RD reprints this article as part of its tribute to the life and work of Moni Guha. Since it was published in the year 1981 this work has stood the test of time. We would, however, like to indicate two factual errors in the text. First, Khrushchev was not associated with the Leningrad organisation of the CPSU but with the Moscow organisation in 1951 and 1952. Second, the dissolution of the Machine Tractor Stations and the transfer of their property to the collective farms, signifying the conversion of social property into group property and the expansion of the sphere of commodity production and circulation in the USSR, was effected not in 1953 but in 1958. The opening of the Soviet archives sheds further light on some of the themes dealt with here such as the Mongolian question. We hope to tackle these in future.
How and Why Stalin Died – Immediate Cause
Immediately after the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, held in November 1952, only a few months before his death, Stalin was giving the final touch to the implementation of the Congress decisions. The Leningrad organisation headed by Khrushchev was severely criticised in Molotov’s political report for ‘wrong consumer approach to collective farm development’ and ‘attention to economic affairs only, neglecting ideological matters’. The 19th Congress detected a number of ‘shortcomings’, ‘errors’ and ‘inadmissible and moribund features’ in the internal life of many organisations of the CPSU. ‘Evasion and suppression of criticism from below’, ‘pernicious and profoundly anti-party attitude to criticism by subordinates’, ‘concealment by some leading workers of the true state of the affairs in the plants and institutions in their charge’, ‘close coteries who constituted themselves into a sort of mutual insurance society’, ‘bureaucratic degeneration’, ‘filching of collective farm property by some party, Soviet and agriculture officers’ were pinpointed in Molotov’s political report. Marshal Zhukov and Kosygin had already been demoted. Varga’s and Voznesensky’s ‘theories’ of ‘non-inevitability of war’, ‘emergence and development of new elements of socialism in post war capitalist economy’, ‘peaceful and gradual development of socialism in capitalist countries’ and ‘possibility of development of non-antagonistic relations between the socialist and capitalist countries and stable and permanent peaceful co-existence of the two systems’ etc. were already demolished through long debates and polemics organised under the leadership of Stalin, and Voznesensky was taken to task and Varga admitted his ‘revisionist mistakes’. Malenkov’s political report gave a clarion call to ‘wage a determined struggle against private property mentality and morality, against ideological corruption of unstable elements and the task of reforming the Central Committee bringing into leadership of a large number of new people’ was just taken up by Stalin. Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. already demolished the theory of ‘Market Socialism’ and policies of capitulation and restoration of capitalism. A new programme of the CPSU for building communism was under preparation.
Together with all these, in January, 1953, less than two months before Stalin’s death, it was also announced by the security department that an investigation was proceeding into conspiracy among opposition elements. These elements, it was further said, were linked with British and American intelligence and some arrests had already been made. The investigation had been initiated directly from Stalin’s secretariat. It was also announced that the investigation had arrived at a conclusion that the opposition elements had been responsible for Zhdanov’s death in 1948.
In this connection we would request the reader to direct back their attention to a news item published in the New York Times in December 1948 which said that some leading members of the Soviet Union were interested to end the war of nerves (Cold War) between the Soviet Union and the U.S.A., in opposition to Stalin’s policy of continuing the cold war.
However, who was Zhdanov? Zhdanov had been the best Marxist theoretician in the Soviet Union after Stalin. In the post war years, he, together with Stalin was engaged in cleansing the Augean stables of the Soviet Union. During the war years entire efforts and energies were concentrated for winning the war and patriotism was the central slogan. As a result much deviation from proletarian ideology was rampant. Zhdanov, together with Stalin, played a leading role to correct these deviations in almost all walks of Soviet life. Zhdanov also had led the Soviet delegation to the inaugural meeting of the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform). Naturally he became the target for the opposition elements, to say nothing of the imperialists.
You can well imagine the condition. As soon as the January, 1953 announcement and the news of arrest of some persons were made the situation was then at the sharpest point. Malenkov’s political report, Zhukov’s and Kosygin’s demotion, Stalin’s Economic Problems, proposal for the reform of the Central Committee and last Stalin’s probing into opposition conspiracy. Either swift and resolute action to prevent the revelation of the opposition intrigue to the full extent or the inevitable dreadful consequences. The opposition elements thought correctly that the probe was obviously coming too close with which their fate was indissolubly connected.
A hectic preparation to remove Stalin was now on the immediate agenda of the opposition elements. Two weeks before Stalin’s death, the news of sudden death of General Kosynkin appeared in Izvestia of February 17, 1953. General Kosynkin was the chief of the department for the security of the Administration of Kremlin and was personally responsible for security of Stalin. On February 28, 1953, four days before the death of Stalin, the personal bodyguard of Stalin was found nowhere. His whereabouts or fate still remains unknown! If the death of Stalin was unexplained and from natural cause, certainly the prior deaths, in this situation, of the Kremlin security Chief, General Kosynkin and the sudden vanishing of Stalin’s bodyguard were clearly remarkable coincidences!
It was on the night of March 3, 1953. It was Wednesday. Moscow radio announced that Stalin had suffered a cerebral haemorrhage on the previous Sunday, that is on March 1, 1953. It remains still unexplained why the announcement was made after three long days.
Stalin dies on 5th March, 1953.
Undoubtedly, the announcement of the trial of opposition elements hastened Stalin’s death and it was the immediate cause of his death.
It may be noted that all the accused of the ‘Doctor’s plot’ were released on March 6, 1953 with an announcement that the arrests were made due to some misinformation and misunderstanding!
Though detailed medical bulletins were issued, until the announcement of Stalin’s death, there was no report on the cause of his death except the first brief announcement of brain haemorrhage. It is noteworthy to point out that in the very first medical bulletin, the Soviet leaders hastened to emphasise that even in the event of Stalin’s recovery, he would not be able to return to his ‘leading responsibilities’. It was not ‘normal activities’ but ‘leading responsibilities’. Obviously, it was of highest importance to them.
At the present point in history, no one as yet, except those directly concerned, can know the exact cause of Stalin’s death. There has been no investigation as yet into the cause of Stalin’s death and no official report on the subject, in spite of the fact that doubtful reports about the cause of his death ‘leaked’ from time to time. Among all those ‘leakages’, we may mention one. After the 20th Congress of CPSU, Tito, the blood brother of Khrushchev, visited the Soviet Union. After his return from conclusion with the Soviet leaders Tito was reported to have told a senior official of a NATO country that from his visit to the Soviet Union he had formed the opinion that Stalin was murdered by Soviet Party leadership. This statement of Tito was published in the British press, for example, in Daily Telegraph in July 1956 under the heading ‘Tito Says Stalin Was Murdered’. In spite of this public statement, the rank and file of the world communist movement, being so lulled by their respective leaderships into illusions of class peace during those three years, had so lost their revolutionary vigilance that this public statement could pass without any outcries in the parties, without any demand for independent investigation as to the cause of Stalin’s death, without any public party comment!
Of course, the statement of Tito, a renegade from Marxism, in all probability was made on behalf of Khrushchev another renegade from Marxism as part of ‘leaking’ of information to gauge the reaction of the world communists. Khrushchev became doubly sure that he had won the hearts (if there was any) of the renegades.
Let alone an investigation into cause of Stalin’s death, a decision was pushed through the 22nd Congress of the CPSU, that Stalin’s body be removed from the Lenin Mausoleum to a Kremlin grave. Do you think that this was an act of mere revenge, or of political sadism on the part of Khrushchev or merely the culminating point in a campaign of Stalin’s denigration? If you think in this over-simplistic way, you are gravely mistaken, dear comrades. Recall the event that happened in that Congress. Chou-En-Lai brought to Moscow a wreath for Stalin with an inscription in large golden letters ‘A GREAT MARXIST-LENINIST’. A powerful speech was delivered by him, in defence of Albania which Khrushchev angrily told the delegates not to applaud when the delegates were already applauding it. Albania had already withdrawn its public support to the Soviet revisionist policies and had launched polemics undermining the revisionist position in the international communist movement. Now Khrushchev had to face the withdrawal of public support from the powerful and most respected Communist Party of China. That was a new and unpleasant prospect for Khrushchev. It is clear that the decision of removing Stalin’s body was an urgent practical necessity for the leading Soviet revisionists and there were rumours that Stalin’s body was reduced to ashes before burial. In advance of any ‘unfavourable’ turn of events Khrushchev wished to prevent any later independent investigation into the cause of Stalin’s death.
Whatever conclusion we reach on the available evidence does not invalidate the undeniable existence of two opposing groups in the Soviet leadership and the equally undeniable conflict between their policies and their basic ideology. That was the basic cause of Stalin’s mysterious death and that was the class struggle on international scale.
What, then, was this conflict?
The Background – Class Against Class
The victory of the Soviet Union and freedom-loving nations in the Second World War radically changed the entire international situation. Above all, it changed the relation of the forces between two social systems – socialism and capitalism – in favour of socialism. Immediately before the Second World War the situation – so far as the alignment of the class forces was concerned internationally – was most unfavourable to the world communist movement. Accordingly the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International took a correct defensive path, a path of conscious and organised retreat with a view to retrieve the position in favour of the world proletariat. The victory of the Soviet Union, the emergence of people’s democracies, the upsurge of National Liberation struggle in the oppressed countries and the upsurge of the democratic movement in the capitalist countries changed the international situation in favour of the world proletariat and socialism.
This was a situation which the imperialists did not want. The ruling circles of the United States and Great Britain expected that as a result of the exhausting war, the Soviet Union would be bled-white and enfeebled, would cease to be a great power and would become dependent upon the United States and Great Britain. The hopes of the imperialists proved to be illusory and groundless.
Though during the war the Soviet Union and the allied countries acted together, in spite of the difference about the war aims, the difference between the two conceptions of the object of war and of the post-war world became exceptionally glaring when the war came to an end. The U.S.S.R., the peoples’ democracies and other democratic countries launched a determined struggle to liquidate remnants of fascism and to strengthen the democratic order. The ruling circles of the United States and Great Britain, however, began to protect the remnants of fascism to strangle the forces of democracy and national liberation and to prepare for a new war with the object of establishing their own domination of the world. Thus two lines on question of post-war policy became revealed and this led to the formation of two camps – the imperialist camp – and the democratic camp.
Already concerned with the visible world development from capitalism to socialism and developing opposition to imperialism, the imperialists thought that their possession of nuclear weapons, especially in the period of their temporary monopoly and the unprecedented military force would enable them to arrest and if possible reverse the wheel of history. In other words, the imperialists were using all their class power and energy in an attempt to maintain imperialist status quo. That was the role of nuclear weapons for the imperialists. Molotov said, ‘As we know, a sort of new religion has become widespread among expansionist circles in the U.S.A.; having no faith in their own internal forces they put their faith in the secret of atom bomb although this secret has long ceased to be a secret.’ (Speech at the 30th anniversary of the October Revolution, 6th November, 1947: Speeches – Molotov, Vol. II, F.L.P.H. Moscow, 1949)
The attitude towards the nuclear weapons became the central issue in the determination of foreign and home policy of the Soviet Union in the leadership of the CPSU.
Despite the temporary imperialist nuclear monopoly, Stalin continued to carry forward a consistent proletarian internationalist foreign policy without any concession or ideological retreat, knowing that the answer to the perennial imperialist threat lay in unwavering opposition to imperialism and mobilisation of socialist camp and all anti-imperialist forces. The launching of international peace offensive in Stalin’s days had the aim of carrying this policy forward on a broad front, again, as principled and practical answer to imperialist pressure.
