    Translated by John McGreal

    [Manuscript typed by Jennifer R. Poole]

    © Librairie François Maspero 1973
    Translation © Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd 1976


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo,
 (February 2003)














    [Notes - Part 2]








    Chapter 5



    Trotsky's disciples wish to remain faithful to him on the question of the nature of the USSR and the other revisionist countries as if nothing had changed since more than thirty years ago. Now, Trotsky's position on this question was always extremely perplexed, confused and contradictory. In 1929 he still thought that the social basis of Thermidor, defined as a 'counter-revolution' and as a 'transfer of power into the hands of another class', was the kulak. 'The problem of Thermidor and of Bonapartism is in essence the problem of the kulak.' According to Trotsky, 'The enriched muzhik or the muzhik who only seeks to get rich . . . is the natural agent of Bonapartist tendencies' (cf. Chapter 4, above). When Stalin, whom Trotsky thought was going to lay the basis for the restoration of capitalism ('a Kerensky in reverse'), had expropriated the kulaks against all the predictions of our 'prophet', Trotsky abandoned the Marxist method of analysing a policy by its class content. In fact, in the sense Trotsky understood the term, classes no longer existed in the USSR. To his great perplexity, Bonapartist tendencies continued to assert themselves despite the disappearance of their 'natural agent', the kulak.
        In 'The Third International After Lenin', written in 1929, Trotsky still occasionally argued like a Marxist. In it he declared that 'the state apparatus terrorised the proletarian core of the party' and wondered (op. cit. p. 304):

    Can this really be the terror of the dictatorship of the proletariat? No, because it is directed against the party, against the interests of the proletariat. Does this mean to say then that this is the pressure and terror of other classes? Obviously it is, for there is no supra-class pressure.

    Apparently, for Trotsky after 1929, the rural bourgeoisie (the kulaks), which was terrorising the proletariat by means of the party apparatus, lost power (how, we do not know) and the power was exercised by the bureaucracy as the 'historic arm of the working class' (!) Returning to this problem at the end of his life in 'The Soviet Union and The Fourth International', Trotsky acknowledged that 'the bureaucracy is indissolubly bound up with the role of the

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    ruling economic class'.(1) It should be added that the bureaucracy always serves the interests of this class. But in that case, what do our present-day Trotskyists have to say about it? Are the Russian workers today 'the ruling economic class'? The question is how, in a country where the means of production are under state control, can the proletariat be 'the ruling economic class' if it is not 'the ruling political class'?
        In an interview given just before his death, Trotsky asserted: 'We accuse the leading clique of having transformed itself into a new aristocracy oppressing and robbing the masses . . . The immense bureaucracy devours a lion's share of the modest national income.'(2)
        The Chinese speak of a 'new bourgeoisie'; why is the expression 'new aristocracy' (feudal?), supposed to be more adequate? How is an industrialised country in which a new bourgeoisie exploits (or 'robs') the masses to be described if not as capitalist? The reply of Trotsky and the Trotskyists is that the bureaucracy does not, properly speaking, exploit the workers but robs them as a parasitic stratum, like the Church, for example. But the latter has always been an integral part of the propertied classes. We know that the Vatican today is a big capitalist power in the same way as in former times it owned more land than the king and the nobles. Even when it owns neither land nor capital the Church exploits the workers by participating in the redistribution of surplus value. We thus come back to the question posed above: who collectively owns the means of production in the USSR? Is it the workers, or else what we call the new bourgeoisie and what the Trotskyists call the bureaucracy? A comparison not being proof, Trotsky cannot be regarded as having solved the problem by comparing the bureaucracy to the Church, a tumour or the 'lumpenproletariat'!
        In the same interview, Trotsky argued that 'the liquidation of the private ownership of the means of production is the central historical task of our epoch and will guarantee the birth of a new, more harmonious society'.(3) The least one can say is that he was deceiving himself and that this 'guarantee' was not so certain. Otherwise, how can one explain the Polish workers being forced to rise up against the intensification of their exploitation and the necessity for them to be mown down from tanks and helicopters to make them submit? Trotsky's wife, Natalia Sedova, finally adopted a clearer and more coherent position than her late husband's dogmatic supporters: she regarded the Soviet Union as 'state capitalism'.(4)

    The Trotskyists deny the capitalist character of the countries in eastern Europe and its links with the usurpation of power by a state bourgeoisie which exploits and oppresses the workers. Let us examine their argument as it is developed in the Theses adopted by the 9th Congress of the Fourth International. Taking the example of Yugoslavia, 'since there has clearly never been a social counter-revolution . . . since the party in power . . . is still the same', the partisans of the thesis according to which capitalism has been restored 'apply . . . reformist conceptions in reverse'.(5)
        This is the repetition of an old argument of Trotsky's, denying

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    (what he later accepted) that a Thermidor had taken place in the USSR:(6)

    Thermidor does not signify a period of reaction in general . . . it indicates a transfer of power into the hands of another class . . . Thermidor was a civil war in which the sans-culottes were defeated - can anyone believe . . . that power can pass from the hands of the Russian proletariat into those of the bourgeoisie by peaceful means . . . ? Such a conception of Thermidor is only reformism turned inside out.

    A few years later, Trotsky was to prove exactly the opposite, namely, that Thermidor does mean a period of reaction in general . . . and so on.
        However that may be, it is really strange to argue that the party in power remained the same after repeated, massive and ferocious purges, particularly at the time of the break with the Cominform. Moreover, history offers the example of many parties whose class nature has changed without purges. As for the necessity of a (violent) social counter-revolution, it would undoubtedly have to occur for the old propertied classes to return to power, but not for the formation of new ones.
        The Theses of the 9th Congress continue in these terms: 'For Marxists there can be no capitalism without a bourgeois class in power in the economic sense of the term. There can be no bourgeois class without private appropriation of the means of production and the social surplus product.'
        First of all, it is wrong to argue that 'there can be no capitalism without a bourgeois class in power'. Capitalism existed under NEP even though the bourgeoisie was not in power. On the other hand, when the Trotskyists say 'in the economic sense of the term' this must be understood as 'in the legal sense' for it is only in this sense that the new Yugoslav bourgeoisie has not appropriated the means of production in a private capacity.
        But above all, the Trotskyists are not unaware that besides the state bourgeoisie, there exist in Yugoslavia industrialists who possess enterprises employing up to 500 workers, that capitalism is developing in the countryside, that there is brisk commercial and land speculation (particularly in the tourist areas), that the state monopoly of external trade has been abandoned for the maximum profits of the tycoons; in short, that Yugoslavia is, as one American journalist put it, 'the paradise of free enterprise'.
        To embark on an analysis of Yugoslavia's foreign policy would take us too far out of our way. One thing is certain: the US Government knew what it was doing when it gave Yugoslavia aid amounting to several thousand millions of dollars.
        An article in 'Le Monde' talks about 'the strange alliance of foreign capital and co-management in Yugoslav enterprises'.(
    7) Strange indeed, if one takes 'co-management' at face-value. Could capitalist management and worker management make good bedfellows? We are not sufficiently reformist to believe it. In fact, 'co-management' hardly means more than 'participation'. It leaves the workers defenceless before those who hold effective power at the levels of the enterprise and the state, hence the wave of strikes (ultimate weapon) that broke out in 1966 and 1967, as the Theses which we are criticising recognise.

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        If the workers were masters of the enterprises they would not strike against themselves. If they were masters of the state they would not emigrate and sell themselves as wage slaves in hundreds of thousands on the French and German markets. Only a comprador bourgeoisie could put up its country's wealth for auction by throwing wide the door to imperialist investments which are guaranteed the transfer of their profits and the repatriation of their capital.
        We call attention to this magnificent sentence in Paul Yankovitch's article: 'Official circles consider that there is not even any reason to guarantee foreign investors against so-called political risks, since Yugoslav enterprises are already social enterprises and consequently cannot be nationalised.' In other words, now that we have made the revolution, our country offers absolute security to capitalist exploitation. The Yugoslav leaders assert and deny the existence of socialism in their country in the same breath. This same argument which, addressed to foreign investors, constitutes a guileless confession, also serves to deceive the workers. At the least demand our 'officials' apostrophise the workers by asking them what more they want: 'the state belongs to you, the enterprises belong to you'! Trotskyists can be counted on to applaud this mystification. However they should know broadly what they are committing themselves to in the Yugoslav road to socialism, this original, non-Stalinist 'model', etc. It can be characterised as an economy entirely given over to the laws of the market; that is, to capitalist anarchy with its cyclical crises and their accompanying train of bankruptcies and redundancies. There are 300,000 unemployed out of 4 million non-agricultural wage-earners. Speculators are given free reign. The state exports labour and imports capital in order that the people may be doubly exploited by imperialist capital, inside as well as outside the country. Enterprises issue bonds to augment their capital. Banks convert deposits of private individuals into loans to enterprises and pay 7 per cent interest. However, Trotskyists refuse to draw the conclusions obvious facts impose. They repeat, 'the working class has not yet been defeated'. If it has not been defeated then it is in power; how can this be reconciled with what we know about Yugoslav society and Belgrade's policy?
        After accusing the Maoists of reformism, the Trotskyists modify their argument a little and accuse them of 'defeatism'. They cry, 'to say that capitalism has already been restored, without massive resistance from the workers, would be to proclaim defeat before the battle; it would demonstrate a defeatism that the recent events have shown to be totally unjustified.'(8)
        No doubt it is sad to acknowledge that defeat has come without a battle but, as Renan said, 'The truth may be depressing'. Meanwhile, it is the Trotskyists who propagate a spirit of surrender. They lead the Yugoslav workers away from the struggle for power by assuring them that they have never lost it.

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    The struggle between the capitalist road and the socialist road goes on throughout the period of the transition from capitalism to socialism. At every moment and on every problem the leadership of the party and the state, the subordinate echelons and finally individuals themselves are confronted with the choice between the two roads. The victory of socialism is not assured once and for all; it is the product of an unceasing struggle, a continuous creation. Every relaxation in the vigilance of proletarian revolutionaries leaves the field open to revisionist tendencies and leads to a regression.
        The principal contradiction of this whole period is that between the revolutionary masses and leaders who take the capitalist road. It is a class contradiction.
        Some cannot conceive of the existence of classes without individual private ownership of the means of production: this is not a Marxist point of view. Marx never identified the relations of production and property relations. The former continue to reproduce themselves after the means of production have been brought under state control. That is why 'Lenin had to remind Bukharin that state control of the means of production was not socialisation'.(9) Division into classes retains its basis in the relations of production for a long period after the seizure of power by the proletariat, for, as was pointed out by 'the founders of scientific socialism,['] (10)

    the disappearance of capitalism . . . does not coincide with the disappearance of private ownership of the means of production but with the disappearance of the wage-earning class.

    Meanwhile 'every assertion about classes must also be an assertion about the class struggle'.(11) In other words, the principal criterion for membership of a class is neither class being nor class origin but class position. After the expropriation of the old exploiters, there are surviving 'social elements characterised by their class position' (12) who work for the restoration of capitalism, and new ones are created. These social forces are:

        (a)  The former exploiters of whom Lenin said, 'they shall retain, long after the revolution, a whole series of real advantages . . . money . . . habits of organisation and management, the knowledge of all the "secrets" of administration.'
        (b)  The new bourgeois elements engendered by the petty bourgeois environment. Lenin spoke of the 'sea of small production' which threatened to devour the socialist economy before the completion of collectivisation. Even after this, the peasantry long remained attached to individual forms of production. Moreover, the persistence of market relations combined with an inadequate organisation of distribution cause the appearance of new bourgeois elements in the interstices of the socialist system given over to a variety of negotiation and speculation.
        (c)  The degenerate leading cadres taking the capitalist road. Most of the cadres in the Communist Party occupy responsible posts in the state apparatus. These officials can become

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    cut off from the masses, feel themselves superior and become authoritarian. They can degenerate by becoming preoccupied with their own advancement, their personal prestige and the material advantages afforded them by their 'role in the social organisation of labour'. The demands and rationality peculiar to their department confronted with particular types of problems and on occasion working for non- proletarian social categories, may make them lose the viewpoint of the whole - the viewpoint which subordinates everything to the march towards socialism, to the revolution.

    These authorities repress the creative initiative of the masses in production under the pretext of efficiency and productivity, invoking the necessities of the technical division of labour. They strive to perpetuate the division between brains which think without lifting a finger and brawn which drudges without thinking.
        The social forces which we have outlined have allies in the people's minds: traditions, customs, habits, ideas bequeathed by capitalist society. The concentrated expression, the essence of these ideological survivals, is individualism, selfishness, the search for personal gain.
        In saying this we are not calling for the 'moral' supplement for which Marx did not hide his contempt. The slogan of the cultural revolution, 'fight self, criticise revisionism', is a slogan of ideological struggle the political significance of which is unquestionable. Selfishness tends to reproduce institutional structures which perpetuate the privileges and the domination of a minority. Before the cultural revolution, many Chinese students imagined that because they were 'literati' they would be appointed to leading posts as a matter of course. They considered their career as the due reward for their university labours and despised those who had not acquired the same bookish knowledge. Thus selfishness and personal ambition breathe new life into ideas inherited from the past which become revisionism when they are decked out as 'Marxist'. The new bourgeoisie being formed relies on this ideology to reorganise society in terms of its interests. We can conclude from this that it is impossible to construct an economy and social relations which are genuinely socialist without the creation of a new man who puts collective interests above everything. The opposite result is obtained if one hopes to stimulate enthusiasm for work by relying on the profit motive and by widening wage differentials excessively as was done in the USSR and which leads to division rather than unity among the workers. As a consequence, bourgeois ideology finds a new social basis. Its underhand progress disaggregates the nascent socialist relations of production.
        One cannot struggle against bourgeois ideology solely by resort to administrative and police measures. These make it possible to suppress only its overt expression but in fact leave it to progress beneath the surface in people's minds. The only effective weapon is Marxist-Leninist refutation supported by facts and the participation of the broad masses in ideological struggles. In the USSR, the transformation of the dictatorship of the proletariat into the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie was facilitated by the fact that,

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    under the pretext of 'dictatorship', the masses were practically forbidden to involve themselves in politics and to criticise or overthrow bad leaders.
        The people, raised in the ideology of servile submission to the authorities, overwhelmed by the sense of their helplessness, diverted from public affairs and from politics into the pursuit of private interests, nevertheless feel their oppression and passively resist it, but in the absence of an organised vanguard they cannot mobilise to fight it in a consistent way. They are a people divided and atomised like a heap of sand. As revisionist leaders have also discredited communism in the eyes of the masses, the latter are defenceless before the reactionary propaganda spread by encircling capitalism and its internal allies, disguised or not.
        The leaders taking the capitalist road who have usurped the leadership of the party, purge it of militants loyal to the dictatorship of the proletariat. They turn a blind eye to the misappropriation of public funds for speculative ends, while intensifying the exploitation of the mass of workers for the benefit of a narrow privileged stratum. They encourage the accumulation of savings by offering high interest rates (therefore unearned incomes)(13) and launch economic reforms which restore the free functioning of the market, the authority and autonomy of the managers of enterprises, etc.
        In the forms which the restoration of capitalism took in Yugoslavia, only the principal means of production remain state-owned but the laws of the functioning of the economy are now simply the laws of the capitalist mode of production as they were extracted by Marx, Engels and Lenin:

        - the market as the regulator of the whole economy;
        - the prices of production law of a free circulation of capitals (free buying and selling of the means of production by enterprises);
        - the law of profit as the motor of production;
        - the existence of an industrial reserve army (unemployment);
        - economic crises, spontaneous movements of investments.

    In particular, the appearance of unemployment (the suppression of the right to labour) is the undeniable proof that the means of production are separated from the producers, that the proletarian, or rather his labour-power, has reverted to the state of a commodity, a plaything of market fluctuations enriching those who control it ('alienation'). Meanwhile, the dictatorship of the proletariat has given way to 'the state of the whole people', the transparent mask of a new class oppression. The bourgeoisie has always presented its reign as that of universal reason and the general interest. The new bourgeoisie in the revisionist countries is no exception.
        Charles Bettelheim promises a book on the restoration of the power of the bourgeoisie in the USSR, but we are already indebted to him for precise and illuminating indications on this subject which we think it would be useful to present in an abridged form.
        The conquest of political power by the proletariat only opens the way to the elimination of capitalist relations of production, which continue to reproduce themselves even in the enterprises under state control. In fact, the 'enterprise' necessarily has a capitalist character owing to the fact that(14)

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    its structure has the form of a double separation, the separation of the labourers from their means of production (the counterpart of which is the possession of these means by the enterprises, that is to say, by their directors) and the separation of the enterprises from one another.

    This is an obstacle to their effective socialisation. The directors of the enterprises buy the labour-power 'necessary for the conversion into value' of the means of production. They can dismiss the workers whose relations with the enterprise remain on a wage basis. The reproduction of the separation of the labourers from their means of production is accomplished, moreover

    through specific ideological relations: management 'authority', the internal hierarchical organisation of the enterprise, the social division of labour which connects the labour of management and 'intellectual' labour on the one hand and the practical and manual labour on the other hand.

    The ideological institutions (the school, etc.) which prepare the workers for life in the 'enterprises' also reproduce these ideological relations and 'Subordinate the technical division of labour to the social division of labour'. Finally:(15)

    the reproduction of the separation of the labourers from their means of production is also ensured by the political relations within the enterprises: legal authority of the management which can call on the means of repression, supervision exerted 'from top to bottom', and the application of sanctions in the same way.

    The presence of such capitalist social relations and therefore of the supports of these relations characterises the whole transition from capitalism to socialism. It provides the social basis for the restoration of capitalism:(16)

    The real importance of state ownership depends on the relations existing between the mass of labourers and the state apparatus. If the latter is truly and concretely dominated by the labourers (instead of being set above them and dominating them), state property is the legal form of the labourers' social property; on the other hand, if . . . the state apparatus . . . is dominated by a body of officials and administrators . . . this body becomes the effective owner (in the sense of a relation of production) of the means of production. This body then forms a social class (a state bourgeoisie) on account of the relation existing between itself and the means of production on the one hand and the labourers on the other.
        During the transition to socialism, the dominance of socialist relations of production and the transformation thanks to this dominance of the relations of real appropriation (essentially those which are reproduced within economic units) depends on the intervention of the other (ideological and political) instances of the social formation in the economic instance.(17)

    The transition to socialism(18)

    demands a constant struggle against the tendency to the separation between functions of control, management and execution. This tendency is itself inscribed in the ideological relations which are reproduced by the (economic, ideological and even political) institutions inherited from societies dominated by non-labourers because these institutions are not and cannot

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    generally be immediately 'revolutionised' and managed by the workers.
        However, reproduction of the old bourgeois (social) relations (at the level of the enterprises) and of the different political and ideological apparatuses signifies that the agents of the reproduction of these relationships, which constitute bourgeois social forces, are still present under the dictatorship of the proletariat and in spite of the nationalisation of the means of production. It is this which makes the dictatorship of the proletariat necessary, for the class struggle goes on. One of the possible results of this struggle is the return to power, under forms which are not readily detectable, of bourgeois social forces. This happens when the representatives of these forces take over the leadership of the state and the ruling party; from that time, the class character of the state, of nationalised property, and of planning is no longer proletarian but bourgeois. In this situation, domination by the producers over their conditions of existence, which, at the moment of the proletariat's seizure of power is first assured by the state apparatus - pending being so in other forms which are not immediately realisable because they demand a profound transformation of the economic, political and ideological relations - ceases altogether and is replaced by that of an exploiting class. On the basis of the existing economic, political and ideological relations, this class can be nothing but a bourgeoisie. The latter appears as a state bourgeoisie.(19)


    In no. 45 of the 'Quatrieme Internationale', E. Mandel has tried to found the old Trotskyist theories about the nature of the Soviet state on new bases, so that they take into account the intervening changes in the USSR on the one hand and the analysis made by the Chinese and Charles Bettelheim on the other.
        According to Ernest Mandel, it is the orientation of investments which distinguishes nationalised property from private property.
        In the first case, they are decided at the national level; in the second, at the level of the firm. And he adds, 'everything else follows from this'. After establishing this difference, he submits that 'planning . . . is . . . an ensemble of human relations of production'. Is this a truism? No, for these are 'human' relations in order not to be 'class' relations. Everything else follows rather from this. Humanism is never innocent. Having grasped this link Mandel pulls the whole chain to him. He forges two new 'Marxist' (?) concepts with these 'human relations of production': (a) 'relations of planning'; (b) 'the socialist and planned mode of production'.
        Mandel also describes this mode of production invented 'ad hoc' as 'non-capitalist'. We know that for the 'newly independent countries' (in reality those dominated by imperialism and social-imperialism) the Soviet publicists advocate a 'non-capitalist road', the most developed examples of which are supposed to be Egypt and Burma since in them the state possesses most of the means of production.(20)

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        Like them, Mandel implies that this new 'mode of production' is the one which predominates in a 'society in transition from capitalism to socialism'. Vis-à-vis the USSR he talks about 'socialist planning' without explaining how this planning is socialist, and about 'collective ownership' while being careful not to specify that it is collective ownership of the state bourgeoisie.
        Mandel acknowledges, of course, that the 'bureaucracy' appropriates a part of the social surplus product but refuses to call this 'bourgeois exploitation'. Presumably if driven into a corner he would concede the existence of exploitation in the USSR and reject only the epithet 'bourgeois'.(21) In his article he invokes the (real) differences between the way in which, for example, the American economy and the Soviet economy function and develop. But he does not even try to demonstrate that, in order to determine the nature of the Soviet state, these differences are essential from a class point of view, a point of view which he renounces when he talks about the mode of production. It is not enough that the orientation of investments be decided at the level of the state; this orientation must also conform to the interests of the working class and the economic policy as a whole must conform to the immediate and long-term interests of the proletariat - this is 'putting politics in command'. Failing which, one cannot speak of the transition to socialism.
        Mandel's whole argument is based on the opposition between a supposedly planned mode of production and a supposedly commodity mode of production co-existing in the USSR. According to him, the struggle between the dynamic of one and the dynamic of the other will necessarily end either in the Trotskyist 'political revolution' or in a counter-revolution which will have to overcome 'the fierce resistance of the Soviet proletariat'. We thus find, hardly rejuvenated, the traditional Trotskyist theses which we have already criticised. Mandel's attempt to bring them up to date collapses in its turn once one refuses to accept the 'modes of production' which he has invented for the purpose. The introduction of a plan is not enough either to eliminate social classes or to found different class relations. But the relations of production are class relations.(22) This is enough to rule out talk of a planned mode of production.
        In his second letter to Sweezy, Bettelheim had already pointed out that 'bourgeois "plans" and "planning" are possible' and that

    the real contradiction (the contradiction which the expression 'plan/market contradiction' designates in the ideological modes the one whose existence it signals while masking it), is that of the domination or non-domination by the producers over the conditions and results of their activity.

    It follows that 'the fundamental question is not whether the "market" or the "plan" (therefore also the "state") dominates the economy but the nature of the class which holds power'. (23)
        Mandel thinks that he is posing a very awkward question by asking 'what changes in the relations of production or the mode of production manifest this restoration of capitalism, this counter-revolution (in the USSR)?' Bettelheim's analyses which we have just summarised suggest a perfectly clear answer. The nationalisation of the principal means of production by the proletariat in power is a

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    first step, necessary but by no means sufficient to install the socialist relations of production. The old relations of production therefore continue to reproduce themselves at the level of the enterprises as long as these are not revolutionised. The 'installation' having been realised at the level of the juridico-political superstructure, 'restoration' has been possible by the 'road' of a 'usurpation' of the political power conquered in 1917 by the vanguard of the proletariat.


    Legal exploitation and speculation

    For many years, speculation in the commercial domain has assumed vast proportions and this has sometimes been echoed in the Soviet press when there have been particularly scandalous cases which have aroused public indignation. The managers of the state enterprises often buy machines with their own money, make workers labour for them and sell the product for their own profit. They are individual capitalists in the classical sense of the term. 'Private' economy is also developing in the Russian countryside. In 1963, the family plots of the Kolkhozniks and Sovkhozniks of Kazakhstan produced 874,000 metric tons of potatoes while the 'public economy' of the kolkhozy and sovkhozy produced only 254,000 metric tons. The same year, the yield in vegetables from private plots was nearly three times as much as that from 'collective farms'. It is not surprising, therefore, if the peasants devote only 180 days per year to the collective land in the Ukraine and only 135 in Georgia in order to work the rest of the time on their individual allotments. (24) The Soviet press has revealed that hundreds of kolkhozniks devote themselves daily to trade on the free markets. Among them, certain speculators 'with long experience' are capable of clearing enormous profits. They rent whole trains to carry fruit, for example, from the Caucasus or Central Asia, to resell for their weight in gold in Moscow.
        The principal agents of the restoration of capitalism are not, however, the speculators, a marginal (and secondary) phenomenon in a country in which the means of production are mainly state-owned, but 'the collective owners of the state', the ensemble of those who have leading posts in the apparatus, the 'bureaucratic bourgeoisie',(25) the 'state bourgeoisie',(26) who profit from their power to enrich themselves at the workers' expense.(27)

    As was disclosed in the book entitled 'Lawful Remuneration on the Collective Farm' by Shabakov, among the 27 collective farms which had been investigated in Kazkhstan, chairmen of 11 collective farms drew wages 15, and even 19 times that of an ordinary member. In 1965, the chairman of the Baku Worker Collective Farm in the Azerbaijan Republic received an average monthly pay of 1,076 roubles; the chief accountant, 756 roubles. By contrast, an average farm member received less than 38 roubles . . . The leading staff and 'experts' of the state farms receive full pay no matter whether the crops are good or bad and their annual bonuses are as much as 5 or 6 times their monthly pay.

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        A leader at the Paris Commune Members' Collective Farm in the Ivanovo Region of the Russian SFSR embezzled at one time enough money to 'fully pay the monthly wages of all farm members'.(28)

    Economic reform

    Since 1962 the economists Lieberman and Trapeznikov have made recommendations for an economic reform conferring greater autonomy on the enterprises at the expense of planning, largely restoring the free functioning of the market, making profit the criterion of the success of the enterprise and lastly, involving management and staff. The reform was adopted in September 1965, put into effect from 1 January 1966 and became general during 1969.

    Here is what we read in 'L'Express' of 28 August 1967: The Soviet authorities have decided to arouse enthusiasm for economic reform the other week by authorising the publication of a book which praises 'American efficiency'. Such is its title. The author, Nicolas N. Smeliakov, an engineer and Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, lived in the USA as head of a permanent trade mission.

    It is easy to understand that Soviet citizens do not abound with enthusiasm for economic reform when one considers its consequences:
        - reform gives the managers of enterprises the right to alter wage scales, to fix the proportion of profits allotted to bonuses and the distribution of the latter, and therefore to favour some people - starting with themselves - at the expense of others;
        - in order to get the maximum profit, the managers of enterprises increase productivity, particularly by speed-up;
        - they gain the right to lay off workers from their factories, who thus become superfluous;
        - to palliate the resulting 'structural' unemployment, the state creates an employment agency called the 'Administrative Bureau for the Utilisation of Manpower'.
        For the labourers, the reform signifies misery and unemployment (or at the very least uncertain employment). Only a privileged minority will be made rich. In this way the income differential which was already excessively wide will grow even wider. Such, in fact, is the policy consciously pursued since 1964.(29) The Soviet leaders do not hide it and even go so far as to find 'theoretical justification' for their anti-working class policy. The Central Committee proclaimed in its Theses on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the October Revolution:

    Egalitarianism would cut the ground from under the relationship between the workers' material incentives and the product of their labour and would sap their urge for vocational and cultural improvement. The socialist system of society offers people moral and material incentives for increasing the productivity of labour and developing their capacities and endowments.(30)

    According to 'Izvestia' on 4 March 1966, wage differentiation alone guarantees increases in productivity and therefore becomes a fundamental element in the construction of communism'(31)
        In other words, the greater the inequalities and the more people act in terms of their individual interest, the closer we get to communism.

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    Finally, the reform will lead to rising prices and an increasing dependency on the capitalist world. Here is what one Western observer has said:(32)

    The price of the reform's success remains to be paid: the acceptance of a certain amount of inflation and a noticeable deterioration in the terms of trade with the outside world. Perhaps the Soviet leaders will judge that this price is not too high when it involves stabilising economic relations with the West in a period when the threat from the East is growing.

    It will be remembered that at the time when these lines were written, the correspondent of the Soviet Agency Novostni stated in 'Le Monde' that the USSR was defending Western civilisation on the Amur and the Ussuri.
        Today the restoration of capitalism in the USSR is visible to the naked eye. Even the ideologists of the bourgeoisie are aware of it in their own way and congratulate themselves on it.(

    The general orientation of the reforms, contain measures which go along with them and especially the climate in which they are carried out allow us to think that they constitute only a first step on the road to more profound changes . . . In the present stage of development of industrial societies, the system of a market and a plan constitutes the only formula in the East as well as in the West.

    We can trust the specialised dispensary of anti-communism which publishes 'Est-Ouest' to discern what is as good for the capitalist East as well as for the capitalist West.

    The repression of the people

    'Man is made in such a way that in general he does not permit himself to be exploited at will; this is why he must be coerced and oppressed.'(34)
        In order to maintain their power and supervision over the means of production, the new bourgeois exploiters led by the Brezhnev-Kosygin clique are forced to resort to repression whenever deception proves inadequate. That is why they set up a 'USSR Ministry of Public Order' in July 1966. In December of the same year, they adopted a 'resolution for the strengthening of labour discipline' which affirms the necessity for a full use of the 'administrative measures foreseen by the law' and extends the role 'of the Public Prosecutor and the Supreme Court of the USSR'. In other words, labourers who revolt against 'labour discipline' - that is, against the exploitation they suffer - are beaten down legally or even administratively.
        At the beginning of 1967 new amendments were added to Soviet laws which stipulated that 'anyone who infringes Soviet political and social order' and 'spreads anti-Soviet slanders' is liable to three years' imprisonment. In January 1967 a group of Soviet youth demonstrated against the introduction of these new clauses. Two of them were sentenced to three years' imprisonment on a charge of 'Violation of public order'.(35) It is well-known that those citizens who protested against the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 received heavy prison sentences.

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        Political opponents are usually imprisoned in labour camps with common rights but it is very common to intern them in mental hospitals, where they are forcibly administered stupefying drugs. Not to regard the Soviet system as the best possible is proof that one is not 'adjusted' and therefore not sane.

    Ideological degeneration

    The analysis of Soviet society contained in the notes sketched at the end of his life by the well-known economist Eugene Varga does not go beyond a surface description of phenomena and bring out their causes. In fact, his attempts at explanation based on the interruption of Russian capitalist development at its beginnings or the necessity for the USSR to set aside an enormous budget for defence do not seem convincing. Nevertheless, there are many observations in these notes which coincide with other accounts such as those which four Japanese students published in the Belgian Marxist-Leninist journal 'Clarté' (no. 110) and which confirm our own picture of revisionist degeneration. Here is what Varga writes:

    Moreover, material relations in Soviet society are often conducive to immoral survivals and actions. On the one hand, the lavish conditions enjoyed by the leading groups of the Party bureaucracy . . . lead to complacency and arrogance, often also to perversion. They are driven to seek even greater personal prosperity, appropriating and squandering the property of the state, to demoralisation and sometimes to outright crime.

    Varga deplores in 'the middle sections'(36)

    The absence of a truly democratic content and of the civic sense to which it should give rise. The lack of these makes the members of Soviet society concentrate on satisfying personal family matters and leading a petty bourgeois existence. Apart from matters connected with his employment, the ordinary Soviet citizen thinks mainly about acquiring personal property, a good flat, a dacha with a garden, a television set, clothes, etc; he saves up for this, boasts about it to his relations and neighbours . . . On the whole the citizens of the USSR have not had the slightest idea of what a true Soviet democracy would be like, or the social relations that would result from it . . . This society is . . . based on the cult of officialdom . . . Today, as before, the power of the state is concentrated in the hands of the top leaders of the party bureaucracy. Political conditions are still being concealed from the working people.

    We could multiply the examples showing that bourgeois common sense passes for good sense as such in the pro-Soviet bloc. The author once happened to argue with a young Hungarian architect working in France, where she stayed for two years. She was a party member and regarded herself as a faithful communist. Speaking of her experience of French building-sites, she said that she was shocked by the workers' unwillingness. To our suggestion that perhaps this was a form of resistance to capitalist exploitation and therefore laudable from a proletarian point of view, she replied that it was just laziness, the mother and father of all vices - no matter whether in France or in the socialist countries.

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        Those who have travelled in the USSR have been able to observe many things, all of which lead to the same conclusion: the dominant ideology there is that of the ruling class, the state bourgeoisie. K. S. Karol has summarised certain features of this ideology fairly well:(37)

    The values of the leading Soviet class are hardly distinguishable from those which predominate among the Western bourgeoisie. The power elite in the USSR believes firmly in the necessity for a social division of labour, in hierarchical methods in the economic and political sector and in all dogmas of 'promotion by merit'.

