No squeamishness about means

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B.M Leizbon,

Social psychology has so far given no explanation why renegades become the bitterest enemies of the views and organisations they have betrayed, far more bitter than those who always fought on the other side of the barricade. It is difficult to say whether this is due to a desire to atone for their sins, to the morbid ambition of non-recognised leaders or some other motives. Whatever the reason, from biblical days to our times those who have betrayed the cause for which they once fought have always become its worst enemies.

The history of the working-class movement knows many such examples. It shows that when petty-bourgeois revolutionism suffers defeat and loses its positions in the working class it spearheads its attacks not against the exploiting system (it only heaps curses on its head) but against workers’ organisations.

Being in the ranks of the First International and having lost all hope of winning a leading position in it and imposing their views, the anarchists engaged in subversion against the International. The letter of the General Council to all members of the International Working Men’s Association drafted by Frederick Engels in August 1872 says: "In the history of the struggle of the working class this is the first instance of a secret plot within the working class itself, aimed at destroying not the existing system of exploitation but the Association that is waging a relentless 148 struggle against that system. That plot is a plot aimed against the proletarian movement itself." [148•1

The struggle to thwart the plot demonstrated relation between the ideology of a political trend and the methods it uses. This was subsequently corroborated by the entire history of the working-class movement.

A closer look at the history of the struggle between anarchism and Marxism in the late 19th century shows the gulf that divides these ideologies and their different approaches to the struggle inside the Party. On the one hand, there is the principled and at the same time flexible line of the Marxists, discipline and observance of joint decisions; on the other, the anarchists’ haughty disregard for other people’s opinions and for organisation and their lack of elementary decency in dealing with people of other views. The anarchists were not squeamish about the means to attain their ends: lies, slander, intimidation, perfidy, etc., were all part of their arsenal. The secret conspiratory society formed within the International directed "its blows not against existing governments but against the revolutionaries who reject its dogmas and leadership". [148•2

This description fits the methods used today by the Trotskyists and the violence practised by the Maoists. The reason is that, though time and conditions may change, the methods by which pettybourgeois revolutionism fights proletarian revolutionism essentially remain the same and can all be expressed by the simple and unscrupulous formula: everything is fair in war.

What methods does petty-bourgeois revolutionism use against Marxism, and how is this struggle generally escalated?

It usually begins with the formation of factions which refuse to abide by general decisions, deny any obligations towards their comrades- in arms, and recognise the will of the majority only if the majority agrees with them. The anarchists maintained that the rights of the individual are unlimited and Trotskyism “enriched” this theory by demanding unlimited freedom for factional activity.

Before the 1917 October Revolution the Trotskyists attempted to conceal their factional activity by advancing the slogan of supra- factionalism, and disguised their splitting activity with talk about unity. That is why Lenin branded them the most dangerous of all factionalists and Trotsky was forever nicknamed Judas. After the victory of the revolution, the Trotskyists more and more openly declared themselves a faction with the intention of superseding the Leninist Party.

Typical of Trotskyism during that period was the striving to carry out factional activities not only within the country, but also on an international scale. The Trotskyists sent emissaries to the Communist Parties of Germany, France and other countries to set up within the working-class movement a bloc of all opposition groups, irrespective of their aims, accepting opportunists of any brand.

The Maoists are copying these methods of factional activity and are using them on an international scale. And it was no mere chance that at the Moscow Meeting of Representatives of Communist and Workers’ Parties in 1960, they objected against the condemnation of factional activities. But, in spite of them, the Statement included 150 a decision on the inadmissibility of any action tending to undermine the unity of the world communist movement. However, the C.P.C. leadership did not reckon with it.

Wherever possible Peking representatives brainwashed members of the fraternal parties and knocked together factions, in order to dis-organize the normal work of the leadership elected by Party congresses.

Lawrence Sharkey, at that time General Secretary of the C.G. of the Communist Party of Australia, told the plenary meeting of the C.C. at the end of 1963 how he and other functionaries of the Communist Party had been “wooed” during their visit to China, how the Maoists had "tried to impose upon us a policy that could only isolate us from the working class, from the masses and reduce us to an impotent sect. . . .