The opposition elements, the revisionist section of the leadership of the Soviet party believed that Stalin’s thorough-going opposition to imperialism, especially in the ‘nuclear age’ was becoming highly dangerous to Soviet national interest. They believed that the Soviet Union must at all cost buy off the threat of nuclear destruction by concessions to imperialism – easing the tension between the Soviet Union and the U.S.A. The threat of nuclear weapons gave rise to fear in a section of the communists of the world including a section of the Soviet leadership and this was the international basis of modern revisionism. For the revisionists nuclear weapons are a force in themselves, outside objective social laws, the threatened use of which can act as some kind of the catalyst in international politics to compel the basic social forces to forego the historically necessary world mission of emancipating the people as well as themselves! So, to them Marxism became outdated in the ‘nuclear age’ and that required thorough revision. The essence of Khrushchev’s position in this respect was long ago publicly recognised by a leading capitalist politician, Harold Macmillan, who described Khrushchev approvingly as the ‘first Soviet statesman to recognise that Karl Marx was a pre-atomic man.’ This deflection from dialectical and historical materialism promoted fear in them and the fear led them to opportunism, capitulation and bourgeois nationalism. Thus the revisionist section of the leadership of the Soviet party demanded a line of ‘least resistance’ and ‘smooth-sailing’ – to which Stalin did not pay any heed.
It may be noted in this connection that this line of ‘least resistance’ and ‘smooth sailing’ was persisting in the Soviet party since its very birth in a section of diplomats of foreign commissariat (Ministry), but could not come as a party line due to Stalin’s unflinching Marxist leadership for more than 25 years, from Lenin’s death to the victory over fascism. Stalin had personified the firm Soviet opposition to the class enemies of socialism with marked clarity and theoretical foresight.
Let us recapitulate the past to understand the position of Stalin vis-à-vis the revisionists. In 1925, in a talk to the students of Sverdlov University Stalin analysed the opposition of certain Soviet diplomats to proletarian internationalist foreign policy:
‘Support the liberation movement in China? But why? Wouldn’t that be dangerous? Wouldn’t it bring us into conflict with other countries? Wouldn’t it be better if we established “spheres of influence” in China in conjunction with other “advanced” powers and snatched something from China for our own benefit? That would be both useful and safe...
‘Such is the now new type of nationalist “frame of mind” which is trying to liquidate the foreign policy of the October Revolution and is cultivating the elements of degeneration.’
Stalin said further, ‘That is a path of nationalism and degeneration,
the path of the complete liquidation of the proletariat’s international
policy, for people afflicted with this disease regard our country not
as a part of the whole that is called the world revolutionary movement,
but as the beginning and the end of the movement, believing that the
interests of all other countries be sacrificed to the interests of our
country’ (Stalin: Works, Vol. VII, F.L.P.H. Moscow, 1954, pp.
69-70, emphasis added).
In a later work Stalin contrasted opposite lines of foreign policy for the Soviet Union. Stalin said:
‘Either we continue to pursue a revolutionary policy, rallying the proletarians and oppressed of all countries around the working class of the U.S.S.R. Or we renounce our revolutionary policy and agree to make a number of fundamental concessions to international capital.
‘Britain for instance, demands that we join her in establishing predatory spheres of influence somewhere or other, in Persia, Afghanistan or Turkey, say, and assures us that if we made this concession, she would be prepared to establish “friendship” with us.
‘America demands that we renounce in principle the policy of supporting the emancipation movement of the working class in other countries, and says that if we made this concession everything would go smoothly.
‘...We cannot agree to these or similar concessions without being false to ourselves...’ (Stalin: Works, Vol. XI, pp. 58-60.)
It is clear that both in this and above example, Stalin is not arguing in the abstract but resisting a tendency in the Soviet leadership. It appears rather as if Stalin was arguing with the Khrushchevite revisionists.
During the Spanish Civil War in 1936-37, a section of the Foreign Ministry of the Soviet Union wanted to follow the same line of ‘least resistance’ and the line of nationalism giving concession to imperialism. Litvinoff wanted to accept the British plan but Stalin stuck to his guns and the Soviet Union refused to grant Franco international status as a combatant as per with the International Brigades insisting that it had every right in the world to continue aiding the duly elected Republican Government, which it did until the bitter end. The controversy in the Soviet leadership ‘leaked’ and the New York Times of October 29, 1937 described how the ‘unyielding Stalin’ representing ‘Russian stubbornness’ refused to go along. It wrote, ‘A struggle has been going on all this week between Joseph Stalin and Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinoff.’
Stalin said, ‘The danger of nationalism must regarded as springing from the growth of bourgeois influence on the party in the sphere of foreign policy, in the sphere of struggle that the capitalist states are waging against the state of the proletarian dictatorship. There can scarcely be any doubt that the pressure of the capitalist states on our state is enormous, that the people who are handling our foreign policy do not always succeed in resisting this pressure, that the danger of complications often gives rise to the temptation to take the path of least resistance, the path of nationalism.
‘On the other hand it is obvious that the first country to be victorious can retain the role of standard-bearer of the world revolutionary movement only on the basis of consistent internationalism, only on the basis of the foreign policy of the October Revolution, and that the path of least resistance and of nationalism in foreign policy is the path of the isolation and decay of the first country to be victorious.’ (Stalin: Works, Vol. VII, pp. 170-71)
In connection with the role of standard-bearer of the world revolutionary movement of the first victorious country, the following is the attitude and stand of the modern revisionists. In a speech to the delegates from the fraternal ‘socialist’ countries on February, 1960, Khrushchev declared: ‘What does “at the head” gives us? It gives us neither milk, nor butter, neither potatoes nor vegetables, nor flats. Perhaps it gives us something morally? Nothing at all.’ Again in a speech to the fraternal delegates on June 24, 1960 he declared: ‘What is the use of “at the head” for us? To hell with it.’ Khrushchev treated the role of standard bearer as cash-crop.
The starting point of the argument of the modern revisionist section of the CPSU leadership was that the existence of the nuclear weapons cancels out Marxism and makes any principled policy ‘out of date’. They basically retreated from Lenin’s analysis of imperialism and departed from the Leninist position that imperialism was the source of war. Instead they argued that the source of war was the conflict between the two camps of imperialism and socialism. Reducing this theory further they said that the conflict between the Soviet Union and Anglo-U.S. imperialisms was the direct source of conflict and war and the Soviet Union’s all sorts of support to the liberation war, especially of Korea and Vietnam was the source of intensification of the world tension. Hence they demanded the betrayal of the cause of the Korean and Indo-Chinese people for the relaxation of the international tension. They demanded to change the thorough-going opposition to imperialism for the replacement of this policy with a policy of ‘deal’ with imperialism sitting around the table.
From this basis perspective of deal with imperialism stemmed all other revisionist policy. The revisionist section of the leadership of the CPSU opposed all the formulations of Stalin contained in his Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R. We have seen how the revisionists opposed the Leninist theory that imperialism is the source of war. They also opposed Stalin’s formulation of two parallel world markets – socialist and capitalist which we will discuss now, as this is one of the cardinal questions of building socialism in the period when socialism in one country was replaced by socialism in many countries and orthodox colonialism was replaced by neo-colonialism.
Two Parallel World Markets:
‘The disintegration of the single, all-embracing world market must be regarded as the most important economic sequel of the Second World War. The economic consequence of the existence of the two opposite camps was that the single all-embracing world market disintegrated, so that now we have two parallel world markets also confronting one another.
‘It follows from this that the sphere of exploitation of the world’s resources by the major capitalist countries will not expand but contract; that their opportunities for sale in the world market will deteriorate and their industries will be operating more and more below capacity. That is what is meant by the deepening of the general crisis of the world capitalist system in connection with the disintegration of the world market.’ (Stalin: Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.)
We are told by the revisionists that it is another of ‘Stalin’s errors’. They refute Stalin by saying:
‘In no way whatever does the socialist international division of labour imply autarchy [economic self-sufficiency – Moni Guha] on the side of socialist camp. It follows from the Leninist principle of peaceful co-existence that the socialist and capitalist economic systems together form the world economy. And this entirely forms the economic base for the peaceful co-existence of two world systems. The more developed the socialist division of labour, the greater the opportunities for exchange between two systems.
‘The fact that world prices are used as the first basis for price formation on the socialist world market indicates that the socialist and capitalist markets are part of a single world market.’ (World Marxist Review: ‘The International Division of Labour’ – December, 1958.)
We will briefly discuss this question here.
It has always been held by Marxists – beginning from Marx down to Stalin – that socialism would abolish the division of labour. Marx said, ‘With the division of labour, in which all these contradictions are implicit – is given simultaneously the distribution and indeed the unequal distribution, both quantitative and qualitative, of labour and its products, hence property… the division of labour implies the possibility, nay the fact, that intellectual and material activity – enjoyment and labour, production and consumption – devolve on different individuals, and that the ONLY POSSIBILITY OF THEIR NOT COMING INTO CONTRADICTION LIES IN THE negation IN ITS TURN of the division of labour.” (K. Marx: German Ideology, F.L.P.H., Moscow, 1949, p. 44; Emphasis in italics are original while the emphases in capital letters and bolds of the last sentence supplied.)
While Marx said that in order to end the contradictions inherent in the division of labour it was necessary to negate the division of labour itself, the revisionists say ‘the more developed the socialist division of labour, the greater the opportunities for exchange between the two systems’! Not only that. The revisionist ‘theory’ further says that the ‘socialist international division of labour’ ‘frees the division of labour from the antagonistic form’! (World Marxist Review – ‘International Division of Labour’, December, 1958) Why, then, you are not bold enough, my dear revisionists, to say that Marx was wrong, he could not understand that the socialist international division of labour frees the division of labour from all antagonism? Why, then don’t you say that it was wrong for Marx to conclude that the negation of division of labour can only resolve the contradiction inherent in it? Here you see, the revisionists are not prepared to create a material basis for the abolition of division of labour; on the contrary, they are interested in creating a material basis for the emancipation of the division of labour from its antagonistic form through greater development of international division of labour with a view to ‘facilitate greater exchange between the two system’. And it is called by them socialism!
Indeed ‘Stalin’s error’ on this point dates back to Marx.
The revisionists prove their ‘single world market’ theory by saying that since the ‘world prices are used as the first basis for price formation on the socialist world market price’ the socialist world market must be ‘a part of a single world market’. But who said that the world prices would be used as the first basis for the price formation of the socialist world market? There cannot be any basis for socialist competition if the imperialist world prices are used as the first basis for the price formation of the socialist world market. It is a capitalist competition not socialist competition if the socialist countries trade in international arena on the basis of the imperialist world prices as all the vices inherent in the imperialist world prices will gobble up ‘socialism.’ In speaking of two parallel world markets – capitalist and socialist – Stalin did neither mean nor say that the socialist world market will use imperialist world price as its first basis for its price formation.
After all what are the world prices?
According to the Marxist economics world prices pattern put only developed countries in a position of exploiting less developed ones. The totality of exchange relations between a developed country, which exchanges manufactured goods and underdeveloped country which exchanges primary products has been organised by the imperialists in such a way as to work systematically to the disadvantage of the undeveloped country and to the advantage of the developed country. The difference in level of productivity between two types of countries – less productive and less skilled on the part of undeveloped country and more skilled and more productive on the part of developed country is a fact. As a result more labour of undeveloped country is exchanged with less labour of the developed country. This is what is called ‘unequal exchange’. It is unequal exchange between the developed and underdeveloped country by which the capitalist class (and the ‘socialist’ of single world market) of the developed country gains at the expense of the people of undeveloped territory, even if it is sold cheaper by one of the developed countries than other developed countries. It is capitalist competition.
