Category Archives: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.)

Mikhail Tukhachevsky on Communists and the Jews

“Also in the camp [Ingolstadt] was a Russian officer, Mikhail Tukhachevsky, son of tsarist nobility, who also made repeated attempts to escape and with whom, according to a fellow prisoner, de Gaulle shared a cell for a time. Tukhachevsky played mournful airs on his violin, spouted nihilist beliefs and inveighed against Jews as dogs who ‘spread their fleas throughout the world.’”

– Jonathan Fenby, “The General: Charles De Gaulle and the France He Saved,” page 68.

“– You are an anti-semite, then, I said to him. Why?

– The Jews brought us Christianity. That’s reason enough to hate them. But then they are a low race. I don’t even speak of the dangers they create in my country. You cannot understand that, you French, for you equality is a dogma. The Jew is a dog, son of a dog, which spreads his fleas in every land. It is he who has done the most to inoculate us with the plague of civilization, and who would like to give us his morality also, the morality of money, of capital.

– You are now a socialist, then?

– A socialist? Not at all! What a need you have for classifying! Besides the great socialists are Jews and socialist doctrine is a branch of universal Christianity. … No, I detest socialists, Jews and Christians.”

– Pierre Fervacque (Remy Roure), Le Chef de Larm e Rouge: Mikhail Toukatchevski (Paris: Fasquelle, 1928), page 24- 45. Remy Roure was one of the most prominent journalists and newspapermen in France in his day, a founder of Le Monde and its political editor from 1945 to 1952, when he left it for the conservative Le Figaro. See the necrology by Louis Marin-Chauffier, “L’Honneur de Notre Profession,” Le Figaro, 9 Nov. 1966, pp. 1, 32; also, “La Carrière de Remy Roure,” ibid, p. 32.

Nazis Joseph Goebbels and Léon Degrelle on Tukhachevsky

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“The Führer explained one more time the Tukhachevsky case and stated that we erred completely at the time when we thought that Stalin had ruined the Red Army. The opposite is true: Stalin got rid of all the opposition circles within the army and thereby succeeded in making sure that there would no longer be any defeatist currents within that army…

With respect to us, Stalin also has the advantage of not having any social opposition, since Bolshevism has eliminated it through the purges of the last twenty-five years…Bolshevism has eliminated this danger in time and can henceforth focus all of its strength on its enemy.”

– Joseph Göbbels, Tagebücher aus den Jahren 1942–1943, (Zurich, 1948), p. 322. Quoted in Hans-Adolf Jacobsen, La seconde guerre mondiale: caractères fondamentaux de la politique et de la stratégie, vol. 1, pp. 213–214.

“Who would have thought during the crimes of the Great Terror during the French Revolution that soon after a Bonaparte would come out and raise France up from the abyss with an iron fist? A few years later, and Bonaparte almost created the United Europe.

A Russian Bonaparte could also rise up. The young Marshal Tukhachevsky executed by Stalin on Benes’ advice, was of the right stature in 1937.”

– Léon Degrelle, quoted in Degrelle m’a dit by Louise Narvaez, Postface by Degrelle (Brussels: Éditions du Baucens, 1977), page 360-361.

Winston Churchill on Conspiracies in the Soviet Union

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“In the autumn of 1936, a message from a high military source in Germany was conveyed to President Beneš [President of Czechoslovakia – E.S.] to the effect that if he wanted to take advantage of the Fuehrer’s offer, he had better be quick, because events would shortly take place in Russia rendering any help he could give to Germany insignificant.

While Beneš was pondering over this disturbing hint he became aware that communications were passing through the Soviet Embassy in Prague between important personages in Russia and the German Government. This was a part of the so-called military and Old-Guard Communist conspiracy to overthrow Stalin and introduce a new régime based on a pro-German policy. President Beneš lost no time in communicating all he could find out to Stalin. Thereafter there followed the merciless, but perhaps not needless, military and political purge in Soviet Russia, and the series of trials in January 1937, in which Vyshinsky, the Public Prosecutor, played so masterful a part.

[….]

The Russian Army was purged of its pro-German elements [...] The bias of the Soviet Government was turned in a marked manner against Germany. […] The situation was, of course, thoroughly understood by Hitler; but I am not aware that the British and French Governments were equally enlightened. To Mr. Chamberlain and the British and French General Staffs the purge of 1937 presented itself mainly as a tearing to pieces internally of the Russian Army, and a picture of the Soviet Union as riven asunder by ferocious hatreds and vengeance.”

– Winston Churchill, “The Gathering Storm: The Second World War, Volume 1,” page 258.

Alexander Werth on the Military Purges and Tukhachevsky

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“I am also pretty sure that the purge in the Red Army had a great deal to do with Stalin’s belief in an imminent war with Germany. What did Tukhachevsky stand for? People of the French Deuxieme Buereau told me long ago that Tukhachevsky was pro-German. And the Czechs told me the extraordinary story of Tukhachevsky’s visit to Prague, when towards the end of a banquet – he had got rather drunk – he blurted out that an agreement with Hitler was the only hope for both Czechoslovakia and Russia. And he then proceeded to abuse Stalin. The Czechs did not fail to report this to Kremlin, and that was the end of Tukhachevsky – and so many of his followers.”

– Alexander Werth, quoted in Harpal Brar, Perestroika: The Complete Collapse of Revisionism, page 161.

Joseph Davies on the Soviet Military Purges

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Entries dated June 28 and July 4, 1937

“[T]he best judgment seems to believe that in all probability there was a definite conspiracy in the making looking to a coup d’état by the army — not necessarily anti-Stalin, but antipolitical and antiparty, and that Stalin struck with characteristic speed, boldness and strength.’”

“Had a fine talk with Litvinov. I told him quite frankly the reactions in U.S. and Western Europe to the purges; and to the executions of the Red Army generals; that it definitely was bad…

Litvinov was very frank. He stated that they had to ‘make sure’ through these purges that there was no treason left which could co-operate with Berlin or Tokyo; that someday the world would understand that what they had done was to protect the government from ‘menacing treason.’ In fact, he said they were doing the whole world a service in protecting themselves against the menace of Hitler and Nazi world domination, and thereby preserving the Soviet Union strong as a bulwark against the Nazi threat. That the world would appreciate what a very great man Stalin was.”

– U.S. Ambassador Joseph E. Davies, Mission in Moscow, pages 99 and 103.

Lazar Kaganovich on Tukhachevsky

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“Tukhachevsky hid Napoleon’s baton in his rucksack.”

– Lazar Kaganovich, quoted in “Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar” by Simon Sebag Montefiore, page 222.

The Tukhachevsky Conspiracy

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Yuri Yemelianov

On the 70th Anniversary of the Treason Trials

On the 11th of June 1937 Moscow radio announced the arrest of the former chief of the Red Army General Headquarters Marshal M. Tukhachevsky and 7 other Soviet leading military figures. The arrested were put to trial before the military branch of the USSR Supreme Court. The radio report said that they were ‘accused of having violated their duty as soldiers, of having broken their military oath of allegiance and of having committed treason against the Soviet Union in the interests of a foreign country… It was established that the defendants… had organised an anti-State movement and had been in contact with the military circles of a foreign country pursuing an anti-Soviet policy. In favour of that country the defendants conducted military espionage. Their activity was aimed at ensuring the defeat of the Red Army in the event of the country being attacked. The ultimate aim was the restoration of big land ownership and capitalism. All accused made confessions’.

After a brief trial the USSR Supreme Court passed death penalty on all the defendants. Subsequently a substantial number of other military and Party officials were arrested and put to trial.

Now these events which happened over 70 years ago are used in post-Soviet Russia as a pretext for another noisy anti-Soviet propaganda campaign. Mass meetings and marches with Christian crosses are organised to commemorate the 70th anniversary of these events. TV and other mass media use this occasion in order to continue depicting the USSR history as the time of ‘Great Terror’ against innocent people, falsely accused of crimes which they did not commit. It is also claimed that the arrest of Tukhachevsky and other Soviet military leaders seriously handicapped the Red Army which led to severe setbacks in 1941, loss of great Soviet territories and manpower.

For the first time this interpretation of the arrest and trial of Tukhachevsky and others was made public by N. S. Khrushchev over 50 years ago. The then First Secretary of the CPSU asserted that the German Gestapo concocted papers, which compromised Tukhachevsky and others in order to weaken the Red Army on the eve of World War II. These forged papers were passed to the Soviet Government. Khrushchev claimed that Stalin was pathologically suspicious and this was the reason why he took the German fabrication at its face value and ordered the arrest of Tukhachevsky and others. According to Khrushchev further arrests and trials were caused by Stalin’s paranoia and his inborn cruelty.

Though there are some real facts behind Khrushchev’s version (e.g. the existence of papers forged by the Gestapo) his explanation is refuted by a number of comparatively recent publications made by a number of Russian historians, including the author of the present article. In such books as A. Martirosyan’s ‘The Conspiracy of Marshals’ (Moscow, Veche, 2003), S. Minakov’s ‘Stalin and the Conspiracy of Generals’ (Moscow, Yauza, 2005), ‘The Conspiracies and the Struggle for Power. From Lenin to Khrushchev’ (Moscow, Veche, 2003) by R. Balandin and S. Mironov, a reader will find detailed and ample evidence which contradicts the essence of Khrushchev’s version.

But even before the publication of these and other Russian books a number of authors in the West presented some facts which proved beyond doubt that the Tukhachevsky conspiracy was not a result of Stalin’s gullibility or a figment of his imagination but a stark reality. The appropriate facts were narrated in memoirs by a former German Intelligence chief Walter Schellenberg, in a book by a former NKVD (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) officer Alexander Orlov, who escaped from the USSR to the West in 1938, in a book ‘The Conspirators’ by an American historian Geoffrey Bailey. A brief account of how the Tukhachevsky plot was formed and developed was given in the book ‘Hitler Moves East 1941–1943’ by a former personal interpreter of Hitler, Paul Schmidt (his literary name — Paul Carell).

Summarising all these facts narrated and analysed by Russian, German and American authors one comes to a conclusion that the origin of the June 1937 events differs radically from the explanation given by Khrushchev and modern Russian political mass media. First of all, these events were connected with the struggle going on inside the Soviet Communist Party in the 1920s. One should take into account that since 1918 L. D. Trotsky was the chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Soviet Republic and its People’s Commissar for military affairs. Many of the leading figures in the Red Army were appointed by Trotsky during the Civil War. Sharing the political views of their chief they tended to overrate military methods of administration and the role of the Red Army in the world revolutionary process. Many of them continued to occupy commanding posts in the Red Army after Trotsky was ousted from his posts in 1925.

Despite their public recantations, many of them continued to share Trotsky’s views and attitudes with their typical blend of adventurism and disregard for ideological principles, especially when dealing with the enemies of the Soviet Revolution. The adventurist approach to the problems of military strategy and organisation of the Red Army was characteristic for Tukhachevsky and the group of his supporters. The differences on these issues led to latent but growing confrontation of this group with the majority of the Red Army commanders.

Like Trotsky himself many of the Trotskyists in the Red Army were prone to put their personal ambitions above the interests of the working class and the Soviet state. Some of them dreamt of Bonapartist careers.

The tendency to conclude alliances with politically and ideologically alien forces for the sake of personal struggle for power (so typical for Trotsky during his political career) revealed itself in establishing close relations between some Soviet and German officers. At that time the Versailles treaty barred Germany from having military educational establishments. According to a secret Soviet-German agreement concluded at the initiative of Trotskyist Karl Radek who was then influential in the Soviet Government, a large group of German officers set up their military schools in Soviet Russia thus by-passing the clauses of the Versailles treaty. Not only Radek, but other Soviet leaders supported this agreement since at that time the cooperation of Soviet Russia with Germany was seen as a breakthrough of the united Anti-Soviet front of capitalist states. The possible negative consequences of the agreement were not taken into account.

While the Soviet-German agreement existed Tukhachevsky and a number of other Soviet military commanders cultivated friendly relations with their German colleagues. The latter often invited the Soviet officers to Germany. Unfortunately such contacts were not limited to exchanges of opinions in the field of purely professional problems. Some of the military of both countries tended to discuss the benefits of military rule and possibilities of joint interference of the military into civilian lives of both countries. Plans for mutual assistance of the military of the two countries in case of political changes in the two countries began to evolve.

The Nazi takeover in 1933 interrupted the active military cooperation between Germany and the USSR. Though at that time the German military wholly supported Hitler, they were keen to mind their own interests and were ready to take power if the Nazi regime was to totter. (The German military plotters almost performed a coup d’etat in September 1938. Then they were afraid that Germany would lose the war in case Britain and France would take a resolute stand and defend Czechoslovakia. Only the capitulation of France and Britain at Munich made the plotters discard their plans. Another attempt to overthrow the Hitler government was undertaken by them in July 1944 at the time when the Nazi regime was already doomed.)

Their own plans of military takeover in the USSR were nourished by Tukhachevsky and his supporters. At the same time Tukhachevsky and others tried to enlist support of some ambitious Party leaders for realisation of their Bonapartist plans. According to Paul Carell, ‘since 1935 Tukhachevsky had maintained a kind of revolutionary committee in Khabarovsk… Its members included senior administrative officials and Army commanders, but also some young Party functionaries in high posts, such as the Party leader in the Northern Caucasus, Boris Sheboldayev’.

Despite the termination of the Soviet-German military agreement Tukhachevsky maintained close cooperation with the German generals. Carell wrote: ‘In the spring of 1936 Tukhachevsky went to London as the leader of the Soviet delegation attending the funeral of the King George V. Both his outward and homeward journeys led him through Berlin. He used the opportunity for talks with leading German generals. He wanted to make sure that Germany would not use any possible revolutionary unrest in the Soviet Union as a pretext for marching against the East. What mattered to him most was his idea of a German-Russian alliance after overthrow of Stalin… Tukhachevsky became increasingly convinced that the alliance between Germany and the Soviet Union was an inescapable commandment of history’.

