Self-Criticism Concerning Maoism and Hoxhaism: The New Path of Toilers’ Struggle

Toilers’ Struggle and its author do hereby formally express self-criticism for hitherto adhering to the ideology of Hoxhaism.  Toilers’ Struggle and its author do hereby renounce Hoxhaism as a development of Marxism-Leninism and abide by the following resolutions on Enver Hoxha:

  • Enver Hoxha was an honest Marxist-Leninist who led the Albanian people in their construction of socialism and the struggle against modern revisionism, and it follows that his writings and actions, together with the yields of the experience of the Socialist People’s Republic of Albania, deserve to be studied as enriching contributions to Marxism-Leninism.  Enver Hoxha was a courageous and principled defender of Stalin, Marxism-Leninism, and the historical achievments of socialism, and furthermore a notable apologist on the matter of continuing the class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat.
  • However, realizing this, Hoxha failed to advance the study of Marxism-Leninism past the realization that class struggle continues within socialist society.  Hoxha certainly recognized the class struggle, its problems, its direction, etc. but based on his mechanic approach to dialectical analysis, he could not thoroughly understand the class struggle within socialist society, particularly its solution.  On this matter, Hoxha’s thought was confined to a parochial outlook that only saw the spontaneous manifestation and lingering of hostile remnants of classes and ideologies, the straight march from socialism to communism and according struggles, and the inevitable triumph of Marxism-Leninism.  Hoxha’s repeated response to critics that it was impossible for feudo-bourgeois elements to exists and fight the dictatorship of the proletariat from positions of state power simply because the government was the dictatorship of the proletariat, and yet the reality of the subsequent manipulation of state power by the revisionist traitor Ramiz Alia and co. after Hoxha’s death speak on this matter.
  • Hoxha’s overall analysis of Mao Tsetung, Mao Tsetung Thought, Maoism, Maoist China, etc., as most comprehensively expressed in Imperialism and the Revolution and in Hoxha’s writings and speeches on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, constitutes little more than vague assertions supported by isolated extracts from Marxist texts that are taken unabashedly by Hoxha as dogma.  In his analysis of Maoism, Hoxha disregards the scientific vitality of Marxism-Leninism, and resorts to mere dogmatic assertions, and, in some cases, even only selectively quotes Lenin and Stalin, and by doing so, unconsciously, or perhaps consciously, avoids the realistic essence of their scientific teachings to prove his points.  The great Marxist that Hoxha has otherwise proved himself to be is unfortunately tarnished and taken away from by his incorrect, partial, unscientific analysis of Mao and the theory and practice surrounding him.
  • Hoxha’s criticisms and analysis of the modern Chinese revisionists and their Three Worlds Theory stand fully justified and correct.  However, Hoxha’s attributing of Chinese revisionism that consolidated power following the death of Mao Tsetung to Mao Tsetung himself and his theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism in China, is absolutely incorrect and cannot be reconciled with known facts.
  • Hoxha’s denunciation of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism was a historic blow to the world proletariat in its struggle against revisionism, capitalism, and imperialism.

On some general points of the question of Maoism and socialism in the People’s Republic of China during Mao’s life, Toilers’ Struggle and its author present the following as general guidelines to understanding and outlining the latter and former’s new position:

Mao’s contributions to Marxism-Leninism:

  • Mao Tsetung contributed to the theory and practice of national liberation and the revolutionary process in oppressed, colonial and semi-colonial countries by elaborating the theory of New Democracy.  With the theory of New Democracy, Mao showed that, given the objective conditions of today, the national liberation and colonial revolutionary movements are no longer bourgeois-democratic movements as of old, but new democratic movements, people’s democratic movements, led by the proletariat as the only consistent revolutionary class in modern society.  The New Democratic Revolution liberates an oppressed country, establishes a New Democratic Republic, i.e. a People’s Democratic Dictatorship comprising all the revolutionary anti-imperialist classes, and opens the way for the development of socialism by giving the proletariat and its Communist Party state power by which to restore the economy, establish and consolidate power, gain the confidence of the other revolutionary classes, and proceed to struggle for the construction of socialism.  New Democracy is the colonial equivalent of the Leninist theory of the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Peasantry.  As concluded in the January 27, 1950 issue of For a Lasting Peace, For a People’s Democracy, an organ of the Cominform, the New Democratic path “is the path that should be taken by the people of many colonial and dependent countries in their struggle for national independence and people’s democracy.”

  • Mao Tsetung contributed to Marxism-Leninism on the matter of military theory and practice in revolutionary war.  He not only propounded the politico-military theory and military strategy of a protracted peoples’ war and provided historic formulations for the path of revolution in countries oppressed by imperialism but, indeed for the first time, presented a complete and comprehensive Marxist analysis of a revolutionary military line on military affairs.

  • Mao Tsetung enriched Dialectical Materialism and Marxist epistemology by his brilliant contributions. He developed the law of contradiction, stating that the unity and struggle of opposites is the fundamental law that directs nature and society. The unity of opposites is temporary and relative whereas the struggle between them is permanent and absolute, giving birth to qualitative leaps and revolutionary changes. Mao provided depth to the understanding of dialectics, stating that in a specific time and space there is one principal contradiction among various basic contradictions, the resolution of which is the central link in the resolution of other contradictions, providing the momentum of history. For its resolution, it is also imperative to understand the principal aspect of the principal contradiction. Mao enriched Marxist epistemology by the application of this new and advanced understanding of dialectics in the interrelationship between theory and practice.

  • Mao extended his contributions to understanding dialectics and historical materialism into an understanding of the development, contradictions, and class struggle that persists under the dictatorship of the proletariat in socialist society.  Mao exposed the various contradictions of socialist society, and presented constant revolutionization of the productive forces and productive relations through material and cultural revolutions through the involvement and initiative of the masses, as the solution to developing society towards communism.  Mao’s theses on the conditions and development of socialism, the conditions and process of capitalist restoration, and on the need to continue the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat were verified by the developments in China following Mao’s death and the degeneration and collapse of the USSR, and are indispensable lessons in struggling for the socialist society of the future.

Regardless of what various comrades may holler out in spiteful slander, the deduction that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the way forward for the exploited and oppressed is a realization concluded on the basis of extensive research, contemplation, and practical experience.  Toilers’ Struggle and its author apologize to the toilers of the world for such a mistake of theory, express self-criticism, and are interested in pursuing honest, comradely debate on the matter in the interest of always pushing forward the struggle for an ever-increasingly scientific theory of socialism.

Suggested readings:

Why Maoism? by Shashi Prakash

Marxism-Leninism-Maoism: A Basic Course by People’s March

Beat Back the Dogmato-Revisionist Attack on Mao Tsetung Thought by J. Werner

Presented below is the full text of Beat Back the Dogmato-Revisionist Attack on Mao Tsetung Thought by J. Werner, which, although is particularly too harsh on Hoxha as a Marxist-Leninist (which of course can be understood given the context in which it was written), is an excellent piece that refutes Hoxha’s slanders against Mao and Mao Tsetung Thought, clarifies the construction of socialism in China that has been completely distorted by Hoxhaists, and includes considerably well done theoretical elaborations on continuing the class struggle under the dictatorship of the proletariat, and dialectics.

Beat back the dogmato-revisionist attack on Mao Tsetung Thought

Comments on Enver Hoxha’s Imperialism and the Revolution

by J. Werner


Upon first examining Enver Hoxha’s new book, Imperialism and the Revolution, one is tempted to dismiss it as a petty and shallow hatchet job and refer the reader to the works of Mao Tsetung, which make clear that most of the charges hurled at Mao are simply the worst type of blatant misquotations, distortions and downright lies, and also refer the reader to the many Soviet criticisms of Mao which, while sharing the same method and most of the same arguments as Hoxha, at least have the virtue of a more systematic and well-rounded presentation of the revisionist line.

^Enver Hoxha (right) with Joseph Stalin (left) and Molotov (second from right)

However, the current situation in the international communist movement makes such a course impossible to follow, no matter how tempting. The capture of revolutionary China by the capitalist-roaders led by Hua and Teng has led to the capitulation of some erstwhile Marxist-Leninists and the demoralization of many more. The eyes of the international movement have focused on Hoxha and the Party of Labor of Albania in the hopes that amidst the turmoil and confusion in the ranks of communists the PLA would continue to play a leading role in the fight against revisionism. Indeed, Albania’s initial response to the coup in China, riddled though it was with eclecticism and contradictory theses, gave cause for such hope.

But Hoxha and the leadership of the PLA chose a different course–lending the prestige of the PLA (a prestige that, ironically, was gained in large degree because Hoxha had united with Mao and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution at a time when it was under attack from revisionists everywhere) to those who would retreat from the advances forged in the battle against modern revisionism in the past two decades and erect a revisionist political and ideological line based upon sanctifying and raising to the extreme, errors of revolutionaries since the mid-1930s. And all this is done in the name of the “purity” of Marxism-Leninism.

Of course this is not the first time in history that revisionism has posed itself as “orthodox” Marxism and tried to paint the genuine revolutionary communists with the brush of “deviationism,” or even fanaticism. Karl Kautsky was the orthodox Marxist of his day in his battle against Leninism. And, likewise, Trotsky posed as the “proletarian” and “pure’ Marxist as he did his best to undermine and wreck the world’s first socialist state.

For, contrary to the outlook which permeates the writings of Enver Hoxha, the world does not advance in a smooth, direct line. And what is true of the world itself is equally true of Marxism-Leninism, which is, after all, a science based upon understanding the contradictions in nature and society and a tool for advancing society in accordance with the laws of motion of these contradictions–a science which is, and can only be, continually enriched and deepened in the course of revolutionary practice.

Enver Hoxha makes numerous indictments of Mao Tsetung, arguments that we will attempt to address one by one, but what comes through most clearly is Hoxha’s complete inability to understand the living science of dialectics, a bewilderment he was willing to keep to himself as long as revolutionary China was continuing to advance and battling enemies that Hoxha recognized as foes also, but a bewilderment turned to antagonism that he now seeks to pawn off on the whole of the international communist movement since the forward advance in China has been temporarily reversed.

In fact, one of the very few relatively accurate characterizations of Mao’s line given by Hoxha is when he says, “he [Mao] regards [revolution] as an endless process which is repeated periodically throughout the whole period of the existence of mankind on earth, as a process which goes from defeat to victory, from victory to defeat, and so on endlessly.”[1] Of course, in this passage, Hoxha is trying to imply that Mao sees no advance in human society but merely the cyclical repetition of things. But what comes through much more clearly (since this vulgarization of Mao doesn’t wash for anyone who has studied any of his writings) is Hoxha’s own view of revolution as an unfortunate if occasionally necessary disruption that history imposes on society at rare instances, and a disruption that will cease for all time as soon as the working class (or condescending saviors having its interests at heart) can seize power from the old exploiters and begin its “uninterrupted advance” along wide and straight Nevsky Prospect to some goal which bears much in common with the religious vision of the Kingdom of God on earth, where all conflict, struggle and discord will be replaced by the realm of perfect harmony and stability.

Hoxha wants to attack Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought and at the same time distinguish himself from modern revisionism. The result is his embracing not only of a basic revisionist outlook but a wholesale adoption of many time-worn revisionist theses–all thinly covered by a dogmatist veneer. Hence the label dogmato-revisionist.

Imperialism and the Revolution covers many topics, and to deal with all of the errors and distortions of Marxism contained in it would require a book much longer than Hoxha’s. The present article deals almost exclusively with Part II, section III: “’Mao Tsetung Thought’–An Anti-Marxist Theory,” and even here, not every aspect of Hoxha’s distortions, errors and slander is gone into–although even so, what’s written here is of sufficient length and detail to give more than a taste (in fact more than a bellyful) of Hoxha’s counter-revolutionary line![1a]


[1] Enver Hoxha, Imperialism and the Revolution (published as an issue of “Proletarian Internationalism,” Chicago, 1979), p. 113. I use this edition of Hoxha’s book because the price corresponds more closely to its political value.

[1a] Hoxha tries, like the current revisionist rulers of China, to pin Mao with the reactionary “three worlds” strategy. The RCP has dealt with this question in the article, “Three Worlds’ Strategy: Apology for Capitulation,” in Revolution, November 1978. Nor does this current article address Hoxha’s portrayal of the current world situation or the increasing convergence between Hoxha’s views and the machinations of the Soviet social-imperialists.

I. Hoxha on the Course of the Chinese Revolution

According to Enver Hoxha, the Chinese Communist Party has been dominated by the revisionist “Mao Tsetung Thought” since 1935, the year in which Mao’s leadership was basically established within the Party. Apparently, the correct line, according to Hoxha, was represented by the line of Wang Ming, although the name of this renegade doesn’t appear in his book. Wang Ming was the leader of the Chinese Communist Party for several years until the defeat of his line in 1935, and his career in the Party was marked by two features: first, he was consistently wrong in his political line, making both right and “left” opportunist deviations; and, secondly, he enjoyed the confidence and support of the Communist International and, presumably, Stalin.

Those in the leadership of the Chinese Party who shared Wang Ming’s line (who called themselves the “internationalists,” and sometimes were referred to as the “28 and a half Bolsheviks”–a reference to Wang’s claim that he and his handful of students returned from Moscow were “100% Bolshevik”) came to the fore at a crucial juncture in the Chinese Revolution. They refused to recognize that the Chinese Revolution had suffered a period of temporary setback following the defeat of the 1924-27 Revolution, and that, as a result, a protracted period of strategic defensive was necessary.

Mao had analyzed the concrete conditions in China on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and also the fundamental theses of Lenin and Stalin on the Chinese Revolution, and had determined that while the revolution had been set back, various circumstances existed that allowed the establishment of rural base areas surrounded by the enemy in different parts of China. Closely connected to this was the question of the peasants, whom Mao correctly stated had to be the main (not leading) force in the revolution during its democratic stage. Central to building up these base areas was mobilizing the peasantry under the leadership of the Communist Party and carrying out the agrarian revolution.

Wang Ming bitterly opposed Mao on these basic theses, as well as on numerous political and military questions that flowed from them. Like Hoxha, Wang Ming railed against Mao’s thesis that in China the cities must be encircled by the countryside. Like Hoxha, Wang could not understand the ebbs and flows of the revolution and instead presented a picture of a constantly favorable objective situation with only the subjective factor being necessary to lead an immediate successful onslaught on reactionary power. Wang Ming led the Party in a wrong military, political and ideological line that led to defeat by Chiang Kai-shek in his Fifth “Encirclement and Suppression Campaign,” a defeat which forced the Red Army to retreat in the famous Long March. As a result of this “left” opportunist line, large numbers of the Communist Party and revolutionary army, as well as base areas, were wiped out.

Of course this is well known, and the political summation of these deviations comprise an important part of the works of Mao Tsetung. Further, it is on the basis of repudiating this line in particular that the Chinese Communist Party was able to carry through successfully the famous Long March and indeed the Chinese revolution.

But Enver Hoxha, like Wang Ming and the Soviet revisionists, accuses Mao of “nationalism,” of a “peasant mentality” and of opportunism because he applied Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions in China and developed an all-around political line capable of leading that revolution to victory.

Listen to some of the profound arguments Hoxha conjures up for his attack on Mao:

Mao Tsetung expressed this petty bourgeois theory [not recognizing the leading role of the proletariat] in his general thesis that the “countryside must encircle the city.” “… revolutionary villages,” he wrote, “can encircle the cities. . . rural work should play the primary role in the Chinese revolutionary movement and urban work a secondary role.” Mao expressed this idea also when he wrote about the role of the peasantry in the state. He has said that all other political parties and forces must submit to the peasantry and its views. “… Millions of peasants will rise like a mighty storm, a force so swift and violent that no power, however great, will be able to hold it back. . .,” he writes. “They will put to the test every revolutionary party and group, every revolutionary, so that they either accept their views or reject them.” According to Mao, it turns out that the peasantry and not the working class should play the hegemonic role in the revolution.[2]

^Enver Hoxha as a young revolutionary guerrilla leader fighting Nazism (and Tito’s attempts at a larger Yugoslavia)

Such is the thinking of Enver Hoxha. Where, we will ask, does it say that in every country the main center of the Party’s work must be in the cities? If one is making revolution in a country in which the peasantry is 80% of the population, if the revolution has been driven out of the cities, if the movement is temporarily declining, and if the possibility exists for forming red political power in the countryside–as it did in China–how can it be said that it was wrong to “make the main center of the Party’s work” the rural areas, or to develop a strategy of surrounding the cities by the countryside? In these conditions, to fail to do so could only mean, as it did, a policy of rash adventurism which quickly led to capitulation in the face of the enemy, exactly because the “left” line of concentrating in the cities, refusing to “encircle the cities by the countryside,” meant a line which could not mobilize the forces for revolution in the concrete conditions of China at the time.

Hoxha’s blustering about Mao’s famous quotation from Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan where he says that the mighty storm of the peasant movement “will put to the test every revolutionary party and group” is also revealing. This classic work of Mao has also come under attack by revisionists historically, from Chen Tu-hsiu and Wang Ming to the Soviet renegades.

What Mao is arguing in his Investigation of the Peasant Movement is not that the proletariat should not lead the peasantry, but precisely the opposite. He was arguing against the mainly right tendencies (in form as well as content) within the leadership of the Party who argued that the peasants’ movement was terrible, or that it had “gone too far.” Those who argued that it “had gone too far” felt that it was endangering the alliance with the national bourgeoisie (in the form of the Kuomintang), and therefore should either be opposed, ignored or at least hemmed in.

When Hoxha quotes Mao saying that “Every revolutionary party and every revolutionary comrade will be put to the test to be accepted or rejected as they decide,” he deliberately omits the immediately following sentences which reveal Mao’s whole purpose in writing the essay:

There are three alternatives. To march at their head and lead them? To trail behind them, gesticulating and criticizing? Or to stand in their way and oppose them? Every Chinese is free to choose, but events will force you to make the choice quickly.[3]

So it is clear that what Mao is talking about (when you don’t butcher his quotes, as Hoxha is wont to do throughout his attack) is not the peasants leading the Party, but precisely the opposite, of the Party stepping forward and putting itself at the head of the surging torrent of the peasants.

Stalin himself spoke to the same errors that were being committed by leading members of the CCP:

I know there are Kuomintangists and even Chinese Communists who do not consider it possible to unleash revolution in the countryside, since they fear that if the peasantry were drawn into the revolution it would disrupt the united anti-imperialist front. That is a profound error, comrades…. I think it is high time to break down that inertness and that “neutrality” toward the peasantry. . .[4]

Enver Hoxha’s disdain for the peasantry and his underestimation of their central role in the revolutionary process in countries like China is linked to his inability to understand the very nature of these revolutions. It was not Mao, but Lenin and Stalin, who first expounded the theses that revolutions in the countries of Asia were bourgeois-democratic revolutions, which had as their goal two main objectives: the driving out of foreign imperialism and the defeat of those sections of the capitalist class bound together with it; and the solving of the land question–the wiping out of the feudal survivals and the implementation of “land to the tiller.”

Once again, Stalin was quite clear on this question: “The Comintern was and still is of the opinion that the basis of the revolution in China in the present period [1927] is the agrarian-peasant revolution.”[5][5a]

Hoxha charges that:

Mao Tsetung was never able to understand and explain correctly the close links between the bourgeois-democratic revolution and the proletarian revolution. Contrary to the Marxist-Leninist theory, which has proved scientifically that there is no Chinese wall between the bourgeois-democratic revolution and the socialist revolution, that these two revolutions do not have to be divided from each other by a long period of time, Mao Tsetung asserted: “The transformation of our revolution into socialist revolution is a matter of the future… As to when the transition will take place… it may take quite a long time. We should not hold forth about this transition until all the necessary political and economic conditions are present and until it is advantageous and not detrimental to the overwhelming majority of our people.”[8]

By now the astute reader will ask, what exactly did Hoxha leave out with his two sets of three dots (ellipses). The first … is to obliterate one sentence in which Mao writes, “In the future the democratic revolution will inevitably be transformed into a socialist revolution.” The second . . . wipes out the phrase that appears in the sentence, “As to when the transition will take place, that will depend on the presence of the necessary conditions, and it may take quite a long time.” (Omitted phrase in italics.)[9][9a]

Thus we see that Hoxha omits two critical points of Mao’s: 1) that the transition to the socialist revolution is inevitable, and 2) that this transition depends on the “presence of the necessary conditions.”

Hoxha goes on to state:

Mao Tsetung adhered to this anti-Marxist concept, which is not for the transformation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into socialist revolution, during the whole period of the revolution, even after liberation. Thus, in 1940, Mao Tsetung said: “The Chinese revolution must necessarily pass through… the stage of New Democracy and then the stage of socialism. Of these, the first stage will need a relatively long time. . . . ”[10]

For the reader’s convenience, the whole of the paragraph Hoxha “quotes” is reprinted below, from the authorized Chinese translation and without his handy ellipses:

Without a doubt, the present revolution is the first step, which will develop into the second step, that of socialism, at a later date. And China will attain true happiness only when she enters the socialist era. But today is not yet the time to introduce socialism. The present task of the revolution in China is to fight imperialism and feudalism, and socialism is out of the question until this task is completed. The Chinese revolution cannot avoid taking the two steps, first of New Democracy and then of socialism. Moreover, the first step will need quite a long time and cannot be accomplished overnight. We are not Utopians and cannot divorce ourselves from the actual conditions confronting us.[11]

So once again it is clear, even from the very passages Hoxha tries to twist and distort to back up his slanders, that Mao is clear that the new-democratic revolution leads to socialism once the necessary conditions have been met, which he specifically notes are the defeat of imperialism and feudalism.

Hoxha is quite correct when he says that “no Chinese wall” separates the two stages of the revolution, but what he really seeks to do is in fact negate the fact that there are two distinct stages of the revolution, which of necessity involve different alignments of class forces and have different tasks. What Hoxha attempts to do is mush everything together, to combine two into one, and he comes up with an amorphous democratic-socialist revolution whose characteristics are fundamentally the same in imperialist and oppressed nations alike.

Hoxha’s line is so eclectic and confused it is impossible to figure out exactly what he is saying. Is it that the Chinese Revolution prior to 1949 was (or should have been) a socialist revolution? Is he parroting the line of some leaders of the Chinese Party (with some support of the Comintern) who argued that the bourgeois revolution was transformed into a socialist revolution with the capture of power in one or two key provinces? Or is it that Mao did not recognize that the revolution would be transformed into a socialist revolution with the seizure of power on a nationwide scale? In any case, we will see that it is Mao, not Hoxha or Wang Ming, who was correct.[11a]

Hoxha deliberately confuses the fact that the socialist revolution can accomplish democratic tasks (the October Revolution being the outstanding example) with the concept of the bourgeois-democratic revolution itself. It is not surprising that in the earlier part of his book, in which Hoxha lays down his recipes for revolution in every country of the world (though, it is true, not specifically for each country), there is no real understanding of this question, and in fact a giant muddle.

This connection [between proletarian revolution in the West and the struggle in the colonies and dependent countries–J.W.] has become even clearer and more natural today, when, with the collapse of the old colonial system, most of the peoples have taken a big step forward towards independence by creating their own national states, and when, following this step, they are aspiring to go further. They want the liquidation of the neo-colonialist system, of any imperialist dependence and any exploitation of foreign capital. They want their complete sovereignty and economic and political independence. It has now been proved that such aspirations can be realized, such objectives attained only through the elimination of any foreign domination by and dependence on foreigners and the liquidation of oppression and exploitation by local bourgeois and big landowner rulers.

Hence, the linking and the interlacing of the national-democratic, anti-imperialist, national liberation revolution with the socialist revolution, because, by striking at imperialism and reaction, which are common enemies of the proletariat and the peoples, these revolutions also pave the way for great social transformations, assist the victory of the socialist revolution. And vice-versa, by striking at the imperialist bourgeoisie, by destroying its economic and political positions, the socialist revolution creates favorable conditions for and facilitates the triumph of liberation movements.[15]

Despite Hoxha’s passing reference here to “big landowner rulers,” what is strikingly missing in this passage, and indeed Hoxha’s whole book, is any discussion whatsoever of the anti-feudal character of the revolution in many of the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. For it is the struggle against feudalism, especially, that gives the democratic revolution a bourgeois character.

In the above statement, Hoxha deftly combines the socialist revolution with the bourgeois-democratic revolution by saying that independence, sovereignty, etc. can only be achieved with the “elimination of oppression of the local bourgeois and big landowner rulers.” Of course, it is true that in the final analysis, real liberation from imperialism is dependent on the socialist revolution. Mao made this point many times, including in his famous statement that “only socialism can save China.” But the fact remains that the socialist revolution and the bourgeois-democratic revolution are not the same, and in the latter certain bourgeois (i.e. exploiting) forces can play a positive role.

Ironically, despite the attempts of Hoxha to claim the mantle of Stalin, it is Stalin, in writing of another renegade, who succinctly sums up Hoxha’s basic errors on the Chinese revolution:

The basic error of Trotsky (and hence of the opposition) is that he underestimates the agrarian revolution in China, does not understand the bourgeois-democratic character of that revolution, denies the existence of the preconditions for an agrarian movement in China, embracing many millions, and underestimates the role of the peasantry in the Chinese revolution.[16]

Hoxha’s protestations to the contrary, it was precisely Mao who explained the relationship between the bourgeois-democratic and the socialist stage of the revolution. First, Mao built upon the basic Leninist theses that in the era of imperialism and the proletarian revolution (that is, since the October Revolution in Russia in 1917) the bourgeois-democratic revolutions in the dependent countries and colonies were no longer part of the old bourgeois revolution, but part of the new world proletarian revolution.

Mao stressed again and again that the national bourgeoisie in China and in countries like it could not lead the bourgeois-democratic revolution to victory, that because it was bullied by imperialism this bourgeoisie had some contradictions with it and would, from time to time, join the ranks of the revolutionary struggle, but precisely because the national bourgeoisie was a weak and flabby class economically and politically, because it was still tied in to a certain extent to the big (comprador) sections of the bourgeoisie and also to landed property, it would always vacillate at best and at times capitulate to the forces of imperialism and domestic reaction.

Because of this it fell to the proletariat to lead the people, first and foremost the peasantry, in carrying the democratic revolution through to its completion. Indeed, Mao points out that what made the Chinese revolution a new (as opposed to old) democratic revolution was precisely the fact that it was led by the proletariat and its vanguard, the Communist Party, and that this democratic revolution would not lead to “establishing a capitalist society and a state under bourgeois dictatorship,” but rather that “this revolution actually serves the purpose of clearing a still wider path for the development of socialism.”[17]

Mao further explained:

Although the Chinese revolution in this first stage (with its many sub-stages) is a new type of bourgeois-democratic revolution and is not yet itself a proletarian-socialist revolution in its social character, it has long become a part of the proletarian-socialist world revolution and is now even a very important part and a great ally of this world revolution. The first step or stage in our revolution is definitely not, and cannot be, the establishment of a capitalist society under the dictatorship of the Chinese bourgeoisie, but will result in the establishment of a new-democratic society under the joint dictatorship of all the revolutionary classes of China headed by the Chinese proletariat. The revolution will then be carried forward to the second stage, in which a socialist society will be established in China.