Marx drew the attention to such unequal exchange:
‘Capital invested to foreign trade are in a position to yield a higher rate of profit, because, in the first place, they come in competition with commodities produced in other countries with lesser facilities of production, so that an advanced country is enabled to sell its goods above their value even when it sells cheaper than the competing countries.’ (K. Marx, Capital, vol. 3; emphasis added).
The Soviet Union, rejecting and repudiating Stalin’s theory of two parallel world markets and following the revisionist ‘theory’ of single world market and ‘international division of labour’ based on imperialist world prices as the first basis for the price formation is gaining at the expense of Comecon countries and the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America capitalistically competing with the imperialist competitors. The ‘higher rate of profit’ which they earn is invested as capital in the Soviet Union and hence the Soviet Union is no longer a socialist country.
Che Guevara, then the Finance Minister of ‘socialist’ Cuba strongly criticised the practice of world market prices and argued, ‘How can it be ‘mutually advantageous’ to sell at world market prices the primary materials which cost the under-developed countries boundless sweat and suffering and to buy at world market prices the machines produced in the great automated factories of the present day?’ He further said, ‘If we establish this sort of relation between two groups of nations, it must be admitted that the socialist countries are, in a certain way, accomplices of imperialist exploitation. The socialist countries have the moral duty to liquidate their tacit complicity with the exploiting countries of the west.’ (Che Guevara: Speech at the ‘2nd Economic Seminar of Afro-Asian Solidarity’ on 24th February, 1965.)
China, Rumania, Hungary and the other ‘socialist’ countries said almost the same thing as Che Guevara. They felt the sting of Soviet Union’s exploitation, but failed to go beyond bourgeois nationalist protest. None of them demanded a parallel world socialist market based on socialist pricing system. On the contrary, these countries also trade on the basis of imperialist world prices. India, U.A.R. and other countries also protested against the unequal exchange of the ‘socialist’ Soviet Union. They do not find any fundamental or radical difference between the capitalist competition and ‘socialist’ competition.
Stalin envisaged a parallel socialist world market on the basis of a socialist theory of international trade based on un-exploitative socialist pricing policy which would socialistically compete with the ever shrinking capitalist world market and thus would draw the undeveloped countries towards socialist camp, which would in turn intensify the general crisis of capitalism more and more.
The single world market theory based on imperialist world prices and capitalist nature of competition in the world market by the revisionists has brought the ‘socialist’ countries in the orbit of the capitalist crisis. The Economist of London in its January, 1976 issue writes: ‘western inflation is pushing up the price of Comecon’s imports while western recession is making it increasingly difficult for Comecon members to maintain, let alone expand.’ It is not only the London Economist but Soviet prime minister also had to admit this fact. In his speech to the 29th Comecon Council meeting, in June 1975, he openly admitted that the inflation in the west has certain effect on the Soviet bloc.
The tremendous and increasing indebtedness of the Comecon countries, including the U.S.S.R. to west European, Japanese and U.S. banking interest is noteworthy. The U.S. imperialism is gaining an ever greater economic and political foothold in the Comecon countries at the expense of peaceful co-existence on the basis of peaceful competition in capitalist way in a single world market. We are neither opposed to peaceful co-existence nor to peaceful competition with capitalism, but we like to follow that line on the basis of socialist pricing system of the parallel world socialist market competing with capitalism socialistically. Herein lies the fundamental ideological and political difference between Marxism and revisionism.
The revisionist section of the leadership of the CPSU did not find any other suitable alternative to save the situation in their favour but Stalin’s death and that was why Stalin ‘died’.
What Happened After the Death of Stalin?
To understand clearly what happened after the death of Stalin, it is necessary to know the situation when Stalin died.
Stalin died in March 1953. He died at a time when the relative stability of capitalist markets had become a thing of the past and the ‘disintegration of the single all-embracing world market’ had already set in and two parallel world markets – the socialist and capitalist – confronting one another, contracting the capitalist world market more and more further deepening the general crisis of capitalism – was in the process of offing.
Stalin died at a time when the ‘theories expounded by Lenin in the spring of 1916, namely that in spite of the decay of capitalism “on the whole capitalism is growing far more rapidly than before” had lost its validity’(1) at a time when, capitalism had even lost its tendency to relative growth in the framework of all-round absolute decay.
Stalin died at a time when, the development of social contradiction had been moving the world proletariat towards revolution and the imperialists towards a new war; at a time when, the fight for peace, ‘the peace offensive’ had become the fight against the social forces that were conspiring a war; at a time when, the whole world had become a single field of social battle in which the forces of socialism and national liberation on the one hand and the forces of capitalism and national reaction on the other, confronted one another eyeball to eyeball as two organised forces, the former headed by STALIN, the socialist camp and the Cominform and the latter by Anglo-American imperialisms together with modern revisionism; at a time when, every local crisis had assumed a world-wide importance.
Stalin died at a time when, the national liberation struggle of the oppressed people had become not only objectively, but also subjectively, the part and parcel of the world proletarian socialist revolution on the one hand and at a time when, the imperialist vultures, through neo-colonial policy had been buying off, in addition to the feudal class, national reformists and had been engineering a policy of localised civil war in an attempt at crushing the national liberation struggle one by one on the other; at the time when, the unified and joint intervention by the world socialist forces and the forces of national liberation struggle had been foiling the conspiracy of localised civil war by imperialism as in Korea.
Stalin died at a time when, the development of socialism in the Soviet Union had reached a crucial turning point, demanding transformation of the collective farms into the property of the whole people – replacing group ownership – by an ‘all-embracing production sector’ and ‘products-exchange’ thus doing away with the commodity-money relations and market economy, opening the floodgates of the second, higher phase of socialism, viz., communism.
Stalin died at the time when the ‘theories’ of peaceful growing of socialism, ‘structural reform of capitalism’ form within the framework of Yalta and UNO on the one hand and ‘sudden nuclear attack as the decisive factor in the outcome of war’ and ‘peace at any price’ on the other giving right to opportunism had been raising their ugly heads in the international communist movement, in the Soviet Union and countries of People’s Democracies; at a time when Stalin had already launched a bitter ideological as well as political struggle against the liquidationism of Varga, Voznesensky, Browder and Tito.
Stalin died at a time when the deviations and errors of the wartime had already been detected and pin-pointed and the investigation of the crimes of the opposition elements had been undertaken; at a time when the reforms of the Central Committee, purging out the weak-nerved and wavering elements had been undertaken.
In fine, Stalin died at a time when, on the one hand, under his far-sighted leadership the world imperialist system had been brought to the brink of precipice ushering the world system of socialism – replacing socialism in one country, at a time when the material basis of exerting a decisive influence on world politics as a whole by the international dictatorship of the proletariat exercised through the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform) had already emerged and on the other hand, when Anglo-American imperialism, in league with the modern revisionists had already infiltrated deeply into the international communist movement; at a time, when the world proletariat had stood against the world bourgeoisie as class against class and eye to eye.
Stalin died at such a crucial point of history when the brightest unique prospect and greatest black danger – a prospect of revolution and the danger of counter-revolution – at the highest of the greatest class battle of history – confronted each other. It demanded a dynamic subjective leadership at least equal to Stalin.
Frederic Engels wrote to F. Sorge, immediately after the death of Karl Marx, ‘mankind is shorter by a head and the greatest head of our time at that. The proletarian movement goes on, but gone is its central figure to which Frenchmen, Russian, Americans and Germans spontaneously turned at critical moments to receive always that clear, incontestable counsel which only genius and perfect understanding of the situation can give. Local and lesser minds, if not humbugs will now have free hands. The final victory is certain, but circuitous path, temporary and local errors, things even now are so unavoidable, will become more common than ever. Well, we must see it through. What else are we here for?’(2) It was more true after the death of Stalin. After his death we have not only ‘local and lesser minds’ but also ‘humbugs’. The darkest period in the international communist movement descended after the death of Stalin.
What happened after the death of Stalin?
Stalin died in March 1953, and abruptly the high tide of revolution so far as the subjective role of the leadership was concerned reversed. In July, 1953, within less than four months of Stalin’s death, the leaders of the Soviet Union and China capitulated to U.S. imperialism and forced the Korean people to accept division of their nation and a permanent occupation of the southern half by U.S. forces. It was declared that the era of the cold war between socialism and capitalism was ended replacing it by an era of mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence between capitalism and socialism based on ‘relaxation of international tension’ as if the struggle for socialism and national liberation were the sources responsible for the intensification of international tension and war conspiracy! The struggle against the threat and danger of the third world war was arbitrarily separated from the struggle against imperialism implying that classes and nations oppressed by imperialism should abandon revolutionary struggles in the interest of ‘preserving peace’. The problem of peace was isolated from the problem of human emancipation, from all kinds of exploitation, placing ‘peace’ in abstract way. It meant the repudiation and rejection of the thorough-going struggle against the social forces that conspire and make war, it meant the repudiation and rejection of the differentiation between revolutionary war and the war of aggression, it meant the repudiation and rejection of Marxism and class struggle.(3)
Stalin died in March 1953 and by July of that year the socialised means of production of the agriculture sector of Soviet Union – the Machine Tractor Stations (MTS) were desocialised and were sold to those collective farms which were financially capable of outright purchasing them, thus laying the foundation of differentiation and inequality among the collective farm peasantry and making a tiny section of the peasants group owners of one of the most vital economic sectors, of the means of production, doing away with the very economic basis of socialism in agriculture, thus laying the foundation of the restoration of capitalism. Collective farms were allowed to sell their kitchen garden products together with their hens, pigs, milk, butter, eggs and meat in the ‘free market’ as commodities, thus extending the scope and range of the operation of the law of value, commodity-money relations and market economy, intensifying the instincts and morality of the private property thus opening widely the gates for capitalism to enter into, guaranteeing the consumer approach to collective farm production for which Khrushchev was criticised at the 19th Congress of the CPSU in November, 1952.(4)
Stalin died in March 1953 and in September of that year Soviet Red Army General Talensky, rejecting Stalin’s formula of ‘permanently operating factors’ in war,(5) introduced the ‘theory’ that in the ‘nuclear age’ the atom bomb can determine the fact and outcome of war at the very first phase of war by attacking suddenly,(6) once more proving Stalin’s prophetic words that ‘Atom bombs are intended for intimidating the weak nerved.’(7)
Stalin died in March 1953, and in November of that year – the World Peace Council – a creation of Stalin – planned for a world conference for the ‘relaxation of international tension’, renouncing the struggle for peace against the source of war and the conspirators of war, under the cloak of ‘saving the world from the war’, forgetting that appeasement of imperialist aggression and aggressive designs cannot preserve peace, on the contrary, makes the war inevitable.
Stalin died in March 1953 and in 1954 when Dulles – the U.S. state secretary – threatened mass retaliation with the atom bomb should the Vietnamese proceed further beyond Dien-bien Phu and the Chinese overtly intervene in Indo-China, the Soviet Union and China, in the name of ‘preserving peace’ ‘preventing another world war’ forced the Vietnamese army and the Indo-Chinese people to end the war of liberation short of gaining complete independence. The Geneva capitulation(8) was the continuation of the Korean capitulation, translating the ‘peace at any price’ into reality in the name of averting atomic disaster.