    Of course, the Soviet leaders make a great show of their supposedly intransigent fidelity to Marxism-Leninism, but it becomes more and more difficult for them to reconcile their real, deeply conservative practice and ideology with the exaltation of Lenin and the revolutionary origins of their state. They are shown up in a truly laughable way when they attribute to Lenin Otto Bauer's 'theory' of five 'social factors of force', described by Lenin as a petty-bourgeois degradation of Marxism. This 'mistake' made in point 14 of the 'Theses for the hundredth anniversary of the birth of V. I. Lenin', published on 23 December 1969 by the Central Committee of the CPSU, should rather be called 'an exceptionally candid disclosure'.
        The Austrian social democrat Otto Bauer published a pamphlet in 1920 in which he accused the 'tyrannical socialism' of the Bolsheviks of doing 'violence against the social factors of force'. Speaking of this absurd theory, Lenin declared before the Second Congress of the International:

    A German variety of philistinism is required, and you get the 'theory' that the 'social factors of force' are: number; the degree of organisation; the place held in the process of production and distribution; activity and education. If a rural agricultural labourer or an urban working man practises revolutionary violence against a landowner or a capitalist, that is no dictatorship of the proletariat . . . That is 'violence against the social factors of force'.

    A little earlier, Lenin had commented:(38)

    Bauer's book will be a useful if peculiar supplement to the textbooks on communism. Take any paragraph, any argument in Otto Bauer's book and indicate the Menshevism in it, where the roots lie of views that lead up to the actions of the traitors to socialism . . . this is a question that could be very usefully and successfully set in 'examinations' designed to test whether communism has been properly assimilated. If you cannot answer this question, you are not yet a communist, and should not join the Communist Party.

    Thus we see that the Soviet leaders' 'mistakes' cannot be put down to a gap in their learning. Lenin had already explained that it was a question of whether or not one is a communist. By confusing the elucubrations of an Otto Bauer with the thought of Lenin, they themselves have proved that they are incapable of distinguishing between the idea of a 'social traitor' and a Leninist idea. This is indicative of the limits of their duplicity. They have vainly endeavoured to camouflage their real ideology beneath the pomp of a

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    bookish Marxism-Leninism. Their ideology has played a mean trick on them which is more revealing than a Freudian slip and precisely in a text meant to present them as the worthy heirs of Lenin.
        The Bolshevik leader described the Social-Democratic Parties as bourgeois workers' parties - workers' through their recruitment and electoral influence, bourgeois through their leadership and policy. Mao Tse-tung is therefore directly in the line of Leninism when he says 'Revisionism in power is the bourgeoisie in power'.


    The revisionist degeneration which long ago affected the Soviet 'elites' in cultural and political areas came officially into the open after the 20th Congress (February 1956); first on the ideological front, with the abandonment of essential Marxist-Leninist principles (parliamentary and peaceful transition to socialism, condemnation of war in general, humanism above classes, the proclamation in 1961 of the Soviet state as no longer a dictatorship of the proletariat but as a 'state of the whole people', etc); then in the domain of international policy ('the Camp David spirit' in 1959, the withdrawal of Soviet experts from China in the summer of 1960, etc); lastly on the economic plane with the economic reform in 1965. In 1963, many years of effort exerted by the Soviet clique to convince the Americans that they were no longer a revolutionary power were finally crowned with success. By breaking with China they made the right pledge to win the confidence of their imperialist interlocutors, hence the Moscow Treaty.(39) These were the alarm signals which aroused the Chinese very early on. A dispute ensued which ended in the public split over differences in December 1962.(40) The class significance of the political turn taken by the USSR during this period was unmistakable, but it was more difficult to elucidate its causes and to grasp quickly all its political importance.
        However, as early as 1962, Chairman Mao had penetratingly characterised the fundamental problems of the transition to communism:

    Socialist society covers a considerably long historical period. In the historical period of socialism, there are still classes, class contradictions and class struggle, there is the struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road, and there is the danger of capitalist restoration.

    How can a catastrophe such as the one which has already occurred in the USSR be prevented? In his Report to the 9th Congress, Lin Piao quotes Mao's proposals in an interview in February 1967:(41)

    In the past we waged struggles in rural areas, in factories, in the cultural field, and we carried out the socialist education movement. But all this failed to solve the problem because we did not find a form, a method, to arouse the broad masses to expose our dark aspect openly, in an all-round way and from below.

    And Lin Piao adds, 'now we have found this form - it is the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution'.
        Mao defined the latter as necessary for 'consolidating the

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    dictatorship of the proletariat, preventing capitalist restoration and building socialism'.(42)
        The targets are 'those persons in authority who are taking the capitalist road' and also certain 'academic "authorities"' who propagate bourgeois ideology. (
        The methods are:
        - mobilisation of the masses, it being understood that 'the only method is for the masses to liberate themselves, and any method of doing things in their stead must not be used';(
        - criticism by argument, supported by facts, in conditions of 'broad democracy', thanks to the real possibility given to everyone to express themselves individually or collectively by posters, journals, pamphlets and verbally in meetings and debates.
        The struggle is mainly ideological. The masses participate in it by using the weapons of criticism and not the criticism of weapons. This is possible through the fact that the revolution unfolds under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
        Its immediate stakes are the institutions, organisms and different apparatuses usurped by leaders who have embarked on the capitalist road. It is a revolution in the superstructure, that is, its terrain is constituted by the legal-political instance and the instance of ideology. In fact, in order to carry through a lasting victory over bourgeois ideology, it is necessary to wrest the schools, the press and the other state ideological apparatuses (forms in which ideology is realised) from the domination of bourgeois intellectuals.(45)
        By transforming the superstructure, the cultural revolution puts it at the service of the construction of a socialist economic base. It creates the conditions for revolutionising enterprises. As a result, relations of production of a capitalist type give way to socialist relations of production. The productive forces proper to socialism, based on the initiative, creativity and ingenuity of the masses are liberated and set in motion. Such is the meaning of the slogan 'Grasp revolution, promote production'.
        The cultural revolution effects a profound upheaval of the social totality in all its determinations, levels and instances. In particular, it demolishes the mechanisms which reproduce the old social relations at the level of the ideological state apparatuses - educational, familial, cultural and informational - replacing them by other mechanisms reproducing socialist relations. It thus transforms the moral physiognomy of the country and, finally, thanks to the reciprocal action of the superstructure, it transforms the modes of production itself which does not become socialist by nationalisation alone, for 'capitalist relations of production continue to reproduce themselves in the enterprises' (Bettelheim).
        The most prominent leaders taking the capitalist road, like Liu Shao-chi, relied on the agents of the reproduction of bourgeois social relations at the level of the enterprises and the political and ideological apparatuses. Seizing on a favourable conjuncture, they would have taken hold of central power, and this would have amounted to the restoration of capitalism in a new form. To guard against this danger, to sweep aside the obstacles which these bourgeois elements placed on the socialist road, it was necessary for the masses to revolt against them, to tear from them the power

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    which they had usurped, to criticise them and to destroy their prestige and moral authority.
        In the course of this struggle, the masses have educated themselves, they have raised the level of their political consciousness, and learned to outmanoeuvre the enemies concealed amongst them. In doing so, they have assimilated the thought of Mao Tse-tung and mastered its living application. Thus the conditions have been created for translating into reality Mao's slogan 'The working class must exercise its leadership in everything'.
        Three stages can be distinguished in the cultural revolution, so long as they are not seen as strictly chronologically separate and the more or less contingent vicissitudes of its real historical development are ignored:

        - the mobilisation and revolt of the masses;
        - seizure of power, the 'Great Alliance', the 'Triple Combination';
        - 'struggle-criticism-transformation' during which take place the transformation of the system of management of the enterprises, the entry of the working class into the apparatuses and institutions of the superstructure, and the consolidation-construction of the party by the expulsion of what has been corrupted and an influx of new blood carried out 'in the open': under the supervision of the masses.

        In fact Mao unleashed the cultural revolution because he had realised that the contradiction between the proletarian line and the bourgeois line could not and should not be resolved in the confines of the party and by struggles in the apparatus but only by encouraging the intervention of the broad masses.
        Thus the latter were called on to settle a political debate inside the party; this was contrary to tradition and clashed with the habits of thought of cadres bogged down in these traditions. The masses could only liberate themselves if it was clear that the organisms of the party and their hierarchy were not untouchable. This is why the 'Decision in 16 Points' proclaims:(46)

    In certain schools, units and work teams of the Cultural Revolution, some of the persons in charge have organised counter- attacks against the masses who put up big-character posters criticising them. These people have even advanced such slogans as: Opposition to the leaders of a unit or work team means opposition to the Central Committee of the party, means opposition to the Party and socialism, means counter-revolution . . . This is an error in matters of orientation, an error of line, and is absolutely impermissible.

    The 'Decision in 16 Points' clearly implies that the leaders of the party and state organisations draw their authority solely from their link with the masses, a link which in this case shows itself by the fact that they 'stand in the van of movement and dare arouse the masses boldly', and encourage them 'to expose every kind of ghost and monster and also to criticise the shortcomings and errors in the work of the persons in charge'.(47) Like a marvellous litmus paper, the mass movement has revealed the true class position of cadres by forcing them to take sides.
        At the level of the economic base, the cultural revolution has allowed the real and concrete application of Mao's ideas, which Liu

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    Shao-chi and Po Yi-po, the director of the economy, had suppressed in the preceding period. These ideas were already clearly inscribed in the famous Constitution of the Anshan Iron and Steel Company drawn up by Mao in 1960:(48)

        1. Keep politics firmly in command.
        2. Strengthen Party leadership.
        3. Launch vigorous mass movements.
        4. Institute the system of cadre participation in productive labour and worker participation in management, of reform of irrational and outdated rules and regulations, and of close co-operation among workers, cadres and technicians.
        5. Go full steam ahead with the technical innovations and technical revolution.

    Po Yi-po opposed this programme point by point. Not putting proletarian politics in command, he inevitably allowed bourgeois politics to prevail in the end. For him, profit had to be the criterion of success and workers' effort had to be governed by material incentives. He declared that power of decision reverted to one leader (to the manager) and advocated the management of enterprises by experts. The latter often used their 'knowledge' to impose on the workers and did not liberate the latter's initiative by appealing to their practical experience and ingenuity to promote the technical revolution. They themselves tended to copy foreign methods. The supporters of this policy justified it by invoking the imperatives of 'production before everything'. The Shanghai tool-machine factory provides an example of revolutionarisation in conformity with the principles stated by Chairman Mao.

    With the cultural revolution the proletarian revolutionaries have truly taken into their hands the leadership in the factory, including power over technical matters. The bourgeois technical 'authorities' . . . have been overthrown'. They have broken 'with the model of individual advancement (to rise in the hierarchy, to join the body of 'experts', to struggle to become an engineer) to the profit of collective research and advancement.

    The relations between workers and technicians have been transformed. They used to be based on the model of the division of labour between conception and performance. This meant that

    'the engineer gives the word and the worker does the job' or 'the engineer has the idea and the worker carries it out'. This was still the old nonsense of 'those who do mental work rule, while those who work with their hands are ruled' . . . The rank and file workers now take part in designing and the technicians go to operate machines in the first line of production.

    Among the young technicians, 350 were college graduates and around 250 were promoted from among the workers:(49)

    The facts show that the latter are better than the former . . . The chief designers of six of the ten new precision grinding machines successfully trial-produced in the first half of this year are technical personnel of worker origin . . . Many technicians of worker origin, free from the spiritual fetters of working for personal fame or gain and rich in practical experience, dare to do away with fetishes and superstitions and break through all unnecessary restrictions and are the least conservative in their thinking.

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    Journalists and other Western Sinologists feel obliged to choose between two interpretations of the cultural revolution: it is either supposed to be quite spontaneous or else completely manipulated. Mao Tse-tung is either a 'sorcerer's apprentice' or else the Machiavellian 'secret conductor of the orchestra'. The two terms of the alternative are false. The cultural revolution was unleashed and led by Mao in accordance with his 'Great Strategic Plan'. At the same time, it was a movement from the base responding to the profound aspirations of the masses and obeying a dynamic of its own. Mao Tse-tung made it possible:
        - by guaranteeing his control of the army from 1960 by revolutionising it, the pillar of the dictatorship of the proletariat and by purging it of doubtful elements such as Lo Jui-ching (at the beginning of 1966);
        - by encouraging Yao Wen-yuan to criticise Wu Han's 'historical play', in other words to attack the 'black gang' which controlled the municipality and press of Peking (10 November 1965); - by publishing the circular of 16 May 1966 which, through Peng Chen, the Mayor of Peking, was aimed at all the 'other individuals of the Khrushchev type'.
        As a result, the masses were the driving force of the movement and the role of the 'proletarian headquarters' was:

        1. to give the greatest publicity to the exemplary initiatives of the base, such as the 'first national Marxist-Leninist big character poster' displayed on 25 May 1966 criticising the Vice-Chancellor of Peking University;
        2. to systematise the lessons of the experience of the mass movement in the form of general political directives.

    Most often the central authorities refrained from intervening in the local conflicts which had to be settled by the masses (except in specific cases like that of Wuhan). This was the reason why nearly three years were necessary for revolutionary committees to take power in all provinces, with all that this implied in the way of troubles and disorders. Nevertheless, throughout the cultural revolution and its preliminary stages, Mao Tse-tung knew how to manoeuvre with the ability and consumate clearsightedness of the great strategist and great tactician which he has always been.
        In short, the cultural revolution was a directed movement but directed in accordance with the principles of the 'mass line'.
        The 'broad democracy' which characterised it was real, and such as no people in the world has ever known. The organisations and groups of Red guards and revolutionary rebels who proliferated from the start had the free use of premises and the necessary equipment for the diffusion of their ideas: paper, ink, photo-copying machines, loud-hailers and even walkie-talkies, useful for co-ordinating the development of demonstrations.
        In the first stage of the revolution, the groups even abused their freedom since they did not always respect the order to abstain from any resort to violence. The police refrained from intervening even when certain leading organs called for their help.
        All the leaders were criticised: not only Liu Shao-chi, the President of the Republic, Teng Hsiao-p'ing, the General Secretary of the Central Committee, and Tao Chu, the head of propaganda, but also the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ch'en Yi, Mao's wife, Kiang

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    Sing, Chou En-lai, the Prime Minister, and even Lin Piao and Mao Tse-tung himself.
        The Trotskyists have claimed that the 9th Congress was prefabricated. How then explain that the discussion on the choice of candidates to the Central Committee alone took all of nine days if Mao was able to dictate to the delegates the list which suited him?
        The Chinese Communist Party has never been monolithic. A party without contradictions is a dead party.
        The broad democracy we have discussed was based on a set of political principles formulated long ago by Mao Tse-tung and still valid. They have been explicitly incorporated into the new statutes of the party.
        The 'Decision in 16 Points' states:

    It is normal for the masses to hold different views. Contention between different views is unavoidable, necessary and beneficial . . . Any method of forcing a minority holding different views to submit is impermissible. The minority should be protected, because sometimes the truth is with the minority. Even if the minority is wrong, they should still be allowed to argue their case and reserve their views.

    With regard to the resolution of contradictions among the people, Lin Piao recalled in his report what 'Chairman Mao has taught us many times': 'Help more people by educating them and narrow the target of the attack', and 'Carry out Marx's teaching that only by emancipating all mankind can the proletariat achieve its own final emancipation'. In the struggle against the enemy, said Lin Piao, quoting Mao, 'Stress should be laid on the weight of evidence and on investigation and study, and it is strictly forbidden to obtain confessions by compulsion and to give them credence.' And Lin Piao added, 'To handle this part of the contradictions between ourselves and the enemy in the manner of handling contradictions among the people is beneficial to the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and to the disintegration of the enemy ranks'.(50)
        According to the Trotskyists, 'the Liu grouping took control of the party apparatus and pushed Mao
    to one side'.(51) The latter had mobilised the students 'as the instrument to re-establish his control over the country'.(52) This interpretation, borrowed from the bourgeois press, has been refuted by Jean Daubier who, among other things, asks: how, deprived of power, was Mao able to have Liu Shao-chi's line condemned as a right deviation in September 1962, and again in 1964 the one which he had applied 'to Tao Yuan, and to publish the twenty-three articles which concretised this condemnation'?(53) It is only true that Mao, with a small majority on the Central Committee, saw the application of his policy thwarted by the representatives of the reactionary line and the conservative elements.

    The Trotskyists have not gone as far as the revisionists in the deceitful exploitation of the army's intervention in the cultural revolution. Livio Maitan's report, which we have already quoted, only notes with regard to the role played by the military in the 'revolutionary committees' that 'the structure of any army - even

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    the most democratic', cannot 'be considered a model of proletarian democracy for society as a whole'.(54) This gibberish does not mean anything:

        1. The Chinese have never said that the structure of their army was a model of democracy for society as a whole.
        2. Democracy is not a matter of 'structure' but of function. It concerns the way in which the decisions are taken and relations between the leaders and the masses. Democracy exists when the leaders consult and listen to the masses and when their decisions correspond to the needs and wishes of the masses.
        3. It is meaningless to talk of 'any army - even the most democratic'. The difference between the People's Liberation Army and the bourgeois armies is one not of degree but of kind. The People's Liberation Army is not an army in the usual sense of the word precisely because it is a people's army. The word 'army' must be understood in a figurative sense. It is a metaphor.

    An army 'stricto sensu' is an instrument which guarantees the subjection of the vast majority to a small minority. It is a parasitic organisation apart from the people in which a blind and as it were mechanical discipline prevails. Drill is the extreme form of the methods by which recruits are transformed into robots. Although adults, the soldiers, and even the pupils of certain training schools dependent on the War Ministry do not have the same political rights as other citizens.
        Such is the case because if need be it must be possible for such an army to be used to massacre the people (cf. the Paris Commune, the 1927 massacres in China, those in 1965 in Indonesia).
        The Chinese Army is quite different. It is closely bound to the people. Far from being parasitic, it produces everything which it needs, sets up pilot farms and leads vanguard industrial enterprises. It is an elite body not only on the military, but also on the political level. To be accepted in it is an honour sought by everyone and granted to the best. Discipline is all the stronger in this army, for it is based on the 'three democracies', namely:(55)

        1.  Political democracy: the right and the duty of the soldiers to criticise the officers, for political discussion, criticism and self-criticism must unfold without regard for hierarchy.
        2.  Economic democracy; in which 'the representatives elected by the soldiers must be ensured the right to assist (but not to bypass) the company leadership in managing the company's supplies and mess' and in which the officers share the same living conditions as the soldiers.
        3.  Military democracy: in which 'in periods of training there must be mutual instruction as between officers and soldiers . . . and in periods of fighting' there should be discussions by the soldiers in big and small meetings on 'how to attack and capture enemy positions'.

    The officers share the life of the soldiers and do not benefit from any privilege. Since 1964 when visible signs of rank were suppressed, it can and does frequently happen that senior officers are taken for private soldiers. They are not supposed to enlighten 'the culprit' under any circumstances unless this is necessary for performing duties.
        In January 1967 Mao issued a call for the army to support the

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    left. This is what it did at Harbin, especially at the time of the seizure of power by the proletarian revolutionaries. But its intervention in the cultural revolution consisted primarily of sending small groups of unarmed soldiers to places where revolutionary rebels were divided into rival organisations in order to help the militants to study the thought of Mao Tse-tung while keeping in mind the problems to be resolved. In spite of their political prestige the soldiers did not play much of an arbitrating role. They contributed above all to a raising of consciousness by organising discussion and study on a principled basis so as to overcome the closed-circle mentality. The end thus aimed at was to effect the 'Great Alliance' between all the revolutionary organisations, the indispensable condition for working out a 'revolutionary committee' based on the 'Triple Combination', that is, bringing together authorities springing from: (a) rebel organisations; (b) revolutionary cadres; and (c) the army (or people's militia). The first two categories of authorities as well as the militia men were elected in secret ballots by the masses and were subject to recall at any time.
        The Trotskyists - too - try to exorcise Maoism by representing it as an avatar of Stalinism. This is not easy; thus, they have to concede that 'those who view Mao's present position as nothing but a replica of Stalin's tyrannical personal dictatorship . . . (are) in error'. Having thus proved their 'objectivity', they feel all the happier to denounce 'the outrageous cult of Mao' by playing, just like the revisionists, on the equivocation: cult of personality = Stalinism.(56)
        Yet they themselves are far from underestimating the role of leaders in history, as is attested in the texts of Trotsky's in which he demonstrates that without Lenin there would have been no 1917 revolution. The Chinese people who know the history of their revolution, know that Mao has led them from victory to victory for fifty years. It is natural that they should feel a deep affection and veneration for him. Indeed, the expressions of these sentiments sometimes assumes forms which are a little excessive and folkloric, but this is characteristic of popular infatuations. Moreover, China has behind it several thousand years of the cult of the 'Son of Heaven'. Traces of it remain. Mao complained about this to Edgar Snow in December 1970. During the cultural revolution he had intervened several times to proscribe excessive or incorrect formulae on the theoretical level. He is no longer described as 'the great leader, great commander, great educator and great helmsman'. His thought is no longer hailed as 'the summit of Marxism-Leninism', an image possibly implying the idea of a future decline. Lastly, people are no longer urged to place themselves 'under the absolute authority' of his thought, for as Mao had observed, 'there is no absolute authority but only relative authorities'.
        These excesses were generally the ultra-left's doing. The attacks on this current in 1971 were followed by a reduction in the number of portraits of Mao in Chinese towns.
        It is interesting to find in the article in which Edgar Snow relates his conversation with Mao in 1965, alongside Mao's critical remarks on the 'cult of personality', the sort of statement on which

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    this cult thrived. Edgar Snow told his host that he was the greatest Chinese statesman and in addition, a great strategist, poet and philosopher. Mao's reply is characteristic of the man. He did not stoop to the false modesty of rejecting his interviewer's flattering formulae. He explained to him only that he would no doubt have become a simple schoolmaster had it not been for the exploitation and oppression of the Chinese people, in the face of which he was unable to remain passive. In other words, the revolution made Mao as much as Mao made the revolution.


    Throughout this book we have used the term 'Maoism' as a synonym for 'the thought of Mao Tse-tung', an expression only naturalised in China. Why is this and what are our reasons for considering the first term just as correct?
        We base our view on the fact that the relation between the thought of Mao Tse-tung and Marxism-Leninism is exactly the same in nature as that between the thought of Lenin and that of Marx. By summing up the revolutionary practice of his age, an age in which he was one of the principal actors, Lenin developed Marxism while remaining faithful to its universal truth. Mao has done the same in our era. Like all sciences, Marxism progresses and enriches itself without the new knowledges destroying what has been acquired in the preceding period which they integrate into a wider synthesis.(57) This history is at one and the same time continuous and discontinuous.
        In a series of articles celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the Paris Commune in 1961, the Chinese communists put forward a thesis which they support more than ever today: that of the three stages of Marxism. The first, placed under the sign of Marx and Engels, had been marked by the Commune; the second, that of Leninism, had culminated in the October revolution; the third was that of the thought of Mao Tse-tung and of the Chinese revolution.
        Just as Leninism is the Marxism of the epoch of wars and revolutions which opened in 1914, the thought of Mao Tse-tung is the Marxism-Leninism of our era, in which imperialism will meet its final end and in which socialism marches towards victory throughout the world. Mao Tse-tung has led the Chinese revolution; he has summed up the international revolutionary experience for half a century; he has drawn the lessons from revisionist degeneration, particularly in the USSR; he has unleashed and led the cultural revolution so that China would avoid a similar fate. In doing so, he has solved a whole series of problems, concerning particularly the theory of (dialectical) contradiction, the theory of the united front, that of the people's war, that of class struggle in the transition to socialism and of contradictions among the people. Mao has thus carried Marxism to a higher level.
        If the Chinese do not use the term Maoism, in our opinion it is for three reasons: (a) out of a concern not to emphasise the novelty of the thought of Mao Tse-tung in relation to Marxism-Leninism so as not to provide ammunition for revisionist propaganda; (b) because Mao is alive and modesty forbids him to talk of Maoism himself and

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    because he and his comrades prefer to leave the adoption of the term to posterity; (c) because certain allies in the international communist movement who are disposed to respect the thought of Mao Tse-tung and occasionally make it their inspiration may be reluctant for the moment to proclaim their adherence to Maoism; that is, to recognise it as the Marxism-Leninism of our era. General reference to Marxism-Leninism without further detail provides a wider common ground and makes it easier to isolate the revisionists on a world scale and within each Communist Party.
        The latter are purely tactical reasons. In no respect do they invalidate the theoretical arguments which we have just presented. It so happens that not only do we not have the same tactical motives for adopting the Chinese usage but, on the contrary, the conjuncture of the struggle between the two roads among the movements which lay claim to the thought of Mao Tse-tung requires that one should differentiate oneself from the ossified Marxist-Leninists who have understood nothing of Mao Tse-tung's original contribution and who only verbally recognise its universal validity, and hence its applicability in Europe, and who reject the term Maoism because of this. This is why in France the latter was adopted by the 'Gauche prolétarienne' at its birth.(58)
        We do not claim by any means that there are ready-made recipes for revolution in any country whatever in the works of Mao. Maoism should be regarded in exactly the same way as Mao regarded Marxism-Leninism, as a foreign doctrine which he was able to acclimatise to China. One must 'assimilate it and know how to apply it and assimilate it with the single aim of applying it'. This is impossible if one is content to repeat stereotyped formulae instead of using one's brains. Like all sciences, the thought of Mao is the systematisation of acquired knowledge (in this case that of the revolutionary experience of the peoples). The assimilation of this acquisition and its living applications are the precondition for a correct solution to the new problems posed and hence the pre-condition for a further development of the theory.
        How can one define the unity of the organic development and the invariance of Marxism? Marxist theory aims to know the world in order to transform it; it succeeds in knowing it through and by means of its transformation. By penetrating the masses, by becoming a material force, it transforms the world and transforms itself in the process. Theory can only be assimilated by putting it into practice. That is why the Marxologists understand nothing about Marxism. Like the party, theory is only a means to free the people. To make it an end in itself is to harden it into a dogma, into scholastic speculation. Theory can only be developed by really applying it, i.e., successfully applying it. It is true, of course, that we can learn many lessons from the analysis of a defeat; communists constantly sum up their experience including their defeats - but only victorious exemplary applications permit the verification of the validity of a theoretical innovation, that is, a new solution to the ever-new problems raised by practice. To go beyond the Marxism of a certain stage, to make it progress, it must have previously been assimilated through its application in the revolution. This is what Lenin and Mao did. On the contrary, Bernstein, Kautsky, Khrushchev, Togliatti and other Dubceks revise

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    the acquisitions of the theory as a result of their refusal to apply it to make the revolution. Their policy is the effect of the pressure of bourgeois ideology which exists deep down in every one of us. For the Trotskyists, dogmatism - the tendency to deduce from a few general truths the response to all problems - happily co-exists with the crudest empiricism and a straight-forward surrender to all the fetishes of bourgeois ideology: individualism, liberalism, the cult of knowledge and technique, etc.
        Every chapter of this book contains elements of a reply to the question - What is Maoism? In what follows we shall emphasise only its democratic, undogmatic and non-repressive character.
        The thought of Mao Tse-tung brings to the masses the conceptual instruments which enable them to intervene actively in politics and to take their destiny into their own hands. The very vigorous ideological struggles between different currents and organisations during the cultural revolution in China and the fact that the 9th Congress required all of three weeks of discussions, show that a general reference to Mao's thought by no means signifies some kind of standardisation of the Chinese, who are sometimes presented by the Pekinologists as a society of ants and not of human 'subjects'.(59) If one is to believe them, only one man has the right 'to think' in China. As if Mao were not the theoretician of the contradictions among the people, that is, of the legitimacy of differences of opinion among men pursuing the same ultimate ends. In fact, far from exempting its adherents from having to think for themselves, Maoism, on the contrary, enables them to do it in a rigorous way. It does not provide them with a set of recipes valid for all situations but demands of them that they 'set the machine (the brain) to work', that they 'dissect one of several sparrows' (that they analyse problems concretely after investigation); in short, that they dare to think, to talk, to act. Mao says: (60)

    Communists must always go into the whys and wherefores of anything, use their own heads and carefully think over whether or not (what they are told) corresponds to reality and is really well founded; on no account should they follow blindly and encourage slavishness.

    In contrast, in the capitalist countries civil responsibility is synonymous with passivity and slavishness. Governments appeal to 'the silent majority' and . . . speak for it. They do all that they can so that it will remain silent through a sense of impotence and resignation. They use police terror when necessary to prevent it from having its say and occupying the forestage of history. Just think, that would be the revolution! Before inventing participation, De Gaulle compared the head of state to the captain of a ship. The citizens were the passengers, expected to stay in their cabins, the understanding being that they had nothing to say on the subject of running the ship. Even in daily life, the ordinary man has to obey his superiors, officials, police, everyone who is invested with any authority whatsoever, without dispute, without 'going into the whys and wherefores of anything'. A recurrent phrase in popular speech is 'Don't even try to understand'.
        Well, Mao invites the people not only to search for understanding but also to reject what is unreasonable. 'It is right to rebel' he

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    has proclaimed, and this holds true not only for the capitalist countries, but also for China, whose leaders or cadres may degenerate and cease to serve the people. For the latter, to seize Marxist-Leninist science (the thought of Mao Tse-tung) is to reject all other authority, to win the right to criticise all authority from a proletarian viewpoint, to master politics, the conduct of the class struggle, the laws of uninterrupted revolution. It is to make history consciously instead of submitting to it. It thus appears that far from being 'repressive' as certain distressed spirits among 'anti-authoritarian' intellectuals claim, the thought of Mao Tse-tung is, in fact, liberating by the same right as all forms of rationality.

    Undoubtedly it is permissible to deny the scientific status of Marxism in general as well as Maoism in particular. In this case refutations are necessary on a theoretical and practical level. Lenin refuted Menshevism in a series of writings. Furthermore, like Socrates who demonstrated movement by walking, Lenin demonstrated the legitimacy of socialist revolution in Russia by making it.
        Raymond Aron asserts that 'the theory according to which social contradictions by themselves lead to a classless society and a mathematical or physical proposition have nothing in common'.(
    61) He takes good care not to explain that for a Marxist the concept of 'social contradictions' refers to social reality in its totality, whose motor force they are. Once this is known it becomes clear that if social contradictions do lead to a classless society they must lead there 'by themselves', unless we admit to the intervention of a God. Left in ignorance of this explanation the reader is led by this procedure, as infallible as it is surreptitious, to believe that, according to Marxists, the revolution will be made all by itself and that society will go over to communism without our having any hand in it. How could Marxism claim to be scientific if it were a fatalism and therefore the most elementary of superstitions?
        While suggesting this conclusion with his usual dexterity, Aron avoids compromising himself by making it explicit; he is content to state that 'a mathematical or physical proposition' has 'nothing in common' with a Marxist proposition, that Marxism 'does not represent a science in the sense of a natural science such as mathematics or physics'. Maybe yes, maybe no. What are we to understand by 'in common', 'in the sense of'? What Aron is putting forward is obvious (with the obviousness of a truism) or false, according to whether the formulations are taken 'sensu stricto' or 'lato'. Thanks to this semantic fog he can pass off as self-evident an assertion which is at the very least questionable.
        All the sciences differ among themselves by their object, their concepts and their methods, but they all possess certain common features. We shall enumerate those which historical materialism shares with the other sciences:

        (a)  It states in a rigorous way an ensemble of general truths (laws).
        (b)  The known facts do not contradict these laws.
        (c)  The latter make it possible to explain the facts by their causes.

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        (d)  They make it possible to work out predictions and therefore to put hypotheses about new facts to the test of practice.

    It follows from the last characteristic that politics (the conduct of the class struggle, history in the present) is a true experimental science.
        In the domain of the natural sciences all men are interested in knowing the objective truth whatever their class membership. This is not true in the case of the 'social sciences'. Here the same consensus cannot be attained because interests are opposed. In order to survive, the bourgeoisie has to achieve a real 'repression' of the truths which condemn it. It cannot admit, for example, that its reign is not eternal, that the bosses need the workers but the workers do not need the bosses. As for the proletariat, it has no particular interests to defend. In liberating itself it liberates the whole of humanity. In this sense it is the 'universal class'. Only intellectuals who side with the proletariat could discover the universal laws of historical development which reveal to the proletariat the way to its victory. In short, the working class and the revolutionary intellectuals who have joined its fight have an interest in knowing and publishing the truth while the bourgeoisie have an interest in masking it by masking it from themselves.
        Two points in conclusion.
        As in the other sciences, the assimilation of the acquisitions of historical materialism is necessary in order to go further, but does not carry a guarantee of success. The truth is always concrete.
        On the other hand, the failure of a political line does not bring into question the validity of historical materialism, but only that line. It is still necessary to analyse, setting out from the lessons of this failure, in what respects the line was wrong, for certain setbacks are inevitable by virtue of the balance of forces.



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    Chapter 6




    In using two examples, China and Greece, to criticise the Trotskyist version of history, we have no intention of justifying Stalin's international policy. Stalin made many mistakes, some of them serious, on this level. But in their political vehemence the Trotskyists go further. Their argument proceeds from postulates (presented as conclusions) which constitute a total falsification of history and which, furthermore, are anti-Marxist from the point of view of method. Put briefly, these are:

        (a)  All the Communist Parties in the world were manipulated by Stalin as mere puppets, deprived of any will of their own.
        (b)  Stalin deliberately and systematically imposed on them a line which led to their defeat and even to their destruction. He was the 'organiser of defeats'.
        (c)  Stalin acted in this way to safeguard the existence of the USSR and because the interests of the Soviet bureaucracy were the only ones that mattered to him.