This is the fundamental characteristic of the Chinese revolution of today, of the new revolutionary process of the past twenty years (counting from the May 4th Movement of 1919), and its concrete living essence.[18]

Mao constantly emphasizes the real link between the bourgeois-democratic and the socialist revolutions, that only the completion of the democratic revolution–i.e., the defeat of imperialism and feudalism–paves the way for the socialist revolution, that the latter cannot be accomplished without these preconditions. But furthermore, Mao affirmed, the leadership of the proletariat and the Party is what makes it possible to carry the revolution beyond the democratic stage and into the socialist stage.

It is not surprising that since Hoxha is incapable of understanding (or pretends not to understand) the class nature of the first stage of the Chinese Revolution, he also attacks the military line of Mao Tsetung–people’s war–that was based on exactly understanding the conditions of the revolution in China. Here is what Hoxha has to say on this subject in the course of writing a prescription for the revolution in every country:

In accord with the concrete conditions of a country and the situations in general, the armed uprising may be a sudden outburst or a more protracted revolutionary process, but not an endless one without perspective, as advocated by Mao Tsetung’s “theory of protracted people’s war”. If you compare the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin on the revolutionary armed insurrection with Mao’s theory on “people’s war,” the anti-Marxist, anti-Leninist, anti-scientific character of this theory becomes clearly apparent. The Marxist-Leninist teachings on the armed insurrection are based on the close combination of the struggle in the city with that in the countryside under the leadership of the working class and its revolutionary party.

Being opposed to the leading role of the proletariat in the revolution, the Maoist theory considers the countryside as the only base of the armed insurrection and neglects the armed struggle of the working masses in the town. It preaches that the countryside must keep the city, which is considered as the stronghold of the counterrevolutionary bourgeoisie, besieged. This is an expression of distrust in the working class, the negation of its hegemonic role.[19]

Interesting indeed! Hoxha’s above statement makes clearer his protestations cited earlier that Mao held that the new-democratic stage of the revolution would take a “long period of time.”

Hoxha’s claim that Mao called for an endless war “without perspective” is patently ridiculous. What Mao made very clear is that the war (or actually, in the context of China, a series of three distinct periods of warfare–first against the KMT, then against the Japanese, and then against the KMT again) would be the basic form for carrying out the revolution until it completed its first goals, specifically the driving out of imperialism and solving the land question, a very clear “perspective.”

In Hoxha’s criticism of people’s war the rightist essence of his “leftism” begins to come into sharper focus. One would like to ask Hoxha, what course should the Chinese Revolution have taken following the defeat of the 1924-27 Revolution–when the counterrevolution triumphed in the cities and the communists were being massacred? Apparently it was all right to form base areas in the countryside as long as it was not being done “without perspective”–which we can only take to mean the perspective of a quick victory (a few years)–over the forces of reaction. This line was, in fact, the line of Wang Ming, who ordered the Red Army to go on a continual offensive, preached that the enemy was disintegrating, and predicted a quick victory. The results of this policy was a giant setback for the Chinese Revolution, the loss of all the base areas in southern China and the necessity to embark on the Long March.

One can only assume that, according to Hoxha, if it is not possible to have a clear perspective of victory immediately on the horizon, it is wrong to carry out armed struggle. If it is not possible to take the cities quickly, then to maintain red political power in the countryside is to desert the working class and lose faith in its hegemonic role. This is truly mechanical thinking approaching hitherto almost unknown “heights.” For while opportunists during the Chinese Revolution argued along similar lines (above all the Trotskyites) it was really only Wang Ming, operating safely from his perch in Moscow, that would repeat such fallacies long after history had proved him wrong.

Hoxha would have had the Chinese Communist Party dissolve the Red Army, or failing that, simply wage rash and suicidal attacks on the cities, when the conditions were not ripe for nationwide victory, which would have also meant the dissolving of the Red Army. Does Hoxha really believe that the “hegemony of the proletariat” would have been better exercised if there had been no base areas in the countryside, if the Communist Party under the blows of the White terror had been reduced to scattered forces conducting illegal and legal work in the cities? Is it really true that such a situation would have hastened the development of a new upsurge in China? Or was it not Mao’s policy of building up revolutionary base areas which in fact helped prepare through struggle *or the taking of the cities at a later date?

One cannot help but ask Hoxha in passing where in the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin or Stalin, is a clear line presented on how to wage the armed seizure of power in a country like China? Of course, there is no such prescription, for unlike Hoxha, the great leaders of the proletariat were not into speculating on hypothetical situations that had not yet arrived. Since there had never been a revolution led by the working class in such a country prior to the Chinese Revolution, isn’t it really rather silly to tell us to compare Mao’s writing with the military writings of the earlier Marxist-Leninist leaders to discover Mao’s mistakes? Actually, when we do make such a comparison we discover that Mao, more than any of the previous great teachers, analyzed not only the process of revolutionary war in China but also made invaluable contributions to the Marxist line on military affairs generally.[20] This is not surprising, since Mao had much greater experience than any of the previous leaders in waging revolutionary war. Hoxha should also be reminded of Stalin’s statement on this subject in 1926 that ”In China the armed revolution is fighting the armed counterrevolution. That is one of the specific features and one of the advantages of the Chinese Revolution.”[21]

Hoxha’s dogmato-revisionism makes it impossible for him to correctly understand the relationship between politics and warfare. Since in his view opposites cannot be transformed into one another (more on this later), he cannot understand how the revolutionary war itself was in China the principal means to carry out broad scale political work among the masses. Mao made this point clearly in assessing the importance of the Long March:

. . . the Long March is the first of its kind in the annals of history,… it is a manifesto, a propaganda force, a seeding machine. . . The Long March is a manifesto. It has proclaimed to the world that the Red Army is an Army of heroes, while the imperialists and their running dogs, Chiang Kai-shek and his like, are impotent. . . The Long March is also a propaganda force. It has announced to some 200 million people in eleven provinces that the road of the Red Army is their only road to liberation. Without the Long March, how could the broad masses have learned so quickly about the existence of the great truth which the Red Army embodies? The Long March is also a seeding-machine. In the eleven provinces it has sown many seeds which will sprout, leaf, blossom, and bear fruit, and will yield a harvest in the future.. . . Who brought the Long March to victory? The Communist Party. Without the Communist Party, a long march of this kind would have been inconceivable.[22]

It can be seen then that the revolutionary war was not simply a military undertaking but the main form of the class struggle in China. Those who would have insisted that the revolution had to be waged along the model of the Russian Revolution–i.e., a long period of preparation, in which the struggle took principally a political and not military form, followed by insurrection and civil war–would have condemned the Chinese working class and people to no revolution at all.

Hoxha declares that Mao’s whole line of encircling the cities by the countryside meant abandoning the hegemony of the proletariat. The truth is that not to have launched the armed struggle in the countryside would precisely have meant abandoning the leadership (hegemony) of the proletariat in the revolution, specifically over the hundreds of millions of Chinese peasants.

The hegemony of the proletariat means above all the leadership of its vanguard political party, the communist party. It does not mean that the proletariat is necessarily the main force in the revolution (as Hoxha himself is forced to admit). The leadership of the proletariat means the rallying of the masses of the oppressed to the banner of the working class, to its program for the revolution. In the concrete conditions of China, this meant for the proletariat through its Party to step to the front of the struggle against imperialism and feudalism, while at the same time building up the independent political strength of its Communist Party, which alone could lead the revolution to victory and forward to socialism. With this perspective, to have not embarked upon the war in the countryside would have meant that the proletariat would not have been leading the peasantry, and the possibility for revolution would have been lost.

Why couldn’t the revolution triumph first in the cities and then spread to the countryside as the revolution did in Russia, for example? Because cities were not only considered (as Hoxha puts it) the stronghold of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, they were in fact such a stronghold. The cities contained the concentration of the enemy’s troops, and they were easily reached by the troops of the imperialist powers, who were able to most effectively aid the domestic reactionary forces in the cities. The working class was also concentrated in the cities, but it was not strong enough and the conditions were not ripe for it to succeed in launching insurrections and holding power. Indeed the workers attempted such insurrections, which were drowned in blood.

To draw an analogy, one can consider the situation in the world as a whole. Marx and Engels felt, and it was an accepted “principle” of Marxism, that revolution would first come in those countries of Western Europe with the highest development of capitalism. It was not until Lenin and the October Revolution came along that the thesis was developed that revolution would develop first at the weak link of the imperialist system. Lenin was accused by the “orthodox Marxist” Kautsky of abandoning the proletariat for believing that a proletarian revolution could, in fact, first be made in the still predominantly peasant society of Russia. Of course the October Revolution proved Lenin right. Similarly, in China it was not only the case that it was in the countryside where the central contradiction that had to be solved to complete the democratic revolution was concentrated (the land question), but it was here that the power of the reactionaries was weakest and here that the proletariat could lead the masses of people in establishing and holding on to political power.

Hoxha tries to make it sound as if Mao held that in every country the road to victory lies in surrounding the city by the countryside. Quite the contrary. Mao held specifically that the model of the October Revolution, of insurrection in the cities, would be the road to power in the imperialist countries. Furthermore Mao never held that in all dependent and colonial countries the revolution would develop along this path. At first, he was of the opinion that such a possibility was only true in China for a number of specific reasons which he analyzed at length (including the fact that China was not a colony but a semi-colony with various imperialist powers competing to subjugate it; China’s vastness which allowed maneuvering room; etc.). However it has been proven conclusively by the development of the revolutionary struggle, especially in Asia, that Mao’s line on people’s war, of surrounding the cities from the countryside, and so on, has a greater applicability than simply to China. Although the path to power will never be exactly the same in any two countries, it is clear that, for example, the armed struggle in Vietnam essentially developed along the lines first laid out by Mao.

While it is certain that the path of people’s war in which the countryside surrounds the cities will not be universal for all the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, it is equally certain that it is the path many peoples have embarked on and will be the road to victory in many, if not most, such countries. To make a principle of opposing Mao’s line of people’s war is to oppose the revolution in the oppressed countries. Hoxha charges that

the peasant class, the petty-bourgeoisie, cannot lead the proletariat in the revolution. To think and preach the opposite means to be against Marxism-Leninism. Herein lies one of the main sources of the anti-Marxist views of Mao Tsetung, which have had a negative influence on the whole of the Chinese revolution.[23]

Of course Hoxha cannot offer any evidence that Mao thought the peasantry should lead the working class–indeed the whole of Mao’s writings make his opposite view crystal clear, and this point is restated literally dozens of times in Mao’s works. All Hoxha can do is say that since Mao believed that the concentration of the Party’s work had to be in the countryside, since Mao believed that the agrarian question was the principal internal contradiction that had to be solved by the democratic revolution, then for these reasons Mao must have felt that the peasantry was leading the workers!

Mao stated clearly and correctly that ”in the revolution in semi-colonial China, the peasant struggle must always fail if it does not have the leadership of the workers, but the revolution is never harmed if the peasant struggle outstrips the forces of the workers.”[24] To argue that the “leadership” of the proletariat requires that the peasant struggle be abandoned or stifled until the workers’ movement is in an upsurge is to betray the revolution.

In fact, Mao waged a fierce struggle to make sure that proletarian ideology–Marxism-Leninism–exercised hegemony in the Party and ceaselessly fought every kind of deviation, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois, that appeared in its ranks–in both stages of the revolution. He analyzed the different deviations and showed their class basis in society (something we will find Hoxha is completely incapable of when it comes to analyzing the class struggle under socialism). In hitting at the actual petty-bourgeois deviation in the Chinese Communist Party (represented especially by Wang Ming, Hoxha’s apparent hero), Mao makes some points which are very relevant in discussing Hoxha’s outlook. This passage is worth quoting at length:

First, mode of thought. Generally speaking, the petty bourgeoisie, when tackling a problem, thinks in a sub-jectivist and one-sided way, that is, it starts not from an objective, complete picture of the relative strength of classes, but takes its subjective wishes, impressions and idle fancies for actual conditions, a single aspect for all the aspects, a part for the whole and a tree for the woods. Petty-bourgeois intellectuals detached from the practical processes of production have a tendency toward doctrinairism, which we have already mentioned, because they have only book-learning and lack practical knowledge. Petty bourgeois associated with production have a tendency toward empiricism which we have also mentioned, for although these people are not without perceptual knowledge, they suffer from narrowness, indiscipline, isolation and conservatism characteristic of the small producer.

Secondly, political tendency. Politically the petty bourgeoisie tend to vacillate between the “Left” and the Right because of their way of life and their consequent subjective and one-sided mode of thought. Many typical petty-bourgeois revolutionaries long for a quick victory of the revolution, which will bring about a radical change in their present status; consequently, impatient of protracted revolutionary endeavour, they are keenly interested in “Left” revolutionary phrases and slogans and are apt to become sectarian or adventurist in sentiment and action. Such a petty-bourgeois political tendency, when reflected in the Party, gives rise to the above-mentioned “Left” mistakes on the questions of revolutionary tasks, revolutionary bases, tactical direction and military line.

But under different circumstances, the same or another group of petty-bourgeois revolutionaries may express pessimism and despair and, tagging after the bourgeoisie, entertain Right sentiments and views. Chen Tu-hsiu-ism in the latter period of the 1924-27 revolution, Chang Kuo-t’aoism in the latter period of the Agrarian Revolution and the expedient of running away from the enemy in the early period of the Long March were all reflections of such petty-bourgeois Right ideas in the Party. And once after the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese War capitulationism appeared. . . Petty-bourgeois ideology reveals its bad side under the stress of changing conditions in vacillation between “Left” and Right, a tendency to go to extremes, wishful thinking or opportunism. All this is the ideological reflection of their economic instability.[25]

Thus, we see in this passage that Mao was acutely aware of the problem of deviations from Marxism-Leninism in the Party and clearly pointed out their class basis. Elsewhere in the same work quoted above, for example, he addresses the question of those of petty-bourgeois origin who “joined the Party organizationally, but not ideologically or in the full sense, and are often liberals, reformists, anarchists, Blanquists, in a Marxist-Leninist guise and are therefore incapable of leading to victory not only China’s communist movement of tomorrow but even the new-democratic movement of today.” He stressed the need to “educate them and struggle against them in a serious but appropriate and patient manner” or else such people will “try to mould the Party’s features, the features of the vanguard of the proletariat, in their own image and to usurp the leadership in the Party. . . ”[26]

This, of course, was to be a long-term and serious problem facing the Chinese Communist Party which contributed in no small degree to its capture by the capitalist-roaders in the coup of 1976. It is clear that Mao recognized this problem early on, and devoted serious attention to finding the appropriate forms for preserving the proletarian character of the Party.

It is Hoxha, and not Mao, who puts forward a petty-bourgeois, not proletarian, line on the Chinese Revolution–precisely the line Mao summarized above, which in practice can only call for quick victory and reckless advances at one stage of the struggle, and when that does not yield an immediate “prospect” for victory, call for the communists to abandon the leadership of the peasantry, concentrate their work in the cities, and wait (i.e. capitulate) until “more favorable conditions” emerge.

Mao, the Comintern, the USSR and Stalin

In his efforts to paint Mao as a narrow nationalist and a Chinese chauvinist, Hoxha tries to make a case that Mao disobeyed the directives of the Comintern over the basic line of the Chinese revolution, did not regard the Soviet Union as the “fatherland of the world proletariat” and had the nerve to criticize Stalin. Hoxha’s views on this subject are a muddle (which we soon find to be typical for him) of wrong views, half truths and outright lies.

The fact of the matter, again apparent to anyone who has studied Mao’s works, is that Mao and the Chinese Communist Party constantly upheld the Soviet Union and Stalin. He repeatedly referred to the USSR as the homeland of the international proletariat and trained the Chinese communists and the people in this spirit. This is beyond question. Mao correctly understood the earth-shaking importance of the October Revolution and the importance of the existence of a powerful socialist state in the USSR in changing the entire political complexion of the globe. Mao pointed out that the “salvoes of the October Revolution brought Marxism-Leninism to China.” And it certainly cannot be said that statements like the following underestimate the importance of the Soviet Union to the success of the Chinese Revolution:

China cannot possibly gain her independence without the assistance of the land of socialism and the international proletariat. That is, she cannot do so without the help of the Soviet Union and the help which the proletariat of Japan, Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Italy and other countries provide through their struggles against capitalism. Although no one can say that the victory of the Chinese revolution must wait upon the victory of the revolution in all of these countries, or in one or two of them, there is no doubt that we cannot win without the added strength of their proletariat. In particular, Soviet assistance is absolutely indispensable for China’s final victory in the War of Resistance. Refuse Soviet assistance, and the revolution will fail.[27]

As far as Stalin and the Comintern were concerned, Mao did in fact agree with the basic line set forth by Stalin on the Chinese Revolution. We have already seen with regard to the cardinal questions of the Chinese Revolution–specifically the key role of the peasantry and the agrarian revolution, the bourgeois-democratic character of the revolution, the fact that armed revolution directly confronted the armed counter-revolution–that it is Hoxha and not Mao who has departed from the basic principles formulated by Stalin.

What Mao did insist is that the Chinese Revolution could not be a carbon copy of the Russian revolution, as some dogmatists insisted, and further that the task remained to integrate the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism with the concrete conditions of the Chinese Revolution. Furthermore, it is quite clear that Stalin, and especially the representatives of the Comintern in China, made numerous and serious mistakes regarding the Chinese Revolution when they attempted to map out more particularly the direction of the Chinese Revolution.

This can be seen on several occasions. At the time of the 1924-27 Revolution, the Comintern representatives in China–particularly Borodin–played a very bad role in the revolution, supporting the line of “unity above all” with the Kuomintang and Chiang Kai-shek. As Mao was to say, “Borodin stood just a little to the right of Chen Tu-hsiu, and was ready to do everything to please the bourgeoisie, even to the disarming of the workers, which he finally ordered.”[28] Although it must be said that Borodin went to the right of many of the actual positions officially held by the Comintern, this alone cannot explain his errors. Chiang Kai-shek had been made an honorary member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern, a position which he held well into 1927, after his nature was clear. Furthermore Stalin himself held out unrealistic expectations that the Wuhan government of the KMT (which he incorrectly characterized as petty-bourgeois) would continue the alliance with the communists after Chiang deserted the revolution.

It is quite clear that the Comintern gave bad advice to the Chinese Party, as is openly admitted by everybody except Enver Hoxha. Borodin himself told Anna Louise Strong in 1939 that “I was wrong, I did not understand the Chinese Revolution… I made so many mistakes.”[29]

Even after the massacre of tens of thousands of communists and workers had begun, the right opportunist leadership, with the support of Borodin and the other Comintern representatives, and over the opposition of Mao, ordered the workers to disarm and tried to stop the peasant movement, all in the hopes of appeasing the socalled “left wing” of the KMT.

Stalin, who we have seen held a generally correct line on the key role of mobilizing the peasantry, himself made a serious mistake when in October 1926 he sent a telegram to Shanghai stating that until Shanghai was captured, the agrarian movement should not be intensified and urging “caution and restraint.” Stalin admitted that the telegram was a mistake and pointed out that he “never regarded and do not now regard the Comintern as being infallible.”[30]

Stalin cancelled the telegram several weeks later and in November the Comintern resolution correctly emphasized the need to mobilize the peasantry. But the telegram played a seriously damaging role, lending the prestige of the CPSU and the Comintern to the right wing line being pushed by Chen Tu-shiu and Borodin.

Stalin made an important statement in regards to the relationship of the Comintern to the Chinese Revolution which should also help to illustrate Hoxha’s wrong views:

Notwithstanding the ideological progress of our Party, there are still, unfortunately, “leaders” of a sort in it who sincerely believe that the revolution in China can be directed, so to speak, by telegraph, on the basis of the universally recognized general principles of the Comintern, disregarding the national peculiarities of China’s economy, political system, culture, manners and customs, and traditions. What, in fact, distinguishes these “leaders” from real leaders is that they always have in their pockets two or three ready-made formulas, “suitable” for all countries and “obligatory” under all conditions. The necessity of taking into account the nationally peculiar and nationally specific features of each country does not exist for them….

They do not understand that the chief task of leadership, now that the Communist Parties have grown and become mass parties, is to discover, to grasp, the nationally peculiar features of the movement in each country and skillfully co-ordinate them with the Comintern’s general principles, in order to facilitate and make feasible the basic aims of the Communist movement.

Hence the attempts to stereotype the leadership for all countries. Hence the attempts mechanically to implant certain general formulas, regardless of the concrete conditions of the movement in different countries. Hence the endless conflicts between the formulas and the revolutionary movement in the different countries, as the main outcome of the leadership of these pseudo-leaders.[31]

Compare Stalin’s statement with Hoxha’s typical jumble:

In this period [since 1935–JW] Mao Tsetung and his supporters launched a “theoretical” campaign under the slogan of the struggle against “dogmatism,” “ready-made patterns,” “foreign stereotypes,” etc., and raised the problem of elaborating a national Marxism, negating the universal character of Marxism-Leninism. Instead of Marxism-Leninism he preached the “Chinese way” of treating problems, and the Chinese style “… lively and fresh, pleasant to the ears and eyes of the Chinese people,” in this way propagating the revisionist thesis that in each country Marxism should have its individual, specific content.[32]

Before showing what Mao actually said in the passage Hoxha is “quoting,” it is worth noting that Hoxha completely negates the struggle against dogmatism that Stalin called for, and simply ridicules the idea that “foreign stereotypes” or “ready-made patterns” could be a problem in the Party and the revolutionary movement. His purpose is clear, in that he wants to impose the Albanian Party’s own stereotyped line on the entire international communist movement. As far as the charge that Mao negated the “universal character of Marxism-Leninism,” once again we will let Mao speak for himself–and once again from the very paragraph (and the one that precedes it) which Hoxha is “quoting”:

The theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin is universally applicable. We should regard it not as a dogma, but as a guide to action. Studying it is not merely a matter of learning terms and phrases but of learning Marxism-Leninism as the essence of revolution. It is not just a matter of understanding the general laws derived by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin from their extensive study of real life and revolutionary experience, but of studying their standpoint and method in examining and solving problems. Our Party’s mastery of Marxism-Leninism is now rather better than it used to be, but is still far from being extensive or deep. Ours is the task of leading a great nation of several hundred million in a great and unprecedented struggle. For us, therefore, the spreading and deepening of the study of Marxism-Leninism present a big problem demanding an early solution which is possible only through concentrated effort. . .

. . . Being Marxists, Communists are internationalists, but we can put Marxism into practice only when it is integrated with the specific characteristics of our country and acquires a definite national form. The great strength of Marxism-Leninism lies precisely in its integration with the concrete revolutionary practice of all countries. For the Chinese Communist Party, it is a matter of learning to apply the theory of Marxism-Leninism to the specific circumstances of China. For the Chinese Communists who are part of the great Chinese nation, flesh of its flesh and blood of its blood, any talk about Marxism in isolation from China’s characteristics is merely Marxism in the abstract, Marxism in a vacuum. Hence to apply Marxism concretely in China so that its every manifestation has an indubitably Chinese character, i.e., to apply Marxism in the light of China’s specific characteristics, becomes a problem which it is urgent for the whole Party to understand and solve. Foreign stereotypes must be abolished, there must be less singing of empty, abstract tunes, and dogmatism must be laid to rest; they must be replaced by the fresh, lively Chinese style and spirit which the common people of China love. To separate internationalist content from national form is the practice of those who do not understand the first thing about internationalism. We, on the contrary, must link the two closely. In this matter there are serious errors in our ranks which should be conscientiously overcome.[33]

Thus we can see through the disgusting deceit that Enver Hoxha is trying to perpetrate, as well as the fact that he himself understands nothing of this question. Mao is stressing that Marxism-Leninism is universally applicable because it can and must be applied to the concrete conditions of each country. Of course, this is not a new discovery of Mao’s, but a basic principle of Marxism–although a principle which has not found its way into Hoxha’s thinking. To argue differently–that the analyses, strategy and tactics developed by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, or for that matter Mao, forged in the course of their revolutionary practice, can simply be imposed on any set of circumstances–is really to “negate” the real process of integrating Marxism with the revolutionary movement, as well as being a total liquidation of the meaning of dialectical materialism. This will only lead to the defeat of the proletarian party and the surrendering of leadership in the revolution.

We can also see from Hoxha’s hatchet job the deliberate effort to misrepresent what Mao is actually saying. Hoxha claims that Mao is “propagating the revisionist thesis that in each country Marxism should have its individual, specific content.” But Mao says very clearly that the content of Marxism and internationalism acquire a definite “national form.” Is Hoxha incapable of understanding the difference between form and content, or does he choose to lie just to confuse matters?

Mao, Stalin and Khrushchev

Unfortunately 1927 was not the last time in the history of the Chinese Revolution that the Comintern gave poor advice to the Chinese communists. We have already pointed out that the Wang Ming line, which Hoxha so stubbornly defends long after it has been proven to be wrong, was to varying degrees supported by the Comintern and perhaps by Stalin as well. From 1935 onward, during the period of the war against Japan, Wang Ming generally proposed a capitulationist line, and once again had the support of the Comintern in doing so. Wang Ming called for a “united government of national defense” in direct opposition to Mao’s call for a “people’s republic” and for a united front against Japan. Wang Ming at this time supported Chiang Kai-shek’s condition for unity with the Communists–namely that Chiang be given control over the Red Army. Of course Mao vigorously fought–and defeated–this.

This same tendency came out in much sharper form in 1945, following the defeat of Japan. At that time Stalin argued strenuously that the Chinese Communist Party should cast away any perspective of completing the bourgeois-democratic revolution in the near future and should instead fight for a legal role in a bourgeois republic led by Chiang Kai-shek. In response to the situation following the defeat of Japan, Mao did, correctly, enter into negotiations with Chiang, but at the same time he made very clear that any coalition government that was formed would have to be on the basis of preserving the independence of the Communist Party, its base areas, and its army. It was in 1945 that Mao put forward his famous statement “without a People’s Army the people have nothing” as a direct rebuke to those who would have had the People’s Army dissolve and be absorbed unconditionally into a Chiang government. It should be noted that this policy, which was being urged on the Chinese Party, was the line that many of the parties of Western Europe (in France, Italy and Greece, for example) followed at the time, with the result that any immediate prospect for revolution was lost.

