From Brussels, Belgium.
I have read some articles of your very interesting publication, Revolutionary Democracy. As you are very familiar with Communist history, I would like to ask you something.
Comrade Juliette Brodar from our party is writing a book about the history of the Belgian Communist Party (revisionist). She is looking for a very Important document. In September 1947 the Information Bureau was formed in Poland (Szkorska Poreba), where Zhdanov presented a critique of the right opportunism of the PCF (France) and the PCI (Italy), mainly concerning their attitude in the United Front during the war and at the liberation. The PCB followed exactly the same line.
The Report of Zhdanov about the international situation was widely disseminated, but of course, the report on the PCF and PCI was 'kept confidential.'
We know the report was published in one of the first numbers of "For an Everlasting Peace, for a People's Democracy,' the organ of the Cominform. In this organ, the official report does not criticise the named parties, but Eugenio Reale speaks about it in his book (Avec, Jacques Duclos - Au Banc des Accuses a la Reunion Constitutive du Kominform a Szkorska Porcha, Paris, 1958).
Can you find this report or give an indication where to find it. This would be of great help for us. Thanks.
Research & Study Department,
Worker's Party of Belgium
Regardingyour query about Zhdanov's critique of the French and Italian Communist Parties.
It is not clear on what factual basis it is being argued that Andrei Zhdanov made two reports at Shklyarska Poremba at the foundation of the Cominform viz. The International Situation, which was circulated internationally and a second report which comprised of a criticism of the policies of the CPF and CPI which it is stated was published in one of the first numbers of the journal For A Lasting Peace, For a People's Democracy without naming the concerned parties.
In his account Eugenio Reale (Avec Jacques Duclos Au Banc des Accuses a Ia Reunion Constitutive du Kominform a Szklarska Poreba, Paris, 1958) refers to only one Report delivered by Zhdanov and this includes mention of, inter alia some errors committed by certain Communist Parties. We may assume this is a reference to the French and Italian Communist parties. (See. p.15) Reale makes mention of an intervention by Zhdanov in the discussion (p. 150) and gives an account of interjections made by Zhdanov (pp. 159- 66) but there is no account of a second report.
An examination of the volume published from the Soviet Union which gave the speeches of the foundation meeting of the Cominform based on the first few issues of the Cominform journal does not give any second speech by Zhdanov giving a critique of the CPF and the CPI but without naming them. (See Informatsionne soveshchanie predstavitelei nekotorykh Kompartii v Polshe v kontse Sentyabrya 1947 goda, Moscow, 1948). The same picture emerges from the collection of the speeches of this meeting which was published in India. (See For A Lasting Peace, For a People's Democracy, Full and Complete Reports submitted to the Nine Communist Parties Conference held at Warsaw (sic) in September, 1947, Bombay, 1948.)
The question arises that if there was only one Report presented by Zhdanov then what happened to the criticism of the CPF and the CPI which was referred to by Eugenio Reale?
The answer to this question may be located in a recent article which is based on the archival materials now open in the former USSR:
'The delegates of the Western European Communist Parties actively supported the Report of Zhdanov, including the sharp indictment of the CPF and the CPI for surrendering their positions and their departure from resolute struggles against the 'American diktat' and 'imperialism and reaction'. This part of the report of Zhdanov was not included, not only in the text which was published officially after the conference, but even in the protocol itself of the meeting of the nine Communist Parties'. (L.Ya. Gibianskii 'Kak voznik Kominform. Po novym arkhivnym materialam', Novaya i noveishaya istoriya No. 4, 1993, p. 147, translated from the Russian).
This confirms that only one report was submitted by Zhdanov at Shklyarska Poremba in 1947 and reveals that the criticism of the CPF and the CPI was excised from the published materials.
The unpublished portion of Zhdanov's report which refers to the French and Italian Communist Parties may be found in the former CPSU archives in Pushkinskaya Street in Moscow which is now called The Russian Centre for the Preservation and Study of the Documents of Modern History, in the Zhdanov holding (Fond 77, op., 3, d., 58, 1., 40-43).
From Toronto, Canada.
This letter, written just 14 days before June 16th election for the president of Russia, which we as well as you realize is one of the most important events not only for the Russian (Soviet) people, but for the working class of the world and Socialism.
You have been kept informed about the policy of NSC regarding our position to the events in former USSR. You might have agreed with our position or might have disagreed on some. This is as it should be. But.... what kept us together and united was the idea of the resurrected USSR and a return to socialism.
What will happen after June 16th?
If Zyuganov wins, a different period of struggle emerges. If Yeltsin wins, an intensifying struggle also becomes a grim reality.
Where should Northstar Compass stand?
Our Editorial Board would like you to write us a two page analysis of the results of the upcoming election from your point of view. We shall be publishing the June/July issue together, since the results of the election will be the main contents of the NSC.
Two pages - no more - is the limit from your perspective. Also if you can send us a photo of yourself to accompany the article, we would much appreciate it.
There will also be an Editorial written by NSC, to complement what you will write.
We would appreciate getting the article as quickly as you can do it. We know that you are as busy as we are, but we hope that you will listen to our request.
Yours as ever,
From: Paris, France.
First, we want to confirm that we are receiving your bulletin.