In the same year, 1954, Afro-Asian Bandung conference was held under the joint leadership of Pandit Nehru and Chou-En-Lai virtually denouncing the two world theory of Lenin and Stalin, with a view to create a ‘Third Neutral Force’ comprising the ruling classes of the colonial type countries – who would be neither in the socialist camp nor in the imperialist camp and who would pursue a ‘third path’ which would neither be proletarian nor be imperialist, thus, in the name of erecting a ‘Chinese wall against imperialist penetration’ erected a real Chinese wall between the world proletarian socialist revolution and the national liberation struggle as well as between the democratic (agrarian) revolution and struggle for national independence, surrendering the interest of the peasantry in particular and workers in general at the feet of national-reformist-feudal alliance, making the national liberation struggle pawn of power politics and appendage of this or that great power bloc.(9)
Stalin died in March 1953, and in May 1955 Warsaw Military bloc was formed with the blessing and participation of China as fraternal observer, based on power politics – minus the people. Khrushchev declared that the maintenance of peace or unleashing of war depended on the two super powers – the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., rejecting and repudiating the inexorable social law of war and peace and following the imperialist logic of ‘force theory’.(10) Rejecting Stalin’s line of relying on people and mobilising them against war preparation and war conspiracies of the imperialists(11) the leaders of the ‘socialist’ countries relied on power politics and power diplomacy, creating the illusion of false peace thus disarming the people ideologically, politically and organisationally.
In the same year in June 1955, the gang of Tito was rehabilitated in complicity with China and modern revisionism in the shape of ‘national communism’ was recognised as Marxism-Leninism by the leaders of the Soviet Union and China denouncing Stalin as ‘big nation chauvinist’ and embracing Tito as ‘Great Comrade.’(12)
Thus the stage was set for the drama of the 20th Congress of the CPSU and denunciation of Marxism-Leninism in the name of denunciation of the ‘cult of personality’ and Stalin.
Stalin was again murdered, in February of 1956, in the secret chamber of Khrushchev, in the presence of the fraternal delegates from all countries(13) without a single voice of protest.
In 1956, in July, the Cominform, the embryonic Communist International was wound up with the support of China, thus burying the disciplined proletarian internationalism in the shape of international democratic centralism, giving everybody the right to interpret proletarian internationalism as it thinks fit.
The April and December 1956 articles ‘On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ and ‘More on the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ and the deliberations of the 8th Congress of the CPC held in September, 1956, including Mao Tse-Tung’s opening speech in which he said ‘At its 20th Congress held not long ago, the Communist Party of Soviet Union formulated many correct policies and criticised shortcomings which were found in the party’, were nothing but the loyal echo of the 20th Congress of the CPSU.
The capitulation and sell-out that began in Korea failed to produce the desired result. Nuclear threat gave rise to fear and fear led to the revisionist capitulation for the preservation of national interest at the expense of others, but even such capitulation failed to preserve nationalist interest, more capitulation was demanded by imperialism. As a result, first the revisionist Soviet leadership tried to pacify U.S. imperialism at the expense of China and then the policy of threat against threat emerged. By this process the Soviet Union transformed itself into Russian neo-imperialist super power.
The two world parallel markets – socialist and capitalist – are today again a thing of the past, the material basis of exerting decisive influence in world politics as a whole by the socialist camp no longer exists today as there is no longer a socialist camp. Instead of contracting the imperialist world market, it is extending and even successfully penetrating in all ‘socialist’ countries including the Soviet Union and China. The ‘socialist’ countries are fighting one against the other – one calling the other ‘expansionist’. The Soviet Union, the Comecon countries and China are today partners of joint enterprise and joint exploitation with the imperialists in one single market. Moscow and Beijing both are providing more and more breathing space to the imperialists and are busy in building fence after fence around the brink of the precipice where Stalin had driven the imperialists – so that the imperialists may not fall tumbling down into the very precipice and may gather strength and overcome the danger of falling straightaway.
Stalin’s death was a dire necessity for the bourgeoisie and their henchmen, the revisionists and so Stalin had to die and the capitalist world was made safe, at least for some decades.
It is no use to chant like ‘mantras’ what splendid things Stalin did in his life time, it is of no use to celebrate Stalin’s birth centenary as rituals. It is necessary and imperative to discuss and judge how and why the post-Stalin leadership of the international communist movement betrayed Stalin, the world proletariat, the oppressed people and Marxism-Leninism and that only can enable us to resurrect Marxism-Leninism and help us to find out the root as to WHY WAS STALIN DENIGRATED AND MADE A CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE. Otherwise ‘What else we are here for?’
Explanatory Notes of Chapter 3
1. Stalin: Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR.
2. Marx-Engels Correspondence, National Book Agency, 1946, emphasis supplied.
3. Korean capitulation:
Since the U.S. intervention in Korea under the flag of United Nation, Stalin was urging for a peaceful settlement of the Korean issue on the basis of complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Korea to enable the Korean people to settle it by themselves. In response to Nehru’s appeal to Stalin for peaceful settlement of the Korean issue, Stalin reiterated the same thing. Even in the Armistice Agreement in June 1953, after the death of Stalin, it was stipulated that the forthcoming political conference will discuss the question of withdrawal of foreign troops from Korea. Kim Il Sung said in the 6th Plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea on 5th August 1953:
‘The armistice signifies a great victory for us. Though the armistice did not bring complete peace to Korea, the conclusion of the Armistice Agreement marked an initial step towards the peaceful settlement of the Korean issue, – a first exemplary contribution to the relaxation of international tension. By concluding the Armistice Agreement we have come to open up the possibilities for the peaceful settlement of the question of our country’s unification.
‘The forthcoming political conference should naturally reflect and defend the just claims, desire, will and fundamental interests of the Korean people. Therefore, our people will under no circumstances tolerate and thoroughly reject any attempt or plot of the imperialist interventionists contrary to them.
‘The basic aim of the political conference is to get all the troops of the United States and its satellite countries to withdraw from South Korea and to enable the Korean people to settle the Korean issue by themselves and to prevent foreigners from interfering in the internal affairs of our country.’
We do not find any difference in the basic aim of the proposed ‘political conference’ to be held between the representative of the United States on the one hand and Korea, the Soviet Union, China and etc. on the other side as it corresponds with the policy declared by Stalin before his death.
But after stating the basic aim of the political conference Kim Il Sung went on:
‘With the political conference approaching the U.S. imperialists are already making a fuss behind the scenes. Notwithstanding the signing of Armistice Agreement in which it was stipulated that the chief aim of the political conference is to discuss the question of withdrawal of foreign troops from Korea, the notorious warmonger Dulles – U.S. Secretary of State concluded the so-called ‘ROK-U.S. Mutual Defence Pact’ (ROK: Republic of Korea, (South)) with Syngman Rhee. This pact is aimed at stationing aggressive forces of the United States in South Korea indefinitely, and whenever necessary, unleashing another criminal war of aggression in Korea, in violation of the Armistice Agreement. The ‘ROK-U.S. Mutual Defence Pact’ is an aggressive pact which allows U.S. imperialism to obstruct peaceful reunification of our country and interfere in our domestic affairs. It is a glaringly country selling pact under which the Syngman Rhee clique sells the southern half of our country to the U.S. bandits. To conclude such a pact at a time when the political conference is in the offing is an act of hindering a reasonable solution of the Korean question at the political conference (Kim Il Sung: Selected Works. Vol. 1; F.L.P.H.; Pyongyang, Korea, 1976, pp. 416-18, emphases supplied).
In spite of this categorical statement about the ‘ROK-U.S. Mutual Defence Pact’ on the eve of the political conference, the leaders of the Soviet Union and China did not hesitate to hatch a Korea-selling conspiracy with the U.S. imperialists. They made a treaty of peace with the U.S. imperialists and allowed U.S. military forces to remain in South Korea agreeing to the partitioning of the country indefinitely. Even today Korea remains divided and U.S. military bases remain in South Korea. The declared ‘basic aim’ of the political conference and the stipulations of the Armistice Agreement were smokescreens with a view to lull the Korean and world people.
The question is: Was a capitulation or compromise or a tactical retreat necessary from the military and political position on the part of North Korea, China and the Soviet Union? Was the continuation of war and settlement of it by military means really quite unfavourable to the position of the socialist camp? Let us quote Mao, who was one of the architects of this ignominious betrayal to the cause of Korean as well as world people. Mao said the following in September 1953, immediately after Peace Treaty was signed:
‘After three years we have won a great victory, in the war to resist U.S. aggression and aid Korea……
‘We fought U.S. imperialism, an enemy welding weapons many times superior to ours and yet we were able to win and compelled it to agree to a truce. Why was the truce possible?
‘First, military, the U.S. aggressors were in an unfavourable position and were on receiving end. If they have not accepted truce, then the whole battle line would have been broken through and Seoul would have fallen into the hands of Korean people. The situation became evident in the summer of the last year.
‘Second, politically, the enemy had many internal contradictions and the people of the world demanded peace.
‘Third, economically, the enemy spent vast sum of money in the war of aggression against Korea and his budgetary revenue and expenditures were not balanced.' (Mao: Selected Works, Vol. V, Peking, 1977, pp. 115, emphasis supplied.)
May we then ask, why, in spite of such a favourable situation the Soviet Union and China did not compel the U.S. imperialists for the abrogation of ROK-U.S. Mutual Defence Pact and for the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from South Korea which was the declared aim of the political conference as stipulated in the Armistice Agreement? May we then ask, who compelled whom? Obviously, the Peace Treaty was neither a military necessity nor a tactical retreat; Mao said, that it was a great victory. May we ask, on whose terms the peace treaty was drafted and signed? The U.S. forces remained in South Korea, Korea remained partitioned, not a single item of the declared basic aim of the political conference was agreed to by the U.S., then how can it be said that the U.S. was compelled to make a truce? How can it be said that it was a great victory? Whose position was made advantageous by the peace treaty?
In fact, it was a great betrayal and sell-out so far as the interests of the Korean people and world proletarian interest were concerned. It was the fear of nuclear threat and peace at any price which compelled the modern revisionists to sell out Korean people for the sake of narrow bourgeois nationalist interests of the Soviet Union and China.
Elsewhere Mao said that Korean peace treaty was a compromise. There he did not say it was a great victory. Did not we compromise with the Americans on the 36th parallel in Korea? (Ibid., p. 575, written on November 18, 1957.) Of course, the peace treaty was both a great victory and compromise to Mao and the modern revisionists. It was a great victory for nationalist China, because the threat against China remained no more after the withdrawal of imperialist forces from North Korea, especially from the banks of Yalu River. It may be noted in this connection that China did not involve herself in Korean War before Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, fell to the U.S. hands, before the U.S. forces were near the Yalu River, in spite of the repeated requests from Stalin. China joined the Korean War only when she was directly threatened. Apparently the volunteer action of China in Korea would appear like proletarian internationalism, though in fact, it was bourgeois nationalism. In spite of that it was objectively anti-imperialist. It may also be noted that, in spite of the military support of the Korean cause by China, China did not confiscate and nationalise U.S. owned enterprises, in spite of the fact that the U.S. imperialists imposed an economic blockade against China and froze China's overseas assets. The U.S. enterprises were only placed under the state control.
‘When the United States used the Korean War as a pretext to freeze our overseas assets and impose an economic blockade and embargo on us, our government retaliated with the announcement, on December 28, 1950, that control would be exerted over property belonging to the United States imperialists’. (Liao Kai-lung: ‘From Yenan To Peking’; 1954, p. 154.)
So, withdrawal of the U.S. forces from North Korea was a ‘great victory’ from the point of bourgeois nationalist interest of China and a ‘compromise’ from the point of interest of the Korean people.
Now it is up to the readers to judge whether it was a betrayal and capitulation to imperialism.
4. Marx said, the fact that (capitalism) produces commodities does not differentiate it from other mode of production; but rather the fact that being a commodity is dominant and determining characteristic of its products. Furthermore, already implicit in the commodity is the materialisation of the social features of production, which characterise the entire capitalist mode of production. (Marx, Capital, Vol. 3, p. 858.)
That is why it has been fundamental to Marxism that the abolition of capitalism meant abolition of the commodity system.