And in 1946, when the revisionist wind was blowing full force in many of the communist parties in the world under the cover of the compromises the Soviet Union was making with the major imperialist powers it had been allied with during the war, Mao made a very salient observation:

Such compromise does not require the people in the countries of the capitalist world to follow suit and make compromises at home. The people in those countries will continue to wage different struggles in accordance with their different conditions. The principle of the reactionary forces in dealing with the democratic forces of the people is definitely to destroy all they can and to prepare to destroy later whatever they cannot destroy now. Face to face with this situation, the democratic forces of the people should likewise apply the same principle to the reactionary forces.[34]

The rest is history. Mao led the Party in waging the civil war against Chiang Kai-shek (in reality a war of liberation against U.S. imperialism and its domestic props, represented by Chiang) that led to nationwide victory in 1949. Up until the very end Stalin doubted their ability to seize power and continued to deal with Chiang’s government (including the granting of military aid) as though it would last for a long time.

Unlike Hoxha, however, Stalin was quick to admit his error in underestimating the strength of the Chinese Revolution and the possibility of its victory over the reactionary KMT regime. Stalin said straightforwardly that he was glad to have been proven wrong.

But despite Hoxha’s charge that Mao “casts the blame on the Comintern and its representatives in China” for the defeats and deviations in the Party,[35] in fact Mao put the blame on those Chinese “Communists” who insisted on blindly following others and who attempted to use their support from the Soviets as capital with which to promote incorrect lines. Again, it is worthwhile to look at Hoxha’s excerpt from Mao and compare it to the actual text. Hoxha notes that Mao said that Stalin made “a number of mistakes in connection with China. The ’Left’ adventurism pursued by Wang Ming in the latter part of the Second Revolutionary Civil War period and his Right opportunism in the early days of the War of Resistance Against Japan can both be traced to Stalin.”[36]

This quote, along with some other points, is, according to Hoxha, an example of Mao’s “attack against Stalin, intended to disparage his work and authority, to raise Mao Tsetung’s authority to the rank of a world leader, a classic of Marxism-Leninism, who allegedly has always pursued a correct and infallible line!”[37]

In fact the quotes that Hoxha uses are far from an attempt to “disparage” Stalin’s work, but rather taken from a passage of Mao’s defending Stalin against the attack of the Khrushchevite revisionists. The paragraph Hoxha quotes (selectively) from actually reads like this:

In the Soviet Union, those who once extolled Stalin to the skies have now in one swoop consigned him to purgatory. Here in China some people are following their example. It is the opinion of the Central Committee that Stalin’s mistakes amounted to only 30 per cent of the whole and his achievements to 70 per cent, and that all things considered Stalin was nonetheless a great Marxist. We wrote “On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat” on the basis of this evaluation. This assessment of 30 per cent for mistakes and 70 per cent for achievements is just about right. Stalin did a number of wrong things in connection with China. The “Left” adventurism pursued by Wang Ming in the latter part of the Second Revolutionary Civil War period and his Right opportunism in the early days of the War of Resistance Against Japan can both be traced to Stalin. At the time of War of Liberation, Stalin first enjoined us not to press on with the 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. Even so, we maintain the estimate of 30 percent for his mistakes and 70 per cent for his achievements. This is only fair.[38]

Several things are worth noting about this statement. First, it was written in April of 1956, only months after Khrushchev’s “secret speech” condemning Stalin and at a time when the Albanian Party, including Hoxha, had not yet seen through Khrushchevite revisionism. Secondly, in outlining Stalin’s errors in regards to the Chinese revolution, Mao was not telling anybody anything that wasn’t well known in China. What he was emphasizing was that despite these errors Stalin had to be upheld as a “great Marxist.” And he was criticizing those who were following Khrushchev’s wild and hysterical revisionism.

It is interesting to note that in Hoxha’s book he doesn’t dare repeat the lie that is found in some of his other statements of the past several years (and which some of the sects who follow him have broadcast)–that the Albanian Party initiated the struggle against modern revisionism. Such a claim is completely at variance with the facts based on public statements. In a backhanded way, however, Hoxha tries to slip it in the back door by saying the ties between the Albanian and Chinese Parties became closer “especially when the Communist Party of China, too, entered into open conflict with the Khrushchevite revisionists.”[39] The following statement by Mao in November 1956 makes very clear what Mao’s attitude was toward Stalin and Khrushchevite revisionism:

I would like to say a few words about the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. I think there are two “swords”: one is Lenin and the other Stalin. The sword of Stalin has now been discarded by the Russians. Gomulka and some people in Hungary have picked it up to stab at the Soviet Union and oppose so-called Stalinism. The Communist Parties of many European countries are also criticizing the Soviet Union, and their leader is Togliatti. The imperialists also use this sword to slay people with. Dulles, for instance, has brandished it for some time. This sword has not been lent out, it has been thrown out. We Chinese have not thrown it away. First, we protect Stalin, and, second, we at the same time criticize his mistakes, and we have written the article “On the Historical Experience of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.” Unlike some people who have tried to defame and destroy Stalin, we are acting in accordance with objective reality.

As for the sword of Lenin, hasn’t it too been discarded to a certain extent by some Soviet leaders? In my view, it has been discarded to a considerable extent. Is the October Revolution still valid? Can it still serve as the example for all countries? Khrushchov’s report at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union says it is possible to seize state power by the parliamentary road, that is to say, it is no longer necessary for all countries to learn from the October Revolution. Once this gate is opened, by and large Leninism is thrown away.[40]

Thus we can see clearly that Mao understood the essence of the Stalin question and the essence of Khrushchevite revisionism at a time when, by their own admission, the nature of Khrushchev was “not well recognized” by the Albanian Party, which “was not yet fully convinced” of Khrushchev’s revisionism.[41] We search in vain through Hoxha’s Selected Works, looking for anything during this period in the late 1950s which evinces an understanding anywhere near Mao’s of the meaning of what was happening in the Soviet Union. All that is to be found is the recognition that after the 20th Congress the imperialists and others (like the Yugoslavians) took advantage of Khrushchev’s attack on Stalin to attack socialism, and complaints that the Soviet Union had softened its stand on Yugoslavia;[42] and even here, while it was of course correct to attack Tito’s blatant revisionism, Hoxha’s concern often has overtones more of narrow nationalism than of proletarian internationalism, with Hoxha expressing the fear of “ . . intervention by the Yugoslav army under the pretext of saving socialism in Albania.”[43] The point is not that this fear was unwarranted–for it did have some foundation–but that the works from this period which the Albanian Party has chosen to reprint do not show Hoxha making any attempt at an analysis of the general line coming out of the CPSU’s 20th Congress.

Of course there is at least one work by Hoxha which is referred to in the notes of his Selected Works but is not printed there. This is a speech delivered “at the solemn meeting on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, on November 8, 1956.”[44] This would appear to be the same, or the same in substance, as the article ’The Party of Labour of Albania Completes its 15th Year’, written by comrade Enver Hoxha and published in the newspaper ’Pravda’, on November 8, 1956,”[45] which, Hoxha notes, “was published in full in ’Pravda’, without any alteration.”[46] Actually it is not too surprising that the Albanian Party preferred not to republish this, for in fact, while attacking Yugoslavia and Titoism, it gives virtually unqualified endorsement to the 20th Congress![47]

Of course, it is not that everyone has to be absolutely clear on every question right from the beginning or else be branded a renegade. The question is, rather, how can Hoxha justify puffing himself up and pretending to be the grand old man in the fight against Soviet revisionism when the evidence shows that he vacillated, betrayed a very partial understanding of what was going on, and could not offer anything approaching the level of the analysis of the revisionist takeover in the USSR which the Chinese Communist Party made under Mao’s leadership.

And later, it was by no means a matter of the CPC “too” entering into open conflict with Soviet revisionism. It was, of course, the Chinese Communist Party (under Mao’s leadership, it need hardly be added) which opened the public conflict over the revisionist theses of the Soviet 20th Congress on April 16, 1960, with the publication of “Long Live Leninism!” in the Party’s theoretical journalRed Flag. The Chinese Party continued this attack at the meeting of the World Federation of Trade Unions in Peking in June 1960. Later that month, at the Third Congress of the Rumanian Communist Party in Bucharest, representatives of various communist parties in attendance there met “. .. in order to fix the place and date of a meeting of all the parties, at which they will discuss, among other things, the disagreements existing between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of China.” This quotation describing the purpose of the meeting is from Enver Hoxha, writing at the time, and he goes on to say: “We must listen not only to what the Soviet comrades say, but also to what the Chinese say, and then have our say in the discussion.”[48] Later that year, when such a meeting was held (November 1960 in Moscow), Hoxha’s speech there was clearly oriented toward supporting the analysis and stand of the Chinese Communist Party–supporting the Chinese rejection of the “new” theses of the 20th Congress, a rejection which the Albanians had now decided was correct.

For Hoxha now to present himself as the leader in the fight against Soviet revisionism and accuse Mao of “vacillation” is ludicrous.


[2] Ibid., pp. 114-15.

[3] Mao Tsetung, Selected Works, Vol. 1 (Peking 1975), p. 24.

[4] J.V. Stalin, “The Prospects of the Revolution in China,” Works, Vol. 8 (Moscow, 1954), p. 385.

[5] Stalin, “The Political Complexion of the Russian Opposition,” Works, Vol. 10 (Moscow, 1954), p. 161.

[5a] ’The same thesis can be found at several points in Stalin’s writings on China, as well as in Comintern resolutions on the Chinese revolution. See, for example, the Resolution of the Eighth Executive Committee of the Communist International [ECCI] Plenum on the Chinese Question (May 1927), which held that:
“Agrarian revolution, including confiscation and nationalization of the land–that is the fundamental internal socio-economic content of the new stage of the Chinese revolution. . . and the communist party should put itself at the head of this movement and lead it.”[6]
Or, again, the June 1930 ECCI Resolution on the Chinese Question:
“The agrarian question lies at the centre of the Chinese revolution. The revolution develops in the form of peasant wars led by the proletariat.”[7]
This is not to say, of course, that either Stalin or the Comintern were always correct in their analysis of, or recommendations for, the Chinese revolution.

[6] The Communist International, 1919-1943: Documents, ed. Jane Degras, Vol. II: 1923-1928 (London, 1960), p. 386.

[7] Ibid., Vol. III: 1929-1943 (London, 1965), p. 120.

[8] Hoxha, op. cit, p. 114.

[9] Mao, “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism,” Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 170.

[9a] ’Whether the Albanian translators deliberately cite the Albanian edition of Mao’s works to prevent the reader from checking Hoxha’s hatchet jobs against the original, or whether it is simply a case of taking an extremely irresponsible course in the light of such an important question, we will leave to the reader to decide. In either case, it makes it virtually impossible for the great majority of the readers to refer to the original, especially when the articles in Mao’s Selected Works are not cited.

[10] Hoxha, op. cit.

[11] Mao, “On New Democracy,” Selected Works, Vol. 2 (Peking, 1975), p. 358.

[11a] Of course the other possibility is that Hoxha is deliberately throwing what he very well knows is slander at Mao. In any case, it is obvious that the revolution in Albania was of a two-stage nature, and the PLA, in its official history, seems to understand this quite well, noting that the Albanian revolution was at first “an anti-imperialist democratic revolution” which later developed into a socialist revolution, and explaining that “… in the first stage of the revolution the strategic objective of the Party was to ensure national independence and the establishment of the order of people’s democracy.”[12] Further, the Albanian Party’s line following the liberation of Albania is explained as follows:
“Under the new conditions, the Party advanced the slogan of national unity. Besides the broad masses of the people who had taken an active part in the war for national liberation, this union should include also all those who had been deceived by the reactionary chieftains or had stood aloof but now could make their contribution to the building of our new society.”[13]
This would certainly seem to amount to consolidating a stage which is rather far removed from socialism! Actually, this may have been a correct line for the Communist Party of Albania (as it was called at the time) to take. The point here is not whether it was correct or incorrect (although the Albanian Party itself admits to a series of rightist errors during this period);[14] the point is that for Hoxha to have played a leading role in a revolution which had a clear democratic stage, one which Hoxha and the Party saw at the time as a stage lasting for a while after power was seized, and for him then to turn around and accuse Mao of some sort of heresy for his development of the theory of the new-democratic revolution–this begins to smack more of deliberate subterfuge than of mere confusion on Hoxha’s part.

[12] History of the Party of Labor of Albania (Tirana, 1971), p. 175.

[13] Ibid., p. 253.

[14] Ibid., pp. 266-67, 321.

[15] Hoxha, pp. 48-49.

[16] Stalin, “The Revolution in China and the Tasks of the Comintern,” Works, Vol. 9 (Moscow, 1954), p. 297.

[17] Mao, “On New Democracy,” op. cit, p. 344.

[18] Ibid., p. 347.

[19] Hoxha, p. 65.

[20] See Part 2: “Revolutionary War and Military Line” in the series, Mao Tsetung’s Immortal Contributions in Revolution, June 1978. This series is now reprinted as a book, published by RCP Publications (Chicago, 1979).

[21] Stalin, “The Prospects of the Revolution in China,” Works, Vol. 8, p. 379; emphasis added.

[22] Mao, “On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism,” Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 160.

[23] Hoxha, p. 115.

[24] Mao, “A Single Spark Can Start A Prairie Fire,” Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 123, quoting and endorsing a letter from the Front Committee to the Central Committee.

[25] From “Resolution on Some Questions in the History of Our Party,” printed as an appendix to Mao’s article, “Our Study and the Current Situation,” in the 1965 edition of Vol. 3 of Mao’s Selected Works (quote from pp. 215-17).

[26] Ibid.

[27] Mao, “On New Democracy, op. cit, p. 355.

[28] Quoted by Han Suyin, The Morning Deluge: Mao Tsetung and the Chinese Revolution, 1893-1954 (Boston, 1972), p. 114.

[29] Ibid., p. 156.

[30] Stalin, “The International Situation and the Defense of the U.S.S.R.,” Works, Vol. 10, p. 18.

[31] Stalin, “Notes on Contemporary Themes,” Works, Vol. 9, pp. 338-39.

[32] Hoxha, p. 108.

[33] Mao, “The Role of the Chinese Communist Party in the National War,” Selected Works, Vol. 2, pp. 208-210.

[34] Mao, “Some Points in Appraisal of the Present International Situation,” Selected Works, Vol. 4, pp. 87-88.

[35] Hoxha, p. 120.

[36] Ibid., p. 119.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Mao, “On the Ten Major Relationships,” Selected Works, Vol. 5 (Peking, 1975), p. 304.

[39] Hoxha, p. 105; emphasis added.

[40] Mao, “Speech at the Second Plenary Session of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 341.

[41] History of the Party of Labor of Albania, p. 414; Enver Hoxha, Selected Works, Vol. 2 (Tirana, 1975), p. 484, editorial note.

[42] See, e.g., Hoxha, ibid., pp. 626, 638, 676.

[43] Ibid., p. 637.

[44] Ibid., p. 623, note.

[45] Ibid., p. 624, editorial note.

[46] Hoxha, ibid., p. 624.

[47] “Albania Labor Party is 15 years old,” Pravda, Nov. 8, 1956, p. 3.

[48] “Always Follow a Correct Line” (Hoxha’s contribution to the discussion at the meeting of the Political Bureau of the CC of the PLA, June 22, 1960), Albania Challenges Khrushchev Revisionism ([Translation from Vol. 19 of Hoxha’s Works] N.Y., 1976), pp. 2 and 3.

II. The Construction of Socialism in China

It is difficult to give a thorough critique of Hoxha’s analysis of the development of socialism, or lack of it, in China, as this section of his book is even more riddled with eclectics, cheap shots and deliberate falsifications. His basic thesis seems to be “that the Chinese revolution remained a bourgeois-democratic revolution and did not develop into a socialist revolution.”[49]

The heart of Hoxha’s argument is that under Mao’s leadership the proletariat “shared power” with the national bourgeoisie. He states:

The transition from the bourgeois-democratic revolution to the socialist revolution can be realized only when the proletariat resolutely removes the bourgeoisie from power and expropriates it. As long as the working class in China shared power with the bourgeoisie, as long as the bourgeoisie preserved its privileges, the state power that was established in China, could not be the state power of the proletariat, and consequently, the Chinese revolution could not grow into a socialist revolution.[50]

When, in 1949, the People’s Liberation Army succeeded in smashing the Kuomintang and establishing nationwide victory, the democratic revolution was in the main and essentially completed. Mao held, correctly, that all those sections of the people who opposed feudalism and imperialism, who were willing to accept a social order based upon the interests of the working class and the worker-peasant alliance, should be given rights in the new state. In the concrete conditions of China, this meant that sections of the bourgeoisie–particularly the middle, or national, bourgeoisie–which fit these criteria should be included in the democratic dictatorship led by the proletariat and were not, at that time at least, objects of such a dictatorship. This analysis was completely in keeping with Mao’s basic–and correct–line on the nature of the Chinese revolution, its targets, its motive forces, and its allies, however vacillating.

At the same time, Mao laid out the basic policy of the new government for the transformation to the socialist revolution in March 1949, even before nationwide victory was won. Mao clearly stated that:

After the enemies with guns have been wiped out, there will still be enemies without guns; they are bound to struggle desperately against us; we must never regard these enemies lightly….

On whom shall we rely in our struggles in the cities? Some muddle-headed comrades think we should rely not on the working class but on the masses of the poor. Some comrades who are even more muddle-headed think we should rely on the bourgeoisie…. “We must wholeheartedly rely on the working class, unite with the rest of the labouring masses, win over the intellectuals and win over to our side as many as possible of the national bourgeois elements and their representatives who can co-operate with us–or neutralize them–so that we can wage a determined struggle against the imperialists, the Kuomintang and the bureaucrat-capitalist class and defeat these enemies step by step.[51]

This strategy for advancing the revolution was based on the concrete conditions of China, in which modern industry consisted of only 10% of the national economy, while agriculture and handicrafts comprised the other 90%. Mao pointed out that, while this situation required the participation of the national bourgeoisie in the economy and a certain role for it even within the state itself, fundamentally the existence of a modern industry enabled the working class to lead the revolution and carry out socialist construction. He pointed out:

As a result, China has new classes and new political parties–the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, proletarian and bourgeois parties. The proletariat and its party, because they have been oppressed by manifold enemies, have become steeled and are qualified to lead the Chinese people’s revolution. Whoever overlooks or belittles this point will commit Right opportunist mistakes.[52]

Mao goes on to say that:

China’s modern industry, though the value of its output amounts to only about 10 per cent of the total value of output of the national economy, is extremely concentrated; the largest and most important part of the capital is concentrated in the hands of the imperialists and their lackeys, the Chinese bureaucrat-capitalists. The confiscation of this capital and its transfer to the people’s republic led by the proletariat will enable the people’s republic to control the economic lifelines of the country and will enable the state-owned economy to become the leading sector of the entire national economy. This sector of the economy is socialist, not capitalist, in character. Whoever overlooks or belittles this point will commit Right opportunist mistakes.[53]

Thus Mao’s orientation of moving the revolution forward to socialism was not a mere “shibboleth,” as Hoxha derisively calls it, but was based upon the actual realities of China and was backed up with a clear view of how to begin the process of socialist transformation of the economy. At the same time, Mao recognized that this could not be accomplished at one stroke. There still remained the huge agricultural and handicraft sections of the economy, in which capitalists still had some role to play and could not immediately be wiped out. He argued that:

In this period all capitalist elements in the cities and countryside which are not harmful but beneficial to the national economy should be allowed to exist and expand. This is not only unavoidable but also economically necessary. But the existence and expansion of capitalism in China will not be unrestricted and uncurbed as in the capitalist countries. It will be restricted from several directions–in the scope of its operation and by tax policy, market prices and labour conditions … The policy of restricting private capitalism is bound to meet with resistance in varying degrees and forms from the bourgeoisie, especially from the big owners of private enterprises, that is, from the big capitalists. Restriction versus opposition to restriction will be the main form of class struggle in the new-democratic state [i.e., during the transition to socialism–J.W.].[54]

This is the policy which Hoxha calls giving priority to the development of capitalism!

Anticipating that the reader might wonder how he squares his criticism of Mao in the early years of the People’s Republic with Lenin’s well-known New Economic Policy in the early years of the Soviet Republic after the civil war, Hoxha quotes Lenin, who said:

There is nothing dangerous to the proletarian state in this so long as the proletariat keeps political power firmly in its hands, so long as it keeps transport and big industry firmly in its own hands.[55]

And Hoxha comments:

In fact, neither in 1949 nor in 1956, when Mao Tsetung advocated these things, did the proletariat in China have political power or big industry in its own hands.

Moreover, Lenin considered the NEP as a temporary measure which was imposed by the concrete conditions of Russia of that time, devastated by the long civil war, and not as a universal law of socialist construction. And the fact is that one year after the proclamation of the NEP Lenin stressed that the retreat was over, and launched the slogan to prepare for the offensive against private capital in the economy. Whereas in China, the period of the preservation of capitalist production was envisaged to last almost eternally. According to Mao Tsetung’s view, the order established after liberation in China had to be a bourgeois-democratic order, while the Communist Party of China had to appear to be in power. Such is “Mao Tsetung thought.”[56]

The typical Hoxhaite mishmash of distortions and lies! First of all, political power, as well as transport and the key sections of big industry, were in the hands of the proletariat immediately following liberation in 1949. The proletariat and the Communist Party played the leading role in the state. As for transport and big industry in particular not being in the hands of the proletariat, apparently Hoxha believes that if he fantasizes something and puts it down on paper, people will accept it uncritically. This may be true of the sorry “international” he is trying to form around himself, but it will never be accepted by genuine Marxist-Leninists.

It is most amusing that Hoxha chose to emphasize the words “temporary measure imposed by the concrete conditions in Russia.” The concrete conditions in China were much less favorable for the immediate expropriation of the entire bourgeoisie. As we have pointed out, China was far more backward than Russia, it had been wrecked by not a few years of civil war, but by three decades of war, and had been ravaged and held in strangulation and stagnation by imperialism and feudalism. These were the concrete conditions that led Mao to adopt the policies that he did.

As for Hoxha’s brilliant observation that Lenin did not see the NEP as a “universal law of socialist construction” (as if Mao did) and his assertion that ”the preservation of capitalist production was envisaged by Mao to last almost eternally,” all we can do is remind him of the words Lenin directed against an equally brilliant polemicist (namely Kautsky), that attributing to an opponent an obviously stupid position and then refuting it is a method used by none too clever people–and none too Marxist, either, it might be added.

The theory of the new-democratic stage of the revolution in China will be dealt with more fully below, but already we can see that even at the earliest stage of the People’s Republic of China, when the emphasis was and had to be on consolidating the victory over the imperialists, landlords, and the big Chinese capitalists tied directly to the former, Mao was already taking the necessary steps to ensure that China’s future would be socialist and not capitalist. He did this by taking specific socialist measures to ensure that the leading factor of the economy would be the state-owned socialist sector and, more importantly, Mao waged a fierce struggle in the Party to make clear what the direction of the Chinese revolution had to be and to prepare the masses for the struggle to come.

As early as 1952 Mao began to sharply criticize the theory of the “synthesized economic base”–a line promoted by Liu Shao-chi which argued that China’s economy would be an harmonious amalgam of socialist industry, private industry, and a peasant economy. While Mao did, correctly, point out that all of the elements of capitalism in town and country could not be done away with at once, and some features would last a relatively long time, he made very clear that the transition to the socialist society had begun and that to try to “consolidate” the new-democratic order meant to plunge China onto the capitalist road. Theoretically this took expression in Mao’s statement of June 1952 that:

With the overthrow of the landlord class and the bureaucrat-capitalist class, the contradiction between the working class and the national bourgeoisie has become the principal contradiction in China; therefore the national bourgeoisie should no longer be defined as an intermediate class.[57]

Thus Mao clearly pointed out that the national bourgeoisie was a target of the socialist revolution. Did this mean, then, that all bourgeois property could be immediately expropriated or that politically the entire bourgeoisie could be disenfranchised at a single stroke? No, the realities of the Chinese economy still required the participation of sections of the bourgeoisie and it was still necessary to win the masses to carry further the socialist revolution–particularly unleashing the poor and lower-middle peasantry to carry out the collectivization of agriculture, but also utilizing and winning over the bulk of the intelligentsia, which had to a large extent been attached to the national bourgeoisie.

Once again, Mao’s own words are much more useful to the reader than Hoxha’s characterization of them:

Some people think the period of transition is too long and give way to impatience. This will lead to “Left” deviationist mistakes. Others have remained where they were after the victory of the democratic revolution. They fail to realize there is a change in the character of the revolution and they go on pushing their “New Democracy” instead of socialist transformation. This will lead to Right deviationist mistakes….

“Firmly establish the new-democratic social order.” That’s a harmful formulation. In the transition period changes are taking place all the time and socialist factors are emerging every day. How can this “new-democratic order” be “firmly established”?… The period of transition is full of contradictions and struggles. Our present revolutionary struggle is even more profound than the revolutionary armed struggle of the past. It is a revolution that will bury the capitalist system and all other systems of exploitation once and for all. The idea, “Firmly establish the new-democratic social order”, goes against the realities of our struggle and hinders the progress of the socialist cause.

“Move from New Democracy towards socialism.” That’s a vague formulation. Moving towards the goal and nothing more, moving towards it year in year out and still moving towards it after a lapse of fifteen years? Merely moving towards it means that the goal has not been reached. The formulation sounds plausible but does not bear scrutiny.[58]

The above statement, written in 1953, is further proof of Mao’s line that the socialist revolution had begun, and directly contradicts Hoxha’s characterization of it. Thus, it can be seen that Hoxha’s allegation that Mao advocated the establishment of a “bourgeois-democratic order” “after liberation in China” is, once again, the opposite of the truth. Mao saw the new;-democratic “order” in China after liberation as nothing less than the transition to socialism, characterized in substance by the rule of the proletariat–which was carried out in alliance with other progressive forces (as indeed it was, in somewhat different form, in Russia), most especially the masses of peasants (more on this later). Furthermore, anyone with any familiarity with the Chinese Revolution knows full well that between the years 1952 and 1956 Mao and the Chinese Communist Party led a struggle on a mammoth scale in China that resulted in the basic accomplishment of constructing a socialist economic base.

Chief among these accomplishments was the tremendous struggle in the countryside to transform agriculture from an individual owner peasant economy into socialist ownership. Mao led the peasantry in going beyond the primitive “mutual aid teams” that had been set up during the Civil War in the base areas after land reform was carried out and then spread throughout China after the victory in 1949. “Mutual aid” had elements of the socialist future within it, but it still did not fundamentally alter the old property relations, as it left private ownership of land intact. Mao fought to lead the peasants to form higher-level cooperatives and achieve basic collectivization and then quickly to form massive people’s communes–which represented the basic form of socialist ownership in the countryside for a long period of time, until the development of the productive forces and the rise in the socialist consciousness of the peasants could make possible a leap to state-owned farms with the peasants becoming wage workers.