In his book ‘The Conspirators’ Geoffrey Bailey quotes an attested remark by Tukhachevsky made at that time to the Rumanian Foreign Minister Titulescu. He said: ‘You are wrong to tie the fate of your country to countries which are old and finished, such as France and Britain. We ought to turn towards new Germany. For some at least Germany will assume the leading position on the continent of Europe’.

Meanwhile the pro-German statements made by Tukhachevsky in Western European countries during his trip to Britain became known in France and Czechoslovakia. The mutual assistance treaties of both countries with the USSR concluded in 1935 united them in a joint anti-Nazi coalition. The information that such an important figure as Tukhachevsky took a pro-German stand caused grave concern in Paris and Prague. The two governments notified the Soviet Government about Tukhachevsky’s statements.

Meanwhile at the end of 1936 and the beginning of 1937 a number of Red Army officers were arrested in the USSR. During their interrogation the NKVD got information about the existence of a wide-spread plot against the Soviet Government. It was a time when arrests of some saboteurs, connected with the Trotskyist opposition revealed the lack of vigilance and political insight on the part of many Party functionaries.

It all happened at the time when the USSR adopted a new Constitution, called Stalinist, as Stalin was its initiator. Its constitution was meant to promote the democratisation of Soviet society. Unfortunately many of the Party officials, especially on a local level were reluctant to put the principles of the new Constitution into practice. Since 1917 during almost two decades they got accustomed to methods of administration used at the time of the Civil War. Many of them grew accustomed to their unchallenged high positions and they drew support from close circles of their personal friends. In fact their political attitudes were close to those of Tukhachevsky and his supporters. At the plenary session of the Central Committee of the USSR Communist Party held in February-March 1937 many of its members demanded increased repressive measures instead of the democratisation urged by the Stalinist Constitution.

In his speech at this plenary session Stalin spoke about the urgent need to raise the ideological and political level of all Party functionaries and offered a plan for their education. At the same time he severely criticised the tendency of Party officials to surround themselves by groups of their personal supporters. He suggested electing new functionaries at every Party level while the old functionaries were being educated at specially set-up schools. Stalin warned that unless the Communist Party kept close contacts with the working class it might perish. He reminded of the fate of Antaeus from Greek mythology, who lost the battle with Hercules as soon as he failed to have a contact with the Earth, who was his mother.

But the words of Stalin were unheeded by many of the Party officials. They were afraid to lose their jobs and they started to devise plans of mass reprisals in order to get rid of potential competitors for their posts.

Meanwhile Tukhachevsky and other conspirators, using unrest among the Party functionaries, accelerated preparations for a coup d’etat. Tukhachevsky intended to ask the USSR People’s Commissar for Defence K.E. Voroshilov to convene a conference on military problems in the Kremlin. Tukhachevsky planned to come to the conference with his supporters and to surround the Kremlin with troops loyal to him. Stalin and some of his Politbureau colleagues were to be arrested and shot immediately.

After the end of the plenary session of the Central Committee the conspirators increased their preparations. Carell wrote: ‘In March 1937 the race between Stalin and Tukhachevsky was becoming increasingly dramatic… Why did the Marshal not act then? Why was he still hesitating? The answer is simple enough. The moves of General Staff officers and Army commanders, whose headquarters were often thousands of miles apart, were difficult to coordinate especially as their strict surveillance by the secret police forced them to act with the utmost caution. The coup against Stalin was fixed for the 1st of May 1937, mainly because the May Day Parades would make it possible to move substantial troop contingents to Moscow without arousing suspicion’.

At that time Trotsky in his ‘Bulletin of the Opposition’ wrote about a probable rebellion of the Soviet military against Stalin. On the 9th of April 1937 the chief of the Red Army Intelligence Board S. Uritsky informed Stalin and Voroshilov that in Berlin there were rumours about the opposition of the Soviet military to the Soviet leadership.

By that time the Gestapo got wind of the negotiations of Tukhachevsky with the German military leaders. In order to get fuller information about relations between the military leaders of the two countries Gestapo agents penetrated the archives of the Wehrmacht and stole some of the documents pertaining to the contacts of the German military with the Soviet. The Gestapo agents tried to conceal the theft of documents by setting fire to the archives. After the stolen documents were analysed the Gestapo deputy chief Heydrich came to the conclusion that there was ample evidence of the secret cooperation between the leaders of the Wehrmacht and the Red Army. The Gestapo informed Hitler about the documents.

Despite the pro-German statements of Tukhachevsky, Hitler and others in the Nazi leadership were not happy over clandestine contacts between the military leaders of Germany and the USSR. The Nazi leaders considered that the establishment of the military dictatorship in Russia might stimulate similar developments in Germany. And the military dictator of Russia Tukhachevsky might help his German colleagues during the future coup. Hitler decided to thwart the joint conspiracy of the military leaders of the two countries. He ordered the sending of the stolen documents to Moscow, but adding to them fabrications to make the materials even more shocking. German Intelligence chief Walter Schellenberg later wrote that the false additions constituted but a minor part of the whole collection, which was secretly sold to the Soviet Union. (Later in 1971 V. M. Molotov claimed that he, Stalin and other Politbureau members knew about the Tukhachevsky conspiracy before they got the German documents.)

There are different versions of the subsequent events. On the one hand there is substantial evidence that the military coup scheduled for the 1st of May was frustrated at the last minute. Some people present at the time at Red Square remembered that immediately after the beginning of the parade the rumours were spread about an imminent terrorist act against Stalin and other Politbureau members who at that time occupied the tribune on the Lenin Mausoleum. Later NKVD officer Pavel Meshik claimed that he personally arrested a terrorist on the upper floor of the building adjacent to Red Square just when he was getting ready to shoot. Meshik said that he was awarded the Order of Lenin for this arrest.

A British correspondent Fitzroy MacClean who was present at the May Day parade stated that he noticed nervousness in the conduct of the Politbureau members. Some of them hardly watched the parade. According to MacClean only Stalin preserved an unperturbed mien.

On the other hand there is evidence that the coup was postponed. Just before the 1st of May in London it was announced that on the 12th of May there would be the coronation of George VI who had become the King after the abdication of Edward VIII. The Soviet delegation was invited for the ceremony and the Soviet Government decided that Tukhachevsky would be a leader of the delegation. According to Carell, Tukhachevsky ‘postponed the coup by three weeks. That was his fatal mistake’.

On the 3rd of May documents of Tukhachevsky were sent to the British Embassy in connection with his visit to London. But on the next day the papers were called back and it was announced that the Soviet admiral V. M. Orlov would be a chief of the delegation.

On the 10th of May it was announced that Tukhachevsky was relieved from the duties of the deputy of the People’ Commissar for Defence and made the commander of the Volga military district. On the 24th of May Stalin sent a circular letter to all the members and alternate members of the Party Central Committee. They were informed about the conspiratorial activities of Tukhachevsky and others. Since Tukhachevsky was an alternate member of the Central Committee, other members and alternate members of this highest body of the Party were asked to vote for or against his expulsion from the Party and transfer of his case to the NKVD. All the members and alternate members of the Central Committee supported the suggested measures against Tukhachevsky.

The leader of the conspiracy was arrested on the 27th of May. Between 19 and 31 his major collaborators were arrested. But one of them, the deputy People’s Commissar for Defence Y. B. Gamarnik committed suicide just before his arrest.

On the 2nd of June the session of the Military Council of the People’s Commissary of Defence was convened. Though the investigation was not over yet and it was probable that some of the participants of the plot were present at the session Stalin attended it and spoke before it.

He began his speech, saying: ‘Comrades, I think that now nobody has doubts about the existence of military-political conspiracy against the Soviet power’. Stalin explained the reason why the conspiracy was not exposed earlier by euphoria of the Party and the Soviet people. He said: ‘The general situation, the growth of our ranks, the achievements of the Army and the country as a whole decreased our political vigilance, diminished sharpness of our sight’.

Stalin spoke about the dependence of Tukhachevsky and other arrested commanders on the German military and suggested that the conspirators did not have any profound ideological platform. Stalin said: ‘What was their weakness? They lacked contact with the people… They relied on the forces of the Germans… They were afraid of the people’.

Stalin suggested that some of the military officers got involved into conspiracy out of sheer opportunism. At the same time Stalin spoke about some of the plotters who were intimidated by Tukhachevsky and others and were forced to join them. Stalin proposed to forgive such people if they came and honestly told about their participation in the plot.

Refuting concern expressed by some of the speakers at the session that the arrests among the military might weaken the Red Army Stalin said: ‘We have in our army unlimited reserves of talents… One should not be afraid to move people upwards’.

Though Stalin expressed hope that the number of conspirators was not great, soon many of the military, including some of those who participated at the 2nd of June session, were arrested. Among those who were arrested many were innocent. First and foremost their arrests were caused by the atmosphere created by many local Party officials (and Khrushchev was among the most active) who, instead of searching for political and social reasons for the military conspiracy started to foment mass hysteria. They used the Tukhachevsky conspiracy as a pretext to prove that the USSR was full of foreign spies and thus to retain administrative methods typical of the Civil War. (Later Khrushchev tried to conceal his participation in this witch hunt by putting all the blame for it upon Stalin.) The toll of arrested increased also due to slanderous accusations made by careerists in the NKVD, ready to get promotion for their successes in exposing ‘enemies of the people’, or by career-minded military officers, eager to take the posts of those who were arrested.

Now the Russian mass-media assert that the arrests and executions of the Red Army commanding officers were fatal for the development of the Great Patriotic War. It is claimed that the officers’ corps of the Red Army was almost decimated. Some point out that 40 thousand of the commanding officers were subjected to various reprisals in 1937 – 1939. In fact out of 37 thousand officers who were dismissed from the Army in this period about 9 thousand were those who died due to natural causes, got severe chronic diseases or were punished for non-political crimes and misbehaviour. Out of 29 thousand officers sacked for political offences 13 thousand were later restored to the Army. Many of them (like Marshal Rokossovsky) fought heroically in the Great Patriotic War. Four thousand were executed and about 12 thousand served their terms in the labour camps. Though these are large numbers, one should be aware that the total number of the Army officers in 1941 was 680 thousand.

In place of Tukhachevsky and his supporters came a new cohort of generals and marshals who proved quite worthy in performing their military duties. The recognition of this fact came from none other than Joseph Goebbels. When Nazi Germany was practically defeated he recognised at last the merits of those whom he for many years treated as representatives of an inferior race. In his personal diary Goebbels wrote on the 16th of March, 1945: ‘The General Staff presented me a book with biographies of Soviet generals and marshals… Most of them are young; almost none of them is over 50 years. They have a rich experience of revolutionary-political activity. They are convinced Bolsheviks, very energetic people. When one looks upon their faces one can see that they are made of healthy folk staff. Most of them are sons of workers, cobblers, small holding peasants, etc. In short, I must make an unpleasant conclusion that the military leaders of the Soviet Union are of better social origin than our own… From this book it is easy to see what mistakes we made in the previous years’.

Belatedly lamenting that Nazi Germany did not get rid of its own Tukhachevskys before it was too late, Goebbels explained the strength of the Red Army in the fact that it had strong ties with the popular masses. Inadvertently the chief of Nazi propaganda recognised the truth of Stalin when the latter spoke about ‘unlimited reserves of talents’ in the ranks of the Red Army and stated that Tukhachevsky and others ‘lacked contact with the people’ and ‘were afraid of the people’.

The victory over Nazi Germany and its allies achieved mostly by the Soviet effort would not be possible if the Soviet leadership failed to get rid of its ‘Fifth Column’, similar to those which existed in many countries of the world and which allowed Hitler to establish his control over half of Europe. Unfortunately by 1991 both the Soviet Army and the Party changed their character and lost most of their staunch ties with the people. These changes facilitated the temporary triumph of capitalist restoration forces over socialism.

Source

Subhas Chandra Bose in Nazi Germany

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Subhas Chandra Bose meeting Hitler

Sisir K. Majumdar

It was probably in Germany that Subhas Chandra Bose (1897-1945) was first known as ‘Netaji’, which literally means ‘leader of leaders’ (‘Führer’ is the equivalent German expression). The period of his stay in Germany was from April 1941 to February 1943. These ‘Berlin Years’ of Netaji are still a riddle for most of his objective and biased biographers. It is still a puzzle how a self-respecting and dynamic personality could put up for two long years with an inhuman fascist clique which desperately tried to submerge the whole of humanity in rivers of blood. But it is beyond any shadow of doubt that he was solely and unequivocally guided by one desire– the liberation of his mother India from the cruel clutches of British colonialism.

Germany and India: The prime idea which motivated Netaji was to explore all possible means for achieving the cherished goal of India’s independence. It seems that he had adopted the concept that the ‘enemy’s enemy is your friend’. He looked at Nazi Germany solely from that perspective. It followed the approach taken by Indian revolutionaries towards German during the First World War. However, the Germany of the Second World War was very different, even with respect to India. After the defeat of Germany in the First World war, the ambition of Germany was to bring about a global redistribution of colonies with the goal of establishing German supremacy on the world stage. Vis-à-vis India, a plan was hatched to form an ‘Afghan Army’ to invade India after the possible defeat of the Soviet Union in order to snatch ‘the jewel of the British Empire’. The idea of India’s independence was no where in German strategic consideration. Indeed, Germany had a long standing covetous eye towards India, and its sympathy and support for India’s struggle for independence was always superficial, and fluctuated with the changing situations on the war front, especially on the Russian front. Netaji was completely unaware of this behind the scene conspiracy. He did not seem to think about this seriously enough initially, and remained blindly optimistic about the German attitude for quite some time.