‘The seizure of the means of production by society puts an end to commodity production, and therewith to the domination of the product over the producer’. (Engels, Anti-Duhring, p. 311.)
‘Socialism, as is known, means the abolition of the commodity economy.’ (Lenin, The Agrarian Questions, Vol. 15.)
Now after the October Revolution commodity production was not abolished all at once in the Soviet Union. In fact, commodity production grew rapidly for some years after 1921. This was made necessary by the destruction of productive forces in the civil war. To get production going it was necessary to free commodity production and exchange for a period – (Lenin called it a ‘temporary retreat’) while at the same time building up the productive forces owned by the dictatorship of the proletariat.
For a certain period in the development of socialism, commodity production and circulation could play a positive role provided that the dictatorship of the proletariat was upheld and strengthened, that the level of consciousness of the masses was being raised, that the area of socialist production was strengthened and expanded contracting simultaneously the area of commodity circulation through the medium of money. But, in the long run, socialism and commodity production and circulation were incompatible. This Marxist-Leninist position was clearly stated by Stalin in 1952 in his Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., especially, in ‘Reply to Comrades Sanina and Venzher’.
The argument of the opposition elements of the CPSU leadership was as follows, as was revealed after the triumph of modern revisionism in the CPSU after the death of Stalin:
‘The idea gained wide currency in recent years that commodity circulation is allegedly incompatible with the prospect of going over from socialism to communism. Such a formulation of the question is wrong. The dialectics of the socialist economy consists precisely in the fact that we shall arrive at the withering away of commodity production and money circulation in the phase of communism as a result of the utmost development of commodity-money relations in the socialist stage of development. (Ostrovityanov, Marxism Today; August, 1958 issue.)
We have seen in the quotation from Marx above that the capitalist production is the highest form of commodity production. Besides that quotation, Marx made it more clear when he said, ‘…the production of commodities does not become the normal, dominant type of production until capitalist production serves as its basis.’ (Marx, Capital, Vol. 2, p. 31.)
We have also seen that socialism involves abolition of the commodity economy from the quotations of Engels and Lenin. But to the modern revisionists it was another of Stalin’s ‘mistakes’. They say, it is not capitalism, but socialism which is the highest form of commodity economy. Indeed, to them, the bad thing about capitalist production is not commodity production, production for sale and profit, but that it hinders commodity production and hence the task of socialism is to remove this hindrance and make socialism the highest form of commodity production!
It is necessary to mention here that the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of India (then undivided) supported Khrushchev when Khrushchev desocialised the MTS. The CPC appealed to the world communists to support it and rally around Khrushchev while the CPI through the article of Bhowani Sen (who came back from Moscow) in Swadhinata, paid a glowing tribute to the unique silent revolution in the Soviet Union under Khrushchev leadership! Subsequently Mao wrote:
‘My view is that the last of the three appended letters is entirely wrong. It expresses a deep uneasiness, a belief that the peasantry cannot be trusted to release agriculture machinery but would hang on it (Mao; Comments on Stalin’s Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R., Monthly Review Publication, 1979, emphasis supplied; For a reply on Mao Tse-Tung’s comment see Revisionism Against Revisionism by Moni Guha.)
5. Stalin’s permanently operating factors in war:
Stalin said: ‘The element of the surprise and suddenness, as a reserve of German fascist troops is completely spent. This removes the inequality in fighting conditions created by the suddenness of the German fascist attack. Now the outcome of the war will be decided not by such fortuitous elements as surprise, but the permanently operating factors: stability of the rear; morale of the army, quantity and quality of divisions, equipment of the army and organising ability of the commanding personnel of the army’. (Stalin: ‘On the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union’, Moscow, 1946, p. 45; emphasis supplied.)
What are stability of rear and morale of the army?
The Pravda correspondent asked Stalin during the Korean War: ‘Are the American and British Generals and officers inferior to Chinese and Koreans?’ In reply Stalin said: ‘No they are not. The American and British Generals and officers are not a whit inferior to the generals and officers of any other country. As to the soldiers of U.S.A. and Great Britain, they, as we know gave a good account of themselves in the war against Hitler and militarist Japan. What, then, is the reason (of the defeat of the interventionists)? The reason is that the soldiers regard this war against Korea and China as unjust, whereas the war against Hitler and militarist Japan they regarded as fully just. The fact is that this war is extremely unpopular with the American and British soldiers’. (Stalin: Interview with Pravda, February, 17, 1951.)
So war aim is another factor in the permanently operating factors, which is the secret of the morale of the people in rear and the army in front.
6. General Telensky in September 1953, issue of the Military Thought – a journal for the officers of the Red Army opened a debate questioning the validity of Stalin’s ‘permanently operating factors’ in the outcome of the war in the ‘nuclear age’. Marshal Rotmistov of the Red Army, also, supporting General Talensky wrote that surprise and sudden atomic attack can determine the outcome of the war. Stalin called this factor of suddenness as ‘fortuitous’ and emphasised on ‘permanently operating factors’. However, in April 1955, Talensky’s thesis was accepted officially and Stalin’s ‘permanently operating factors’ were rejected saying they were ‘outdated’. Thus the ‘force theory’ minus the people came into being, Malenkov upheld Stalin’s ‘permanently operating factors’ and as a result Malenkov was forced to resign from the Premiership!
7. Stalin, in reply to the question of the Moscow correspondent of The Sunday Times Alexander Werth, on September 17, 1946 said:
‘I do not consider the atom bomb to be as serious a force as some politicians are inclined to consider it. Atom bombs are intended for intimidating the weak nerved, but they cannot decide the outcome of the war, since for this atom bombs are not entirely sufficient. Of course, the monopolist possession of the secret of the atom bomb creates a menace, but against this, there are at least two remedies: (a) the monopolist possession of the atom bomb cannot last long; (b) the use of atom bomb will be prohibited’. (Interview with Stalin; emphases added.)
8. Geneva Capitulation: According to the account given by the General Giap in his Dien-bien Phu, at the time of victory at Dien-bien Phu, the Pathet Lao guerrilla forces in Laos were consolidating their power and rule in a considerable area in the alliance with the Vietnamese forces, the Khmer rouge revolutionary forces of Cambodia were organising themselves under the instruction of the Communist Party of Indo-China and military defeat of Franco-U.S. forces throughout Indo-China was more than certain. Giap also said that after the spectacular victory at Dien-bien Phu the Franco-U.S. forces were taking shelter and mobilising their forces in South Vietnam.
Giap said that the victory of the revolutionary forces throughout Indo-China was more than certain after the victory at Dien-bien Phu. Why, then, the Geneva agreement? Immediately after the ignominious defeat at Dien-bien Phu, Dulles, the U.S. Secretary of State released a bellicose statement saying that should the Vietnamese proceed further beyond Dien-bien Phu and should the Chinese overtly intervene in Indo-China, U.S. will retaliate with atom bomb. This threat un-nerved Khrushchev, Chou-En-Lai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Tito and Nasser equally. All of them put their brains together to find out a path to avert the danger of another world war and atomic disaster on the basis of the prescription of relaxation of international tension. It was the continuation of the same policy of capitulation to atomic threat that started in Korea.
What were the stipulations of the Geneva agreement? That North Vietnam up to the north of 18th parallel would be recognised as Democratic Republic of Vietnam and America, France and other powers will not interfere in the internal affairs of DRV and the DRV will have sovereign rights to organise their territory as they like. Secondly, the South Vietnam, south of 18th parallel (where, it may be noted, the Franco-U.S. force have taken shelter and were mobilising their forces, according to General Giap), will constitute a government with Ngo Dinh Diem as head of the government (please also note the revisionist leaderships did not learn from the bitter experience of the ROK-US Mutual Defence Pact in South Korea) and an election would be held there after one year to decide the question of reunification of both the North and South Vietnam. Thirdly, Indo-China will be partitioned into three distinct sovereign states viz. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Laos and Cambodia will be ruled by their respective kings and Vietnam must not interfere in their internal affairs. Fourthly, the DRV will ask the people of the South Vietnam to lay down and surrender their arms to carry out only open, legal and peaceful propaganda for peaceful reunification. A neutral observer commission will be formed to observe that the stipulations of the Geneva agreement were strictly followed. The Soviet Union, China and other members of the socialist camp, at once, withheld proletarian internationalist support to become members of the ‘neutral’ ‘objective’ observer and enforcer’s commission, thus becoming arbiter between imperialism and the oppressed peoples!
It is also to be noted that the U.S.A. did not sign the Geneva agreement. It only gave a gentlemen’s (?) assurance that it will respect the stipulations of the agreement. U.S. imperialism entered into South Vietnam no sooner the French troops pulled out and tore up the agreements, established puppet Diem in power, massacred thousands of people. In Indo-China, both the Chinese and Soviets actually put pressure on the Vietminh to accept far less territory than they had liberated by force of arms and drop claims on Cambodia and Laos. (‘Vietnam: History, Document and Opinions on a Major World Crisis’, Editor, Marvin E. Gettleman, New York, 1965.) The promised election in South Vietnam was never held.
9. The false idea on which Khrushchev and all modern revisionists based their incorrect attitude to imperialism that imperialist politicians like Kennedy and Johnson can alter the very nature of imperialism by their good intentions, can decide to remove from imperialism its drive towards war if certain concessions were given, proved to be wrong in course of time. The more the policy of appeasement failed, the more Khrushchev was compelled to brandish nuclear weapons at the imperialists in an effort to compel them to meet half-way and thus Khrushchev who surrendered to nuclear threat – resorted to nuclear threat and joined the imperialists by adopting same imperialist attitude to nuclear weapon – threat against threat. Thus Khrushchev organised the Warsaw Military Pact against NATO. The ‘force theory’ naturally disregarded the internal basic social forces and relied on force. The process of becoming a superpower with force theory began and the socialist Soviet Union degenerated into a Russian neo-imperialist.
10. In reply to the question, do you consider another world war inevitable, by the Pravda correspondent on February 17, 1951, Stalin said the following:
‘No, at the present time, at any rate, it cannot be considered inevitable.
‘Of course, there are in the United States of America and Great Britain, as well as in France, aggressive forces, who are thirsting for another war. They need war in order to rake in super-profits and to plunder other countries. These are billionaires and millionaires, who regard war as a paying proposition yielding gigantic profits.
‘The aggressive forces hold the reactionary governments in their grip and direct them. But at the same time they fear their people, who do not want another war and stand for the maintenance of peace. They are, therefore, trying to use the reactionary governments to enmesh their people in a web of lies, to deceive them and represent another war as a defensive war and the peaceful policy of the peace-loving countries as an aggressive policy. They are trying to deceive their people in order to foist their aggressive plans upon them and inveigle them into another war.
‘It is for this reason that they are scared of the peace campaign, fearing that it might expose the aggressive designs of the reactionary governments.
‘How will this struggle between aggressive and peace loving forces end?
‘Peace will be preserved and consolidated if the people take the cause of preserving peace into their own hands and uphold it to the end. It may become inevitable if a web of lies, deceiving them and inveigling them into another world war.
‘Hence a broad campaign for the preservation of peace, as a means of exposing the criminal machinations of the warmongers is now of paramount importance…’ (Interview with Pravda correspondent; Moscow, 1951, emphasis added.)
In another place, in February, 1952, Stalin said:
‘The object of the present-day peace movement is to rouse the masses of the people to fight for the preservation of peace and for the prevention of another world war. Consequently the aim of this movement is not to overthrow capitalism and establish socialism, it confines itself to the democratic aim of preserving peace. In this respect, the present-day peace movement differs from the movement of the time of the First World War for the conversion of the imperialist war into Civil War, since the latter movement went further and pursued socialist aims.’