    This last explanation is really absurd. The security of the USSR was best guaranteed by the strengthening of the revolutionary movements undermining the imperialist rear. It is hard to see how a victory of the revolution in China, Germany, Spain or Greece could have endangered the USSR. In Stalin's time the USSR inspired fear and hatred in reactionaries precisely because they had good reason to see it as the Red base of the world revolution. At present this is no longer the case and the anti-communists who used to write on the walls 'Send the commies to Moscow' today write 'Send the commies to Mao'. The mythical, secret puppet-master has changed his lair.
        As for the first two points, they are needed to lay the blame for all the defeats on to Stalin, but the Trotskyists have never provided the least proof of this. Moreover, research which is in any way serious reveals a multitude of facts that invalidate the Trotskyist theses. For example, how can Stalin be held responsible for the mistakes made by the CCP in the period 1928-35 when we know:

        1. that an exchange of messages between the Kiangsi bases and Moscow required six to eight months;
        2. that, whenever he had knowledge of them, Stalin upheld the

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    positions of Mao Tse-tung and not those of the CCP leadership which he is supposed to have put in the saddle.
        3. that the latter carried out the Comintern's instructions only when it suited it to do so.

    We have anticipated a little to show that our aim is to recall the little-known or misunderstood facts which will help us to arrive at a more accurate and nuanced idea of history than the one provided by writings oriented by a pre-occupation with anti-Stalinist polemic.
        It is only after sweeping away the hotch-potch accumulated by forty years of falsification that one can begin to tackle the really interesting questions such as the historically real content of the concept of Stalinism; the contribution of the International, based in Moscow, to the education and ideological unification of the international communist movement; the historical roots of the opportunist degeneration of this movement, etc.
        In his book 'Fascisme et dictature', Poulantzas argues that the relation between the Comintern policy and the USSR was channelled
    through a line characterised by 'economism, the absence of a mass line and the abandonment of proletarian internationalism'.(1) He specifies, moreover, that the last trait 'appears principally . . . in the theses and concrete policy regarding "the national question" and "the colonial question"'.(2)
        Let us note in passing that it is precisely the Chinese, Yugoslavian, Albanian and Vietnamese Communist Parties concerned by these theses and this policy which seem to have been the least troubled by them since they were victorious. We shall see in what follows that an investigation of the relations between the Comintern and the Chinese Communist Party by no means corroborates Poulantzas's thesis. Of course it may be presumed, for example, that the line of unprincipled unity in the anti-Japanese front favoured by Wang Ming had been encouraged by Stalin; there is also the fact that the Moscow press condemned Chiang Kai-shek's arrest in Siam as a Japanese-inspired plot;(3) but all this is not enough to lead one to deduce an 'abandonment of proletarian internationalism'. It is not what the Chinese think, and they are in a better position than anyone to know. We still do not have means to determine the periodisation of the class struggle in the USSR on the basis of its internal factors, but we do know its effects at the level of its international policy. It emerges from this that 'the process of the reconstitution of the Soviet bourgeoisie' already in action in Stalin's time could only end in the usurpation of state power after his death.
        The chapter which follows has extremely restricted aims. It should not be looked to for a systematic study of the history of the Chinese Communist Party at the time of the First and Second Revolutionary Civil Wars. By taking the example of the defeats suffered by the Chinese revolution from 1927 to 1935, we propose to establish the following points:

        1. that Trotsky's positions on China were wrong;
        2. that the Trotskyists falsify the history of this period in the framework of their propaganda with a view to canonising Trotsky and presenting Stalin as the source of all the evils which have befallen the communist movement;
        3. that, independently of the specific cases of falsification which

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    we shall demonstrate with supporting documents, their interpretation of history proceeds from the fundamental theoretical mistakes which were brought to light in the preceding chapters.


    On 1 July 1926 the Northern Expedition was launched. The Canton armies advanced rapidly, taking Changsha on 12 July, completing the conquest of the triple city of Wuhan on 7 October and seizing Nanchang on 8 November.
        The victorious advance of the Nationalist armies was made easier by the revolutionary agitation organised by the communists in the enemy's rear. Everywhere the peasant leagues and unions arose and seized power. In Hunan alone, where Mao Tse-tung was active, the peasant leagues had 1 million members in November 1926, 2 million in January 1927, and 5 million in April of that year.(4)
        The victory of the revolution in the Yangtze Valley led to clashes with the imperialists. On 7 September, British gunboats bombarded the unarmed population of Wansien and their troops fired on demonstrators in Hankow. As a result of these incidents the workers in Hankow occupied the British concession (January 1927). American and British warships bombarded Nanking on 24 March, some foreigners having been killed when the town was seized.
        Shanghai was liberated at this time (23 March) following a workers' rising led by the communists, notably Chou En-lai.
        On 10 March, Chiang Kai-shek had made a speech violently attacking the Kuomintang Government that had been set up at Wuhan and containing veiled threats against the communists. Wuhan replied by withdrawing from Chiang nearly all his special powers. The communists received a seat in the Presidium of the Political Council and two Ministries.
        Terrified by the setting up of a municipality dominated by the representatives of the toiling masses and depending on the support of 2,700 armed workers, the bankers and compradors of Shanghai called Chiang Kai-shek to their assistance. The latter needed money: they handed over 45 million yuan. With the agreement of the authorities of the French and Anglo-American concessions 5,000 rifles and trucks were supplied to the members of the green and red gangs who, moreover, were authorised to traverse the concessions to massacre the workers and revolutionary intellectuals. Chiang's troops organised similar massacres in Canton and Nanking (12 April).(5)
        The Wuhan government immediately dismissed Chiang Kai-shek from all his posts and expelled him from the Kuomintang (17 April). But on the following day he set up his own government at Nanking.
        On 17 May, General Hsia Tiu-yin rebelled against the Wuhan government and declared himself for that of Nanking. He tried to seize Wuhan and was defeated by the mobilisation of the people in the capital of Hupeh and by the arrival of the troops of the pro-communist General Yeh-T'ing. On 21 May, a general of the Wuhan Government launched a bloody repression of communists and militant workers and peasants in Changsha. Later, arrests and massacres of

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    the communists were multiplied in the regions controlled by Wuhan. The final break between the 'left' Kuomintang and the communists occurred on 16 July. Borodin left on 27 July and the hunted communists went underground.(6)
        At Nanchang on 1 August, there was a rising of the left Kuomintang garrison, commanded by communists (Chu Teh, Ho Lung, Yeh T'ing). These troops (30,000 men) headed south but were dispersed following heavy fighting in the Swatow region (27-30 September). Only a few thousand soldiers under Chu Teh escaped. In April 1928, they joined the forces which Mao Tse-tung had led into the Ching Kang mountains after the defeat of the Autumn Harvest Movement.(7)
        Other risings led to the creation of more or less durable 'soviet' Red bases in the provinces of Kwantung, Hupeh, Shensi, etc.
        On 11 December, the Canton insurrection was unleashed under the leadership of Yeh T'ing. The insurrection had the advantage of the complicity of Yeh Chien-ying (future Field-marshal of the People's Liberation Army) who commanded the training regiment and also from a situation which was momentarily very favourable since conflicts between two nationalist generals had led one of them to deploy his troops outside the town, leaving the latter ungarrisoned. The forces which took part in the action were 2,000 Red guards, 200 men from the training regiment and some 8,000 workers and peasants armed with rifles captured in the military depots, of whom 2,000 were communist workers freed from prisons. They were crushed two days later by the 50,000 Kuomintang who intervened immediately; 1,000 insurgents escaped and reached the sovietised zones of Haifeng and Lufeng while others were the germ of the guerillas of the Yu Kiang River.(8)
        According to the Trotskyists, the 'Canton Commune' was a 'suicidal insurrection decided in Moscow' by Stalin, who desired a victorious announcement for the 15th Congress. No proof is ever forthcoming to support these allegations. It is clear, anyway, that for reasons of distance, Moscow could not decide particular operations and had to be content with transmitting general guidelines. So far as the substance of the problem is concerned, it must be seen that even risings destined to be defeated may be worth more than surrender without a fight. The Autumn Harvest insurrection was also a defeat but it was the beginning of the long march of the Chinese Communist Party to victory. Nevertheless, it does seem that the price paid in Canton was too high. In any case, risings in the towns stemmed from an erroneous strategy, striking the enemy at his strong point when his weak point was in the countryside. The Trotskyists cannot make this criticism - the only correct one - for they also thought that China had to be liberated in the towns first of all.
        It was by rejecting this mistake on the basis of its experience, without listening to the Trotskyists, that the Chinese Communist Party regained the lost terrain in the following period. The communists were 'neither cowed nor conquered nor exterminated. They picked themselves up, wiped off the blood, buried their fallen comrades and went into battle again'.(9) Far from stopping the course of history, the reverse in 1927 planted the seeds of future victories.
        As Mao Tse-tung has said, 'Struggle, defeat, new struggle, new

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    defeat, once more new struggle, and so on till victory - such is the people's logic.'


    We read in Isaac Deutscher's 'The Prophet Unarmed' (p. 317):

    Only in 1921 did the Chinese Communist Party, based on small propagandist circles, hold its first congress. But no sooner had it done so and set out to formulate its programme and shape its organisation than Moscow began to urge it to seek a rapprochement with the Kuomintang.

    And on p. 319 of the same work, that in 1922 Maring

    told Ch'en Tu-hsiu and his comrades that the Communist International firmly instructed them to join the Kuomintang, regardless of terms. Ch'en Tu-hsiu was reluctant to act on this instruction, but when Maring invoked the principle of international communist discipline, he and his comrades submitted.

    Astonishing as this may appear, the sources (even the Trotskyist ones!) totally contradict this version of the facts. Maring (alias Sneevliet), the Comintern representative, who became a Trotskyist in the 1930s, told the Trotskyist historian Harold Isaacs that the majority of the Central Committee, including Ch'en Tu-hsiu, agreed with his views and that those who opposed him, in particular the then 'ultra-leftist' and later turncoat Chang Kuo-tao, had not done so for reasons of principle, but because they did not believe at the time that the Kuomintang could become a mass movement in which it would be useful to militate. He insisted on the fact that he did not have precise instructions at that time.(10) His account is confirmed by Pavel Mif, a member of the Far-Eastern Bureau of the Comintern, according to whom the first instructions regarding 'the co-ordination of the activities of the Kuomintang and the young Chinese Communist Party' were issued by the Executive Committee of the Comintern in a special communication dated 12 January 1923. (11)
        Let us note that the strategy of penetrating a non-proletarian but progressive mass-movement had been tried with great success by Sneevliet himself in the Dutch East Indies, where the communists had set up cells in the peasant organisation Sarekat Islam. It was this experience which inspired the tactic of the united front with the revolutionary nationalist movements of the colonial and semi-colonial countries adopted by the 2nd Congress of the Communist International. It was Lenin who first sent Sneevliet to China (1920). Moreover, the latter attached great importance to the CCP's maintenance of political and organisational independence.
        Now, in a text dating from the period when he was striving to justify himself against the criticism directed at him by the CCP leadership, Ch'en Tu-hsiu tells us that Maring had urged the Chinese communists to enter the Kuomintang because(

    it was not a party of the bourgeoisie but a party common to various classes . . . the five members of the Central Committee of the CCP unanimously opposed this suggestion because entry into the Kuomintang would have introduced confusion into the class organisation and fettered our independent policy. Finally, the

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    Third International delegate asked categorically whether the Chinese Communist Party would conform to the decision of the International.

    It is now clear where Deutscher got his information. He passed over the sources (even the Trotskyist ones) which did not have sufficient grist for his mill and chose an interested party whose 'pro domo' plea was intended to shift the blame for his own faults on to Stalin. Throughout an exposition covering several pages Deutscher takes Ch'en's account for Gospel truth, all the more so as he considers him to be a greater theoretician than Mao Tse-tung.(13)
        He also said of Ch'en: 'At every stage he frankly stated his objections to Moscow's policy; but he did not stick to them. When overruled, he submitted to the Comintern's authority, and against his better knowledge carried out Moscow's policy.' Poor Ch'en' He could say with the Latin poet 'Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor' ('I know the right, approve it, and yet the wrong pursue.')
        Historical reality is infinitely more complex than this apologetic thesis which the Trotskyists hand down from one generation to another, simplifying and deforming it as they go. This degradation from history to mythology can be traced by comparing Harold Isaacs to Deutscher and the latter to Broué. Fernando Claudin, too, slavishly takes up this legend, referring to Ch'en Tu-hsiu's 'Letter to Comrades' which he says 'has great interest, both human and historical'!(14)
        Dov Bing, a more serious and less naïve investigator (though even more anti-Stalinist), has unearthed more than one falsehood in this account, which should be treated with great caution given its interested character.
        There is no documentary evidence (before 1929) that Ch'en Tu-hsiu had only reluctantly agreed to join the Kuomintang. Even if this was so, it cannot be seen as the sign of a left-wing position. In their 'Shanghai Letter', the three members of the Comintern mission showed that opportunism made Voitinsky and the right of the CCP want the Communists not to enter the Canton government; more precisely, so that they would not have to struggle against the right-wing of the Kuomintang.(15) Likewise, it was a 'defeatist mentality' that made the Comintern executive representative (in agreement with Borodin) propose after the coup on 20 March 1926 that the communists should leave the Kuomintang as Chiang Kai-shek wanted.(16) The most right-wing leader in the party, T'an P'ing-shan, had criticised the policy of integration into the Kuomintang at the Comintern Plenum of November 1926. As Minister of Agriculture in the Wuhan Government he was, however, most zealous in holding back the peasant movement against certain instructions of the Comintern.
        The policy of working within the Kuomintang was, after all, perfectly correct in the framework of the struggle against imperialism and the militarists. It gave a colossal impetus to the mass movement in the towns and the countryside. Li Ta-chao and Mao Tse-tung had carried out this policy enthusiastically for reasons quite independent of Comintern instructions. Mao seems even to have been subjected to sharp criticisms from some of his comrades such as Li Li-san, who attacked him for putting too much emphasis on co-operation with the Kuomintang.(17)
        As early as 1923, Ch'en Tu-hsiu denied that the Chinese

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    peasantry - half of whom according to him were small proprietors - could accept communism and be anything more than a vacillating ally tending to compromise with reaction. As Stuart Schram says, 'this disdain for the peasantry was not characteristic of the Comintern line in the same period'.(18) In fact the thirteen-point directive presented to the 3rd Congress of the CCP in May 1923 and drawn up under Bukharin's guidance, argued that the peasant problem should occupy a central position in the policy of the party.
        We shall see later that Ch'en's distrust of the peasant movement and his refusal to support it or to accept its arming, were diametrically opposed to other specific resolutions adopted by the Comintern. The right opportunists of the CCP verbally accepted the International's recommendations and then acted in the opposite sense, as they were encouraged to do by Voitinsky and Borodin.(19) To present them as consistent and lucid revolutionaries obeying, nevertheless, 'perinde ac cadaver', is a fable which does not stand up to examination.


    Deutscher himself disputed the truth of 'one of the legends of vulgar Trotskyism which maintains that the Opposition had from the beginning unremittingly resisted Stalin's and Bukharin's "betrayal of the Chinese Revolution"'.(20) He showed that up until 31 March 1927 Trotsky had only criticised (incidentally and in passing, so to speak) the Comintern's China policy on a single point: the CCP joining the Kuomintang. Furthermore, he did it only within the secrecy of the Political Bureau.

    Principle alone cannot decide whether Trotsky was right on this question. It is necessary to study the facts and to endeavour to study thoroughly the specificity of the Chinese situation at that time. Between 1922 and 1927, the number of members of the CCP increased from 300 to nearly 70,000 and the unions which they controlled reached 3 million members. They penetrated the Kuomintang apparatus from top to bottom. Chou En-lai carried on the functions of Assistant Political Director of the Whampoa Military Academy,(21) Mao Tse-tung was a member of the Central Committee of the Kuomintang and Director of the Peasant Movement Training Institute (cadre school). Ch'en Tu-hsiu and Borodin were the lieutenants of Sun Yat-sen and then of Wang Ching-wei. Other Kuomintang leaders were very close to them, such as Liao Chung-k'ai who, for this reason, was assassinated by the rightists. The communists and the left Kuomintang controlled 90 per cent of the Kuomintang committees at the base and intermediary levels. At the same time, the communists retained in practice the autonomy of their organisation and made propaganda quite freely. In fact, until Chiang Kai-shek's about-turn, the middle or national bourgeoisie played an objectively revolutionary role, while remaining hesitant and vacillating. Concern for its interests induced it to fight imperialism and its allies - the warlords and the comprador bourgeoisie. Semi-feudal relations in the countryside and wars

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    between militarists restricted the domestic market. The imperialist ascendancy helped to bar any possibility of expansion to it. This is why the Chinese industrialists and merchants of Canton and Shanghai came to finance the Hong Kong strike committees! Thus the Kuomintang-CP united front was at one and the same time possible, necessary and enormously profitable to the revolutionary movement and to the Communist Party. This does not mean that it had to be prolonged for as long as it was, at the expense of consistent revolutionary action in the countryside; we shall talk about this question later in this chapter. For the moment, we can conclude that Trotsky was wrong to condemn the alliance with the Kuomintang as early as the beginning of 1924. In doing so, moreover, he came into contradiction with the positions sustained by Lenin at the 2nd Congress of the Communist International:(22)

    There is not the slightest doubt that every nationalist movement can only be a bourgeois-democratic movement . . . the Communist International must enter into temporary arrangements, even alliances, with the bourgeois democrats in the colonies and backward countries, but should not merge with them, and should maintain at all costs the independence of the proletarian movement even in its most embryonic form.

    Trotsky's argument condemning the entry of the communists into the Kuomintang was that in doing so they were sacrificing their political independence. For him, the criterion of this independence was the fact of possessing a daily newspaper. The CCP did not have a daily, but it did have several periodicals. The independence of these was such that in September 1926 the party journal 'Hsiang-tao' stated that the Northern Expedition was not propelled by the masses and that the Kuomintang government did not represent the people but was merely 'the special organ', of a cabal of generals to serve their 'personal ends'.(23)
        In May 1927, that is, after the break with Chiang Kai-shek, Trotsky, making a complete 'volte-face' at the 8th Plenum of the International, denied advocating the withdrawal of the communists from the Kuomintang.(24) This is a fact little known to Trotskyists - and Deutscher passed it over in silence.
        It was in April 1927 that Trotsky seized upon the Chinese question as a warhorse in the struggle he was then conducting along with Zinoviev and Kamenev against the Political Bureau. Until then he had only concerned himself with the question from the point of view of the state interests of the USSR. In 1926, he had chaired a commission whose task was to elaborate recommendations for the Political Bureau regarding the line of Soviet diplomacy in China. He submitted the report on 25 March. Here is what Deutscher said about it:(25)

    Trotsky's commission reckoned with China's continued division; and its recommendations were as if calculated to prolong it . . . (It) did not seek to promote revolution but to secure every possible advantage for the Soviet government. Thus the commission suggested that Soviet diplomatic agencies should seek a 'modus vivendi' and a division of spheres between Chiang Kai-shek's government in the south and Chang Tso-lin's in the north . . . The commission urged Soviet envoys to prepare public opinion 'carefully and tactfully' for this arrangement, which was likely to hurt patriotic feelings in China.

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    We shall refrain from any comment on this report. Everyone knows what the Trotskyists would say about it if it was not signed by Trotsky but only by Stalin. Let us simply point out that it was easy for the former to criticise others once he himself no longer had any responsibility. There being no risk that his proposals would be put to the test of adversity he could always exclaim, 'Ah, if only you had listened to me'' What can be discussed, on the other hand, is his analysis of the class contradictions in China and his appraisal of the motor forces of revolution in that country.
        Trotsky clearly underestimated the revolutionary potential of the peasant class in China. He says that 'there is almost no estate of landlords in China' (sic), and he adds that 'the specific weight of the agrarian question in China is therefore much lighter than in Tsarist Russia'.(26) In the same work, which as we know dates from November 1929, he quoted one of his old speeches, 'The town is the hegemon of modern society and only the town is capable of assuming the role of hegemon in the bourgeois revolution,' and he added in a note, 'Do the belated critics of the permanent revolution agree with this? Are they prepared to extend this elementary proposition to the countries of the East, China, India, etc.? Yes or no?'(27)
        No, Mr Trotsky! Of course the proletarian party secures the hegemony in the revolutionary movement at the level of ideological and political leadership, but its most numerous troops and also some of its leaders come to it from the peasantry. Its most promising field of action is the countryside, for 'the revolution is always strongest where the counter-revolution is weakest' (Mao). It was by encircling the towns from the countryside that it was eventually able to liberate China. The poor peasants were the principal motive of the Chinese revolution. Trotsky's prognosis was exactly the opposite. In July 1928, he wrote, 'It is only with a new rising wave of the proletarian movement that one will be able to speak seriously about the perspective of an agrarian revolution.'(28)

    Causes of the opportunist errors of the CCP leadership

    We have shown that the alliance with the Kuomintang corresponded to a correct policy up to and including the Northern Expedition. Before the success of this campaign, neither the communists nor the reactionary element of the Kuomintang were ready for the trial of strength which they jointly foresaw but deferred in order not to harm the anti-imperialist struggle and because at that time the right-wing of the middle bourgeoisie had not yet switched to the side of reaction, for objective reasons. To demand, as Trotsky did in April 1926, a communist withdrawal from the Kuomintang, was senseless and would have had disastrous consequences.
        Once victory had been won in the Yangste Valley, the Nationalist leaders and officers in their army became uneasy about the swelling movement of the popular masses in as much as it was undermining the bases of the quasi-feudal relations in the countryside and strengthening the workers too much for the normal pursuit of capitalist exploitation in the towns. They immediately began to take repressive measures against the people. In a sense we can say that the (military) victory of the revolution led to its (political)

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    defeat. In fact, seeing the way the wind was blowing, the Toukiens (militarists of the northern clique) changed camps and went over to the Kuomintang. Of the fifty-six generals who thus rallied, fifty-one were feudal landowners.
        At this moment, the CCP was confronted with following dilemma:

        - whether to maintain its alliance with the Kuomintang at any price, by restraining, if necessary, the revolutionary movement of the masses;
        - or, realising that a new stage in the revolutionary process had irrevocably been reached and that the principal contradiction had shifted, leaving the right-wing of the national bourgeoisie on the side of imperialism and feudalism, to stand resolutely at the head of the exploited masses in revolt.(

        The Chinese communist leaders (and to much lesser degree the Comintern) refused to see that a choice had to be made. In practice they chose the first path more often than not, while the Comintern instructions would rather have suggested to them to choose the second. The alliance with the Kuomintang had succeeded too well fo] them not to be tempted to prolong it as long as possible. Taking their hopes for realities and the 'revolutionary' phraseology of certain left Kuomintang leaders seriously, they thought they could play both games at once, eventually isolating the new right which had formed around Chiang Kai-shek. They counted on the 'dynamic' o the revolution to achieve this result. They believed in this all the more since in actual fact the right had been isolated and defeated in the preceeding period.(30) They realised, of course, that in such a perspective they would have to hold back the agrarian revolution. But they thought that this would only be a pleasure deferred. Besides, they were genuinely shocked by the stories that were circulating regarding 'excesses' committed by the peasants. A Mao said, 'Even quite revolutionary minded people became down-hearted as they pictured the events in the countryside in their mind's eye; and they were unable to deny the word "terrible".'(31)
        It was against them and not Stalin that Mao wrote his report on the peasant movement in Hunan Province, in which he demonstrated that, from a revolutionary point of view, things were, on the contrary, going 'fine'. Almost all the communist leaders believed the stories about the 'excesses' of the peasants and declared that the most effective method of combating counter-revolution would be to check them.(32) There were even landlords and sons of landlord among the party leaders.
        Chu Teh told Agnes Smedley how the communist leaders in the Tungku region set up another 'Communist' Party because 'these "intellectuals" . . . had done everything for the revolution - except to divide their own land among their tenants'.(33) The 'Shanghai Letter' sent by three members of the mission of the Communist International on 17 March 1927, emphasised that 'the leading bodies of the CCP are not linked to the masses', and that they look down on the workers and peasants and 'deny their revolutionary aspirations'(34)
        To explain the mistakes made by the CCP leadership in this period requires above all a study of the development of the contradictions in China, in the Kuomintang and in the CCP itself. It is only on this basis that one can isolate the influence of the Comintern

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    representatives in China and of Stalin's counsels. The latter were moreover far from being as opportunist as the policy pursued by the CCP .


    Deutscher says straight out: 'Stalin and Bukharin considered themselves entitled to sacrifice the Chinese Revolution in what they believed to be the best interests of the consolidation of the Soviet Union.'(35)
        This thesis has been taken up by bourgeois historians so that it currently figures as a 'historical truth'.
        Of course Stalin made mistakes, for he could not know the concrete situation better than the Comintern representatives in China or the Chinese communist leaders who were on the spot. Mao Tse-tung was the only one among them in this period to analyse correctly the class contradictions in China, to show the enormous importance of the revolution in the countryside and to advocate resolute revolutionary action. It is true none the less that correct instructions from the Comintern and from Stalin on important points were not carried out by the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
        In November 1926, the 7th Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Comintern adopted a resolution on China which put the emphasis on the peasant revolution while asserting that it was necessary to support the Kuomintang. In particular, it declared that:(36)

    The proletariat must choose between the prospect of a bloc with large sections of the bourgeoisie and the prospect of the continued consolidation of its alliance with the peasantry. If it does not put forward a radical programme, the proletariat will be unable to draw the peasantry into the revolutionary struggle and will forfeit its hegemony in the national liberation movement.

    This resolution had been adopted on the basis of a series of 'theses' which M. N. Roy (the Indian communist leader) had submitted to Stalin.(37)

    In those days Stalin listened carefully when someone dealt with a subject about which he knew nothing, and when he had heard a fair presentation, he accepted it quickly and without equivocation.

    Here are a few passages from a speech which Stalin gave before the Chinese Commission of the International which elaborated the above resolution: (38)

    I know that there are certain people among the members of the Kuomintang, and even among the Chinese communists, who do not consider it possible to unleash the revolution in the country- side, because they fear that if the peasantry is drawn into the revolution, the united anti-imperialist front will be undermined. This is a profound mistake, comrades. The anti-imperialist front in China will be the stronger and more powerful the sooner and more solidly the Chinese peasantry is drawn into the revolution.

    Speaking at the same 7th Plenum, Stalin had warned against a strengthening of the right-wing in the army to the extent that the

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    victories of the Northern Expedition brought about the surrender of the enemy.(39) At the same session, Petroff, the Russian delegate, stated, 'It is possible that after the victory of the Canton government has strengthened its right-wing, the bourgeoisie there will play a greater role and will reach an agreement with the imperialists.'(40) As early as 1925, a high-powered Comintern functionary had contended that the Chinese bourgeoisie would probably 'establish a . . . military dictatorship' in order to 'prevent the development of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, the peasantry and the urban poor'.(41)
        In another connection Stalin quoted a document of the International drawn up a year and a half before Chiang Kai-shek's 'coup d'état' in which it was said:(

    Our course must be steered towards the arming of the workers and peasants, the transformation of the peasants' committees in the localities into the actual organs of power, accompanied by armed self-defence, etc. The Communist Party must everywhere come out as such; a policy of voluntary semi-legality is impermissible; the Communist Party must not act as a brake on the mass movement.

    We must stop here to make four remarks:

        1. Stalin did not realise clearly that, if led by the communists, the deepening of the peasant revolt would be fatal to the alliance with the Kuomintang leadership. Preparations therefore had to be made and the most favourable moment chosen for this break.
        2. Stalin formed a view on the basis of reports which reached him from very different sources. As the Oppositionists in the CCP were often consigned to Moscow, they were in a position to wield a certain influence there and sometimes took the floor before the Executive Committee of the International. In general, the influence of the Chinese leaders on the Comintern line in China was much greater than the influence of the Comintern on the policy of the CCP.(43)
        3. The CCP leadership's freedom of choice was all the greater as:

          (a) the International's instructions entailed contradictory demands like those quoted above, namely they were to remain in the Kuomintang while arming the workers and peasants and urging them to seize power;
          (b) the Comintern representatives in China - Borodin, Voitinsky and then Roy - each had very different views on the application of these instructions.

        4. The Comintern had warned against the strengthening of the right and the danger of a military coup d'etat while pointing out the only possible defence: the arming of the workers and peasants.

    The 'Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan', ('Selected Works', Volume 1) became known in Moscow in May 1927 and produced a strong impression.(44) There is an echo of this in 'Memoirs of a Revolutionary' by Victor Serge who says in particular: 'The future military leader of Soviet China was very close to us (in the 'left Opposition') in his ideas; but he stayed within the party line in order to keep his supplies of weapons and munitions.'(45) Serge does not explain exactly to what use these arms could have

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    been put. Certainly not to make the revolution, since Stalin was against it and wanted at any price to strangle it! Anyway, it is quite simply absurd to speak of the USSR sending military equipment to the Chingkang Mountains when it took six months for a mere letter to get there by underground routes.(46)
        In the Foreword to his collection of documents on the Chinese question, Broué quotes an article published in 'Clarté' in Paris on 15 August 1927, in which Victor Serge commented on the 'Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan'. Broué gives the Trotskyists credit for distinguishing Mao Tse-tung from the other Chinese leaders. To present things in this way and to imply that in this respect the Opposition was particularly clear-sighted, borders on deception. During the 8th Plenum of the Executive of the International in May 1927, it was the defenders of Stalin's 'theses', namely Bukharin and Togliatti (Ercoli), who quoted Mao's report at length while Trotsky and Vuevich did not mention it.(47) This was no accident. Stalin, who also took Mao's information and analyses as his basis, held that after Chiang Kai-shek's 'volte-face', the struggle of the Chinese people had entered a new phase of anti-feudal and anti-imperialist agrarian revolution. This appraisal was rejected by the Trotsky-Zinovievites, whereas it was adopted by the Chinese communists.
        During the 8th Plenum, Trotsky protested that the Opposition was by no means proposing a withdrawal of the communists from the Kuomintang. Now his supporters attribute the defeat suffered by the Chinese Revolution in 1927 to the fact that the CCP had entered it and did not withdraw from it in time. The line which Trotsky advocated in the sessions on 23-6 May in that year itself deserves some explanation from them. They prefer to maintain a prudent silence.
        Zinoviev's 'theses', which Trotsky defended, even went so far as to proclaim that, 'It is necessary to give the most energetic aid in all respects to Hankow (capital of the left Kuomintang) and to organise from there the defence against the Cavaignacs.'
        The differences at the 8th Plenum turned on the question of whether or not the communists should issue an appeal for the formation of workers', peasants' and soldiers' soviets. Stalin showed that this was incorrect at this stage, for it would have meant the creation of a dual power and the setting up of a counter-government with the aim of overthrowing that of the left Kuomintang in which the communists had a place. These consequences, which necessarily followed from such a slogan, were, moreover, totally incompatible with the line of strengthening the left Kuomintang which Trotsky and Zinoviev recommended at the same time, sublimely unaware of the contradictions in which they were embroiling themselves.
        The resolution as it was amended in the commission emphasised that 'new breaks in the national revolutionary front are not only possible but inevitable . . . There will be new betrayals and new partial defeats'.(
        The only (relative) guarantee against such defeats lay in the following 'fundamental directive': 'to unleash the mass movement of peasants and workers'.(
    49) It was necessary, moreover, to create 'reliable armed units' as well as 'units made up of revolutionary workers and peasants.'(50)

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        In May 1927, a great controversy broke out in the heart of the CCP over the question of whether or not the Wuhan (Hankow) government should be supported in its plans to launch a military campaign against Nanking (Chiang Kai-shek's location) and Peking. Roy, who had represented the Comintern since the 7th Plenum, suggested retaking the territories of southern China, controlled at that time by the leaders of the right-wing of the Kuomintang. Once this goal was attained, it would be possible to encircle Nanking and Shanghai and to defeat Chiang Kai-shek and international imperialism. But, he said,(51)

    The Communist leaders would not accept the alternative plan of action. They argued that refusal to support the second Northern Expedition would amount to a break with the left Kuomintang(52) . . . I referred the disputed question to Moscow. The answer was ambiguous. It was in favour of doing both the things simultaneously: to carry on the military plan (the Northern Expedition), and develop the revolution in the territories of the Wuhan government.

    Already in mid-April the most representative members of the Chinese Communist Party had greeted the theses of the Communist International, presented to them by Roy, without enthusiasm.(53)
        Here we see once more that, when they wanted to, the CCP leaders could stand up to the representatives of the Executive Committee of the Communist International. As for Stalin's instructions, they always remained a dead letter when they were not in tune with the right opportunism of the Chinese leaders.
        On 1 June 1927, Stalin sent a telegram to Hankow in which he said, among other things:(

    We are decidedly in favour of the land actually being seized by the masses from below . . . You must not sever yourselves from the worker and peasant movement, but must assist it in every possible way. Otherwise you will ruin the cause . . . A large number of new peasant and working class leaders from the ranks must be drawn into the Central Committee of the Kuomintang. Their bold voice will stiffen the backs of the old leaders or throw them out on the dust-heap . . . Organise your own reliable army before it is not too late. Otherwise there can be no guarantees against failures.

    After receiving this telegram, Roy acted incredibly rashly: he went and showed it to Wang Ching-wei, bringing about an immediate break between the Wuhan government and the CCP despite an ultra-defeatist eleven-point statement published by the leadership of the latter in a fit of panic. Roy's calculations are most satisfactorily explained by an author who belonged to the left Kuomintang:(55)

    Roy's idea was that the left Kuomintang could only survive when in alliance with the Communists, as otherwise they would be crushed by the Rightists. They should, therefore, be informed of Stalin's cable. Borodin, however, realised that the left Kuomintang . . . would at once sever their relations with the Communists if they saw the resolution . . . A majority of the Chinese Communists sided with Borodin, being also of the opinion that the time for overt action had not yet come.