To carry out this great battle Mao had to fight tooth and nail against the Rightists in the Party who held that “mechanization must precede collectivization” and tried to buttress their arguments by appealing to the experience of the Soviet Union, where collectivization did not take place until the early 1930s, Mao pointed out that to wait on collectivization until after China’s weak industrial base could provide the tractors and so forth necessary to mechanize agriculture would spell disaster for the revolution. After land reform was accomplished, polarization among the peasants developed rapidly, with some acquiring a well-to-do status and others remaining relatively impoverished. Mao pointed out that to allow this situation to develop unchecked would lead to the break-up of the worker-peasant alliance, the bedrock of the Chinese revolution in both its new-democratic and socialist stages (though on a higher basis in the socialist stage).

In the cities, those factories that had been operated on a state capitalist basis (which, as pointed out earlier, were never the dominant factor in industry in the People’s Republic) or on a joint state-private basis were converted into state property. It is true that in rnany instances the previous owners of these enterprises were given a fixed interest on the property seized from them–in fact, a form of exploitation of the workers’ labor. This was done for several reasons. First, because of the particularities of the long democratic stage of the Chinese revolution, many members of the Rational bourgeoisie had gone along with some of the transformations that had taken place. Even while setting out to overthrow and eliminate the bourgeoisie as a class, Mao saw certain tactical advantages in not treating every individual bourgeois as a die-hard enemy of the revolution. Second, the expertise of the bourgeoisie was still needed to operate certain factories and so on. This policy was not much different than Lenin’s well-known policy of “bribing” some of the technicians and managers of the old capitalist class to function for the Soviet state–a policy which continued well into the 1930s, and one which represented a necessary compromise.[59]

The fact that these interest payments continued for several years following the socialist transformation of industry in China is used by Hoxha and others to insist that no genuine socialist transformation ever took place. This, however, is a gross distortion.

Once the nationalization of the means of production previously in the hands of the national bourgeoisie took place, one could no longer say they were capitalist enterprises. The factories belonged to the people as a whole, in the form of state ownership. Production levels and planning were based on the overall needs of society as set forth in the state plans, not by the dictates of the market nor by the need to show a profit. The previous owners could not sell or otherwise transfer their former holdings, and the small amount of interest they received on their previous holdings could not be reinvested as capital. Similarly, even in those plants where the old owners were retained in one capacity or another, they no longer had the decisive say about working conditions, work rules and so forth. The products of the workers’ labor could not be appropriated privately. In short, there was no fundamental capitalist relationship in industry.

Of course, the interest paid the capitalists came from the labor of the working class and can thus be considered a form of exploitation. Similarly, when a socialist country imports capital goods from the imperialist countries and must pay interest for it (in one form or another), this represents a form of imperialist exploitation. But only a dogmatist–and mechanical materialist–would argue (as Hoxha has argued) that it is impermissible for a socialist state, big or small, to allow any loan agreements with the imperialists. This flies directly in the face of the policy of Lenin, who was willing to enter into a number of such agreements if conditions were right, or Stalin, who, as is well known, imported several whole factories from Western concerns, including Ford Motor Co. (This policy of Stalin’s is more to be criticized than emulated, but it is the height of hypocrisy for Hoxha, here as elsewhere, to make a show of upholding Stalin against Mao, while conveniently “overlooking” Stalin’s actual practice whenever it suits his purposes; and besides, on the general point at issue–the permissibility of loan agreements and the like in certain conditions–it is Stalin who is right, as opposed to Hoxha.)

The point of raising this is to focus on the fact that even where socialist relations of production have been firmly established, there can remain remnants of what actually amount to capitalist relations, in this case in the form of interest payments. This whole question of capitalist elements existing even within socialism is one which Mao devoted much attention to solving, as we shall see later. And it is also a field in which he again carried through vigorous class struggle against the exploiters.

As is also well known (though Hoxha seems to have “forgotten”), the policy of paying interest to the old owners was abolished completely during the Cultural Revolution. If this were not the case, why do the present Chinese rulers vilify the “Four” (and actually Mao) for “mistreating the national bourgeoisie,” and why do they call for all of their property and interest payments to be returned to them?–along with rapidly opening up China to imperialist exploitation for real and on a grand scale!

Naturally the kind of transformation of the economic base that was carried out in China in the first years of the People’s Republic could not take place without fierce struggle in the superstructure–in the state institutions, in the Party, in educational and cultural fields, and in the sphere of ideology in general. Mao’s prediction that “restriction or non-restriction of capitalism” would be the main form of the class struggle in the newly created People’s Republic was borne out. Many of the bourgeois forces who had gone along with the people’s regime came increasingly to oppose it as the socialist revolution deepened.

Much of this struggle came to a head during the years of 1956-59, a critical juncture in the class struggle in China. It was during those years that Mao championed the struggle for the people’s communes as well as the other aspects of the Great Leap Forward, measures aimed at accelerating the socialist revolution and constructing new socialist relations of production while pushing the economy ahead on a socialist basis. It was also at exactly this time that Soviet revisionism emerged triumphant, marked salient-ly by Khrushchev’s “secret speech” to the 20th Party Congress of the CPSU–which was not “secret” at all but, among other things, was a signal for revisionists in parties throughout the world (and China was certainly no exception) to jump out and fight for a revisionist line. At the same time, in a number of countries of Eastern Europe, notably Hungary and Poland, counter-revolutionaries had emerged and created much havoc under the signboard of opposing “dictatorship” and demanding (bourgeois) democracy. This situation also had its reflection in China, particularly among bourgeois intellectuals.

It was against this backdrop that Mao launched the “100 Flowers” campaign under the slogan of “Let a hundred flowers blossom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.” While offering no real analysis of this movement, Hoxha seizes on the slogan to make it seem that Mao’s point was that “side by side with proletarian ideology, materialism and atheism, the existence of bourgeois ideology, idealism and religion, the growth of ’poisonous weeds’ alongside ’fragrant flowers’, etc., must be permitted.”[60] Actually, any real examination of Mao’s writings during this period makes clear that the purpose of the “100 Flowers” campaign was exactly the opposite of what Hoxha makes it out to be.

Mao analyzed that in Chinese society there still existed antagonistic classes–the bourgeoisie and the proletariat–and that the class struggle between these two classes was not about to go away or be eliminated by decree. Further, he noted that among the ranks of the people, including the workers and peasants, there were also many contradictions and that, if not handled correctly, these also could turn into antagonism and spell disaster for the revolution. Thus Mao was dealing concretely with the difficult situation of handling two types of contradictions–antagonistic and non-antagonistic–at the same time, categories which were not mutually exclusive but in fact were closely bound up with each other and with the possibility of being turned into their opposites. The contradiction with the intellectuals–who, on the one hand, in their great majority, supported the people’s government, yet on the other hand were still unremolded and retained the ideology of the bourgeoisie–was, in the main, a non-antagonistic contradiction–that is, it had to be solved through debate and struggle and not through coercion or the stripping away of rights. At the same time, it was quite obvious that the contradiction between these unremolded bourgeois intellectuals interpenetrated with the antagonistic contradiction with the counter-revolutionaries, and that many of the themes being harped upon by the leading Rightists outside and inside of the Party were aimed at mobilizing these intellectuals as part of a social base with which to attack the socialist system.

Mao’s thinking on this subject was also influenced by his summation of the experience of the Soviet Union. This involved not only the rise of Khrushchevite revisionism, but also an analysis of the mistakes Stalin had made, especially in the mid and late 1930s, when, after the basic socialist transformation of industry and agriculture had been accomplished, he declared that there were no longer antagonistic classes in the USSR–nor did he see the possibility of their arising. The basic question of the class struggle under socialism will be dealt with a little later in this article, but even at this early stage of the revolution, when the question of a new bourgeoisie arising from within the ranks of the Communist Party and the state was not principally the question faced by the Chinese Revolution, Mao’s criticism of these errors of Stalin’s had an important influence on the direction he was taking. He recognized that to fail to see the difference between the two types of contradictions, to muddle the two together, meant two things–first, negating the possibility of capitalist restoration and the need to exercise the most vigorous dictatorship against those who would try to carry it out; and second, failing to understand that the contradictions among the people had to be dealt with in a different manner–through debate and struggle–and that not to do so would lead to transforming non-antagonistic contradictions into antagonistic ones and thus increasing the possibility that large sections of the people would be won over by the counterrevolutionaries and be mobilized as a social force for capitalist restoration. This problem, not “liberalism,” was at the heart of Mao’s policy of “let a hundred schools of thought contend.”

With the understanding that the class struggle would continue under the new socialist system, and recognizing that a major battle was brewing because of the convergence of the domestic and international conditions cited earlier, Mao issued the call to “Let a hundred flowers blossom, let a hundred schools of thought contend.” People were urged to freely air their opinions of the Communist Party, to express what they felt its defects to be, and to debate things out on the cultural, educational and scientific fronts. At the same time, Mao pointed out that the counterrevolutionaries (and here Mao was speaking specifically of those elements who had been uncovered and identified as such in the movements of the early ’50s to suppress counter-revolutionaries) should not be allowed this kind of freedom of speech and, more importantly, he drew up guidelines to assist the masses in sorting out “fragrant flowers” from “poisonous weeds”:

Literally the two slogans–let a hundred flowers blossom and let a hundred schools of thought contend–have no class character; the proletariat can turn them to account, and so can the bourgeoisie or others. Different classes, strata and social groups each have their own views on what are fragrant flowers and what are poisonous weeds. Then, from the point of view of the masses, what should be the criteria today for distinguishing fragrant flowers from poisonous weeds? In their political activities, how should our people judge whether a person’s words and deeds are right or wrong?. . . the criteria should be as follows:
(1) Words and deeds should help to unite, and not divide, the people of all our nationalities.
(2) They should be beneficial, and not harmful, to socialist transformation and socialist construction.
(3) They should help to consolidate, and not undermine or weaken, the people’s democratic dictatorship.
(4) They should help to consolidate, and not undermine or weaken, democratic centralism.
(5) They should help to strengthen, and not shake off or weaken, the leadership of the Communist Party.
(6) They should be beneficial, and not harmful, to international socialist unity and the unity of the peace-loving people of the world.
Of these six criteria, the most important are the two about the socialist path and the leadership of the Party.[61]

Mao had no illusions that the bourgeois Rightists would follow these criteria in the ensuing struggle. Quite the contrary. He fully expected them to launch a vicious assault on the leadership of the Party and on the socialist road, as did their counterparts in Hungary. He knew that they would leap out and try to mobilize public opinion for a restoration of capitalism whether or not the Party “allowed” them to do so. And by issuing the six criteria (and focusing especially on two of these), Mao was laying the best possible basis for the masses to sort out the flood of various opinions and political viewpoints that was sure to develop.

In the early weeks of the “hundred flowers” campaign during the spring of 1957, an all-out assault on the Party was launched by the Democratic League, a bourgeois political party which had participated in the government of the People’s Republic, and by the newspaper Wen Hui Pao, closely linked to the former and also representing the political viewpoint of the national bourgeoisie. In addition, there was a phenomenon of members of the Party joining in the hysterical attack. The Rightists called for the institution of a Western-style “democracy,” and demanded that the “Communist Party get off of the sedan chair.” Posters went up in various strongholds of the Rightists, especially the universities, along the same themes. In addition there were ugly incidents where posters written supporting the Party were torn down, people beaten, and so on.

Mao’s policy was to lay back and wait a few weeks, let the bourgeois Rightists jump out and expose themselves, and let those Party members with the same ideas and program rush to their defense. But far from seeing some sort of peaceful “coexistence” between the bourgeois line and Marxism-Leninism, Mao led the masses of people in launching a fierce counter-attack against the bourgeois Rightists. Under the blows of the Party and the masses, the bourgeois Rightists were forced to beat a hasty retreat, and the Party’s leadership among the masses was consolidated in the process. The Western press and the Rightists in China bitterly accused Mao of having “tricked” them by allowing them to come out with their reactionary program and then stomping on it. Mao pointed out:

The masses could thus clearly distinguish those whose criticism was well intentioned from those whose so-called criticism was malevolent, and thus forces could be mustered to counter-attack when the time was ripe. Some say this was a covert scheme. We say it was an overt one. For we made it plain to the enemy beforehand: only when ghosts and monsters are allowed to come into the open can they be wiped out; only when poisonous weeds are allowed to sprout from the soil can they be uprooted. Don’t the peasants weed several times a year? Besides, uprooted weeds can be used as manure. The class enemies will invariably seek opportunities to assert themselves. They will not resign themselves to losing state power and being expropriated. However much the Communist Party warns its enemies in advance and makes its basic strategy known to them, they will still launch attacks. Class struggle is an objective reality, independent of man’s will. That is to say, class struggle is inevitable. It cannot be avoided even if people want to avoid it. The only thing to do is to make the best of the situation and guide the struggle to victory.[62]

And guide the struggle to victory is exactly what Mao did during the “hundred flowers” campaign. The masses were aroused and were not about to tolerate the frantic attacks on the victories that had been won in the revolution and the socialist transformations that had been taking place. The bourgeois Rightists retreated, but Mao pursued them and refused to let them worm out of their predicament with a few pious phrases of self-criticism. Those who had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities (and there were instances of beatings, even murder, by the bourgeois Rightists) were arrested and brought to justice. Despite Hoxha’s attempts to portray Mao as a liberal who enjoyed having counterrevolutionaries around, Mao stated very clearly in the midst of the counter-attack against the bourgeois Rightists that:

Counter-revolutionaries must be eliminated wherever found. Kill few, but on no account repeal the death penalty or grant any general pardon…. [Punish those whom the public identifies as bad elements. At present, certain functionaries in the judicial and public security departments are neglecting their duties and allowing persons who should be arrested and punished to remain at large; this is wrong. Just as over-punishment is wrong, so is under-punishment, and these days the danger lies in the latter.[63]

In addition, the bourgeois Rightists outside and inside the Party who were labeled as such suffered a severe restriction of political rights. In fact, it was only after Mao died that the rights of these reactionaries were restored–by Hua Kuo-feng and Teng Hsiao-ping, following their revisionist coup.

The “hundred flowers” campaign continued throughout 1958. However, after the summer of 1957, the bourgeois Rightists were no longer on the offensive and the wall posters and newspaper commentary were instead the property of the broad masses, especially the workers and peasants. Criticisms of the Communist Party continued to come forward, but of an entirely different character, based in fact as well as word on the six criteria of Mao’s. These helped to steel and strengthen the Communist Party. And the widescale debate among the people left them with a much better understanding of the line of the Party and the nature of the socialist revolution and heightened their determination and their ability to carry it out.

As Mao was to point out, the “hundred flowers” campaign was also an important school for the Party itself, as well as for the masses. Mao pointed out:

Marxists should not be afraid of criticism from any quarter. Quite the contrary, they need to temper and develop themselves and win new positions in the teeth of criticism and in the storm and stress of struggle. Fighting against wrong ideas is like being vaccinated–a man develops greater immunity from disease as a result of vaccination. Plants raised in hothouses are unlikely to be hardy. Carrying out the policy of letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend will not weaken, but strengthen, the leading position of Marxism in the ideological field.

What should our policy be towards non-Marxist ideas? As far as unmistakable counter-revolutionaries and saboteurs of the socialist cause are concerned, the matter is easy, we simply deprive them of their freedom of speech. But incorrect ideas among the people are quite a different matter. Will it do to ban such ideas and deny them any opportunity for expression? Certainly not. It is not only futile but very harmful to use crude methods in dealing with ideological questions among the people, with questions about man’s mental world.

You may ban the expression of wrong ideas, but the ideas will still be there. On the other hand, if correct ideas are pampered in hothouses and never exposed to the elements and immunized against disease, they will not win out against erroneous ones. Therefore, it is only by employing the method of discussion, criticism and reasoning that we can really foster correct ideas and overcome wrong ones, and that we can really settle issues.[64]

Thus we can clearly see the two aspects of the “hundred flowers” campaign which has been so maliciously and fraudulently attacked by Hoxha and the other dogmato-revisionists (and, for that matter, by the Khrushchevite revisionists at the time, who also slandered it as “liberalism”). First, it was an effort to head off and beat back a counter-revolutionary trend that was developing in China as a result of socialist transformations and the expropriation of the bourgeoisie in China, and the rise of revisionism internationally–especially in the Soviet Union but also with the counterrevolutionary rebellion in Hungary. Second, the “hundred flowers” was a call for a nationwide debate on the ideological front among the ranks of the people, a debate which could not help but deepen the influence of Marxism-Leninism in the ranks of the Chinese proletariat and people.

One might ask, why do the dogmato-revisionists throw such a tantrum at the “hundred flowers” campaign? Of course, the most obvious answer is that it offers an excellent opportunity for Hoxha & Co. to rip quotes out of context, turn reality on its head and try to make it appear that Mao was a common liberal. But beyond this, the “hundred flowers” campaign drives Hoxha into a frenzy because the political understanding that lay behind it strikes so deeply at the whole mechanical and false view he has of the development of socialism. According to the view now dominant in the Albanian party, the masses will come to embrace Marxism and discard bourgeois ideology not in the course of the fierce struggle between the two lines and the two roads, not through unleashing a torrent of debate and struggle, but through a steady, “uninterrupted” process of the party educating the masses–a view, as we shall see, that leads Hoxha to his counter-revolutionary assessment of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

While a comprehensive analysis of Hoxha’s overall line and the practice of the Albanian party is beyond the scope of this article, it is worthwhile to contrast Mao’s point of view in the “hundred flowers” campaign with the Albanian party’s attitude toward class struggle under socialism. For example, the new Albanian constitution, adopted at the end of 1976, states:

In the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania there are no exploiting classes, private property and the exploitation of man by man have been liquidated and are forbidden.[65]

But no matter what is written in Albanian legal documents, and no matter how much Mr. Hoxha may forbid it, antagonistic classes still exist in Albania as they do and did in China. This provision in the constitution shows a confusion of legalistic forms with social reality. At the present point in history, it manifests a deliberate rejection of Marxism.

Because Hoxha does not recognize the existence of antagonistic classes in socialism after the expropriation of the bourgeoisie (on which more later), he cannot conceive of how to correctly handle the various types of contradictions within socialist society and inevitably falls into a whole series of “left” and right deviations, which lead, for one thing, to non-antagonistic contradictions among the masses being turned into antagonistic contradictions and the basis for socialist transformation being undermined.

Closely linked with Hoxha’s criticisms of the “hundred flowers” campaign and Mao’s alleged “liberalism” toward the national bourgeoisie is Hoxha’s criticism of the policy of the Chinese Communist Party of allowing certain bourgeois political parties to exist and even to have a certain say in the ruling bodies of the state. Hoxha quotes Mao: “Which is better in the final analysis, to have just one party or several? As we see it now, it’s perhaps better to have several parties. This has been true in the past and may well be so for the future; it means long-term coexistence and mutual supervision.”[66] (Words in italics not in the English translation of Mao.)

Hoxha goes on to comment:

Mao regarded the participation of bourgeois parties in the state power and the governing of the country with the same rights and prerogatives as the Communist Party of China as necessary. And not only this, but these parties of the bourgeoisie, which according to him “were historical,” should wither away only when the Communist Party of China also withers away, that is, they will coexist right up till communism.[67]

Once again it is most useful to let Mao speak for himself, and again from the same section from which Hoxha is “quoting”:

The Communist Party and the democratic parties are all products of history. What emerges in history disappears in history. Therefore, the Communist Party will disappear one day, and so will the democratic parties. Is this disappearance so unpleasant? In my opinion, it will be very pleasant. I think it is just fine that one day we will be able to do away with the Communist Party and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Our task is to hasten their extinction. We have spoken about this point many times.

But at present we cannot do without the proletarian party and the dictatorship of the proletariat and, what is more, it is imperative that they should be made still more powerful. Otherwise, we would not be able to suppress the counter-revolutionaries, resist the imperialists and build socialism, or consolidate it when it is built. Lenin’s theory on the proletarian party and the dictatorship of the proletariat is by no means “outmoded,” as alleged by certain people.[68]

Thus it can be seen that what Mao is saying has little resemblance to the words that Hoxha tries to put in his mouth. We assume that when Hoxha says the democratic parties “were historical,” he is referring to Mao’s statement that both the Communist Party and the democratic parties “are all products of history.” This is an obvious fact just as it is also true that both the Communist Party and the democratic parties will disappear one day. Mao does not say that the democratic parties will exist as long as the Communist Party, that is, until the advent of communism.

The reason for Mao’s policy of the “long-term coexistence and mutual supervision” of the Communist Party and the democratic parties is tied in directly with the actual conditions of the development of the Chinese revolution. Because the Chinese revolution went through a long democratic phase, it was natural and correct that some of the bourgeois parties who to one degree or another opposed imperialism and feudalism and were willing to work together with the Communist Party should have been allowed to play a certain role in the new regime. This was not only a question of trying to unite with certain bourgeois personages at the top of these parties, but more importantly, a question of uniting with, winning over and remolding the sections of the people under their influence–a not insignificant social force.

At the same time, Mao made clear that it was only on the basis of the leadership of the Communist Party, and of accepting the transition to socialism, that any kind of cooperation between the Communist Party and the democratic parties could be maintained. The idea that Hoxha proposes above, that the democratic parties enjoyed the same rights and prerogatives as the Communist Party, is absurd. The “right” and the “prerogative” to lead the revolution was of course the responsibility of the Communist Party, and it was only on this basis that the democratic parties played any role whatsoever.

Mao had no illusions about the role of the democratic parties. He pointed out that they opposed many of the policies of the Communist Party as well as having a completely different world outlook. At the same time he pointed out that, “They are in opposition, and yet not in opposition, often proceeding from being in opposition to not being in opposition.”[69] Only this process of proceeding to being not in opposition could provide the basis for long-term cooperation, and Mao was willing to hold open that possibility.

But Mao also prepared for another possibility as well, that the democratic parties could turn against the revolution. He pointed out clearly in 1957 at the beginning of the “hundred flowers” campaign that:

It is the desire as well as the policy of the Communist Party to exist side by side with the democratic parties for a long time to come. But whether the democratic parties can long remain in existence depends not merely on the desire of the Communist Party but on how well they acquit themselves and on whether they enjoy the trust of the people.[70]

Thus Mao made very clear what the “historical conditions” for the dissolution and withering away of the bourgeois parties was, and it was clearly not the same as the conditions for the Communist Party itself. “How well they acquit themselves” could only have meant whether or not they were willing to continue to accept the socialist transformations, and “enjoy the trust of the people” meant what attitude they took toward the workers and peasants and whether or not there was still a social base for these parties that had to be united with and won over.

In fact, the democratic parties largely ceased to exist during the Cultural Revolution. The form of their participation in the state, the Political Consultative Conference, became nothing more than a vestigial organ, with no power and usually no meetings. It was clear that in Mao’s view and the view of those who made up his revolutionary headquarters, the historical conditions which had required cooperation with the democratic parties no longer existed (except, perhaps, in some limited way in relation to Taiwan).

It should be pointed out that despite Hoxha’s attempt to make it appear that the existence of several parties is incompatible with Leninism, there is historical experience of this situation existing in the Soviet Union as well as in other countries. The October Revolution, for example, was launched not only by the Bolshevik Party (which, of course, was the leading and driving force behind it) but also with the participation of the Left Socialist Revolutionaries. Lenin proposed that representatives of that party participate in the new government (the Council of People’s Commissars) and wrote of the basis for this type of cooperation. Lenin pointed out that the Left Socialist Revolutionaries had great influence over the peasantry and to a certain extent represented those peasants willing to join the revolution, and thus he held that they had to be united with during and after the seizure of power. This cooperation between the Bolsheviks and the Left Socialist Revolutionaries was short-lived, not because Lenin and the Bolshevik Party adopted a policy of breaking up the alliance, but because the Left Socialist Revolutionaries rose up against the new regime, in particular in opposition to the treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Under these circumstances, the Bolshevik Party led a vigorous assault on the Left Socialist Revolutionaries who had become objects of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Much of the particular reason why the members of this party jumped out in opposition to the proletariat and the socialist regime was the fact that the revolution was on the defensive, under attack from the imperialists and the reactionaries. Had the situation worked out differently, there is nothing in Lenin’s writings to suggest that a longer period of cooperation with the Left Socialist Revolutionaries might not have been possible.

Lenin even went so far as to say that “the disenfranchisement of the bourgeoisie is not a necessary and indispensable feature of the dictatorship of the proletariat.”[71] While Lenin’s statement can by this time be seen to be incorrect (at least if taken to mean over the entire period of socialism), it would be even more wrong–and indeed counter-revolutionary slander–to call him a common liberal on account of it! The point is that upholding and adhering to the dictatorship of the proletariat is a principle for communists, but in carrying it out different tactics may (and will almost certainly) be necessary for different situations, and even if mistakes are made in the choice and use of tactics, this is obviously no grounds for the sort of accusations Hoxha makes (leaving aside the fact that he has not made the slightest case for Mao’s having made even tactical errors).

Further, while we are on the topic of “the leading and indivisible role of the Marxist-Leninist party in the revolution and the construction of socialism,”[72] it is worth noting that, as the official Albanian Party history admits, for years after liberation, “… the Party remained in a semi-illegal state even after it had become the leading party in power…. the Party program was hidden under the program of the Democratic Front,. . . Party members preserved the secrecy of their membership, and. . . the directions of the CPA [the Communist Party of Albania, as it was called at the time] were published as decisions of the Democratic Front….”![73] These policies are brought up in the context of a self-criticism by the Albanian Party itself, and they illustrate some rather blatant errors along the line of “everything through the united front.”

Even while Mao, on the other hand, was allowing the existence of the democratic parties and encouraging cooperation with them, he pointed out that if the revolution were to take a different turn, if it were to come under assault from the imperialists on a large scale, for instance, the democratic parties could well turn viciously against the revolution. He warned sarcastically: “Should something happen like atom bombs blowing up Peking and Shanghai, wouldn’t these people change? You can’t be too sure they wouldn’t. . . . many of them are lying low.”[74]

Finally on this point, it is necessary to return more fully to one theoretical problem in understanding the nature of the Chinese state during the transition from the democratic revolution to the socialist revolution–the question of “the people’s democratic dictatorship.” At the time Mao first put forward this slogan–of the joint dictatorship of four classes, the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie–the Chinese revolution was still in its first, democratic phase. Clearly all those classes, to greater or lesser degrees, had objective interests in seeing that revolution completed. Furthermore, one of the particularities of the Chinese revolution was that the long period of warfare and the existence of base areas meant that, in fact, two regimes were confronting each other. For instance, in the Third Revolutionary Civil War (the final war against Chiang Kai-shek), the base areas of the Communists (with a population of 100 million) confronted the Kuomintang-controlled areas. Naturally the existence of these base areas meant that it was necessary for the government to be able to suppress counter-revolutionaries, carry out the land reform, raise necessary food and clothing for the People’s Liberation Army, keep the economy going, and so on. Mao’s policy of a people’s democratic dictatorship was implemented in the base areas during this civil war, and the political parties, personages and so forth of all of the four classes were represented in the organs of power. It is quite clear how this was a correct policy given the tasks of the revolution at that stage.