Stalin did not stop here. He viewed the peace movement dialectically and dynamically. He did not restrict the peace movement into the boundaries of four walls of bourgeois democracy. Stalin further said:
‘It is possible that in a definite conjunction of circumstances the fight for peace will develop here or there into a fight for socialism. But then it will no longer be the present-day peace movement; it will be a movement for the overthrow of capitalism.’
Regarding the peace movement itself Stalin further said:
‘But, all the same, it will not be enough to eliminate the inevitability of wars between capitalist countries generally. It will not be enough, because, for all the success of the peace movement, imperialism will remain, continue in force and consequently, the inevitability of wars will also continue in force.
‘To eliminate the inevitably of war, it is necessary to abolish imperialism.’ (Stalin, Economic Problem of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.)
Thus we see how Stalin linked the problem of peace with the aim of socialism.
11. See, ‘Yugoslav Revisionism and the Role of the CPC and CPSU’ by Moni Guha.
12. Roger Garaudy was one of the fraternal delegates to the 20th Congress of the CPSU from France. He wrote in his revisionist book ‘The Turning Point of Socialism’:
‘True, the manner of self-criticism [meaning Khrushchev’s secret report – Moni Guha] was strange, having been made in camera and ON CONDITION THAT FRATERNAL PARTIES SHOULD NOT DIVULGE ITS TERMS.’
13. Opening address of Mao Tse-Tung at the 8th National Congress of the CPC.
Mao Supplements Khrushchev
Khrushchev’s secret report was circulated by the state department of the U.S.A., in June 1956, through the media of New York Times. Before that a rumour was floating in the air that Khrushchev delivered a secret speech. The fraternal delegates who went to Moscow to attend the 20th Congress of the CPSU pleaded their ignorance about any secret report. After the publication of the secret report in the New York Times, all the communist parties of the world were referring to the secret report as ‘report attributed to Khrushchev’, pleading still then, their absolute ignorance about it. There was neither any confirmation nor any denial of it by the Soviet Union. But the Communist Party of China, two months before the publication of Khrushchev’s secret report by the U.S. state department, came out with its ‘On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat ‘– an ‘analysis’ based on Khrushchev’s secret report – in April 1956, virtually confirming the rumours of the secret report and providing theoretical justification in support of the secret report. Thus the Communist Party of China officially and formally confirmed Khrushchev secret report as fact, at a time when all other communist parties of the world were decrying and denouncing the ‘alleged’ secret report as another ‘Zinoviev letter’. Thus the Communist Party of China officially and openly espoused Khrushchevite revisionism denouncing Marxism-Leninism and Stalin.
We like to draw the sharpest attention of the readers to the fact that whereas all the communist parties of the world including the C.P.G.B., C.P.F., C.P.U.S.A., and C.P. of Italy pleaded their ignorance about any secret report and its contents and whereas the delegates of these parties rushed to Moscow after the publication of the Khrushchev’s secret report by the U.S. state department, to demand and to know as to why they were not taken into confidence by the CPSU and how far the secret report was correct, in that case how the Communist Party of China came to possess a copy of the secret report? Secondly, from Roger Garaudy’s book we came to know that the fraternal delegates were allowed to hear the secret report on condition that they would not divulge the contents of it and as such no copy of the secret report was supplied to them. In that case, how the Communist Party of China got a copy of Khrushchev’s secret report long before the U.S. secret service could manage to get hold of a copy? This fact proves, unquestionably that the Communist Party of China had the complicity with the inner core of the Khrushchevite gang, however unpleasant it may sound.
After the publication of ‘On the Historical Experience’ by the CPC, Mao personally launched a malicious slander campaign against Stalin. On April 25, 1956 Mao delivered a report at an enlarged meeting of the political bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China entitled ‘On the Ten Major Relationships’, supplementing Khrushchev’s secret report and attacking Stalin maliciously.
What did Mao supplement in his April 25, 1956 report? He said:
‘Stalin did a number of wrong things in connection with China. At the time of the War of Liberation, Stalin first enjoined us, not to press on with revolution, maintaining that if Civil War flared up, the Chinese nation would run the risk of destroying itself. Then when fighting did erupt, he took us half seriously, half-sceptically. When we won the war, Stalin suspected that ours was a victory of the Tito type and in 1949 and 1950 the pressure on us was very strong indeed.’ (Mao: S.W., Vol. V, Peking, 1977, p. 304.)
In the same report Stalin was portrayed as an ‘exploiter’ and ‘squeezer’ of peasants!
It is reported that in another enlarged meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held on September 28, 1962, Mao said among other things, that Stalin opposed the Chinese revolution and when Mao went to Moscow to conclude the Sino-Soviet Friendship and Mutual Assistance Pact, he had to wage ‘another battle’ with Stalin. It was also said that Stalin did not want to sign the pact and after two months of battle at last Stalin signed the pact.
These were said against a MAN who is revered and respected by millions of people throughout the world by a MAN who is also revered and respected by the millions of people throughout the world and both of them are recognised leaders of the international communist movement and represent the interest of the world proletariat! This was said by a man who only in 1953, immediately after the death of Stalin said:
‘Rallied around him [Stalin], we constantly received advice from him, constantly drew ideological strength from his works. He displayed the greatest wisdom in matters pertaining to the Chinese Revolution.’ (Mao: ‘A Great Friendship’, March 1953, not included in Vol. V.)
The Communist Party of China, in its ‘On the Question of Stalin’ said that Khrushchev made 180 degree about-turn quoting Khrushchev’s 1937-38 speeches on Stalin and on Moscow Trial. How many degrees about-turn and double-facedness were made by Mao?
Mao did not take the world communist movement into confidence. He did not say what exactly was the ‘strong pressure’, what was the subject matter of ‘another battle’, why Stalin refused to sign the pact first and why he signed later? The result is utter confusion, wild speculation and mud-slinging at one another. Can anybody believe that Stalin opposed the Chinese Revolution? Can anybody, again, believe that Mao accused Stalin baselessly? The result is widespread crises in confidence and conviction, domination of bourgeois tricks of leg-pulling over proletarian straight-forwardness and clean handling. Khrushchev’s secret report and the unpardonable docility of the world communist misleaders created a deep crack in the foundations of discipline and loyalty to international democratic centralism, and Mao’s April 25, 1956 report shattered and demolished all those Bolshevik qualities altogether.
Neither the Communist Party of China, nor the Communist Party of Soviet Union even after their split threw any light on the subjects of differences between Stalin and Mao during the negotiation of Sino-Soviet Friendship and Mutual Assistance Pact in 1949-50. That there were deep differences and debates, there can be no doubt about that, as Mao had to stay in Moscow for more than two months, immediately after the Chinese Revolution. What were the differences and debates for which Stalin was accused by Mao wantonly?
We are not at all concerned to justify Stalin or Mao dogmatically. We are not of the opinion that if Stalin made serious mistakes in theory or in practice the working class movement will gain if those mistakes are hushed up. In actual fact if Stalin made serious errors, a failure by the communists to criticise and rectify those errors in Stalin’s life time certainly could not prevent them from doing considerable damage to the revolutionary movement, could not prevent imperialism from exploiting them in their favour. But since from 1935 onwards we find no such examples of serious damages in the world communist movement up to Stalin’s death and on the contrary, since we find that under Stalin’s farsighted guidance and leadership the most unfavourable conditions were turned in favour of revolution and victory which was the unique contribution of Stalin’s leadership, we cannot accept the charges against Stalin without scientific historical analysis of those alleged ‘errors’. The ‘errors’ if they existed, at all, must be clearly identified and analysed. If that cannot be done ‘criticism’ of ‘Stalin’s errors’ expresses nothing more than subjective hostility to Stalin.
Then let us discuss first – the technical sides of the questions raised by Mao in his April 25, 1956 and September 28, 1962 reports at enlarged meetings of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China against Stalin.
The Communist Party of China, in its ‘On Questions of Stalin’ and ‘Khrushchev’s Phoney Communism’ – reported to be the writings of Mao – said that Stalin made self-criticism for his ‘wrong advice’ ‘after the victory of the Chinese Revolution’. If Stalin really made self-criticism for his ‘wrong advice’ ‘after the victory of Chinese revolution’ why, then, Mao in referring to Stalin’s ‘wrong advice’ on April 25, 1956 and on September 28, 1962 reports did not say anything about Stalin’s alleged ‘self-criticism’? We find in those two reports that despite Stalin’s so many ‘wrong deeds’ Mao was magnanimous to attribute ‘70 percent dialectical’ to Stalin. Why, then, he did not display magnanimity in case of Stalin’s self-criticism and why did he not say ‘of course Stalin made self-criticism for his wrong advice after the victory of the Chinese Revolution’? Secondly, Mao said in his April 25, 1956 report, ‘when we won the war Stalin suspected that our victory was a Tito-type.’ In that case, Stalin cannot certainly make self-criticism even during the period of negotiations of Sino-Soviet Friendship and Mutual Assistance Pack in 1949, at least up to February 1950, when the ‘pressure’ on China was ‘very strong indeed’. Logically, the question at once comes up precisely when after the victory of the Chinese Revolution – Stalin made self-criticism? Curiously enough, neither Mao nor the CPC said anything about precisely when Stalin gave his ‘wrong advice’ and precisely when Stalin made ‘self-criticism’! In both the cases, they remained vague, and vagueness as you know, is fine art in painting a truth as a lie and vice-versa. ‘After the victory’ began at the end of September 1949, precisely on October 1, 1949. Stalin lost his power of speaking on March 3, 1953. Precisely when Stalin made his ‘self-criticism’ between this time? You will get no answer. ‘At the time of the war of Liberation’ began precisely on the very of Japanese surrender on August 14, 1945 and lasted up to September 1949. This ‘war of Liberation’ had two phases. Up to September 1947, it was mainly the phase of co-operation with Chiang Kai-Sheik, it was not a phase of civil war. The second phase, the phase of mainly the full scale civil war began in September 1947 and lasted up to September 1949. Precisely when Stalin enjoined the CPC ‘not to press on the revolution’? You will get no definite answer.
It is also reported that Mao said that it was only after China joined in the Korean War Stalin was convinced that Mao was not a Tito. In that case, we may assume, then, that Stalin might have made ‘self-criticism’ only after October 8, 1950, when China joined in Korean War. In that case also, it will remain an assumption and the facts of history cannot be made on mere assumption.
Let us recapitulate a few pages from the history, before slandering Stalin in respect of Chinese Revolution. On August 8, 1945, the Red Army engaged the main Japanese force which was occupying Manchuria, journeying 5000 miles. The Soviet Army swept forward, capturing Manchuria, the southern half of Sakhalin islands and the Kuriles and liberating North Korea. Mao wrote on August 13, 1945, in an article entitled ‘The Present Situation and Our Policy after the Victory in the War of Resistance against Japan’:
‘These are the days of tremendous change in the situation in the Far East. The surrender of the Japanese imperialism is now a foregone conclusion. THE DECISIVE FACTOR for Japanese surrender is the entry of the Soviet Union into the war. A million Red Army troops are entering China’s North-East, this force is irresistible. Japanese imperialism can no longer continue to fight.
‘..The Soviet Union has sent its troops, the Red Army has come to help the Chinese people drive out the aggressor; such an event has never happened before in Chinese history...’ (Mao: S.W. Vol. IV, Peking, 1963)
It was the Stalin leadership who facilitated the success of the Chinese revolution by driving out the Japanese imperialist forces from the Chinese soil. ‘The speedy surrender of the Japanese invaders has change the whole situation. In the past weeks our army has recovered fifty-nine cities of the various sizes and vast rural areas, and including those already in our hands we now control 175 cities thus winning the great victory... The might of our army has shaken northern China and TOGETHER WITH THE SWEEPING ADVANCE OF THE SOVIET AND MONGOLIAN FORCES TO THE GREAT WALL, has created a favourable position of our party,’ wrote Mao on August 26, 1945, in a circular of the Central Committee of the CPC entitled ‘Peace Negotiations With the Kuomintang’. (Ibid.)