    Thus Stalin's envoy, the 'leftist' Roy,(56) precipitated the break between the left Kuomintang and the CCP at a time when the latter

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    was defenceless because of the defeatist policy of its leadership in the previous period. Let us now re-read Deutscher's account to see if it agrees with the facts and documents we have just quoted. We must also be careful to guard against the very special 'literary' methods according to which it is constructed, for the author not only leaves out all the facts which are awkward for his thesis - he somewhat confuses the chronology so as to present events in the way most favourable to Trotsky's analyses.
        We have said that Deutscher brushed aside 'nearly' all the facts which contradict the Trotskyist 'schema'. It is precisely because of this 'nearly' that he is not in too good an odour with his co-religionists.
        A thorough, scientific, historical study of this period remains to be carried out.


    The Resolution of the 9th Plenum of the Comintern (February 1928) advised the CCP to set as its objective the 'initial victory in one or several provinces' (where the peasant movement was strong), as the uneven development of the revolution made it impossible for the moment to envisage victory throughout the country. The 6th Congress which met in the summer of 1928 came to the same conclusions. However, after Li Li-san's return to China, the CCP leadership he headed adopted positions diametrically opposed to the Comintern's analyses. In an article published in 1930, Li Li-san argued that it was 'impossible to achieve victory in one or more provinces without connecting it with the whole country'.(57) In the same way, according to the Political Bureau's letter dated 11 June 1930, given that the 'fundamental political crisis -in China is equally sharp in every part of the country, a great workers' uprising in any city will develop into a nation-wide revolutionary high-tide' which would spread throughout the world and without which the revolution in China was doomed to defeat.(58) In fact, Li Li-san had never accepted the idea of the uneven development of the revolution, any more than that of a process passing through determinate stages. In the article of 1 April 1930 mentioned above, Li Li-san maintained that it was 'a mistake to grant that the revolution can begin to be transformed into a socialist revolution only after its victory in the whole of China'. He thought that this was possible 'immediately'.(59) That is why he was condemned after the 4th Plenum of the Central Committee (January 1931) for advocating the organisation of collective farms and other 'premature socialist measures'. Finally Li Li-san subordinated victory in 'one or several provinces' to the success of workers' insurrections in the main cities.
        The positions of Li and Trotsky are manifestly similar on all these points. However, Trotsky constantly denounced the CCP leadership as made up of mere functionaries obedient to Stalin's every gesture.(
        In some letters addressed to the Central Committee of the CCP at the end of 1928 and the beginning of 1929, Mao Tse-tung expressed certain disagreements with the political line of the leadership.

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    The latter passed these documents, together with their own replies, to the Executive Committee of the International in Moscow, counting on its approval. Its expectations were disappointed, for the Comintern reply dated 7 June 1929 supported the positions put forward by Mao in his letter of 25 November 1928, and the reply of 26 October 1929 adopted Mao's positions in his letter of 5 April. To be more precise, in the first of these missives the Comintern accepted practically everything that Mao had written on the problem of the rich peasants. Li Li-san advocated an alliance with the latter, for in attacking them there was a danger of cutting oneself off from the middle peasants. He also considered it absurd to start by dividing the land when one was going to collectivise it later. Envisaging rapid victory on a countrywide scale in China, he wanted immediate propaganda in favour of collective farms in the expectation in the meantime of drawing the rich peasants into the struggle against the warlords and the imperialists. In its letter to Mao, the Comintern unequivocally condemned any idea of an alliance with the rich peasants and accused the Chinese leadership of making mistakes. Mao later nuanced his position, making a finer distinction between the well-off peasants (cultivating their land themselves) and semi-feudal, small landlords. He was disposed to leave the former in peace. On the other hand, Li Li-san's attitude to all those who employed labour on their land hardened considerably. After 1931, Mao came into conflict with the new leadership, for he opposed the policy of eliminating the well-off peasants. This is what explains the errors of certain American Sinologists who believe that the Comintern letter alluded to Mao's line. Lucien Bianco has misguidedly copied them without checking their sources. He writes:(61)

    One of the first references to Mao which appears in the Comintern documents is a letter of June 1929 from the Executive Committee of the International addressed to the CC of the Chinese Party. It criticises fairly sharply his policy which was excessively moderate with regard to the rich peasants; in short, a Mao suspected of kulakophilic tendencies.

    In fact Mao's name does not appear in the Comintern document and the latter is attacking the line of the CCP leadership, which is also condemned in other matters.
        Li Li-san did not want the peasant movement to develop to the point of becoming the principal force of the Chinese revolution. In one of his articles he stated that 'Without the strike-waves of the working class, without armed insurrection in the key towns, there will be no success in one or several provinces. It is a seriously wrong idea which foresees "using the villages to surround the towns", and which counts on the Red Army alone to occupy the towns.'(62) Aiming for victory on a national scale, he considered that it was necessary first to win over the people as a whole. This was why he advocated abandoning the Red bases and dissolving the Red Army, whose men were to be divided into mobile detachments making propaganda in the villages.
        The Comintern firmly pointed out to the CCP leadership that it should consolidate the guerilla struggle and extend it at once while combating the suspicious attitude to the peasant movement manifested within the party. Declaring Mao to be correct, it pronounced

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    against dispersing soldiers to act as 'roving guerilla bands'. The Red Army should be strengthened in such a way that 'in the future, according to the political or military circumstances, one or several political or industrial centres can be occupied'.(63)
        Thus we see that the Comintern adopted Mao's theses on protracted war and encircling the cities from the countryside. At this time, moreover, Mao was held in very high esteem in Moscow. The obituary notice to him in the 'International Press Correspondence' in March 1930 as a result of a false report is very significant in this respect. The eulogies lavished on him in that text implicitly placed him above all the Chinese leaders. His fame is also attested to by a short poem by Bertold Brecht inspired by an episode in the Chinese Civil War - 'Die Andere Seite' - moving in its simplicity and its wholly Chinese precision.
        Later, when the new CCP leadership was set up in the Kiangsi Red Base and took the political command of the army away from Mao, in October 1932, the latter's preponderant influence in the base organisations was undermined by an insidious campaign aimed at him although it took as its target Lo Mai and his so-called 'League of Big Peasants'. Mao counter-attacked and an extract from the speech in which he attacked 'the leftists' (the party leadership) for underestimating the strength of the Kuomintang, appeared in 'International Press Correspondence' on 17 November 1933.(64)
        A former communist turned Trotskyist, Li An, called the Po Ku-Wang Ming leadership 'the returned students' because of their youth and because they had studied in Moscow and only returned to China in 1930. According to Li An and most American Sinologists, these 'twenty-eight Bolsheviks' had been set in the saddle ('appointed', says R. C. North) by Moscow and acted in accordance with Comintern instructions. Reality is less simple. This group had acceded to the leadership at the session of January 1931 thanks to an alliance with the much-criticised Li Li-san group. Besides, it is untrue that the new leaders acted as a bloc and did not have a policy of their own. In 1933, one of them, Lo Fu, who was acknowledged to be a leading theoretician, expressed differences with the others on the question of the well-off peasants and of the problem of the relations with small capital. As the revolution was in its bourgeois democratic stage, he was opposed to the struggle against these two classes. Lastly, the facts prove that in this period as in the preceding one, the CCP line did not always correspond to the views of Moscow. In fact, after the first battle of Shanghai in February 1932, the Comintern was again at issue with the CCP line. On 15 March and 1 April 1932, its journal, 'The Communist International', published two articles on the war in China. In the first it criticised the point of view of a number of Communist Parties (among them the Chinese Communist Party), according to which Japanese aggression aimed to destroy Soviet China as a first step prior to an invasion of the USSR. 'Their slogan regarding the Japanese attack was not the slogan for the defence of the Chinese people from the imperialists, nor the slogan "Hands off China", but almost exclusively "Defend the Soviet Union".'(65) In the second, the Comintern journal attacked the CCP more particularly. It stated that the latter 'must fan the flame of war to develop it into a national liberation war of the toiling masses

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    . . . against the imperialist plunders and first and foremost against Japanese imperialism'.(66) It is evident that the Comintern once more sided with Mao. He also considered from now on that the principal enemy was Japan. In conclusion we can assert:

        1. that the political line of the CCP from 1928 to 1935 was not elaborated and decided in Moscow and it was even the case that the Comintern's counsels were implicitly rejected in practice;
        2. that such important decisions as those not to co-operate with the rebel generals in Fukien in November 1933 and to adopt a static defence against the 5th Encirclement Campaign were taken without consulting Moscow.(
    67) Such consultation was, besides, impossible at short enough intervals, given the isolation of the Kiangsi Red Base;
        3. that the Comintern's positions depended on the theses of the Chinese leader whose analyses appeared most convincing; the International's Bureau had no other source of information;
        4. that the Comintern, in which Stalin's influence was preponderant, gave proof of a surer judgment of the situation in China than the Chinese leaders, with the exception of Mao.

    At the time of the dissolution of the Third International, Mao Tse-tung explained that(68)

    Since the 7th World Congress of the Communist International in 1935, the Communist International has not intervened in the internal affairs of the Chinese Communist Party. And yet, the Chinese Communist Party has done its work very well, throughout the whole Anti-Japanese War of National Liberation.

    This obviously does not mean that the USSR did not have a Chinese policy. We suggested above that Wang Ming's line after 1937, of subordinating the Communist Party to Chiang Kai-shek's authority under the pretext of a united front, was in all probability favoured by Stalin. Since, besides, in the heat of the polemic against Trotskyism, certain Marxist-Leninists go so far as to say that the communist offensive in 1947 came after 'twenty years . . . of political work developing the line established by Stalin and the Communist International', it is useful to quote what Mao himself said on this subject on 30 January 1962 to an expanded meeting of the Central Committee (7,000 participants):(69)

    These comrades of the Comintern (who were concerned with Chinese affairs) did not understand or said they did not understand the Chinese society, nation or revolution. For a long time we ourselves could not recognise clearly the objective world of China, let alone the foreign comrades.

    In another speech delivered to the Central Committee on 24 September 1962, Mao declared:(70)

    In 1945, Stalin blocked the Chinese revolution. He said that we could not fight a civil war but should co-operate with Chiang Kai-shek, otherwise the Chinese nation would perish . . . after the victory of the revolution, he suspected that China would be a Yugoslavia and I would become a Tito. Afterwards when I went to Moscow to sign the Sino-Soviet alliance and mutual aid treaty, there was some struggle there too. He didn't want to sign but after a couple of months of negotiations he finally agreed. When did Stalin begin to believe us? Since the resist-America aid-Korea campaign, the winter of 1950, he believed we were not a Tito, not a Yugoslavia.

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    According to the Chinese, Stalin gave them erroneous advice throughout their revolution (cf. Chapter 4, above) but they have only given a very few indications on this subject. While waiting for them to provide more we must hold to the facts established by documentary proofs and not supplement them by imagination or interpretation.
        The correct strategy - the encirclement of the towns by the countryside and the liberation of China as the result of a protracted war conducted by armies recruited mainly from among the peasantry - was elaborated by Mao Tse-tung and not Stalin. While the latter, unlike Trotsky, accorded great importance to the peasant movement, like his brother enemy he subordinated this movement to the development of the revolution in the towns. On 30 November 1926, he stated: 'One cannot build Soviets in the countryside and avoid the industrial centres of China.'(71) We observe once again that Stalin and Trotsky opposed each other but on the basis of common assumptions which they believed to be principles when they were really prejudices. However, Stalin did not share Trotsky's sociologisms and believed that it was possible for the proletariat to exercise its leadership over predominantly peasant forces. This is why Trotsky and not Stalin became the enemy of the Chinese revolution, as we shall see.


    Reading Trotsky's polemical writings on the Chinese Revolution fills one with astonishment and admiration. The aplomb with which he held forth on this distant country and his audacity in setting himself up as the spokesman of History, thundering forth anathemas against those who did not share his opinions, are impressive, even deceptive. It appears that this man knew no doubt; for him everything was simple and clear, neither future nor past held any secrets. How can we argue with a 'theoretician' who, not satisfied with mastering the 'telescopes' and 'microscopes' of Marxist science, claimed to possess powers amounting to extra-sensory perception? At the Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International in May 1927, he was proud to have pointed out that 'the adventurist risings of Ho Lung and Yeh T'ing were inevitably doomed to defeat'.(72)
        Now in May 1927, Ho Yung and Yeh T'ing would themselves have been greatly astonished if they had been told that in three months' time they would be leading a military rising! A few pages earlier, Trotsky plays the condescending pedant: one is told to 'Remember that Shanghai and Canton are part of the province of Kiangsu'.(73) One can, of course, be a good communist and never have looked at a map of China in one's life (although this is a serious handicap, if only for understanding news bulletins) but Trotsky claimed the right to give lessons to the international communist movement and to dictate their political line to the Chinese communists while in complete ignorance of their country. In his writings on China he wrestled above all with his familiar demons. Everything is a matter of the Mensheviks, of Kerensky, of different phases of the 1917 revolution. In his customary categorical and peremptory tone, he said, for example:(74)

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    The Executive Committee of the Communist International determined in advance the victory of Chinese Kerenskyism over Bolshevism, of the Chinese Miliukovs over the Kerenskys, and of Japanese and British imperialists over the Chinese Miliukovs. In this and only in this lies the meaning of what happened in China in the course of 1925-7.

    In this passage the logic (if it can be so called) of Trotsky's argument is patently visible. His sole concern was to lay exclusive responsibility for the defeats in 1927 on Stalin and Bukharin who, according to him, were guilty of deliberate betrayal. To confer a certain plausibility on his indictment he concocted a schema based on historical recollections and without any relation to the class struggle in China. Trotsky did not even begin to analyse the concrete situation in that country to which, in fact, he denied any differences of detail from Russia in 1917. In so far as he conceded some differences, here is what he said:(75)

    The Third Chinese Revolution . . . will not have a 'democratic' period, be it even for six months, as was the case in the October Revolution . . . it will be compelled from the very beginning to effect the most decisive shake-up and abolition of bourgeois property in town and country.

    According to the Chinese communists, the new-democratic stage of the revolution came to an end in 1949 with the liberation of the whole of China. Although the power established at this time was based on a class alliance, it exercised in its essence the dictatorship of the proletariat. As for the period of democratic reforms, it lasted (in the liberated areas) from 1948 to 1952. At this stage only bureaucratic and comprador capital was nationalised, which enabled the state to occupy 'the dominant heights of the economy'. The socialist transformation of the whole economy only started in 1952. In November 1929, Trotsky criticised telegrams published in 'Pravda' noting the operations of an armed communist detachment of 22,000 men led by Chu Teh. This new development disturbed him for it hardly fitted in with his little armchair schemes. Hence he asked some questions but not in order to extend his knowledge for he immediately suggested a range of replies, all of which conveniently condemned the Communist International and its 'local functionaries' in the Chinese Communist Party. Trotsky began by appearing naïve: 'Has the general strike pushed the proletariat to the insurrection? If such is the case, then everything is clear and in order (sic!).'(76)
        He knew very well that this was not the case and that nothing was therefore 'in order'. In other words the peasants are forbidden to revolt if there is no general strike in the towns: 'Does this insurrection spring from the situation in China . . . ? Hardly had this very sensible idea crossed his mind than he dismissed it, for the quarrel was with Stalin and not with the Chinese communist leaders:(77)

    or rather from the instructions concerning the 'third period'? . . . The rebellion of Chu Teh appears to be a reproduction of the adventurist campaigns of Ho Lung and Yeh T'ing in 1927 and the Canton uprising timed for the moment of the expulsion of the Opposition from the Russian Communist Party . . . Have the Chinese communists risen in rebellion because of Chiang Kai-shek's

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    seizure of the Chinese Lastern Railway? . . . If that is what it is, we ask who has given such counsel to the Chinese communists? Who bears the political responsibility for their passing over to guerilla warfare?

    Trotsky did not make an accusation (he did not have a shred of evidence) but he made a treacherous insinuation (which is as effective as a slander) inviting his readers to discover the culprit by following his gaze. Considering its consequences, his crime was black indeed:(78)

    But what is the perspective opened up by this uprising of the today isolated Chinese communists in the absence of war or revolution? The perspective of a terrible debacle and of an adventurist degeneration of the remnants of the Communist Party. In the meantime it must be said openly: calculations based on guerilla adventure correspond entirely to the general nature of Stalinist policy.

    If the line followed by the Chinese communists, namely protracted armed struggle based in the countryside, was Stalinist adventurism, what is more natural than for them to regard Stalin as their friend and the Trotskyists as their enemies? Did not the latter describe the Red Army as 'a movement of roving rebels'?(79)
        Stalin having said at the 16th Congress that the Chinese workers and peasants had created a Red Army and a Soviet government, Trotsky declared that perhaps it was 'pardonable' for the Chinese peasantry to call their movement Soviet and their partisan bands 'Red Armies' but not for Stalin to confine himself 'to a cowardly and ambiguous generalisation of the illusions of the Chinese peasantry'.(80)
        The creation of the first Red Bases, the first fruits of the communists' victory in China, reduced to a negligible illusion of backward peasants! (Of whom Mao Tse-tung was one') For Trotsky there could be no doubt:(

    The appearance of the Soviet government under these circumstances is absolutely impossible. Not only the Bolsheviks but even the Tseretli government or half-government of the Soviets could make its appearance on the basis of the cities.

    The central Base at Kiangsi where Mao Tse-tung had actually established a Soviet government, then covered 30,000 km. and had a population of 5 or 6 million inhabitants. There were, moreover, some fifteen smaller bases. The Red Army troops defending them numbered 60,000 to 70,000 men by 1930.(82)
        All this, according to Trotsky, was 'absolutely impossible'. As the (Trotskyist) 'Provisional International Secretariat of the Communist Opposition' stated shortly afterwards:(

    only the hegemony of the proletariat in the decisive political and industrial centres of the country creates the indispensable conditions as much for the establishment of the Red Army as for the establishment of the Soviet system in the countryside. Revolution is a closed book to anyone who does not realise this . . . (The task of the Chinese communists) is not to throw their forces into the scattered foci of the peasant rising, since their party, which is few in number and weak, will in no way be able to embrace it . . . but to concentrate their forces in the factories . . . to organise (the workers) in the struggle for economic demands, for the slogans of democracy and agrarian revolution.

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    According to the same text, 'the independent landlord class does not exist at all in China'. More, 'the middle peasantry is non-existent in China'. It follows that the class struggle in the countryside was a struggle between the poor peasants and the bourgeoisie!(84)
        In his 'Speech at a Conference of Cadres in the Shansi-Suiyan Liberated Area' (1 April 1948), Mao estimated the proportion of middle peasants at about 20 per cent.(
    85) More recent estimates bearing on the whole of China fix this proportion at 30 per cent.(86) In the speech we have just cited, Mao emphasised that 'the poor peasants and the farm labourers must form a solid united front with the middle peasants', taking in 92 per cent of families in the rural population. He specified:(87)

    The target of the land reform is only and must be the system of feudal exploitation by the landlord class and by the old-type rich peasants, and there should be no encroachment either upon the national bourgeoisie or upon the industrial and commercial enterprises run by the landlords and the rich peasants.

    William Hinton, author of the famous 'Fanshen', has clearly showed how Liu Shao-chi's so-called 'poor peasants and agricultural labourers' line which at the time of the agrarian reform had aimed at a rigorously egalitarian division of the land and the expropriation of the agricultural equipment and in general the capital of the landlords and the rich peasants, was 'left' in appearance but right in reality. This utopian and reactionary line might have led to a disaster if it had not been corrected in time by Mao Tse-tung.(88) It is precisely because the Chinese communists have been able to distinguish the stages of the revolution that they pursued it without interruption. A Trotskyist line would have led them directly to defeat, for the very simple reason that it was based on a radically incorrect analysis of the class struggle in China, one therefore incapable of answering the fundamental question: who are our friends and who are our enemies?
        The Chinese communists have verified it experimentally so to speak. After the defeat of the First Revolutionary Civil War 1925-7, three leftist lines were applied by their leadership, led first by Ch'u Ch'iu-pai, then by Li Li-san and finally by Wang Ming. The line enforced by the last had the most harmful consequences (loss of the central Red Base at Kiangsi-Fukien and 90 per cent of the forces amassed by the communists). Although these leaders were hostile to the Trotskyists, their political ideas very often started from assumptions of a Trotskyist character. Let the reader judge.
        The putschists of the first 'leftist' line argued that the Chinese revolution was 'permanent'; that is, they confused the democratic and the socialist revolution. Although most of the tasks set by the different 'leftist' lines had a democratic character, their champions did not clearly distinguish the two stages of the revolution and were impatient to go beyond the democratic stage. They advocated struggle against the bourgeoisie as a whole, including the upper stratum of the petty bourgeoisie and emphasised the struggle against the well-off peasants. They were reluctant to acknowledge that the Red Army movement was a peasant movement led by the proletariat. Their gaze was fixed permanently on the towns and their primary objective was to seize these towns. They subordinated work in the countryside to work in the urban centres, instead of the

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    opposite. As a result the failure of the latter also to a great extent wrecked the former. Not understanding that the revolution was developing unevenly in China as in the rest of the world, Li Li-san thought that the principal towns should lead the movement and become the centre of a revolutionary high tide on a national scale which in turn would spread throughout the world, otherwise the revolution in China was doomed to defeat. When it became clear in consequence of Japanese aggression that the attitude of the intermediate strata and of some local groups of landlords, big bourgeoisie and military leaders was changing, making them potential allies in the struggle against Japan, Wang Ming and the party leadership refused to recognise this development and maintained a sectarian 'closed door' attitude.
        On all these points, Mao took the opposite view to the 'leftist' lines, which he fought as far as he could. As early as the First Revolutionary War he had pointed out - as had Stalin, too - that the task of the Chinese revolution at this stage was to fight imperialism and feudalism; the peasants' struggle for the land was the fundamental content of the fight.(89) He insisted on the need to unite all forces capable of being united, particularly the intermediate strata (middle peasants, petty bourgeoisie) but also a fraction of the national bourgeoisie and even certain patriotic gentry, after the Japanese aggression. He showed that the revolutionary forces had to create red bases in the countryside where the reactionary power was weakest. For this they had to rely on peasant guerillas, to avoid decisive battles, 'to turn the backward villages into advanced, consolidated base areas, into great military, political, economic and cultural bastions of the revolution' and in this way gradually to 'achieve the complete victory of the revolution in China through protracted fighting'.(90)
        At the Tsunyi Conference (January 1935) Mao Tse-tung's correct political line was adopted and he himself was swept to the head of the party. From then on the party was always victorious.
        At the beginning of the same period (1929-35) the defeatist group of the former period, represented by Ch'en Tu-hsiu in particular, moved to the same position as the Trotskyists. Like them, he argued that after 1927, the bourgeoisie had won victory over imperialism and feudalism and the bourgeois democratic revolution was thus complete. The Chinese proletariat should prepare itself for the socialist revolution to come and in the meanwhile restrict itself to a legal struggle centred on the slogan 'For a Constituent Assembly'.
        They professed the greatest contempt for the Red Army and for guerilla struggle in general. The Trotskyist International Secretariat had stated in September 1930 that the peasant detachments were 'necessarily restricted to a determined province and incapable of realising extensive centralised strategic operations'. A glaring contradiction was inflicted on them a few years later by the Long March of 10,000 km. during which four armies of partisans crossed a dozen provinces half the size of France, fighting again and again until they finally came back together in Shensi.
        Speaking of the Red Army in 1932, Trotsky formulated the prognosis that its eventual victory 'would signify a new defeat for the workers' and would give 'power to a new bourgeois clique' just

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    as 'in the old China, the victory of the peasant revolution ended in the creation of a new dynasty'. His criticism of the Red Army was that it was composed mainly of peasants and operated mainly from the countryside. His sociologism prevented his conceiving that the Chinese Communist Party might provide a proletarian leadership for a peasant movement.(91)
        After 1933, Trotsky and his Chinese supporters denounced the calls for a united anti-Japanese Front issued by the CCP and refused to oppose the steady conquest of China by Japan.
        In an article published in February 1933 in the journal 'La Lutte des classes', Trotsky attacked the Chinese Communist Party for its slogan of national revolutionary war against Japanese imperialism.(
    92) In his opinion such a slogan could only serve the interests of the Anglo-Franco-American imperialists. The communists should therefore have abstained from participation in the resistance against the Japanese invaders unless the latter also attacked the USSR.
        Trotsky did not understand that the difference between great imperialist powers and small nations gives the latter the right to exploit the contradictions between imperialisms in order to escape direct subjugation and oppression. On the contrary, Lenin, who denounced the two imperialist camps in the First World War as international robbers with conquest as their aim, at the same time justified the resistance of Serbia against whom the 'German bourgeoisie has carried out a rapacious war . . . to subjugate it and to stifle the national revolution of the Southern Slavs'.(93)
        In 1912, Lenin had acclaimed the victory of the Balkan countries over the Turkish Empire which made possible the national emancipation of many peoples, despite the fact that the conflicting parties were monarchies more or less in fief to the different imperialisms.(94)
        If this defence of national self-determination was justified before 1914, how much more must it have been in China when a powerful Communist Party could take the leadership of the war of resistance against Japan.(
    95) Trotsky did not understand that in certain conditions a secondary contradiction in principle can become a principal one in fact and relegate to a secondary level the principal contradiction of the previous stage. Thus in China during the Agrarian Revolutionary War from 1927 to 1936 the principal contradiction was between feudalism and the popular masses. In the following period the contradictions shifted as a result of Japan's invasion of China. Japanese imperialism and its Chinese allies came to constitute one of the poles of the principal contradiction, while the popular masses occupied the other. The contradictions between the classes in the Chinese nation then passed temporarily into a subordinate position, as did those between the Chinese people and the Anglo-American imperialists.(96)
        In a letter which the Trotskyists sent to the great writer Lu Hsun in order to win him over to their views, they wrote on 3 June 1936:

    Now the Reds' movement to conquer the country has failed. But the Chinese Communists who blindly take orders from the Moscow bureaucrats have adopted a 'New Policy'. They have made a 'volte-face', abandoned their class stand, issued declarations

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    and sent representatives to negotiate with the bureaucrats, politicians and warlords including those who slaughtered the masses, in order to form a 'united front' with them. They have put away their own banner and confused the people's minds, making the masses believe that all those bureaucrats, politicians and executioners are national revolutionaries who will resist Japan too. The result can only be to deliver the revolutionary masses into the hands of those executioners for further slaughter. These shameless acts of betrayal on the part of the Stalinists make all Chinese revolutionaries blush for shame.

    Lu Hsun replied in an open letter - this amongst other things:(97)

    Your 'theory' is certainly much loftier than that of Mao Tse-tung, yours is high in the sky while his is down to earth. But admirable as is such loftiness, it will unfortunately be just the thing welcomed by the Japanese aggressors. Hence I fear that when it drops down from the sky it will land on the filthiest place on earth.

    The testimony of Ch'en Tu-hsiu himself coincides with that of Lu Hsun. In 1938 he wrote an essay, a copy of which he sent to Trotsky. In it he stated: 'By their sectarian arrogance, their purely negative attitude towards Maoism and their insensitivity to the needs of the war against Japan, the Trotskyists were cutting themselves off from political realities.'(98)
        In 'Transitional programme' Trotsky declared that 'at the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War the Kremlin once again made the Communist Party the slave of Chiang Kai-shek, stifling in its cradle the revolutionary initiative of the Chinese proletariat'.
        In 1949, in the journal of the Fourth International, a leader of the Chinese section called for a fight against Mao Tse-tung, who would try to compromise with the bourgeoisie. On the same occasion, he announced the imminent triumph of Trotskyism in China.(99)
        One would have thought that, demonstrating the minimum of base-level empiricist realism of which they are capable, the Trotskyists would have tried to draw some lessons from their total failure on the theoretical and practical level in China. One might have hoped that they would revise their assessments, so often contradicted by the facts. But no. In his last work, 'The Unfinished Revolution',(100) Deutscher wonders (p. 85) whether the strategy of encirclement of the towns by the countryside was a stroke of genius:

    Or was it, perhaps, an adventurer's desperate gamble? Its eventual success makes it appear to have been the former. But . . . in truth, Mao's strategy needed for its success an extra-ordinary combination or coincidence of circumstances, such as he neither foresaw nor could have foreseen . . . Normally, in our epoch - and this has been so even in undeveloped China - the town dominates the country economically, administratively and militarily to such an extent that attempts to carry the revolution from country to town are doomed beforehand.

    Thus, all the experience of the world revolutionary movement for the last forty years is declared null and void for reasons of principle! For the revolution does not triumph 'normally'. Lenin showed that for it to do so there had to be a combination of exceptional circumstances and Mao has done the same in explaining why the Red Bases were able to hold out in China. The role of the revolutionary

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    leadership consists precisely of isolating the laws which govern this 'exception'.
        The disdain which he displays for the Maoists did not prevent Deutscher from regarding the transition to socialism in China as one of 'Trotsky's posthumous triumphs'.(
    101) But given Trotsky's firm condemnation of Maoism as a peasant perversion of Marxism, 'to give the impression that he would have saluted Mao's victory as a confirmation of his prognosis, is to accord to him prophetic triumphs at the expense of his intellectual integrity'.(102)


    The Trotskyists' theses on the Chinese revolution, having been taken up admiringly by bourgeois journalists and historians figure as historical truths by dint of repetition. So much and so well that no one any longer dreams of asking for proof from these zealous propagandists who disguise an elementary and visceral anti-communism beneath the appearance of a dubious historical erudition.
        Hélène Carrère d'Encausse and Stuart Schram assure us that Stalin 'sacrificed the Chinese revolution to the security of Russia's frontiers',(
    103) which is precisely the Trotskyist interpretation. These two historians are not content to analyse verifiable facts but indulge in a strange psychoanalysis of Stalin, imputing to him hidden motives and counter-revolutionary intentions which they would be at a loss to support with documentary proof. They elevate intention into a method of historical investigation. They write:(104)

    In Asia, the policy adopted by Moscow beginning in 1947 was a policy of armed uprising by the workers and peasants, directed not only against the colonial powers, but also against the local bourgeoisie. Such a line, by which the Communist Parties and the numerically small groups under their influence cut themselves off from the struggles of the Asian peoples for their independence, could only lead to failure. It thus had the great advantage for Stalin of allowing him to be revolutionary and intransigent in words, without running any great risks of fostering a situation in Asia that might disturb his own tranquillity.

    The authors go in for speculative psychology while presenting a simplistic version of history. The Telengana uprising, for example, was not by any means aimed at the Indian bourgeoisie but at a caste of landlords.
        It will have been noticed that they affect to criticise Stalin from the point of view of the interests of the world revolution. Coming from them, such an argument might arouse ironic reactions, but it is cunning. An instigator of revolution, Stalin is at the same time a counter-revolutionary. Whatever he does he is wrong. If he gives 'counsels of prudence' he is accused of trying 'to halt' the revolution.(105) If he calls for an uprising he is sending communists to their deaths. If he says nothing he is indifferent to the movement. Nothing could invalidate this 'hermeneutic reading' of history in which the 'a priori' interpretation not only assigns a meaning to certain facts but produces that of others (Stalin's motives). We owe it to ourselves, however, to call attention to

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    this strange method which a little later leads the authors to accuse the Chinese of racism because they condemned the American intervention in the Lebanon in 1958.(106)
        When such eminent specialists write this kind of history we are tempted to be indulgent towards the thoughtlessness of certain Trotskyite theoreticians who, confident in their prefabricated schemata, easily give way to the temptation to write 'de omni re scibili'. We extract a passage from an article by Pierre Naville (who has also devoted a whole book to China) which might have been written especially for us:(107)

    Until 1945, Chiang Kai-shek operated from his bases in Yunan (Chungking) . . . Mao and the Communists restricted themselves to protecting the shifting frontiers of their north-western bases. Their material weaknesses made major offensive operations against Manchuria and Peking impossible . . . On the other hand, the USSR needed the neutrality of Japan to hold the Western Front against Germany; Mao was dissuaded from anything which might unleash operations which would have brought the Japanese forces as far as Lake Baïkal.

    Such a text presents us with an 'embarras de richesses', as Marx said. Chungking is the capital of Szechwan and not of Yunan. Mao and the Communists did not restrict themselves to protecting the frontiers of their bases in the north-west. They liberated vast regions with a population of 86 million. At the end of the war, the Japanese in northern China controlled only the towns and the main lines of communication. Communist armies numbering 900,000 men were operating in their rear and inflicting considerable losses. Lastly, thanks to Sorge, the famous spy, the USSR knew from the beginning of the war that it had nothing to fear from Japan whose hands were kept full by the Chinese communists and who were confronting a formidable enemy in the Pacific. The automatism which sees Stalin's hand everywhere sacrificing the revolution to the security of the USSR here appears as a real tic. For a less prejudiced mind the Japanese would have been all the less inclined to open a new front in Siberia in that their rear would be all the more under attack from the Chinese communists, but the Trotskyists have reasons that reason does not know. And why did Stalin need to dissuade Mao from an enterprise for which he did not have sufficient strength? Naville would find it very difficult to provide the slightest indication (not to speak of proof) to support his assertion that the USSR 'dissuaded Mao' from launching an offensive. It is not a known fact but a deduced 'fact'. Stalin must have acted so to conform to Naville's idea of him. We can apply to Naville, as to all Trotskyists, Voltaire's ironic addition to Pico della Mirandola's motto: 'de omni re scibili, et quibusdam aliis.' They can hold forth on all things that are knowable and several others besides.
        When composing the first version of this work, we thought that it was superfluous to comment, even ironically, on Dominique Desanti's 'L'Internationale communiste' (Payot, 1970). We thought that enlightened critics would speedily expose this collection of contrived anecdotes drawn from who knows where. Wrong! Supposedly serious journals have spoken well of it and experience proves, alas, that pretentious ignorance can deceive, especially if it is helped by a lively pen and cunning advertising.