When the People’s Republic was established in 1949, it involved the same class forces–basically those forces who sided with the revolution against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism. At the same time, this new government–clearly led by the working class and its Communist Party and based on the worker-peasant alliance–had the task of immediately embarking on the transition to socialism. Thus from the very beginning the “people’s democratic dictatorship” had two contradictory aspects–on the one hand it represented the victory of the democratic revolution and as such included representatives of the national bourgeoisie; on the other hand it was a government led by the political representatives of the working class that was determined to lead the revolution on to socialism and to the ultimate elimination of the bourgeoisie.

In retrospect it is quite clear that the latter aspect–the fact that the new regime was taking the socialist road–was principal and what determined its socialist character. By 1956 Mao was referring to the Chinese state as a “dictatorship of the proletariat” and the “people’s democratic dictatorship” interchangeably. And subsequent Chinese literature refers to the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat in 1949–i.e., with the victory of the democratic revolution on a nationwide scale.

Thus, in retrospect, it is apparent that the regime set up in 1949 was a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat–one which took into account the nature of Chinese society and the historical conditions which developed through the course of the democratic revolution.

Lenin had made an important observation in Russia which helps shed light on this subject. He pointed out that the dictatorship of the proletariat was, in the conditions of Russia, a special form of class alliance– specifically the alliance of the working class with the poor peasantry, who together comprised the majority of the people. It is not surprising that the form of class alliance necessary for the proletariat to exercise its rule–its dictatorship–in China would be different than in the Soviet Union, owing to the different material conditions and class makeups of the countries and the different paths to power that the revolution had gone through. It is also apparent that this alliance was not a static thing, that as the revolution developed into a socialist revolution, the nature of this alliance would change–hence Mao’s statement in 1953 that the “national bourgeoisie can no longer be defined as an intermediate class.”

It is also important to note that at the time Mao wrote his major theoretical works on this subject, there was no historical experience of the proletariat and its Communist Party in leading the victory of a democratic revolution and building a new social order on this basis. There was the experience of the People’s Democracies formed in Eastern Europe {including in Albania) on the basis of the victory over the fascists, which were also distinguished from the dictatorship of the proletariat in the communist literature of the time (and which, incidentally, often included several parties in the government). However, for a number of reasons, this experience could not be summed up by Mao on a theoretical level at that time, and in any case these situations differed significantly from that in China. Thus, Mao was really dealing with a new historical situation, which he handled quite correctly and he made new contributions to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian revolution in so doing.

It is the height of hypocrisy for Enver Hoxha to suggest that, especially since the achievement of the basic socialist transformation of ownership in 1956, the regime in China was anything other than the dictatorship of the proletariat. All of the literature put out during the Cultural Revolution until the time of the 1976 coup makes it quite clear that Mao’s line and the line of the revolutionaries who supported him was for the proletariat to exercise dictatorship over the bourgeoisie in all spheres of social life. Furthermore, the entire experience of the Chinese revolution showed that Mao was leading the Chinese proletariat and masses in ruthlessly suppressing the bourgeoisie both in the form of the old exploiters dreaming of a comeback as well as new bourgeois elements engendered from within socialist society itself. Yet Hoxha is reduced to repeating the tired and unbelievably puny refrain of the Trotskyites as to why the Chinese state was not a dictatorship of the proletariat–the stars on the flag of the People’s Republic![75]

Having examined Hoxha’s attacks on the course of the Chinese Revolution up through the basic establishment of a socialist economy in 1956 and the “hundred flowers” campaign the next year, and before going on to his attacks on the Cultural Revolution and Mao’s line of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, it is worthwhile to step back for a moment and ask why Hoxha bases so much of his critique of Mao on that period of the Chinese revolution and tries to hinge almost his whole argument on the fact that, allegedly, Mao “conciliated” with the old exploiters in China.

First, Enver Hoxha likes to remain on what he thinks is firm ground. After all, analyzing the classes and the class contradictions under socialism is not his forte, and he hopes that a simple appeal to mechanical, dogmatic thinking coupled with a rewriting of history will win the naive reader to Hoxha’s own reactionary conclusions. But more importantly, Hoxha is deliberately trying to steer the discussion away from where it has to center–the problem of how to prevent a new bourgeoisie, born out of the very socialist society, from seizing power and restoring capitalism. For it is exactly around this question that Mao Tsetung made his most vital and brilliant contributions to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian revolution, both in theory and practice. Hoxha does not want to, and cannot, take on Mao’s line directly. He knows that on this front he will have even more trouble upholding the mistakes of Stalin as the final word on Marxism. Furthermore, he undoubtedly fears revealing to the world the truly eclectic and muddled formulations of the Albanian party on these questions. So he hopes to divert attention from the question of the Cultural Revolution and the line that lay behind it and instead focus on the old exploiters in Chinese society, who, in fact, played only a secondary role in the restoration of capitalism in China. In trying to carry out the discussion on this basis, Hoxha is actually standing on the same footing as the current Chinese revisionist rulers, who were anxious to prove that the danger of capitalist restoration came from any place other than themselves. It is only now, with their coup completed and their efforts to keep much of a Marxist mask at all diminishing daily, that Hua and Teng have brought back and hailed most every dreg and exploiter of the old society.


[49] Hoxha, Imperialism and the Revolution, pp. 115-16.

[50] Ibid, p. 117.

[51] Mao, “Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China,” Selected Works, Vol. 4, p. 364.

[52] Ibid., p. 367.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid., p. 368.

[55] Quoted by Hoxha on p. 117.

[56] Ibid., p. 117.

[57] Mao, “The Contradiction Between the Working Class and the Bourgeoisie is the Principal Contradiction in China,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 77.

[58] Mao, “Refute Right Deviationist Views That Depart From the General Line,” ibid., p. 93-94.

[59] See Red Papers 7: How Capitalism Has Been Restored in the Soviet Union and What This Means For the World Struggle (Chicago, 1974), p. 15.

[60] Hoxha, p. 112.

[61] Mao, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 412.

[62] Mao, “ Wen Hui Pao’s Bourgeois Orientation Should Be Criticized,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 454.

[63] Mao, “The Situation in the Summer of 1957,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 476.

[64] Mao, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” op. cit, pp. 410-11.

[65] Article 16, Constitution of the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania (Tirana, 1977), p. 13.

[66] Hoxha, p. III, quoting Mao, “On the Ten Major Relationships,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 296.

[67] Hoxha, ibid.

[68] Mao, “On the Ten Major Relationships,” op. cit, p. 297.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Mao, “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 413.

[71] Lenin, The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky, Collected Works, Vol. 28 (Moscow, 1965), p. 271.

[72] Hoxha, Imperialism and the Revolution, p. 112.

[73] History of the Party of Labor of Albania, p. 321.

[74] Mao, “Talks at Conference of Party Committee Secretaries,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 353.

[75] Hoxha, p. 116.

III. On Continuing the Revolution Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat

It was in developing the theory and practice of “continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat” that Mao Tsetung made his greatest contribution to and development of the science of Marxism-Leninism. This truth came to be recognized by all the genuine Marxist-Leninists in the course of the struggle against modern revisionism, and especially in the course of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. In fact, Hoxha and the Albanian Party spoke highly of this contribution of Mao’s. It can be said that the recognition of this development of Marxism-Leninism by Mao was, and is, a cardinal point of demarcation between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism. Thus it comes as no surprise that in his attempts to dethrone Mao from the position as one of the great classic Marxist-Leninist teachers and leaders, Hoxha launches an hysterical, frenzied assault on the Cultural Revolution, without, however, ever trying to confront directly the theoretical teachings of Mao and the revolutionaries who fought together with him on this question.

Hoxha’s summary of the Cultural Revolution is remarkable for its superficiality as well as its reactionary line:

The course of events showed that the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was neither a revolution, nor great, nor cultural, and in particular, not in the least proletarian. It was a palace putsch on an all-China scale for the liquidation of a handful of reactionaries who had seized power.

Of course [!], this Cultural Revolution was a hoax. It liquidated both the Communist Party of China, and the mass organizations, and plunged China into new chaos. This revolution was led by non-Marxist elements [read: the Four], who have been liquidated through a military putsch staged by other anti-Marxist and fascist elements.[76]

Thus we have Hoxha’s basic thesis–far from original–that the Cultural Revolution was nothing more nor less than a factional power struggle manipulated by a handful of leaders at the top of the Communist Party. What it shows is that he is unable to understand the dialectical development of socialist society and thus is completely at a loss to understand the Cultural Revolution and its world-historic lessons.

The Cultural Revolution is hated by Hoxha because it went entirely against his deep-rooted metaphysical world outlook, in which stability, unity and harmony are the principal characteristics of the universe and certainly the highest goals to strive for in earthly society. “Chaos” is Enver Hoxha’s favorite epithet to hurl at the Cultural Revolution, for the concept of “chaos”–and in fact the struggle between opposites, the class struggle, revolution itself– goes against the Hoxha vision of the world and of where it is heading, which, as noted before, has much more in common with the religious conception of “heaven” than it does with dialectical materialism. Before going on with an examination of Hoxha’s metaphysical world outlook, which is at the root of his entire attack on Mao, it is useful to examine the particular “chaos” he found so repugnant in China, the Cultural Revolution.

In the Cultural Revolution Mao committed the Ultimate Sin for the dogmato-revisionists–unleashing the revolutionary masses to struggle against and seize power from the leading capitalist-roaders within the Party who had usurped portions of Party and state power. If we are to take Hoxha at his word, he had no quarrel with going after those against whom the Cultural Revolution was directed–namely, Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping’s revisionist headquarters (although we will see that his “opposition” to their line is more imaginary than real). But to unleash a torrent of mass struggle on an unprecedented scale, to not conduct the struggle through the orderly processes of the Party and state, and most importantly, to rely directly on the masses–the workers, peasants, soldiers and students–this was something else again!

Here is what Hoxha writes:

When we saw that this Cultural Revolution was not being led by the party but was a chaotic outburst following a call issued by Mao Tsetung, this did not seem to us to be a revolutionary stand. It was Mao’s authority in China that made millions of unorganized youth, students and pupils, rise to their feet and march on Peking, on party and state committees, which they dispersed. It was said that these young people represented the “proletarian ideology” in China at that time and would show the party and the proletarians the “true” road! “This grave situation stemmed from MaoTsetung’s old anti-Marxist concepts of underestimation of the leading role of the proletariat and overestimation of the youth in the revolution. Mao wrote: “What role did the Chinese young people begin to play since the ’May 4th Movement’? In a way they began to play a vanguard role–a fact recognized by everybody in our country except the ultra-reactionaries. What is a vanguard role? It means taking the lead. …

Thus the working class was left on the sidelines, and there were many instances when it opposed the red guards and even fought them. Our comrades, who were in China at the time, have seen with their own eyes factory workers fighting the youth. The party was disintegrated. It was liquidated, and the communists and the proletariat were totally disregarded. This was a very grave situation.[77]

Imagine that! The Albanian comrades actually saw “with their own eyes” factory workers fighting students! Hoxha’s attitude can only be compared to Adam’s after taking a bite out of the apple. It’s lucky Hoxha didn’t himself go to China during the Cultural Revolution, or he may have seen workers fighting workers and dropped dead of a heart attack right on the spot. The truly amazing question, and one we cannot answer at this time, is how Hoxha could actually have gone through a revolution and still utter such inanities.

The fact that during the Cultural Revolution Party committees were dissolved, the regular functioning of the Party’s chain of command to a large degree suspended and so on are well known–they have always been harped upon by the Soviet revisionists as proof of Mao’s “idealism” and ultra-“leftism”. (Wang Ming’s writings from Moscow–where he ended his career as an apologist for Soviet revisionism–again are particularly instructive, and after reading them one would suggest that his heirs sue Hoxha for plagiarism!) One understands why the Soviets don’t want to talk about what was the nature of the Party committees that were dissolved, what line they were following, and so on, but one would hope for a little better from Enver Hoxha. Instead all we hear is about the form and not the content of the Party committees. And since people know very well what the actual content of those Party committees was and what line they were following, it cannot help but make the reader suspect that, despite Hoxha’s protestations, he considers the “communists” so rudely “disregarded” to be none other than the Party bureaucrats aligned with Liu Shao-chi.

The situation Mao was addressing at the start of the Cultural Revolution in 1966 is quite clear. The revisionist headquarters in the Party led by Liu Shao-chi had succeeded in usurping power in many of the key industries, towns and provinces. Teng Hsiao-ping, in his capacity of General Secretary of the Party, held a hammerlock on the chains of command of the Party. Revisionism was dominant on the cultural and educational fronts. The revisionist line was being followed by a great many directors of factories and so on. This situation enabled the bourgeois headquarters to thwart the revolutionary line of Mao, severely hamper the training of the masses in Marxism-Leninism, and use a great deal of the organizational structure of the Party as a weapon to suppress and control the masses. (That this situation was not a result of Mao’s “errors” or “liberalism” is a matter we will return to shortly.) The strength of the revisionist headquarters can be seen not only by examining the documents and policies that were prevalent at the time in the Chinese Party, but also by their subsequent strength in China even after being dealt some big defeats in the Cultural Revolution. For it is above all the old Liu Shao-chi headquarters, to which Teng is the rightful heir, together with the part of the bureaucracy loyal to Chou En-lai, that played the central role in the counterrevolutionary coup of 1976. The intensity with which the capitalist-roaders in China have attacked all the gains of the revolution and the speed with which they are restoring the capitalist system both indicate the real strength of this class. The notion that it could have been eliminated by merely reshuffling the make-up of the key bodies of the Party and putting out a directive or two would be laughable if it weren’t criminal, especially in light of what has happened in China. Similarly, the program of the current revisionist rulers in China makes clear what it was that Mao and the revolutionary Left were fighting, that it was not simply an apolitical battle between “factions” but a battle between classes to decide along what line, what road, the bourgeois or the proletarian, China would advance.

It seems that Hoxha’s advice to the revolutionaries in China comes down again to the tired refrain of the opportunists of Marx’s day on the Paris Commune and Plekhanov’s comments on the 1905 Revolution that “they should not have taken to arms.” Of course the question wasn’t whether to take up armed struggle, but it was a question of whether an actual revolution was called for, a political uprising directed against the top people in the Party taking the capitalist road. And, while it had particular features, occurring as it did under the dictatorship of the proletariat, it remains true that, like any revolution, the Cultural Revolution could only advance through turbulent struggle. It could not but have counter-currents within it and involve different sections of the revolutionary masses who brought into the struggle their own prejudices and limitations and, at times, contradictory outlooks and programs. And, like any revolution, it could not help but be met by fierce and stubborn resistance–not only from the targets of the revolution who represented only a very small percentage of Chinese society and of the Party–but also from among sections of the masses themselves, including even many workers, who could be mobilized to one degree or another and at certain junctures as part of the social base and the social movement of the reactionaries. This is not simply a feature of the Cultural Revolution, it is a law of class struggle, of revolution in general. Here it might be helpful to recall Lenin’s famous comment on the Easter Rebellion of the Irish people in 1916, directed at those who tried to use “Marxism” to ridicule, downplay and slander that heroic uprising as a “putsch” and by so doing ended in objective unity with the imperialist bourgeoisie.

The term “putsch,” in its scientific sense, may be employed only when the attempt at insurrection has revealed nothing but a circle of conspirators or stupid maniacs, and has aroused no sympathy among the masses. The centuries-old Irish national movement, having passed through various stages and combinations of class interest, manifested itself, in particular, in a mass Irish National Congress in America. . which called for Irish independence; it also manifested itself in street fighting conducted by section of the urban petty bourgeoisie and a section of the workers after a long period of mass agitation, demonstrations, suppression of newspapers, etc. Whoever calls such a rebellion a “putsch” is either a hardened reactionary, or a doctrinaire hopelessly incapable of envisaging a social revolution as a living phenomenon.

To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without revolts by small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the church, and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc.–to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution. So one army lines up in one place and says, “We are for socialism”, and another, somewhere else and says, “We are for imperialism”, and that will be a social revolution! Only those who hold such a ridiculously pedantic view could vilify the Irish rebellion by calling it a “putsch”.

Whoever expects a “pure” social revolution will never live to see it. Such a person pays lip-service to revolution without understanding what revolution is.[78]

Lenin’s words strike hard at the dogmato-revisionist line of Enver Hoxha, which leads him to slander the most massive, sustained and conscious revolutionary upsurge in the history of the world as “a palace putsch on an all-China scale.”

Let us look further at the way Hoxha treats the question of youth, of the role they can play as an initiating factor in the revolution. He condemns the Cultural Revolution because ”millions of unorganized youth, students and pupils” rose to their feet and marched on Peking. The theoretical basis for this “error,” according to Hoxha, is found in Mao’s famous work “Orientation of the Youth Movement,” where Mao has the audacity to say that “in a way” Chinese youth began to play a vanguard role, which he defines as ”taking the lead and marching in the forefront of the revolutionary ranks.”[79]

Again, we will have to agree with Mao and not with Hoxha. First of all, it is a fact, undeniable by anyone with the slightest concern for historical accuracy, that Chinese youth did “in a way” play a vanguard role in the May 4th Movement in China and subsequently. It is equally undeniable that this historical experience, of youth “taking the lead,” of “marching in the forefront of the revolutionary ranks” has been repeated numerous times and throughout history. Today we see this before our very eyes in Iran, where the youth, including the students and young intellectuals, have stood in the forefront of that mighty movement, helping to arouse the broad masses of the Iranian proletariat and people, and sacrificing their lives in the armed struggle. Indeed, it is difficult to comprehend any truly great and profound revolutionary process in which this wasn’t true to a large degree.

But for Hoxha, the dynamic role of youth–their daring, their desire to destroy the old world, and so on–is really more of a liability than an asset, something to be attacked and stifled unless it can be “led” (by which he really means controlled) by the working class and its party. (As with the peasant question, at issue is not whether or not youth will rise up, but whether to lead or to stifle the initiative of the youth.)

What does it mean for the working class and its party to “lead” the youth? According to Hoxha it means that the youth should trail passively at the rear of the working class, and heaven forbid the thought that the youth might themselves have a kind of vanguard, that is leading, role to play in mobilizing and organizing the broad ranks of the people.

Mao is, of course, quite clear that in an overall sense it is the working class that must provide leadership in the revolution. In the companion article to the one Hoxha quotes, (79a) Mao makes quite clear the basic class relationships:

China’s democratic revolution depends on definite social forces for its accomplishment. These social forces are the working class, the peasantry, the intelligentsia and the progressive section of the bourgeoisie,. . . with the workers and peasants as the basic revolutionary forces and the workers as the class which leads the revolution. It is impossible to accomplish the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal democratic revolution without these basic revolutionary forces and without the leadership of the working class.[80]

But it is at this point that Mao and Hoxha part company. For once it is agreed upon that there must be the “leadership of the working class” (and this can only mean, first and foremost, the leadership of the working class party and of the working class line, Marxism-Leninism), the question remains, what is the content of this leadership, what does it seek to accomplish, along what lines does it steer the youth?

The whole content of Mao’s article, “The Orientation of the Youth Movement” (as its title implies), which Hoxha “quotes,” is exactly designed to provide leadership, an orientation, for the youth:

Our young intellectuals and students must go among the workers and peasants, who make up 90% of the population, and mobilize and organize them. Without this main force of workers and peasants, we cannot win the fight against imperialism and feudalism, we cannot win it by relying only on the contingent of young intellectuals and students. Therefore, the young intellectuals and students throughout the country must unite with the broad masses of workers and peasants and become one with them, and only then can a mighty force be created.[81]

Mao noted that “In the Chinese democratic revolutionary movement, it was the intellectuals who were the first to awaken.. . . But the intellectuals will accomplish nothing if they fail to integrate themselves with the workers and peasants.”[82] Here Mao is making clear the correct, dialectical view of the relationship between the fact that the intellectuals, particularly the students, are often the first force in a given revolutionary movement to rise in struggle–and play a vital role in helping to “mobilize and organize” the masses of people–and the fact that it is only by integrating with the workers and peasants that the intellectuals can make a real contribution to the revolutionary process. And, as he points out repeatedly in his writings, it is only by doing so that the youth can be transformed in their world outlook and become genuine Marxists.

This is an example of real leadership. Not Enver Hoxha’s concept of strait-jacketing the youth movement and having it march obediently one step behind the workers. Real Marxist-Leninist leadership in the revolution means knowing how to bring to the fore and unleash the factors for revolution and at the same time provide guidance and a correct orientation for the movement overall and its particular parts. Real leadership does not mean ignoring or trying to eliminate the contradictions between (and hence the different contradictory roles of) different sections of the masses, but recognizing and utilizing these contradictions to push the revolution forward. Enver Hoxha’s concept smacks much more of the “everything at my command, everything at my disposal” concept of Lin Piao than of the Marxist method of leadership shown by Mao.

Only a person hopelessly entangled in the outlook that Lenin described, of waiting for the two armies to appear ready-made, packaged and neatly labeled, would be capable of criticizing Mao for recognizing and utilizing the fact that very often in the revolutionary struggle youth will play a kind of vanguard role. And only someone who is determined that a revolution will never come about, or at least who has no conception of what a revolution is, would want to avoid mobilizing sections of the revolutionary masses and sections of the workers themselves before the day when the workers as single, monolithic and united whole rise up (a day which, in that sense, will never come in reality). For there will never be a time, as long as there are classes, when workers aren’t divided into sections holding revolutionary, non-revolutionary and even counter-revolutionary sentiments and lines. And these divisions will lead to conflicts (ideological, political and, yes, even physical conflicts at times) between sections of the workers and other sections of the revolutionary masses.

It was this understanding that enabled Mao, at the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution, to rely heavily on the initiative and the daring of the youth and the students–not as a substitute for the working class, but to help awaken and mobilize the working class in this great battle. Hoxha should be familiar with Mao’s understanding of this, since Mao spelled it out quite succinctly to a visiting delegation from Albania in 1967:

The “May 4th” Movement was launched by the intellectuals, thereby fully demonstrating their foresight and awareness. However, we must depend on the masters of the time, the workers, peasants and soldiers, to serve as the main force in carrying through thoroughgoing revolutions on the order of a real Northern Expedition or Long March.. . . Although it was the intellectuals and the broad masses of young students who launched the criticism of the bourgeois reactionary line, it was, nonetheless, incumbent upon the masters of the time, the broad masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, to serve as the main force in carrying the revolution through to completion,. . . Intellectuals have always been quick in altering their perception of things, but, because of the limitations of their instincts, and because they lack a thorough revolutionary character, they are sometimes opportunistic.[83]

Thus it is clear that in theory (as well as in practice) Mao regarded the role of the students in China as mainly an initiating one. He fully recognized their weaknesses–especially their tendencies toward anarchism, ultra-“leftism,” but also toward conservatism at times–and their problems in uniting the revolutionary ranks to carry the struggle through to victory. Without the initial role of the students, especially the heroic Red Guards, revisionism would have triumphed much sooner in China and the Cultural Revolution would never have gotten off the ground; without the fact that the workers became the main and leading force in the Cultural Revolution, initial victories would have turned to defeat, the great accomplishments of the Cultural Revolution would not have been achieved, and certainly not consolidated, and likewise revisionism would have triumphed in China many years before it actually did.

Hoxha leaves out the role of the working class in the Cultural Revolution because it doesn’t fit the fantasy he is trying to pass off on revolutionaries throughout the world. But who, may we ask, was the driving force of the January Storm in Shanghai–actually the first and pace-setting example of the revolutionary masses “dissolving” the reactionary Party committees? Everyone with the least familiarity with the events in China knows that it was mainly the organizations of the revolutionary workers in Shanghai, led by Chang Chun-chiao, Yao Wen-yuan and Wang Hung-wen, all of whom are now vilifed as members of the “gang of four,” that accomplished that momentous uprising. And this scene was repeated in city after city in China.

When it became clear that sections of the Red Guards were, by themselves at least, incapable of carrying the revolution further and their initial role was turning into its opposite, what happened? Again, it is well known that Mao issued his famous directive “the working class must exercise leadership in everything,” and workers, in their tens of thousands, marched into the universities and took charge of them. And after marching on to the universities they stayed there, uniting with the revolutionary students, teachers and cadres, and launching the greatest revolutionary changes on the educational front that the world has ever seen. All these accomplishments are undeniable, Enver Hoxha notwithstanding.

Finally, on the leadership of the Party in the Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution was led by the Party–in the only form that was appropriate in the concrete conditions prevailing at the time. It was led by the leading line in the Party and in the Central Committee, the line of its Chairman, Mao Tsetung. The general orientation of the Cultural Revolution was approved by a bare majority of the Central Committee in 1966, and the task of leading it was entrusted to the Cultural Revolution Group.[84] Mao himself refers to having had to “bide my time” until he was able to win a majority on the Central Committee to proceed with the Cultural Revolution. Unlike Hoxha, however, we will not base our opinion of the Cultural Revolution on whether or not it corresponded to the established practice of conducting struggles within Leninist parties. We say unequivocally that even–and in fact especially–if the Cultural Revolution had been opposed by the majority of the Central Committee–that is, if the Central Committee had been captured by revisionists–Mao would have had the responsibility to call on the masses inside and outside the Party to rebel against the Central Committee.

We would like to ask Enver Hoxha, what should the genuine communists, the class conscious workers and the revolutionary masses generally, do when the possibility of the triumph of revisionism is imminent? And what stand should the genuine communists and revolutionary masses take if a revisionist usurpation of power does, in fact, take place? Would it have been acceptable to Hoxha if the working class in the Soviet Union had risen up after Khrushchev’s “secret speech” and overthrown him? Or what if just prior to his coup the genuine Marxist-Leninists in the Soviet leadership had mustered a bare majority on the Central Committee and called for a Cultural Revolution? And what if the majority of the working class was still unawakened to the imminent danger of revisionism–would it be permissible for the Party leaders to turn to the students and initiate a revolutionary struggle, or would it be better to suppress and stifle them in the name of the “hegemony of the proletariat”?! There can be no doubt that Hoxha’s whole line of argument can only lead to one conclusion–that the revolutionaries should not have taken to arms (or, for that matter, relatively “peaceful” political struggle).

Of course, Hoxha’s arguments are wrapped in the mantle of being the strongest upholder of Marxism and Leninism, but his effort to put form (“Leninist norms”) above content (which class these forms serve) really has much more in common with the typical song and dance run out about “democracy” in the bourgeois democratic countries than it does with the revolutionary teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. It is again the practice that Lenin heaped such scorn on–using the letter of Marxism against the spirit of Marxism!

At bottom, Hoxha opposes the Cultural Revolution and the line of Mao Tsetung because he prefers the line of those that the Cultural Revolution ousted! True, he mutters a few things about opposing Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping, but there is no content to his criticism of Liu, and as for Teng and Hua’s line, Hoxha starts and stops with the criticism of the “strategy of the three worlds.” We shall see later that Hoxha’s line on the nature of socialism, of the class struggle under socialism, is in its essentials the same revisionist line promoted by Liu and Teng, with a very thin dogmatist cover.