We are sending you the leaflets we have issued during the worker's strikes. The last one is a synthesis of the main aspects of a preliminary balance. The articles of the 348th issue of La Forge also give elements about the evaluation that can be made from a revolutionary, Marxist-Leninist point of view.
Hoping for further information we send you our communist greetings.
From: Tol'yatti, Russia.
I am enclosing the article 'Why Did They Murder Vassily Stalin?' It was published in Sovershenno Sekretno and reprinted in Stravopolya na Volge.
Shortly before the death of V. Stalin I travelled a few times from Tashkent, where I lived, to Kazan. I attempted to meet Vassily but each time I met people who announced that he is not at home'.
After the tragedy I understood that this was the revenge of Khrushchev. He avenged his own son Trofim who was shot for treachery to the Motherland. Being a pilot he landed his aircraft at a German aerodrome. He gave away war secrets which were known to him. Nikita Khrushchev was a member of the War Council for the Front.
He even went into hysterics, begging Stalin for mercy. He was dragged out of the room of Stalin.
Learning of the treachery of Trofim Khrushchev, he was captured from the Germans along with the materials of his cross-examination.
From the biography of Nikitki it is completely clear that Vassily was murdered. Such false people fell on power greedily and took their diabolical revenge. It is more than forty years that such people are found in power.
Georgy Ivanovich Ivanov
From: Vladikavkaz, Northern Ossetia, Russia.
Further developments have taken place in the A-UCP(b). At the Congress held by the Andreyevites on 24th February, 1996, according to our Leningrad comrades who were witnesses, matters reached the point of open brawling. The Report of Nina Andreyeva was permeated by Maoism and 'Chinese specifics'. At the present time there is an ideological and organisational collapse.
Nor are matters progressing well in the A-UCP(b) led by A. Lapin. We could not accept participation in their Congress held in the Moscow Region on 27th April, 1996. A new Programme and Constitution were adopted at this Congress. Our comrades are of the opinion that these documents do not correspond with the tasks of the Bolshevik party. Insufficient work was performed in drawing up the programmatic documents. It was decided to support the 'united candidate of the left forces' in the Presidential elections. We cannot agree with such a position as we do not consider Zyuganov either 'united' or 'left'. In short this initiative is as incapable as that of the Andreyevites.
Practically all of the parties of Russia (and the USSR) call themselves Communist and even Bolshevist but in fact they are infected by one or another form of opportunism. Obviously, the party needs to be created afresh taking into account all the mistakes and errors. The method of creating the Party must be another. Initiative must come not from 'above' but from already working cells and organisations on the basis of a clear scientifically established programme. It would be valuable if foreign comrades took part in the formulation of such a Programme.
We have received the first issue of the journal Unity and Struggle. We consider this a great attainment of the revolutionary forces and wish to receive it regularly.
With revolutionary wishes,
From: Damascus, Syria.
Yesterday I received an issue of Revolutionary Democracy from comrade Michael Lucas. It is a very good publication. I am a journalist and author. I write in more than 5 periodicals. We publish also the Forward monthly in which I reprint articles from progressive periodicals.
Can you send me Frontier and Revolutionary Democracy? I can send, in exchange, Forward besides the publications of the Syrian Communist Party in English. I hope that you accept my proposition.
From: New York, United States of America.
I am sorry to take so long to answer your letter. I was waiting to receive the issues of your journal. They arrived a couple of weeks ago, in good condition, but with the envelope ripped, presumably by the authorities. It does not matter-we are used to this petty harassment.
Regarding our group, we are friends (not members) of Labor's Champion newspaper in New Orleans who originally showed us the copies of your journal. Thus, we do not have our own programme, etc., but instead contribute to Labor's Champion.
The latest issue of Revolutionary Democracy has some very interesting material. I particularly liked the criticism by Neil Goold of the 20th CPSU Congress. It was right on-the-mark politically, and extremely concise. I hope we can give it wider circulation here.
I am also glad to see much material on India. It is important to apply Marxism-Leninism to the conditions in one's own country. Unfortunately, some forces internationally write only about the situation in other countries or historical questions and ignore the task in their own country.
We will keep in touch,
Yours in struggle,
Friends of Labor's Champion
From: Calcutta, West Bengal.
That the (Soviet) Union will reborn, possibly at the beginning of the 21st century is now a fact of life even for the die-hard anti-communists. Yeltsin has his own blueprint of 'Union' as revealed by the American media while the left has been with the 'Restoration Movement' to defeat the very purpose of Yeltsin. A comprehensive piece on 'Union Movement' with its implications for the international communist movement will be very interesting to our readers. A longish piece will be alright as it will appear in our Autumn Number. Try to get something on it before July.
Looking forward to your reply.
All the best,
From: Calcutta, West Bengal.
We are sending you two items in Bengali one of these is the magazine Dristee which contains articles on the contemporary problem 'The Criminalisation of Politics' by Moni Guha, and the article by M. Rozenthal on the cultural and ideological problems in the U.S.S.R. which you had seen. We are also sending the booklet in Bengali by Moni Guha: 'Brussels Seminar Report from the Angle of the Communist International': We are trying our best to bring out Dristee twice a year, the second issue will be coming out soon.
From: Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala.
Thank you for the issues of Revolutionary Democracy sent to us. We would like you to send the journal regularly to us in exchange for Odyssey publications. We are planning to come out with a monograph on the Tibet issue within the next few months.
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