Low-key Reception: When Netaji arrived in Germany in April 1941, he was received by a low-ranking official of the Foreign Department. He was disappointed at this first encounter. Of course his hotel accommodation was fairly luxurious, with an easy telephonic link to high officials. But he had to wait for more than a year to meet the Führer personally. In the meantime, constant clashes of perceptions on the Indian situation between Netaji and his German hosts became routine. He was confused and bewildered from time to time.

Meeting with Foreign Ministry: Netaji met the higher officials of the Foreign Department on April 3, 1941, and expressed his desire to form an ‘Indian Government in Exile’ and expected its immediate diplomatic recognition from the Axis Powers. He was keen to form an Indian Army with the Indian prisoners of war from North Africa. As requested, he submitted a draft proposal on April 9, 1941. It contained the following (i) The Axis Powers would sign a treaty with the ‘Free Indian Government in Exile’ guaranteeing India’s independence from British rule once the war was won; (ii) The Indian Army would consist of 50,000 soldiers of Indian origin; (iii) After liberating India, Germany would hand over responsibility to the Government in Exile headed by Netaji himself.

However, Netaji probably failed to realize that the Germans might have their own plans regarding India. The German perception had to be different. Agreeing with Netaji’s plan virtually amounted to the declaration of India’s independence as one of the aims of the war. Netaji was no longer a leader of the Indian National Congress which was leading India’s independence movement on India’s soil. Forming an Indian government in exile would antagonize the leaders and the people of India. This would not have offered any political dividend to Germany. The Germans were reluctant to discuss any military plan with Netaji in advance of liberating India. He did not have access to Germany’s war plans, and he provided an opportunity to be used for German expansionist ambitions in India.

Netaji was considered merely a refugee leader who happened to be in exile in Berlin and not ‘the Leader of the great Indian Nation’. He was more an object of sympathy rather than of authority to dictate terms or to influence directions. He was at best treated as an honourable guest; and all guests have limitations in the host’s place; Netaji was no exception.

The Turning Point: The invasion of Russia was being planned. Netaji probably came to know about it; he sent a memorandum to the Germans pleading that the status quo be maintained with Russia in order to achieve total destruction of the British in the Near and Middle East. He was completely against the invasion of the Soviet Union. Netaji met the German Foreign Minister J. Von Ribbentrop, and is reported to have told him emphatically that Indian public opinion was against German fascism, and was sympathetic to the socialist Soviet Union. He insisted with Ribbentrop on a German declaration for India’s independence. Ribbentrop asked lots of intriguing questions about the internal situation in India, and only made a verbal commitment to consider Netaji’s proposal, and promised to arrange another meeting. This did not take place for another seven months. He could not arrange to see Hitler, and did not get what he wanted from Ribbentrop, but he did not lose hope.

Netaji prepared and sent a draft declaration of India’s independence to the German authorities on May 13, 1941, and wanted it published. The declaration envisioned that the people of India would themselves decide on the future constitution of India after she was liberated, and Germany would accept this absolute right. Germany would take full responsibility to liberate India, and after liberation, would recognize that government of independent India. On May 24, he was informed that the time was not right for the publication of such a document. Netaji was told that instead, he could set up the ‘Free India Centre’ in Berlin. Ten million Reichmarks were allotted as a ‘loan’ for the centre, and a monthly allowance of 12,000 Reichmarks was sanctioned for his personal expenses. In spite of this generous hospitality, he was feeling stifled. His movements were under constant surveillance, his telephone was tapped, his letters were opened and censored. He seemed to be locked in an iron cage, an unbearable condition for ‘the Springing Tiger’.

Holiday in Rome: Netaji went on a visit to Rome in May 1941, and stayed there for six weeks with his newly married wife Emilie Schenkl. He also met the then Italian Foreign Minister Galeazzo Ciano, and discussed with him the draft declaration. Ciano took Netaji to the Duce Benito Mussolini on May 5, 1941. Italy at the time was only a puppet of Germany, and too weak to take any independent decision on anything.

On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded Soviet Russia, and the whole political table was turned around. On August 15, 1941, he wrote a long letter to Ribbentrop and pointed out in the strongest possible words that the German invasion of the Soviet Union would be viewed by Indians as the beginning of as invasion of the East, and therefore Germany would be regarded as the enemy of India. he again insisted on the publication of the draft declaration, and his request was again turned down. There was another meeting with Ribbentrop on November 29, 1941. Netaji requested him to arrange a meeting with Hitler, but Ribbentrop made no commitment. He also pointed out the offensive comment made by Hitler in his book ‘Mein Kampf’, and demanded its immediate correction. Part of this particular comment reads as follows: ‘… Quite aside from the fact that I as a man of Germanic blood, would in spite of everything, rather see India under English rule than any other.’ [1] Netaji was unable to persuade Hitler to amend this offensive comment.

Japan Enters the War: The Japanese declaration of war against Great Britain and the US on December 7, 1941, coupled with the advance of the Japanese army towards the Indian frontier radically altered the war situation. The German Foreign Minister prepared a draft declaration on India without any consultation with Netaji. Japan also prepared one. There was an understandable difference in attitude towards India in Germany and Japan, and Netaji tried to cash in on this rift by again insisting on the publication of his own draft declaration. Ribbentrop, however, was interested in using him for Nazi propaganda, and for the invasion of Soviet Union. Netaji, as clever as he was, surely realized that he was in the wrong company in Berlin to achieve the right objective, and also that the world and future history would portray him as an ally of the hated fascist clique. He decided to leave for the Far East. Many historians assign his decision to the failure of Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1942. In fact, he wanted to be nearer home when Japan decided to invade India so that he could be physically available to offer leadership to the people and the prisoners of war of Indian origin in South East Asia. He came to know from the Italian Foreign Minister Ciano on May 4, 1942, that the publication of his draft declaration on India had again been postponed. He was very disappointed. But he had to swallow this indifference silently and with subdued anger.

Encounter with Hitler: It happened on May 29, 1942 at the Reich Chancellery. Though a few other ministers like Ribbentrop were present, Hitler was the sole actor at the show. He seemed to have been reasonably briefed in advance by his military intelligence on the internal situation in India. After an exchange of initial formalities, Hitler gave a long lecture on the world situation of the day. He spoke extensively on the Soviet threat to India once she was freed from the British, and euphorically boasted that for Germany, it is only possible to reach India over ‘the dead body of Russia’. It was more a ‘talking shop’ staged with racial hatred and national chauvinism, banal boasting and empty threats. Netaji firmly drew attention to the comments in ‘Mein Kampf’, and advised Hitler to make a public declaration on his stand and intentions about India. He noted that otherwise enemies would use his comments in the book for anti-German propaganda. But Hitler was not interested in continuing on this topic. He stated that it would take 1-2 years for Germany to spread its influence over India, and for India herself it would take 100-200 years to put her house in order and for reconstruction to achieve Indian unity. Instead of amending his stand on India, he proudly reiterated his well known ugly racist chauvinism against India. In his talk with Netaji, Hitler gave sufficient indications about his expansionist intentions towards India. It was not clear whether Netaji understood it and took it seriously. Possibly, at that juncture of history, there was no other alternative for him but to depend on the devil. Hitler did reassure Netaji that if and when German forces reached the Indian frontier, he would be invited to set foot on Indian soil in the company of German liberators to trigger ‘the revolution’. It was an empty promise and a cruel joke.

It was not a meeting of two national leaders, rather it was a frosty encounter between Hitler the demon-genius and Netaji, a nationalist giant. Netaji spoke very little to his colleagues in Berlin about his unpleasant meeting with Hitler, except that it was not possible to continue a logical dialogue with him. After this episode, Netaji seemed to awaken from his illusion about Hitler.

Within certain limitations he was allowed to pursue his organizational work, and he was able to mobilize Indians living in Germany at the time under the banner of the Free India Centre (total members: 35) with an avowed allegiance to Netaji personally and not to India. It was an granted diplomatic status with fabulous financial grants. One important activity of his in Germany was the formation of the first unit of what he thought would be the future Indian army recruited from the Indian prisoners of war from North Africa. In forming this he had the idea that: it would not be a part of the German military; it would be self sufficient; it would only fight against the British army on Indian soil and not on any other front or country; and, it could not be engaged at the German-Soviet front. But recruitment was very slow. Only 3,500, less than one third of the total Indian prisoners of war from North Africa, were recruited. They took an oath of allegiance to both Netaji and Hitler. This paved the way for using this Indian legion in other war fronts. Contrary to his wishes, after Netaji left Germany this legion was dispatched to Holland and France to perform various military duties.

The Final Departure: Even after deciding to leave Germany for the Far East, Netaji wasted one whole year in Berlin only to meet Hitler. He was held up by the Germans because they wanted to use him in the event of a German victory over Russia. He was allowed to leave only after the German surrender in Stalingrad, and Hitler’s secret plan for India fell apart. The long journey to the Far East was very dangerous. He boarded a German submarine (U Boat) on February 8, 1943 from Kiel with another Indian colleague, Abid Hassan, leaving behind his wife and only child, daughter Anita, and many well wishers in Germany.

[1] Mein Kampf: The National Socialist Movement by A. Hitler, translated by Ralph Manheim; Hutchinson, London, 1974, reprinted 1990; p.601.

Courtesy: ‘South Asia Forum Quarterly’, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1997, Chery Chase, Maryland, pp. 10-14.

Source

The Beijing Olympics and the Question of Tibet

448153Vijay Singh

In the run-up to the Olympic Games which are to be held in the Beijing, US imperialism is conducting a campaign of disinformation against the nationalities policies in Tibet using the remnants of feudalism such as the Dalai Lama as their instrument, alongside the normal imperialist accredited newspapers, ‘human rights institutions’ and Hollywood film personalities. It is a familiar game which was last played out in the Reagan years when the US carried out a similar political exercise against its imperialist rival before the Moscow Olympics and which peaked with the US boycott of the games. The US campaign today needs to be seen for what it is: an attempt to politically undermine the Chinese state in its ‘own’ backyard and to accelerate further the half-century long path of ‘market socialist’ development in China and to push for the casting-off of the shell of the people’s democratic state. It is also part of the US endeavour to militarily encircle from land and sea a country which it sees as a dangerous imperialist rival. Within China agency reports speak of an upsurge of Han chauvinism which is a reflex of the disturbances in Tibet and the recent round of the denigration of China by the US. The promotion of internecine strife of the nationalities and religions is an integral part of the politics of US imperialism across the globe.

No amount of US propaganda from the universities and newspapers can wipe away the fact that after the revolution of 1949 the Chinese people assisted in the democratic transformation of Tibetan society. The People’s Republic of China helped to abolish feudalism, it introduced land reform, abolished slavery, emancipated the serfs, ended the Buddhist lama theocratic despotism and carried out the economic transformation of Tibetan society bringing it out of medieval tyranny and darkness into the light of the twentieth century, introducing the benefits of industrial society and democratic transformation, of state and co-operative economic institutions; food, shelter, and clothing; literacy, education, and social security amongst the Tibetan masses. It is a supreme irony that the United States which oppresses the Afro-American and Puerto Rican nations within its state frontiers, exploits the colonial, semi-colonial and dependent countries around the planet, and has a destructive policy towards democracy and secularism should point its finger at China. Democratic opinion must understand these policies for what they are.

The early years of the revolutionary movement in China saw the Communist Party pursue an exemplary approach and programme with regard to the national question. Mao Zedong in his capacity as President of the Central Executive Committee of the Chinese Soviet Republic in 1931 and in his speech at the Second Soviet Congress in 1934 in blunt terms denounced the national oppression under the rule of the Chinese militarists and the landlords as well as the oppression by the ruling classes of princes, living Buddhas and lamas of the smaller nationalities and their surrender to imperialist colonisation. He well understood the exigency of uniting the oppressed nationalities such as the Mongolians, Tibetans, Koreans, Annamites, the Miao and many others around the Soviets in China in order to strengthen the revolution against imperialism and the Kuomintang. [1] Mao commended the Constitution passed by the First Soviet Congress held in 1931 in Juichin, Kiangsi, which in its 14th article said that ‘Soviet China recognises the complete self-determination of the minorities who may go so far as to secede and form independent free states.’ (Emphasis in the original.) The Soviet Chinese Constitution of 1931 argued that the ‘free union of nationalities will replace national oppression’. This implied the creation of a federal ‘Union of Soviet Republics’ along the lines of the Soviet Union, a democratic state structure which was based upon the views of Marx in relation to the Irish question.

Such an approach was maintained up to the founding of the People’s Republic of China. A tremendous social, economic and political revolutionary transformation took place in the minority national territories after 1949. But in terms of the resolution of the national question it cannot be said that a full democratic solution was accomplished. The contiguous areas of the Tibetan-speaking peoples were not administratively united after liberation while in Inner Mongolia the Mongolian people were administratively separated. The Communist Party of China and the People’s Democratic state shrank from the promised construction of a free union of nationalities in which the right of national-determination would be recognised up to the point of secession. By this method the nationalities of Mongolia, Tibet, Sinkiang and elsewhere were subordinated to the majority Han Chinese, and the latter now became a constitutionally privileged nation which could direct the destinies of the nationalities which inhabited the vast areas of the People’s Republic of China. The nationalities of Mongolia, Tibet and Sinkiang as elsewhere which formed the numerical majority in their ancient national territories were now designated as ‘national minorities’. This broad picture became apparent in the Constitution of 1954 and it was to be reproduced in the subsequent Fundamental Laws which were promulgated by the Chinese state. The unity and integrity of the territories of the Chinese state and not the free union of the nationalities based on the right of self-determination of the peoples became the basic fundamental constitutional principle. In this manner the CPC’s political approach to the national question having moved away from Marxism now came to approximate to the views of Sun-Yat-sen and the Kuomintang.

