Dear Revolutionary Democracy,
In the April 2011 issue of your journal, you reprinted an interesting and basically correct criticism of the Chinese Communist Party by Sam Marcy, written in 1976. In his article Marcy correctly points out that in 1956, after Khrushchev’s attack on Stalin in the ‘secret’ speech to the 20th Congress of the CPSU, China basically supported Khrushchev’s speech.
But to put Marcy’s criticism into perspective, one must understand the eclectic ideological and political positions of the Workers World Party (WWP), of which Sam Marcy was the Chair. It is an ideological mish-mash of Trotskyism and Brezhnevism, of which members of that party still boast as their ‘unique’ contribution. Sam Marcy left the then-revolutionary Communist Party in 1932 to join the counter-revolutionary official Trotskyist party, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). WWP was formed in 1959, after a rupture with the SWP.
In their founding programmatic statement printed in the first issue of their newspaper in March, 1959, they spoke of ‘Revolutionary anti-Stalinism and bourgeois anti-Stalinism’, with their party presumably representing the former. They tried to get away with talking of ‘revolutionary anti-Stalinism’ by identifying the revisionist governments of the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries as ‘Stalinist.’ One must also take note of the fact that, although they were an early critic of Gorbachev’s liquidationism, they still considered the Soviet Union to be socialist into the first years of Yeltsin’s regime, on the grounds that he had not yet sold off, or rather given away, the main state-owned industries.
Returning to Marcy’s critique, he states that, ‘when the Chinese leadership finally decided to open the offensive against Khrushchev revisionism the historical moment for a giant shift in a revolutionary direction, and away from Khrushchev revisionism, had in fact evaporated. Thus, the brilliant revolutionary polemics of the Chinese CP leadership, such as “The Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Us,” etc., only influences a small current in the communist movement.’
This statement downplays the wave of struggle against revisionism that broke out in the 1960s and still continues today. It also ignores the economic underpinnings of revisionism, particularly in the CPs of the West and especially within the CPUSA. In the 1950s and afterwards, US imperialism was at its high point in the capitalist-imperialist world. It was by far the dominant imperialist power, and had made most of the former colonies of Britain and France into its neo-colonies. It was thus in a position to use a small portion of its immense super-profits to bribe the labour aristocracy and in particular the trade union bureaucracy to go along with its wars of aggression abroad and to pursue a line of class collaboration at home.
Marcy’s statement also downplays the whole momentous national liberation struggles of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, exemplified by the heroic struggle of the Vietnamese people, against imperialism led by U.S. imperialism. Even if many of those struggles did not raise the banner of the fight against revisionism, they did not let themselves be betrayed by Khrushchev’s ‘peaceful co-existence.’
Today, China has long ago gotten rid of socialism, exploiting its own working class and especially the super-exploited peasants who have been forced to migrate to the big cities in search of work. It is on the road to becoming the main competitor of U.S. imperialism worldwide. But WWP still persists in calling China ‘socialist.’
While WWP no longer calls itself Trotskyist, is still puts out works of Trotsky on its literature tables and continues its hostility to Stalin. While WWP plays an anti-imperialist role in the mass movement, we cannot ignore its eclectic background.Fraternally,
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