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        Mme Desanti's anti-Stalinist passion plus her dislike of patient historical investigation have made her a willing dupe of the Trotskyist schemas. Without wishing to harp on her ignorance it does not take us too far out of our way to present a few of the finest pearls curiously passed over in silence by the specialist scholars of the bourgeois press.
        Our Clio does not perhaps take Piraeus for a man like La Fontaine's ape, but she does take Wuhan for a province (p. 149) and the Fourth of May Movement (1919) for an organisation. The latter is supposed to have controlled a journal called 'New Youth', 'created', it seems, on the same day (p. 133). Actually this journal had appeared since 1915 and had contributed to the penetration of revolutionary ideas among the student youth whose anti-imperialist demonstrations launched what has been called the 'Fourth of May Movement', analogous in certain respects to the movement of May-June 1968.
        Further on Mme Desanti tells us that 'as early as 1919, the Chinese emigrés in France . . . had formed a Communist Party . . . Chou En-lai and Chu Teh were among the founders of the Party in exile.' (p. 134) The truth is a little different. The 'Chinese Socialist Youth Group' was constituted in Paris in 1921. In the following year it became the 'French branch of the Chinese Communist Party'. As for Chu Teh, he joined the CCP in Berlin in 1922. He was not a founder-member.
        According to Mme Desanti, 'Li Tao-chao' (sic) was 'strangled by a brigand leader the Kuomintang was not to disown' (pp. 134-44). In fact, Li Ta-chao was arrested in the Soviet embassy in Peking after a search ordered by Marshall Chang Tso-lin, the master of Manchuria since 1911 and in 1927 of Peking. The Marshall was by no means dependent on the Kuomintang and was more of a statesman than a brigand leader.
        These are, so to speak, disinterested mistakes. There are others which are less innocent. The latter show the influence of the Trotskyists, the main purveyors of anti-Stalinist slanders for forty-five years. Mme Desanti writes, for example: 'At the 7th Plenum of the Communist International, T'an P'ing-shan, the instigator of the Chinese agrarian revolts, proposed that the Chinese Party should continue to support the insurrectionary peasants. A telegram from Stalin decided the opposite' (p. 150). It is strange that Stalin should telegraph from Moscow to a Plenum which was meeting in Moscow and in which he took part! Anyway, not only was T'an P'ing-shan a notorious rightist, not the 'instigator of the agrarian revolts' but as Wang Ching-wei's Minister of Agriculture he intervened after the bloody incident at Changsha on 21 May 1927 to dissuade the peasant militia from responding. Mme Desanti summarises a point from Trotsky's intervention before the 8th Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International in the following terms: 'The Chinese Communist Party should be made to leave the Kuomintang immediately! What can one hope for from Chiang?' (p. 151) . If our historian had taken the trouble to read Trotsky's speech, she would have seen that he denied having called for the withdrawal of the communists from the Kuomintang (cf. Chapter 5, above, and n. 41 in that Chapter). 'One must have a good memory after one has lied' (Corneille). Let down by hers, Mme

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    Desanti muddles up her chronology. At the end of May 1927, there could have been no question of an alliance except with the left Kuomintang which was hostile to Chiang.
        Although Mme Desanti faithfully echoes Trotsky's falsifications, we cannot deny her a certain originality, for she ornaments them with blunders of her own making. Consider this one for example: (p. 156)

    The International which, through Neumann, Stalin's special envoy, had unleashed the (Canton) insurrection against the advice of the Chinese communists, then made the Chinese responsible for the insurrection. Ch'en Tu-hsiu, the Chairman of the Party, served as a scapegoat. When he defended himself he was expelled.

    Not only can our author not provide the least indication that the Canton insurrection was decided against the advice of the Chinese communists (we defy her to), but she is also grossly mistaken about the facts. Ch'en Tu-hsiu was not relieved of his functions as General Secretary of the Party (he was not its chairman) and expelled from the Central Committee after 11 December 1927, but at the session of the Central Committee held on 7 August 1927, therefore four months before the Canton Commune. He could not be held responsible for its defeat and never has been.
        One of the most extravagant pronouncements in Mme Desanti's book concerns Mao. He 'elaborated a totally new action without ever theorising it: the theory was only established after victory' (p. 156). Let us simply point out that the four volumes of the 'Selected Works', where the results of his effort at theoretical systematisation are recorded, do not start in 1949 but come to an end at that date!
        The fact that the critics have not noticed such enormous blunders speaks volumes for the favourable bias they have towards those who attack Stalin.

    The case which we are now going to examine must be dealt with separately, for it concerns an honest journalist who has been all the more easily taken in by the Trotskyist version of history since the latter has never been seriously refuted.
        According to Trotsky, 'the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party only served as a mechanism fated to transmit the instructions' of the International. (
    108) In 'China. The Other Communism', K. S. Karol informs us that 'several Western historians have tried to establish more accurately to what degree even secondary decisions were dictated by Moscow'.(109)
        The author does not seem at all suspicious that these historians (like Trotsky) might not have been prompted solely by the love of the truth. He himself has the merit of frankness if not of discernment. He does not hide from us that, according to him, 'the most impartial account of the part played by the Chinese affair in the duel between the Stalinists and the Trotskyists is provided by Deutscher . . . (who) . . . avoids glorifying the insight of either of the protagonists'.(110)
        Let us open 'The Prophet Unarmed' at p. 330. There we read the following judgment of Trotsky's interventions in the polemics on China: 'His analyses of the situation were of crystalline clarity;

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    his prognostications were faultless; and his warnings were like mighty alarm-bells.'
        While one of the protagonists is thus dithyrambically glorified, correlatively the other is literally dragged in the mud in this highly 'impartial' account, which relies, in fact, solely on 'Trotskyist sources' (Trotsky, Ch'en Tu-hsiu, Harold Isaacs), without the slightest attempt at an historical critique.
        Karol offers us a rehash of this hotch-potch of old polemics, embellished, it is true, by an original and fairly surprising summary of Stalin's positions. We shall refrain from discussing this last point, for although we must take into account his influence as a journalist, we do not have to take him seriously as a theoretician.
        Karol asserts that the Chinese falsify their own history like the Soviet Union is supposed to have done in Stalin's time. Therefore he enquires into the effects which de-Maoisation will inevitably produce after Mao's death when the Chinese discover their true past. At first sight, Karol provides many proofs of this falsification but it is advisable to look into them more closely.
        For example, he dedicates a chapter to suggesting the idea that Ch'u Ch'iu-pai, whom he presents as a crypto-Trotskyist, fundamentally disagreed with the Maoist strategy of the encirclement of the towns by the countryside and that this was the reason why he did not follow the Red Army at the time of the Long March but withdrew to Shanghai where, side by side with Lu Hsun, he returned to a purely cultural struggle. All this is in order to explain why the Chinese Communist Party 'simply decided that he should be handed down to posterity in his character of Marxist literary critic, friend of Lu Hsun and victim of the Kuomintang'.(111) According to Karol, the Chinese communists deliberately hide from the masses that Ch'u Ch'iu-pai had been a party leader and even its General Secretary for nearly a year. They have 'officially confined him to the literary domain'.(112)
        This is entirely false. What Karol says does not correspond to history as it is taught in China.(
    113) Furthermore, he who claims to teach the truth to the Chinese is wrong with regard to Ch'u Ch'iu-pai's biography. To demonstrate this, we cannot do better than to reproduce the note which is dedicated to the latter in 'Resolution on questions of party history', published as an appendix to 'Our Study and the Current Situation' by Mao Tse-tung in the 1961 English edition of his 'Selected Works':(114)

    Comrade Ch'u Ch'iu-pai, one of the earliest members and leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, was elected to the Central Committee at the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th National Congresses of the Party in the years 1923-8. During the First Revolutionary Civil War he actively fought against the anti-Communist, anti-popular 'Tai Ch'i-tao doctrine' of the Kuomintang's right-wing and against the right opportunism represented by Ch'en Tu-hsiu in the Chinese Communist Party. After the Kuomintang's betrayal of the revolution in 1927, he called the emergency meeting of the Central Committee of the Party on 7 August which ended the domination of Ch'en Tu Hsiuism in the Party. But from the winter of 1927 to the spring of 1928, while directing the work of the Central leading body, he committed the 'left' error of putschism.

    page 156

    In September 1930 he conducted the 3rd Plenary Session of the 6th Central Committee of the party, which put an end to the Li Li-san line that was harming the party. However, at the 4th Plenary Session of the 6th Central Committee in January 1931, he was attacked by the 'left' dogmatists and factionalists and was pushed out of the central leading body. From that time to 1933 he worked in the revolutionary cultural movement in Shanghai in co-operation with Lu Hsun. In 1933 he arrived in the Red base area in Kiangsi and was made Commissioner of People's Education in the Workers' and Peasants' Democratic Central Government. When the main forces of the Red Army embarked on the Long March, he was asked to stay behind in the Kiangsi base area. In March 1935 Comrade Ch'u Ch'iu-pai was arrested by the Chiang Kai-shek gang in the Fukien guerilla area and on 18 June he died a martyr's death in Changking, Fukien Province.

    We see to what extent Karol's speculations and insinuations are gratuitous - he did not take the trouble to carry out the necessary checks before imputing to the Chinese communists the decision to transform a slightly 'leftist' leader of the Chinese Communist Party into a mere literary critic.
        Our journalist has written a book of 480 pages, 110 of which are on 'Their history as they (the Chinese) see it today', to which he opposes True History. We have shown his ignorance of both. The absorption of uncriticised Trotskyist schemas makes one inapt for study, as it engenders the euphoric illusion that one can do without it.
        According to Karol, 'the great weakness of the Chinese system of history lies in its attachment to falsifications of the history of the workers' movement imposed by Stalin.'(
    115) We ask: how can those who reproduce Trotskyist falsifications be qualified to denounce Stalin's falsifications?
        One point in conclusion. We have just criticised one chapter of one book of Karol's. This author is not inspired by a systematically anti-Maoist 'parti pris', as is shown by his brilliant exposition of Chinese international policy in 'Le Nouvel observateur' on 28 September 1970 and by the conclusion to his last book on Cuba. The tone of this refutation may thus seem violent.
        Let us make ourselves clear: wishing to illustrate the insidious influence of Trotskyist historiography in general, we could not find a more conclusive example of the damage it does than that of a journalist whose independence of judgment and progressive attitude are beyond doubt. Deceived himself, he contributes to the deception of others. We cannot treat this as a crime of Karol's when genuine revolutionaries linked to the masses like those who publish 'Lotta Continua' convey the same falsifications in an article entitled 'La Cina venti anni doppo' (15 October 1970) in which, however, they do not hide their enthusiasm for the cultural revolution, the universal lessons of which they emphasise. Karol can consider himself in good company politically, all the more in that Jean Baby, too, adopted the Trotskyist version of history in his book on the Sino-Soviet dispute (pp. 251-2), but he had admitted his mistake in a conversation with the author of this text.

    Chapter 7


    The history of the Greek communist movement over the last thirty years shows strikingly how true it is that it is necessary to investigate the internal factors which determined the constant predominance of opportunist tendencies in the leadership rather than to fall back on the explanatory master-key - Stalin. The 'internal' Greek Communist Party no longer acknowledges the authority of the CPSU and has condemned the intervention in Czechoslovakia. It is clear that in daring to preach the peaceful road to socialism and opposing armed struggle, putting it off until that blue moon, the 'last resort', as if the hour of the last resort had not struck long ago, Mr Theodorakis has no need to receive orders from the Kremlin or to come under its influence to be an opportunist.
        The following text consists of selections from a work in preparation on Greece. We begin with the British intervention in 1944.


    In three years (1941-5) the Greek communists, already few in number, hunted and exterminated before the war by the fascist Metaxas regime, had successfully established a formidable military force (the ELAS) and liberated large areas. When the occupying forces withdrew from the country power lay within their reach. They did not seize it. Intimidated by the power of Britain, anxious to avoid a trial of strength, deluded about the democratic professions of faith of the English, and aware of the immense popularity of the 'National Liberation Front' (EAM) which they led, they hoped to accede to power by the 'normal' wide and level road and to economise on the 'Long March' via the precipitous maths of protracted war; the wide road led them to the precipice. That is why they signed the Lebanon agreement, the terms of which gave some EAM personalities unimportant portfolios in the Papandreou cabinet, and the Caserta agreement which made the British General Scobie commander-in-chief of the Resistance forces!

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    The communists knew - or should have known - that on the day of liberation the English would turn against the Greek people to enforce on that people an 'order' consistent with their interests. They would then become the principal enemy of these over-protective allies. On 22 September 1943, Aris Velouchiotis, a member of the ruling triumvirate of ELAS, wrote a letter to the Political Bureau of the Communist Party about the British plans:

    If they win, they will impose a fascist regime under another name . . . At the moment, after the loss of Italy and the course of operations in the Soviet Union, they are sure the Germans will leave Greece themselves: therefore, if they land here it will be against us.

    Aris, who had seen the agents from London at work, had correctly appraised their aims. He was unaware, however, of Churchill's telegram to General Ismey in September 1943 in which it was said: 'Should the Germans evacuate Greece we must certainly be able to send 5,000 British troops with armoured cars into Athens', because, we read in the British leader's 'History', 'the chances of a German evacuation of the Balkans increased, and with them the possibilities of a return of the Royal Government, with British support'.(1) On 6 August 1944, Churchill wrote to Eden: 'Either we support Papandreou, if necessary with force, as we have agreed, or we disinterest ourselves utterly in Greece'.(2) In his 'History', he notes, also in August:(3)

    I had asked the Chief of the Imperial General Staff to work out the details of a British expedition to Greece in case the Germans there collapsed . . . It is most desirable to strike out of the blue . . . to forestall the EAM . . . The tardy German withdrawal from Athens enabled us however to consolidate the direction of Greek affairs on the eve of the decision stroke. I was glad that the Greek Government was now at hand in Italy.

    Now communists participated in what Churchill himself presented as a puppet government! They were not unaware, however, of the secret negotiations between the New Zealand lieutenant, Don Stott, and the German occupation authorities. They knew that, in fact, many collaborators were agents of the Intelligence Service and were slaughtering members of the Resistance with its blessing. After an operation one of them wrote in his report: 'Our losses - one German!' As a reward he was appointed deputy commander of the Athens Cadet School by General Scobie.
        A superabundance of documentation makes it possible to accuse the British Middle East Headquarters of complicity with the enemy in the interests of preparations to crush the Greek Resistance.
        In order to intervene in Greece, Churchill got the go-ahead from the USA. Roosevelt wrote to him:(

    I have no objection to your making preparations to have in readiness a sufficient British force to preserve order in Greece when the Germans evacuate the country. There is also no objection to the use by General Wilson of American transport planes that are available to him at that time and that can be spared from his other operations.

    The British troops landed in Greece only with extreme care as they

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    did not want to clash with the Germans. There was an interval of several days between the arrival of the ones and the departure of the others, in which, despite the proclaimed apprehension of the Anglo-Saxon leaders, there was no disorder to deplore other than the fact that, for once, the people were their own masters. If we are to believe Churchill, there was a 'vacuum' which had to be filled as fast as possible, since imperialism abhors a vacuum. The first British troops did not exceed 6,000 men and ELAS, which had 50,000 in its regular army and 100,000 in the people's militia ('politophilaki') could have surrounded these belated 'liberators' and sent them packing as Tito did. There was nothing in the balance of forces which compelled EAM-ELAS, which had taken power in October, to hand it over to the British and the puppet Papandreou. The latter conceded this himself with astonishment. At the trial of the Security Batallions (the puppet army raised by the Germans to fight the Resistance) another enemy of EAM-ELAS, Pyromaglou (second in command to Zervas, leader of the EDES maquis which was financed by the British) declared: 'I am certain of this, that EAM could have seized power three days after the Liberation but, however, failed to do so'. Let us add that when its 'allies' entered Athens on 14 October, it even encouraged the people to give them an enthusiastic welcome instead of explaining to them why they had come with tanks and cannons and what enemy these arms were directed against.(5)

    When we see the other fellow holding something in his hand, we should do some investigating. What does he hold in his hand? Swords. What are swords made for? For killing. Whom does he want to kill with his swords? The people. Having made these findings, investigate further - the Chinese people too have hands and can take up swords, they can forge a sword if there is none handy . . . Some of us neglect such investigation and study. Ch'en Tu-hsiu, for example, did not understand that with swords one can kill people. Some say that this is a plain, everyday truth; how can a leader of the Communist Party fail to know it? But you can never tell.

    The Greek left paid with rivers of blood for its ignorance of this 'plain, everyday truth'.
        Under the guise of a sham friendliness the new occupying forces methodically forged the links which were to bring the Greek people back under foreign tutelage. The English officers in charge of the camps in which the men from the Security Batallions were interned allowed them to keep their arms and instructed them in handling modern weapons, foreseeing their use against ELAS. The latter, who had captured them in bitter fighting, handed them over to the custody of the English military attaches when the latter demanded. The collaborators were not harassed. Those who had assumed high responsibilities were lodged comfortably in the Averoff prison - to safeguard them from any acts of vengeance by their victims pending better days. The police and the gendarmerie, guilty of so many crimes, were left untouched. On the other hand, Papandreou and his bosses were in haste to disarm ELAS. This was a difficult and risky enterprise which required considerable reinforcement of the British expeditionary force and therefore certain delays.
        On 7 November Churchill wrote to Eden:(

    Having paid the price we have to Russia for freedom of action in

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    Greece, we should not hesitate to use British troops to support the Royal Hellenic Government under M. Papandreou . . . This implies that British troops should certainly intervene to check acts of lawlessness. Surely M. Papandreou can close down EAM newspapers if they call a newspaper strike (?) . . . I hope that the Greek Brigade will arrive soon, and will not hesitate to shoot when necessary . . . we need another eight or ten thousand foot-soldiers to hold the capital and Salonika . . . I fully expect a clash with EAM and we must not shrink from it, provided the ground is well-chosen.

    The brigade Churchill refers to was composed of the soldiers and officers with proved Royalist convictions, the remnants left by the terrible purge carried out by the 'X'ite General Ventiris of the Greek Army of the Middle East.(7) This brigade was thus a veritable Praetorian Guard and in the circumstances its despatch to Greece constituted a definite provocation. The passage from Churchill we have just quoted leaves no room for doubt about this. The brigade arrived on 10 November. On 13 November, Papandreou summoned Othoneos (commander-in-chief of the future Greek Army) to General Scobie's office. Scobie presumed to dictate to Othoneos his choice of staff officers. He was particularly opposed to Saraphis becoming chief and wanted to impose Ventiris. Othoneos denied that Scobie had any right to involve himself in the organisation and command of the Greek Army. After a series of more or less acid exchanges, Papandreou forced him to resign, not bothering to consult his Ministers.
        It was the first clear sign that the British did not want the peaceful integration of ELAS into the National Army, but its elimination pure and simple. They were actively preparing for a trial of strength and now moved the traitors of the Security Batallions to Italy where they were immediately integrated into units of the Mountain Brigade and returned to Greece in this disguise'
        After the defeat of Othoneos who had been appointed unanimously by the Council of Ministers and dismissed under British pressure, on 27 November EAM submitted a plan to Papandreou recommending the mobilisation of a corp of the National Army comprising the Mountain Brigade, 'the Holy Column' (a unit composed of Royalist officers), units of EDES and a Brigade from ELAS equal in strength and arms to the other forces combined. Papandreou found this 'reasonable' and gave his consent; but on the following day he published a text which totally falsified this part of the agreement. EAM then made a last attempt to find a solution. A proposal was made to the Council of Ministers that ELAS, EDES and the Mountain Brigade should be simultaneously dissolved. Papandreou refused and began to make threats, declaring, 'I hope that the CPG will not push the country into civil war'. According to his own memoirs the break with EAM dates from that day. By rejecting out of hand all the plans which the left put to him he made the confrontation inevitable, in accordance with the orders which he was receiving from Ambassador Sir Reginald Leeper and General Scobie. The latter issued a proclamation notifying ELAS of an order to dissolve itself before 10 December; as a result the EAM Ministers resigned. On 2 December Papandreou, who was no longer the head of a national unity

    page 161

    government and drew his authority only from the confidence of a perjured king and the support of foreign troops, repeated Scobie's proclamation on his own account and ordered the people's militia to surrender their arms to the police of the fascists and traitors. As the EAM newspaper pointed out, to have given in to this order would have meant surrendering the people to their executioners. On 3 November EAM called a successful general strike. An enormous (authorised) demonstration proceeded through the streets. Just as the crowd was approaching the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior the police opened fire,(8)) killing twenty-eight people and wounding more than 100.(9)

    According to the declarations made by the journalist Liland Stow on New York Radio, the American journalist F. Fontor, a correspondent of the 'Chicago Sun', had tried twice some weeks earlier to alert world public opinion about what was being concocted. He asserted that the extreme right would try to provoke a bloody clash which would enable Scobie to declare martial law. British censorship twice prevented him from sending this warning to his newspaper.

    On the following day several hundred thousand citizens attended the funerals of those killed. On the return route members of the 'X' organisation of sinister memory fired on the demonstrators creating new victims. The calm displayed by the crowd in the face of such provocations did not deter Scobie from declaring martial law on the same day, 4 December, or from calling on ELAS to withdraw from Athens within forty-eight hours. Then began the trial of strength which Churchill had long awaited. The people's militia and small units of ELAS attacked police stations and the den of the 'X' organisation. The members of the latter were rescued 'in extremis' thanks to the intervention of British tanks. In the evening Papandreou resigned. Scobie approached Sophoulis and EAM hastily declared that it would support a government formed by the liberal leader. This proves that, until the last minute, the left clung to the slightest chance of a peaceful settlement. Nevertheless, Sophoulis declined and Leeper persuaded Papandreou to withdraw his resignation.
        On 5 December at four o'clock in the morning, Churchill telegraphed to Scobie:(

    You may make any regulations you like for the strict control of the streets or for the rounding up of any number of truculent persons. Naturally ELAS will try to put women and children in the van where shooting may occur. You must be clever about this and avoid mistakes. But do not hesitate to fire at any armed male in Athens who assails the British authority or Greek authority with which we are working. It would be well of course if your command were reinforced by the authority of some Greek Government, and Papandreou is being told by Leeper to stop and help. Do not however hesitate to act as if you were in a conquered city where a local rebellion is in progress.

    The English had 35,000 men at their disposal and faced 8,000 ELAS men supported by the people's militia armed with old rifles. Most of the ELAS troops were in the north of Greece and were not to intervene in the conflict. Its military leaders, Aris Velouchiotis and Saraphis, received the order to attack the EDES army (at

    page 162

    Epiras), which they destroyed in a few days. However, the decisive battle took place in the Athens-Piraeus built-up area. In his book Saraphis says that as the lines of communication were destroyed the ELAS troops could not get to Athens in time. This explanation is hardly sufficient. In fact, the EAM leadership, forced to fight, had by no means decided to carry the struggle through to the end. On 8, 10, 14 and 18 December it made very conciliatory overtures of peace to Scobie, which met with demands for surrender pure and simple. Referring to these peace offers, Churchill telegraphed to Scobie, 'The clear objective is the defeat of EAM. The ending of the fighting is subsidiary to this'. At this time, however, ELAS gained the advantage, driving the British back into a narrow area comprising the vicinity of Syntagma Square and the 'high-class' Colonaki district.
        On 11 December Field-marshal Alexander landed at Helleniko Airport, accompanied by Macmillan, Eden's right-hand man. He telegraphed to Churchill that to him a negotiated settlement appeared to be indispensable. In reply, he received the order to summon reinforcements from Italy. At the very moment that the Ardennes counter-offensive meant that the Anglo-Saxons were losing thousands of prisoners and considerable equipment; that Brussels and perhaps Antwerp were threatened, 1,650 transport planes (mostly American) landed two new British divisions and several colonial infantry units near Athens.
        Churchill wrote:(

    We were engaged in house-to-house combat with an enemy of whom at least four-fifths were in plain clothes . . . Alexander . . . asked for stern measures against the rebels and permission to bomb areas inside Athens. On 12 December the War Cabinet gave Alexander a free hand in all military measures. The fourth British Division's arrival . . . turned the scale.

    This optimism was premature and in fact further on we read:(12)

    Field-marshal Alexander to Prime Minister 15th December 1944 I fear if rebel resistance continues at the same intensity as at present I shall have to send further large reinforcements from the Italian front to make sure of clearing the whole of Piraeus- Athens.

        Prime Minister to Field-marshal Alexander 17th December 1944[:]
        The ELAS towards the centre of Athens seems to me a very serious feature, and I should like your appreciation of whether, with the reinforcements now arriving, we are likely to hold our own in the centre of the city and defeat the enemy. Have you any other reinforcements in view besides the Fourth Division, the Tank Regiment, and the two remaining brigades of the Forty-Sixth Division? Is there now any danger of a mass surrender of British troops cooped up in the city of Athens?

        Field-marshal Alexander to Prime Minister 21st December 1944[:]
        I estimate that it will be possible to clear the Athens- Piraeus area and thereafter to hold it securely, but this will not defeat ELAS and force them to surrender. We are not strong enough to go beyond this . . . During the German occupation they maintained between six and seven divisions on the mainland, in addition to the equivalent of four in the Greek islands. Even so they were unable to keep their communications open all the time,

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    and I doubt if we will meet less strength and determination than they encountered.

    On 24 December Churchill flew to Athens, making his entry in an armoured car. He appointed Archbishop Damaskinos Regent and to ingratiate himself with public opinion he organised a round-table conference to which representatives of EAM were invited. The latter agreed to negotiate on an equal footing with politicians among whom some were old collaborators, while others were totally unaware of the new Greek realities, e.g. General Plastiras, whom the English had just brought over from the Côte d'Azur to be Prime Minister. While not making the withdrawal of the foreign forces a preliminary demand, EAM's proposals signified in substance a sharing of power between the left and right. They were rejected without discussion by the allies of the British and the fighting continued.
        Once more, EAM mistakenly believed that it could win a political victory without throwing all its forces into the military battle. Its fighters faced the British air force, armoured cars and artillery with nothing but light arms. They won some initial successes but dispersed their efforts and did not exploit their advantage to the utmost so as to leave the British insufficient time to recover and bring in reinforcements. Their struggle by no means slackened, however. They even succeeded in capturing the HQ of the RAF, taking nearly 600 prisoners. They began to get over their initial lack of experience in street fighting and devised suitable tactics to neutralise the enemy's superiority in war material. This was the moment that EAM-ELAS chose to give the order to evacuate Athens.
        ELAS withdrew from Athens on the night of 4/5 January. An armistice ensued on 15 January. After ten days of negotiations EAM-ELAS signed the Varkiza agreement on 12 February, under the terms of which it surrendered its arms. In return it did not get any serious guarantees safeguarding democratic freedoms. This was an unprincipled surrender. It handed the Greek patriots over bound and gagged to the revenge of the fascist trash who, mouthing nothing but words like 'nation' and 'country' had sold out their country ten times over. The army which the people built with their blood was dismantled.
        Such an outcome was in no way imposed by the balance of forces, as can be seen if one considers the following facts:

        - With the war continuing in Europe and the Middle East, the English were only able to divert limited resources to subjugate Greece.
        - The forces which ELAS conserved intact in the provinces were of such importance that Field-marshal Alexander did not think that it was possible to guarantee the control of the country.
        - The Soviet Union and communists throughout the world were still the allies of the Western powers. The propaganda campaign to prepare public opinion for an anti-communist crusade had not yet been launched. Thus the British intervention was denounced by the world press. Even in England it was condemned by an enormous majority at the Trades Union Conference. The MP Strindberg declared in the House of Commons: 'We are not confronted by a civil war . . . the great majority of the Greek people are on one side and a few Quislings and Royalists supported by British bayonets are on the other.'

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        Roosevelt had to warn Churchill that 'public opinion did not allow him to take (his) side completely in the present conjuncture in Greece'. His Foreign Secretary, Stettinius, went further and made a statement calling for a policy of hands off. In fact, the USA both openly and secretly opposed the re-establishment of the old established powers' colonial or semi-colonial reserves, intending to take their place.
        The isolation of the British imperialists who were 'right too soon' did not mean that it was possible to throw them into the sea immediately. One of the weaknesses of the Greek communists was that they never conceived their tasks in the struggle as inscribed in the framework of a protracted war. Another and even more fundamental mistake was their serious underestimation of the power of the people and overestimation of the reactionaries. Lastly, they did not understand that by losing the army the people lost everything.
        At its 8th Congress the Communist Party criticised the mistakes made in the Resistance and post-war periods. This critique unilaterally stressed the 'left-wing' mistakes and quickly passed over the right-wing opportunist mistakes. This led Zissis Zographos, a member of the Politbureau, to speak of the December 'defeat' which had 'forced' the EAM and the Communist Party to sign the Varkiza agreement.(13)


    The British intervention was a warning shot to the Resistance movements in Western Europe. (14) After the Germans' departure they would have to stand aside for new representatives of the powers of money to take over and for order to be re-established. An order which was already being described as pregnant with a Third World War after having given birth to the First and the Second.
        The partisans in France and Italy surrendered their arms. In return the PCF was given some posts in the government from which it was ejected by the 'socialist' Ramadier on 4 May 1947, when the reaction no longer needed 'communist' Ministers to keep the social peace, put France back to work and warn of the unleashing of the Indo-China War.
        In Greece, Aris Velouchiotis, who had warned his party against the firm intention of the British to eliminate EAM-ELAS, tried to maintain the people's army, for 'without the people's army, the people has nothing' (Mao). Expelled from his party and abandoned by all, he wandered from mountain to mountain for some time and finally fell in an obscure skirmish. According to testimony gathered by Dominique Eudes ('The Kapetanios'), Aris was 'betrayed' by the Communist Party leaders.
        Having surrendered their arms, the left forces and in particular the CPG believed - not without some naïvité - that in return they would be granted (as the Varkiza agreement stipulated) the democratic rights for which the British government shows so much respect at home. The communists even went so far as to envisage seriously the possibility of a peaceful transition to a people's democracy and socialism.
        An article in 'Revue communiste' by Yanni Zevgou in August 1945

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    anticipated Khrushchev's argument at the 20th Congress: thus it was reproduced in the April-May 1966 issue of the EDA paper, 'The Greek Left'. The author - a member of the CPG leadership - attributed a prodigious efficacy to the example of the Soviet Union which, he said, attracted peoples like an 'enormous magnet'. He maintained that decisive changes had occurred in the balance of forces both internally and at the international level, without explaining, however - and for good reason' - how these changes should prevent the anti-communists from resorting to violence in Greece, as they were doing at that very moment. He spoke of the 'democratic, evolutionary road to socialism' and recalled that the Bolshevik Party took power in Russia 'when it had won a majority in the All-Russian Congress of Soviets . . . that is, a majority of the Russian people'. Winning the majority was also the objective he set for his party, whose current slogan he quoted in conclusion: 'Unity - Order - Calm - Labour - Reconstruction - Culture'.
        Zevgou's article ignores both Marxist-Leninist principles and the Greek realities of that time.
        On 5 June the leaders of the Centre Parties, Souphoulis (Prime Minister), Kaphandaris, Tsuderos
    (the old Prime Minister in the Royal Government at Cairo) and Plastiras (the temporary successor whom the British had provided for Papandreou), signed a note containing the following statements:(15)

    The terror established throughout the country after the December events by the extreme-right is increasing daily. The way in which it has developed and spread has made the life of non-Royalist citizens impossible and excludes even the idea that we can proceed to a free plebiscite or elections. Right-wing terrorist organisations the main one of which were partly armed by the Germans and collaborated with them in every way were not only neither disarmed nor prosecuted but even rallied openly to the agents of order with the intention of completely stifling all democratic thought.

