On the occasion of 40th Anniversary of Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) and 50th Anniversary of Struggle Against Revisionizm;
GPCR’s Historic Value, Political Significance, Theoretic Lessons;
Classes, Class Struggle, Continuation of Revolution, and the Restoration of Capitalism under the Proletarian Dictatorship;
Heavy Shackle that was put on Modern Revisionism by the Process of Huge Battle Led by Mao and the Communist Party of China (CPC)
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’s Historic Value, Political Significance, and Theoretic Lessons
The fuse of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) was ignited by Mao with a Communist Party of China (CPC) circular dated 16 May 1966. And on 5 August 1966, he wrote that famous, earth trembling poster: “Bombard the Headquarters!” Thus it determined the “direction of the struggle’s blow”, which yielded the two five-year periods of that huge storm. The aim, the headquarter that was supposed to be overthrown, was the figures on high positions in the Party Central Committee and consequently a portion of the “patented” leadership. So, yes, everything began on 5 August 1966 with that short but charged, short but blunt, short but powerful command: “Bomb the Headquarters!”
What was the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution?
It was the kind of revolution that was a peerless first practice in the history. It did not simply employ the usual experiences and methods. Through the masses, it went to the “source of the water” and it became an experiment where a class overthrew another one. It put the “issue of world view” in the center of the struggle. It was an extraordinary revolution that challenged the “established taboos” in a country where the central committee was in betrayal even under the conditions of proletarian dictatorship. The distinction of this revolution was that it was a life and death struggle that took place under the proletarian dictatorship and that the fire zone of the struggle was in the very heart of the party.
GPCR was an authentic and particular class struggle that proceeded under the proletarian dictatorship. It was a new, higher, and rich first experiment of the proletarian dictatorship as the world had seen thus far. This experiment would end up giving a whole new manifestation to the concept of class struggle under socialism and add a brand new link to the chain of revolutionary practice. With this experiment, the revolutionary theory would reach higher levels in a new period of the struggle and the proletarian dictatorship would gain more depth and became even richer in revolutionary experiences.
Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was a comprehensive dictatorship upon the new bourgeoisie. This was not a battle that saw mobilization only in the areas of ideology and politics. It was also an economic, military, and cultural battle that embraced the masses and spanned across two five-year periods. It was an extraordinarily important revolution carried out by the masses to take back the political power from revisionists in a socialist country. It was difficult and full of obstacles for the bourgeoisie was in the very center and power organs of the party. That is why Mao, in the early stages of the Cultural Revolution, at a Polit-Bureau Permanent Committee meeting in 1967, explicitly pointed out this fact with the following words: “What will you do when revisionism emerges within the Central Committee? This is certainly possible and a great danger.”
Moreover, Mao was explicit and direct in pointing out the masses what needs to be done: “Overthrow the capitalist roaders in authority in the party.” Previously, Mao had said, “Overthrow those who irredeemably insist on the reactionary line.” Life and the class struggle continued and alas those who irredeemably insisted on the reactionary line could not be brought to the correct line. It was necessary to show the masses their true characteristic. Show them specifically who insisted on following the reactionary line and were irredeemable at that. Evidently, these irredeemable figures were the capitalist roaders in positions of authority in the party and up to that point they had occupied many important positions. Therefore, this time an all-out mobilization was needed. Old and new bourgeoisie had joined up and boosted their power. In fact this power had reached the dangerous point of realizing the capitalist restoration.
It was time for the grand battle and Mao expressed his judgment on the timeliness of the battle’s necessity with the following words: “This Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is absolutely necessary and timely to consolidate the proletarian dictatorship, to prevent the restoration of capitalism, and build socialism.” Indeed, principally the key positions within the party, many factories and institutions were captured by revisionists. Moreover, revisionists had gained considerable ground in the areas of education, arts, and culture. It was not out of exaggeration that Mao was insisting on continuing the revolution even by 1969. He maintained that the foundation of the revolution was not solid enough yet and warned, “In most of the factories, the leadership is not in the hands of true Marxists or even in the hands of working masses.”
In fact even several years before the Cultural Revolution he stated: “At present, the task of the revolution has not yet been completed; it has not yet been finally determined who, in the end, will overthrow whom. In the Soviet Union, is not Khrushchev in power; is not the bourgeoisie in power? We, too, have cases in which political power is in the grip of the bourgeoisie; there are production brigades, factories, and hsien [Kuomintang] committees, as well as district and provincial committees, in which they have their people, there are deputy heads of public security departments who are their men. Who is leading the Ministry of Culture? The cinema and the theatre are entirely in their service, and not in the service of the majority of the people. Who do you say is exercising leadership? …The class struggle is everywhere; Isn’t it right there beside you? If there were no counter-revolution, then why would we still need revolution?”
In other words, the conditions that brought China to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution did not occur overnight. Bourgeoisie and high ranking officials who took on the bourgeois road and their supporters had covered considerable tracks of ground. The power had been seized by revisionists step by step.
The very key point in the issue was question of choosing either the bourgeoisie or the proletariat; either the capitalist road or the socialist road; either the revisionism or Marxism. The struggle between the two classes, two roads, and two lines was long, complex, and difficult. The following words from a letter from Mao to his wife, Chiang Ching, dated 8 July 1966, is expressive of the difficulty of the struggle: “Our task today is to overthrow a portion of the right (it is impossible to overthrow the entire right). Eventually, perhaps in seven-eight years, there will be a new movement to wipe out the demons of evil and later on again and again it must be repeated.”
As Mao denoted, the rightists were employing all sorts of tricks, intrigues, and schemes to consolidate their bases and they had been quite successful at this. Struggling against the capitalist roaders only within the Central Committee was not sufficient to overthrow them. The masses had to participate in this struggle between two roads, two lines, and two classes. The struggle had to be waged from above under Mao’s leadership and from bottom with the direct involvement and mobilization of the masses.
The masses did not remain as only observant in this tough struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the socialist road and the capitalist road, revisionism and Marxism. Mao’s “Bombard the Headquarters!” slogan became a tremendous storm in the minds and hands of the masses. It played a key function in mobilizing the masses against a certain section of the leadership. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, therefore, became a mobilization where the masses reclaimed the Communist Party; the proletariat and the allied toiling forces, including the People’s Army, took side with their party in order to overthrow the capitalist roaders who were in position of power; it was a phenomenon where the masses put the issue of world view in the center of the problem and regained the political power.
The proletariat, who set out to “conquer the skies” during the Paris Commune experiment, mobilized for a second round, with overwhelming numbers, to “recapture the power” from the capitalist roaders who held power in the higher echelons of the party and the state. Wide toiling masses, comprised of workers, peasants, intellectuals, and students, along with the red army forces, defeated revisionism upon the directive of “Bombard the Headquarters!” and showed the revisionist headquarter the overwhelming capabilities of the organized force. Revisionism in the power and the party was forced retreat.
In the practice of the Chinese revolutionary struggle, the GPCR was the highest point, the most piercing tip, and the sharpest blade of the continuation of revolution under the proletarian dictatorship. With the GPRC, those who could not be overthrown with ordinary struggle would be straightened out with the magnificent and passionate flood of mass mobilization. Thus, Mao’s words, “organizing the masses is the politics” would come to life in entire China through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
As Mao once said to Chen Bo-duh, “Even you and I could not handle them but they come under the control right away with the arrival of the Red Guards,” the capitalist roaders tugged their tails between their legs and retreated to the shade under the upright majestic power of the masses.
It is a fact that the GPCR was initially ignited by students and intellectuals. However, it was workers, peasants, the people’s army, which was again made up of workers and peasants, who supplied the fundamental power that attached it to the tree of life. As the leader of this revolution, workers were the essential juice of this tree. By stating, “In the Great Cultural Revolution and in all areas of work, it is absolutely necessary to establish the leading role of the working class,” Mao suitably responded to the modern revisionists who were spreading wrong ideas about the characteristic of this revolution. As was well-known, the external source of the Chinese revisionists’ attempt to seize the power was the modern revisionism and especially the Soviet modern-revisionism.