The camp of socialism and democracy which spanned a dozen states witnessed a fundamental break in its economic policies in the years between 1954 to 1958 which became typified by the ascendant role of ‘market socialism’ in the Soviet Union, People’s China and the majority of the people’s democracies. These years also saw corresponding theoretical, political and ideological transformations in which the treatment of the national question was an important component part. This gave way to interesting paradoxes. The Soviet Union in its Fundamental Law in form right through to its self-destruction in 1991 maintained the basics of the Leninist-Stalinist principles on the national question. But the communist parties aligned to the CPSU quickly abandoned the Marxist approach to the national question after 1953, particularly the democratic principle of national self-determination. The CPUSA for example repudiated the application of this principle with reference to the Afro-American nation which had been elaborated by Lenin, Stalin and the Comintern. On our own doorstep the CPI in the mid-nineteen-fifties dispensed with the understanding that India was a multi-national state in which the right to secession had to be accorded as the basis of a voluntary union of people’s democratic republics and after some moments of hesitation after its foundation the CPI (M) also essentially fell in line with what it termed the Soviet revisionist ideology of the CPI. Step by step the CPI and the CPI (M) effected an harmonious rapprochement with the ‘nationalist’ doctrines of the Congress Party. These corresponded to the economic requirements of the big bourgeoisie and its multi-national market in India which had been put together by Sardar Patel by the arm-twisting of the feudal princely states and appropriate ‘non-violent’ ‘police actions’.

The Communist Party of China as already noted had broken with the Marxist approach to the national question after liberation. But the revolutionary communist parties and organisations which were formed in the 1960s and which were aligned with Beijing and Tirana in the main have upheld Leninist-Stalinist principles on the right of nations to self-determination. The CPI (ML) tradition right from its inception returned to the earlier pre-revisionist understanding of the CPI and accepted the right of secession particularly with reference to Kashmir and the nationalities in the north-east region of the Indian state which having been fighting for their national emancipation.

Paradoxes apart, a widespread intermeshing and intermingling of the opportunist ideological currents has emerged on the nationality question to justify the abandonment of the Marxist views. It is inferred from the active role of US and German imperialism in the destruction of the Soviet and Yugoslav Federations in the 1990s that the right of national self-determination and secession facilitates the work of imperialism and so has to be discarded. Secessionism it is said has become a preferred tool of US imperialism. And there can be no doubt that despite the restoration of capitalism in the USSR by the late 1950s and the liquidation of the people’s democracy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at the end of the 1940s, the preservation of the federal structures in these states was formally progressive, and it is clear that they constituted important barriers to the penetration of the leading world imperialist powers such as the US and Germany. The ‘new’ arguments against the recognition of the democratic right of national self-determination in the contemporary period are only a reiteration of the policies of the international communist movement of the Khrushchev period and, going further back still, the notions of right-wing social-democracy in the earlier part of the 20th century. The Bolsheviks, who also fought against imperialism when Soviet Russia had to fight the multitude of foreign armies on Soviet soil who were allied to the white army in the time of the civil war, upheld the principle of the union of nations based on the right to self-determination. It was on this basis that the free federation of nations was constructed in Soviet Russia and later the Soviet Union. The Bolsheviks clearly established that the struggle for socialism in multi-national countries was inextricably linked with the recognition of the right of the peoples to self-determination: one of the expressions of the right to decide one’s future was the formation of a federative republic.

The recent statement by the CPI (M) leader Prakash Karat on Tibet expresses in a succinct manner the ideological framework of contemporary right-wing social-democracy on the national question. Karat entirely omitted any allusion to Marxism or democracy while criticising the views of the Hindu fascist BJP which had chimed in with the US anti-China campaign on the Lhasa disturbances. Karat, basing his arguments on ‘nationalist’ logic, reminded the BJP that by raising the question of an independent Tibet they were ‘doing a disservice to our own country’ for this would raise secessionist demands in India: ‘Are we going to support a free Nagaland? Or a free Jammu and Kashmir? Or those other secessionist demands?’ So there you have it: the democratic right to national self-determination may not be recognised within the multi-national Chinese state as the mention of this right can threaten the frontiers of the existing multi-national Indian state. This position Karat tells us must apply around the world in Europe (Chechnya, Kosovo), China or any Asian country as it negatively impinges on the sovereignty of nations in the ‘name of human rights’ and ‘ethnic minorities’. [2] It is interesting to note how Karat merges the notion of the ‘state sovereignty’ of multi-national states with the idea of the ‘national sovereignty’ of nation-states, denying in this manner in real terms the notion of ‘national sovereignty’ for those nations who choose to opt for the construction of nation-states. Taken to its logical conclusion this stand implies that any national struggle against imperialist rule cannot be supported as this affects the ‘national sovereignty’ of the imperial power. The CPI (M) sees itself as the guardian of the state frontiers of India and for its defence it is willing to sacrifice the last Meitei, Naga and Kashmiri. It was Stalin who stated that those who do not recognise the right of peoples to free self-determination cannot be regarded as democrats let alone be considered as socialists. [3] It is on the basis of this understanding that the views of the CPI (M) on the national question must be judged.

The current attacks of US imperialism and its supporters on the Tibet policy of the People’s Republic of China must be opposed while defending the basic democratic principle of national self-determination. The struggle against US imperialism must not be utilised to propagate or justify views alien to Marxism on the national question.

Footnotes:

1. Report of the President of the Central Executive Committee of the Chinese Soviet Republic, Before the Second National Soviet Congress, Mao-Tse-Tung, January, 1934, in: Victor A. Yakhontoff: ‘The Chinese Soviets,’ New York, 1934, pp. 249-283.

2. ‘Free Tibet? Karat utters the K-word’, The Telegraph, Kolkata, April 1, 2008.

3. J. Stalin, Works, Vol. 4, FLPH, Moscow, p. 3.

From Revolutionary Democracy, Vol. XIV, No. 1, April 2008

Anasintaxi (1918-1955): The Struggle of the Greek Communists against Revisionism

zachariadis nikos

Published by the Organisation for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-1955

a) The Tashkent events

At the end of August 1949, after a three-and-a-half-year armed struggle against the Greek monarchist-fascist reaction and the Anglo-American imperialism, following a decision by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the partisans of the Democratic Army of Greece (DA) left behind their homeland and retreated to Albania. It was a mass exodus. In 1949-50, an overall number of 55,381 people (of which 67.6% were adults 18-55 years old, 1.7% were very old and 17,352 were children up to 17 years) abandoned Greece and settled in the various People’s Republics and the Soviet Union. Almost 18,000 communist refugees went to Tashkent, the capital of the SSR of Uzbekistan where they were organised in separate residential quarters called Politeies.

After adjusting to the new life conditions, the Greek communists proceeded to reorganise their party. From the 10th to the 14th of October 1950, the 3rd Conference of the KKE took place. This body purged almost all the opportunists from the party. For the first time since 1940, a heavy blow was dealt to the right opportunism and to all opportunists who had betrayed the popular movement during the time of the Nazi occupation by signing the agreements in Lebanon (20.5.1944), Gazerta (26.9.1944) and Varkiza (12.2.1945) and who, moreover, had sabotaged the development and enlargement of the DA during the Civil War.

Shortly after the death of Stalin in 1953, the revisionist faction of Khrushchev-Mikoyan-Brezhnev that prevailed in CPSU started making approaches to the secretaries of the Communist Parties in order to assess their readiness to adopt its counter-revolutionary line. They found out that the KKE leadership headed by Nikos Zachariades was not willing to abandon the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist course and follow the anti-Stalinist revisionist course. In particular, they requested that he revise his attitude in three fundamental questions of the world communist movement: 1) to regard the capitalist Yugoslavia as a ‘socialist’ country, 2) to turn against Stalin by writing articles in Pravda on the ‘cult of personality’ – this infamous, Khrushchevian myth of idealist origin, and 3) to assent to the liquidation of Cominform. The reply given by the great and unwavering communist leader on all the above requests was negative.

When the members of the Khrushchevian revisionist clique became sure that this kind of pressure will not have any effect, they tried to form a right opportunist faction in the Tashkent Party Organisation (KOT) – the largest KKE Party Organisation in the socialist countries – and to push it right up to the Organisation’s leadership. Unfortunately for them there was a lack of support for it save for a few opportunists. The revolutionary KKE leadership headed by Nikos Zachariades acted immediately; the faction leaders were unmasked and removed from the leadership of KOT.

Nikos Zachariades, speaking in a meeting of Party cadres in the theatre Mu Ki Mi in Tashkent, said the following among other things: ‘comrades, several speakers attacked Demetriou and more or less consider him the leader of the revisionists. Demetriou, comrades, is just the end of the tail of a clumsily camouflaged elephant. The serious and historic task allotted to all of us is to pull this tail so that the whole world will see the elephant: Khrushchev’ (K. Karanikola, ‘Mia lefki selida tou KKE’, p. 59).

The confrontation between the members of the faction and the rest of the Greek communists was escalating and the situation in Tashkent was very tense during the period of August-September 1955. In such an atmosphere, three assassination attempts were made against Nikos Zachariades. In the first one, the Armenian KGB Colonel Saakov tried to give him a poisoned ice cream but Zachariades refused being always careful what and where he ate. In the second one, somebody threw a heavy brick at him while he was delivering a speech in a party meeting; Zachariades dodged it at the last moment (Ahillea Papaioannou, ‘H apagoreumeni eikona – Dioktes kai ieroktonoi tou Nikou Zachariades’, Athens 2004). In the third one, the best organised of the three, three individuals ambushed the car that was to carry him to airport. The plan failed only because Niyazov, the Stalinist general secretary of the CP of Uzbekistan, found out about it and notified Zachariades.

`There was good reason why the revisionists wanted to exterminate Zachariades, already in 1955. They knew very well that if Zachariades had been present in the 20th Congress he would have upset his plans at least in relation to the ‘criticism of the cult of personality’. This is because Zachariades was courageous and bold enough to express his opinion openly in contrast to the leaders of the other communist parties. D. Vlantas (member of the KKE Politburo) writes in his book, ‘Nikos Zachariades and 22 associates’, the following: ‘When I arrived in Tashkent on July of 1955, a representative from the Soviet leadership proposed to me to help him complete the conspiracy that started in 1949 and they, in return, would help me become General Secretary of KKE. I rejected this proposal. Zachariades came to Tashkent in the mid-August 1955. I reported him about an extremely critical situation. I stressed to him that it was not any more just the Tashkent Organisation that is at stake but the whole party. I suggested to him that we should return to Bucharest, the seat of the CC, convene a session where we will demonstrate the existence of conspiracy and then send a delegation to Moscow asking for full explanation. Zachariades turned down my suggestion.’

When even the formation of a sizeable faction failed, on the 9th of September 1955 the Khrushchevian revisionist group, organised a bloody pogrom in Tashkent employing a group of Greek opportunists. This was ‘an open provocation against the delegation of the CC of KKE: the violent and gangster assault on the offices where the delegation was based and injury of three of its members’ (from 5th Plenum, December 1955). About 200 opportunists headed by the faction leaders Ipsilantis, Demetriou, Barbalias and others – who were under the direct guidance of the Soviet revisionists – carried out a bloody assault on the offices of the Tashkent Party Organisation, but they failed to capture them: ‘at 4 pm, on the 9th of September, around 200 people gathered in the courtyard of 7th Politeia together with the faction leaders who were bracing their followers with vodka, beer and wine’ (K.D. Karanikola: ‘Mia lefki selida tou KKE’, p. 53).

The assault on the KOT offices was preceded by the faction’s provocations in various Politeies: ‘In those Politeies where the factionists had some support, like in the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 9th and 11th, they started looting the local libraries and burning books, especially those written by Zachariades, Bartziotas and those about the struggle of the DA’ (ibid, p. 46).

This provocative act raised an outcry among the thousands of party members who rushed immediately to defend the KOT offices. Clashes and beatings followed with the factionists until police and cadet detachments came to their rescue. Many were injured and had to be transported to the hospital while hundreds of Greek communists were arrested, mainly high-ranking DA officers, thrown in jail and tried later for ‘hooliganism’.

All the political refugees in Tashkent knew that the instigators of the provocative ‘Tashkent events’ were the Khrushchevian revisionists who aimed at the liquidation of the KKE. Everybody knew that the handful of Greek opportunists were in permanent contact with and under the direct guidance of the treacherous Khrushchevian revisionist group. One of the noted opportunists, Kostas Gritzonas, confesses: ‘One evening, during the time when the Tashkent events reached their climax, as I was on my way from the 7th to the 9th Politeia together with the secretary of KOT, Aristotelis Hatouras, he confided to me that the anti-Zachariadist movement enjoyed the support from the Soviets. He left me with the understanding that they were having talks in private with the Khrushchevians from the CC of the CP of Uzbekistan’ (K. Gritzonas: ‘Meta to Grammo’, pp. 18-19).

The overwhelming majority of the Greek communists, more than 95% of the KOT members, condemned the Khrushchevian revisionists’ intervention in KKE and they rallied around their Party headed by Nikos Zachariades. Their violent and bloody confrontation with the factionists was the first act of resistance in the communist movement against revisionism before the 20th Congress. This anti-revisionist attitude was clearly expressed in the historic 5th Plenum of the CC of KKE convened at the end of December 1955 (26-28.12 1955). It was historic because: 1) it openly condemned the anti-communist Khrushchevian revisionist intervention in KKE and 2) it was meant to be the last convened body of our heroic party before its final liquidation. In the Plenum’s decision, in relation to the situation in KOT, it is mentioned that: ‘the faction would have achieved nothing at all had it not received the support by certain Soviet comrades, who were convinced that the faction is the strongest and the most pro-Soviet part of KOT which they must support and help. This fact encouraged the factionists even more to act and to openly declare that ‘whatever we say and do are approved by the Soviets’ (Demetriou) and that ‘I am not afraid of anything because 200 million Soviets stand behind me’ (Hatouras) etc. etc’.

