The Great Debate between Revolutionary China and the Revisionist Soviet Union

Mao Tse-tung and Enver Hoxha

Mao Tse-tung and Enver Hoxha

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The Great Debate between Revolutionary China and the Revisionist Soviet Union

In just under three years after the death of Joseph Stalin (in March 1953) the Soviet Revisionists, under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, had enough confidence in their strength to be able to denounce Stalin (but basically all the revolutionary developments in Soviet society since the October Revolution of 1917) at a closed session of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union held in February 1956.

The calculated manner in which this denunciation was planned caused confusion in the International Communist Movement (obviously the aim) and allowed those cowards and social democrats who had been allowed to wheedle themselves into Communist Parties throughout the world to throw their hands up in horror and create even more confusion – with the result that the movement was weakened worldwide.

Khrushchev’s speech was just the start of the attack upon revolutionary Socialism, Marxism-Leninism and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. The lack lustre defence of those principles by the majority of the Communist and Workers Parties throughout the world (or at least in the majority of their leadership and a not inconsiderable number of the members) only served to encourage the Soviet revisionists to go further in their destruction of socialism and the restoration of capitalism in the first workers and peasants socialist state. One of the victims of that development was Khrushchev himself who was thrown out when he had done what was needed at the time. He quickly reached his sell by date.

Only two parties in the position of holding state power were united on the struggle against the revisionists – the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania. Below are pamphlets produced by the Chinese Party which record what was to become known as the ‘International Polemic’ – an ideological battle between revolutionaries and revisionists which pleased capitalism and imperialism but which, ultimately, made revolutionary forces throughout the world stronger in that the issues of what separated revolutionaries from the rest were clearly delineated.

In China this ideological struggle was further developed during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 – initiated by Chairman Mao Tse-tung as the only opportunity for the workers and peasants to remain in control of the society they had been building since 1949. This debate was also carried on in the pages of the magazines produced at the time, principally the weekly political and informative magazine Peking Review but also in China Reconstructs and China Pictorial.

The standpoint of the Party of Labour of Albania can be read in the many documents they produced from the 1950s onwards (into the 1980s) as well as the pages of the monthly, theoretical magazine Albania Today and the writings of the Albanian leader, Enver Hoxha.

Prelude

More on the Historical Experience of the Proletarian Dictatorship, a summary of a discussion at an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China focusing on the question of Stalin, which appeared in Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] on December 29, 1956. (London: CPGB, 1957), 32 pages.

Collections of Early Documents

In Refutation of Modern Revisionism, 7 major editorials and articles from May-June 1958. (Peking: FLP, 1958), 102 pages. Consists of the following documents:

  • Resolution on the Moscow Meetings of Representatives of Communist and Workers’ Parties, adopted May 23, 1958 by the 2nd Session of the 8th National Congress of the CCP.
  • Modern Revisionism Must Be Repudiated, Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] editorial of May 5, 1958.
  • Modern Revisionism Must Be Fought To The End, Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] editorial of June 4, 1958.
  • Yugoslav Revisionism — Product of Imperialist Policy, by Chen Po-ta, Hongqi [Red Flag], June 1, 1958 issue.
  • Yugoslav Revisionism Is Just What U.S. Imperialism Needs, by Kang Sheng, Renmin Ribao, June 14, 1958. In Refutation of Modern Revisionism’s Reactionary Theory of the State, by Wang Chia-hsiang, Hongqi, June 16, 1958 issue.
  • The More They Try to Hide, the More They are Exposed — On Tito’s Speech of June 15, by Renmin Ribao Commentator, June 26, 1958.

Whence the Differences? a large book containing most of the early English language articles and pamphlets in the condemnation of revisionism that were published in China. [This new title is on the photographic reprint of the volume done by New Era publishers in Bath, England around 1970. The original edition published in China is entitled Workers of All Countries, Unite, Oppose Our Common Enemy! (Peking: FLP, 1963)], 402 pages. Consists of the following documents:

Workers of All Countries, Unite, Oppose our Common Enemy!, Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily] editorial, Dec. 15, 1962.

The Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Us, Renmin Ribao editorial, Dec. 31, 1962. Leninism and Modern Revisionism, Hongqi [Red Flag] editorial, No. 1, 1963.

Let Us Unite on the Basis of the Moscow Declaration and the Moscow Statement, Renmin Ribao editorial, Jan. 27, 1963.

Whence the Differences? — A Reply to Thorez and Other Comrades, Renmin Ribao editorial, Feb. 27, 1963.

More on the Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Us, by the editorial department of Hongqi, Nos. 3-4, 1963.

  • I. Introduction
  • II. The nature of the present great debate among communists
  • III. Contradictions in the contemporary world
  • IV. War and peace
  • V. The state and revolution
  • VI. Despise the enemy strategically, take him seriously tactically
  • VII. A struggle on two fronts
  • VIII. Workers of all countries, unite!

A Comment on the Statement of the Communist Party of the U.S.A., Renmin Ribao editorial, March 8, 1963.

A Mirror for Revisionists, Renmin Ribao editorial, March 9, 1963.

Individual Early Pamphlets

Long Live Leninism, (Peking: FLP, 1960) Consists of three parts:

  • Long Live Leninism!, by the Editorial Department of Hongqi.
  • Forward Along the Path of the Great Lenin!, by the Editorial Department of Renmin Ribao.
  • Unite Under Lenin’s Revolutionary Banner, by Lu Ting-yi. 58 pages

The Struggle Between Two Lines at the Moscow World Congress of Women, six statements, articles and reports. (Peking: FLP, 1963), 70 pages. [Our apologies for the darkened paper in the copy scanned, though it is still quite legible.]

The Truth About How the Leaders of the CPSU have Allied Themselves with India against China, by the Editorial Department of Renimin Ribao [People’s Daily], Nov. 2, 1963, and including an article reprinted from Pravda as an appendix. (Peking: FLP, 1963), 60 pages.

Formal Inter-Party Letters

A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement: The Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Reply to the Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of March 30, 1963, June 14, 1963, (Peking: FLP, 1963), 124 pages. Includes as appendices 3 letters from the the CC of the CPSU (Feb. 21, 1963; March 9, 1963; and March 30, 1963). This is one of the most important and most famous documents in the entire history of the world Communist movement.

Seven Letters Exchanged Between the Central Committees of the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, (Peking: FLP, 1964), 84 pages. Includes 4 letters from the CC of the CCP in 1964 (Feb. 20; Feb. 27; Feb. 29; and May 7) and 3 letters from the CC of the CPSU (Nov. 29, 1963; Feb. 22, 1964; and March 7, 1964).

Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Reply to the Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Dated June 15, 1964, July 28, 1964, (Peking: FLP, 1964), 60 pages. (Includes the CPSU letter being responded to.)

Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Reply to the Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Dated July 30, 1964, August 30, 1964, (Peking: FLP, 1964), 24 pages. (Includes the CPSU letter being responded to.)

Letter of Reply Dated March 22, 1966 of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, (Peking: FLP, 1966), 16 pages. (Includes the CPSU letter of Feb. 24, 1966 being responded to.)

The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement

The Polemic on the General Line of the International Communist Movement published in Peking by the Foreign Languages Press in 1965, 604 pages.

Individual articles in this collection, most of which are Comments on the Open Letter of the Central Committee of the CPSU, and are jointly written by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao and Hongqi, are also available here in individual pamphlet form:

Other Pamphlets from the Great Debate

A Comment on the March Moscow Meeting, by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao and Hongqi, March 23, 1965, 42 pages.

A Great Victory for Leninism – In Commemoration of the 95th Anniversary of the Birth of Lenin, Hongqi [Red Flag] editorial, #4, 1965. (Peking: FLP, 1965), 19 pages.

Carry the Struggle Against Khrushchov Revisionism Through to the End – On the Occasion of the Second Anniversary of the Publication of ‘A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement’, by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) and Hongqi [Red Flag], June 14, 1965, 24 pages. [Our apologies; we were unable to remove part of the underlining in this pamphlet.]