Again in a talk in 1967, by stating, “This is the overthrow of a class by another class. This is a revolution,” Mao was to emphasize the fact that this revolution was continuation of the revolution under the proletarian dictatorship and “under new forms.”
This revolution, however, was not progressing in a smooth fashion. It had its high and low tides, progressions and regressions, attacks and defenses for “Revisionism was so thick that even water could not seep through, even needle could not pierce,” as Mao put it. Even in 1969, fours into the GPCR, Mao saw the need to emphasize, “It is evident that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution must still be carried on. Our foundation is not consolidated yet.” This is indicative of the size and dimension of the danger that was posed by revisionism.
Of course, it would not be easy and painless to bring down the capitalist roaders who had established a bourgeois headquarter within the Central Committee and enjoyed a network of supporters. Although during the struggle against the gang of Lui Shao-Shi and Deng Ciao-Ping, Lui Shao-Shi was removed from his position, towards the end of the GPCR, soon before the death of Mao, revisionism, led by Deng Xiao-Ping, regained positions in 1975. Mao, once more, tried to repel this headquarter right before his death but his death arrived soon and shortly after the revisionist headquarter seized the power in a coup through Hua Khua Feng. It must also be noted that in the very beginning of the 1970s, there was a counter-revolutionary attempt led by Lin Biao, who previously appeared as a fervent champion of the GPCR and the second top man after Mao. However, this attempt too was repelled by the efforts of Mao. The five figures in the “great generals” list, which composed the Lin Biao clique, were all Polit-bureau members and high ranking military figures that had a hold of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Of course, it was a significant problem that the Deng gang was back on the stage but it was not the core of the issue; the core of the issue found its meaning and identity in the GPCR as the continuation of revolution under the proletarian dictatorship in a new form and in the political and theoretic contributions that this Chinese revolutionary practice, this new form of class struggle, has made to the revolutionary theory. Naturally it all comes down to the matter of world view.
The GPCR experiment was a first of its kind. It was a necessary threshold of the continuation of revolution under the proletarian dictatorship. It was a confirmation of the fact that the question of “who will win” will not be settled for a long time, that it is still not clear “who will overthrow whom”, and that the core tasks of the revolution will not be achieved for a long period. It was also a extraordinarily new, superior, and rich battle experience to be etched on the history of revolutions in terms of its historical meaning and political significance. It was a protracted and comprehensive revolution that included the areas of politics, ideology, economics, culture, and arts. It was a new kind of class struggle.
What are the “lessons” of the Great Proletarian Revolution?
Firstly, the GPCR, as “a new and superior form” of continuation of the revolution under the proletarian dictatorship, brought a bigger “depth and width” to the revolutionary dictatorship theory.
Secondly, the GPCR, with a huge mobilization of the masses, expressed the “continuous development” in the traditional theory through what was new and authentic and thus enriched and further developed the theory under the new conditions of development, during the socialist period.
Thirdly, the GPCR was an alive, new and rich experiment that testified to the necessity of the continuation of the class struggle, “the continuation of the revolution under the proletarian dictatorship”, in ideological and political arenas, in cultural and economics fronts, after the domination of the socialist economy over the entire national economy, in other words, after the achievement of the overall socialist transformation.
Fourthly, the GPCR was a clear and comprehensible presentation of Mao’s “answers” to question of classes and class struggle during socialism. It was a revolution that offered an alive, energetic, and noble evidence to the facts that socialism cannot be considered without contradictions and clashes and that for a long time it will not be certain who will defeat whom.
Fifthly, the GPCR was a challenge to the perspective that believed that the Party is immune to making mistakes and that once individuals enter the CP they are transformed into faultless saints.
Sixthly, the GPCR, instead of employing the conventional methods and means, chose to go “down to the source of the water” by opening up the route of arbitration of the masses and thus became a paradigm for the future practices. This revolution became a live example of how once the inflammatory and transforming power of the masses is organized and mobilized no regime can remain standing on its way. Subsequently, it must be added that this revolution carries a historical significance in terms of its function as a component in the maturing of the theory of proletarian dictatorship; as a complementary piece in the picture of dictatorship.
Finally, the GPCR was the “highest form” of class struggle in the sense that it was a matchless battle with mass mobilization where a class overthrew another class and exposed and condemned the revisionism. It was a revolution that exhibited what could be achieved once the proposition of “organizing the masses is politics” assumed flesh-blood.
Lessons on classes, class struggle, continuation of revolution, and the restoration of capitalism under proletarian dictatorship
No that that socialism is a “transition period” from the historical point of view. It is a transition period that is between capitalism and communism and harbors the characteristics and qualities of both social-economic forms. The state of this revolutionary transition period is non other than the proletarian dictatorship. This is crucial in attaining the nature of socialism. If this “transition period” is swept under the rug, one cannot have a clear comprehension of socialism’s nature and cannot understand the stage socialism has reached with Lenin and Stalin and the form that it gained with Mao. As long as this fundamental truth is not comprehended, it would be inevitable to make mistakes in understanding and implementing the theory of classes in socialist society and the class struggle and the continuation of revolution under the proletarian dictatorship.
The key point is to understand and accept that there exists a historical revolutionary transition period in between the capitalist society and the communist society, during passing from one to the other and that the form of state regime that corresponds to this transition period is revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. Once this point is properly fixed, it would be self-evident that the socialist society covers an important historical phase in passing from a “class-bound society” to “classless society”.
In this transitory society, in socialism, public property replaces private property, proletariat becomes the governing class instead of an exploited class, and the socialist new construction replaces social-economic structure of the old society. However, the political transition during this phase is not that easy. The real difficulty begins after the overthrow of landlords and capitalists, during when classes and class struggle still continue to exist in new forms.
This socialist society of the transition period does not develop on its own foundations but rather carries the marks of the capitalist society, from which it emerges, in terms of economics, morals, and intellect. In such a society, contradictions between manual and non-manual jobs, workers and peasants, cities and rural areas continue to exist for a very long time. This means that classes in socialist society would not cease to exist in a single blow from today to tomorrow. And as long as they exist, the revolutionary dictatorship of the transition period would not disappear. This dictatorship is there precisely for the reason of eradicating classes. In other words, each one functions as the reason for the other’s existence. Therefore, the socialist society would exists as a process full of zigzags, complexities, and difficulties due to the marks that it carries from its birth out of capitalist society, the internal bourgeois influences, and external cordon of imperialist pressure. During this difficult and bumpy march forward, the struggle between two roads, two classes, and two lines and the questions of who will defeat whom would remain unresolved for a long time.
It is undeniable that if the doctrine of socialism and socialist re-construction is limited to only of the theoretic framework of Marx and Engels era, only of the socialist theoretic analyses of Lenin and Stalin era, or the theory is put to a stand-still exactly at this point, then it would cease to be prescription for the practical problems of the new era. Consequently, due to the failure of out-doing self, it would be discarded by life.
Like all sciences, the doctrine of scientific socialism, too, is approximate and relative; it cannot arrive at a final and absolute completion. As in all scientific premises, the premise of scientific socialism is relatively narrow and incomplete; it continually progresses with an aim to reach completeness.
We know that the doctrine of scientific socialism had only gained its fundamental outlines in the hands of its founders, Marx and Engels. This formation could not comprehend the issues of socialist construction. At that time, the proletariat had the Communist Manifesto, which only drew a general framework in terms of theory. There was not yet a practical experience. Neither the Manifesto nor the later works of Marxism’s founders dealt, could not deal with the problems that were to be confronted during the socialist construction and with the extremely important problem of capitalist restoration, for theoretic principles could only be extracted from the pores of practical life – not the reverse. The theory of that which is not yet lived can only contain certain general abstractions. Moreover, incomplete economic-social developments can only give birth to incomplete theories. Therefore, in this sense and only in this sense, the situation is characterized with a lack of theoretic accumulation that has reached to this day.