The 5th Plenum was a real triumph for the Marxist-Leninist side in KKE and Nikos Zachariades personally. This is actually admitted by the main factionist leader in KOT, Demetriou (‘Eleutherotypia’, 2004). However, the revisionist faction was not yet totally defeated and the outcome of internal struggle in KKE would be decisively determined by the corresponding struggle in CPSU between the supporters of Stalin and the supporters of Khrushchev.

The overwhelming and militant opposition of the Greek communist political refugees, headed by Nikos Zachariades against the Khrushchevian clique in September 1955 in Tashkent, was chronologically the first in the history of the international communist movement’s struggle against Khrushchevian revisionism, and, also, a culmination of the revolutionary KKE (1918-1955) heroic struggle. If one takes into account the unheard-of disaster that inevitably followed the enforcement of Khrushchevian revisionism to the communist parties (destruction of socialism and restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, breaking-up of the capitalist Soviet Union, liquidation of the communist parties), it can be said that it was not just a culmination of the long struggle of the Stalinist-Zachariadist KKE, but was at the same time a great and unique moment in the struggle of the international communist movement (Comintern-Cominform) against the new counter-revolutionary treacherous trend of Khrushchevian revisionism which emerged in its lines in the mid-1950s: it was precisely this moment that marked the beginning of the most fierce ideological-political struggle against Khrushchevian revisionism in international level, a struggle that has been going on for half a century now, is still going on and it will be going on in the future until its final victory.

In this context, the ‘Tashkent events’ acquire a triple historical importance: First, they constituted the first open and brutal intervention of the Khrushchevian revisionists in the internal affairs of a communist party aiming at its liquidation. Second, they marked the beginning of the resistance and struggle of the Greek communists against Khrushchevian revisionism even before its emergence as a complete ideological-political trend in the 20th Congress of CPSU (February 1956). Third, they raised the banner of struggle of the communists in all countries against this counter-revolutionary trend. The rising and battle of the Greek communists in Tashkent, in September of 1955, ushers in the period of struggle against Khrushchevian revisionism on international level.

b) The ‘6th Plenum’

In February of 1956, during the counter-revolutionary 20th Congress of CPSU, the show trials of the Greek communists, political refugees, started in Tashkent. In this travesty of justice, battle-hardened DA veterans, like Giorgos Kalianesis (general), Dimitris Vyssios (lieutenant-colonel) and others, were tried for hooliganism and vagrancy. Following their convictions, they were exiled to Siberia and, in fact, into concentration camps ‘that were intentionally adjacent to concentration camps of German war criminals sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment, the maximum period according to the Soviet criminal law. The Germans didn’t work because of their ‘prisoner of war’ status, and, apart from having the meals of a Soviet soldier, they received parcels of medicine and foodstuffs from the West German Red Cross every ten days. The sentenced refugees were fed with rotten potatoes and mouldy crushed grain. This “diet” was followed under conditions of heavy and exhausting labour’ (D. Vyssios: ‘Open letter to M. N. Ponomariov’, former Head of the Department of International Relations of the CC of CPSU, January 1991).

The opposition of the Greek communists to Khrushchevian revisionism was expressed en masse. The overwhelming majority (95%) of the members of the Tashkent Party Organisation came out against the Khrushchevian intervention in KKE and defended the revolutionary party line and the CC headed by Nikos Zachariades showing a stunning decisiveness and unparallel courage. The attitude of the captive communists in jails and concentration camps in Greece was similar.

It was exactly this overwhelming opposition by the Greek communists (ranging from 85% to 95% in Tashkent and in the People’s Republics) that prevented KKE from being transformed into a bourgeois party of social democratic type. The revolutionary KKE is the only communist party of a capitalist country that was never transformed into a counter-revolutionary, bourgeois, social democratic party. This fact compelled the Khrushchevian revisionists to create a completely new party in place of the old one.

At the time of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, the Khrushchevians formed the infamous ‘International Committee’ whose alleged purpose was to examine the situation in KKE. It comprised of cadres from six communist parties: 1) Yugov, from the Communist Party of Bulgaria; 2) Kovac, from the Hungarian Workers Party; 3) Mazur, from the Unified Workers Party of Poland; 4) Dej, from the Workers Party of Romania; 5) Kuusinen, from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; 6) Barak, from the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. The president of the International Committee was, formally, Georgiu Dej – Khrushchev’s puppet – but essentially Otto V. Kuusinen member of the Politburo of the CPSU. Nikos Zachariades, addressing Dej, during one of the committee’s sessions said the following regarding his interference in KKE internal affairs: ‘who granted the right to examine the problems of heroic KKE to you, who slept in August of 1944 under fascism and woke up one day under a People’s Republic, established by the Red tankists all the way from Stalingrad when they crashed the fascist Romanian Division and offered it to you as a present. What experience do you have to criticise the struggles of Greek communists who, to their credit, through their struggle, did not allow not even a single Greek citizen to fight in the Eastern Front against the USSR (K. Karanikola, pp. 70-71).

The International Committee openly and without pretexts intervened in the KKE by arbitrarily summoning the infamous ‘6th Plenum’ on March 1956. In this illicit meeting the report was read not by a Greek, but by the president of the ‘International Committee’, Dej. Former cadres and expelled members participated, but not the lawfully elected General Secretary of the Party Nikos Zachariades. The brutal intervention of the Khrushchevian revisionists through the ‘6th Plenum’ resulted in the actual liquidation of KKE (1918-1955). This was done by: a) the illegal and forcible removal of the elected revolutionary leadership of KKE, including the Party’s General Secretary Nikos Zachariades, who was arrested and isolated, and appointed a right opportunistic puppet leadership. b) the mass expulsions of thousands of communists and c) the liquidation of the remaining party organisations in 1958.

The new party that was established in 1956, the ‘K’KE did not and does not bear any relation whatsoever – ideological, political, organisational – with the old revolutionary KKE (1918-1955). It was a monstrous creation of the Khrushchevian revisionists that adopted the counter-revolutionary social-democratic line promulgated in the 20th Congress of CPSU, namely the peaceful transition to socialism. For this reason, the new party has been, from the very beginning, a bourgeois social democratic party guided not any more by the Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism, but by the counter-revolutionary trend of Khrushchevian revisionism, a variant of bourgeois ideology.

One year later, in 1957, the revisionists of ‘K’KE summoned the ‘7th Plenum’, a meeting as illicit as the 6th Plenum. According to the decisions of this ‘Plenum’, Zachariades was stripped even of his party membership and sentenced to exile. In addition, he was shamelessly accused of spying for the Germans when he was a prisoner in Dachau. A special committee set up to investigate the matter didn’t find any evidence whatsoever that supports this monstrous charge.

c) The persecutions of the Greek communists

The great majority of the Greek communists under the leadership of Nikos Zachariades not only rejected but they were the first ones in the communist movement to put up a strong resistance against the decisions of the 20th Congress and the 6th Plenum already in 1956 – the rejection of revisionism by Mao Zedong and Enver Hoxha was expressed four years later, in the summit of Communist parties in 1960. More importantly, in the difficult period that followed the 20th Congress the struggle of the Greek communists against Greek and Soviet revisionism continued taking various forms. In 1958, 6,000 communists of Tashkent wrote a letter to the CC of the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union, of China, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Vietnam, Cuba, Korea and Albania concerning the situation in KKE. In the first page of this letter the following is mentioned: ‘Today’s CC of KKE is not the leadership that led the revolutionary struggles of our people. This is because: 1) the rise of this leadership is the result of a political provocation against KKE on 9.9.1955 in one of its largest organisations, the Party Organisation of Tashkent and, subsequently, of the arbitrary convention and decision of the 6th Plenum in 1956; 2) this leadership’s policy is the revision of the revolutionary line KKE had before the 6th Plenum, it is the revision of the Marxist-Leninist theory; 3) it follows an opportunist line which deviates from the Marxist Leninist principles; 4) by pursuing its opportunist policy, it weakens struggle of our people and aims at subordinating our movement to the interests of the Greek bourgeois class.’

The historical and political importance of this document can be hardly overestimated. Apart from being an example of resistance against revisionism in KKE, it contains a comprehensive historical outline of the party’s internal affairs covering the whole period before the 20th Congress. It most clearly demonstrates the counter-revolutionary and treacherous role of all those opportunists, like Vafiades and Partsalidis, who were in the leading ranks of KKE during the armed struggle against the German occupation forces, the Anglo-American imperialism and the Greek fascist reaction. They were the same people who accused the Zachariades leadership of ‘leftist mistakes’ and ‘adventurism’ in relation to the party’s strategy and tactics during the civil war, in the 3rd Conference of KKE in 1950. Finally, they were the same people appointed later in the KKE leadership by the Khrushchevian revisionists.

Because of their continuous and active struggle against revisionism thousands of Greek communists in the following years, were expelled by the appointed right opportunist leadership. Others chose to break away from the new opportunist bourgeois party. Moreover, they were subjected to a whole series of fascist persecutions that took various forms: surveillance, spying, arrests, imprisonments, exiles to Siberia, etc. Many party cadres were exiled to Siberia and among them the Party’s General Secretary, Nikos Zachariades, who, after 17 years of exile, died in Sorgut. The events that took place in Tashkent in 1962 are quite indicative of the atmosphere of terror and oppression against the Greek communists.

The secretaries of all the party organisations of Tashkent and the committee for the support of the imprisoned and exiled communists in Greece decided to organise a mass meeting on the 27th May 1962 to mark the 21st anniversary of the lowering of the swastika from the Acropolis. Evidently, this event was going to be very successful and attract a lot of Greeks of Tashkent. The idea of such an event appealed also to many supporters of the revisionists who declared that they approve it and that they were going to take part. In this way, the meeting would serve to bridge the gap between the supporters of the revisionists and the great majority of Greek communists of who opposed their line. At the same time it would allow each side to gauge its real strength; it would become obvious that the revisionists snatched the leadership of KKE only thanks to violence, terror, persecutions, blackmails and the liquidating intervention of CPSU.

As it was expected, the preparations for the meeting made the Greek and the Soviet revisionists extremely anxious and therefore they did everything they could to cancel it. The revisionists of ‘K’KE threatened with expulsion anybody from their supporters who joined the meeting. The CC of the CP of Uzbekistan held a special session to discuss this event. As a first step, the head of militia General Sloenensky summoned cadres from the Tashkent party organisations and threatened them with hard measures if they dared to take part in the event. Factory administrators threatened with sacking from work, a punishment already inflicted to many Greek communists after the 6th Plenum. The whole state and party apparatus were actively engaged in cancelling the meeting.

Nevertheless, the Greek communists full of fighting spirit ignored the threats and the psychological pressure and continued with their preparations. As a result, the Soviet authorities resorted to brute force in order to stop the event that scared them so much. On the 18th of May, the first secretary of the party organisation of the 9th Politeia was arrested and sentenced to 15 days of imprisonment for vagrancy. When his arrest became known next day, delegates from all Politeies of Tashkent went to the head of militia in order to protest about it. Although he promised them to set Sidiropulos free, they soon faced an organised and barbarous attack. Policemen went at them furiously, started beating them with clubs and belts and dragged them on the pavement covered in blood. Sixty people were arrested and many of them were convicted for vagrancy and hooliganism. On the 21st May the first secretaries of the Tashkent party organisation presented themselves at the offices of the town committee of the CP of Uzbekistan to protest about the brutal attack and the illegal arrests that took place on the 19th. Not only did they receive no reply whatsoever but also the secretary of the party organisation of the 13th Politeia, Petros Touloudis, was arrested on the spot.

During the week from the 21st to the 27th May, the Soviet authorities unleashed an unseen orgy of terror in all Politeies of Tashkent. Many men and women were dismissed from work. Under the guidance of the revisionists, the police forcibly entered in people’s houses at night confiscating money and personal belongings. The portraits of Nikos Belogiannis and the heroes from the Greek Revolution of 1821 that would decorate the meeting venue were confiscated and destroyed. On the 19th and 22nd of May, the secretary of the party organisation of the 5th Politeia, Mitsos Eleutheriou, and the member of the committee of the party organisation of the 4th Politeia were arrested and being held for a long time in solitary confinement they were charged with ‘anti-Sovietism’ and received three and four years sentences respectively. On the 25th of May, the secretaries of the party organisations of the 7th and the 12th Politeia Achileas Papaioannou and Spiros Stamatakos were sent to exile in Kazakhstan. Many others followed them.

The persecutions continued after May. On the 14th of September, four leading Greek communists of Tashkent were summoned and told that they had 12 hours to prepare to leave for Petropavlovsk, their place of exile. On the 20th of October, Slonenski summoned another 24 cadres of the KKE and DA and announced them the following: ‘You don’t recognise the decision of the 6th Plenum of the CC of KKE and the 8th Congress of KKE and, moreover, you have embarked on an active struggle against the leadership of the KKE and its political line recognised and supported by the CC of CPSU. This is considered a hostile action against the Soviet Union and this is why Soviet Union is depriving you of the status of a political refugee and is sending you to exile in Kazakhstan’. Thousands of men, women and children bade a warm farewell to the last large group of refugees leaving for their place of exile. They declared that the generation of DA fighters refuses to be subdued and continues the struggle against the new fascism.

Savvas Palles, a volunteer in the Spanish civil war, in one of his letters from his exile in north Kazakstan in October 1962 wrote the following: ‘In a time when Karamanlis closed the concentration camp in Ai Stratis and released communists, the “communist” leader Koligiannis was setting up another concentration camp in the vast steppes of north Kazakhstan. Why? For what reason? What crime we committed in order to have such a cruel and inhuman punishment imposed on us? Let our opponents, the opportunists, answer; let them publicly state why they imprisoned and sent us to exile? Of course they will not answer because they don’t dare to do so. Because they are cowards and they want pass for tough ones having the support of others. Because they don’t have the courage to tell the truth and they try to conceal their crime.