Did all these happen automatically? Did the Stalin leadership play a role of blind tool towards the spectacular success of the Communist Party of China in establishing its power in north China as opposed to Chiang Kai Shek? Let us again recall the history.
‘The Soviet army quickly annihilated the Japanese Kwantung Army and liberated North-East China. The peoples’ liberation army fighting IN CO-ORDINATION WITH the Soviet army energetically wiped out the Japanese and puppet troops, freeing a large number of medium sized and small cities from the enemy’s occupation.’ (Hu Chiao Mu: ‘Thirty Years of the CPC’, Peking, 1951.)
It was Stalin who opened widely the gate of the success of the Chinese revolution and the Communist Party of China. Let us recall another event of 1940. When the Kuomintang, violating its united front agreement with CPC attacked the New Fourth Army of the CPC Stalin stopped the supply of armaments under the third loan agreement with Chiang Kai -Shek, clearly stating that the Soviet armaments were not meant for launching civil war against the Chinese Communists but for fighting against Japanese imperialism. This set Chiang Kai-Shek straight.
Were all these for opposing Chinese revolution, ‘not to press on with revolution’?
Did the Soviet Union and Stalin diplomatically help the people of China and the Communist Party of China against the conspiracy of Chiang Kai-Shek in collusion with U.S. imperialism to drown the Communist Party of China and its army so that the Chinese revolution and the liberation war may be victorious? Yes, it did. At the Moscow conference of the Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union, the United States and Great Britain in December 1945, with the initiative of the Soviet Union and Molotov an agreement was reached on China in which the high contracting powers agreed to follow the policy of non-interference so far as the Chinese civil was concerned. The foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and the United States agreed that the Soviet and the U.S. forces should be withdrawn from China at the earliest possible time. This agreement of non-interference helped the Chinese Communist army to a greater extent to continue the civil war in which the U.S.A. could not openly support Chiang Kai-Shek.
These facts are in the recorded history. Why then, Stalin would ‘enjoin’ ‘the Chinese Communist Party’ ‘not to press on with revolution’ – who helped the Chinese communists so much, so long? There must be certain sound and valid political and ideological reasons for enjoining ‘not to press on with the revolution’ – if Stalin at all ‘enjoined’. The tragedy of the International Communist movement – under the Soviet and Chinese modern revisionists – is that nobody except these two leaderships knows anything about it and the wild speculation and mud-slinging goes on unabated! In the recorded history we find that Stalin ‘enjoined’ the Communist Party of China to co-operate with Chiang Kai-Sheik in September 1945, which Mao and Communist Party of China accepted. That was in the first phase of the ‘war of Liberation’.
Mao after referring to the Soviet Union’s and U.S.A.’s instructions not to launch a civil war, wrote:
‘It is possible that after the negotiations, the Kuomintang, under domestic and foreign pressure, may conditionally recognise our party’s status, OUR PARTY TOO MAY CONDITIONALLY RECOGNISE THE STATUS OF KUOMINTANG. This would bring about a new type of co-operation between the two parties (plus the Democratic League etc.) AND OF PEACEFUL DEVELOPMENT.’ (Mao: ‘On Chungking Negotiations’, S.W. Vol. IV.)
These are from the recorded history and we accept these as facts. Why, then, such subjective hostility against Stalin? Let us face the facts again. Mao said he had to ‘wage another battle’ with Stalin and felt ‘strong pressure’ in 1949 and 1950 during Mao’s stay in Moscow for negotiating a Sino-Soviet Friendship and Mutual Assistance Pact. As far as we know the issues involved during the course of negotiations were mainly three. They were: (i) the status of Mongolian Peoples’ Republic, (ii) delineations of Soviet-Chinese borders and (iii) joint Sino-Soviet enterprises in the areas of common borders. These three issues, undoubtedly, involved far-reaching ideological questions.
Let us discuss the above three issues one by one.
(i) On the Status of Mongolian Peoples’ Republic: The Mongolian Peoples’ Republic came into existence in 1921. It is a land-locked country with an area of 600,000 sq miles with barely 1 million population, situated between China and the Soviet Union. Up to 1911, before the fall of Manchu dynastic rule it was under the central feudal Manchu Government of China. In 1911, after the fall of Manchu dynastic rule there was virtually no centralised administration in China and in consequence, like that of China itself, the local warlords of Mongolia became independent and were being ruled by different local chiefs. During the civil war and war against the white Russians in Asian Russia Mongolian people with the assistance and help of the Red Army established their own Republic, called Mongolian Peoples’ Republic (M.P.R.) in 1921. The Army of the MPR together with the Soviet Red Army liberated Manchuria and north-east China defeating the Japanese occupation army in 1945. In 1945, after the defeat and surrender of the Japanese army of occupation and invasion Chiang Kai-Shek in connivance with US imperialism refused to recognise the MPR as an independent and sovereign state and demanded the inclusion of Mongolia in the Chinese Republic – arguing that it was always under China. On Stalin’s proposal, the four power conference agreed to determine the status of Mongolia through a plebiscite of the Mongolian people. A plebiscite was duly held in 1945 and the overwhelming majority (more than 97%) voted against the inclusion and for the independent and sovereign status of Mongolia. All the states of the world had then, to recognise Mongolia as an independent and sovereign country and MPR as sovereign state. Chiang Kai-Shek was also compelled to recognise the MPR as an independent and sovereign state formally and officially but he never did establish any formal diplomatic relations with the MPR and was harbouring an evil design of gobbling it up.
This is, in brief, the history of the MPR before the Chinese Revolution in 1949.
Immediately after the Chinese Revolution, Mao went to Moscow in December 1949, to conclude a Sino-Soviet Friendship and Mutual Assistance Pact and remained there up to mid-February 1950. Immediately after Mao’s return to China, the Communist Party of China through its New China Daily (predecessor to Peoples’ Daily Peking) of Nanking – the official daily, released a public statement on the status of Mongolian Peoples’ Republic, on March 5, 1950. The following was the statement:
‘During the time of Sino-Soviet Treaty and Agreement was signed, the foreign ministers of China and Soviet Union exchanged notes to the effect that both the governments affirmed that the independent status of the MPR was fully guaranteed as the result of plebiscite of 1945 and the establishment of diplomatic relations by the People’s Republic of China.
‘To each and every truly patriotic Chinese our recognition of Mongolia as an independent state was right and proper act, but to the reactionary bloc of the Kuomintang, which was somewhat compelled to accord recognition to Mongolia, it has always been a bitter memory. It was they who after the recognition, fabricated rumours bringing insults to the Mongolian people and the Soviet Union. ‘The independence of Mongolia is the loss of Chinese territory’, they said. Among our people there are some who are not familiar with the actual conditions and who have been contaminated with the sentiments of ‘suzerainty’ and they think the map of China appears out of shape and unreal without Mongolia. There are people who have been intoxicated by the poison of ‘Hanism’ propagated by the Kuomintang reactionary bloc... While the various ethnical groups within China were still under the oppression of both imperialism and feudalism and while their liberation was still very far off, Mongolia found rightful assistance from a socialist country – the Soviet Union – and by its own hard struggle achieved liberation and independence. Such liberation and independence we Chinese should hail and we should express our respect to the Mongolian people. We should learn from them, we should not oppose their independence; we should not drag them to share our suffering. They attained liberation twenty-eight years ago and now march forward to socialism, as for us, we have just liberated ourselves… Therefore, our attitude should be one of the recognising its independence, NOT ONE OF PULLING THEM BACK TO OUR FOLD AND MAKING THEM FOLLOW US AGAIN.
‘In regard to Inner Mongolia, Tibet and other ethnical groups the present question is not how to divide ourselves and each try to become independent, but to unite our efforts to build strong, new, democratic China since we all have been liberated more or less during the same period.’ (Emphases both in underline and capital letters supplied.)
We would most fervently request the readers to read the above passages not once but several times, especially the emphasised portions and to think deeply about the following questions:
(1) Why immediately after the signing of the Sino-Soviet Friendship and Mutual Assistance Pact such a public statement was necessary?
(2) Why, at all, ‘exchange of notes’ was necessary for the affirmation of the independent status of the MPR?
(3) Why, at all, the written pledge for the establishment of diplomatic relations by the PRC with the MPR was necessary?
(4) Who wanted to drag Mongolia to share China’s sufferings and who wanted to pull back Mongolia to China’s fold among the communists?
(5) Who thought the map of China would appear out of the shape and unreal without Mongolia?
(6) After signing the Treaty and agreement on the status of Mongolia why was it necessary again to declare publicly ‘we should not oppose their independence’?
It may also be noted that when the negotiations between Stalin and Mao came to an impasse Chou-En-Lai had to fly into Moscow on February 7, 1950 and finally the agreement and treaty were signed, to be ratified later in the year. Why?
From all these questions stems another question. Was there a ‘battle’ between Stalin and Mao during the negotiations of Sino-Soviet Friendship and Mutual Assistance Pact on the question of the status of Mongolia as Mao said that another battle was needed and Stalin refused to sign the agreement?
It may also be noted in this connection that in reply to the question of Tass in an interview with Mao on January 2, 1950, Mao said, ‘I have come for several weeks. The length of my sojourn depends on the period in which it will be possible to settle questions of interest to the Chinese Peoples’ Republic. Among them, the first of all such questions as the existing Treaty of friendship and alliance between China and U.S.S.R....’ This ‘existing treaty’ was the treaty between China’s Republic headed by Chiang Kai-Shek and the U.S.S.R. signed in August 1945. Mao demanded the abrogation of this treaty as he considered the treaty as ‘unequal’. In a broadcast in 1948, Mao announced that the Chinese Communist Party, once it came to power, would not recognise any unequal treaties past or present or any treaties entered into with Chiang regime during the civil war.
Let us recall in this connection the stand of Mao on the status of the MPR. In 1935, Mao told the American author of ‘Red Star Over China’: In answer to a latter question, in another interview, Mao made the following statement concerning Outer Mongolia : ‘when the peoples’ revolution has been victorious in China the Outer Mongolian Republic will automatically become a part of the Chinese Federation, at their own will. The Mohammedan and Tibetan peoples likewise, will form autonomous republics attached to the Chinese federation.’ (Edgar Snow: ‘Red Star Over China’, Victor Gollancz Ltd, London, 1937, p. 102, F.N.)
Compare this statement of Mao with the public statement of the Communist Party of China, published in the New China Daily on March 5, 1950, which we quoted almost in full in which it was said that ‘some people’ have been contaminated with the sentiment of ‘suzerainty’ and they think the map of the China appears out of shape and unreal without Mongolia.
Let us also recall Mao’s book ‘The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party’, 1939 edition. Let us quote from one of the most trusted authors of Maoism – Stuart Schram. He writes in his ‘Political Leaders of the Twentieth Century’ – Mao Tse-Tung:
‘Although it was perfectly clear that the Mongolians wanted no part of either Chinese or Soviet suzerainty, this was a bitter pill to swallow [recognition of MPR as sovereign state] for a man who had been obsessed since earliest boyhood with the disintegration of the Chinese empire and who had always defined that empire in the broadest possible terms. In 1936 he had affirmed his belief that whenever the revolution was victorious in China, outer Mongolia would of its own accord join the Chinese federation and in 1939 he had defined the frontiers of China in such a way as to include both outer and inner Mongolia. There is no reason to believe that he had subsequently modified his views – but in this, as in many other respects, he was obliged to compromise with reality.’ (Stuart Schram: Mao Tse-Tung, Penguin Book Ltd., 1967, p. 256.)