Other things aside, the doctrine, which was drafted with its general outlines during Marx and Engel’s period, could not be a prescription for the future problems of socialism, such as the stabbing of socialism by the “new bourgeoisie”. Only known case was the resizing of the power by the exploiting classes soon after their defeat in the practice of Paris Commune. During Lenin’s period, although the theory was enriched and deepened upon the short period of practice, it was still far from being adequate in resolving the problems of today’s socialism. Lenin died before he could theoretically contribute on the forthcoming complex problems of socialist construction or on the problem of regression [capitalist reconstruction]. The only experience of the time was the example of the 1919 Hungarian Soviets and the regression there; the defeat of the winners. Neither the fall of Paris Commune nor the defeat of the Hungarian Soviets resembled the defeat of socialism in the Soviet Union, East Europe, Albania, China, etc.
Although Lenin, who lived through the first years of socialist construction practice, considerably enriched the theory, his contributions could not fill the gaps of explanation that emerged as the practice went further on and new and special developments took place.
After Lenin, Stalin directly experienced the socialist construction practice and witnessed its problems as the leader of the period. However, despite his impressive leadership during the socialist construction era, he could not produce in-depth theories to answer the modern day problems of socialism and the nature of regression. He rather continued on the vain of traditional theory that stemmed out of the Paris Commune experiment. Although, in the early years of the 1950s, he mentioned the possibility of [capitalist] restoration under certain circumstances even after the socialization of production means, and although this mention referred to some very important problems, he did not live long enough to elaborate on this analysis, nor to adequately explain the “internal sources” of this restoration.
The situation was different, however, by the time of Mao’s link in the chain. The theory, which could not be surpassed until the Stalin link due to the “social and historical background”, was to be surpassed by Mao. Of course, we must readily mention the important influence of the restoration practices at this stage in the Soviet Union and East Europe. Mao reached a more capable of level of theory with such accumulation of restoration practice and arrived at what was new and special, authentic and rich through new factors. The law of contradiction or the law of unity of opposites, this fundamental law of dialectic, play a key role in attaining this new level. Based upon this law, Mao was able to clearly analyze the nature of socialist society and determined that this revolutionary transitory society is full of contradictions.
In the socialist society, there are classes and class struggle; it is not yet certain who will remain on the top in this struggle between two classes, two roads, and two lines. The contradiction between the socialist road and the capitalist road, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is the principle contradiction. Even when the socialist economy is predominant in the entire national economy, the danger of capitalist restoration is present; the class struggle among remaining classes would continue to exist with interval intensifications; a complete socialist revolution can go solidly forward only through a struggle that is waged in three fronts: Economic, political, and ideological. The fire zone or the densest place is within the CP; the new bourgeoisie, capitalist roaders who hold powerful positions display the toughest resistance examples within the party. Therefore, the very center of the party is the center of the battle field.
So, Mao, with these series of propositions, based upon Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin’s theoretic foundation, under the new conditions of development, in the new period of socialism, and under the light new factors, further developed and enriched the Marxist teaching. This development and enrichment, this innovation in the treasure of Marxism, was not an “interruption in continuity” but rather was the “transformation in continuity”.
The level that Marxist teaching has reached with Mao is essential in order to comprehend the lessons of socialism’s problems and restoration. Naturally, the theory will not get stuck at this level. Life and its creative revolutionary actions and the results of accumulated experiences and experiments of the international proletarian movement will add new and superior form and rich content to the revolutionary theory.
However, here let us have an outlining review of the problems and concepts of socialism, classes, class struggle, proletarian dictatorship, and restoration by beginning from the first link of the chain.
In “The Class Struggle in France”, Marx established that socialism is the means for the proletariat’s salvation. This important work presents a general picture of socialism’s nature. In general strokes, it gives an analysis of class differences, production relations that these differences are based on and the elimination of the social relations that are born out of these production relations. It also declares the continuity of revolution in order to turn the thoughts that are born out of these social relations upside-down and the dictatorship of proletariat as a transitory phase.
It is significant that the formula [term] of proletarian dictatorship is used for the first time in this work. A few years later, in “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”, he wrote that the proletarian revolution will be based not on the seizure of the bureaucratic-military machinery but on its destruction and collapse. Further on, the letter that he sent to Weydermeyer, dated 8 March 1952, is of great importance in order for a full and in depth comprehension of the teaching of socialism and proletarian dictatorship. In this letter, plainly yet with a rich abundance of ideas, he put forward that the existence of classes depend on certain historical periods during the development of production, that the class struggle will necessarily bring about the proletarian dictatorship, and that this dictatorship will be nothing but an elimination process of all classes and a transition period towards a classless society. After the defeat of Paris Commune, the theory of proletarian dictatorship was enriched furthermore through the refinement of the thesis on the destruction of the existing bourgeois state apparatus and its replacement by a state in the nature of Paris Commune. Certainly, this was a summary of the lessons derived from the defeat of the Commune.
And finally in “Critique of the Gotha Program”, he gave an impeccable depiction of socialism under the conditions of that period and an impeccable diagnosis: Between the capitalist society and the communist society, there exists a period of transition from one to the other. There is, then, a political transition period that corresponds to the societal transition. The form that corresponds to this political transition is none other than the proletarian dictatorship. What we need to put in view is a socialist society that is born out of a capitalist society and not a socialist society that has been built upon its own foundation. Therefore, the socialist society bears the economic, moral, intellectual etc. marks of the capitalist society.
These brief yet expressive passages from Marx clearly explain the essence of socialism.
The teaching, however, cannot be limited to this level. In both “Anti-Dühring” and “Critique of the Erfurt Program”, Engels once again put forward the historical-theoretical analysis of socialism. It could be argued that Engels, in his polemics with Dühring, gives a most concise, most considerable, and richest explanation of socialism.
In the hands of these first founders, Marx and Engels, the portrayal of socialism is done in its general lines; its fundamental columns are installed and the doctrine of proletarian dictatorship is essentially explained. It must be emphasized that here only the corner stones are put in places. There is not yet a detailed analysis of socialism, which is an issue for the “future”.
In Lenin’s link in the chain, the doctrine of socialism and the theory of proletarian dictatorship would continue to get richer with the “October practice”, based upon the principles that were laid out by Marx and Engels. What was new and alive would carry this practical theory further on.
Lenin, who significantly advanced the doctrine of proletarian dictatorship, greatly developed the socialist construction process through determining “forms and methods” of socialist construction in a single socialist country under the conditions of capitalist-imperialist siege.
In his pamphlet titled “The Tax in Kind”, Lenin farsightedly established the concrete forms and routes of the “New Economic Policy”, which was to amalgamate the industry with the agricultural economy in Russia, in the land of small-farmers, where the petit-bourgeois elements were predominant and distinct social-economic forms had been mixed together. Thus, he added what was new and alive to the issues of socialist construction. In his “On Cooperatives” article, he specified concrete ways to educate, transform, and draw peasant masses to the socialist construction process through cooperatives under the conditions of proletarian dictatorship.
Marx and Engels had drawn the general outlines of the proletarian dictatorship as a method to overthrow the powers that are built upon the enslavement of labor and to establish the proletariat’s political dominion. Lenin further developed this general definition of proletarian revolution. He presented the “Soviet government” as the state form of the proletarian dictatorship; enriched the proletariat’s revolutionary dictatorship by making it a special class alliance between the proletariat, as the leading force, and other exploited toiling masses; further developed, as a more integral system, the concept of dominion of proletariat, the thesis that asserted that proletariat is needed not only during the preparation and realization of revolution but also during the entire historic period of proletarian dictatorship.
Clearly, with Lenin, the socialist doctrine and the form and the content of proletarian dictatorship got enriched and gained more defined features. Lenin, however, was not able to witness the process of socialist construction. Nevertheless, he was able to make an in-depth analysis of economy-politics under the proletarian dictatorship. He spared last years of his life entirely for the practical problems of socialism. When he passed away, he left behind a rich chest of teachings. The problems of socialism did not end, however.
It was left upon Stalin’s shoulders to defend Leninism under the tough blockade of imperialism and to build up socialism under the suffocating pressure of internal and external enemies. Stalin was challenged with building the socialism under the suffocating political pressures and destructive activities of Trotsky, Zinoviev, Bukharin, and Kamenev. Moreover, he was all alone in a solitary country where such “old guns” had betrayed.