    When we recall that the men in the Security Batallions were enrolled in the 'National Guard' (the future Greek Army) and the officers of which were chosen by a British military commission, it is not so surprising that the 'agents of order' should take such an attitude. As for the police and the gendarmerie, they remained what they had been under Metaxas and the occupation.
        Another demonstration of the CPG's opportunism is the resolution passed by the 12th Plenum of the Central Committee in June 1945. The text called for 'the immediate intervention of our three great friends' to impose the application of the Yalta agreements in Greece. To be sure, the latter provided for the eradication of fascism, the punishment of collaborators and guaranteed a democratic development of the liberated countries; but was it necessary to raise to the rank of a friend of the Greek people those whose planes had strafed districts of Athens and whose troops were subjecting this people to a second occupation in order to guarantee the power of its exploiters?
        At the same meeting of the Central Committee Zachariades declared that Greece 'had to move between the European-Balkan pole centred or Russia and the Mediterranean pole centred on England . . . by maintaining a sort of equilibrium between the two'. By proposing

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    this balancing policy Zachariades sought to be 'realistic', but was premature Nasserism compatible with the perspective of an imminent transition to socialism which was his at this time? This curious mixture of right and left opportunism is a characteristic of a low-level empiricism. We can now understand why the party slogan quoted by Zevgou referred to everything except the departure of the British. On this question and on the elections, the preparations for which took place in a climate of terror, the CPG shed its illusions only gradually. The facts led it more and more to denounce the British occupation and the fascist terror.
        This explains the fact that when Partsalidas, one of the principal leaders of the party, insisted on the peaceful transition to socialism at the 7th Congress in October 1945, Zachariades emphasised that it was simply a possibility, and one which was moreover getting less each day. This position was hardly any less opportunist, given the circumstances at this time.
        'During the year which followed the signing of the Varkiza agreement there were . . . 1,289 dead, 6,671 wounded, 75,000 arrests, 6,567 cases of robbery, 572 attacks on printing houses; also more than 100,000 democrats were subjected to different repressive measures'.(16)
        Besides the terror of the fascist gangs encouraged by the 'forces of order', there was also official persecution. The Varkiza agreement stipulated the granting of an amnesty for 'political crimes' committed between 3 December 1944 and 12 February 1945. On the other hand, there was nothing to stop the authorities from prosecuting communists or sympathisers for acts of Resistance, for example, the murder of German soldiers, or else for so-called crimes in common law.(17)
        In December 1945, Rentis, the Minister of Justice, declared: 'There are 48,956 individuals being prosecuted as members of EAM-ELAS. We estimate that the total number of persons charged in all, including those already detained, exceeds 80,000.'(18)
        These were the conditions in which the campaign for the elections, imposed by the British, opened on 31 March 1946. In his first speech Sophoulis, the Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party, declared: 'I have to admit that the conditions necessary for free elections do not exist. The information reaching me from all the regions of Greece proves that only the Monarchist candidates can move about in real safety.'(19)
        The Communist Party and a small Centre Party boycotted the elections. Only 49 per cent of those who were eligible participated in the poll and the Royalist Party won it with 611,000 votes in a population of more than 7 million. The winners later claimed that the abstentions had not exceeded 15 per cent of the registered voters'
        After their victory the Royalists surmised that they no longer needed to hamper themselves with democratic forms and further increased the persecution of worker militants. Hence they lost no time in hunting down the elected leadership of the Greek trades-union federation(20) and replacing it by 'yellow' unionists led by Makris, who had been appointed to the same post by Metaxas. The fact that he still had it under the Colonels speaks volumes about the confidence he inspires in employers. Paradoxically the

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    communists, who abstained at the elections, did not boycott the plebiscite of 1 September 1946 which restored King George II to the throne. However this vote took place amidst tenfold terror and it was also rigged: '500,000 Democrats were not registered on the electoral lists, while the Royalists were able to vote two or three times.'(21)
        However, the picture which we have just painted must be nuanced by insisting on the fact that the military or the right did not impose their dictatorship in this period. A minimum of democracy did allow the classes and fractions of classes in the power bloc to express themselves and to compete freely. While the Royalists had an absolute majority in the House, the King imposed a broad coalition government with the Liberals. The terror only struck the rank-and-file militant, above all in the countryside. In the towns the press was free. This curious situation was made possible by the fact that the communists were to a certain extent cut off from the petty bourgeoisie, which gave a certain assurance to the bourgeois power.
        After criticising the CPG call for abstention, Zissis Zographos says in the article which we have already quoted:

    The only correct policy in this period would have been to participate in the elections . . . in order to realise these principal slogans: 'English instigators of civil war - out!' 'Normal democratic development!' . . . There was then a possibility of this policy winning (as it had the support of the vast majority of the Greek people and the balance of forces on the international level and in the Balkans was favourable).

    In reality this 'possibility' did not exist. The repression and terrorism unleashed by the reaction showed that the latter was in no way predisposed to make way for the democratic forces, even in the unlikely event (in view of the absence of freedom) of their victory in the elections. The 'balance of forces in the international level and in the Balkans', favourable or not, did not seem to have any influence whatever on the determination of the government and the fascist gangs to eliminate the left militants.
        Nevertheless, the fact remains that the CPG should have participated in the election campaign all the same, at least in the towns, without however fostering illusions about the possibility of liberating the people by the parliamentary and peaceful road but in order to make propaganda, to demonstrate its strength (in the towns), to prove its good intentions, and in this way to attribute responsibility for the civil war to the reaction and to win over waverers.(22)
        For a better appraisal of the CPG's policy a comparison with the Chinese Communist Party's line in the same period is instructive, despite the differences in the situations confronting the two parties. The Chinese experience, like that of the Russian revolution, does indeed contain certain lessons of universal validity.
        At the beginning of 1946 during discussions with the Chinese Communist Party, the Kuomintang representatives made the following modest proposition: 'Hand over your troops and we will give you freedom'. In contrast to the Greek communists at Varkiza, the Chinese refused, for they had noticed that the bourgeois democratic

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    parties in the regions controlled by the Kuomintang did not enjoy any freedom although they had no army, or rather because they did not have one.
        After Japan's surrender on 14 August 1945, the Chinese people hoped for peace so the CP had put all its efforts into avoiding a civil war. To this end it signed several agreements in which it made costly concessions to Chiang Kai-shek. Chiang was seen by everyone to assume the responsibility for unleashing the civil war when he violated these agreements and attacked the liberated areas. While they spoke out against the war, the communists were not under any illusions about the possibility of averting it indefinitely. In 'The Situation and our Policy', Mao posed only the question: 'Is it possible . . . to localise the civil war or delay the outbreak of a country-wide civil war?'(23)
        He answered in the affirmative and the principal reason he gave was the presence of 1 million soldiers and more than 2 million men in the people's militia in the liberated areas.

    Nevertheless, he concluded with these words: Chiang Kai-shek wants to launch a country-wide civil war and his policy is set; we must be prepared for this. No matter when this country-wide civil war breaks out, we must be well prepared. If it comes early, say tomorrow morning, we should also be prepared.

    In the same speech, there is a phrase which could be said to be aimed at the Greek communists in 1944-5: 'We must be clear-headed, that is, we must not believe in the "nice words" of the imperialists nor be intimidated by their bluster.'(24)


    From 1945 self-defence groups were formed to checkmate the operations of the fascist gangs. On the other hand, hundreds of militants fleeing political repression hid in the mountains. In the face of the terrorist frenzy of the right it became a question of life or death to defend oneself, to give tit for tat.
        As Bossuet said: 'What a judicious foresight could not put into men's minds, a more imperious mistress, I mean experience, has forced them to believe.' In February 1946, the Central Committee decided to orient the party towards preparations for armed struggle to counter 'the unilateral civil war' unleashed by the reaction. This decision was not followed by any concrete measures and the 'Organisation Conference' held on 16/17 April 1946 'assigned tasks to party members which had nothing to do with the armed struggle'.(25) This was a consequence of the communist leaders' wavering attitude during this period.
        They could not participate freely in legal political life; they did not dare to commit themselves decisively to the armed struggle. Thus they lost fifteen valuable months without devoting the bulk of their efforts to preparation for it. Instead, they tried to sit between two stools, with the inevitable result.
        Zographos lists a series of mistakes committed by the leadership at this time:(

        - as a consequence of the absence of political, ideological, and organisational preparation, only a portion - and by no means the

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    majority - of the party joined the struggle. As secret organisations had not been set up, the party apparatus in the towns was disrupted at the end of 1947 when a wave of arrests followed its outlawing.
        - 'The Party leadership did not bother at all to maintain and send in due time the ELAS military cadres into the armed detachments.' From the summer of 1946, hundreds of them - including Saraphis and Bakirdzis - were deported to the islands.
        - No political work was undertaken in the army, whereas the situation there was 'very favourable to the popular movement' in 1946.
        - The absence for a fairly long time of a military body responsible for leading the armed struggle led to 'the absence of a strategic plan'. 'The detachments which were formed from the spring of 1946 themselves decided what forces they would line up. Thus in 1947 a number among them refused to accept volunteers into their ranks thereby obliging them to return to their villages, where they were unable to avoid arrest'.

        Zographos's conclusion is that, strategically speaking, 'The Democratic Army's defeat was . . . inevitable'. It is not clear, however, whether he claims that this 'inevitability' was a result of the mistakes which he has identified. Whatever the case, he passed over in silence those which seem to us to be the most serious.
        The party never conceived the struggle in which it was involved as a 'protracted war'. Its leaders were impatient and did not have the courage to face up either to the strength of the enemy or to their own weakness. Thus they fell into an opposite but equally serious subjectivist error, the one which led them into the successive surrenders of Lebanon, Caserta and Varkiza. Confronted by an enemy very superior in numbers and military equipment, they should have limited themselves to guerilla war in the first stage, then switched to mobile war when they were in a position to destroy large units, attacking the towns only in the final stage. Generally, they should only have accepted combat provided that they had a crushing local superiority, and they should never have sacrificed forces to preserve one region. By amassing numerous small successes they could have gradually modified the balance of forces and finally achieved a great victory. The transformation of a political superiority (springing from the conformity of the slogans to the needs of the people) into military superiority is only possible in a protracted war, thanks to the mobilisation of the masses to support the army.(27)
        The Greek communists did exactly the opposite to all this. Their example is a marvellous lesson in what not to do. We see in it what revolutionaries must do if they want to suffer a short, sharp defeat.
        First, on the political level, the Communist Party leadership was unable to define its revolutionary tasks correctly and consequently could not scientifically answer the question: 'Who are our enemies and who are our friends?' so as to bring together in a broad front all those who could be united. Zachariades declared at the 2nd Plenum, 'The approaching revolution will be socialist in nature, and will simultaneously solve the bourgeois-democratic problems which still remain such as foreign domination, land, etc.'(28) In

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    skipping over the democratic, anti-imperialist stage and claiming to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat immediately, Zachariades deepened the split between the working class and the petty bourgeoisie which had appeared just after 'December'.(29) This line was concretised in December 1947 in the constitution of 'Provisional Government of Free Greece' in which only communists sat.
        Let us now look at how the military operations were conducted. They began with the attack on the gendarmerie post at Litockoron (at the foot of Mount Olympus) on the night of 30/31 March 1946. The few hundred maquisards who existed at that time became 2,500 two or three months later and then 8,000 at the end of the year when the Democratic Army was created. The latter had 14,250 fighters in April 1947 and 18,000 in November. Later, and until the summer of 1949, the Democratic Army varied between 20,000 and 25,000 men, to which must be added some 10,000 recruits in training in the neighbouring peoples' democracies. The strength of the National Army and the other forces of order rose to 265,000 men.
        Until 1948 the Democratic Army carried on guerilla warfare which enabled it to thwart all the encircling and combing operations mounted against it, to resolve its supply problems and to disperse everywhere to win over the population and to reduce the army to impotence. After the leadership of the CPG moved to the mountains and with the formation of a 'Provisional Government of Free Greece' on 23 December 1947, the maquis began to transform themselves into a regular army fighting a classic war. They regrouped in larger units: battalions, then brigades and finally divisions. At the end of 1948 the Democratic Army had eight divisions. On 25 December 1947 it attacked the town of Konitsa at the foot of Mount Grammos but had to withdraw after six days of fighting. Nevertheless, it established a permanent base in the Vitsi and Grammos Mountains on the Albanian/Yugoslav frontier, which it defended by positional warfare in the summer of 1948 and again in August 1949. This was its last battle. Faced with the enemy's artillery and air power the light infantry of the Democratic Army's 'divisions' opposed weakness to strength by persistently defending its ground. In a war of attrition it was the Democratic Army which was worn down despite the excellence of its fortified positions. In December and January 1949 it had successfully attacked the towns of Karthitsa, Naoussa and Karpenision but had failed and suffered big losses at Edessa and Florina. Several thousand maquisards took part in each of these operations. Generally they were forced to withdraw after a few days, but Karpenision remained in their hands from 21 January 1948 until 9 February 1949. Launching protracted operations with larger units required considerable supplies. The Democratic Army was quite simply not in a position to ensure the transport of the necessary minimum of munitions to central and southern Greece. Even food supplies became difficult due to the fact that the government had evacuated the inhabitants of the mountain areas, herding them into camps near the towns. Such tactics cut both ways, as the experience of the 'strategic hamlets' in Vietnam demonstrates. But time was needed to transform the peasants' anger into active revolt. This brings us back to the problem of protracted war. The 'Provisional Government' brought the armed struggle to an end in September 1949

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    after the loss of its base at Grammos-Vitsi. At the beginning of the year General Markos had been replaced because he advocated a return to guerilla tactics.
        The Resolutions of the 5th Plenum of the Central Committee in January 1949 implied a final victory in the very same year. It proclaimed: 'We must learn how to take the enemy's fortified towns. We must learn not only how to take the towns but also how to defend them.'
        This speaks for itself.
        In addition to the mistakes committed by the CPG leadership an external event - Tito's defection - contributed to the Democratic Army's rapid defeat. In 1946 Tito had promised considerable assistance to Zachariades and had encouraged him to embark on an armed struggle, in contrast to Stalin who proved sceptical about the Greek communists' chances of success. After his break with the Comintern Tito stopped his aid and in July 1949 he closed the frontier completely, which had the immediate effect of removing from the Democratic Army 4,000 reserves quartered in Yugoslavia, to which must be added the 2,500 maquisards who were in Bulgaria and the 2,500 who were fighting in eastern Macedonia and Thrace.(30) In fact, as the Axios Valley between the Yugoslavian frontier and the Gulf of Salonika was easily guarded, the troops which we have just mentioned could only have linked up with the main body of the Democratic Army at the time of the decisive battle by passing through Yugoslavia. Tito's defection thus deprived the Army of a third of its forces.(31) However, Tito's 'volte-face' was only serious because the party leadership did not realise it had to rely above all on its own forces.
        Stricken with famine, lacking ammunition, the combatants of the Democratic Army, with their poor rifles, took on troops ten times as strong in number and equipped with ultra-modern American arms. Under the deluge of fire they fought with an enthusiasm and a tenacity worthy of a better outcome. The Athens press paid them an unintended compliment by seriously asking if they were drugged or suffering from a mental disease which made them fight like madmen. . . !
        ELAS and the Democratic Army, which pursued one and the same national liberation struggle, were the inheritors of a tradition which is several hundred years old. In the entire world hardly any other people apart from the Vietnamese can pride themselves on such a tradition of popular armed struggle for independence and freedom. This gives us hope for the future. As the poet Ritsos says, 'These trees cannot adapt themselves to a narrower sky.'


    Was Stalin responsible for the defeat suffered by the Greek communists and democrats in the winter of 1944-5? Does the fact that he 'sold out' the Greek people form part of a policy of betrayal of the world revolution, based on the theory of socialism in one country? This is a commonly held thesis which figures as an established historical truth thanks to its repetition by writers, some of them Trotskyists, others anti-communists, and lastly others

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    eager to appear impartial by condemning Churchill and Stalin at the same time.
        We shall show that the mistakes committed by Stalin on this occasion did not stem from a deliberate wish to impede the spread of world revolution.
        First, let us examine the facts.
        As their defeat approached, the Germans manoeuvred to divide the Allies, indeed to conclude a separate peace with the Western Allies and conduct a joint war with them against the USSR. Himmler himself made offers precisely along these lines during 1944 and in April 1945.(32) In the last days of the war, Churchill sent 'Field-marshal Montgomery . . . a telegram asking him not to destroy captured armaments but to collect it carefully so as to be ready to act against a new Russian advance conjointly with the defeated German troops'.(33) Field-marshal Auchinleck and General Ismey received similar instructions. The Anglo-Saxons manoeuvred to prevent the Russians from capturing the German armies and went so far as to co-operate with the 'Donitz Government'. We have already referred to British agents' underhand deals with the enemy authorities in Greece.
        In these conditions it was important to avoid all conflict which involved the risk of unloosing a Third World War before the end of the Second, which would have been tantamount to a posthumous victory for Nazism. The danger of such a conflict over the division of the spoils had appeared very early when in 1943 Churchill advocated a landing in Greece and later insisted that a Second Front should be opened not in Normandy but also in the Lower Adriatic with a view to an offensive towards Vienna which would cut the Russian route. Therefore there were already signs of difficulties between Great Britain and the USSR over the Balkans.
        Nevertheless, on 31 May 1944, Churchill made it known to Roosevelt that the Soviets were ready to acknowledge 'predominance' in Greece for the UK in return for 'predominance' in Rumania for the USSR, on condition that the USA ratified the agreement. This was done on 12 June. On 9 October Churchill went to Moscow with Eden. He said to Stalin:(34)

    Your armies are in Rumania and Bulgaria. We have interests, missions, and agents there. Don't let us get at cross purposes in small ways . . . While this was being translated I wrote out on a half-sheet of paper:



          The Others

          Great Britain
          (in accord with the
          The others

    According to Churchill, Stalin expressed his agreement immediately.

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    On the following day Eden and Molotov settled the details. It was evidently a gentleman's agreement which did not figure in the protocols of the conference.
        On 12 October the British Prime Minister gave the following particulars to his colleagues:(

    The system of percentages is . . . intended . . . to express the interest and sentiment with which the British and Soviet Governments approach the problems of these countries, and so that they might reveal their minds to each other in some way that could be comprehended.

    Let us note that this agreement did not mean that Stalin undertook to press the Greek communists not to oppose the British intervention. Even the most extreme advocates of the thesis under discussion do not go so far as to say this openly. Besides, the fact that Tito never acknowledged a 50 per cent influence of the British in Yugoslavia was never invoked by the British as a rupture of the agreement on Stalin's part.
        In order to avoid a dangerous conflict it was necessary and sufficient that each of the parties should abstain from sending troops into a country placed in the other's sphere of interest. Can we blame Stalin for calling a halt at the Greek frontier and not going to war with the Anglo-Saxons to liberate that country? One must decide; either one asserts that such a war was desirable in this historical context in the interests of the revolution or else one does not condemn Stalin for allowing the British 'carte-blanche' in Greece.
        It is true that he did more, since he refused to criticise them and appointed an ambassador to the puppet Government in Athens even before the fighting in the city was over, etc. Stalin's attitude on this point seems more debatable. Perhaps he thought that it was not in the interests of the socialist camp beginning to form around the USSR to initiate a cold war with his allies before the end of the hot war with his enemies. Be that as it may, his clear neutrality involved reciprocal obligations on the part of the British, and this emerges from Churchill's message to Roosevelt on 8 March in which, after expressing virtuous indignation at the way in which the Russians had imposed a communist-dominated Government on King Michael of Rumania, he wrote:(36)

    We were hampered in our protests because Eden and I during our October visit to Moscow had recognised that Russia should have a largely predominant voice in Rumania and Bulgaria while we took the lead in Greece. Stalin kept very strictly to this under- standing during the six weeks fighting against the communists and ELAS in the city of Athens, in spite of the fact that all this was most disagreeable to him and to those around him.

    Kedros, who quotes this text, comments (p. 510): 'It is not certain that Stalin really entertained the feelings Churchill credits him with.' Why this venomous scepticism, this guilt by imputation? Because on 9 February (37)

    when Churchill officially invited Stalin to send a Soviet observer to Greece, Stalin answered sarcastically that this seemed too dangerous to him seeing that Churchill had allowed no one other than the British forces to enter Greece. He

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    immediately added in a serious tone that he had 'complete confidence in the British policy in Greece'.

    It should not be necessary to emphasise that the 'serious tone' made the second remark even more sarcastic than the first one. In Stalin's mouth 'to have confidence' could only have meant one thing in this context: not to be under any illusions, to know the truth about the aims and unscrupulousness of British imperialism. Stettinius's failure to understand him thus proves only that he revealed that mixture of cynicism and naïvité which is so frequent in Americans.
        Far from justifying him, this same cold lucidity which Stalin demonstrated in his reply to Churchill, condemns him. In fact, he does not seem to have warned the Greek communists against the foul blow prepared by the British. It is even probable that the Soviet military mission parachuted to the maquis on 26 July 1944 advised the PESA to participate in the Papandreou Government. Kedros makes the following conjectures:

    It is possible that they advised unconditional participation in the Papandreou Government in the 'general interest of the allied cause' while promising the friendly neutrality of the Soviet Government in the event of the EAM leaders 'going it' alone.

    This was not good enough. It was Stalin's duty to urge the communist leaders to prepare themselves and the masses to resist ferociously the return of the reaction in the wake of the British, since those leaders were incapable of understanding this by themselves. His silence may be explained by the same error which is at the root of the mistakes committed by the CPG: he lacked confidence in the strength of the popular masses and allowed himself to be intimidated by the apparent power of British imperialism. Stalin no longer believed that the Greek people could win against such a formidable enemy. He did not want to urge on them a hopeless struggle.
        Let us note, however, that the CPG's opportunism had shown itself before it had the slightest link with the USSR, since as early as August 1943 Siantos had declared that 'Greece belongs to a region of Europe in which the British assume all responsibilities'.(38)
        We have shown that EAM-ELAS could have defeated an attempt at foreign intervention, especially if it had not let the enemy wrest the initiative from it. In addition we have shown that the reverse suffered in December was avoidable and very partial. Even afterwards, victory remained possible and even probable. The responsibility for the mistakes rests above all on the CPG's leadership which Aris Velouchiotis had duly warned. For his part, Stalin, who did not usually take the trouble to give advice to fraternal parties, in this case missed an opportunity to be of real assistance to his Greek comrades.
        At the same time, in those countries which the 'de facto' division following the war left in the Soviet sphere of influence, he helped the popular forces to destroy the power of capital and to take the socialist road.(
    39) We do not intend to discuss the methods (debatable, in fact) which were used from country to country. One thing is certain: imperialist interests were radically eliminated throughout eastern Europe. To speak, as Kedros does, of a 'wink from Churchill to his crony (compère) Stalin, is a

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    formulation more suited to the passion of a pamphleteer than to the calm of a supposedly objective historian.
        The Trotskyist theory according to which the Communist leaders were puppets manipulated by Stalin (himself a counter-revolutionary) is invalidated by what happened in China and in Greece immediately after the war.
        If we are to believe Djilas, Stalin expressed his point of view on the struggle of the Chinese and the Greek communists at a meeting with the Yugoslav leaders on 10 February 1948. Stalin did not agree with the launching of armed struggle in Greece, for in his opinion it had no chance of success. He thought that it was necessary to 'cut one's losses' by putting an end to it as quickly as possible.
        Someone having mentioned the successes which the Chinese communists had just won, he said:(

    Yes, the Chinese comrades have succeeded, but in Greece there is an entirely different situation. The United States is directly engaged there - the strongest state in the world . . . true, we, too, can make a mistake. Here, when the war with Japan ended, we invited the Chinese comrades to agree on a means of reaching a modus vivendi with Chiang Kai-shek. They agreed with us in words, but in deeds they did it in their own way when they got home: they mustered their forces and struck. It has been shown that they were right and we were not, but Greece is a different case.

    Although Stalin may not have believed that the communists had any chance of winning, the socialist camp did not spare its support for them on the diplomatic and material level, as was duly established in the latter case by a UNO commission of enquiry.
        In the same period the USSR supported the armed struggle of the peasants of Telengana in India, the rising of the White Flag communists in Burma, the rising which erupted at Madiun in Indonesia, and national liberation struggles led by the communists of Malaya and Vietnam. As far as China is concerned, despite Stalin's initial doubts, and some blunders (for example, the ambassador of the USSR was the only one to follow Chiang Kai-shek in his retreat to Canton), the USSR gave unconditional political support to the Chinese communists. Thus in an article in 'Bolshevik' on 15 December 1947, the specialist Zhukov exalted 'the admirable Chinese Communist Party forged in struggles'.
        The Communist Parties in France and Italy had made the same kind of mistakes as in Greece but more seriously. Despite their preponderant role in the Resistance they tailed behind the bourgeoisie and surrendered their arms at the moment of victory, in return for a few ministerial posts. The first thing Togliatti and Thorez did on their return from Moscow was to enter respectively the Governments of the monarchist Marshall Badoglio and De Gaulle. Thorez imposed the slogan 'One state, one police, one army. He helped De Gaulle to 'draw the communists' teeth' and to remove from them 'the powers they are usurping and the arms they are exhibiting'. He gave the capitalists assistance by launching a production campaign and opposing strikes, which he blamed on the 'agents of the trusts'. In his interview with 'The Times' he spread illusions about the possibility of a parliamentary road to

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    socialism.(41) After its eviction from power, the PCF persisted in calling itself the 'Party of Government'. In its propaganda it put Moscow, London and Washington on the same level.
        Was Stalin responsible for the opportunist line of the Italian and French communists? Like the right-wing Oppositionists of the 'Unir' group, the Trotskyists argue that he was, but they do not provide any proof or even any serious evidence in support of their allegations. This does not prevent the latter from being highly categorical. They talk about 'total and absolute submission to Stalinist instructions'(42) and the 'position imposed' on the French communist leaders, who were only 'executants'.(43) However, the latter's opportunist line was vigorously criticised at the founding conference of the Cominform at Szklariska Pareba 22/27 September 1947. Giving in to pressure from Zhdanov and Malenkov, Duclos had to admit to 'opportunism, legalism, and parliamentary illusions' on the part of the PCF.
        If the PCF and the PCI leadership obeyed only Stalin's instructions why did they not justify themselves by invoking the 'wise counsels' lavished on them by the 'brilliant' leader of the world proletariat? This was all the more easy for them as the meeting was held behind closed doors. At one point, Duclos apparently stammered that the PCF 'could do nothing before the war against the Germans had finished in order not to compromise the relations between the Russians and the Americans', but Djilas retorted:(44)

    The most effective support for the USSR would have been an action to reduce the American influence on the people. The Greeks did not hesitate to oppose the English during the war against the Germans . . . The French communists have become poor representatives of the policy of the USSR to the French people despite the latter's combativity.

    As for Kardelj, he recalled that: 'During the war . . . we invited the Italian comrades to study our experience; we liberated half of the territory and we had an army; but the Italian comrades did not want to imitate our experience and to take the road of insurrection.'(45)
        In conclusion, it seems clear to us that the development of the revolutionary struggle in France and Italy would have strengthened the security of the USSR by preventing the re-establishment and consolidation of bourgeois state structures in these countries and by undermining the American rear. This is what enabled Djilas to ridicule Duclos's claim that the PCF gave up the revolution out of a concern for the security of the USSR. We know that in this case the Yugoslav spoke in full agreement with Stalin and that Duclos made no reply.
        In his purely formal self-criticism, Duclos did everything he could to evade the real problems. This discourse is more damning than the accusations which he was trying to answer. It provides proof that, after reaching this stage of ideological degeneration, the leaders did not need any orders from Stalin to follow an opportunist line, to capitulate to the pressure of the bourgeoisie.
        The Trotskyists and all those who pride themselves on criticising Stalin from a Marxist point of view push Manicheism to the point of seeing everywhere the hand of the Evil One enthroned in Moscow. He

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    was the source of all evil in the workers' movement. According to them, the opportunist leaders made only one mistake: they listened to Stalin. 'The serpent seduced me,' they might say. How does this perspective differ from Carrefour's mythology of the 'secret conductor'?

    Chapter 8



    We can now isolate the essential aspects of Trotskyism, which might be described as a 'para-Leninism', for although far-reaching in its consequences, the difference which sets it apart from Leninism is sometimes very subtle.
        Studying the revolutionary process from the point of view of diachrony, Trotskyism emphasises continuity and the possibility of making non-stop progress:
    'The living historical process always makes leaps over isolated "stages" which derive from the theoretical breakdown into its component parts of the process of development in its entirety'; (1) and also the interpenetration, the 'telescoping' of stages, since, according to it, socialist transformations are the order of the day even before the tasks of the bourgeois revolution are completed. Lenin, on the contrary, as a good dialectician, has the correct priorities, putting the emphasis on discontinuity.(2)

    Of course, in actual historical circumstances, the elements of the past become interwoven with those of the future; the two paths cross . . . But this does not in the least prevent us from logically and historically distinguishing between the major stages of development. We all contrapose bourgeois revolution and socialist revolution; we all insist on the absolute necessity of strictly distinguishing between them.

    If this is not done it is no longer possible to distinguish between the principal contradiction and the secondary contradictions, it is impossible to determine the class alliances required by the tasks of the stage, the location of the line of demarcation between friends and enemies; the result is that it is impossible to carry out a correct united front policy which assumes that the contradictions which are secondary objectively are kept so by making concessions to one's allies; thus the proletariat is prevented from taking the leadership of the united front, it is isolated and condemned to impotence.
        Considering society in synchrony, in space, so to speak, Trotsky again only saw there the continuity and the unity of the world market. We recall that 'the pressure of cheap commodities' produced by the capitalist countries is one of the factors which makes the construction of socialism impossible in a relatively backward country like Russia. This idea goes back to his first important

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    work: 'Binding all countries together with its mode of production and its commerce, capitalism has converted the whole world into a single economic and political organism.'(3)
        By presenting the world (in 1905) as already unified 'into a single economic organism', Trotsky was led to neglect the national peculiarities, the specific concrete conditions (determined by history and the cultural heritage) of the class struggle and the necessity to isolate the peculiar laws of the revolution in each country. In particular, he exaggerated the role of external influences without seeing that these can only act through forces within each of those partial totalities, social formations. This why he explained all the defeats suffered by different Communist Parties between the two wars through the pernicious influence of Stalin and the Third International.
        Mao Tse-tung has shown that:(

    Contradiction within a thing is the fundamental cause of its development, while its interrelations and interactions with other things are secondary causes . . . external causes are the condition of change and internal causes are the basis of change . . . In a suitable temperature an egg changes into a chicken, but no temperature can change a stone into a chicken, because each has a different basis . . . it is through internal causes that external causes become operative. In China in 1927, the defeat of the proletariat by the big bourgeoisie came about through the opportunism then to be found within the Chinese proletariat itself (inside the Chinese Communist Party).