In a footnote Stuart Schram writes:
‘In The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party he wrote: “The present boundaries of China and contiguous in the north-east, the north-west and in part in the west to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.” There follows an enumeration of the countries contiguous on the west, south and east. In the current edition an additional sentence has been inserted immediately after the one just cited: ‘The northern frontier is contiguous to the Peoples’ Republic of Mongolia,’ (Selected Works, Peking, Vol. II, p. 305). There is no mention at all, either of Mongolia or of a northern frontier in the original version as published in 1939 by the official Chieh-fang She in Yenan. If this was an ‘omission’, it had still not been rectified either in an edition published in January 1949 at Peiping by the Hsinhua agency or in one published in June 1949 at Hongkong. At the very least the 1939 version leaves the issue conspicuously open. (There is no other gap in Mao’s meticulously country-by-country enumeration of all the bordering lands.) But it seems much more likely that the reference to the frontier in ‘north-east and north-west’ was meant to designate the whole semi-circular sweep of the boundary with the Soviet Union, Mongolia being considered as part of the Chinese side.’ (Ibid., F.N. pg. 256.)
It is clear from the above that up to 1949, even when Mao was negotiating a Sino-Soviet Friendship and Mutual Assistance Pact in Moscow in 1949-50, he considered Mongolia as part of China. In 1943, Mao declared to Edgar Snow that the government of new China will recognise Outer Mongolia as a ‘national region’ (province) of China as an autonomous region! This time not as a member of Chinese Federation, as the CPC under Mao’s leadership by this time, had already given up the Leninist theory of federal states in a multi-national country with the right of self-determination, including secession. Compare this attitude of Mao with the public statement of March 5, 1950 that some people among ourselves are ‘contaminated with the poisoning thought’ ‘of the Kuomintang reactionary bloc’ ‘that the map of the China would appear out of shape and unreal without Mongolia’.
Mao, during the negotiations with the U.S.S.R, demanded the abrogation of the Friendship treaty made by the Soviet Union with Chiang regime. That treaty included the recognition of the MPR as an independent and sovereign state among others of which we will discuss in the next item. Now, abrogation of 1945 Friendship Treaty with Chiang regime meant the abrogation of the recognition of the MPR as an independent and sovereign state. Stalin agreed to abrogate (and actually abrogated) the 1945 friendship treaty with Chiang regime – provided the PRC recognises the independent and sovereign status of the MPR and establishes normal democratic relations with the MPR, afresh. This proposal of Stalin perhaps was a ‘strong pressure’ on Mao, against which Mao had to ‘wage another battle’. Chou-En-Lai had to fly into Moscow from China and at last after ‘waging battles’ Mao had to give up the ‘battle’. It was indeed a ‘pressure’ to a bourgeois nationalist Mao. It was a ‘battle’ between proletarian internationalism represented by Stalin and bourgeois nationalism represented by Mao.
Considering Mao’s stand, the contents of the 1949 edition of Mao’s ‘Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party’ etc. and also considering the fact the agreement was to be ratified later, possibly to be sure and guaranteed, Stalin requested the Communist Party of China to issue a categorical and unambiguous public statement on the question of the status of the MPR, strongly denouncing and decrying all the bourgeois nationalist and ‘Hanist’ deviations and distortions that were existing in the Chinese Communist Party and its leadership. It may be noted that in post 1950 editions Mao ‘rectified’ his stand on north-east frontier.
That was a ‘strong pressure indeed’ to Mao.
It may also be noted, in this connection, that in spite of the above categorical public statement China refused to sign a tripartite Sino-Soviet-Mongolian pact in September 1952. The details of disagreements are not known to us. But we know that to facilitate the tripartite Sino-Soviet-Mongolian Pact the Chung-Chang Railway Network of Manchuria, which had been placed under Sino-Soviet joint administration in 1950 agreement, was returned to China’s absolute control in 1952. Yet, the discussion of this tripartite agreement among the concerned foreign ministers of these three countries reached such an impasse that ultimately Stalin had to intervene. In spite of that Chou-En-Lai pleaded his inability to sign the agreement. However, that Sino-Soviet-Mongolian agreement was signed in 1954 – after the death of Stalin – when Mao Tse-Tung found a blood brother in Khrushchev, when Khrushchev and Bulganin visited Peking. This tripartite agreement was entirely limited to the construction of railway connecting the three countries.
We do not know what were the stipulations of the proposed tripartite agreement of 1952, nor do we know exactly why China refused to sign that agreement at that time. But we know, that after signing the tripartite agreement in 1954, China granted a loan of 160 million roubles to the Mongolian Peoples’ Republic and more than 10,000 Chinese ‘workers’ were sent to the MPR, ostensibly for the construction of joint Railway road linking the three countries and on May 15, 1957, Bulganin (the head of the U.S.S.R) and Tsedenbal (the head of the MPR) issued a joint statement in strong terms against the infiltrations of foreigners, without naming China. (See Izvestia May 17, 1957.) We can understand the Chinese attitude towards Mongolia from this instance also.
It was no wonder that a nationalist Mao felt humiliated and ‘strong pressure’. It was also no wonder that a Marxist-Leninist Stalin considered Mao a ‘Tito-type’.
(ii) Delineation of Sino-Soviet borders: The agreement signed in 1950 delineated the respective borders, one in Soviet-Manchurian border, the major border on which both had significant strategic interests and the other in Sinkiang, the vast interior province of China’s north-west adjacent to Soviet central Asia. During the anti-Japanese Resistance War, under agreement with the Chiang regime, the principal rail network of Manchuria was under Soviet control. Besides that, the important base at the tip of the Liaotung province – Port Arthur also was under the control of the Soviet Union, where Soviet Union built a modern military establishment. The abrogation of the 1945 friendship treaty with the Chiang regime necessitated a new agreement with the PRC. Under the new agreement in 1950, while the principal rail networks of Manchuria and Port Arthur were recognised by the Soviet Union as the Chinese territory, the rail network of Manchuria was placed under joint administration (handed over to China’s absolute control in 1952), and Port Arthur was not immediately handed back to China in the 1950 agreement for military reasons in which the interests of both China and Soviet Union were involved. It was agreed in the agreement of 1950 that Port Arthur, together with its military installations will be handed over to China in 1952.
Mao waged ‘another battle’ on these issues. We do not know what arguments were advanced by Stalin in favour of the retaining the control over Port Arthur. But we have a Leninist example as precedence. The port of Hangoe was recognised as the territory of Finland after Finland was declared independent by the newly born Soviet Government of Russia in 1918. But, by mutual consent, the military administration of the Port of Hangoe was controlled by Soviet Russia for military reasons, in view of the fact that it was strategically important for the defence of both the Soviet and Finnish governments and Soviet Russia was militarily more capable than Finland. This agreement was signed, under the leadership of no less than a Leninist than Lenin himself, then, the newly emerged Socialist Republic of Finland understood correctly the joint interests of both countries as the concrete manifestation of proletarian internationalism while Mao viewed the issue of Port Arthur from the narrow bourgeois nationalist stand point and naturally he took it as ‘strong pressure’.
It is necessary to mention here, that when Chinese Chung-Chun Railway was handed back to China’s absolute control in 1952, winding up the joint administration over it, Port Arthur was not handed back though it was promised in 1950 agreement, that it would be handed back to China in 1952. Why did Stalin break his promise? Was not the act an example of ‘big-nation chauvinism’ as Mao accused? In the interest of socialism as a whole Stalin could not oblige the nationalist Mao as a new situation in international politics arose after the agreement with China in 1949-50 in respect of Port Arthur and that was the war in Korea which had the possibility of spreading in China. Possibly China refused to sign the Sino-Soviet-Mongolian tripartite agreement in 1952 for not handing back Port Arthur at that time. The Soviet Union declared again in 1952, most categorically, that Port Arthur belonged to China.
In this case also Mao had to succumb and thus lost his ‘battle’. Naturally, he felt ‘strong pressure’.
(iii) Joint Enterprises: The issue of ‘joint enterprises’ was ‘another battle’ of Mao against the ‘strong pressure’ by Stalin. Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism always advocated and upheld (from Marx to Stalin) the building of socialism internationally. Socialism in one country was the adaptation to a particular historical situation. Even then the socialist state can neither be a national state nor was it considered as ‘national state’. (See Stalin – Emil Ludwig talk.) After 1945, socialism in several countries replaced socialism in one country and the objective and subjective bases of building socialism internationally emerged. From then the slogan, the stand ‘socialism in one country’ became not only a thing of the past but also reactionary and counter-revolutionary, so far as the construction of socialism in victorious countries was concerned.
This qualitative and fundamental change did not enter into the heads of Tito and Mao Tse-Tung and they stuck to the ‘socialism in one country’, ‘building socialism singly by its own resources and alone’. So Mao reacted strongly and sharply when Stalin proposed joint defence enterprises in Manchuria and Soviet-Sinkiang common borders, where common strategic interests of both the countries were involved. Should Marxist-Leninists treat common borders of two socialist countries like those of nation and nationalist states always provoking excitement and building fortifications against one another? It is to be noted with particular care that Stalin did not propose joint enterprises in the heartland of China. He did not forget the national peculiarities and unequal developments from that of the U.S.S.R. Mao failed to differentiate a socialist country from a capitalist country and he placed the socialist country – the Soviet Union – at par with a capitalist country and forgot the socialist character of the Soviet Union. So his nationalist bent of mind thought that a highly industrialised Soviet Union would take advantage of backward China and exploit her like those of capitalist countries. It may be noted that the pact was a pact of mutual military assistance against all possible danger of onslaught of imperialism on both China and the Soviet Union and mutual defence and assistance naturally demanded common planning of defence and assistance in common borders and Mao refused the very basis of real mutuality in defence enterprises in common border areas! So another ‘battle’ was necessary for Mao as he thought it to be a ‘strong pressure’. It was Chou-En-Lai armed with party directives who came to Moscow and compelled Mao to agree with Stalin’s proposal. No wonder that Stalin considered Mao ‘another Tito’.
These are the untold stories which Mao did not narrate in accusing Stalin wantonly. Mao has replaced the historical and objective analysis by his subjective impression – an impression of a bourgeois nationalist and in course of this the analysis of actual history has been consciously subordinated to the opportunist need of the subjective inclination of this or that factions.
Lenin said ‘it was the revisionists who gained a sad reputation for
themselves by their departure from the fundamental views of Marxism,
and by their fear or inability, to “settle accounts” openly,
explicitly, resolutely and clearly with the view they had abandoned’ (
Lenin: ‘Materialism and Empirio-Criticism’, Introduction ) The modern
revisionists, particularly Mao have not ‘settled accounts’ ‘openly’. On
the contrary, he tried to ‘settle accounts’ by distorting and rewriting
history, on the basis of personal hostility. In this respect the modern
revisionists have been a hundred times more dishonest than Bernstein.
‘Khrushchev’s Report – A Historical Document’
Under the above heading – the editorial of the Peoples’ Daily, China, on February 19, 1956 welcomed Khrushchev’s Report at the 20th Congress of the CPSU. The editorial wrote that ‘the resolute belief that ‘war is not predestined and unavoidable’ will rouse millions and tens of millions of defenders in their determined struggle for the universal easing of international tension.’ Yet, in its ‘Origin of our Differences’, the CPC writes that they opposed Khrushchev’s ‘three peacefuls’ from the very beginning! Dishonesty! Thy name is Revisionism!