Refutation of the New Leaders of the CPSU on ‘United Action’, by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao and Hongqi, Nov. 11, 1965, 44 pages.

The Leaders of the CPSU are Betrayers of the Declaration and Statement, by the editorial department of Renmin Ribao [People’s Daily], Dec. 20, 1965, 16 pages.

Confessions Concerning the Line of Soviet-U.S. Collaboration Pursued by the New Leaders of the CPSU, by Commentator in Hongqi [Red Flag], Feb. 11, 1966, (Peking: FLP, 1966), 24 pages.

Some Questions Concerning Modern Revisionist Literature in the Soviet Union, by Hsiang Hung and Wei Ning. Also includes Selected Statements by Sholokhov, the Renegade Author, compiled by Chang Chun, and The True Features of the Renegade Sholokhov, by Tsai Hui. (Peking: FLP, 1966), 72 pages.

Smash the Big U.S.-Soviet Conspiracy! by Observer of Renmin Ribao, Feb. 20, 1967, about collusion and joint attempts by the U.S. and the Soviet Union to end the revolutionary war in south Vietnam. (Peking: FLP, 1967), 22 pages.

Advance Along the Road Opened Up by the October Socialist Revolution: In Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao, Hongqi and Jiefangjun Bao [Liberation Army Daily], Nov. 6, 1967, 40 pages. Includes also Comrade Lin Piao’s Speech at the Peking Rally Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution, Nov. 6, 1967.

How the Soviet Revisionists Carry Out All-Round Restoration of Capitalism in the U.S.S.R., reference material from articles in Renmin Ribao and from Hsinhua News Agency, (Peking: FLP, 1968), 88 pages.

Total Bankruptcy of Soviet Modern Revisionism, six articles including two speeches by Chou En-lai, August-September 1968. (Peking: FLP, 1968), 92 pages.

Ugly Performance of Self-Exposure, by Chung Jen, originally published in Chinese in Renmin Ribao, August 14, 1969. (Peking: FLP, 1969), 24 pages.

An Outspoken Revelation, Hsinhua News Agency, April 16, 1970 dispatch. (Peking: FLP, 1970),  22 pages.

Leninism or Social-Imperialism? – In Commemoration of the Centenary of the Birth of the Great Lenin, by the editorial departments of Renmin Ribao, Hongqi and Jiefangjun Bao, April 22, 1970, 78 pages.

Cheap Propaganda, 5 commentaries by Hsinhua Correspondent about hypocritical calls by the Soviet Union for disarmament, August-December 1973, 40 pages. (Peking: FLP, 1974)

Ghost of Confucius, Fond Dream of the New Tsars, 3 commentaries by mass criticism groups and by a Hsinhua correspondent. (Peking: FLP, 1974), 49 pages.

Ugly Features of Soviet Social-Imperialism, a collection of articles from 1973-1975 exposing the Soviet Union as an imperialist power and international exploiter. (Peking: FLP, 1976), 96 pages. Includes:

  • The Superpower Label for Soviet Revisionism Cannot be Removed, by Fan Hsiao
  • The Brezhnev Clique is Following in Hitler’s Footsteps, commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent
  • A Black Line Running Through Two Dynasties — on the new tsars justifying old tsars’ aggression and expansion, commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent
  • Soviet Union — Superpower and Super-Exploiter, commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent
  • C.M.E.A. — Soviet Revisionism’s Instrument for Neo-Colonialism, commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent
  • Sinister Programme of Neo-Colonialism — Soviet revisionists’ vicious motives in peddling theory of ‘international division of labour’ in Third World, by Chai Chang
  • Honey on Lips, Murder in Heart — Social-imperialist nature of Soviet revisionists’ ‘military aid’ to Egypt exposed, by Fan Hsiu-chu and Chung Tung
  • Where is the ‘Dawn of Peace and Co-operation’?, by Mei Ou
  • Warsaw Treaty Organization — Soviet Social-Imperialism’s Tool for Aggression, by Ming Sung
  • Essence of Soviet Revisionists’ ‘All-Europe Economic Co-operation’, by Cheng Wei-min
  • Outright Deceit, Ulterior Motives — On Soviet revisionists peddling ‘Asian collective security system’ in Southeast Asia, commentary by Hsinhua Correspondent
  • Repulse Wolf at Front Gate, Guard Against Tiger at Back Door, by Jen Ku-ping

Social Imperialism: The Soviet Union Today, a collection of articles from Peking Review from 1975-1976, 148 pages. (Berkeley: Yenan Books, 1977).