In the beginning, before the October revolution, by 1915, Trotsky was not in the mind that socialism could succeed in one country. However, this issue did not really come up during the few years that followed the October revolution. There was the expectation of revolution in a number of places in Europe and between 1918 – 1921 Europe did witness the first revolution attempts, e.i. Germany and Hungary, that were born out of the deep crises of capitalism. This situation had brought the issue of whether socialism can survive in one country or not to the lower orders of the agenda. Just when the revolutionary wave relatively calmed down, the attempts of revolution in the capitalist lands of Germany and Hungary did not succeed, and just after the death of Lenin, Trotsky fervently brought back the issue of socialism in one country to the top of to the agenda. The lack of revolutions, which were to support the Soviet revolution in the international arena, brought Trotsky to conclude the following: Without the direct state help by the European proletariat, the worker’s class of Russia cannot remain standing and cannot transform this temporary sovereignty into a permanent socialist dictatorship. Subsequently, according to Trotsky, building socialism within the nation-state borders is not possible.
This debate flared up just at the point where the capitalism gained a relative steadiness and when the Soviet leaders stopped expecting a revolution series in Europe. Lenin was gone by 1924 and the task of defending Leninism in the discussion on the theory of socialist construction fell upon Stalin.
Can the socialism be built in a single country?
Trotsky’s limp theory had no chance of success. He was turning his back both on the fact that socialism could stand up on its own and on peasants. Stalin developed the Leninist thesis that socialism can be built in a single country. As the practice, from the historical perspective, showed, Stalin’s theory was the correct one, as life by-passed Trotsky’s theory.
After this “left” critique on Leninism, a new wave of criticism came from the “right” in 1928. This time the source was Bukharin. The debate was about socialist construction.
The Bukharin’s thesis, representing the right deviation, came out as an alternative to the line of socialist industrialization and collectivization of agriculture, otherwise known as “revolution from above” or “Second October Revolution”. Bukharin was urging all peasants: Get wealthier! Improve your farms! With this line, Bukharin was supporting the expansion of capitalist elements in the country side and, more importantly, the expansion of kulaks. This line aimed to expand the free market, the regulation of prices by the market, and the private peasant economy. On the other hand, it aimed to slow down the growth of kolkhozes and sovkhozes, to eliminate the restrictions put on kulaks, and to slow down the pace of industrial development.
The main feature of the Bukharinist right deviation was its aim to peacefully integrate capitalist elements with socialism. Stalin, once again, carried forward the banner of Leninism by defending the correct theory for the socialist construction and timely tactics. It was a period of new construction. This new period brought about changes in class relations and intensifications in class struggle. But Bukharin wished to always live in the era of NEP and Trotsky wished skip this phase.
The Bukharinist line closed its eyes on the changes that were occurring in national and international arenas. 1929 was a year of serious crises for the world capitalism. The Soviet Union was relatively crisis free. There were new and authentic, new and vibrant policies that came out due to internal and external circumstances. The NEP had paced through a new bend. Bukharin was insisting to remain at that phase whereas Stalin began a new leap that paralleled the intensifying class struggle. The new leap was to the interest of both the state and the toiling masses.
As for the internal and external circumstances: Under the imperialist siege, an eminent danger of imperialist attack menacingly hovering over the Soviets. The increasing power of the NEPmen and the Kulaks reached a threatening level for the state mechanism, such that it could form a transition link for a capitalist restoration. The free market relations that developed in the years of NEP brought about interruptions in the industry-agriculture relations.
In such original conditions, the only correct policy was expressed by Stalin’s theses; by his Great Leap, collectivization in agriculture, and socialist industrialization. Consequently, instead of restricting the Kulaks, the new orientation was towards the liquidation of Kulaks as a class. This policy was determined by the new socialist construction of the entire national economy.
During Stalin’s period, various thesis were put forth, first by the front of Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Kamenev, and latter by Bukharin. Stalin overcame these “right” and “left” deviations and, while struggling with these lines, he developed the socialist construction theory, which led the socialist construction to a victory, although not an absolute victory.
There was a long period of socialist construction with Stalin and important experiences were gained. In this regard, the socialist theory was further enriched.
However, it could not be said that everything was going well. Despite Stalin’s impressive leadership in the defense of socialist industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture line, in socialist transformation and in great successes in the process of socialist construction, everything was not going well with Stalin. Despite Stalin’s remarkable leadership in the tough and arduous struggle that eventually won a great victory for the Soviet people and the Soviet Army in the anti-fascist war, everything was not going well. There were things that went wrong in the decisive struggle that he waged for the defense of the world’s first socialist country and for its consolidation.
Stalin was the leader for the 30 years of socialist construction. He was also the leader for the International Communist Movement. He was the architect of the successes in the socialist transformation and costruction of the Soviet rural areas and cities. But he was walking by himself in uncharted territories. There were no practical experiences in these areas yet there were ever new problems. The only teaching that was left from the past about the capitalist restoration: Suspect restoration by the overthrown exploiters.
Even by 1928, that is even before production means were not mainly socialized; during when the NEPmen and Kulaks were abound; during when this agricultural capitalist class formed an interval link for the capitalist restoration, Stalin wrote in his article “It is clear that, since small production bears a mass, and even a predominant character in our country, and since it engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously and on a mass scale, particularly under the conditions of NEP, we have in our country conditions which make the restoration of capitalism possible.”
Again in the same article: “It may happen that you cut down a tree but fail to tear out the roots; your strength does not suffice for this. Hence the possibility of the restoration of capitalism in our country.”
The restoration theory was based on the old exploiting classes. This was rightly justified. Whether that be the defeat of Hungarian Soviets in 1919 or the defeat of the Paris Commune many years before, the events were pointing out to the same direction. Since the theory was derived from the practice and since it held light to the practice on its time, there could not have been suspicion as to the validity of this teaching. Under such conditions, we cannot talk about the limits or the narrowness of the theory.
The theory, which sought the signs of restoration in the old exploiting classes, was to stall after the period when the capitalist elements in the Soviet rural areas and cities were eliminated, NEPmen and Kulaks were liquidated, and the socialist sector had put its stamp on the entire national economy.
The question was this: Is the restoration possible even after the socialization of production means and the domination of socialist economy over the national economy?
The chain of theory that extended from Marx to Stalin responded this question with the traditional theoretic balance sheet. This balance sheet, the institutionalized line, since it draw a framework in relation to those overthrown, was giving off gaps in representing what was new and alive , in solving the problems of socialist society. Partly due to the influence of the historic roots, the shadow of the past’s traditional theoretic conscious had fallen upon the current process so overwhelmingly that it was really difficult to realize a breakthrough in theory.
Subsequently, after the 1930s, Stalin was not able to theoretically develop what was new and alive in determining the internal sources of the restoration after the old exploiting classes were overthrown and kolkhoz and sovkhoz socialist sectors become dominant in the national economy. In fact, as it is well known, after the mid-1930s, when the chief tendency was war and the danger of a world scale imperialist war was eminent, Stalin was searching for the dangers of restorations in the external imperialist sources. And there were reasons for doing so. However, when it came to internal sources, the restoration theory stalled without providing an adequate answer. There was a clog in the theory and this was to continue until Mao.
The teaching that that sought the signs of restoration in capitalism, in its deep roots, in small-commodity production, in ever so relentless and reproductive bourgeoisie was not anymore able to provide answers to the growing process of socialist construction. This was to continue until the early years of 1950s.
In his articles titled “Reply to Comrade Alexander Ilyich Notkin”, dated 21 April 1952, and “Concerning the Errors of Comrade L.D. Yaroshenko”, dated 22 May 1952, Stalin was putting fingers on certain important points of socialist society. He wrote: “Our present relations of production are in a period when they fully conform to the growth of the productive forces… But it would be wrong to rest easy at that and to think that there are no contradictions between our productive forces and the relations of production. However, the development of the relations of production lags, and will lag, behind the development of the productive forces in socialist society as well. But they will eventually come into conformity. Of course, even under socialism there will be backward, inert forces that do not realize the necessity for changing the relations of production.”
And most importantly, if the directing bodies do not implement correct policies, the contradictions between the relations of production and the productive forces would degenerate. A clash between the society’s productive forces and the relations of production would be become inevitable. The relations of production would pose an obstacle before the development of productive forces.