“Then we were offered. .. some ’literature’—a book written by a white guard for the U.S. State Department and a Trotskyist book. We rejected these ’gifts’."
Seeing that the attempts to draw the leadership of the Communist Party of Australia over to its side were hopeless, Peking immediately turned its attention to the renegade Hill, who had been expelled from the Party, and whom the Mao group now invariably calls the Chairman of the Australian Communist Party, while styling its real leaders "the former leadership".

With Chinese assistance, a group of factionalists became active in the Belgian Party. When they were expelled from the Party, Peking immediately proclaimed this group the new Communist Party of Belgium. The same happened with the faction in the Ceylonese Communist Party and a number of other parties.

The political face of those whom the Maoists enlist on their side is a matter of no concern to them. They get in touch with all sorts of turncoats, “ultra-Left” extremists, political adventurists, with those whom the Communist Parties have weeded out of their ranks. In Mexico, the Maoists sought the support notably of Trotskyist groupings. In Colombia they enlisted the support of an adventurist who had been expelled from the Communist Party 14 years earlier. In Chile, they picked a Trotskyist, who was connected with the police and was expelled from the Party in the thirties. In Ceylon, the Seventh Congress of the Ceylonese Communist Party (April 1964) reported, they resorted to direct bribery: they gave 5,000 rupees to one of their supporters to pay his debt, 1,000 rupees for the repair of another’s motorcar, the mortgage on a house belonging to a third, etc.

Slander, bribery, blackmail are methods widely used by the Mao Tse-tung group. In a letter dated June 14, 1963 outlining the notorious 25 items of its programme, the C.P.C. leadership threatened that, if Communist Parties should reject them, the leadership of these Parties would be taken over by new people, who "may or may not be members of a given Party”. The Trotskyists acted in a similar way in 1926 when they warned the Communist Party of Germany that if it should support the C.C., C.P.S.U.(B.), they would split the Party and form a new “Left” German Party.

The general method used by Trotskyists in their struggle against Communist Parties was to set the Party masses against the leadership of the Party, to concentrate fire on those who defended the Party line. The Chinese leaders have adopted 152 this method in their struggle against the C.P.S.U. and other Communist Parties; they also strive to contrapose the Central Committees of the Parties to the Parties themselves, to slander Party leaders.

Openly enthusing over this subversive activity, the Trotskyists in the "Fourth International" called on the Maoists to promote the split "by all means at their disposal: money, people, technique”. On February 8, 1963, the "Fourth International" banking on the success of the subversive activity of the Chinese dissenters, advocated the setting up of a new communist International "the need for which has been confirmed as never before by the latest events, and for the establishment of which the Fourth International has fought ever since its foundation".

However, the policy of setting up pro-Peking “parties” in opposition to the Communist Parties faithful to the decisions of the Meetings of 1957 and 1960 ended in failure in most countries. Even though Peking continues pompously to welcome and see off the heads of the groups they have set up in some countries (whom the Chilean Communists have aptly dubbed "pocket parties”), the whole world, including even the Maoists themselves, realises that their attempt to set up in opposition to the world communist movement a bloc of renegades with its own platform and its centre in Peking has failed miserably.

When at one time an identical attempt of the Trotskyists failed, they adopted the double-dealing tactic which the "Fourth International" called “entrism”, from the French “entrer”, meaning to enter. “Entrism” means to worm one’s way into Party and mass organisations by accepting in words their aims, tactics and discipline. The aim was to undermine the organisations from within, to recruit followers without showing their true face. In the developed capitalist countries the Trotskyists, as World News, the journal of the Communist Party of Great Britain (No. 42, 1958) noted, clearly realise that "at times when the situation sharpens at great speed some workers respond to the super-revolutionary appeal, the slogans promising socialism on the cheap, through some short cut, some quick single act”. In the colonial and dependent countries the Trotskyists most often acted under cover of Left radicalism, which clearly betrayed the features of anarcho-syndicalism.