The Soviet Union Under the New Tsars, by Wei Chi, 100 pages.

Documents from Parties and Individuals in Other Countries Critising Soviet Revisionism (Published in China)

Raise Higher the Revolutionary Banner of Marxism-Leninism, 3 articles by the Korean People’s Worker’s Party from 1962 and 1963 opposing revisionism, 44 pages. [Note: Our apologies for the condition of the pamphlet we scanned, which was literally falling apart. We scanned it in color to increase the contrast of the black print with the yellowed pages.] (Peking: FLP, 1963)

Certain International Questions Affecting Malaya, from the Malayan Monitor, Jan. 31, 1963. (Peking: FLP, 1963), 24 pages.

Reply to Khrushchov – Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Brazil, including the abridged text of the resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Brazil of July 27, 1963, and also the article The Great Theory of Marxism-Leninism is Bound to Triumph on Our Continent, by José Duarte, originally from the Brazilian journal A Classe Operária, Aug. 16-31, 1963. (Peking: FLP, 1964), 32 pages.

Statement of Ten Central Committee Members of the Ceylon Communist Party, October 27, 1963. Also includes To All Marxist-Leninists Inside the Ceylon Communist Party (Nov. 17, 1963). (Peking: FLP, 1964), 44 pages.

‘Theory’ and Practice of the Modern Revisionists, by Jacques Grippa, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Belgium, a speech delivered at the Higher Party School fo the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on June 10, 1964. (Peking: FLP, 1965), 60 pages. [Note: Although Grippa initially supported China during the Sino-Soviet Split, he then began to oppose China during the GPCR, and in 1968 actually gave a speech in support of Liu Shaoqi!]

Malayan People’s Experience Refutes Revisionist Fallacies – Sixteenth Anniversary of the Malayan People’s Armed Struggle, June 30, 1964, 24 pages. (Peking: FLP, 1965)

On the Intrinsic Nature of N.S. Khrushchov’s Peaceful Co-Existence Line, an article by Observer in Akahata, organ of the Communist Party of Japan, Nov. 22, 1964. (Peking: FLP, 1965), 62 pages.

On Interventions in and Subversive Activities Against the Democratic Movements of Our Country and Our Party by the CPSU Leadership and the Institutions and Organizations Under its Guidance, an article in Akahata, organ of the Communist Party of Japan, June 22, 1965. (Peking: FLP, 1966), 54 pages.

Border Disputes and Military Confrontations and Incidents Between China and the U.S.S.R.

Down With the New Tsars! a collection of statements and articles condemning the incursion of military forces of the revisionist Soviet Union onto China’s Chenpao Island in the Wusuli River in Heilungkiang Province. (Peking: FLP, 1969), 78 pages.

Down With the New Tsars! – Soviet Revisionists’ Anti-China Atrocities on the Heilung and Wusuli Rivers, photo-filled pamphlet, (Peking: FLP, 1969), 76 pages.

Statement of the Government of the People’s Republic of China (May 24, 1969), regarding the border dispute with the Soviet Union. Also includes the Note of the Hsinhua News Agency on the Publication of the Full Text of the Soviet Government’s Statement of March 29 (May 24, 1969). (Peking: FLP, 1969), 48 pages.

Statement of the Government of the People’s Republic of China (October 7, 1969), regarding the border dispute with the Soviet Union. Also includes the Document of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC—Refutation of the Soviet Government’s Statement of June 13, 1969 (Oct. 8, 1969), (Peking: FLP, 1974), 2nd printing, 40 pages.

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