Especially in his polemics with Yaroshenko, explanations that Stalin provide are extremely important for the socialist theory. Unfortunately, Stalin passed away before he could elaborate on this theory.
It is very significant that in the years close to his death Stalin saw the dangers of capitalist restoration but it must be underlined that what he saw were only clues in determining the internal sources of restoration.
By the end of Stalin link in the chain of socialist teaching, this was the summit point and there were still certain inadequacies and narrowness in the theory in terms of being in control of the internal sources of the capitalist restoration. These inadequacies and narrowness were to be overcome by Mao.
Theory in Mao is built on the principles of Marxism-Leninism. Mao is the continuation of the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. Based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, he enhanced the theory that was carried forward by the preceding four great teachers and thus contributed new and authentic weapons to the arsenal of Marxism-Leninism.
Among the contributed weapons, the theory that must be especially and foremost mentioned is the theory of continuation of revolution under the proletarian dictatorship and the thorough analysis of the socialist society’s nature. This theory bears a particularly important and fundamental role in carrying the science of Marxism-Leninism to the science of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
Mao extracted new theoretic conclusions from the post-Stalin, post-1957 restoration experiences in the Soviet Union, East Europe, and from the experiences of revolutionary practices in China. Socialist society, as a historical transition period, covers a long phase. All throughout this phase, classes and the class struggle would continue to exist. In essence, this is the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. It would not be certain yet who will ultimately defeat whom in the struggle between the capitalist road and the socialist road, between Marxism and revisionism. Therefore the risk of capitalist restoration would continue to exist during this long phase. Principally and essentially, this danger would not stem out of the re-strengthening of the defeated classes but out of the bourgeoisie that seeps into the party and the state organs.
Mao was an exceptional master of the dialectic. The law of contradiction became a key in the hands of this master in untangling the socialist society’s contradictions. He was to say: “Any kind of world, and of course class society in particular, teems with contradictions. Some say that there are contradictions to be “found” in socialist society, but I think this is a wrong way of putting it. The point is not that there are contradictions to be found, but that it teems with contradictions.”
This opinion, expressed in 1957, was an important mile stone. The unity of opposites exists everywhere. Socialist society, too, is a state of unity of opposites. Mao’s new and authentic teaching was an application of the unity of opposites’ law or the law of contradiction to the socialist society.
In his well-known and very important article “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among the People”, February 1957, Mao was signaling the reaching of development and transformation in the traditional theoretic consciousness. At the point where the theory neutered itself, he arrived at what was new and valid by making the theory reflect the reality of life. This was the surpassing the narrowness and limitedness.
While summarizing the Chinese experience, he explained the general guide lines of his theory, which bears a fundamental and universal quality, with the following words: “In China, although socialist transformation has in the main been completed as regards the system of ownership, and although the large-scale, turbulent class struggles of the masses characteristic of times of revolution have in the main come to an end, there are still remnants of the overthrown landlord and comprador classes, there is still a bourgeoisie, and the remolding of the petty bourgeoisie has only just started. Class struggle is by no means over. The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the class struggle between the various political forces, and the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the ideological field will still be protracted and tortuous and at times even very sharp. The proletariat seeks to transform the world according to its own world outlook, and so does the bourgeoisie. In this respect, the question of which will win out, socialism or capitalism, is not really settled yet.”
Here is a masterful analysis of socialism’s nature.
He answered those who killed contradictions in socialism by insisting that the socialist society is abound with contradictions, those who saw the new society as a calm ocean by pushing forth the unity of opposites, and those who fancied socialism free of antagonism by underlining the proletariat-bourgeoisie antagonistic opposition. Mao was insistent on pushing forth the necessity of the continuation of revolution under the proletarian dictatorship. Proletarian dictatorship experiments in China, the Soviet Union, and East Europe brought him to this thesis.
Years age, Lenin had articulated that the proletarian dictatorship is not the end of class struggle but its continuation under new forms. This is so even when the socialist economy is the determining feature in the entire national economy. All throughout this historical transition period, the necessity of the proletariat’s revolutionary dictatorship is essential. Among other things, in political, ideological, cultural etc fields, too, bourgeoisie would see itself as a “destructive force” facing the proletariat, as a restless force that is not in power within this entirety. In every occasion and with all it has, it would take its place in the opposite of proletariat as a force striving to restore capitalism.
The struggle between capitalism and socialism would remain during the entire transition period. The principal task of this period is to carry on the revolution under the proletarian dictatorship. That is why Mao arrived at the following conclusions in summarizing the Chinese experience: “It will take a fairly long period of time to decide the issue in the ideological struggle between socialism and capitalism in our country. The reason is that the influence of the bourgeoisie and of the intellectuals who come from the old society, the very influence which constitutes their class ideology, will persist in our country for a long time. If this is not understood at all or is insufficiently understood, the gravest of mistakes will be made and the necessity of waging struggle in the ideological field will be ignored.”
In his article “Be Activists in Promoting the Revolution, October 1957, he defines the contradiction between proletariat and bourgeoisie, between the socialist road and the capitalist road as the principle contradiction for the Chinese society even after the socialization of production means. This was not just any other formulation. Arriving at such a conclusion after the economic revolution over the ownership of production means was surpassing the theoretic level that Marxist science had reached thus far. In the same article Mao asked, “What then is the principle contradiction now?” And he answered: “We are now carrying on the socialist revolution, the spearhead of which is directed against the bourgeoisie, and at the same time this revolution aims at transforming the system of individual production, that is, bringing about co-operation; consequently the principal contradiction is between socialism and capitalism, between collectivism and individualism, or in a nutshell between the socialist road and the capitalist road.”
Three months earlier, in another article, titled “The Situation in the Summer of 1957”, he was expressing the same ideas in following words: “In the rural areas as in the cities the struggle is still one between the two roads — between socialism and capitalism. Complete victory in this struggle will take a very long time. It is a task for the entire transition period.”
Thus, with Mao’s astute analyses, the tasks of socialist period were clearly illustrated. This way, classes and the class struggle was becoming clearly visible and the theory of proletarian dictatorship was advancing towards perfection in the conditions of new developments.
In order to arrive at the essence of socialist society, principally and before all, the law of unity of opposites must be taken as the basis. If the dialectical materialism is not understood or understood poorly, inadequacies and narrowness would be inevitable in perceiving the essence of the thing and the forms of movements. Mistakes would follow mistakes. The law of unity of opposites, which is ever present in nature, societies, and in the thoughts of mankind, is also the essential force in the socialist society; it is the motivator, mobilizer; it is the roots of transformation and development.
What is contradiction? It is the movement of opposites. Socialist is not free of movements and therefore it is matted with contradictions. It is tangled with two kinds of contradictions. First one is the contradictions among people and the second one is the contradictions between people and their enemies. The first one is not as problematic. What is not understood, perceived, or admitted is the second one. And Mao shed light precisely on this kind of contradiction. The evolution of modern-revisionism into capitalism under its misery and depression can be properly explained only by Mao’s theories and analyses.
Mao did not accept a presentation of socialist society as monotonous. He rejected such an approach with all its roots and historical depth. There are classes in socialism, too. There is a bourgeois class. And the difference that the class struggle now bears is only in shape. The struggle between the socialist road and the capitalist road between the forces of capitalism who strive to make a come back and the forces of socialism who stand against it is inevitable.
The economic revolution over the ownership of production means is not enough by itself. A comprehensive socialist revolution must be waged in three areas: economic, political, and ideological.
What should be understood by this?
If the fact that socialism is a link between capitalism and communism is understood correctly, then the importance and meaning of Mao’s conclusions can be correctly comprehended. Once again, socialism is a transitory society before a classless society and simultaneous bears the characteristics of capitalism and communism. Socialism is a bridge extends from capitalism to communism. This is so not only in economic areas but also in political and ideological areas. The ideological influence and political grappling of bourgeoisie persist all throughout this transitory period.
Since classes and class struggle continue to exist and the struggle between capitalism and socialism is ruthlessly waged, socialist revolution must be carried on without intervals.