But we know why they threw us to prison and sent us to exile. Our crime is political. We refused to become servants, lackeys. We refused to bow to the bowed ones. We refused to bury the truth, to deny our revolutionary principles, to step on the revolutionary traditions of our people and our Party; we refused to deny our revolutionary honour! This was our sin, our crime. This is why they scattered us in the vastness of north Kazakhstan.’

What is the reason for the resolute opposition of the Greek communist political refugees (95% in Tashkent and 85-90% in the other People’s Republics) against Khrushchevian revisionism, of people who had been brought up in a spirit of deep trust and devotion to the Socialist Soviet Union?

First of all, it is the guiding and decisive role played, in this extremely difficult struggle, by the courageous, unyielding and uncompromising revolutionary Nikos Zachariades, in order KKE not to abandon its revolutionary line. Besides his opposition to the Khrushchevian group, in the beginning of 1956, he replied thus to some Greek revisionists, members of the CC of KKE, when they asked him to resign: ‘I won’t grant you this favour now, I won’t allow you to convert KKE into a bourgeois party’ (Dimitri Votsika, ‘Portraita koryfeon stelehon tou KKE’, Athens, 1999, p. 21).

Secondly, it is the fact that the members of KKE were battle-hardened partisans who had given everything to the armed revolutionary struggle against the indigenous monarchist-fascist reactionary forces and the imperialism, having almost a decade (1940-1950) of armed struggle to their credit. This long revolutionary experience helped them to show the necessary political-ideological maturity, firmness, consistency and decisiveness in this critical moment.

Nikos Zachariades had foreseen the disaster that would come in case Khrushchevian revisionism dominated, and it is this prediction that allows for his historical eminence as a great communist revolutionary leader to be assessed: ‘watch out comrades, these are international provocateurs, they are going to cause a great damage to the world’s communist movement and their Greek collaborators will cause great damage to our country’ (Tashkent, September 1955). Not only did he foresee the disaster, but also he was the first leader in the world’s communist movement who stood up and fought against the counter-revolutionary trend of Khrushchevian revisionism right up until the end of his life.

Later, in 1962, Zachariades, from his place of exile, wrote: ‘The factionist-opportunist group pursuing a policy of appeasement towards the bourgeois reaction, bastardised and hided the revolutionary legacy of the popular movement in Greece. It is not accidental that in the programme of the so-called 6th Plenum, the socialist character of KKE was completely buried and, instead, the peaceful transition and a democratic change were presented as a panacea; an anti-Leninist, and revisionist transition’

d) Splits in the KKE after 1956

The 6th Plenum marked the first major split in KKE. As mentioned above, many thousands of party members and cadres who were devoted to the revolutionary leadership headed by N. Zachariades were expelled from KKE. The exiles, the imprisonments and all kinds of fascist persecutions after 1955-56 were not enough to yield the majority of the Greek communists into submission, to make them abandon the revolutionary Stalinist course and break their monolithic ideological-political-organisational unity. For many years after 1956, they were ‘illegal’ Stalinist-Zachariadist party organisations working in Tashkent and elsewhere. The Soviet revisionists, realising their failure and the isolation of their planted treacherous clique of Kolligiannis-Partsalidis and Co, decided to change tactics. In addition to the fascist oppression and persecutions, they tried to cause a split in the camp of Stalinist-Zachariadist communists from inside by employing agents who would maintain an ‘anti-Khrushchevian’ and a ‘Stalinist-Zachariadist’ façade. There is no doubt that the Khrushchevian revisionism was the one which caused the greatest and the most disastrous split in the international communist movement including our own party, KKE. However, the later splits, for whatever excuses and pretexts, had also disastrous consequences. A major split was caused by the new opportunistic trend that appeared in the political refugee community of Romania at the end of the 1960s and led by Gavrilos Papadopoulos. Polydoros Daniilidis, Vaskos Pasxalis and others.

The common goal of the Khrushchevian revisionists, the treacherous cliques of Kolligiannis-Partsalidis and the new right opportunistic group was the ousting of Nikos Zachariades from our party; their slogan was: ‘Zachariades should leave the leadership of KKE’. As far as the first two is concerned there is no doubt that this was precisely their goal. In relation to the right opportunistic group, here is what P. Daniilidis openly confesses: ‘I was always saying that Zachariades should be dismissed from the party regardless that this was not properly done’. (P. Daniilidis, ‘O Polydoros thymatai’, p. 288, Istorikes ekdoseis, Athens, 1990). The anti-KKE attitude of this group caused very serious damage to the Greek communist movement because: first it disorientated from the ideological, political and organisational point of view and second it brought its fragmentation driving thousands of communists to isolation. They went so far to claim that Zachariades became a defector, a traitor and that he allegedly joined the Khrushchevian revisionists. As a matter of fact, they instructed all the Stalinist-Zachariadist organisations in Tashkent and People’s Republics to discontinue all the protests towards the Soviet government for the release of Zachariades because he was allegedly ‘free and strolling in Moscow’ while in fact he was in complete isolation in Sorgut.

e) The death of Nikos Zachariades

In the beginning of August 1973, when the Soviet authorities and the Khrushchevian Florakis leadership announced that Nikos Zachariadis died, two different versions of his death were immediately formulated. The first and the official version was presented by the social-democratic Brezhnev-Florakis leadership: ‘On the 1st of August Nikos Zachariades died from heart attack at the age of 70’ (Announcement from the CC of ‘K’

KE). The second version was promulgated by the overwhelming majority of Greek communist who rejected at once the first one according to which Nikos Zachariades died from a ‘heart attack’, and believed that he was actually murdered by the Khrushchevian revisionists in Sorgut, Siberia, his place of exile.

Seventeen years after the initial ‘announcement’ of the Soviet authorities, in 1990, Alexander Petrushin, a KGB Colonel, sent a note to the newspaper ‘Tiumenski Izvestia’ in which he contradicted the original version and presented a third one, that of ‘suicide’.

It is obvious that the two above versions of Nikos Zachariades death, the one of heart attack and the other of suicide, are mutually exclusive and, therefore, most probably false. The treacherous social-democratic cliques of Brezhnev-Florakis obviously contradict themselves. When were they telling the truth, in 1973 or in 1990?

The overwhelming majority of Greek communists correctly reckoned, and continue to do so, that the Soviet revisionists murdered Nikos Zachariades in accordance to an agreement with the revisionist leadership of ‘K’KE. in order to preserve the existence of their social-democratic party whose presence and action served, on one hand, the foreign policy of the revisionist-capitalist Soviet Union and, on the other, the interests of the indigenous reactionary bourgeois class acting as its agency in the ranks of the Greek working class movement.

It would be interesting to point out that Nikos Zachariades death took place on the eve of political ‘change’ in Greece. The Soviet revisionists, due to their collaboration with the American imperialists, were aware that a political ‘change’ was imminent in Greece, namely the replacement of the military-fascist dictatorship by a bourgeois ‘democratic’ government. If the new government wanted to maintain its democratic façade, it had not only to legalise the revisionist ‘K’KE but, also, to allow the repatriation of the communist political refugees, the former DA partisans, from the revisionist countries. However, it was known to both the Greek and Soviet revisionists that the great majority (about 85%-95%) of the Greek communists were staunch supporters of Zachariades and, upon their return to Greece, would immediately raise the issue of his liberation from exile employing all possible means including daily demonstrations in front of the Soviet embassy and an international campaign. Under such pressure, the Soviet revisionists would be compelled to set him free and let him return to his homeland.

Consequently, under circumstances beyond their control, and aware of the great authority Nikos Zachariades enjoyed among the Greek communists, the Soviet revisionists would have felt extremely uncomfortable had the great communist leader and former member of the EC of the Third International returned to his country. In particular such an outcome would have the following consequences: a) the inevitable downfall of their instruments in the country, that is, of the two social-democratic parties ‘K’KE and ‘K’KE (interior). b) the reorganisation of the communists and the formation of the revolutionary massive KKE, guided by revolutionary Marxism, that is of Leninism-Stalinism, and the concomitant preservation of the antifascist, anti-imperialist EDA party (that was liquidated by the revisionists and replaced by, the harmless to the interests of the bourgeois and the imperialists, PASOK) c) the prospect of a revolutionary KKE in alliance with the socialist Albania would be very dangerous, at that time, to the fate of Khrushchevian revisionism in Europe, to the existence and activity of the Soviet and European revisionists.

Apart from the aforementioned, what suggests that the third version of Nikos Zachariades death, i.e. the one of his murder, is the most probable and convincing are the following:

First, the statement-confession made by Stavros Zorbalas, the director of the Centre of Marxist Studies, in 1980: ‘How could there be a Party (meaning the revisionist ‘K’KE) if Zachariades would come to Greece?’ (D. Vyssios: ‘Open letter to Boris Nikolayevich Panomariov’, former head of the Department of International Relations of the CC of CPSU) but, also, by Panos Demetriou: ‘at any rate, only a KGB report can solve the riddle concerning his death’ (‘Ethnos’, 29/12/1990).

Second, the very important testimony of the journalist Vera Kuznechova in her interview: ‘I brought G. Mauros (Greek journalist) in contact with competent persons like Zachariades guard and the forensic doctor who, under pressure, wrote falsely in his report that Nikos Zachariades died from heart attack. When I talked to him, he admitted that he had diagnosed assassination, not heart attack’.

Third, the statement made by N. Tomilina, the director of the Russian State Archives, in the spring of 2000: ‘Not all evidence pertaining Nikos Zachariades has been published and, especially, the documents related to the circumstances of his death. These documents have been classified as top secret and no access to them is allowed until they are declassified.’

Considering all the above, the following fundamental question arises: if the case of Nikos Zachariades death was drawn to definite close with the establishment of the ‘suicide’ version, why, then, the part of the Archives related to the circumstances of his death is not published? Why the documents about the circumstances of his death are, still, classified as top secret and no access to them is allowed? It is evident that the anti-communist Khrushchevian revisionists and their fascist secret services, even after more than three decades (1973-2006) and despite continuous ‘editing’, cannot render their Archives plausible as to the second false version of Nikos Zachariades death, the one of ‘suicide’.

Without a doubt, Nikos Zachariades, through his revolutionary struggle, rises to eminence as a great revolutionary and communist leader, as ‘one of the most important figures of the world’s communist movement’ (Niyazov, Tashkent 1955); Joseph Stalin during the proceedings of the 19th Congress of the CPSU (1952), had said about him: ‘Do you see him? He is a great leader. He will bring the revolution not only in Greece but also in Europe’ (P. Demetriou, ‘Ek vatheon’, Athens 1997, pp. 202-203). He was by far the most competent General Secretary the KKE ever had and who was suggested by the Third International for this post in 1931. Nikos Zachariades remained until the end of his life an unwavering opponent of revisionism. Towards the end of his life he said: ‘Nobody can take away your honour, you can only lose it yourself’ and also: ‘he, who does not know how to die when it is necessary, does not know how to live and will fail in his life. He, who is afraid of falling, is going to crawl for the rest of his life’.

Quite naturally, the revisionist group of Khrushchev-Brezhnev saw him as a serious, powerful and very dangerous ideological, political opponent whom therefore it had to forcefully remove from the leadership of KKE at all costs, and destroy politically and physically; so dangerous was he considered, that one of Khrushchev’s fervent supporters, the French poet Louis Aragon, saw fit to mention him in his two-volume ‘History of the Soviet Union’: ‘The charge for personality cult resulted in the removal of Nikos Zachariades from his post as General Secretary of KKE’ (L. Aragon, ‘History of the Soviet Union’, v. 2, p. 268, Athens, 1963).

To conclude, we believe that the aforementioned events, covering the period between the pogrom in Tashkent in 1955 and the death of Nikos Zachariades in 1973, leave the contemporary revolutionary movement a most valuable legacy that could serve its task of reorganisation in the 21st century.

Source

V.I. Lenin Warns Against Capitalist Restoration

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“What was one of the most powerful incentives that multiplied our strength and our energies to a tremendous degree when we fought and won on the war front? It was the realisation of danger. Everybody asked whether it was possible that the landowners and capitalists might return to Russia. And the reply was that it was. We therefore multiplied our efforts a hundredfold, and we were victorious.

Take the economic front, and ask whether capitalism can be restored economically in Russia. We have combated the Sukharevka black market. The other day, just prior to the opening of the All-Russia Congress of Soviets, this not very pleasant institution was closed down by the Moscow Soviet of Workers’ and Red Army Deputies. (Applause.) The Sukharevka black market has been closed but it is not that market that is so sinister. The old Sukharevka market on Sukharevskaya Square has been closed down, an act that presented no difficulty. The sinister thing is the ‘Sukharevka’ that resides in the heart and behaviour of every petty proprietor. This is the ‘Sukharevka’ that must be closed down. That “Sukharevka” is the basis of capitalism. While it exists, the capitalists may return to Russia and may grow stronger than we are. That must be clearly realised. It must serve as the mainspring of our work and as a condition and yardstick of our real success. While we live in a small-peasant country, there is a firmer economic basis for capitalism in Russia than for communism. That must be borne in mind. Anyone who has carefully observed life in the countryside, as compared with life in the cities, knows that we have not torn up the roots of capitalism and have not undermined the foundation, the basis, of the internal enemy. The latter depends on small-scale production, and there is only one way of undermining it, namely, to place the economy of the country, including agriculture, on a new technical basis, that of modern large-scale production.”