    Trotsky's unilateral emphasis on continuity is the sign of the incomprehension of the Marxist dialectic which led him to ignore the essential implications of the law of uneven development. This law signifies not only that the imperialist powers and monopolies grow at an unequal rate, but also that, in each social formation, the economic base and the political and ideological superstructures evolve at an unequal rate and by leaps, that these instances possess a relative autonomy and a peculiar temporality, and that in each of them the contradictions and their aspects shift (are transformed into their opposite). The revolution explodes when the principal contradiction reaches an explosive phase. The displacement of its aspects then brings about a restructuration of the whole. This contradiction is the nodal point where all the others converge.(5) That such a convergence occurs in the sense of a rupture is rare, as will be clear, and all the more so in several countries at once. This is why, according to Lenin, the victory of the proletariat in one country is the 'typical case', while revolution in several countries can only be a 'rare exception'.
        In 'Results and Prospects', Trotsky prophesied the extension of the revolution throughout Europe when the victorious Russian proletariat called on its brothers throughout the world for 'the last fight'. Isaac Deutscher recognised that the tenor of Trotsky's argument suggests that he envisaged the European revolution as a 'unique and continuous' process, basing himself on the general truth that Europe was ripe for socialism,(6) but forgetting the other truth that 'history kept different times in Paris, Rome, London or Moscow'.(7) Why is this? No doubt because humanity does not constitute an integrated whole, because it is divided into distinct

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    social formations, but also because the levels (or instances) of one such formation (economic, political, ideological) always 'keep different times'. For Trotsky, society has a simple structure in which the principal contradiction 'de jure' (proletariat-bourgeoisie) is always and everywhere principal 'de facto' during the whole period of the transition. That is why he saw only the world revolution (and also saw it 'sub specie aeternitatis'). He imagined it as unfolding in a continuous and homogeneous socio-historical time-space. The underground work of the 'old mole', the structure and the articulation of the strata which it has to get through were invisible from the ethereal heights he occupied
        The Trotskyists are ignorant of the dialectic of continuity and discontinuity which is as necessary for an understanding of history as it is for one of microphysics. They roar with laughter when they hear talk of the uninterrupted revolution by stages. For them, it is a contradiction in terms. We know that the concept of the 'break' which Althusser borrowed from Bachelard was inspired in the latter by that of 'discontinuity' in particle physics. If one cannot even grasp the universality of contradiction demonstrated by the unity and opposition of continuity and discontinuity in all the sciences, how could one penetrate its specificity in historical materialism?
        It was clear at the time of the campaign which the Trotskyists launched in 1971 against China's international policy that they approached problems in an absolutely unilateral, metaphysical way. They do not understand that a state like Cambodia before Sihanouk's overthrow, or Pakistan, can have a dual nature: progressive, in so far as it defends its autonomy against the superpowers; reactionary, in that it oppresses the people. For them, reactionaries are reactionaries and it is not permissible to apply different policies to them, taking into account their differences so as to isolate the principal enemy of the moment.(8)
        The idea Trotsky had of the relation between theory and practice was equally undialectical. For him, theory forecasts practice and practice applies theory. Lenin, on the contrary, constantly listened to the masses. According to him, the party must always be ready to carry out the tasks which the mass movement itself has put on the order of the day. Only the practice of the masses makes it possible to give a concrete content to the general directives which guide the vanguard. Trotsky criticised Lenin's formula of 'the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry' for being algebraic (there was an unknown: what would be the political role of the peasantry?); he, on the contrary, wanted only arithmetic. That is why the term 'prognosis', which we do not find in Lenin's writings, is so frequent in his, where it sometimes occupies the empty place of the 'slogan'. For Trotsky all problems are solved in advance on the basis of 'principles'. The experience of the class struggle invalidates or validates the solution. That is all. Trotsky's dogmatism and its correlate, empiricism, are epitomised in this opposition between arithmetic and algebra.
        Lenin's formula that 'theory is a guide to action' was taken literally by Trotsky, who ignored the fundamental mediation which Lenin never forgot, namely, 'the concrete analysis of the concrete situation'. The universal truth of Marxism helps us to carry out

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    this analysis: to think that it could stand in for it is, once more, simply dogmatism.
        This dogmatism is cut off from practice and leads practice astray. We have given a typical example of it: the hegemony of the town in the bourgeois revolution, which he made into an axiom: Are 'the belated critics of the permanent revolution . . . prepared to extend this elementary proposition to the countries of the East, China, India, etc? Yes or no?'
        Obviously not! The fine principle of which Trotsky was so proud proved as useless as an arrow that cannot be unloosed at its target. In a sense it expresses a truth (the domination of the capitalist mode of production) but in its dogmatic interpretation it could only lead the action of Chinese revolutionaries into a dead end. It had to be replaced by another one, that of the encirclement of the towns by the countryside, which has been victoriously applied by the Chinese Communist Party and the Indo-Chinese revolutionaries.
        Let no-one object to us that 'the hegemony of the towns' means leadership of the working class. The Chinese Trotskyists drew the conclusion from it that they should put all their efforts into the organisation of the urban proletariat and Trotsky understood it no differently. It was inconceivable to them that the peasantry could be the principal motor-force of the Chinese revolution and that the proletariat could lead the peasantry by organising it in the countryside and re-educating it ideologically.
        The same refusal to recognise the revolutionary future of the colonial and semi-colonial peasants led Trotsky to formulate in 'The Class Nature of the Soviet State' the disastrously wrong prognosis that 'the revolutionary centre of gravity has shifted definitely to the West' (p. 31).
        Trotsky did not understand the immense importance of Marx's indications on the necessity of combining proletarian revolution with peasant war even in a country as industrialised as Germany. After belatedly rallying to Lenin, he continued to underestimate the peasantry's revolutionary potential, to refuse to define the party's political line in terms of the necessary alliance with it, and to formulate slogans appropriate to its wide mobilisation.
        Thus the traits which distinguish Trotskyism from Marxism as well as from Leninism are 'deviations' which separate it not from petrified dogmas, to which it appears to remain scrupulously faithful, but from reality. For if it is true that in political action it is necessary to proceed from reality while holding firmly to principles, it is no less true that one cannot hold firmly to principles unless one proceeds from reality.
        We have given a few indications regarding Trotsky's sociologism in which Parvus's persisting influence is apparent. This deviation can at least adopt the guise of Marxism. Trotsky completely threw off this disguise when he explained historical events through individual or collective psychology. His 'History of the Russian Revolution' constantly speaks of the 'leaping movement of ideas and passions' and 'swift changes of mass views and moods'. 'The dynamic of revolutionary events', Trotsky tells us, 'is directly determined by swift, intense and passionate changes in the psychology of classes.'(9) Further on, he explains that Stalin and Kamenev were in agreement in March 1917, 'notwithstanding their opposite

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    characters' because their personalities 'supplemented each other'.(10)
        The pseudo-scientific concepts of Trotskyism such as the 'workers' state' (in which the working class is not in power!), 'bureaucratic caste', Bonapartism, 'Thermidor', etc., are deceptive because they are descriptive and cling to appearances. They quip the Trotskyists with convenient little schemas, thanks to which they have an answer for everything without studying anything. The Trotskyists have understood, they therefore have no need to think' This is the secret of their ideologists' sterile fertility.
        What, in fact, is there to say about Trotsky's disciples? He himself applied to them a phrase of Marx's (the latter was quoting Heine): 'I have sown dragons and harvested fleas'. Of course, they are more Trotskyist than their master and their present successes are no less brilliant (if one may say so) than those which they achieved under his leadership after 1929. But their impotence, thirty years after his death, and their facile revolutionism, the revolutionism of people who have never made a revolution but have undermined those of others (whom they call Stalinists) would undoubtedly have inspired some bitter and disillusioned reflections in the writer of the following lines from 'In Defence of Marxism', 'The Fourth International did not by accident call itself the world party of the socialist revolution' (p. 15).
        Five years after the 9th Congress of the aforesaid International, this definition retains all its humour, or, if one prefers, its unintentional pathos.
        The Trotskyists react with fury when one is bold enough to make such reflections.(
    11) They appeal to the persecutions which they have suffered. Now Communist victims run into millions everywhere in the world. This does not in any way lessen the gravity of their mistakes (Indonesia) and adds nothing to the value of a victorious correct line (China). Given that supporters of the Fourth International can take advantage of favourable objective conditions just as much as those whom they describe as 'Stalinists', victory must be put down to correct leadership. The Trotskyists cannot concede this. They would condemn themselves.
        However, their founding-father wrote in 1937: 'The burning historical need for a revolutionary leadership guarantees the Fourth International an exceptionally rapid rhythm of growth.'(
        Trotsky was not wrong to link the rapid growth of the Fourth International and the need for a revolutionary leadership. His present disciples will allow us to argue as he did, 'mutatis mutandis', and to deduce from the persisting weakness of their movement in the last thirty years its inability to offer the type of leadership required by the revolutionary masses.
        The tragedy of Trotskyism was and still is that in a world polarised between the camp of revolution and that of counter-revolution they could not find a recognisable place anywhere. By arguing that they themselves constituted the pole of the revolution by throwing together the 'Stalinists' and world reaction, they achieved the desired repolarisation; but alas, only in the mind's eye. As this solution to their problem was contradicted too much by the facts, they have pushed the art of 'saving the phenomenon' to the point of paranoia. For them, the most frenetic anti-

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    communists - Churchill, Truman, McCarthy - were 'Stalinists' precisely because they opposed the USSR, thus giving it 'the deceptive appearance of a revolutionary regime'. As a leading Gaullist, Malraux was a 'Stalinist' and a doubly guilty one, since he expressed a compromising sympathy for Trotsky's unfortunate cause.(13)
        Thus Trotsky's successors have been driven to a choice between an activity rarely going beyond a futile and anodine revolutionary masquerade, the desperate search for a third road (Tito, Castro) and simply crossing to the other side of the barricades under the pretext of realism and effectivity. As the latter choice has been made by important organisations (Ceylon) as well as by many small groups and individuals, it cannot be attributed to chance but rather to the awareness of the dead-end which Trotskyist orthodoxy represents.
        We can find a new confirmation of this by now studying the different incarnations or avatars of Trotskyism and their misadventures. Here we are penetrating the domain of infra-Trotskyism which is no longer amenable to a sustained theoretical critique in the absence of that minimum of coherence and rigour which the founding-father had managed to maintain. It is the last circle of hell in which the confused multitude of sectarians delivered up to their obsessions talk agitatedly to themselves.



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    Chapter 9




    We have said that the Trotskyists are the dogmatists of a dogmatism. It goes without saying that they are not all so to the same degree. Those in the Fourth International are considered by the Lambertists to be revisionists, and not without reason. To say that they practise a 'creative' Trotskyism might seem a contradiction in terms. It is not if we take it in the sense that Khrushchev was a 'creative Marxist'; in other words a pragmatic opportunist using a Marxist phraseology.

    A 'third road' which is a dead-end

    The Fourth International has always been searching for a . . . third road. Between the imperialist camp and the socialist camp it first chose Tito. The illusion could not be maintained for long because after stabbing the Greek maquis in the back, the Yugoslav hero voted for the UNO intervention in Korea, openly considered sending troops there to fight side by side with the Americans, linked himself to NATO via the Balkan Pact and supported the most reactionary regimes, christening them 'non-aligned', etc. As a result, while continuing to congratulate themselves for the 'positive aspects' of the Yugoslav experience, the leaders of the Fourth International transferred to Fidel Castro their need for a reference point in a real revolution. Once again the bashful suitor went unrequited. Speaking to the Tricontinental Conference in January 1966, Castro violently denounced the Trotskyists' undermining activity in Latin America.(1) In reply, the Fourth International published an open letter in a tone of offended dignity from which it appeared that he had not checked his sources and that he had used dishonest and demagogic arguments, which, after all, should come as no surprise.(2) The Trotskyists in the Fourth International were very embarrassed by Castro's silence about the May-June movement in France. While the Chinese press published enthusiastic articles and millions of Chinese workers demonstrated their support, while 'Pravda' denounced the leftists and supported the established order

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    even less tactfully than 'Humanité', the Cuban press made no comment at all. Shortly after, Fidel Castro had to sanction the social-imperialist aggression against Czechoslovakia, as did Hanoi Radio (more discreetly, it is true).
        In January 1970, if we are to believe 'Le Monde', Douglas Bravo, the leader of the Venezuelan guerillas, accused Castro of no longer aiding the Latin American revolutionary movement and of 'taking the Soviet line'.(
        Whatever Bravo's disagreements with Castro, the latter reiterated his support for Soviet positions, attacking the 'leftists' in a speech delivered on the occasion of the Lenin Centenary. According to the 'Le Monde' correspondent, he condemned the attacks launched on Lenin's native land by the extreme-left. He took to task the European intellectuals, particularly the French, and then 'reaffirmed the solidarity of the Cuban people with the Soviet Union and . . . recalled his position at the time of the Czechoslovakian affair'.
        Once again the third road has showed itself to be a dead-end.

    The Fourth International and China

    Although the Trotskyists in the Fourth International parade 'critical support' for China, they are really much more hostile to it than some bourgeois writers, occasionally less biased. Jean Esmein's book on the cultural revolution or the pamphlet the distinguished economist Joan Robinson has devoted to the same subject should be compared with some of their texts.(4)
        For example, Ernest Mandel's paper, 'La Gauche', wrote on 3 September 1966 (i.e., after the outbreak of the cultural revolution) that 'China is led by a bureaucracy the nature of which is no different from the Soviet bureaucracy'. The CCP is supposedly characterised by 'the absence of all freedom of tendencies, a rigid Puritanism and the most frightful "cultural" and ideological conformism'.
        We do not know what life-style the author of this article offers in contrast to the 'Puritanism' with which he charges the Chinese communists, nor why attachment to the thought of Mao Tse-tung should denote a more 'frightful' conformism than his own obstinacy in wearing Trotskyist blinkers.
        The word blinkers is not too strong when we think that for thirty years the Trotskyists prayed for the coming of an anti-bureaucratic political revolution but refused to acknowledge it when it did finally come and used the arguments of the most conservative Pekinologists to attack it.
        Let us examine Livio Maïtan's 'Report on the "Cultural Revolution" in China' delivered to the 9th World Congress of the Fourth International.(
    5) Maïtan relied mainly on American sources, choosing, moreover, those which most denigrated China. On the basis of the assessments concocted by these 'leading specialists', he believed himself to be in a position to state that in 1965 'the per capita consumption had not yet exceeded the 1933 level' (p. 706, n. 1). How happy were the Chinese in the period of Chiang Kai-shek and the Japanese occupation!

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        Moreover, our author's text is studded with strange assertions which display a total ignorance of everything which concerns China and its recent history. Here are a few of them (we leave aside many of the best ones):

        - in China there are peasants not living exclusively from the income of their labour (p. 707);
        - there is 'job insecurity';
        - there are delays in the payment of wages (Maïtan has made a general 'problem' of one incident connected with the struggles and troubles occasioned by the cultural revolution in Shanghai in January 1967);
        - before January 1967 the leadership of the party and the city council in Shanghai had been 'a stronghold of the Maoist tendency' (p. 709, n. 21); it seems here that Maïtan may have been led into error by the fact that Yao Wen-yuan's article against Wu Han (Deputy Mayor of Peking) of 10 November 1965 was first published by the Shanghai daily 'Wenhui Pao' - at a time when Yao and Chang Chouen-Kiao were working in the Shanghai city council.
        - During the cultural revolution (p. 710),

    substantial peasant sectors raised demands similar to those that took shape after the halting of the movement of the people's communes . . . relative freedom for private accumulation, an expansion of the private plots, the chance to use the 'free' market, a decrease in deliveries to the state, etc. It is significant that in certain cases it was the Maoists who sought to counter-act excessive state intervention, which was attributed to Liu Shao-chi.

    In this passage it is clear that Maïtan has inverted the Maoist and Liu Shao-chiist positions. The innocent reader cannot but conclude that the Maoist favoured private accumulation and the utilisation of free markets! In fact, the cultural revolution in the countryside was above all a movement of criticism by the peasants themselves of Liu Shao-chi's sinister line known as 'San Zi Yi Bao' ('three freedoms, one forfeit'): extension of individual plots of land, development of free markets, multiplication of small enterprises assuming the entire responsibility for their profits and losses, and the establishment of production norms on a family basis.
        M. Maïtan believed he knew, without quoting sources, that the revolutionary committees 'were not elected but were the product of agreements at the top' (p. 710). As if preliminary discussions between revolutionary organisations, old, experienced, revolutionary cadres and army representatives were incompatible with election or broad democratic votes by the masses. In fact, it was the latter who chose the majority of the members of the revolutionary committees, without the soldiers unless they were in the militia. Below the district level, in fact, the people's militia, a part of which is constituted by all the youth who volunteer, took the place of the army in the 'Triple Combination'.(6)
        In conclusion we can say that Maïtan's report bears the stamp of ignorance and spite. We only criticised it as a reminder, for it does not deserve to be taken seriously.
        The 9th World Congress 'Resolution on the "Cultural Revolution" in China' which was based on this report, merely systematises its most schematic conclusions. We learn in it of the CCP leaders that

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    'These bureaucrats do not hesitate to subordinate the welfare of the Chinese masses and the interests of the international revolution and socialism to the protection and promotion of their own power and privileges' (p. 705). We also learn that 'the turbulent events of the cultural revolution have weakened its ("Mao's faction's") position and power. The regime will not be able to regain the prestige and stability enjoyed before Mao launched the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution"' (p. 702). Yet another 'prognosis' which history has quickly contradicted, regardless of the Trotskyists.

    Structural reforms

    Ernest Mandel denies being a reformist. The struggle for workers' control, he says forcefully, is not less but more revolutionary than wage demands, as it 'cannot be carried out in a normally functioning capitalist system'.(7) In fact, the programme of structural reforms is all the more bound up with reformist illusions since it claims to bring the capitalist system into question by the fact that at the same time it evades the problem of the ways and means enabling the working class to take power.
        Mandel writes that this programme 'creates a situation of dual power', and further on that 'the demand for worker's control . . . tends to give birth, first in the factory, later in the country at large, to an embryonic worker's power'. It would be nice to know how a 'programme' or a 'demand' can 'create' a power; the capitalists have power because they command armed forces. Mandel does not want to know this. He acknowledges, of course, that 'the overthrow of capitalism requires a total, extraparliamentary confrontation between embattled workers and the bourgeois state', but he takes good care not to specify that this will be an armed confrontation. His 'strategy' is a variant of the peaceful road to socialism.
        After May-June 1968, the PCF also gave up trying to instil belief in the parliamentary road to socialism advocated by Khrushchev. Today, the French revisionists say only that it is a question of 'winning over the majority of the people, that is, of bringing together in action a superiority of forces such that the bourgeoisie, isolated, is no longer in a position to resort to civil war'.(8) 'It is through multiple actions of the masses . . . that the balance of social and political forces can be modified in favour of democracy and socialism.' (9)
        The revisionists would like to make us believe in miracles. When and where has the unarmed majority ever imposed its will on the armed minority? What 'balance of forces' can be in question when all the force (to kill) is on one side and all the impotence (to avoid death) is on the other? If the people are unarmed the bourgeoisie has no need to 'resort to civil war', to suppress elections peacefully and to send those who protest peacefully to concentration camps. The peaceful road is the road to dictatorship, as experience has shown the Brazilian, Indonesian and Greek communists, victims of their own opportunism and illusions. With such examples before them, it is clear that the PCF leaders are not

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    deceived revolutionaries but deceitful counter-revolutionaries Those who claim 'not to confuse the peaceful road to socialism with the parliamentary road' and to rely above all on the 'multiple actions of the masses' divided and then stifled the mass movement in May-June 1968 so that it did not embarrass them in the electoral campaign intended to represent them above all as a 'Party of Government', aware of its responsibilities, and the enemy of violence, disorder and illegality.
        Despite a more revolutionary phraseology than the PCF's, Mandel passes over in complete silence the necessity of civil war to overthrow the bourgeois order. Not from him will one learn how, on the basis of the present struggles, the masses can prepare themselves to take up arms at a later stage.
        Here is how, according to him, the workers could have won victory in May-June 1968:(

    Had they been educated during the preceding years and months in the spirit of workers' control, they would have known what to do: elect a committee in every plant that would begin by opening up the company books; calculate for themselves the various companies' real manufacturing costs and rates of profit; establish a right of veto on hiring and firing and on any changes in the organisation of the work; replace the foremen and the overseers chosen by the boss with elected fellow workers (or with members of the crew taking turns at being in charge). Such a committee would naturally come into conflict with the employers' authority on every level. The workers would have rapidly had to move from workers' control to workers' management. But this interval would have been used for denouncing the employer's arbitrariness, injustice, trickery and waste to the whole country and for organising local, regional and national congresses of the strike and workers' control committees. These in turn, would have furnished the striking workers with the instruments of organisation and self-defence indispensable in tackling the bourgeois state and the capitalist class as a whole.

    Let us point out, first of all, that Mandel begins by asking the question of what the workers should have done during the general strike in May-June, and replies by envisaging a workers' control carried out in factories producing normally, since he talks about a veto on hiring and firing, elected overseers, etc. It is not clear why, stripped of the essence of their powers, the bosses should accept the running of their plants in these conditions even for a single day. Experience shows that a lock-out and CRS intervention would have been immediate. Such is not Mandel's view. According to him, the bourgeois state will grant the workers an 'interval which they turn to account to make propaganda and to endow themselves, at the end of multifarious congresses, with "instruments of self-defence"'. Mandel is very discreet as to the nature of these 'instruments' and the ability of a congress to provide them. The paragraph reveals with stunning clarity the true character of 'revolutionary structural reforms'. How can a 'demand' 'give birth' to a 'power'? A power implies arms or at any rate the ability to impose one's will on the enemy by violence. But the question of proletarian violence is taboo for Mandel.

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    Henri Weber reads Mao

    One of the leaders of the 'Ligue communiste', Henri Weber, who teaches at Vincennes, devoted his course in the year 1969-70 to a study of Mao's works. In a book on May 1968 which he wrote with Bensaid, he had already tried to handle Maoist concepts with all the naïveté of a neophyte and of course got everything muddled up. Here is what he teaches us in his academic capacity: 'The front of the class struggle being deliberately blurred and frozen by the worker's organisations, its secondary aspects could move to the forefront and the secondary aspect of the contradiction could become the principal one.' (p. 31.)
        In contrast to what Weber implies, the class struggle unfolds in the university just as much as it does everywhere in society. It is correct, however, that students who attack bourgeois academic authorities are not directly subject to exploitation and that their struggle is located in the superstructure. In a strategic perspective, this is a secondary sector. However, as young intellectuals are generally the first to move, the revolutionary breakthrough is achieved on this front first of all. If this is what Weber means, we agree, but in that case the concepts which he explicitly attributes to Mao have taken on a different meaning at his hands. In Mao, every contradiction, for example the contradiction between proletariat and bourgeoisie in Russia, has a principal and a secondary aspect. Before 1917, these aspects were respectively the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. After 1917, they were transformed into their opposite: from then on the principal aspect was the proletariat, the bourgeoisie having become the secondary aspect. It is obvious that M. Weber confuses the principal and secondary aspect, the principal and secondary contradiction and the principal and secondary front.

    'Ligue communiste' and 'Lutte ouvrière'

    Between the end of 1968 and the spring of 1969, the 'Ligue communiste', the French section of the Fourth International, engaged in discussions with 'Lutte ouvrière' with a view to a unification of the two organisations. These discussions were renewed in March 1970. However, serious political differences remain between them as the Political Bureau of the 'Ligue communiste' acknowledged in its letter of 11 March 1970, particularly 'On the nature of the Chinese and Cuban states (bourgeois according to 'Lutte ouvrière') and on the Vietnamese revolution'. Here is what the 'Lutte ouvrière' had to say on the latter question at the time of Ho Chi-minh's death: the Vietnamese leader 'has never, so to speak, been a communist committed to the working class and to international socialism'. He 'was always a stranger to the proletariat and its fight'. He fully agreed with the Communist International which, under Stalin, gave 'total support to the non-proletarian forces, even in their struggle against the proletariat'. In 1945, 'Ho Chi-minh distinguished himself in anti-working class repression'. 'After the defeat of French imperialism at Dien Bien Phu and the declaration of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Ho remained at the head of this

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    state the same as ever: a bourgeois nationalist.'(11) Such views have very little to do with Marxism, but this did not prevent the 'Ligue communiste' from signing a protocol of agreement with 'Lutte ouvrière' bearing on organisational questions alone (January 1971). The problems which these pose are easily solved when there is political unity. The reverse is not true. Thus the fusion of the two organisations is not any more advanced today (December 1972) than it was two years ago.


    At the beginning of 1951, the Secretary of the Fourth International, Michel Pablo, published an article (under his real name, Raptis) in which he stated that 'the overwhelming majority of the forces opposed to capitalism are at present led or influenced by the Soviet bureaucracy'. In another text, he argued that a war was imminent which 'will push the Communist Parties more and more to the left and the masses will flock to them, hence the necessity for militant Trotskyists to enter the Communist Parties'.(12)
        In February 1952, the International Executive Committee adopted a resolution generalising the tactics of entrism. The majority of the French section, the 'Parti Communiste Internationaliste', refused to carry out this instruction and was expelled. In October the following year, several other sections joined the PCI to form the 'International Committee of the Fourth International'. Among them were the 'Socialist Labour League' (SLL) led by Healy in Great Britain, and the 'Socialist Worker's Party' in the USA gave its support. In 1963, all these sections were reunited with the Fourth International, with the exception of the Lambertists and the SLL.(13) Considerably weakened, the PCI had ceased to call itself a party in 1958, reducing its activity to the publication of its journal, 'La Vérité'. In 1961, the Lambertists founded the 'Comité de la liaison des étudiants révolutionnaires' (CLER), which, together with the 'Révoltes' groups ensured them a certain implantation among young people.
        In January 1967, they took the name of the 'Organisation communiste internationaliste' (OCI) and the following year CLER became the 'Fédération des étudiants révolutionnaires'. After the dissolutions of 11 June 1968, these two organisations were replaced respectively by the 'Organisation Trotskyste' and the 'Alliance des jeunes pour le socialisme' whose organ is 'Jeune révolutionnaire'. The Lambertists are also the animators of the 'Fédération des comités d'alliance ouvrière' whose organ is 'Informations ouvrières'. Their influence is especially felt in the student milieu and they have taken advantage of the disintegration of UNEF to attempt to take it over. Their tactics consist of following the mass organisations of the Communist Party (CGT, revived UNEF) while criticising them in order to change their line.
        In July 1970, the decree dissolving the Lambertist organisations was annulled by the Conseil d'Etat which thereby acknowledged the respect for law and order which they had demonstrated.

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    Differences with the Fourth International

    In its Manifesto, the OCI characterised the positions of the International Secretariat (of the Fourth International) as follows:(14)

    They see the so-called 'colonial revolution' as the motor-force of contemporary history. They stated first of all that the imminence of the Third World War forced the Kremlin bureaucracy to mobilise the workers 'practically' in the struggle for power; then they rallied to petty-bourgeois 'anti-nuclear' pacificism while proclaiming yet again that the Stalinist apparatus and even the reformist apparatus could only any longer evolve towards the left, whereas the Russian bureaucratic regime would gradually transform itself under the leadership of the Kremlin into a socialist democracy.

    The OCI further accused the International Secretariat of Pablo, Frank and Germain of having propagated revisionism from 1950-1 onwards by wishing to substitute a programme of 'structural reforms' for the programme of transitional demands preparing the masses for the struggle for power, of having adopted the entrist tactics advocated by Pablo and of not recognising the necessity for independent Marxist parties.
        The supporters of the Fourth International are not lacking in good arguments either.
        Bensaid and Weber write:

    The rhythm of the political activity of FER-Révoltes is dictated by a biennial succession of central initiatives, for the success of which the whole organisation works in the intervening periods. Every year, generally at the same time, the leadership presents the base with a 'new political gimmick' such as: 'Towards 3,500 revolutionary youth at the Mutualité 30 June 1968!' , 'Towards the reconstruction of UNEF!' 'A major demonstration of one million workers before the Elysee Palace!' or, later: 'Towards ten thousand revolutionary youth of Le Bourget!' These arithmetical objectives, fixed well in advance, are pursued without any consideration of the political conjuncture.

    The two authors give the following example of the Lambertists' extreme sectarianism: according to the latter, 'the NLF of South Vietnam is a Stalinist organisation which is betraying the interests of the "Vietnamese workers and peasants". It is in the process of "strangling the Vietnamese revolution".' (Charles Berg, 'Révoltes', nos. 13 and 14.)(15)
        To speak of 'sectarianism' in this case is to show great indulgence. It is a question of an openly counter-revolutionary attitude. We have another example in the support given by the OCI to Nessali Hadj, whose organisation collaborated with the French Army in its repression of the Algerian people's struggle for its national independence.
        As for its analysis of the international situation, for the OCI 'there have been no profound changes in the world since 1938'.(

    page 192

    Champions of orthodoxy In fact, in France, for example, the Lambertists feature as the fundamentalists of Trotskyism. They profess an unshakable faith in Trotsky's Transitional Program (1938) which they insist is unalterable. For them, 'what Trotsky wrote is not simply a Marxist programme, it is THE Marxist programme in its essence.'(17) They are very lucky to have such a text at their disposal: it excuses them from any need to draw lessons from experience. Lenin was obliged to change his programme nearly every year in the light of practice. They are content to demonstrate that the great events of recent history have not contradicted Trotsky. We shall now look into how they fulfil this boast.
        According to Trotsky, the foundation of the Fourth International was justified by the fact that 'The Communist International and all its Parties had finally passed over to the side of the bourgeois order'.(
    18) Pierre Broué declares that thanks to this 'Holy Alliance' constituted by the Western imperialists, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung and Ho Chi-minh, 'the world revolution so much dreaded was averted the day after the Second World War'.(19) Only, capitalism has been swept away in Eastern Europe; and revolutions have conquered in Yugoslavia, Albania, China and Vietnam. The communists in Indonesia and Greece suffered defeats at this time but their fight at least demonstrated that they were not counter-revolutionaries. To get round this, the Lambertists rely on a quotation from Trotsky conceding 'the theoretical possibility that, under the influence of a quite exceptional combination of circumstances . . . petty-bourgeois parties, including the Stalinists, might go further than they themselves wish along the road of a break with the bourgeoisie'. They draw from it the conclusion that the Communist Parties struggled, took power at the cost of immense sacrifices, crushed reaction and embarked on the construction of socialism but all against their will, as it were, constrained and forced by a combination of circumstances despite their opposite intention.(20) This speaks for itself.
        This being so, should we be surprised if the Lambertists resort to debatable methods to discredit the Chinese communists? On the following page of the 'Manifesto' we read: 'Reviving the thesis of the theoreticians of "proletarian nations", the Chinese CP completely abandons the terrain of the international class struggle and Marxism.'
        It is hardly necessary to emphasise that this is a gratuitous accusation which the Trotskyists would be hard pressed to substantiate with any reference whatsoever.(

    The cessation of the development of the productive forces

    The Lambertists define the general crisis of capitalism as an economic stagnation that has lasted since 1913! In doing so, they are reaffirming a thesis from the Transitional Program, according to which the productive forces have stopped growing.
        Their argument is strange: they invoke the fact that scientific research 'is almost exclusively oriented towards military ends'.(

    page 193

    Now, the discoveries thus achieved find civil application fairly quickly. The time between a scientific discovery and its application in production has decreased considerably since the beginning of the century. They also say that technical advances lead to a 'generalised reduction of skill' for masses of workers and intellectuals and that 'military budgets govern the movement of society'. It follows that such a capitalist economy 'cannot be considered a force of culture and civilisation', nor 'be described as progressive'.
        Let us note that the last two 'arguments' are purely demagogic: the fact that capitalist economy is neither 'a force of culture and civilisation' nor 'progressive' in no way proves that it does not permit a certain development of the productive forces, though one far short of what is possible. We could say as much about 'dilution of skill'. Even supposing that it was a global reality it could not serve to prove that the Lambertist thesis is well-founded. In fact, the concept of 'productive forces' in Marx includes the instruments of production plus the capacity to put them to work, to make them function. From the beginning the industrial revolution has involved a dilution of skill for one or other category of workers. The introduction of automation does away with some crafts but sufficient skilled personnel are trained to run the new factories. It is false to say, moreover, that dilution in skill is a global phenomenon hitting all categories of the working population. Of course, it affects some sectors - there is at present a decline in the number of craft workers who are employed more and more as detail labourers - but, at the same time, the demand for highly qualified technical personnel is increasing on the whole and it is established that the average length of training is tending to grow in accordance with the needs of the developing capitalist economy.
        The Lambertists' argument is thus based on a mixture of errors and truisms without any relation to their thesis. This emerges even more clearly when the leader himself takes the floor. For example, let us examine a paper read on 24 January 1969 at a session of the 'Cercle d'études marxiste'.
        This talk by Lambert unfolds in a conceptual fog propitious to all sorts of conjuring tricks. He begins by arguing that 'the productive forces have stopped growing'; he then interprets this thesis to mean that the production of consumption goods for non-military use has stopped growing, which is not the same thing; he then suggests that the 'productive forces are being transformed into destructive forces', apparently meaning that in the USA 10 per cent of them are used for military purposes(23) which, once again, is not the same thing.
        By the productive forces Marx meant the ensemble of material and human factors of production. It is therefore a matter of the factors which make the latter possible independently of their current application (production) and the nature of the objects produced. There is no variation in the level of the productive forces available to a firm when it decides to sell its fabrics (for example) to army workshops rather than to civil fashion houses.
        Lambert dupes his listeners by the surreptitious use of a series of semantic slides which amount to a string of illegitimate identifications: productive forces = productive forces actually

    page 194

    producing = things produced = things produced for non-military purposes.
        Now the portion of military spending in the gross national income in the USA rose from 1 per cent in 1929 to 10 per cent in 1968; the productive forces are therefore being transformed into destructive forces and consequently they have stopped growing. QED.
        Not a single one of these concatenations bears examination.
        Even if we charitably leave on one side the thesis of the non-growth of the productive forces and discuss only the apparently more reasonable one of the non-increase in material wealth, it still proves that the figures quoted by Lambert by no means corroborate his conclusions.
        Of course, the proportion of military spending in the national income has increased, but the latter has tripled since 1929 in the USA and even more in the other capitalist countries. This is what Lambert fails to mention.(
        At this juncture, Lambert resorts to a naïvely demagogic argument: to the extent that the productive forces continue to grow, 'capitalism has a future'. If this is so, 'the political conditions for the revolution are not there', therefore, those who do not accept my thesis renounce the revolutionary perspective and are counter-revolutionaries.
        Strange sophism! According to the leader of the OCI, Trotsky denied in 1938 that capitalism has a future. However, it has survived more or less for more than thirty years. Lambert denounces those who oppose his thesis, telling them: 'You are arguing that capitalism has a future'. Indeed yes, if this means that it will not perish tomorrow. It is none the less true that its grave-diggers are already preparing for its funeral. A revolutionary cannot say more.
        Let us point out that the Lambertists are only providing one variant of the economism of the Second International, for which revolution was the inevitable outcome of the development of the productive forces (Kautsky and the Mensheviks) or its limits under capitalism (Rosa Luxemburg).(
        Sometimes Lambert wants to prove too much. Then the data which he appeals to backfire disastrously. To illustrate the evils of automation, he quotes the president of an American trust whom he makes say this:(

    36-5 million new jobs must be created in the USA by 1970 (this was written in 1966); demographic increases will provide 12-5 million young people . . . while the increase in productivity will eliminate 24 million jobs mainly because of automation.

    In 1970 the number of unemployed in the USA had increased by 1 million in relation to 1966 as a result of the economic crisis which started in 1969. According to the figures quoted by Lambert (we shall leave the responsibility for them with him) 35-5 million new jobs have therefore been created since 1966. Is this not proof of an enormous development of the productive forces? (!!!)
        It has been said that facts are stubborn. They undoubtedly are, but the Lambertists will not let them be as stubborn as they are.






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Notes on
the Text



    page 227






    (The following abbreviations occur in the notes that follow: CW = 'Collected Works'; SW = 'Selected Works'.)