The fire zone of the battle between the two classes, two roads, and two lines was in the community party. The principal struggle was waged in this field. New bourgeoisie was constantly emerging in the party and the state apparatus. And the bourgeoisie, with all the old bourgeois elements who were defeated but not entirely eliminated and in alliance with all the forces who are pro-restoration, would target the forces of socialism. They would attack the socialism with all those old power holders who are now positioned in the directing organs and in the very center of the communist party and with those bourgeois elements who are positioned in the lower ranks of the party and state organs. Of these attacks, those that cloak themselves with Leninism are especially dangerous.
This means that the question of “who will win” could not yet be determined, for the new bourgeoisie puts on the communist mask and infiltrates the economic, cultural, and educational areas. It does everything in its power to regain the political power and in its attempts it can display formidable examples of resistance. It disseminates the bourgeois world view against the proletarian world view in the party and state organs and in mass organization, and attempts to make as much damage as possible in the minds of people to the benefit of the bourgeois world view. Thus, the inside of the communist party becomes a scene of inevitable struggle between Marxism and revisionism. Sometimes out in the open, sometimes concealed, sometimes softly, and sometimes harshly, this struggle would continue in different forms all throughout the transition period.
This means that the continuation of the socialist revolution in economic, political, ideological, and cultural fronts until the last point is medicinal and essential under the proletarian dictatorship. This is so even after the completion of the socialist transformation on the means of production.
With Mao’s enrichments, the theory of proletarian dictatorship further developed. This development reached a summit with the Great Proletarian Revolution that started in 1966. This was a summit of the struggle between Marxism and revisionism, proletariat and bourgeoisie, socialist road and capitalist road. In this struggle, Mao turned towards the masses and fight with the bourgeois roaders, who had nested in the CP, with the uprising of the masses.
This great revolution and the theory of proletarian dictatorship, which further matured during the process of this revolution, draw upon itself the “hatred” of many, including Enver Hoxha. A socialism with contradictions, clashes, and bourgeoisie annoyed Hoxha; this represented a revolt to his monotonous line.
It should not be thought that even under conditions of socialist construction, the socialization of means of production, the dominance of socialist economy over the national economy, socialism is not immune to capitalism’s traditions, habits, and traces.
The contradictions between manual labor and intellectual labor, between urban areas and rural areas, between workers and peasants exist even after the socialist transformation has taken place in the area of ownership. Moreover, commodity production and the law of value continue to exist. Commodity production will not disappear for a long time, neither will the law of value. And the bourgeois law is still valid. Redistribution is done based on the bourgeois law.
When dealing with the question of restoration, it is crucial to study the field of “production relations” in determining the problem’s internal sources.
Production relations contains three elements: Ownership, relations among human beings in the process of productive labor, and the distribution of commodities.
Firstly, let us deal with the area of ownership.
The replacement of private ownership over the means of production by the societal ownership is a determining factor in terms of socialist construction. However, this qualitative step forward in the area of ownership does not mean that the question of ownership is entirely solved. This is so in two regards. Firstly, the societal ownership is applied in two varying forms, “advanced and backward”. Secondly, there is still the question of whether the stratum of proletariat and laborers dominate the ownership or not.
Societal ownership comes in two forms. The advanced form is the public ownership. The backward form is the collective (cooperative) ownership. Both forms of ownership bear socialist qualities; they are the two production sectors of socialism. Public ownership is the ownership by the proletarian state; means of production, products, etc. are the property of whole society. Collective ownership, on the other hand, does not constitute an ownership by the state, in other words by the entire society. In this sector, although the means of production belong to the state, products do not belong to the state. Instead they belong to the cooperative. Therefore, there remains a difference between societal ownership and collective ownership, where collective ownership represents what is relatively a backward form.
Cooperative sells its products to the state in the forms of commodity and in return buys commodities that it needs. Putting aside the limited individual economy, on the basis of socialism’s two sectors, as Stalin points out in his article “Economic Problems of Socialism”, commodity production and circulation of commodity still exist. However, this situation exists as a beneficial component of the economy under the conditions of proletarian dictatorship.
The needle of the compass points towards communism. Collective ownership form, which is regressive, will eventually transform into public ownership form, which is progressive. However, the process where private ownership turns into collective ownership and that into public ownership will stretch onto a long period of time. As long as collective ownership is not turned into public ownership, collective peasantry will carry certain characteristics that are left over from individual peasantry, characteristics that are specific to small, private producers.
This situation indicates that, although the general orientation is towards the ownership by the whole society, as long as socialist ownership conserves both regressive and progressive forms, it can be always expected that a spontaneous tendency towards capitalism could stem out of the pores of collective ownership and that these areas could function as stepping stones for a capitalist restoration. This risk can be eliminated only by an insistently repeated struggle to remold collective peasantry and turn the collective ownership form in this area into public ownership.
As for the authority of the proletariat and laborers front over the public ownership: The replacement of private ownership of production means by the public ownership is a revolution, a qualitative step in the area of ownership. However, not all aspects of ownership question can be solved with this step. What constitutes the true characteristic of public ownership is the dominance of the stratum of proletariat and laborers on this ownership. If laborers are not the ones who directly control the means of production, if these means are away from the supervision of laborers, then public ownership does not represent anything more than a formal or legal concept. If the proletariat and laborers are not the executive and determining force on the means of production, then they neither have the last say when it comes to redistribution and use of products. As the Soviet and other capitalist restoration experiences proved, a mechanism that keeps proletariat away from the supervision of means of production under the cloak of public ownership will eventually put these means under the service of a class other than proletariat.
Mao concluded that even the public ownership itself exhibits changes and transformations. With propositions such as the transfer of cadres to lower levels, the variety in administration ranks, and the right to autonomy for enterprises, Mao puts the phases of transformation in public ownership through analysis. He brings clearification, with the Chinese experience, to different administrative forms of enterprises that are owned publicly. He formulized that whether administered centrally or locally, all public enterprises: a) are under unified administration, and b) maintain certain specific autonomous rights.
Secondly, there are the questions of inter-personal relations during the labor phase of production relations and the question of the distribution of commodities.
The relations of “distribution” and “exchange” would not cease to materialize the foundation that gives a source to restoration during socialism. Although with the replacement of private ownership by public ownership a solid step is made in the area of distribution, towards the exchange of products instead of the exchange of commodities, towards the function value instead of the exchange value, and towards “according to need” instead of “according to labor”, however the process is not complete yet.
The revolution in the area of ownership is fundamental in order to put distribution and exchange relations on the right track. The socialist transformation in the area of ownership, however, does not mean an absolute completion. There is still a long way to go.
As the first phase of communism, socialism cannot be thought without the bourgeois rights, for during this phase there are still commodity production and circulation and the law of value. Although these are bourgeois categories, they cannot be eliminated in the first phase.
Let us deal with the distribution relations.
A distribution “according to labor” or “according to need”? The distribution is done “according to labor” in socialism and “according to need” in communism. Since the distribution is done according to labor in socialism, bourgeois laws are still valid. The individual receives the value of its labor from the society through another form. “Producer as an individual receives (after the necessary diminutions made) the exact equal of what he has given to the society.” In other words, redistribution is made according to labor, as is done in capitalism. The difference is that with the socialization of means of production, the private ownership is overthrown and surplus is eliminated. During the distribution, however, bourgeois laws are still valid. Consumer goods are distributed according to labor.
This means that in the relations of distribution, bourgeois boundaries are still not crossed over. Socialist society cannot break these boundaries in one blow. State in socialism, “in the first phase of communism, with its form that came out of capitalism after long and painful birth”, is actually a “bourgeois state without the bourgeoisie”. This is especially apparent in the relations of distribution and exchange.
Since everybody is dealt with “according to labor” during distribution, there is a certain equal right. But as Marx stated, “this right, as in all rights, is based on inequality.” Therefore, during socialism, the sources of restoration cannot yet be eliminated in the area of distribution. In socialism, society will go through a process that is from according to labor to according to need. However, this is a problem for future. In Stalin’s words, there is a process of step by step limiting of one while step by step developing the other.
Now let us deal with the exchange relations.
Following is the direction of the socialist process: From the exchange of commodities to exchange of products and from the exchange value to function value. However, this cannot be realized at once. Since it is not yet possible to implement the principle of “according to need” in the area of distribution, it makes exchange possible only through selling and buying. This is inevitable in the conditions where commodity production still exists.