 – V.I. Lenin, “Eighth All-Russia Congress of Soviets Part II, Report On The Work Of The Council Of People’s Commissars December 22, 1920”

V.I. Lenin on the Degeneration of the Socialist Revolutionary Party

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“The counter-revolutionary wave inside the country, however, was more powerful last year than this. The activities of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries had reached the highest point at that time. The armed struggle that they launched suddenly in place of their verbal support took us by surprise. The difficulties were immense, for they had chosen their time very cleverly. The Socialist-Revolutionaries hoped to play on the mood of the man in the street who was in despair from hunger [….] It is quite possible that the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik literary groups will die out without ever having understood anything about our revolution and for a long time will continue repeating, parrot fashion, that theirs would have been the best government in the world, a truly socialist and truly democratic government without civil war, if it had not been for Kolchak and the Bolsheviks; that, however, is not important, there have also been stubborn cranks in all revolutions. The important thing is that the masses who followed them are now leaving them. The peasant masses have gone over to the Bolsheviks’that is a fact. Siberia demonstrates this best of all.”

- V.I. Lenin, “The Domestic and Foreign Situation of the Republic, Report Delivered To The Moscow Conference of The R.C.P. (B.)”

Enver Hoxha on Salvador Allende: The Tragic Events in Chile – A Lesson for the Revolutionaries of the Whole World

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Article published in the newspaper “Zeri i popullit”
October 2, 1973

In Chile the counter-revolutionary storm continues to rage against the working masses, the patriots and fighters of that country. The rightist forces which seized power as a result of the September 11 coup d’état have established a reign of terror which even the Hitlerites would have envied. People are being ruthlessly murdered and massacred everywhere, in the streets or at work, without trial, and on any pretext. The sports stadiums have been transformed into concentration camps. Progressive culture is being trampled underfoot. Marxist books are being burnt in bonfires in the squares, nazi style. While the democratic parties, trade-unions, and democratic organizations have been outlawed, mediaeval obscurantism is spreading over the whole country. The most fanatical, ultra-reactionary forces of darkness, the agents of American imperialism are strutting on the political stage. The democratic freedoms which the people had won through struggle and bloodshed were wiped out within one day.

The events in Chile affect not only the Chilean people, but all the revolutionary, progressive and peace-loving forces of the world, therefore, the revolutionaries and the working people not only of Chile, but also of other countries, ought to draw conclusions from these events. Of course, we are not talking of an analysis of purely national details and aspects, or of specific actions, shortcomings or mistakes of the Chilean revolution, which do not go beyond the internal framework of this revolution. We are speaking of those universal laws which no revolution can avoid and which every revolution is obliged to apply. The problem is to examine and assess in the light of the events in Chile which views proved correct and which distorted on the issues of the theory and practice of the revolution, to verify which theses are revolutionary and which are opportunist, and to determine which attitudes and actions assist the revolution and which assist the counter-revolution.

In the first place, it must be said that the period during which the Allende government remained in power is not a period which can easily be erased from the life of the Chilean people or from the whole history of Latin America. Interpreting the demands and wishes of the broadest popular masses, the Popular Unity government adopted a series of measures and carried out a number of reforms which were intended to strengthen the national freedom and independence of the country and the independent development of its .economy.

This government struck heavy blows at the local oligarchy and the American monopolies which held all the key positions and were making the law in the country. The inspirer of this progressive and anti-imperialist course was President Allende, one of the noblest figures to emerge from Latin America, an outstanding patriot and democratic fighter. Under his leadership the Chilean people struggled for the land reform, struggled for the nationalization of foreign companies, struggled for the democratization of the life of the country and for the freedom of Chile from American influence. Allende strongly supported the anti-imperialist liberation movements in Latin America and made his country an asylum for all the freedom fighters persecuted by the thugs and military juntas of Latin America. He gave the peoples’ liberation and anti-imperialist movements his unreserved support and was in full solidarity with the struggle of the Vietnamese, Cambodian, Palestinian and other peoples.

Could the big Chilean landowners, who saw their estates distributed to the poor peasants, forgive him for pursuing this course and this activity? Could the manufacturers of Santiago, who were expelled from their nationalized plants, tolerate this? Or the American companies which lost their power? It was certain that one day they would unite to overthrow him and regain their lost privileges. Here a natural question arises: Was Allende aware of the atmosphere which surrounded him, did he see the conspiracies being hatched up .against him? Of course, he did. Reaction operated openly. It assassinated cabinet ministers, functionaries of government parties and rank-and-file officials. It instigated and directed the organization of the counter-revolutionary strikes of the truck drivers; merchants, doctors and other petty-bourgeois strata. Finally it tried its strength in the military coup in June, which proved abortive. Several plans of the CIA for the overthrow of the lawful government were discovered.

These attacks by internal and external reaction would have been sufficient to sound the alarm and make Allende reflect. They would have been ample reason to implement the great law of every revolution, that counter-revolutionary violence must be opposed with revolutionary violence. But President Allende did nothing, made no move. Certainly, he cannot be accused of lack of ideals. He loved the cause for which he fought with all his heart and, to the end, he believed in the justice of that cause. He did not lack personal courage and was ready to make, and did in fact make, the supreme sacrifice. But his tragedy was that he believed he could convince the reactionary forces through reason to give up their activity and relinquish their past positions and privileges of their own good will.

In Chile it was believed that the relatively old-established democratic traditions, parliament, the legal activity of political parties, the existence of a free press, etc., were an insurmountable obstacle to any reactionary force which might attempt to seize power by violence. The reality, however, proved the opposite. The coup d’état of the rightist forces proved that the bourgeoisie will tolerate certain freedoms just so long as its essential interests are not affected, but when it sees that these interests are threatened, it is no longer concerned about ethics.

The revolutionary and progressive forces in Chile have suffered a defeat. This is very serious, but temporary. A constitutional government may be overthrown, thousands of people may be killed and scores of concentration camps set up, but the spirit of freedom, the people’s spirit of revolt, can be neither killed nor imprisoned. The people are resisting, and this proves that the working masses are not reconciled to defeat, that they are determined to draw conclusions from this and to advance on the revolutionary road. The liberation struggle against reaction and imperialism has its zigzags, its ups and downs. There is no doubt that the Chilean people who have given so many proofs of their lofty patriotism, who have displayed such love for freedom and justice, and who hate imperialism and reaction so profoundly, will know how to mobilize their forces and fight the enemies blow for blow to ensure the final victory for themselves.

For the Chilean people this is a grave, although temporary, misfortune, but for the modern revisionists it constitutes an all-round defeat, a complete overturning of their opportunist theories. All the revisionists, from those of Moscow to those of Italy, France and elsewhere, presented the “Chilean experience” as a concrete example which proved their “new theories” about the “peaceful road of the revolution”, the transition to socialism under the leadership of many parties, the moderation of the nature of imperialism, the dying out of the class struggle in the conditions of peaceful coexistence, etc. The revisionist press made great play with the “Chilean road” in order to advertise the opportunist theses of the 20th Congress of the CPSU and the reformist and utopian programs of the Togliattist type.

From the “Chilean experience” the revisionists expected not only confirmation of their “theories” about “the parliamentary road”, but also a “classical” example of the building of socialism under the leadership of a coalition of Marxist and bourgeois parties. They expected confirmation of their thesis that the transition to socialism is possible through parliamentary elections and without revolution, that socialism can be built, not only without smashing the old state apparatus of the bourgeoisie, but even with its aid, not only without establishing the revolutionary people’s power, but by negating it.

The theories of “peaceful coexistence” and the “peace.ful parliamentary road”, propounded by the Soviet revisionists, in the first place, and by the Italian and French revisionists and their other supporters, are responsible to a very considerable extent for the spread of pacifist illusions and opportunist stands towards the bourgeoisie and deviation from the revolutionary struggle.

All the programmatic documents which the Western revisionist parties have adopted since the 20th Congress of the CPSU, absolutize the “parliamentary road” of transition from capitalism to socialism, while the non-peaceful road is definitely excluded. In practice this has brought about that these parties have finally renounced the revolutionary struggle and strive for ordinary reforms of a narrow economic or administrative character. They have turned into bourgeois opposition parties and have offered to undertake the administration of the wealth of the bourgeoisie, just as the old social-democratic parties have done hitherto.

The Communist Party of Chile, which was one of the main forces of the Allende government, fervently adhered to the Khrushchevite theses of “peaceful transition”, both in theory and practice. Following instructions from Moscow, it claimed that the national bourgeoisie and imperialism had now been tamed, had become tolerant and reasonable, and that in the new class conditions, allegedly created by the present-day world development, they were no longer able to go over to counter-revolution.

However, as the case of Chile proved once again these and similar theories make the working masses irresolute and disorientated, weaken their revolutionary spirit, and keep them immobilized in the face of the threats of the bourgeoisie, paralyse their capacity and make it impossible for them to carry out decisive revolutionary actions against the counter-revolutionary plans and actions of the bourgeoisie.

As the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties had predicted and as time confirmed, the revisionists were against the revolution and aimed to turn the Soviet Union, as they did, into a capitalist country, from a base of the revolution into a base of counter-revolution. They worked for a very long time to sow confusion in the ranks of the revolutionaries and undermine the revolution. Everywhere and at every moment they have acted to extinguish the flames of revolutionary battles and national liberation struggles. Although for demagogical purposes they pretend to be for the revolution, with their views and activities the revisionists try to nip it in the bud or sabotage it when it bursts out.

Their deviation from Marxism-Leninism, their abandonment of the class interests of the proletariat, their betrayal of the cause of national liberation of the peoples, has led the revisionists to complete denial of the revolution. For them, the theory and practice of the revolution have been reduced to a few reformist demands, which can be met within the framework of the capitalist order, without affecting its basis. The revisionists try to prove that the dividing line between the revolution and reforms has been wiped out, that in today’s conditions of world development there is no longer any need for a revolutionary overthrow, because, they allege, the present technical-scientific revolution is doing away with the social class contradictions of bourgeois society, is allegedly a means for the integration of capitalism into socialism, a means to create a “new society” of prosperity for all. Thus; according to this confusing logic, one can no longer speak about exploiters and exploited, hence according to them, social revolution, the smashing of the bourgeois state machine and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat become unnecessary.

Under the mask of Leninism and its creative development the revisionists aimed at world domination, turning themselves into social-imperialists. They began with Khrushchevite “peaceful coexistence”, with “peaceful competition”, with “a world without weapons and without wars”, with the “parliamentary road”, etc., and ended up with the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and the degeneration of socialism into social-imperialism.

Hence, they were against the revolution and the struggle of the peoples for liberation, and were against the communist parties which remained loyal to and defended Marxism-Leninism. In order to achieve their aims, especially the extinguishing of liberation struggles and revolutionary movements, the revisionists made the “peaceful road” the foundation of their “theory”. By revising the fundamental question of Marxism, such as the theory of revolution, and propagating their opportunist theses, they wanted to convince the workers to give up their revolutionary class struggle, to submit to the bourgeoisie and accept capitalist slavery.

On the other hand, “peaceful coexistence”, which the Soviet leaders proclaimed as the fundamental line of their foreign policy and which they wanted to impose on the whole world communist and national liberation movement, was a complete strategic plan to reach a broad agreement with imperialism, to strangle the revolutionary movements and to quell the liberation struggles, to preserve and extend their spheres of influence. The revisionists wanted to use, and did in fact use, this kind of “coexistence”, which was entirely suitable to imperialism and the bourgeoisie, as a great diversion to disarm the masses ideologically and politically, to blunt their revolutionary vigilance and immobilize them, to leave them defenceless in face of future attacks of the imperialists and social-imperialists.

The Soviet revisionists, as well as the other revisionists who managed to usurp state power, destroyed the party by stripping it of its revolutionary theory, rejected and trampled underfoot all the Leninist norms, and paved the way to liberalism and degeneration in the country. In spreading their anti-Marxist theses that “capitalism is being integrated into socialism”, that “non proletarian parties, too, can be the bearers of the ideals of socialism and leaders of the struggle for socialism”, that “even those countries where the national bourgeoisie is in power are moving towards socialism”, the revisionists not only aimed to deny the theory of the vanguard party of the working class, but also wanted to leave the working class without leadership in the face of the organized attacks of the bourgeoisie and reaction.

History has proved, and the events in Chile, where it was not yet a question of socialism but of a democratic regime, again made clear, that the establishment of socialism through the parliamentary road is utterly impossible. In the first place, it must be said that up till now it has never happened that the bourgeoisie has allowed the communists to win a majority in parliament and form their own government. Even in the occasional instance where the communists and their allies have managed to ensure a balance in their favour in parliament and enter the government; this has not led to any change in the bourgeois character of the parliament or the government, and their action has never gone so far as to smash the old state machine and establish a new one.

In the conditions when the bourgeoisie controls the bureaucratic-administrative apparatus, securing a “parliamentary majority” that would change the destiny of the country is not only impossible but also unreliable. The main parts of the bourgeois state machine are the political and economic power and the armed forces. As long as these forces remain intact, i.e., as long as they have not been dissolved and new forces created in their stead, as long as the old apparatus of the police, the secret intelligence services, etc.; is retained, there is no guarantee that a parliament or a democratic government will be able to last long; Not only the case of Chile, but many others have proved that the counter-revolutionary coups d’état have been carried out precisely by the armed forces commanded by the bourgeoisie.

The Khrushchevite revisionists have deliberately created great confusion concerning Lenin’s very clear and precise theses on the participation of communists in the bourgeois parliament and on the seizure of state power from the bourgeoisie. It is known that Lenin did not deny the participation of the communists in the bourgeois parliament at certain moments. But he considered this participation only as at tribune to defend the interests of the working class, to expose the bourgeoisie and its state power, to force the bourgeoisie to take some measure in favour of the working people. At the same time, however, Lenin warned that, while fighting to make use of parliament in the interests of the working class, one should guard against the creation of parliamentary illusions, the fraud of bourgeois parliamentarianism.