    'The Soviet Union and the Fourth International', p. 13.    [p. 99]


    The world situation and perspectives, in 'Writings of Leon Trotsky (1939-40)', p. 24.    [p. 99]


    Ibid., p. 26.    [p. 99]


    See her statements in the appendix to Jacques Roussel's book, 'Les Enfants du prophète'.    [p. 99]


    'Intercontinental Press', vol. 7, no. 26, 14 July 1969, p. 678.    [p. 99]

    page 228



    La Défense de l'USSR et l'opposition (1929), quoted in 'Politique de Trotsky', pp. 314-15.    [p. 100]


    Paul Yankovitch, 'Le Monde', 11 August 1970, p. 11.    [p. 100]


    'Intercontinental Press', 14 July 1969, p. 678. The flood of Trotskyist print swells but the ambiguity and confusion of their positions remain. Some Bolivian Trotskyists declare, for example, that the 'socialist system' is 'formed from states in which the workers have been transformed into the dominant force'. If they are 'oppressed and robbed' how can they be the 'dominant force'? 'Tesis politica de la COB y otros documentos', p. 23.    [p. 101]


    Charles Bettelheim, Remarques théoriques, 'Problemes de planification', no. 14, p. 178.    [p. 102]


    P. P. Rey, Sur l'articulation des modes de production, ibid., no. 13, p. 96.    [p. 102]


    'Cahiers de la Gauche prolétarienne', no. 2, 1970, p. 65.    [p. 102]


    La Base sociale du révisionnisme, 'Cahiers marxistes-léninistes', no. 14.    [p. 102]


    This is all the more true in that prices are stable, in the USSR, for example, in contrast to the galloping inflation that characterises the Western economies.    [p. 104]


    Calcul économique, catégories marchandes et formes de propriété, 'Problèmes de planification', no. 12, p. 8. Also appeared in Maspero. [Transcriber's Note: These themes are also addressed in Bettelheim's "Economic Calculation and Forms of Property". -- DJR]    [p. 104]


    Ibid., p. 13.    [p. 105]


    Ibid., p. 31.    [p. 105]


    Ibid., p. 73.    [p. 105]


    Ibid., p. 84.    [p. 105]


    Letter to Paul Sweezy, 18 February 1970, in 'The Transition to Socialism', by P. M. Sweezy and C. Bettelheim, p. 43.    [p. 106]


    Cf. G. Kim, A. Kaufman, Le développement non-capitaliste, 'La Vie internationale', December 1967, Moscow.    [p. 106]


    According to Henri Weber, the bureaucracy's privileges 'derive from state exploitation, not from given relations of production' (op. cit., p. 15). In other words, the bureaucracy exploits the state and not the labourers. We must admit to an inability to understand what this means from a Marxist point of view. Pierre Naville defends a thesis no less paradoxical. In the USSR there is supposedly a 'mutual exploitation'. Cf. 'Le Salaire socialiste', Paris, 1970.    [p. 107]


    Jacques Rancière, Sobre la téorià de la ideologia (la politica de Althusser), pp. 325-6, 354-5: Here Rancière refutes the distinction made by Poulantzas between 'relations of production' and 'social relations'.    [p. 107]


    Sweezy and Bettelheim, 'On the Transition to Socialism', pp. 41-4.    [p. 107]


    K. S. Karol, 'Le Monde', 23 July 1970.    [p. 108]


    A term which we borrow from Mahmoud Hussein in La Restauration du capitalisme en USSR et la révolution culturelle chinoise, Appendix to 'La Lutte des classes en Egypte', p. 365.    [p. 108]


    Terms used by Charles Bettelheim.    [p. 108]


    Quoted in the pamphlet, 'How the Soviet Revisionists Carry Out All-Round Restoration of Capitalism in the USSR', pp. 18-19.    [p. 108]

    page 229



    Ibid., p. 19.    [p. 109]


    J. Pavleski, Projet, May 1969, reproduced in 'Problèmes économiques', 3 July 1969.    [p. 109]


    Theses of the CPSU Central Committee, 'Soviet News', no. 11 July 1967, p. 21.    [p. 109]


    J. Pavleski, op. cit.    [p. 109]


    France's commercial adviser in Moscow. 'Notes et études économiques', 28 March 1969; reproduced in 'Problèmes économiques'. 3 July 1969.    [p. 110]


    Article from 'Est-Ouest', reproduced in 'Problèmes économiques', 6 March 1969.    [p. 110]


    'Cahiers de la gauche prolétarienne', no. 2, 1970, p. 66.    [p. 110]


    'How the Soviet Revisionists Carry Out All-Round Restoration of Capitalism in the USSR', p. 57.    [p. 110]


    Political Testament, 'New Left Review', no. 62, July-August    [p. 111]


    'Le Monde', 23 July 1970.    [p. 112]


    Lenin, CW, vol. 31, p. 229; cf. Une révélation d'une sincérité exceptionnelle, 'Littérature chinoise', April 1970 and 'Le Monde'.    [p. 112]


    On the international policy of the USSR see Appendix I.    [p. 113]


    The best book on this subject is that of Jean Baby, 'La Grande Controverse sino-sovietique'. It preserves all its topical interest.    [p. 113]


    'The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China', p. 25.    [p. 113]


    Ibid., p. 3.    [p. 114]


    Joan Robinson, 'The Cultural Revolution in China', pp. 85-6.    [p. 114]


    'Decision in Sixteen Points' of the Central Committee of the CCP.    [p. 114]


    On Ideological state apparatuses, see Louis Althusser, 'Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays'; also Ideologie et forces productives, 'Cahiers marxistes-leninistes', no. 15, January-February 1967. The concept of Ideological State Apparatus was produced by Jacques Rancière.    [p. 114]


    Ibid., p. 90.    [p. 115]


    Ibid., p. 87.    [p. 115]


    'Peking Review', no. 14, 3 April 1970.    [p. 116]


    See an article in the Shanghai 'Wenhui Bao' which is translated into French in 'Cahiers de la Chine nouvelle', 22 July 1968, no. 520 (special number); this same article is also published in summary form in 'Mao Tse-tung's 700 millions', 'Idiot International', no. 1. Cf. 'Take the road of the Shanghai Machine Tools Plant in training technicians from among the workers', pp. 6-20.  [p. 116]


    'The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China', pp. 54, 57.    [p. 118]


    Intercontinental Press'. 14 July 1969. p. 702.    [p. 118]


    Ibid., p. 703.    [p. 118]


    'Histoire de la révolution culturelle prolétarienne en Chine', pp. 253-5.    [p. 118]


    'Intercontinental Press', 14 July 1969, p. 713.    [p. 119]


    Mao Tse-tung, SW, vol. 4, p. 191 [Transcriber's Note: See Mao's "The Democratic Movement in the Army". -- DJR].    [p. 119]


    Resolution on the 'Cultural Revolution' in China, 'Intercontinental Press', 14 July 1969, p. 702. The Trotskyists

    page 230


    are fond of franglais. It is a way of being internationalist. Meanwhile, we should really like to know how 'positions' (theses, analysis, appraisals) can be the replica of a . . . dictatorship? (!)    [p. 120]


    Everyone knows that Newton's equations can be regarded as a special case of those of Einstein if one takes as given speeds which are much slower than that of light and the absence of large masses in the vicinity.    [p. 121]


    See the discussion with Victor in 'Les Maos en France' by Michèle Manceaux. Another terminological difference that will have been noticed in this book should be explained here. We write 'the thought of Mao Tse-tung' (pensée de Mao Tse-tung) and not 'Mao Tse-tung thought' (pensée Mao Tsetung). The second expression which is used in Peking publications is very old. In good French 'pensée Mao Tsetung' would mean that Mao was a thought! When we asked the Chinese comrades the reason for this innovation, they answered, somewhat embarrassed, that someone in the translation department must have thought that 'pensée Mao Tsetung' rendered the Chinese turn of phrase more literally. Now, in Chinese there is no declension or genitive. It will be agreed that altering French syntax to render it closer to Chinese stems from a strange idea of faithfulness in translation.    [p. 122]


    Cf. the title of Paloczi-Horvath's book, 'Mao Tse-tung, Emperor of the Blue Ants'.    [p. 123]


    Mao Tse-tung, SW, vol. 3, p. 49 [Transcriber's Note: See Mao's "Rectify the Party's Style of Work". -- DJR].    [p. 123]


    'Marxismes imaginaires', p. 42.    [p. 124]





    Poulantzas's idea that three aspects define the International's policy was probably inspired by Merleau-Ponty, who talks of 'the three Marxist themes of the initiative of the masses, proletarian internationalism and the construction of economic bases' ('Humanisme ou terreur', pp. 140, 145).    [p. 127]


    Paris, 1970, pp. 242, 253.    [p. 127]


    Agnes Smedley, 'The Great Road, The Life and Time of Chu Teh', p. 353.
     [p. 127]


    Here we have an example of Trotsky's polemical excesses: 'The Northern Expedition . . . incidentally proved to be an expedition against the proletariat' ('Problems of the Chinese Revolution', p. 279).    [p. 128]


    Israel Epstein, 'From Opium War to Liberation', pp. 135-6; Jacques Guillermaz, 'A History of the Chinese Communist Party, 1941-49', pp. 127-8, 135-6; 'Les Sociétés secrètes en Chine', a collection of texts introduced by Jean Chesneaux, pp. 237-40.    [p. 128]


    A part of the left Kuomintang remained faithful to the end to the alliance with the communists, particularly Mme Sung Ch'ing-ling, Sun Yat Sen's widow and now Vice-President of the People's Republic of China. In 1965 the 'new Kuomintang' still had seventy-five Deputies in the National Assembly and three Ministers.    [p. 129]


    The Anniversary of the People's Liberation Army is on 1 August.

    page 231

    Trotsky denounced 'the opportunist policy' of Ho Lung and Yeh T'ing and described their rising as an isolated adventure and 'a pseudo-communist action à la Makhno' (the Ukrainian anarchist leader).    [p. 129]


    J. Guillermaz, op. cit., pp. 163-5, and R. C. North, 'Chinese Communism', pp. 99-104.    [p. 129]


    SW, vol. 3, p. 261 [Transcriber's Note: See Mao's "On Coalition Government", p. 211. -- DJR].    [p. 129]


    Paris, 1970, pp. 242, 253.    [p. 130]


    P. Mif, 'Heroic China', pp. 21-2. He points out, moreover, that in this period, the communists had started to enter the Kuomintang individually. According to Conrad Brandt, E. H. Carr and Stuart Schram, Maring probably acted on his own initiative and only obtained the approval of the Comintern after the event. (Cf. S. Schram, 'Mao Tse-tung', p. 70).    [p. 130]


    'La Question chinoise dans l'internationale communiste', texts introduced by P. Broué, pp. 295-6.    [p. 130]


    'The Prophet Unarmed', p. 317. On this question see Appendix III.    [p. 131]


    Fernando Claudin, 'La Crise du mouvement communiste . . .', vol. 1, p. 325.    [p. 131]


    'La Question chinoise dans l'internationale communiste', p. 76; cf. also T. Mandalian, ibid., p. 288.    [p. 131]


    Ibid., p. 78.    [p. 131]


    Stuart Schram, 'Mao Tse-tung', p. 78.    [p. 131]


    Ibid., p. 79.    [p. 132]


    There is complete agreement on this point between the 'Shanghai Letter', which the Trotskyists appeal to without having read, and Mandalian's article already cited.    [p. 132]


    Given the summary manner in which he himself liquidates certain historical problems, this 'vulgar Trotskyism' is imaginable!    [p. 132]


    Considering the great number of eminent communist military leaders who came from Whampoa, J. Guillermaz describes it as the 'first military school of the future Chinese Red Army' (op. cit., p. 81).    [p. 132]


    Hélène Carrère d'Encausse and Stuart Schram, 'Marxism and Asia', p. 154.    [p. 133]


    Conrad Brandt, 'Stalin's Failure in China 1924-25', p. 104.    [p. 133]


    'Problems of the Chinese Revolution', p. 100.    [p. 133]


    'The Prophet Unarmed', p. 322.    [p. 133]


    'The Permanent Revolution', p. 122. In his second letter to Preobrazhensky he said: 'China has no landed nobility; no peasant class fused by a community of interests against the landlords. The agrarian revolution in China is directed against the urban and rural bourgeoisie.' Cf. 'La Question chinoise dans l'internationale communiste', p. 328. (The translation has been corrected.)    [p. 134]


    'The Permanent Revolution', p. 92.    [p. 134]


    Trotsky, Problems of the Chinese Revolution , p. 145. We shall not dwell on the fact that Trotsky had argued that the

    page 232


    Chinese Revolution was a revolution for customs autonomy, an absurd definition which he later had to abandon. In fact, Chiang Kai-shek achieved this autonomy as early as 1930 by means which were hardly revolutionary.
     [p. 134]


    In his 'Analysis of the classes in Chinese society' (March 1926), Mao Tse-tung had forecast this shift. He wrote: 'The intermediate classes are bound to disintegrate quickly, some sections turning left to join the revolution, others turning right to join the counter-revolution' (SW, vol. 1, p. 14).    [p. 135]


    In the elections for the 2nd Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang, the right had suffered a defeat in January 1926, and in March of the following year the Kuomintang government was reconstituted in favour of Wang Ching-wei (Chiang Kai-shek's rival), who became its President, and the communists, who were given the Ministries of Agriculture and Labour.
     [p. 135]


    Mao Tse-tung, SW, vol. 1, p. 26.    [p. 135]


    M. N. Roy, 'Revolution and Counter-Revolution in China', p. 551.    [p. 135]


    Agnes Smedley, op. cit., p. 242.    [p. 135]


    The Trotskyists often quote the 'Shanghai Letter', but as always they reveal a total blindness to everything in this letter that does not fit in with their petty schemas.    [p. 135]


    'The Prophet Unarmed', p. 326.    [p. 136]


    Quoted by Stalin, 'Marxism and the National and Colonial Question', p. 238.    [p. 136]


    Roy, in an interview with R. C. North cited by the latter in 'Moscow and the Chinese Communists', pp. 90-1.    [p. 136]


    Quoted by Stalin, 'Marxism and the National and Colonial Question', p. 239.    [p. 136]


    'International Press Correspondence' (23 December 1926), quoted in Shanti Swarup, 'A Study of the Chinese Communist Movement', p. 37.    [p. 137]


    'International Press Correspondence' (30 December 1926), quoted in ibid., p. 38.    [p. 137]


    'Communist International', vol. 2, nos. 18-19, 1925, in ibid., p. 38.
     [p. 137]


    'Marxism and the National and Colonial Question', p. 240.    [p. 137]


    In contrast, Trotsky unceasingly repeated that the Chinese revolution had been crushed 'by the opportunist leadership. Not the one that had its seat in Canton, Shanghai and Wuhan but the one that was commanding from Moscow'. Cf. 'Problems of the Chinese Revolution', p. 291.    [p. 137]


    It was published in 'Revolyutsionnyi Vostok', no. 2, 1927, and other Comintern publications.    [p. 137]


    Op. cit., p. 220.    [p. 137]


    See below.    [p. 138]


    Pierre Naville also claims that when Mao's report appeared in Moscow, it 'only found an echo in the left Opposition'. Cf. his collection of articles 'La Classe ouvrière et le régime gaulliste', p. 460.    [p. 138]


    Cf. 'Die chinesische Frage auf dem 8 Plenum der Exekutive der Kommunistischen Internationale', p. 146, and in general The May Plenum of the ECCI, 'Communist International', no. 10, vol. 4, 30 June 1927.  [p. 138]


    'Die chinesische Frage', p. 147.    [p. 138]

    page 233



    Ibid., p. 148.    [p. 138]


    M. N. Roy, 'Revolution and Counter-Revolution in China', pp. 548-9.  [p. 139]


    This was also the view of Borodin, who consistently supported the right-wing of the CCP.    [p. 139]


    Conrad Brandt, 'Stalin's Failure in China 1924-27', pp. 119-20.    [p. 139]


    'Marxism and the National and Colonial Question', p. 249.    [p. 139]


    Tang Leang-li, 'The Inner History of Chinese Revolution', London, 1930, p. 282, cited by R. C. North, 'Moscow and Chinese Communists', p. 107.  [p. 139]


    We describe him in this way ironically for he himself considered Mao to be extremely rightist (cf. 'Revolution and Counter-Revolution in China', p. 615).    [p. 139]


    Quoted by Shanti Swarup, op. cit., p. 207.    [p. 140]


    'Hong-chi', 19 July 1930; quoted in ibid.    [p. 140]


    Ibid., p. 137.    [p. 140]


    This is also the thesis defended by Professors Benjamin Schwartz and Robert C. North in their work. The Indian Sinologist Shanti Swarup has refuted it, drawing on rich unpublished documentation. In these pages we are using the results of his researches.    [p. 140]


    'Origins of the Chinese Revolution', p. 189.    [p. 141]


    'Hong-chi', 19 July 1930; cf. Shanti Swarup, op. cit., p. 207.    [p. 141]


    Letter of the Executive Committee of the International, 23 July 1930; cf. ibid., p. 215.    [p. 142]


    Cf. ibid., p. 254.    [p. 142]


    Ibid., p. 224.    [p. 142]


    Ibid., p. 225.    [p. 143]


    Cf. John Gittings, 'The Sino-Soviet Dispute 1956-63'. Let us note, however, vis-à-vis the second of these decisions, the preponderant influence of the International's military adviser Otto Braun, whose reminiscences have been published in 'Horizont', Berlin-Est, 1969, nos. 23-38.    [p. 143]


    'Jiefang Ribao', 28 May 1943; long extracts translated in 'The Political Thought of Mao Tse-tung', with an introduction by Stuart Schram, p. 423.    [p. 143]


    Talks and writings of Chairman Mao, Translations on Communist China, no. 128, Joint Publications Research Service, 21 December 1970.    [p. 143]


    Ibid. Han Suyin heard echoes of the speeches we quote, which confirm their authenticity. Cf. 'The Morning Deluge', p. 567.    [p. 143]


    'Works', vol. 8, p. 384 [Transcriber's Note: See Stalin's "The Prospects of the Revolution in China". -- DJR].    [p. 144]


    The Chinese question after the Sixth Congress (4 October 1928), in 'Problems of the Chinese Revolution', p. 219.    [p. 144]


    Ibid., pp. 216-17. It is as if one said John O'Groats and Land's End were in Cornwall.    [p. 144]


    The Canton insurrection, ibid., p. 135.    [p. 144]


    Ibid., p. 133.    [p. 145]


    What is happening in China?, ibid., p. 233.    [p. 145]


    Ibid., pp. 233-4.    [p. 145]


    Ibid., p. 235.    [p. 146]


    Resolution on some questions in the history of our party, Appendix to 'Our study and the current situation', SW, vol. 3, p. 181.    [p. 146]

    page 234



    Stalin and the Chinese revolution, in 'Problems of the Chinese Revolution', p. 304.    [p. 146]


    Ibid., pp. 304-5.    [p. 146]


    Cf. Guillermaz, op. cit., pp. 181, 183.    [p. 146]


    Cf. Aux communistes chinois et du monde entier, in 'La Question chinoise dans l'internationale communiste', pp. 344-5. In Trotsky's view, adopted by his Chinese supporters, the principal political slogan had to be the demand for a Constituent Assembly! He accepted indeed that it was 'very likely that China has to go through a relatively prolonged phase of parliamentarism, starting with a Constituent Assembly' (Cf. ibid., p. 144).    [p. 146]


    Ibid., pp. 346-7.    [p. 147]


    SW, Peking, 1965, vol. 4, p. 235 [Transcriber's Note: See Mao's "Speech at a Conference of Cadres in the Shansi-Suiyuan Liberated Area". -- DJR].    [p. 147]


    Hsueh Mu-chiao and others, 'The Socialist transformation of the national economy in China'.    [p. 147]


    Op. cit., p. 235.    [p. 147]


    William Hinton, 'China's Continuing Revolution'.    [p. 147]


    Stalin repeatedly emphasised that the national question is basically a peasant question. Cf. particularly The national question in Yugoslavia (1925), in 'Marxism and the National and Colonial Question', p. 200.    [p. 148]


    Mao Tse-tung, SW, vol. 2, pp. 316-17 [Transcriber's Note: See Mao's "The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party". -- DJR].    [p. 148]


    Lettre aux bolcheviks-leninistes chinois, 'La Lutte des classes'. In this text, Trotsky expresses his conviction that the peasants of the Red Army will clash with the workers of the towns when they penetrate them.    [p. 149]


    Cf. Kang Hsing, Die Entwickung der revolutionären Bewegung in Nicht-Rätechina und die Aufgaben der Kommunistischen Partei, in Wang Ming-Kang Hsing, 'Das revolutionäre China von Heute', XIII Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, December 1933, p. 81.  [p. 149]


    CW, vol. 22 [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "The War and Russian Social-Democracy", vol. 21, p. 28. -- DJR].    [p. 149]


    Ibid., vol. 18, p. 397 and vol. 19, p. 39 [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "The Social Significance of the Serbo-Bulgarian Victories" and "The Balkan War and Bourgeois Chauvinism", respectively. -- DJR].    [p. 149]


    On the concept of 'leadership' see above, p. 142.    [p. 149]


    Mao Tse-tung, 'On contradiction', SW, vol. 1, pp. 331-2.    [p. 149]


    'Chinese Literature', no. 1, 1967, pp. 80, 81-2.    [p. 150]


    Deutscher, 'The Prophet Outcast', p. 424.    [p. 150]


    This was recounted by Vergès in the above-mentioned debate and confirmed by Deutscher.    [p. 150]


    Oxford, 1969, pp. 84-5.    [p. 150]


    'The Prophet Outcast', p. 520.    [p. 151]


    Benjamin Schwartz, Introduction to 'Problems of the Chinese Revolution', p. III. In his article Mao Tse-tung et la révolution permanente, published in 1962, Pierre Naville also interprets the victory of the Chinese revolution as the result of the unconscious application of the theory of the permanent revolution (cf. the collection 'La Classe ouvrière et le régime gaulliste').    [p. 151]


    Op. cit., p. 56. Where Stalin is concerned bourgeois scholars do not feel obliged to respect the appearance of academic seriousness and objectivity. On p. 225, introducing texts by that revolutionary leader, we find this sentence: 'Extracts from Stalin's articles and speeches illustrating his successive

    page 235


    positions on the Chinese question'. The authors ingenuously alert us to the intention which has governed the selection, extraction and presentation of these texts.    [p. 151]


    Ibid., pp. 63-4.    [p. 151]


    Ibid., p. 64.    [p. 151]


    Ibid., p. 74.    [p. 152]


    Op. cit., p. 468.    [p. 152]


    The Chinese question after the Sixth Congress, 'Problems of the Chinese Revolution', p. 221.    [p. 154]


    Cf. Karol, 'The Other Communism', p. 52n.    [p. 154]


    Ibid., p. 54.    [p. 154]


    Ibid., p. 78.    [p. 155]


    Loc. cit.    [p. 155]


    For the benefit of those who are unable to read let me make it clear that I am criticising Karol for the inaccurate statements about the way in which the Chinese teach their own history which appear in Part One of his book under the heading, 'Their history as they see it today'. J.-J. Marie pretends to understand that for me 'a version of history is true because it is so taught in China' ('). Cf. 'La Verite', April 1972, p. 205.    [p. 155]


    SW, Peking, 1965, vol. 3, pp. 221-2. This Resolution has not been reproduced in vol. 3 of the French translation [Transcriber's Note: and it is not available in the 1967 English edition -- DJR] which came out after the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, probably because of certain passages concerning Liu Shao-chi and also no doubt because it was revealed in the course of the Cultural Revolution that Ch'u Ch'ui-pai became a traitor before his death.    [p. 155]


    Op. cit., p. 138.    [p. 156]





    Winston Churchill, 'History of the Second World War', vol. 5, pp. 475-6.
     [p. 158]


    Ibid., vol. 6, p. 97.    [p. 158]


    Ibid., pp. 247-8.    [p. 158]


    Ibid., p. 100.    [p. 158]


    Mao Tse-tung, SW, Peking, 1965, vol. 4, pp. 14-15 [Transcriber's Note: See Mao's "The Situation and Our Policy after the Victory in the War of Resistance against Japan". -- DJR].    [p. 159]


    Churchill, op. cit., vol. 6, p. 250.    [p. 159]


    'X' was an organisation financed by the English supposedly to carry out Resistance work, but which collaborated with the Germans in their persecution of communism. Its leader was a failed politician, Colonel (now General) Grivas, later the head of EOKA in Cyprus under the name of Dighenis.    [p. 160]


    Here is how Churchill related this event: 'Communist supporters, engaging in a banned demonstration, collided with the police and civil war began' ('History', vol. 6, p. 251). It would be impossible to tell more lies in so few words. They were not supporters. Only a minority were communists. The demonstration was not banned. The police made a cowardly attack for which no one would accept responsibility but which was premeditated for all that. The war which began was not a civil war for it was essentially between the British soldiery and the people of [Athens.]    [p. 161]

    page 236



    A. Kedros, 'La Resistance grecque', p. 488.    [p. 161]


    Churchill, 'History', vol. 6, p. 252. Papandreou was there to help Scobie massacre his fellow countrymen. If it had not been him it would have been someone else, it is not very important. 'Some Greek government', Churchill said. This 'some' says all that can be said about the relation between an imperialist power and the puppets it uses. On the same day, the British Prime Minister wrote to Ambassador Leeper: 'Henceforth you and Papandreou will conform to his (Scobie's) directions' (ibid., p. 253). And Papandreou has the effrontery to boast in his memoirs about the part that he played in these sad events!   [p. 161]


    Ibid., pp. 259-60.    [p. 162]


    Ibid., pp. 266-9.    [p. 162]


    Cf. La guerre civile en Grèce et ses leçons, 'La Nouvelle Revue internationale', November 1964.    [p. 164]


    Even the Chinese Nationalists had some hopes of an American Scobie. Cf. Mao Tse-tung, SW, vol. 3, p. 275 [Transcriber's Note: See Mao's "On Coalition Government", p. 225. -- DJR].    [p. 164]


    Quoted by N. Svoronos, 'Histoire de la Grèce moderne', p. 118.    [p. 165]


    Z. Zographos, op. cit., p. 100.    [p. 166]


    We shall cite an example of which we have personal knowledge: the French widow of a doctor executed by the Germans was accused of the murder of two people and owed her safety only to her nationality.    [p. 166]


    Quoted by Darivas, De la résistance à la guerre civile en Grèce, in 'Recherches internationales à la lumière du marxisme', nos. 44-5, 1964, p. 275.  [p. 166]


    Ibid., p. 273.    [p. 166]


    The elections had taken place under the supervision of representatives of the British trade unions.    [p. 166]


    Darivas, op. cit., p. 273.    [p. 167]


    It seems that Stalin had advised participation in the elections. In 1950, Zachariades acknowledged that the decision to abstain was a tactical mistake.    [p. 167]


    SW, vol. 4, p. 18.    [p. 168]


    Ibid., p. 18.    [p. 168]


    Z. Zographos, loc. cit.    [p. 168]


    As early as August 1948 the number of prisoners detained and deported rose to 70,000.    [p. 168]


    These principles of people's war have been developed by Mao Tse-tung and victoriously applied in China.    [p. 169]


    Quoted by G. Kousoulas, 'Revolution and Defeat: The Story of the Greek Communist Party', p. 223.    [p. 169]


    EAM-ELAS made the mistake of taking with it in its retreat thousands of hostages not all of whom were class enemies - far from it! In those days ELAS justice was sometimes hasty. These blunders, magnified by hostile propaganda, helped to isolate the communists. In particular, their allies among the intermediate strata, by nature vacillating, had lost confidence in them after their defeat and were too afraid of the monarcho-fascist repression to continue to follow them.   [p. 170]


    Colonel J. C. Murray, The anti-bandit war, 'The Guerilla and How to Fight Him', p. 74.    [p. 171]


    On the night of 4/5 July 1949, Greek government troops traversed Yugoslavia with the agreement of the authorities of that country

    page 237

    to encircle the positions of the Democratic Army at Caïmactsalan. In a letter to Jean Cassou published in 'France nouvelle' on 8 October 1949, the Minister of Justice in the Greek Government of the Mountain quoted precise facts which proved the hostile activity deployed by the Yugoslav leaders against the Democratic Army.    [p. 171]


    See De Gaulle, 'Mémoires de guerre', pp. 205-6: 'Right up to the end the last officers of the Reich tried to negotiate separate deals with the West'.    [p. 172]


    Gilbert Badia, 'Histoire de l'Allemagne contemporaine', vol. 2, p. 125.  [p. 172]


    Churchill, 'History', vol. 6, p. 198.    [p. 172]


    Ibid., p. 203.    [p. 173]


    Ibid., p. 369.    [p. 173]


    Kedros, 'La Résistance grecque', p. 511.    [p. 173]


    Quoted by C. Tsoucalas, 'La Grèce de l'indépendence aux colonels', Maspero, 1970, p. 73.    [p. 174]


    To attribute the British invasion in October 1944 to the Yalta Conference, as is often done, is proof of ignorance, for this Conference met in February and its object was to settle the fate of Germany.    [p. 174]


    Milovan Djilas, 'Conversations with Stalin', pp. 164-5.    [p. 175]


    18 November 1946, quoted in 'Histoire du parti communiste français', Editions sociales, p. 486.    [p. 176]


    Cf. 'Histoire du parti communiste français', Editions Unir, vol. 2, p. 265.
     [p. 176a]


    Ibid., vol. 3, p. 35.    [p. 176]


    Quoted from the pamphlet 'Stalin contre le revisionnisme: I', a 'Ligne rouge' publication. This pamphlet reproduces the notes of Eugenio Reale, who accompanied Longo.    [p. 176]


    Ibid. The Yugoslavs made similar criticisms of the Greek communists, attacking them for being legalists and for not preparing for the seizure of power.  [p. 176]





    'The Permanent Revolution' and 'Results and Prospects', p. 116.    [p. 178]


    'Two Tactics', CW, vol. 9, p. 85.    [p. 178]


    Preface to F. Lassalle's 'Address to the jury', June 1905; quoted in 'Results and Prospects', p. 239.    [p. 179]


    'On contradiction', SW, vol. 1, pp. 313-15; cf. also L. Althusser: 'The internal unevenness has priority and is the basis for the role of the external unevenness, up to and including the effects this second unevenness has within social formations in confrontation', 'For Marx', p. 212.    [p. 179]


    Cf. Mao Tse-tung, op. cit., and also On the materialist dialectic in 'For Marx' by L. Althusser, basing himself on Mao.    [p. 179]


    'The Prophet Armed', p. 159.    [p. 179]


    Cf. Nicolas Krassó, Trotsky's Marxism, 'New Left Review', no. 44, July-August 1967, p. 83.    [p. 179]


    On this subject I take the liberty of referring to my article on La Politique internationale de la Chine, which appeared in 'Tel Quel', no. 50, Summer 1972.  [p. 180]

    page 238



    'History of the Russian Revolution', vol. 1, p. 16.    [p. 181]


    Ibid., p. 301.    [p. 182]


    Cf. 'Quatrième internationale', November 1964, pp. 61-3.    [p. 182]


    Cf. Bonapartisme bourgeois ou bonapartisme soviétique, 'Rouge' classics, no. 2, p. 16.    [p. 182]


    M. Merleau-Ponty, 'Signs', p. 251. He quotes an American Trotskyist.  [p. 183]





    He was referring to the Mexican 'Posadists' (a split from the Fourth International) who infiltrated Yon Sosa's MR 13 and in the end were expelled from it.    [p. 184]


    Cf. 'Quatrième internationale', no. 27, February 1966.    [p. 184]


    'Le Monde', 17 January 1970 (editorial). A new element to add to the Fourth International dossier is the fact that, to all appearances, the Bolivian police made use of its local branch to infiltrate its agents into the ELN and to dismantle its urban network. After this setback, Cavaldo 'Chato' Peredo (who had succeeded his brother, 'Inti', killed on 8 September 1969) had to purge his organisation of Trotskyists and other groups of intellectuals who had joined it. Cf. 'Compagni', no. 1, pp. 11-12.    [p. 185]


    Jean Esmein, 'La Révolution culturelle'; Joan Robinson, 'The Cultural Revolution in China'. For references to the best texts on the cultural revolution, see the Bibliography.    [p. 185]


    Intercontinental Press', vol. 7, no. 26, 14 July 1969.    [p. 185]



    M. A. Machiocci gives the example of the revolutionary committee governing the port of Tien Sin. It constituted fourteen representatives of revolutionary cadres, sixteen of the revolutionary masses and three from the people's army: 'Distribution is made on the following principle: the majority . . . must be constituted by the representatives of the revolutionary masses.' (Cf. 'De la Chine', p. 179.)    [p. 186]


    The debate on workers' control, 'International Socialist Review', May-June 1969.    [p. 187]


    Waldeck Rochet's report to the Central Committee of the PCF at Champigny (5 and 6 December 1968).    [p. 187]


    Champigny Manifesto, 'Pour une démocratie avancée, pour une France socialiste'.    [p. 187]


    The debate on workers' control, p. 3.    [p. 188]


    'Lutte ouvrière', no. 54, 10 September 1969.    [p. 190]


    Quoted by Jean-Jacques Marie, 'Le Trotskysme', pp. 80-1.    [p. 190]


    The SLL and the majority of the 'International Committee' broke with the Lambertist OCI in October 1970.    [p. 190]


    Cf. 'Manifeste de l'OCI', December 1967, supplement to 'La Vérité', no. 543-4, p. 40.    [p. 191]


    'Mai 1968: une répétition générale', pp. 59-62.    [p. 191]


    Cf. 'La Quatrième internationale', p. 87.    [p. 191]


    Lambert in 'Etudes marxistes', no. 2, February 1969, p. 5.    [p. 192]


    Ibid., p. 6.    [p. 192]


    Pierre Broué, 'Le Parti bolchevique', p. 438.    [p. 192]


    Cf. 'Manifeste le l'OCI', pp. 33-4.    [p. 192]

    page 239



    The thesis according to which the Eastern nations are all proletarian was developed after 1923 by the Tartar Sultan Galiev, who had been criticised by Stalin and then expelled from the CPSU for nationalism.    [p. 192]


    Op. cit., p. 29.    [p. 192]


    In the other capitalist countries, military spending does not usually exceed 4 per cent GNP. The OCI Manifesto of December 1967 falsely asserts (p. 15) that today the USA gives over 15 to 20 per cent of its national income to arms production and that 'this figure . . . continues to grow'!    [p. 193]


    According to the Institut National des Statistiques et des Etudes Economiques, French industrial production increased four times from 1947 to 1969. Whereas the Lambertists proclaimed in 1960 that the Gaullist power proposed to destroy national education, the number of students rose from 195,000 in 1960 to 700,000 in 1971. In 'Qu'est-ce que l'AJS', H. Weber has gathered statistical data which show how far the Lambertist theses are from reality.    [p. 194]


    Against Rosa, Lenin argued that 'there is no such thing as an impasse in capitalism'.    [p. 194]


    Cf. 'Etudes marxistes', no. 2, p. 15.    [p. 194]