There are two forms of socialist production: One of them is the production done by the state, in other words by the public. The second is the production done by the collective, or cooperatives. In terms of their economic relations with cities, in the matters of purchase and selling of commodities, in commercial dealings, cooperatives move within the area of commodity-money relations. They prefer to sell their products as commodities to the state and in return buy commodities that they need. As long as the property of the collective is not elevated to the national property, as Stalin exposed in his final big work, the circulation of commodity will continue to exist as a tolerable relation with its own “money economics” between provinces and cities. This is a necessary and inevitable exchange relation in the first phase of communism. Only after the commodity exchange is gradually replaced by the product exchange that “the central government, or another central societal economic (organization), can use all products of the societal production for the benefit of the society.”
As the process of socialism progresses, the habitat for the commodity circulation will gradually be narrowed down and the habitat for the product exchange will expand.
In other words, while there is a process towards communism in the area of exchange relations, there is also a contradictory process with commodity production, commodity circulation, and the “money economy” that exists in accordance with this circulation. The unity of opposites dominates in this area as well.
Subsequently, the economic foundation that can possibly reverse the process has not yet been completely eliminated. This foundation could function as a source for the bourgeoisie to gather strength and hoist itself up again.
The area of production relations, with the property element, with the elements of distribution and exchange relations, is the re-growth area for the bourgeoisie. That is why Mao had concentrated especially in the analysis of this area and built wave-breakers against the conditions that could bend the tip of the stick backward.
Mao, articulating the Chinese experience, has enriched the theory in the following points:
Mao states that after the question of ownership system is resolved in the area of production relations, in other words after the public ownership of production means has been established both in provinces and cities, the most important question to resolve is the question of administration.
In the socialism process towards communism, after a certain phase that begins with the elimination of private ownership on the means of production, although the changes in the ownership area are limited to a specific time slice, “in the process of productive labor, relations among human-beings, on the other hand, can be a in a ceaseless process of change.”
Mao, who deduced theories out of the Chinese revolution experience and the socialist construction experience, continues with the following words: “With respect to administration of enterprises owned by the whole people, we have adopted a set of approaches: a combination of concentrated leadership and mass movement; combinations of party leaders, working masses, and technical personnel; cadres participating in production; workers participating in administration; steadily changing unreasonable regulations and institutional practices.”
This approach should not be considered casually. Principle of “two participation, for example, in other words the participation of administration in the productive labor and the participation oe labor and the participain in the productive labor and the participain of administration. What does f workers in administration, and the principle of “the combination of three”, in other words the combination of efforts by cadres, workers, and technocrats are milestone principles in defeating bureaucratism and embracing the masses. The method of sending ranked party cadres to factories, construction sites, farms, and pig stables was important in preventing bureaucratization and developing the process of socialist construction.
The chart that Mao presented was a rich field of ideas for the strata of proletariat and toilers to have a say in decision making, to actually hold the political power, to eliminate inequalities and injustices, to become revolutionary at every turn, and to remold themselves whenever needed.
In his chart, there is an integration of new and dynamic teachings in preventing a restoration. Theory had made a leap forward with Mao in such a level that one cannot fully comprehend the question of restoration without relying on the contributions made by Mao.
Mao had clearly understood that the new bourgeoisie gathers its power from the production relations, which explains his concentration on this area.
Briefly put, means of production even after the socialization of ownership:
- Commodity production and circulation, and a “money economy” that is specific to the relations of the collective with the city still exists.
- The above fact keeps the petit bourgeois environment constantly alive.
- This environment produces new capitalist elements.
- In the socialist construction process, the area of production relations, in the matters of ownership, relations, and distribution, exist with its opposites, with the elements that could potentially reverse the process.
- Distribution is done not “according to need” but “according to labor”.
- The process of distribution relations functions according to “bourgeois legal system”.
- There are contradictions between workers and peasants, manual labor and intellectual labor, and between cities and provinces.
These facts could function as potential sources in the reversal of the process of socialist construction. This means that despite the socialist revolution in the area of economy (in terms of the socialist ownership of means of production), the economic basis of the capitalist restoration is not fully eradicated.
Moreover, there is an external front of this basis. Important elements included in this front are the blockade of international capitalism, imperialist interventions and threats of intervention, and the destructive activities that are sponsored by imperialism.
As a result of internal and external factors, there could always be new bourgeois capitalist roaders emerging in the party and state apparatus. These elements, who are politically degenerate and ideologically corrupt, could reach even the highest ranks in the party and state organs. The class struggle in the political arena is the principle struggle. It is a protracted struggle. It takes turns and twists. This struggle cannot rest until the end. Socialism is a constantly renewed battle ground in the struggle between two classes (proletariat and bourgeoisie), two roads (socialist road and capitalist road), and two lines (Marxism and revisionism). Therefore, it is fundamental to carry on the revolution even under the proletarian dictatorship. What is principle is to carry forth the revolution, strengthen the proletarian dictatorship, and to implement all-round dictatorship upon bourgeoisie.
The shackle that put on the modern-revisionism by the formidable battle process that was developed by the CPC under the leadership of Mao
We are in the 50th Anniversary of struggle which some circles called “Beijing – Moscow Clashes” and some called “CPSU – CPC Skirmish”, but was essentially a struggle between revisionism and Marxism. In this struggle, the CPC, led by Mao, represented Marxism and the CPSU, led by Khrushchev, represented revisionism. This struggle gradually developed since the 20th Congress in 1956 and caused intense discussions with the 1957 Moscow Declaration and the 1961 Statement. Finally, by the 22nd Congress in October 1961 revisionism became a virus to be absolutely cleaned out as a “systemic” problem in the International Communist Movement (ICM).
No doubt that the 20th Congress of the CPSU, which was held a few years after Stalin’s death, was a defining moment. The views that targeted Marxism-Leninism and especially the heavy attacks and shameless IFTIRA that were directed at Stalin at the secret meeting were the first signs of the division in the ICM. Especially at the 20th Congress Stalin was entirely rejected. In 1961, at the 22nd Congress, the ugly offenses about Stalin and in his personality the open denial of Marxim-Leninism reached a peak. Consequently, divisions in the ICM became further clear. In the separation, parties such as the Communist Party of China and the Labor Party of Albania (LPA) defended Marxism-Leninism against modern-revisionism. Especially the CPC, led by Mao, was played crucial roles in the clashes and in exposing the modern-revisionism.
What was in the center of this struggle?
In the center of the struggle or the basis of the divisions was the question of “in the final analysis, whether to accept the revolutionary principles of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement or not, whether to accept Marxism-Leninism and the proletarian internationalism or not, whether the revolution is necessary or not, whether it is necessary to stand against imperialism or not, and whether the socialist camp or the international communist movement is wanted or not.”
Without a doubt, the fundamental element in the center of this ideological and political struggle, which spread to long years, was the question of choosing either Marxism or revisionism. The choices were to either submit to the modern-revisionism of the CPSU, led by Khrushchev, or to take side with Marxism-Leninism against the revisionism that emerged in the motherland of socialism.
Mainly the ALP, among many other communist parties, did not see this struggle only as a skirmish between the CPSU and the CPC and joined their efforts, under the leadership of the CPC, in the struggle against revisionism. The struggle that began with the 20th Congress of the CPSU was initially waged covertly in dual clashes for the first few years. It however spilled out to open arena in a few years.
In the CPC’s struggle against the Khrushchev led CPSU, there were three obstacles to overcome: Fistly, the 20th Congress in 1957; secondly, the 1957 Moscow Declaration and 1960 Moscow Statement, and; thirdly, the 22nd Congress in October 1961. The period between 1956 and 1961 represents the three phases where revisionism remolded itself and became systematic.
There were two fundamental points that came forward out of the CPSU congress in 1956. First one was the thesis of “peaceful transition to socialism” and second one was the total rejection of Stalin under the cloak of “struggle against personality cult. The CPC did not agree with the thesis of transition to socialism through parliamentarian means. Secondly, the CPC did not approve the total rejection of Stalin.