Actually, Hoxha does a very poor job in covering his own tracks in his book. The very internal logic of it leads the reader to the conclusion that it would have been better if Liu Shao-chi’s forces (or other pro-Soviet revisionists) had won out. If Mao Tsetung Thought has been a variant of revisionism since 1935, why shouldn’t support go to those who were his most consistent opponents? Hoxha claims that the Party as a whole was never Marxist, that none of the various groups in the leadership (at least during the last decade; Wang Ming, of course, is another story) were revolutionary. Then why Hoxha’s professed concern that the Cultural Revolution “liquidated both the Communist Party of China, and the mass organizations”? If it is true that “in the leadership of the Communist Party of China there are no Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries”85 then who cares if it is liquidated!

But Hoxha’s concern about “liquidation” is real, not assumed. Take his statement about “the mass organizations” being liquidated. It is not just that any mass organizations were wiped out. After all only an imbecile could deny that the Cultural Revolution created a whole myriad of new mass organizations–Red Guards, rebel worker groups and so on in the early phases–and later led to the reconstruction of the trade unions, women’s organizations and others on the basis of the leadership of the line of Mao and the Left. Thus it is clear that Hoxha’s real concern is that the mass organizations under the domination of the line of Liu Shao-chi–such as the Young Communist League–were defeated, and while he supports those organizations, Hoxha condemns with a frenzy the revolutionary mass organizations brought forward in the struggle.

And further, if the main problem with the Chinese Communist Party was that it departed from “Marxism-Leninism” in the revolution and in the construction of socialism (and by this Hoxha means departed from the experience, the ways of doing things, in the Soviet Union), shouldn’t support go to those in the Chinese Party who fought to implement these “Leninist” principles in China? One main advantage in reading Wang Ming in the original (as opposed to Hoxha’s plagiarism of him) is that he does away with the deceit Hoxha still finds it useful to employ. Wang Ming openly claims that the “true internationalists” in the Chinese Party included none other than Liu Shao-chi in their ranks, as well as a host of other traitors now being brought back to power or rehabilitated posthumously by Teng Hsiao-ping.”[86] Vietnam, for whom Hoxha’s support escalates even as it falls completely under the wing of the Soviet Union, is also clear that it was Liu Shao-chi and Teng Hsiao-ping who were the true Marxist-Leninists in China.[87]

Hoxha’s criticism of the Cultural Revolution results from his own failure to understand the nature of socialism, his metaphysical world outlook, and pragmatism. In his own “explanation” for the dramatic and tragic change in the line of the Albanian Party toward Mao and the Cultural Revolution, Hoxha inadvertently advertises the pragmatic basis which led to their “re-evaluation” of Mao Tsetung Thought.

Hoxha states:

In judging their [the Chinese’s] previous dubious actions, as well as those observed in the Cultural Revolution, and especially the events following this revolution up till now, the rises and falls of this or that group in the leadership, today the group of Lin Piao, tomorrow that of Teng Hsiao-ping, a Hua Kuo-feng, etc.,… all these things impelled our Party to delve more deeply into the views and actions of Mao Tsetung and the Communist Party of China, to get a more thorough knowledge of “Mao Tsetung thought.”[88]

Later he adds:

The chaotic development of the Cultural Revolution and its results further strengthened the opinion, still not fully crystallized, that Marxism-Leninism was not known and was not being applied in China, that in essence, the Communist Party of China and Mao Tsetung did not hold Marxist-Leninist views…[89]

Thus Hoxha makes clear his basic outlook and orientation in summing up the question of Mao Tsetung.

It is clear that Hoxha did not like the “results” of the 1976 coup d’etat in China, particularly Hua and Teng’s policy of capitulation to and reactionary alliance with U.S. imperialism under the banner of the strategy of the “three worlds.” Hoxha’s own errors and outlook made it impossible for him to analyze events in China from the reference point of the class struggle in China and in particular the struggle between the overall revisionist line of Hua and Teng and the revolutionary line of Mao and the Four who fought beside him. Rather than take up the task that history demanded of him, of leading the defense of the accomplishments of the Chinese revolution and the contributions of Mao, he chose to proceed from the “results” of the class struggle in China (defined in the most immediate and narrow way) and work backward to try to find the basis for them in the line and actions of the Marxist-Leninists themselves.[90]

They lost, therefore they must be wrong. This, in a nutshell, was Hoxha’s starting point. Since Hoxha does not understand correctly the dynamics of revolution, and especially the laws of the development of socialism, it is inconceivable to him that revisionism could triumph not primarily because of whatever mistakes the revolutionaries may have made (for no one would deny that errors of different sorts are inevitable) but because of the relative strength of the contending classes.[90a]

Unfortunately this has also colored the thinking of some genuine Marxist-Leninists who, while upholding the contributions of Mao, still proceed from the premise that since revisionists triumphed, the reasons for their triumph must lie with the mistakes of the revolutionaries.

Such a line of reasoning, on Hoxha’s part at least, is tantamount to denying that any real possibility of a capitalist restoration exists as long as the party remains “vigilant,” i.e., ruthlessly prevents any factions, headquarters or fully developed lines in opposition to the leadership from emerging within the party. The problem with this view, and why it runs into such sharp conflict with the teachings of Mao, is that it separates the question of the struggle in the party from any kind of genuine materialist–and dialectical–analysis of the class struggle under socialism.

As Mao’s analysis of the class struggle under socialism developed, it came more and more to focus on the question of a bourgeois headquarters within the communist party itself. Let us examine Hoxha’s attack on Mao’s views on the existence of two lines in the party and the bourgeoisie in the party:

Mao Tsetung himself has advocated the need for the existence of “two lines” in the party. According to him,the existence and struggle between two lines is something natural, is a manifestation of the unity of the opposites, is a flexible policy which unites in itself both loyalty to principles and compromise.. . .

These views are diametrically opposed to the Leninist teachings on the communist party as an organized vanguard detachment which must have a single line and steel unity of thought and action.

The class struggle in the ranks of the party, as a reflection of the class struggle going on outside the party, has nothing in common with Mao Tsetung’s concepts on the “two lines in the party.” The party is not an arena of classes and the struggle between antagonistic classes, it is not a gathering of people with contradictory aims. The genuine Marxist-Leninist party is the party of the working class only and bases itself on the interests of this class. This is the decisive factor for the triumph of the revolution and the construction of socialism. Defending the Leninist principles on the party, which do not permit the existence of many lines, of opposing trends in the communist party, J.V. Stalin emphasized:

“. . the communist party is the monolithic party of the proletariat, and not a party of a bloc of elements of different classes”. Mao Tsetung, however, conceives the party as a union of classes with contradictory interests, as an organization in which two forces, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the “proletarian staff” and the “bourgeois staff,” which must have their representatives from the grassroots to the highest leading organs of the party, confront and struggle against each other.[91]

Hoxha is wrong on several counts: wrong in that he does not understand dialectics; wrong in that he doesn’t understand what gives all genuine Marxist-Leninist parties life and vitality; and wrong in his conception of the actual position the party occupies in socialist society, and hence the different characteristics that the struggle in the Party takes on.

First we must dispose of Enver Hoxha’s silliest argument–that “Mao himself has advocated the need for the existence of ’two lines in the party’” and that somehow Mao preferred or allowed the existence of a bourgeois headquarters in the Party. Of course, Mao never said any such thing. What he did say, and correctly so, is that the existence of two lines in the Party and of the creation of bourgeois factions, or headquarters, in the Party is an inevitable phenomenon. Most importantly, Mao developed the theoretical understanding of the necessity to fight the bourgeois line and the repeated efforts of the capitalist-roaders in the Party to establish a bourgeois headquarters in the Party, usurp power in key areas of the Party and state, and prepare for an all-out assault on the proletarian leadership of the Party and state. Not only did Mao develop this point in theory, he led the struggle to carry it out, most especially in the Cultural Revolution. To try to extrapolate from this that Mao wanted to let the bourgeoisie be, that he was not making war upon them, is at complete variance with the facts.(91a)

Marxist-Leninists have always upheld the philosophical thesis that “freedom is the recognition of necessity.” Man’s ability to transform society or nature depends not primarily upon his will, but upon his correct understanding of the objective world. For only in acting in accordance with the laws that govern society and nature is he able to influence them. To say that Mao advocated the bourgeois line and the emergence of bourgeois headquarters in the party simply because he was the first, in an all-round and systematic way, to recognize the laws determining their existence, makes about as much sense as blaming Louis Pasteur for advocating the existence of viruses!

To carry this analogy a step further, it is because Pasteur was able to discover the existence of viruses that he was able to develop the first vaccine; similarly, it is because Mao discovered the laws operating within socialist society that give rise to the bourgeois line in the party that he was able to develop the policies, the strategy and tactics, to defeat the bourgeois line and various bourgeois headquarters, not once but repeatedly.

Hoxha may believe that he has made a brilliant contribution to Marxism by applying the principle of an ostrich to continuing the revolution under socialism. But actually all he is creatively applying is the same outlook as the petty-bourgeois humanitarian who believes that by refusing to recognize the division of capitalist society into antagonistic classes he will make that antagonism disappear.

In presenting his vulgarization of “Leninist principles” regarding the party and bandying about Stalin’s quote about the “monolithic party of the proletariat,” all Hoxha is doing is further revealing his own anti-dialectical, metaphysical world view and hence his own complete lack of understanding of the actual development of any Marxist party. Hoxha claims that Leninist principles “do not permit the existence of many lines, of opposing trends in the communist party.” Brilliant! With one sentence Hoxha wipes out the need to fight revisionism, dogmatism, Trotskyism and every other conceivable deviation that might arise within the ranks of the Party.

There is no revisionist trend within the Albanian Party of Labor, for instance? We don’t believe it! Even if Hoxha were adhering to a Marxist-Leninist line, instead of himself championing a new revisionist tendency, we still would not believe it. Despite Hoxha’s yammering about “Leninist principles,” Lenin and Stalin devoted a great deal of attention to recognizing, battling against and defeating all sorts of “opposing trends” in the Bolshevik Party.

Actually what Hoxha is doing, in his typical and preferred manner, is combining two into one, as opposed to the dialectical method of dividing one into two. He takes the question of lines and trends and confuses them with the related but separate question of factions. The existence of revisionist lines and trends in a party is not a matter of anyone granting “permission.” They are an inevitable reflection of class forces in society, whose existence is also not dependent on the “permission” of Marxist-Leninists, but on the material and ideological conditions in society–including remnants of exploiting class society in the base and superstructure of socialist society.

A revisionist faction in a party can be broken up, its ringleaders expelled and so forth, but this will not and cannot mean that revisionist tendencies and revisionist lines do not exist in the party. Not only do they exist in the party as a whole, they exist in the thinking of any one individual! The Albanian Party does sommersaults around this question, coming up with an eclectic formulation which allows “class struggle” in the party but which denies the existence of opposing lines. Quite an accomplishment! Apparently Hoxha believes that by liquidating enemy agents, bourgeois elements and degenerates early on he can prevent the emergence of an enemy, alien and bourgeois line in the party–as if the existence of a line were dependent on the access to typewriters! Again it is Hoxha, not Mao, who is departing from Marxism-Leninism, which teaches that the question of line, of the struggle over line–which cannot but presuppose the existence of different lines–is the soul of the party.

To give a few examples. In the imperialist countries the tendency toward revisionism–particularly in the form of economism, of reducing the struggle of the workers to simply acquiring better conditions for slaves in their slavery–is a pernicious and stubborn tendency. Lenin laid bare the social basis for this trend in his brilliant work What Is To Be Done? and in his later writings on imperialism. But simply because this tendency has been identified and genuine Marxist-Leninists have committed themselves to a ruthless and protracted struggle against it, does not mean that it is not reflected within the Party as a line opposed to Marxism.

Similarly, in many countries where the immediate task of the working class and the party is to fight for the liberation of the nation, tendencies toward narrow nationalism are a reflection of the actual class forces arrayed in battle, and the communists in those countries must wage a fierce struggle against these deviations including and especially as they reflect themselves in the party itself. Again, it is the recognition of the erroneous lines existing in the party, understanding their class basis and historical roots, that enables the Marxist-Leninists to combat and defeat them. The question of “permission” is not the point at all.

Is the existence of two-line struggle in the party incompatible with the fact that “the Marxist-Leninist party is the party of the working class only” as Hoxha puts it?[92] Only people incapable of understanding dialectics find it so.

The communist party is the party of the working class because it is guided by Marxism-Leninism–the ideology of the working class; because the working class is the only class whose interests lie in the overthrow of capitalism and all forms of exploitation and oppression and in the realization of communism, and because the organizational principles of the party, the “Leninist norms” if you will, reflect the socialized character of production and specifically of the proletariat’s role in production. In this sense, and this sense only, it is correct to understand the communist party as the party of the working class.

The party, the working class, and Marxism-Leninism do not appear in a “pure” form. This is obvious when looking at the working class, for example. Only a small percentage of the workers in capitalist society are conscious of their role as capitalism’s grave-diggers. Furthermore there is division within the ranks of the proletariat, along political, national, and economic lines–even though all workers objectively share the same class interest. Thus to talk of a “pure” proletariat would be the height of absurdity and would, in fact, negate the very need for the communist party itself. And it is no less absurd to talk of the “purity” of the party and of Marxism-Leninism when examining the actual, concrete existence of any particular party, or the line of any particular party. To do so would exactly negate the need to carry out struggle in the party. This is why Mao correctly ridicules the concept of “monolithic unity” of the party and of the international communist movement (“some people seem to think that. .. the Party is not subject to analysis, that is to say, it is monolithic and uniform. . . . ”).[93]

Let us examine the quote from Stalin that Hoxha hopes will frighten his readers away from examining this subject critically, from the standpoint of dialectics: “The communist party is the monolithic party of the proletariat, and not a party of a bloc of different elements of different classes.”

The above quotation is correct in one aspect and incorrect in another. As a scientific abstraction it can be useful to a degree, but as an analysis of any particular party it is incorrect and harmful. The political line and the organizational principles of the party must proceed from the correct, scientific abstraction (which as Lenin put it, reflects nature more “deeply, truly and completely”) that the party is the party of the proletariat and only that class. However the membership of the communist party does and must include exactly “different elements of different classes.” True, they must be brought into the party on the basis of adopting the outlook and line of the proletariat, but can it be said that, in any party, the intellectuals, for example, do not bring with them some of the outlook, lines and organizational habits of the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie? Don’t the peasants bring with them aspects of the outlook of the small producer into the party? Is it wrong to make a class analysis of the membership of the party and (in a dialectical, not mechanical way) use such a class analysis to help understand what deviations are likely to arise and how they must be fought? Of course all members of the party, including workers, bring various kinds of bourgeois ideology and political errors with them when they join the party; hence Mao’s sarcastic remark, “It seems as if people have to be 100% Marxists once they are in the Party.”[94] There are no “100% Marxists,” not Enver Hoxha, and not his hero Wang Ming, who first raised a big hullabaloo in the early 1930s, declaring himself and a handful of students returned from Moscow to be “100% Bolshevik.”

Does the recognition that the party is not “monolithic,” that it is, in fact, full of contradictions reflecting the class relationships in society and the class makeup of the party itself, negate the need to struggle against factionalism or the principle that the party can only be led by a single line? Again, this provides a problem only for the metaphysicians, not for Marxist-Leninists.

The recognition that the party contains two lines within it, in a fundamental sense the bourgeois and proletarian lines, is at the same time a recognition that one of these lines must be dominant, in other words, principal, and as such determine the character of the party. It is also a recognition of the possibility of the two aspects being reversed, of the party going revisionist. As long as the leading line in the party–that is, the collective line of the party and the leadership as reflected in its theories, its policies, its press, etc.–is Marxist-Leninist, then it is correct to refer to that party as Marxist-Leninist, as a party of the working class. For such a party to remain a Marxist-Leninist party means exactly to wage a vigorous and relentless struggle against all manifestations of the incorrect line. The recognition of this necessity is at the same time a recognition of the need to combat and break up bourgeois factions as they emerge in the party.

The history of the international communist movement makes clear the need to carry on struggle in this manner, to defeat attempts by organized, revisionist groupings within the party to seize control of the party and implement a revisionist line. This was the main task of the Cultural Revolution, to seize power from the top capitalist-roaders and to defeat and break up their revisionist headquarters. Hence the absurdity of Hoxha trying to use the Cultural Revolution to “prove” that Mao “permitted” the existence of bourgeois headquarters in the party.

At the same time, to recognize the existence of two lines in the party and the social basis for the existence of two lines, is also to recognize that the formation of bourgeois opposition factions in the party is not an accidental or freak phenomenon but an inevitable part of the class struggle and the party’s development. Wherever incorrect tendencies exist, wherever an incorrect line exists in embryo (and this inevitably will happen for the reasons summarized), sooner or later individuals will come forward to champion these tendencies, to formulate them into a complete and developed line and program, and fight to have this incorrect line replace the Marxist-Leninist line of the party. Understanding this enables, and does not hinder, the party and all its bodies and members to more quickly recognize this process as it (repeatedly) develops and to take resolute action against it.

Factionalism is itself the manifestation of the incorrect line. It reflects the divisive, competitive and dog-eat-dog nature of capitalism, as opposed to the solidarity and cooperation characteristic of the workers as a class. As such, factionalism must be fought by Marxist-Leninists, as Mao did with his famous three do’s and three don’ts:

Practice Marxism, not revisionism; unite, don’t split; be open and above board, and don’t intrigue and conspire.

But as the revolutionaries in China also pointed out (see Wang Hung-wen’s Report on the Constitution to the Tenth Party Congress), the latter two “do’s and don’ts” are dependent on the first.[95] Marxist-Leninists seek unity and have no need to intrigue and conspire; their strength lies in the fact that their line correctly reflects objective reality, is in the interests of the great majority of the people, and leads to advancing the revolution. Therefore the more the correct Leninist principles of inner-party life are adhered to, the more advantageous it is to the correct line overall. It is obvious that those who uphold a bourgeois line will inevitably go in for splits and for intrigues and conspiracies, for it is in this arena where they find their strength, just as they fear open political struggle like the plague. Thus it is not a question of “permitting” factionalism, intrigues and conspiracies in the party, but of recognizing that the struggle against this is part of “practicing Marxism, not revisionism,” and alerting the party members and masses to the truth that those who follow an incorrect line cannot and will not abide by Marxist-Leninist organizational principles and that vigilance must be maintained. Hoxha’s insistence on the existence of “monolithic unity” in the party is a reflection of his refusal, in theory and practice, to make the division of one into two the starting point and basis of his analysis.

Closely linked to this is his adoption in fact of the line of the “Deborin school” of philosophy. (This school is named after a Soviet philosopher, of some prominence in the 1920s especially, who preached, among other things, that a contradiction does not necessarily exist throughout the whole process of development of a thing but only arises at a certain stage of its development. For example, the Deborin school of philosophy held that there was no contradiction within the “Third Estate”–those forces who opposed the nobility and the clergy–during the French Revolution, but that the contradiction between the workers and capitalists only emerged later as capitalist production further developed.) Mao Tsetung attached great importance to the struggle against the Deborin school and pointed out in his famous work On Contradiction that:

Deborin’s idealism has exerted a very bad influence in the Chinese Communist Party, and it cannot be said that the dogmatist thinking in our Party is unrelated to the approach of that school.[96]

Thus it is not surprising that Hoxha, in wildly attacking Mao’s line and trying to reverse the judgment of history on Wang Ming, would find refuge in the philosophical school in which Wang Ming was a pupil.

How can the phenomenon of the emergence and triumph of revisionism be explained without examining the internal contradiction within the party, the contradiction between two lines? Either one has to eliminate the internal contradiction altogether and portray it simply as the capturing of the party by external forces, or (and what really amounts to the same thing) argue that the internal contradictions in the party only appear at a certain stage in its development as a result of external pressures, the “mistakes” of the revolutionaries and so on. Either explanation is metaphysics.

Stalin denied the contradiction, the two lines, in the party. He did not “permit” it. Yet this did not prevent the rise of Khrushchevite revisionism. Were the masses in the Soviet Union better armed to understand what had happened and what had to be done because of these mistakes of Stalin? Of course, it is one thing for Stalin to have been one-sided in explaining the life of the party under socialism when there was no previous experience of a genuine communist party that had succeeded in making revolution, turning into its opposite (into a bourgeois party) and restoring capitalism.[96a] But it is quite another thing for Hoxha to insist on repeating and raising to the level of principle these mistakes of Stalin when historical experience provides the basis for correcting them, and when in fact they have been summed up and advanced beyond by Marxist-Leninists, above all by Comrade Mao Tsetung.

When opportunism triumphed in the Second International during World War 1, Lenin was able, by applying the science of dialectics, to trace the development of the contradiction that led to its betrayal and show its social and historical roots. He showed how social democracy had divided into a revolutionary and an opportunist wing, how this phenomenon had its material basis in the creation of a labor aristocracy in the imperialist countries, and how the long period of peaceful, legal work had, on the one hand, led to the social democratic parties becoming mass parties of the workers in Europe, and on the other hand provided a strong pull toward the adoption of philistine, parliamentary practices and outlook on the part of most of the leadership of these parties. He showed how, with the outbreak of the first world war, the opportunist boil burst.

Hoxha cannot explain the rise of Khrushchevite revisionism because he refuses to recognize that the contradictions in the international communist movement did not emerge with Khrushchev’s coup, but only exploded then. And so, Hoxha’s “great contribution” lies in negating the real advances that have been made in the last twenty years in the struggle against revisionism and insisting that every wrong formulation, every error, and the ideological basis for these errors, be enshrined as holy writ, and that everyone who refuses to go along be condemned as a heretic.[96b]

Finally, in answering Hoxha’s attacks on Mao’s line on the party, it is necessary to try to unravel some of the confusion he spreads about Mao’s policies on dealing with inner-party struggle. Hoxha chooses to quote Mao:

Thus… we have two hands to deal with a comrade who has made mistakes: one hand to struggle with him and the other to unite with him. The aim of this struggle is to uphold the principles of Marxism, which means being principled; that is one aspect of the problem. The other aspect is to unite with him. The aim of unity is to offer him a way out, to reach a compromise with him [which means being flexible].[97]

In addition to leaving off Mao’s definition of compromise (“which means being flexible”), Hoxha also wipes out Mao’s conclusion: “The integration of principle with flexibility is a Marxist-Leninist principle, and it is a unity of opposites.”[98]

First of all, it should be pointed out that Mao is specifically not talking about the die-hard counter-revolutionaries in the Party, about those who head up bourgeois factions. He says this specifically one paragraph before the one that Hoxha quotes:

However, dealing with persons of another type is different. Towards persons like Trotsky and like Chen Tu-hsiu, Chang Kuo-tao and Kao Kang in China, it was impossible to adopt a helpful attitude, for they were incorrigible.[99]

(Here again we see Hoxha’s brilliant polemical style at work. Actually, he accomplishes two things: one, he forces any serious reader to try to find the original material, for without doing so it is impossible to understand what Mao is saying from Hoxha’s “quotes”; second, he reveals the utter bankruptcy of his own views, which even he realizes cannot stand up to a head-to-head confrontation with Mao Tsetung Thought.)

Thus it is quite clear that Mao is not advocating unprincipled unity with die-hards. And his real point takes on much more significance when the context of his speech is examined, specifically a talk to the Moscow Meeting of Representatives of the Communist and Workers’ Parties in 1957. For it was at this meeting that Mao was leading a very complex struggle to defend the principles of Marxism-Leninism, a struggle which involved tactical compromises with Khrushchev on the one hand, and also a vigorous effort to win over and find common ground with as many as possible of the more than 60 communist parties present. Mao’s point is clear even if made in somewhat Aesopian language.

Hoxha also lambasts Mao for proposing in 1956 “the election of various leaders of right and left factions to the Central Committee.”[100] Enver Hoxha chooses not to divulge the names of these leaders, because they would add another hole in his argument–since one of these leaders was none other than our old friend Wang Ming, the “100% Bolshevik” whose line Hoxha’s dovetails with. Furthermore, Hoxha will run into problems describing why Lenin and Stalin from time to time agreed to the election of leading opportunists to the Central Committee. First off, it is correct to try to win over former leading representatives of incorrect lines; second, it is not always possible, nor necessarily advisable, to remove opportunist leaders of the party at any particular time. For example, it may be the case that these leaders have not yet been exposed and still command a social base, a base which can be greatly eroded by allowing a given struggle to go on for a particular amount of time. This was the case, in many respects, with the struggles Stalin waged against both the Right and the “Left” in the twenties and early thirties. Furthermore, it may be the case that a particular leading revisionist is not the principal exponent of the revisionist line at any one time and that to launch attack on two or more fronts could lead to defeat. Of course, often in the history of the international communist movement it has been necessary to fight on several fronts simultaneously, but there have also been many instances, from the time of Marx and Engels on, in which there was clearly one internal struggle on which the revolutionaries had to focus their attention, and to have done otherwise could have had serious consequences. We do not know all of the particular reasons why Mao considered it advisable to elect Wang Ming and Li Li-san to the Central Committee in 1956, but it is clear that such an action can hardly be said to have violated any sacred principle of Marxism, any more than the election of Trotsky to the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party repeatedly until his final fall in 1927. Or does Hoxha believe that Lenin and Stalin really didn’t understand Trotsky’s true nature?

Let us look at Mao’s reasoning on this question, as laid out in his speech to a preparatory meeting for the Eighth National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. He advocates re-electing Li Li-san and Wang Ming to the Central Committee seats which they hold. These are, of course, two prominent exponents of lines which had seriously bad consequences for the Party in its history. Further, Mao has no illusions about their present lines, particularly that of Wang Ming, who had attempted to back-track on his self-criticism of his past errors. In fact, Mao says, “ . . . it is not a question of whether Wang Ming and Li Li-san will mend their ways, that does not matter very much.”[101] Rather,

The heart of the matter here is that they are not just a few isolated individuals but represent a substantial part of the petty bourgeoisie. China is a country with a huge petty bourgeoisie. A considerable part of the petty bourgeoisie vacillates…… [He goes on to talk about the different strata of the Chinese petty bourgeoisie.] What does our election of these two persons representing the Wang Ming and Li Li-san lines signify? It signifies that we treat those who have made ideological mistakes differently from those who are counter-revolutionaries and splittists (people like Chen Tu-hsiu, Chang Kuo-tao, Kao Kang and Jao Shu-shih). Wang Ming and Li Li-san went about their subjectivism and sectarianism in an open way and with a great fanfare, trying to overwhelm people with their political programmes. . . Therefore the question of Wang Ming and Li Li-san is not just a question of two individuals, what is important here is that there are underlying social causes.[102]

Mao goes on to point out that the presence of these two on the Seventh Central Committee (elected in 1945) has not caused the proletariat any loss of consequence: “We did not fail in our revolution, nor was our victory delayed by a few months [speaking of the victory of 1949] just because we had elected Wang Ming and Li Li-san.”[103] Mao explains further:

Their mistakes on the Party line are known all over the country and throughout the world, and the fact that they are well known is precisely the reason for electing them…. In a country like ours with its very large petty bourgeoisie they are standards. If we elect them, many people will say, “The Communist Party continues to be patient with them and is willing to give up two seats to them in the hope that they will mend their ways.” Whether they will or not is another matter, which is inconsequential, involving as it does only the two of them. The point is that in our society the petty bourgeoisie is vast in number, that in our Party there are many vacillating elements of petty-bourgeois origin and that among the intellectuals there are many such vacillating elements; they all want to see what will happen to these test cases. When they see these two standards still there, they will feel comfortable, they will sleep well and be pleased. If you haul down the two standards, they may panic.[104]

So there you have it. Mao’s open and shameless admission of proven opportunists into the party of the proletariat! Mao’s reasoning has been quoted at length here, not only to combat Hoxha’s misquoting and twisting of Mao’s statements, but because this particular case may cause questioning on the part of sincere revolutionaries as well. But what is wrong with Mao’s thinking here? In what way does it violate the principles of a Marxist-Leninist outlook or run counter to making revolution? It doesn’t do so at all. Mao is saying that the presence of these two on the Central Committee will not harm the revolutionary interests of the proletariat, but will push the revolution forward in the particular conditions of Chinese society.