Of course, the Trotskyists do not advertise their “entrism”, the "special penetration”, as they call it. The essence of these double-faced tactics demands secrecy. But the experience of the working-class movement in fighting anarchism, Trotskyism and other manifestations of petty- bourgeois revolutionism shows that, when the enemies of Marxism suffer defeat in their direct attacks, they resort to secret methods of recruiting followers, to setting up a clandestine network of agents, and that requires high vigilance on the part of Communists.

When the Trotskyists were still in the Party ranks, they always attempted to carry the discussions on Party differences outside the Party.

Mao Tse-tung also adopts similar tactics. Before the discussion of the differences that had arisen in the communist movement, Peking published in April 1960 a book, Long Live Leninism, in all main languages. It was directed against the line worked out jointly by Communist Parties in 1957. A month later, the Chinese leaders began to work on members of the Council of the World Federation of Trade Unions, which was holding a session in Peking. Since then, the Chinese delegates have been making splitting speeches at all gatherings of international non-party mass organisations: the sessions of the World Peace Council, the conferences of the Organisation of AfroAsian Solidarity, the World Youth Forum, the World Women’s Congress, etc. The Maoists use any channels to disseminate their theories through the press and continually broadcast them on the radio.

The Trotskyists always used in their polemics a tone precluding any possibility of resolving differences. They did not endeavour to discuss or convince, they wanted to destroy, they acted by means of ultimatums and threats. In 1904, Lenin said "these efforts to destroy instead of convince show their lack of consistent principles, lack of faith in their own ideas". [154•1

In their methods of destroying the Maoists outdo anything known hitherto. They behave as though they were the supreme judges, the depositaries of supreme wisdom. They did not recognise the traditional practice accepted in the Party of exchanging views, but announced " incontestable truths”, considering it below their dignity even to listen to the arguments advanced by others. They turned all discussions into squabbles and abuse, using the vilest slander, and thereby excluding any possibility of agreement from the very start. Their speeches were never intended to overcome differences but to aggravate them to the extreme.

The representatives of petty-bourgeois revolutionism discredited themselves in the eyes of all honest people not only by resorting to any means, fair or foul, but also by their alliance with the enemies of the working people.

In the mid-twenties, having started underground activity in the Soviet Union, the Trotskyists used all sorts of foul connections to set up an illegal printing shop. At a time when the imperialists were threatening to attack the Soviet Union, the Trotskyists advanced the slogan of conditional defencism, that is, they actually refused to defend the U.S.S.R. unless it changed its policy.

These were not mere words, as can be seen from their behaviour in other countries. At the most critical period of the Civil War in Spain, the Trotskyist POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista) engineered an uprising against the Republican Government in Barcelona, motivating their act of treason by saying that the war was only for democracy and not for socialism. The Trotskyists did everything to spread defeatist moods and to demoralise the people in the republican zone. The subversive activities of the Trotskyists and anarchists were exploited by Franco’s agents.

In its splitting activity, the Mao Tse-tung group is supporting the most reactionary regimes. In Spain, where the Communists have had to go underground and are subjected to cruel persecution, the official authorities quite readily disseminate all Peking publications. Moreover, with the help of Peking, they even print fake issues of the Communist Mundo Obrero. The bulletin Mundo Obrero Revolucionario, which was passed off as the organ of the so-called new Spanish Communist Party is published with the assistance of a special service of Franco’s Ministry 156 of Information. This bulletin calls the leaders of the Communist Party “revisionists”, " capitulationists" and "Social-Democratic reformists”. The main efforts of the authors of this bulletin are directed at splitting the anti-fascist movement successfully developing in Spain. The democratic press justly considers that the fact that the conditions provided by the Spanish authorities for the publication of this bulletin show that there exists an alliance between the fascist dictatorship and the Peking propagandists in Spain.

Hundreds of establishments in American capitals distribute letters, pamphlets, and all sorts of information propagandising the views of MaoTse-tung to private addresses. Information agencies actively disseminate documents of the Maoists and the pro-Peking dissenting groups. The bourgeois press in many countries, which never published material on any of the Communist Parties, gives extensive coverage to the actions of Mao’s supporters.