The following was stated by the leadership of the CPC: “The criticism of Stalin at the 20th Congress of the CPSU was wrong both in principle and in method.”
It also stated the following in the well-known “polemics” with the CPSU in 1963: “Khrushchev completely obliterated the meritorious deeds of Stalin who led the Soviet people in waging resolute struggle against all internal and external foes and achieving great results in socialist transformation and socialist construction, who led the Soviet people in defending and consolidating the first socialist country in the world and winning the glorious victory in the anti-fascist war, and who defended and developed Marxism-Leninism. In completely negating Stalin at the 20th Congress of the CPSU, Khrushchov in effect negated the dictatorship of the proletariat and the fundamental theories of Marxism-Leninism which Stalin defended and developed.”
However, with certain justifications, the CPC hesitated to put its views out in the open before the public opinion.
These were the justifications: “It needs to be said, of course, that for the sake of unity against the enemy and out of consideration for the difficult position the leaders of the CPSU were in, we refrained in those days from open criticism of the errors of the 20th Congress, because the imperialists and the reactionaries of all countries were exploiting these errors and carrying on frenzied activities against the Soviet Union, against communism and against the people, and also because the leaders of the CPSU had not yet departed so far from Marxism-Leninism as they did later.”
No doubt that the CPSU decisions at its 29th Congress yielded revisionism, causing chaos, commotion and a great ideological confusion in the ICM. With the secret report that was presented to the Congress by Khrushchev, in one hand, there was the absolute rejection of Stalin, who was also put under heavy accusations, and on the other hand the thesis of acquiring the power peacefully through parliamentarian means astonished everyone as a thunderbolt that stroke in a cloudless sky.
In the article titled “On the Question of Stalin”, the CPC wrote the following: “So far Khrushchov has not dared to let the Soviet people and the other people in the socialist camp see the secret report completely negating Stalin which he made to the 20th Congress of the CPSU, because it is a report which cannot bear the light of day, a report which would seriously alienate the masses.”
Also the following were said in the same article: “In lifting their hand against Comrade Stalin, they lifted it against the teachings of Marx, Engels and Lenin…The facts have shown ever more clearly that their revision of the Marxist-Leninist theories on imperialism, war and peace, proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat, revolution in the colonies and semi-colonies, the proletarian party, etc., is inseparably connected with their complete negation of Stalin.”
Again in the same article, the CPC leadership was to say the following about Khrushchev: “The ‘combat against the personality cult’ launched by Khrushchov is a despicable political intrigue.” And finally in that article, the CPC was to state the following for the “great” leader of the ICM: “The opportunists in the history of the international communist movement were unable to negate Marx, Engels or Lenin by vilification, nor is Khrushchev able to negate Stalin by vilification…Long live the great revolutionary teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin!”
In the conditions of confusion and commotion, the struggle that Mao developed against revisionism and his strong stance in defense of Stalin became the guiding torch in the dark for the ICM. In fact, in 1963, the CPC offered a 25-article proposal as a guiding outline for the ICM.
However, before reaching 1963, there was another obstacle to overcome: The period of 1957 Moscow Declaration and 1960 Moscow Statement. It is well-known that both the “Declaration” and the “Statement” came about after long discussions, one-to-one interviews, and intense clashes, subsequent to which the revisionism had to retreat to a certain degree. Nevertheless, both documents were essentially Marxist-Leninist. Although there were some compromises with the revisionism, both documents, which summarized the experiences of the ICM, articulated the universal validity of October path, the common laws that governed socialist revolution and socialist construction processes, the principles that guided the relations among sister parties, and the common struggle tasks of communist parties under the light of Marxist principles. And not to be forgotten that the certain “given compromises” were done only to gain certain important compromises in return.
Although the thesis of peaceful transition was included in the documents, a point of dissatisfaction, they also included the view that ruling classes would never leave the power on their own will and that mass struggle outside the parliamentary means is necessary. Consequently, the CPC clearly expressed its worries about this situation both to sister parties and to the CPSU executives. Moreover, it presented its views on this issue to the CPSU written as an “addendum”.
Some of the views that were put forward by the 20th Congress of the CPSU on certain questions such as war, peace, imperialism, etc. had to be stood against in hard fights by the CPC and other parties before the corrected views and other important M-L thesis could be included in the Declaration.
In summary: a) The U.S. imperialism is the center of world reaction and the most ferocious enemy of the people; b) Common laws that govern the revolution and the socialist construction; c) The fusion of the universal truth of M-L with each concrete practice of revolution and socialist construction; d) Seizing the political power is not the end of revolution but its beginning; e) The question of whether capitalism or socialism will win can not be resolved for a long period; f) Bourgeois influence is the internal source of revisionism and the imperialist pressure is the external source; g) The importance of implementation of dialectical materialism to practical work.
The CPC and the other sister parties were facing the CPSU with a prestige of many years and an enormous authority. The fact that some of the thesis of a party such as the CPSU, which possessed the respectful authority of Lenin and Stalin, were amended and plus some other new thesis were added to the Declaration was not a small achievement.
Alas, the struggle did not end at that point. By the time of 22nd Congress of the CPSU in 1961, revisionism had become systemic, along with the weight and seriousness of accusations towards Stalin. At this point, the revolutionary principles of the Declaration and the Statement were rejected and those who took up the path of revisionism had entered the phase of systemic revisionism. In the period from the 20th Congress in 1956 until the 22nd Congress in 1961, the CPSU administration “had built an all-around revisionism”. Again in this period, “a revisionist line had been built against the proletarian revolution and proletarian dictatorship” and some sort of jumble was concocted with ingredients such as “peaceful coexistence”, “peaceful competition”, “peaceful transition”, “part and state for all people”, etc.
With the CPC’s words: “The big discussion of today within the International Communist Movement, in the final analysis, covers the issues of whether to be loyal to Marxism-Leninsm or to revisionism, whether to hold on to the proletarian internationalism or to the chauvinism of big power, and whether the unity or division is wanted.” When revisionism knocked on the door, the CPC put forward the ICM’s line with a 25-article proposition. This proposition was extremely important in the sense that it openly challenged revisionism and exposed its true characteristics. In this proposal, the following theses were especially important:
- Adhere to the Marxist-Leninist line and pursue correct Marxist-Leninist domestic and foreign policies;
- Consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and the worker-peasant alliance led by the proletariat and carry the socialist revolution forward to the end on the economic, political and ideological fronts;
- Promote the initiative and creativeness of the broad masses, carry out socialist construction in a planned way, develop production, improve the people’s livelihood and strengthen national defense;
- Strengthen the unity of the socialist camp on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, and support other socialist countries on the basis of proletarian internationalism;
- Oppose the imperialist policies of aggression and war, and defend world peace;
- Oppose the anti-Communist, anti-popular and counter-revolutionary policies of the reactionaries of all countries; and
- Help the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed classes and nations of the world.
The 1957 Declaration and 1960 Statements were proposing an enhanced version of the “revolutionary principles and thus drawing an outline of the International Communist Movement. These were important points as the ideological and political foundation for the ICM, as a common dominator upon which to form a unity. These propositions, however, were ignored by the CPSU and the parties that grouped around it, who insisted on revisionism. Khrushchev and his cronies were now on a no-return road. They were, under the mask of Marxism-Leninism, applying revisionism, not Marxism; had chosen the capitalist road, not socialism. The propositions, on the other hand, functioned as a common platform for the ICM to force revisionism to retreat to a point. They become arsenal for those who carried the flag of revolution and socialism.
After half a century, it is still evident that the struggle against revisionism is still necessary. It is true that by today revisionism has changed skin. There is not a “modern-revisionism” as there was during when the Soviet Union held the power. However, there is still a revisionism that degenerates Marxism by stripping it from its revolutionary essence.
There stands a pressing task of ICM in front of communist parties to form an “ideological” front against the attempts to erode Marxism’s revolutionary principles and to put instead a diluted Marxism that is passive, compromised, and confined into the existing system, against such kinds of bourgeois socialism. If this struggle achieves victory, it will not only give revolution and socialism their traditional magic and appeal, it will also give the revolutionary Marxism its prestige and dignity.
October 31, 2006