They were well-known and in fact well-exposed, and this meant that they were not in a position to do much harm at all. On the other hand, they were not (at that time) counter-revolutionaries or splitters, but people who had very openly made ideological errors, and in particular they had made just the sort of vacillatory errors to which the petty bourgeoisie is prone. For this reason they stood as symbols for China’s vast petty bourgeoisie, with whom, in general, it was absolutely necessary for the proletariat to unite, to struggle with in a non-antagonistic way, and to gain the leadership of, if the revolution in China was to be successful. (To fully grasp this necessity, remember that most of China’s hundreds of millions of peasants were part of the petty bourgeoisie.) So to keep these two on the Central Committee would do no harm to the revolution (and indeed it would be hard to make the case that their presence did do any damage). But on the other hand, to knock them down would cause some damage, for it would cause unease and alarm in their social base, at a time when the Communist Party was trying to unite with and win over that base.

But, it might still be asked, even if the Chinese Communist Party was trying to win over this base, why did this necessitate putting petty bourgeois representatives on the Central Committee of the proletarian party? For isn’t this organization supposed to be exactly a party of the proletariat, and isn’t this in fact turning it into “a party of a bloc of elements of different classes” (to use Stalin’s words which Hoxha quotes)?

To these questions there are several answers. In the first place, it must be pointed out that the presence in the party, and even on the central committee, of persons who are in effect functioning as representatives of the petty bourgeoisie does not make the party a bloc of elements of different classes–that is, it does not necessarily change the basic character of the party as the representative and vanguard of the proletariat and as having a proletarian line. And it would have to be admitted by any objective observer that the presence of Wang Ming and Li Li-san did not change the basic character or line of the Chinese Communist Party in the period after their line was exposed and defeated.

Secondly, the specific circumstances of the Chinese revolution must be borne in mind. The first stage of the Chinese revolution was the new-democratic revolution–in other words, the proletariat and its Party had first to lead and win a bourgeois-democratic revolution whose targets were imperialism and feudalism before it could go on to the socialist revolution (for, as Mao said, the new-democratic revolution is a bourgeois-democratic revolution, but one which “ . . . is no longer of the old general type, which is now obsolete, but one of a new special type”–namely, it is “. . an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution of the broad masses of the people under the leadership of the proletariat”).[105] Given this fact, it was inevitable that people would come into the Party–which was leading this bourgeois-democratic revolution of a new type–who were genuinely revolutionary at that time and even avowed acceptance of communism but had not really assimilated Marxism-Leninism, and who in fact represented the petty bourgeoisie more than the proletariat. This was a necessity for making revolution in China, and to pretend that it was not shows nothing but a lack of historical knowledge or a desire to escape reality. Given that it was a necessity, wasn’t it far better–and far more Marxist–to admit the fact and deal with it (as Mao did) rather than pretend that it wasn’t there and talk only of the monolithic purity of the party?

Thirdly, even where a revolution does not face the specific circumstances faced in China, the pretense of the monolithic purity of its revolutionary party–including after state power is gained–is only that: a pretense. Lenin recognized this very well:

Under Soviet rule, your proletarian party and ours will be invaded by a still larger number of bourgeois intellectuals. They will worm their way into the Soviets, the courts, and the administration, since communism cannot be built otherwise than with the aid of the human material created by capitalism, and the bourgeois intellectuals cannot be expelled and destroyed, but must be worn over, remoulded, assimilated and re-educated, just as we must–in a protracted struggle waged on the basis of the dictatorship of the proletariat–re-educate the proletarians themselves, who do not abandon their petty-bourgeois prejudices at one stroke, by a miracle, at the behest of the Virgin Mary, at the behest of a slogan, resolution or decree, but only in the course of a long and difficult mass struggle against mass petty-bourgeois influences.[106]

What! Bourgeois intellectuals will invade the proletarian party! And they cannot be expelled or destroyed! But then, we must remember that it is the well-known liberal Lenin speaking here, and not a model of steel-like proletarian purity like Enver Hoxha.

Of course it would be preferable not to have to make such compromises. But revolutions, the cloud-dwelling Mr. Hoxha aside, are made precisely through and amidst such tactical compromises–even within the party of the proletariat. What does Hoxha say about the election of Trotsky to the Sixth Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party in August 1917? Didn’t Lenin know him for what he was? Can it be argued that he was “pure proletarian”? Or wasn’t it precisely the case that uniting with him involved compromises, not the least of which was making him a leading figure, in order to win over his social base, which was, in its outlook and to no small degree in its class composition, more petty-bourgeois than proletarian? And weren’t many of these people admitted into the Party along with Trotsky?[106a]

Finally, there is the following heretical passage, in which Mao is talking about this same matter:

Does their election mean encouragement for people who have made mistakes? “Now that people who have made mistakes are on the Central Committee, let us all make mistakes, then we too will have a chance of being elected!” Will this happen? No it won’t. Look, not one of our seventy or so Central Committee members has gone out of his way to make a few mistakes in order to get reelected . . . Their mistakes on the Party line are known all over the country and throughout the world, and the fact that they are well known is precisely the reason for electing them. What can you do about it? They are well known, but you who have made no mistakes or have made only small ones don’t have as big a reputation as theirs.

Hoxha quotes part of this, and he is shocked. His pristine consciousness is scandalized. Well, what can we do about it? It seems an utter lack of humor is part of the “Marxist-Leninist [sic] culture” that Hoxha takes Mao to task for departing from.[106b]

Or we might even look a little closer to (Hoxha’s) home. After all, the revolution in Albania first went through the stage of being, as it is officially described, “an anti-imperialist democratic revolution,” which established “the new democratic order” in Albania.[107] Isn’t it just possible that some people were admitted into the party who had not fully assimilated Marxism-Leninism, who were objectively bourgeois democrats or representatives of the petty bourgeoisie? But we do not have to go simply on conjecture. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Albania (now superseded by a new one adopted in 1976) had one reference to the Party:

The more active and conscientious citizens of the working class and of the working masses join the ranks of the Albanian Party of Labour, the vanguard organization of the working class and of all the working masses in their endeavours to build the bases of socialism and the leading nucleus of all the organizations of the working masses, social as well as the state.[108]

Did this mean that the PL A was not “the party of the working class only”? This point is explained a little more in the official History of the Party of Labor of Albania, speaking of the First Congress of the Communist Party of Albania, held in 1948:

The 1st Congress decided to change the name of the Party from the Communist Party of Albania to the Party of Labor of Albania (PLA). This change was dictated by the social composition of the country and the Party and did not damage its character or aims. In Albania the bulk of the population (about 80%) was composed of peasants. This was reflected in the Party, too, where the overwhelming majority of its members were toilers of the soil.[109]

Well at least under Mao’s leadership the communists did not rename their party the “Workers’ and Peasants’ Party of China” or the “Chinese Toilers’ Party”!

It is not, of course, that a truly Marxist-Leninist communist party cannot, under certain circumstances, have the majority of its members drawn from the peasantry or other strata of the petty bourgeoisie. The point is that here we have Hoxha verging at one point on thinking that the character of a party depends on its “social composition” (so that a party in a mainly peasant country, and composed mostly of peasants, must be a workers’ and peasants’ party rather than a proletarian party)–and the PLA has never criticized itself on this score and continues to keep its “labor” name. For Hoxha to do this at one point, and then to call down thunderbolts from heaven when Mao deals with the question of representatives of the petty bourgeoisie in a ruling communist party, is a rather glaring instance of Hoxha’s hypocrisy and his totally unprincipled and non-Marxist method of argument and polemic.

Perhaps most silly of all Hoxha’s charges against Mao and the Chinese Communist Party are his combination of his own bureaucratic and metaphysical approach to inner-party struggle with hypocritical appeals to the forms of democracy in the party. He says the Chinese leaders, acting “with guile,” “have not made public many documents necessary for one to know the activity of their party and state. They were and are very wary of publishing their documents.”[110] [110a]

If ever in the history of socialist states it has been possible to get a thorough view of the line of a party, of how that line has developed in combat against other erroneous lines, of how that line has been manifested in every sphere of revolutionary activity, it has been the Communist Party of China.[110b] One would like to remind Hoxha of the saying, “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” The fact is that it is impossible to get any clear picture at all of the struggle over line in Albania, specifically the actual terms of battle between the leadership of the PLA and the various opposition groups that have formed and been defeated in that party. With few exceptions, all their documents say is that this or that “foreign agent,” “degenerate,” and so-and-so tried to subvert the party. As to what the political content of the opposing lines are–at least beyond the briefest and most superficial characterization–is anybody’s guess. And if Hoxha wishes to say that there have been no revisionist lines in the PLA we will say again, we don’t believe it and nobody else really believes it either–not even your sycophants.

We have dealt at length with Hoxha’s criticism of Mao’s line on the nature of the party since Hoxha’s work is being advertised by the orchestra he leads as universally applicable. Actually, it is universally wrong. His thesis on the “monolithic unity of the party” is no more correct for parties out of power than for parties in power. But it must be said that while many of the formulations he offers and the mechanical thinking he promotes are wrong when applied to parties out of power, they are a recipe for disaster when applied to a party trying to lead a socialist state.

This is because the nature of the class struggle changes qualitatively after the socialist revolution is victorious, especially after the basic socialist transformation of the economic base is completed. Under capitalism, the class struggle in the party is, to use Hoxha’s own words, “a reflection of the class struggle going on outside the Party. . . “[112] But Hoxha does not draw a distinction between the struggle under capitalism and that under socialism. He states that “The party is not an arena of classes and the struggle between antagonistic classes.”[113] Really? What does Hoxha consider Khrushchev’s coup to have been? What, for example, does he consider the period of intense struggle in the two years after Stalin’s death in the top echelons of the Soviet party? Was this not the struggle between antagonistic classes and didn’t it take place within the communist party? Or, for that matter, what about Stalin’s struggle against Trotsky, Bukharin and others in the 1920s?–which lasted several years.

Actually, Hoxha’s analysis of this point has far more in common with Hua Kuo-feng and Teng Hsiao-ping than he would care to admit. Upon seizing power, Hua & Co. launched a major theoretical attack on Mao’s teaching that the bourgeoisie is “right in the communist party.” Using a line of argumentation remarkably similar to Hoxha’s, Hua made a case that the class struggle in the party was only a reflection of the class struggle in society as a whole. While he gave lip service to some of Mao’s well-known quotations on this subject, he blamed the “gang of four” (which as everyone knows was led by Mao) for promoting the concept that the bourgeoisie as a class existed within the party. According to both Hua’s and Hoxha’s arguments, if this were true the party could not be the party of the proletariat.[114] Hua Kuo-feng and Teng Hsiao-ping’s motivations for taking this line were transparent. They wanted to direct attention away from the main ringleaders of the bourgeoisie as a whole, inside and outside the party, which were none other than capitalist-roaders like themselves.

It is worthwhile to quote at length the Chinese Communist Party on this subject, at the time it was still under the leadership of the revolutionary line of Mao and when the battle against the capitalist-roaders in the Party was nearing its decisive showdown:

The principal contradiction in the entire historical period of socialism is the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. With the balance of class forces having undergone a change, the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie finds expression in the Party in an increasingly profound and acute way.[115]

In the article quoted above and many others the revolutionaries in the Chinese Party provide a materialist analysis of the contradictions in socialism, especially the principal contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, a contradiction that Hoxha denies, claiming instead that under socialism “antagonistic classes and the oppression and exploitation of man by man are abolished”[116] (abolished, apparently, because the new Albanian constitution “does not permit” it!).

The Chinese Party article quoted above pointed out:

The revisionist line pushed by the capitalist-roaders in the Party represents in a concentrated way the interests of the old and new bourgeoisie and all other exploiting classes, and this determines the bourgeois nature of the capitalist roaders….

Economically, the reason why the capitalist-roaders are the bourgeoisie inside the Party is that they represent the decadent capitalist relations of production. In the socialist period, the proletariat wants to constantly transform those parts of the superstructure and the relations of production which are not in harmony with the socialist economic base and the productive forces and carry the socialist revolution through to the end. The capitalist-roaders in the Party, however, do everything possible to preserve those parts of the superstructure and the relations of production which hamper the development of the socialist economic base and the productive forces; their vain attempt is to restore capitalism.[117]

Another article published at around the same time (during the campaign to “criticize Teng and beat back the right-deviationist wind” in 1976) puts more flesh and bones on this point:

If leadership over a department or unit is controlled by capitalist roaders who energetically push the revisionist line, socialist production will turn into a movement to multiply the value of capital with the pursuit of maximum profits as the only goal, a capitalist wage labor system. While the socialist system of ownership is reduced to an “outer shell,” it will actually become a capitalist system of ownership under the control of capitalist roaders, and the proletariat and the laboring people will in fact lose this part of the means of production.

Judging from the mutual relations between people, the socialist system, which is not based on exploitation and oppression of man by man, is one under which the relations between cadres and masses and between the higher and lower levels within revolutionary ranks should be comradely relations of equality. But after all, the three major differences [the difference between workers and peasants; between the town and the countryside; and between mental and manual labor] still exist and the old practice of division of labor in society and the gradation system [differences in pay scale] exist, and in these respects bourgeois rights still exist to a serious extent. Even those bourgeois rights in the mutual relations between people which must be eliminated today, such as rigid gradation, lording it over and being divorced from the masses, unequal treatment of others, and so forth, often re-emerge after they have been broken. If the leadership of certain departments is usurped by capitalist roaders, they will strengthen and extend bourgeois rights in the relations between people, subject workers to “control, check, and repression,” turn the socialist relations between people into capitalist mercenary relations, and enforce the bourgeois dictatorship. This situation is particularly obvious in the Soviet Union of today.[118]

And the article continues:

The appearance of capitalist roaders within the Party in the period of socialism is not strange at all. Everything is divided into two. The political party of the proletariat is no exception. So long as classes, class contradictions and class struggle remain, such struggles will inevitably be reflected in the Party. “The capitalist roaders are still on the capitalist road”–this will be a long-term historical phenomenon. Marxism is different from revisionism in that the latter is afraid of mentioning the existence of the class struggle in socialist society, and particularly the appearance of the bourgeoisie within the Party. Khrushchev, Brezhnev and their like tried to deceive themselves and others with such fallacies as “The party of the whole people” and “the state of the whole people.” And Teng Hsiao-ping is as afraid of hearing the term “capitalist roaders” as Ah Q is of hearing others talk about the scab on his head. This is because if they admit this fact, it is tantamount to admitting that they themselves are the bourgeoisie inside the Party and it means their destruction. This to them is both painful and unthinkable. The proletarian revolutionary party and Marxists not only dare to admit that the bourgeoisie may exist within the Party but also dare to wage the Great Cultural Revolution and arouse the masses in airing views, putting up big-character posters and holding mass debates in a resolute struggle against capitalist roaders. For it is only in this way that we can consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and prevent capitalist restoration and finally send the bourgeoisie to its grave and realize communism. The socialist revolution is a great revolution aimed at burying the last exploiting class ever since mankind came to existence. “Living in such an era, we must be prepared to wage a great struggle which has many features different in form from those of the past.” [Mao] This then requires us to apply the method of class analysis to fully understand the features of class struggle and the changes in class relations so as to make clear this important problem–the bourgeoisie being in the Party, persist in the exercise of overall proletarian dictatorship over the bourgeoisie, and thus carry the socialist revolution through to the end.[119]

The quotations appearing above represent, in a clear and concise way, the line of Mao Tsetung on the nature of the class struggle under socialism. It is this line that has been overthrown in China and is now also under attack by Hoxha. And, of course, it has been this line that has been feverishly attacked by the Soviet revisionists all along. The Soviet, Albanian and Hua-Teng lines not only join together to attack Mao’s great contributions on this subject, but share a great many common features–above all, the negation of dialectics. All three fail to analyze socialism (or what they call “socialism”) from the standpoint of its internal contradictions, and refuse–either openly in the case of the Albanians and the Soviets, or not so openly but definitely in essence as in the case of the current Chinese rulers–to recognize that throughout the entire period of socialist transition there remain antagonistic classes.

Let us examine Hoxha’s contention that there are no antagonistic classes under socialism–i.e. the bourgeoisie as a class has been eliminated and there only remain “remnants” and the influence of its ideology and so on. This thesis was first expounded by Stalin, who declared that the bourgeoisie as a class had been eliminated in the Soviet Union with the completion of the socialist transformation of ownership. This formulation represented a concentration of Stalin’s errors and revealed the ideological basis–the tendency toward metaphysics–that mars his thinking. But Stalin’s real heirs, the genuine Marxist-Leninists of the Soviet Union and the revolutionary proletariat worldwide, were taught a very bitter and tragic lesson. The bourgeoisie not only existed, but it succeeded in making a comeback, capturing state power and restoring capitalism. To Hoxha’s attempt to resurrect this line which has been disproved by history, one can only respond: “first time tragedy, second time farce.”

But unfortunately, this farce is not a laughing matter. Stunned by yet another bitter setback for the international proletariat–namely, the temporary defeat of the revolution in China–large numbers of Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary-minded people have become disoriented. Hoxha offers them a lure, the lure of metaphysics and idealism, and offers them a never-never land where socialism never existed in China because Mao “permitted” the bourgeoisie to exist, so the defeat there amounts to no defeat anyway. But in this fantasy land there is hope–if real, genuine Marxist-Leninists seize power the race can yet be won–marching steadily and “uninterruptedly,” the proletariat will not have to go through chaos, fierce struggles and reversals, but will arrive at the land of perpetual harmony and stability. Well, Reverend Hoxha, your vision just won’t wash. The working class and the people have had their fill of fairy tales and aren’t particularly interested in another one from so-called communists. The workers don’t want guarantees–soon they recognize that it is only fools and opportunists who offer them victory without the possibility of defeat–what the class-conscious workers do want is science, an explanation of the workings of society that will enable them to change the world in accordance with its laws.

Let us return for a moment to the question of the Soviet Union, in the years before Khrushchev interrupted the “uninterrupted advance.” If there were no antagonistic classes, if there was no bourgeoisie, where did Khrushchev and the many followers he had come from? Were they sons of landlords and former capitalists, or perhaps “foreign agents” smuggled into the Soviet Union from the imperialist countries? Far from it, Khrushchev and his bunch were raised under the red flag, were high officials in the communist party, and could out-quote Hoxha about the “purity” of Marxism-Leninism.

But they were a bourgeoisie. Not a fully developed bourgeoisie, for that requires state power, but a bourgeoisie nevertheless.[119a] They grew up out of and thrived upon the remnants of the old capitalist relations of production and distribution that still existed–and could not help but exist–not because Stalin “permitted” those capitalist relationships (although he did not recognize them until the end of his life, and then only partially) but because all of the “birthmarks” of capitalist society, economic, political and ideological, cannot be eliminated at one stroke or willed out of existence. They can only be dug away bit by bit, in accordance with the further revolutionizing of production relationships and the superstructure and, on this basis, the further advance in the productive forces.

The revisionists in the Soviet Party, like their cousins in China, throve on the vestiges of the old capitalist relations and in turn became their political expression, fighting to preserve and expand these same capitalist elements. Even while the proletariat was in command of the Party and state and the revisionists were subject to attack, the capitalist-roaders in the party were able to usurp leadership in various units, ministries, factories, etc., as well as key sections of the Party itself, cultural, educational and scientific institutions, and so on throughout society. This is undeniable.

What relations does Hoxha think existed in those areas of economic, social and political life dominated by the revisionists prior to their seizure of nationwide power? Does he really believe that in factories run by Khrushchev’s crew there was no element of exploitation, of these bureaucrats privately appropriating the fruits of the workers’ collective labor? Does he really believe that these factories, for example, were completely–in content as well as form–public property? Or was it not in fact the case that the revisionists implemented to the greatest degree possible all the policies that they were able to implement on a full and complete scale only after they succeeded in seizing state power?

No, the revisionists are not classless bureaucrats with some wrong thinking–they were and are capitalist elements sucking the blood of the workers. Politically they tried to enforce a bourgeois dictatorship in every realm where they held sway. They used their strongholds in the cultural, educational and scientific fields to promote bourgeois ideology and combat Marxism-Leninism, to prepare public opinion for the course they were determined to follow. In the party, the pivotal point and concentrated arena of the class struggle, they promoted revisionism, demanded the adoption of lines and policies reflecting their own interests in developing as exploiters, and fought to wipe out the Marxist-Leninist line.

All this would seem very elementary in light of the actual history of the victory of revisionism in the Soviet Union. But not according to Enver Hoxha. In his idealist and metaphysical view, the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie only comes into being after the revisionists have seized power. Once again, the Deborin school of philosophy rears its ugly head. The contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, only emerges at a certain point–full-blown and from the head of Zeus. And this, no less, in a country where the revolutionaries did not “permit” the existence of a bourgeoisie, of antagonistic classes, or wrong lines in the Party!

Hoxha cannot understand the existence of the bourgeoisie under socialism because he cannot penetrate beneath the surface of things and understand their contradictory essence. He does not understand the essence of capitalism–the domination of dead labor over living labor, the private appropriation of the socialized production of the working class–and instead can see only some of the forms and effects of capitalist exploitation–joint stock companies, interest payments, the fact that some people live in dachaus and don’t ever do any manual labor, etc. Because of this he cannot understand how a bourgeoisie can exist, whether permitted or not, right within the party, in socialist society itself.

The role of the party itself under socialism is full of contradictions. On the one hand, and principally, the party is the political leadership of the working class, which leads it forward in making revolution and attacking every vestige of the old society. But the party is also, objectively, an administrative apparatus under socialism. Most of the people exercising leadership over particular units are party members, the state planning is done under the leadership of the party, and so forth. Similarly, the party must exercise all-round dictatorship in every sphere of society, and it is an instrument of proletarian dictatorship, but at the same time the existence of the party itself is in contradiction to the goal for which the party is fighting–namely the elimination of all class distinctions, and with it the need for any state or party. The party seeks to eliminate all inequality, but finds itself in the position of having to protect, even enforce, vestiges of inequality in the form of wage differences, the division between mental and manual labor, and so forth, because the party is not free to simply will them out of existence. All these contradictions in the very role of the party under socialism make possible the transformation of the Marxist-Leninist party into its opposite.

Mao’s important statement, “You are making the socialist revolution and yet don’t know where the bourgeoisie is. It is right in the Communist Party–those in power taking the capitalist road,” could well be directed at Enver Hoxha. Hoxha would send the workers on a wild goose chase looking for old exploiters who have long been expropriated when the actual main target of their class struggle is nestling in the very party itself. Instead of concentrating their efforts on uncovering and combatting those instances in socialist society where public ownership and the leadership of the party were a mere shell hiding a situation where the directors and big shots were implementing a revisionist line and trying to reduce the workers once again to the status of wage slaves, Hoxha would have the Marxist-Leninists concentrate on uncovering instances of petty exploiters illegally hiring labor and so forth. Instead of directing the political struggle against the bourgeoisie in the party, as Mao did, Hoxha would direct it against people like Sun Yat-sen’s widow and other old bourgeois democrats because they occupied a formal position in a state body that hasn’t met in years anyway and holds no real power. Of course all these secondary sources of capitalism and the bourgeois state played their role in the reversal in China, as did similar forces in the Soviet Union, but they were not and could not have been the main source of the bourgeoisie and were in fact only a significant force insofar as they were commanded and led by the bourgeoisie inside the Party.

In fact, at a certain stage in the development of the socialist revolution it becomes virtually impossible for the old bourgeoisie (i.e. the particular members of the old exploiting classes) to make a comeback–after all, they have been deprived of their means of production, they have been under constant political attack, they have grown old or died and they have become so politically discredited that they command no support in society (and even many of their own children have been won to support, or accept, socialism). Stalin perceived this, he knew that the old henchmen of the Tsar, the kulaks, the former factory owners, would never be able to regain power short of an imperialist invasion. But he drew exactly the wrong conclusions–that the restoration of capitalism was impossible without an imperialist take-over, and the dictatorship of the proletariat was only necessary to protect the socialist state from external enemies. And it is essentially this line that Hoxha is resurrecting, with a few of his own “shibboleths” about the “contradiction between the capitalist and socialist road,” “class struggle” (but no antagonistic classes!) and the “possibility of restoration still exists”–phrases the Albanian Party took from Mao while never really absorbing his Marxist-Leninist line, the line they are now attacking as revisionist.

Stalin’s recognition of the need to maintain the dictatorship of the proletariat stood in sharp conflict with his theory of the disappearance of the bourgeoisie and the non-existence of antagonistic classes and antagonistic contradictions under socialism. While he began to tackle some of the problems in this line in his Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR (written shortly before his death), in which he corrected the view put forward in the 1930s that there was no contradiction between the relations of production and the forces of production under socialism, he still did not reach correct conclusions on the nature of class struggle in the USSR at that time. It remained for Khrushchev to “resolve” the contradiction in the Soviet line between the dictatorship of the proletariat and the supposed non-existence of the bourgeoisie. Khrushchev did this with his infamous theory of the “state of the whole people.”

After all, Khrushchev argued (and not unreasonably) that if there is no bourgeoisie, if there are no antagonistic class relationships, why is it necessary to maintain a dictatorship of the proletariat, a state which by its very definition exists to exercise dictatorship over, suppress by force, the bourgeoisie? Furthermore, if the state is no longer needed to combat an internally generated enemy, but only to fight the external imperialist enemy and the foreign agents, saboteurs and so on who are dependent on this external enemy for their existence, couldn’t such a state be more appropriately termed the state of the whole people, and actually represent all the existing classes in Soviet society (the working class, the peasantry and the socialist intelligentsia), and still fulfill its functions against the external enemy? Of course, Stalin’s muddle is infinitely preferable to Khrushchevite revisionism, but it must be said that his muddle contained more than a few elements that could be and were used by Khrushchev in constructing his revisionist theories.