The struggle Marxism had to wage against petty-bourgeois revolutionism in its early stages has assumed a much wider scale in the new conditions. While the members of the First International were persecuted and arrested in nearly all countries, the members in the conspiratorial Alliance enjoyed immunity.

The extreme views of the anarchists could scare, as Marx said, only "bourgeois cretins”, while sober bourgeois politicians understood only too well what use they could draw from the arch revolutionary phrase-mongering of the anarchists. The security services of many states encouraged the “ultra-revolutionaries”. Significant in this respect is the report of the Special Commissioner of the Swiss police of December 30, 157 1871 on the activity of the anarchist newspaper Revolution Social, which, according to him ”. . . undermined ... the International more thoroughly than the wisest writings could. ... It would be unpleasant (he considered)—if this paper .. . were to cease its existence”. He suggested that the necessary funds should be released "to prolong the life of this paper”, in order to enable it "to liven up its destructive and disorganising activity in the ranks of the Swiss internation- alists". [157•1

In the twenties and thirties, while imperialist reaction still hoped that Trotskyism would succeed, they lavishly financed Trotskyist publications. In a number of countries the authorities disseminated Trotskyist material at enterprises and among political prisoners in gaols. While Communists were subjected to cruel repressions, the Trotskyists were given full freedom of action. Small wonder the imperialist reaction encouraged in every way the Trotskyists, who, in their bitterness, slander, and attacks on the first socialist country, left far behind all varieties of anti-communism.

Today imperialist reaction strives to exploit the Maoists’ malicious campaign against the world communist movement, the socialist countries, particularly against the Soviet Union.

After the Trotskyists nobody has exhibited such open hostility against the Soviet Union or slandered the achievements of the Soviet people with such hatred as the Maoists do. Even the anti-communist publications and radio transmissions from capitalist countries may seem almost pro-Soviet in comparison with the stream of anti-Soviet invectives let loose by the Mao group.

Peking spends enormous sums on anti-Soviet propaganda; it lavishly finances any renegades or adventurists provided their struggle against the Soviet Union, the socialist countries and the communist movement is disguised by ultrarevolutionary phrases.

Instead of fighting imperialism, the Mao group spearheads its attacks against the Soviet Union, the socialist countries and the international communist movement. That is why the imperialists are so readily supporting the Mao group, and fitting it into their far-reaching plans. But pettybourgeois revolutionism, upon which the class enemies vainly pinned their hopes in the past, will let them down this time as well.

When fighting Trotskyism before the revolution, Lenin described the methods used by Trotsky’s supporters, as follows: "This is abuse coming from impotent little groups, who are angry at their own impotence." [158•1

Naturally, we cannot compare the possibilities of these little groups with those of the Maoists. Heading a big state the latter have the possibility to carry on subversion on an unprecedented scale. But it is still true that abuse is a sign of one’s own weakness, the weapon of the impotent who are angry at their own impotence. Abuse is the means by which the Maoists try to incite fanaticism in their followers, it is a cover for the groundlessness of Mao’s claim to be the leader of the world revolution.

The methods used by the various brands of petty-bourgeois revolutionism did no little to discredit the ideas they wanted to popularise. The impermissible methods they resorted to opened the eyes of those who but recently laboured under illusions and believed the new prophets. The means to which the anarchists resorted to fight Marxism lost them many of their followers. When the Trotskyists were finally exposed as double-dealers and provocateurs, they found themselves in a social vacuum. The Maoists will not win much sympathy by their frenzied anti-Sovietism and their excesses. When progressive people the world over compare Peking’s hysterics with the calm and dignity displayed by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Soviet people, the entire communist movement, they feel a deep respect for those who resist all provocations and consistently and confidently defend the purity of their convictions.


[148•1] K. Marx/F. Engels, Wcrke, Ed. 18, S. 120.

[148•2] Ibid., S. 333.

[154•1] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 7, p. 364.

[157•1] N. Y. Kolpinsky, V. A. Tvardovskaya, Bakunin in the Russian and International Liberation Movement (in Russian), Voprosy Istorii magazine, 1964, No. 10, p. 82.

[158•1] V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 20, p. 321.