[76] Ibid., p. 107.

[77] Ibid., pp. 106-107.

[78] Lenin, “The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up,” Collected Works, Vol. 22 (Moscow, 1964), pp. 355-56; Lenin’s emphasis.

[79] Mao, Selected Works, Vol. 2, p. 245.

[79a] The short article “The May 4th Movement.” Both the article and the speech came out on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the May 4th Movement, in 1939.

[80] Ibid, p. 238.

[81] Ibid, p. 245.

[82] Ibid, p. 238.

[83] “Speech to the Albanian Military Delegation,” Joint Publications Research Service, Miscellany of Mao Tsetung Thought (1949-1968) (Arlington, Va., 1974), p. 458.

[84] See the “16 Point Decision on the Cultural Revolution” and May 16, 1966 “Circular of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party,” printed as pamphlets, Peking 1968.

[86] Wang Ming, Lenin, Leninism and the Chinese Revolution, (Moscow, 1970).

[87] See Manchester Guardian (October 29, 1978), p. 13, quoting Hoang Tung, editor-in-chief of the Vietnam Party’s daily Nhan Dan.

[88] Hoxha, p. 106; emphasis added.

[89] Ibid., p. 107; emphasis added.

[90] See the Letter of the CC of the Party of Labor and the Government of Albania to the CC of the Communist Party and the Government of China (Tirana, 1978) where the Albanian Party held that the Cultural Revolution “ended in the establishment in China of state power dominated by bourgeois and revisionist elements.” (emphasis added) p. 36.

[90a] The reader might ask, if this is true how can Hoxha so uncritically uphold Stalin when revisionism triumphed so shortly after his death? Indeed, this is a contradiction in the Albanian line from which they run like the plague. What is most noteworthy in their writings on this subject is their shallowness and inability to provide any real explanation of the triumph of revisionism in the Soviet Union.

[91] Hoxha, p. 109.

[91a] At the same time, Mao sometimes saw the necessity of, and even advocated, putting known opportunists in certain positions within the Party for tactical reasons. This is discussed below.

[92] Ibid.

[93]. Mao, “A Dialectical Approach to Inner-Party Unity,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 515.

[94] Ibid.

[95]. The Tenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China (Documents) (Peking, 1973), p. 46; reprinted in R. Lotta, ed., And Mao Makes 5 (Chicago, 1978), p. 96.

[96] Mao, “On Contradiction,” Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 311.

[96a] The possible exception to this is Yugoslavia, but it is highly questionable in that case that socialism had ever been established, or that the League of Communists of Yugoslavia had ever been Marxist-Leninist.

[96b] While this is not the place to provide an overall critique of Hoxha’s political line, it is worthwhile to indicate what some of the other errors are that Hoxha is determined to enshrine. The complete and uncritical endorsement of the line of Dimitroff and the Seventh Congress of the Communist International; the thesis Stalin advanced in the early 1950s that the imperialist bourgeoisie had “dropped the national flag” and it was incumbent on the working class to pick up the national flag and be the best fighters for the nation–even in the imperialist countries; the failure to recognize and take into account the fact that the storm center of revolution shifted from the West to the East (to the colonial and semi-colonial countries) in the decades following World War 2–these are all examples of cases in which Hoxha continues to uphold wrong theses and to defend them against the further advances of Marxism-Leninism.

[97] Quoted by Hoxha on p. 109; the words which occur in brackets are not quoted by Hoxha although they are part of the sentence, as found in Mao, ”A Dialectical Approach to Inner-Party Unity,” Selected Works Vol. 5, pp. 515-16.

[98] Mao, ibid.

[99] Ibid., p. 515.

[100] Hoxha, p. 109.

[101] Mao, “Strengthen Party Unity and Carry Forward Party Traditions,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 322.

[102] Ibid., p. 320.

[103] Ibid.

[104] Ibid., p. 322.

[104] Mao, “The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party,” Selected Works, Vol. 2, pp. 326-27.

[106] Lenin, “Left-Wing” Communism–An Infantile Disorder, Collected Works, Vol. 31, p. 115.

[106a] Of course Trotsky also had organizational skills which the Bolsheviks wanted to use in leading the revolution, and of course Trotsky had made a self-criticism and formally repudiated his past errors (as had Wang Ming and Li Li-san).

[106b] The “heretical passage” from Mao quoted above is from pp. 321-322 of his Selected Works, Vol. 5. Hoxha [Imperialism and the Revolution, p. 106) complains that articles written under Mao’s leadership “were full of typically Chinese stereotyped formulas,” which made them hard for Albanian theoreticians to understand, ”… because we are used to thinking, acting and writing according to the traditional Marxist-Leninist theory and culture.”

[107] History of the Party of Labor of Albania, pp. 275, 277.

[108] Quoted by William Ash in Pickaxe and Rifle: The Story of the Albanian People (London, 1974), p. 112; emphasis added.

[109] History of the Party of Labor of Albania, p. 334.

[110] Hoxha, Imperialism and the Revolution, p. 106.

[110a] In this same section Hoxha raises the puzzling remark that Mao’s four volumes “are carefully arranged in such a way that they do not present an exact picture of the real situations that developed in China” but dares not offer one shred of evidence to back up this contention. The reason that Hoxha does not care to pursue this argument is that the source is in none other than the Soviet press. See, for example, “The Philosophical Views of Mao Tsetung.”[111] This same article also includes many of Hoxha’s other slanders against Mao such as ”racism” and so on. Similarly, Hoxha raises a hue and cry that ”The congress of the party, its highest collective organ, has not been convened regularly,” putting form over content and reminding one more of a bourgeois parliamentarian than a communist. (And by the way, one might ask Hoxha, the mighty and uncompromising upholder of the regularity of party congresses, why it was that the Communist Party of Albania did not hold its first congress until 1948, some seven years after it had been founded and more than three years after the liberation of the country.)

[110b] The same could be said for the USSR in the early years of socialism, but from the time of the mid-1930s on it becomes much more difficult to get an all-round picture of the line struggle in the USSR from the printed documents.

[111] M. Altaisty, V. Georgigev, The Philosophical Views of Mao Tsetung: A Critical Analysis (Moscow, 1971).

[112] Hoxha, p. 109.

[113] Ibid.

[114] See Hua’s report to the CPC’s 11th Congress in The Eleventh National Congress of the Communist Party of China (Documents) (Peking, 1977).

[115] Fang Kang, “Capitalist-Roaders Are the Bourgeoisie Inside the Party,” Peking Review No. 25,1976. Reprinted in And Mao Makes 5, p. 360.

[116] Hoxha, p. 113.

[117] And Mao Makes 5, p. 362.

[118] Chuang Lan, “Capitalist-Roaders Are the Representatives of the Capitalist Relations of Production,” And Mao Makes 5, pp. 369-70. This article first appeared in Study and Criticism, the journal put out in Shanghai under the direct leadership of the Four, and suppressed since the 1976 coup.

[119] Ibid., p. 373.

[119a] Just as it is impossible for the bourgeoisie to exist, under socialism, in exactly the same manner that it does under capitalism, so too the term proletariat acquires a different meaning. The proletariat under socialism is no longer a ”propertyless class” as it is under capitalism and is no longer dominated by capital. But to draw from this that communists could no longer speak of a proletariat under socialism would be the height of absurdity–and revisionism. The point is that with the socialist revolution both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat exist, but take on some different characteristics than under capitalism. It is easy to see how the dogmatist method (applying strict ”Marxist” definitions to analyze a situation where those definitions are not strictly applicable) dovetails nicely with the revisionist conclusion (no antagonistic classes).

IV. Dialectics

We have attempted to show throughout this article that Enver Hoxha’s outlook is a metaphysical and idealist outlook. But it is not necessary to extrapolate this from his political views; he confesses quite openly and unabashedly to these views in his criticism of Mao’s dialectical materialism.

Hoxha begins by making ridiculous charges against Mao, that “he adheres to a metaphysical, evolutionary concept.” But in trying to “explain” Mao’s concept, Hoxha only reveals his own utterly metaphysical world view:

Contrary to materialist dialectics, which envisages progressive development in the form of a spiral, Mao Tsetung preaches development in the form of a cycle, going round in a circle, as a process of ebb and flow which goes from equilibrium to disequilibrium and back to equilibrium again, from motion to rest and back to motion again, from rise to fall and from fall to rise, from advance to retreat and to advance again, etc.[120]

Mao, of course, never adhered to a metaphysical, evolutionary concept at all. In his famous work “On Contradiction,” he polemicizes directly against the “metaphysical or vulgar evolutionist world outlook that sees things as isolated, static and onesided.” He points out that ”They contend that a thing can only keep on repeating itself as the same kind of thing and cannot change into anything different. In their opinion, capitalist exploitation, capitalist competition, the individualist ideology of capitalist society, and so on, can all be found in ancient slave society, or even in primitive society, and will exist forever unchanged.”[121]

In this passage, and indeed throughout the work, Mao makes a thorough and profound criticism of the metaphysical outlook, and it is obvious to anyone who reads it that Hoxha’s characterization of it is simply swill. But what is interesting is Hoxha’s definition of a “cycle” and how he tries to counterpose it to the concept of a spiral.

It is certainly true that things don’t repeat themselves in a “circle,” but it is just as true that things do go from ebb to flow, flow to ebb; from advance to defeat and to advance again and so on. Isn’t that how the mass movement develops in the capitalist countries? Yes, it is, and each “cycle,” if you will, does not lead back to where it started but in fact, speaking generally, each represents an overall advance in the movement. Isn’t it equally true that in a war an army goes from advance to retreat and to advance again? It is precisely through this cyclical process that the overall direction, progress, of the war works itself out. The same is generally true of any protracted, complex process. It is only in Albania (actually it is only in Enver Hoxha’s mind) that the class struggle and the revolution develop “uninterruptedly” and go from one victory to another, never suffering a defeat or setback or, God forbid, periods of turbulence and “chaos.”

While Hoxha is burning Mao’s books, he should burn Marx’s Capital as well for that work (always upheld by Marxist-Leninists as the classic example of the application of dialectics) is teeming with examples of things that work themselves out not in endless, unchanging repetition but whose forward motion comes about through cycles. For instance, there is the circulation of capital itself, whose formula is M-C-M, from money to commodity to money, which Marx describes as “the restless never-ending process of profit-making,” or as “the circular course of capital,” and of which he says, “This process as a whole constitutes therefore the process of moving in circuits.”[122] But yet it is this process of “never-ending” cycles which is also the process of the accumulation of capital, the process of movement from competitive capitalism to monopoly capitalism, etc. Or there are the crises which recur cyclically in capitalism, but through the cyclic recurrence of which capitalism moves toward its final end. The point is that although these processes take place in cycles, these are not cycles which endlessly return to their beginning points, but what is happening is actually a spiral, and it is precisely through such cycles and circuits that all development takes place and qualitative leaps are made.

It is worthwhile to quote Mao’s brilliant summary of the Marxist theory of knowledge as an excellent example of the correct use of dialectics:

Discover the truth through practice, and again through practice verify and develop the truth. Start from perceptual knowledge and actively develop it into rational knowledge; then start from rational knowledge and actively guide revolutionary practice to change both the subjective and the objective world. Practice, knowledge, again practice, and again knowledge. This form repeats itself in endless cycles, and with each cycle the content of practice and knowledge rises to a higher level. Such is the whole of the dialectical-materialist theory of knowledge, and such is the dialectical-materialist theory of the unity of knowing and doing.[123]

Thus Mao is clearly putting forward the process of rising to a “higher level” through a series of endless cycles–a spiral! Hoxha confuses the point because the only kind of “spiral” he can understand is one with all of the curves removed. Anyone who thinks that a spiral doesn’t contain cycles must be literally as well as politically blind.[123a]

Dismissing Hoxha’s attempt to paint Mao as an astrologist and a believer in ancient mythology with the lack of comment it deserves, we will proceed to examine one of his more serious arguments against Mao. In a typical Hoxhaite compilation of lies and his own muddled thinking, Hoxha says:

Mao Tsetung negates the internal contradictions inherent in things and phenomena and treats development as simple repetition, as a chain of unchangeable states in which the same opposites and the same relationship between them are observed. The mutual transformation of the opposites into each other, understood as a mere exchange of places and not as a resolution of the contradiction and a qualitative change of the very phenomenon which comprises these opposites, is used by Mao Tsetung as a formal pattern to which everything is subject.[125]

Well what have we here! Hoxha, who denies the existence of two lines in the party, who denies the existence of antagonistic classes under socialism, has mounted a high horse to accuse Mao Tsetung of negating the internal contradictions in things! This charge almost equals his brilliant thesis that Mao is a “racist” which he then follows by offering example after example of his own chauvinism and narrow nationalism! This statement is truly like that of the thief who hollered, “There is no gold buried here!”

But leaving aside this ridiculous charge as well as Hoxha’s attempt to reintroduce his “theory of circles” and pin it on Mao, we come to the heart of the question–Hoxha’s contention that the “mutual transformation of opposites into each other” means “a resolution of the contradiction and a qualitative change of the very phenomenon which comprises the opposites.” Well, Hoxha is half correct, which is a huge improvement over most of his statements. The transformation of things into their opposites does indeed mean that a qualitative change has taken place. Unfortunately for Hoxha’s polemic, however, he is unable–except by mere assertion–to show where Mao denies this. Mao not only has not denied it, he explains it, and, unlike Hoxha, correctly:

We often speak of the “new superseding the old.” The supersession of the old by the new is a general, eternal and inviolable law of the universe. The transformation of one thing into another, through leaps of different forms in accordance with its essence and external contradictions–this is the process of the new superseding the old. In each thing there is contradiction between its new and its old aspects, and this gives rise to a series of struggles with many twists and turns. As a result of these struggles, the new aspect changes from being minor to being major and rises to predominance, while the old aspect changes from being major to being minor and gradually dies out. And the moment the new aspect gains dominance over the old, the old thing changes qualitatively into a new thing. It can thus be seen that the nature of a thing is mainly determined by the principal aspect of the contradiction, the aspect which has gained predominance. When the principal aspect which has gained predominance changes, the nature of a thing changes accordingly.[126]

Thus Mao is very clear: the transformation of opposites in a contradiction is not, as Hoxha (mis)represents Mao’s line, “the mere exchange of places,” but to use Mao’s own words, “the old thing changes qualitatively into a new thing.”

No, the difference here–and it is a vital one–is not over whether a qualitative change takes place when opposites become transformed into each other, but whether that transformation “resolves”–i.e. abolishes–the contradiction itself! We have, on Hoxha’s part, a sort of flip side of his earlier “Deborin school” error. Whereas in one aspect, as we have previously pointed out, Hoxha’s line reflects the view that a contradiction only emerges at a certain stage of development, here he is saying that contradiction disappears at the moment of qualitative change. What both views have in common is the failure to see contradiction running through the entire process of development of a thing from its beginning to its end.

Hoxha’s thesis of the resolution of a contradiction taking place merely because each aspect is turned into its opposite is transparently wrong. Take, for example, the contradiction between war and peace, on a world scale or in any particular country. The contradiction between war and peace has existed from even before the advent of classes and will not be resolved until peace is not only the principal aspect but until it “gobbles up” its opposite, war, entirely and on a world scale. At that point there will no longer be any contradiction between war and peace, and the term peace itself will have no meaning, except as an historical factor.

But between the dawn of wars and the dawn of communism is a long historical period, during which these two aspects remain locked in struggle and many qualitative changes take place, in which war is transformed into peace and vice versa. This is why Mao was correct to criticize the Soviet philosophy textbook (which he said reflected Stalin’s view) for saying there was no identity between war and peace.[127] World War 2 grew out of a period of relative peace, which in turn grew out of a period of relative war, viz., the first world war. World War 2 gave rise to a period of relative peace on a world scale. Yet in none of these instances was the contradiction resolved between war and peace. Each peace still had aspects of war (both the war that had passed and the war that was to come as well as revolutionary wars) within it. And this process has not taken place as the endless repetition of circles, but exactly as a spiral, with each cycle from war to peace and back to war again leading to the forward advance of society, as revolutionary wars–wars of the working class and the oppressed peoples, which alone can lead to the abolition of war–have triumphed first in one country and then in several. It was this kind of correct, dialectical understanding that led Mao to say, in the face of Khrushchev’s hysteria that another world war would bring the end of humanity, that another world war would lead instead to a revolutionary storm on an unprecedented scale and the real possibility of handing the system of imperialism its greatest defeats ever.

There are, of course, numerous other examples from nature and society of the operation of this principle–in which the principal aspect of a contradiction changes and leads to a qualitative change, yet the contradiction remains and the opposites continue to struggle. Hoxha’s thesis is a reflection of his own metaphysical outlook, which holds that once a qualitative change has taken place it is impossible for the aspects of the contradiction to again reverse themselves, because the contradiction itself has ceased to exist. Yea is yea, and nay is nay–such is the bourgeois logical, but anti-dialectical, reasoning of Hoxha. It may do fine for common sense, but it can only lead a revolution to defeat.

Hoxha’s point in making a stand on this question is clear–he wants to invent a non-existent philosophical principle (that qualitative change means the elimination of the contradiction that gave rise to it) in order to justify his idealist, metaphysical line on the nature of socialism. So Hoxha criticizes Mao for not seeing that “the socialist revolution is a qualitative change of society in which antagonistic classes and the oppression and exploitation of man by man are abolished, but conceives it as a simple change of places between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.”[128] And then he quotes Mao:

If the bourgeoisie and the proletariat cannot transform themselves into each other, how does it come that, through revolution, the proletariat becomes the ruling class and the bourgeoisie the ruled class?. . . We stand in diametrical opposition to Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang. As a result of the mutual struggle and exclusion of the two contradictory aspects with the Kuomintang we changed places. . .[129]

“This same logic has also led Mao Tsetung to revise the Marxist-Leninist theory on the two phases of communist society.” So Hoxha comments.

Well, Hoxha is getting nearer to the mark. It is true that Mao’s same logic, dialectical logic, approaching every question from the point of analyzing its internal contradiction and its contradictory aspects, is the same logic that leads him to develop the Marxist-Leninist understanding of socialism and the transition to communism. Hoxha takes great offense at Mao’s statement that:

According to dialectics, as surely as a man must die, the socialist system as a historical phenomenon will come to an end some day, to be negated by the communist system. If it is asserted that the socialist system and the relations of production and superstructure of socialism will not die out, what kind of Marxist thesis would that be? Wouldn’t it be the same as a religious creed or theology that preaches an everlasting god?[130]

Hoxha may not like it, but we think it’s fine!

Isn’t it quite obvious that the socialist system is qualitatively different from communism? Hoxha believes that this is not the case, that socialism and communism “in essence, are two phases of the one type, of the one socio-economic order, and which are distinguished from each other only by the degree of their development and maturity[;] Mao Tsetung presents socialism as something diametrically opposite to communism.”[131] Here it is, the revisionist line in all its glory. Not only is it impermissible to divide socialism into contradictory aspects for the purpose of analysis, it is impermissible to recognize a contradiction between socialism and communism.

Not surprisingly, it is Hoxha’s inability to understand the contradictions in socialism that makes it impossible for him to understand the contradiction between socialism and communism. Since, in Hoxha’s idealistic view, the qualitative change from capitalism to socialism means the resolution of the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, it follows that this transformation means the basic accomplishment of communism, albeit on a “lower” stage, and that all that is required is a mere quantitative development, “uninterrupted development” and maturation to achieve communism in its full sense.

The fundamental contradiction in socialist society is precisely the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie which, in turn, reflects the contradiction between “nascent communism” (as Lenin calls it) and the birthmarks–political, economic, social and moral–of the capitalist society from which socialism emerges. When these contradictions are resolved, that is when the bourgeoisie and the birthmarks of the old society die out under the repeated blows of the proletariat and the advance of socialist transformation, then and only then is it possible to say that mankind has entered the realm of communism, when new contradictions will determine the character of society. The transformation of the working class to the ruling class in society represents a qualitative leap and the elimination of classes altogether represents another, more profound, qualitative leap. This would seem quite elementary, especially in view of the hundred years of experience in socialist revolution since the Paris Commune, experience which has demonstrated that the transition to communism is longer, the resistance of the bourgeoisie more fierce, and the birthmarks of the old society more stubborn, than first envisioned by Marx and Engels, whose writings on socialism and communism were brilliant in their historical sweep but were naturally limited by the lack of experience of the proletariat in building socialism during their lifetime. But Hoxha insists on propagating and raising to the absurd the idea that socialism and communism are the same “economic and social system”!

Well, Mr. Hoxha, is “to each according to his work” a reflection of the same social-economic system as “to each according to his needs”? Is a society in which one class maintains a state, a dictatorship, the same social-economic system as a society in which there is no state and classes have disappeared? Really, even a child could see through Hoxha’s stupidity. How can the transition to classless society after thousands of years of class society (including socialism) not be a tremendous qualitative leap?

The implications, however, of Hoxha’s insistence that socialism and communism are “in essence” the same thing are ominous indeed. They throw the door wide open to that pernicious line that seems to accompany all revisionism–“the theory of the productive forces.” If socialism differs from communism only in its degree of “maturity,” if the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie has been eliminated by socialism, it follows that it is mainly the level of the development of the productive forces that distinguishes communism from its less “mature” stage of socialism. Indeed, the “theory of the productive forces” is the logical outgrowth and the fitting companion to Hoxha’s entire crusade against Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought.

As a result of the tragic loss of China to the world proletariat, the international communist movement is indeed facing its most serious crisis. At stake is whether to remain firm in revolutionary convictions and, on the basis of the science of Marxism-Leninism and the development and enrichment of that science by Mao Tsetung, to continue to advance in the revolutionary struggle. Or must the Marxist-Leninists abandon all that has been achieved in the struggle against Khrushchevite revisionism, the lessons of the Cultural Revolution and so on, and in one form or another accommodate with revisionism?

After the loss in China, the attention of the Marxist-Leninists focused on Albania and on Enver Hoxha. The PLA had stood together with Mao and the Chinese Communist Party in the struggle against Khrushchev, had supported the Cultural Revolution, had set an example for the world in refusing to kneel down before modern revisionism. But now the very things that must be cherished and defended, the very advances won by the international communist movement through fierce struggle and amidst setbacks as well as advances, have come under attack from a quarter from which we had come to expect something quite different.

It is clear, Hoxha’s protestations to the contrary, that the Albanian attack on Mao Tsetung Thought differs in no fundamental way from the chorus raised against Mao by the Soviet social-imperialists and the current Chinese revisionist rulers. All oppose Mao’s most important contribution to Marxism-Leninism, the theory and practice of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. To all of them, the Cultural Revolution represented all that filled them with fear–above all the revolutionary torrent of the masses tearing down all that stood in the way of the communist future and daring to shape every aspect of society into the image of the proletariat. The Soviet and Chinese revisionists, and now Enver Hoxha, recoil in horror at Mao’s dialectics–at his incisive and relentless efforts to seek out the contradiction at the heart of every process, at his refusal to kneel before any sacred cows, at his recognition that the world advances amidst turbulence and struggle, and his willingness to lead the masses forward through the inevitable storms. Mao’s famous call “It is right to rebel against reactionaries!” inspired revolutionaries on every continent, but it strikes fear into the hearts of all the reactionaries and revisionists.

Hoxha’s charges of “Asian communism” and “racism” are direct from the preachings of the Soviet revisionists;[131a] his distaste for the “chaos” of the Cultural Revolution and the poor mistreated ”communists” reads straight from Teng Hsiao-ping. He wants to be the center of the international communist movement, to be the representative of the “purity” of Marxism-Leninism–he is instead only a queer variant of revisionism and one that shows every sign of steadily losing its distinctive characteristics and merging with the main revisionist current emanating from Moscow. His only importance lies in the fact that he is attempting to drag a certain section of Marxist-Leninists, heretofore opponents of revisionism, into the revisionist quagmire and trying to sugar-coat the bitter pill of capitulation and betrayal. However, he should not get carried away with his delusions of a new International, with his role as the Stalin of such a movement–but a Stalin devoid of his revolutionary essence. The genuine Marxist-Leninists are already deserting him. Others move steadily rightward to become almost indistinguishable from the revisionist parties. Still others are but pathetic sects with not even an occasional thought of revolution.

The comment made in Revolution after the appearance of an Albanian press release announcing Hoxha’s utter and complete departure from Marxism with the publication of Imperialism and the Revolution remains a fitting conclusion after having examined in greater depth some of Hoxha’s main attacks on Marxism-Leninism, Mao Tsetung Thought: “At a time when the international communist movement is at a crossroads Enver Hoxha had the opportunity and the responsibility to play the role of a giant. He chose instead to be a pipsqueak.”[132]


[120] Hoxha, p. 112.

[121] Mao, “On Contradiction,” Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 312.

[122] Marx, Capital, Vol. 1 (N.Y., 1967), p. 152; Vol. 2 (N.Y., 1967), pp. 56 and 48.

[123] Mao, “On Practice,” Selected Works, Vol. 1, p. 308.

[123a] We would suggest that Hoxha take his crusade against circles to Lenin, who wrote in his work “On the Question of Dialectics” (a five-page article which Hoxha quotes but has obviously not read): “Human knowledge is not (or does not follow) a straight line, but a curve, which endlessly approximates a series of circles, a spiral.”[124]

[124] Lenin, “On the Question of Dialectics,” Collected Works, Vol. 38, p. 363.

[125] Hoxha, p. 113.

[126] Mao, “On Contradiction,” op. cit., p. 333.

[127] Mao, “Talks at a Conference of Secretaries of Provincial, Municipal and Autonomous Region Party Committees,” Selected Works, Vol. 5, p. 368.

[128] Hoxha, p. 113.

[129] Ibid., p. 128, quoting Mao, “Talks at a Conference of Party Committee Secretaries,” Vol. 5, p. 368, where this passage appears in slightly different form.

[130] Hoxha, p. 113, quoting Mao, “Talks at a Conference of Party Committee Secretaries,” Vol. 5, p. 377.

[131] Hoxha, p. 113.

[131a] Consider, for example, the following quote: “The political, economic, philosophical and sociological views and the tactical approach of Mao Tsetung and his followers reflect the influence and are in fact an eclectic mixture of various doctrines, theories and concepts including feudal Chinese philosophy (mostly Confucianism and Taoism), petty bourgeois socialism, petty bourgeois and peasant views, bourgeois-nationalist views, great-power chauvinism, Trotskyite and anarchist ideas.” Is this from Hoxha or perhaps one of his pitiful parrots? No, this comes from the pamphlet, What Peking Keeps Silent About, Moscow, 1972.

[132] Revolution, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jan. 1979), p. 4.


2 thoughts on “Self-Criticism Concerning Maoism and Hoxhaism: The New Path of Toilers’ Struggle

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