“Participation in the bourgeois parliament,” said Lenin, “is necessary for the party of the revolutionary proletariat to enlighten the masses, enlightenment which is achieved through elections and the struggle of the parties in the parliament. But to limit the class struggle to the struggle within the parliament, or to consider this struggle as the ultimate, the decisive form, to which all other forms of struggle are subordinate, means in fact to go over to the side of the bourgeoisie, against the proletariat.” V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 30, pp. 304-305 (Alb. ed.).

Criticizing the “parliamentary cretinism” of the representatives of the Second International, who turned their parties into electoral parties, Lenin clearly showed where parliamentarianism leads to in ideology, policy and practice. He stressed that,

“the proletarian state (the dictatorship of the proletariat) cannot replace it through its gradual withering away, but as a general rule, only through violent revolution.”  V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 25, p. 473 (Alb. ed.).

He stressed that

“the need to systematically educate the masses with this idea, and precisely this idea of violent revolution, is the basis of the entire doctrine of Marx and Engels.” Ibidem.

By still advocating the “parliamentary road”, the modern revisionists are simply blindly following the course of Kautsky and company. But the further they proceed on this course, the more they expose themselves and the more defeats they suffer. The whole history of the international communist and worker movement has proved that violent revolution, the smashing of the bourgeois state machine and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, constitute the universal law of proletarian revolution.

“The advance, that is, towards communism,” Lenin stressed, “runs through the dictatorship of the proletariat and it cannot follow any other course, because there is no other class and no other way to smash the resistance of the capitalist exploiters.” Ibidem, p. 548.

In the stage off imperialism, both at its commencement and now, too, the danger of the establishment of a fascist military dictatorship whenever the capitalist monopolies think that their interests are threatened always exists. Moreover, it has been proved, especially from the end of the Second World War to this day, that American imperialism, British imperialism and others have gone to the assistance of the bourgeoisie of various countries to eliminate those governments or to suppress those revolutionary forces which, in one way or another, offer even the slightest threat to the foundations of the capitalist system.

As long as imperialism exists, there still exists the basis and possibility for, and its unchangeable policy of, interference in the internal affairs of other countries, counter-revolutionary plots, the overthrow of lawful governments, the liquidation of democratic and progressive forces, and the strangling of the revolution.

It is American imperialism which props up the fascist regimes in Spain and Portugal, which incites the revival of German fascism and Japanese militarism, which supports the racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia and keeps up the discrimination against the black people in its own country. It is American imperialism that helps the reactionary regimes of South Korea and the Saigon and Pnom Penh puppets, which has instigated the Zionist aggression and helps Israel to maintain its occupation of the Arab territories. All the furious winds of anti-communism, national oppression and capitalist exploitation blow from the United States of America. Throughout Latin America, with some rare exceptions, American imperialism has established tyrannical fascist regimes, which mercilessly suppress and exploit the people. On that continent, all the weapons used against demonstrations, the weapons which kill the workers and peasants, are made in the United States and supplied by it.

The fascist military coup in Chile is not the deed of local reaction alone, but also of imperialism. For three years on end, during the whole time President Allende was in power, the Chilean rightist forces were incited, organized and encouraged in their counter-revolutionary activity by the United States. Chilean reaction and the American monopolies took revenge against President Allende for the progressive and anti-imperialist policy he followed. The undermining activity of the right-wing parties and all the reactionary forces, their acts of violence and terror were closely coordinated with the pressures exerted from outside by the American monopolies, with the economic blockade and the political struggle the American government waged against Chile. Behind the military junta was the CIA, the same criminal hand that had carried out so many coups d’état in Latin America, Indonesia, Iran, etc. The events in Chile once again revealed the true face of American imperialism. They proved once more that American imperialism remains a rabid enemy of all the .peoples, a savage enemy of justice and progress; of struggles for freedom and independence, of the revolution and socialism.

But the counter-revolution in Chile is a deed not only of the avowedly reactionary forces and the American imperialists. The Allende government was .also sabotaged and savagely opposed by the Christian-democratic and other factions of the bourgeoisie, so-called radical democratic forces similar to those together with which the communist parties of Italy and France claim that they will advance to socialism through reforms and the peaceful parliamentary road. The Frey party in, Chile does not bear only “intellectual responsibility”, as some claim, because it refused to collaborate with the Allende government, or because it was lacking in loyalty to the legal government. It bears responsibility also because it used all possible means .to sabotage the normal activity of the government, because it united with the forces of the Right to undermine the nationalized economy and to create confusion in the country, because it perpetrated a thousand and one acts of subversion. It fought to create that spiritual and political climate that was the prelude to the counter-revolution.

The Soviet revisionists, too, were implicated in the events in Chile. A thousand threads link the Soviet leaders in intrigues and plots with American imperialism. They did not intend or desire to help the Allende government when it was in power, because this would have brought them into conflict and damaged their cordial relations with American imperialism.

These stands of the Khrushchevite revisionists towards Chile and the theory of revolution had been confirmed before the Chilean events. They had been confirmed in the repeated tragic events in Iran: while the local reaction was killing and imprisoning hundreds and thousands of communists and progressive revolutionaries, the Soviet revisionists did not lift a finger, let alone severe diplomatic relations! These stands were confirmed in the shocking events in Indonesia, where about 500,000 communists and progressives were killed and massacred. Once again the Soviet revisionists did nothing, took no action and did not consider withdrawing their embassy from Djakarta. [1] These stands of the Soviet revisionists are not accidental. They testify to the existence of a secret collaboration with the American Imperialists to sabotage the revolutionary movements and to put down the peoples’ liberation struggles.

This stand sheds light on the demagogic character of the much publicized severance of diplomatic relations with Chile now.

Such is the reality. The fine words about their alleged solidarity with the Chilean people, like all their other demagogic catch-cries, are simply to deceive public opinion and to conceal their betrayal of the revolution and the peoples’ liberation movements.

The Soviet government severed diplomatic relations with Chile in order to exploit the opportunity to pose as a supporter of the victims of reaction, as if it is on the side of those who struggle for freedom and independence and the revisionists are defenders of progressive regimes. The Soviet revisionists help any progressive regime just so long as this assists their imperialist interests. But they go no further. Indeed, they are not ashamed to maintain regular diplomatic ties with such a discredited and bankrupt regime as that of Lon Nol, while they keep silent about such a great liberation struggle as that of the Cambodian people.

The events in Chile once again revealed all of the grave tragedy the peoples of Latin America are experiencing. Likewise, they brought to light again the shortcomings, limitations and weaknesses of the revolution on that continent, the very great difficulties and hardships it is undergoing. But they provide a lesson not only for the revolutionaries of Latin America. All the revolutionaries of the world, all those who fight for national and social liberation against imperialist interference and violence, for democracy and the progress of mankind should draw lessons from them. This includes the revolutionaries of the Soviet Union, who must rise against the revisionist rulers and overthrow them along with all their opportunist and anti-Leninist theories. Likewise, the revolutionaries of Italy, France and other developed capitalist countries ought to draw lessons from the Chilean events, and fight revisionism resolutely, rejecting the reactionary theories of the “peaceful parliamentary roads” which the Togliattists and the other revisionists propagate.

We believe that the events in Chile, the fascist attack of reaction against the democratic victories of the Chilean people, the brutal interference of American imperialism and its support for the military junta will encourage all the peoples of the world to be vigilant, to resolutely reject the demagogic slogans of the imperialists, revisionists and opportunists of every hue, and mobilize all their forces in courageous defence of their national freedom and independence, peace and security.

[1] The Soviet revisionists expelled the correspondent of “Harjan Rakjat”, organ of the CP of Indonesia, from the Soviet Union and welcomed the visit of Adam Malik, then foreign minister of the Indonesian fascist regime. They also continued to supply Soviet weapons to Indonesia.

“Against Modern Revisionism
1971-1975”

Communist Party of Chile (Proletarian Action) – Reformism: the Gateway to Fascism

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Communist Party of Chile (Proletarian Action)
Eduardo Artes
August, 1998

Some factors to explain the defeat of September 11, 1973 and to advance towards victory.

On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the fascist military coup of September 11, every social class, even some class sectors. through their organizations, ranging from the bourgeois Armed Forces to the political parties, including our Communist Party (Proletarian Action) [PC(AP)], as well as churches, express their evaluations, draw their conclusions and point out the paths forward according to their own class interests.

The fascist military coup that took place in Chile in 1973 was not just one more of the countless ones in the history of Latin America and the world. It has special significance, not only for its great brutality but also for the long duration of fascist rule and the characteristic reordering of capitalist oppression and exploitation in Chile, at the demand of yankee imperialism and its local partners. For us, and this is the goal of the present paper, this holds many vivid lessons for the workers and popular movement and the outcome of their struggle, depending on the ideas that guide their practice.

Given the low level of the existing ideological debate, we do not want to be misunderstood or to confuse anyone about the truly proletarian and revolutionary character of our analysis. As has been proven by our tireless practice, we want to first express a well-deserved tribute to all the victims of fascism, to all the fighters who fell in the defense or construction of their trade unions, popular organizations, on the neighborhood barricades, in the armed confrontation, to all those who fought resolutely against the coup itself as well as against the fascist dictatorship. In honoring them, no matter how hard it might be for some to admit the communist truth, we cannot stop putting forth widely our Marxist-Leninist opinion of the main, i.e. the internal factor (of the popular movement), that led the working class and the people to the defeat, to the massacre, to confront the reactionaries unarmed ideologically, politically and materially. We do this to break with the opportunist attitude of revisionism which, in order to avoid its criminal responsibility, focuses only on the external factor, on the reactionary behavior of imperialism and local capitalism, of ITT, on the “wickedness and treachery” of Pinochet, etc. One could not expect them to behave differently, due to their reactionary nature.

The ideological and political confusion about the Popular Unity (UP), Salvador Allende and all of those who considered themselves the “vanguard”, or at least “leftist,” in the period prior to the fascist coup, has not diminished. On the contrary, it is on the rise, and it has reached such a level that those who stand for the “path of Allende and the UP” are treated as “ultra-leftist.” Moreover, some young people who have recently joined the social struggle, seeking a means to expose so much treason and opportunism, try to find a revolutionary alternative in the praiseworthy and courageous attitude of Salvador Allende, who in the last moments of his life picked up a machine gun in order to resist the fascists hordes attacking the Moneda (the government palace, Note of transl.). They uphold the slogan: “He did not surrender, he fought with a rifle!” What is important here is that the youths are expressing their desire for a revolutionary change. The confusion is being cunningly used by opportunism to divert the struggle and again lead the workers and popular movement along the path of defeat. It is mainly revisionism and its social-democratic partner who are in charge of this.

There is not doubt that from the point of view of the masses, in regard to bourgeois democratic liberties and the space gained in which to express the desire for revolutionary change in society, there has not been in the history of Chile and maybe of all of Latin America a more favorable period than the experience of the UP. This is something that was not only experienced by the people, but was also observed and acted upon by reaction and Yankee imperialism.

The fervor of the masses was an important ingredient during the whole period of Allende’s government. The masses mobilized not only against imperialism and reaction, against the sabotage of production and the black market, as the revisionists argue, but also to advance towards the seizure of power, despite the policies and actions of the UP itself. A proof of this was the fact that the Unified Confederation of Workers (CUT), led by the “C”P and the “S”P, was overtaken by the formation of the Industrial Belts. These organizations, even though they still displayed some confusion in their objectives and demands due to the negative influence of some opportunist petty-bourgeois ideas, together with the Community Commandos and other new forms of Popular organization, had the great merit of pointing to the fundamental problem of the whole class struggle, the conquest of political power. This latter, in fact, was precisely what precipitated the fascist coup: imperialism and the bourgeoisie could not allow the workers and the rest of the popular masses, who were seizing lands and industries, maintaining productivity, managing distribution, etc, to make clear in practice that the capitalists were no longer needed.

As we shall see further on, “Popular Unity,” UP, was the result of a long work of reformism and revisionism, which found strong international support in the revisionist policies of the former Soviet Union after the death of comrade Joseph Stalin and the triumph of the Khrushchevite coup in the former Soviet Union. We must stress the role played then and now by the experience of the UP in the ideological and political debate that was developed and is still developing between Marxism-leninism and revisionism, in our country and internationally.

It is necessary to bear in mind that the experience of the UP aroused many illusions at that time in various countries, especially in the so-called “third world,” whose peoples struggled and are still struggling to overcome the yoke of imperialism, to achieve progress and social justice. In whatever manner, the “UP” was presented by international revisionism as the confirmation of the thesis of “peaceful transition” or the “peaceful path” to socialism, adopted by the congress of infamy, the XXth Congress of the CPSU in opposition to the Marxist-Leninist teaching of the revolutionary seizure of political power, as defended in the time of Lenin and Stalin.

The “peaceful path” of opportunism was a slogan and permanent practice directed at the workers movement and the popular masses, a slogan that denied the revolutionary truth of the inevitability of armed confrontation, when the class struggle reaches a higher stage and the question of power comes to the forefront. This was especially true in Brezhnev’s time, when the inter-imperialist confrontation between the USA and the revisionist Soviet leadership had sharpened. However, and here the CONSCIOUS BETRAYAL of revisionism was shown, when it became clear that a material (armed) force was needed to prevent the “reactionary uprising,” the revisionists spoke to us of so-called “patriotic officers,” of “maintaining the constitutional character of the Armed Forces,” of “integrating our Armed Forces into the change.” They popularized demobilizing and defeatist slogans like “friend soldier, the people are with you” and “the Armed Forces are the people in uniform,” or as Luis Corvalan maintained in December of 1970 (International Journal), “one can ASSERT that the people of Chile and the Armed Forces of the country shall resolutely rise in combat in the defense of the sovereignty of their motherland.” In consequence of this view, the whole parliament, with the exception of Senator Raul Silva Ulloa, during the government of Salvador Allende, adopted the “law of arms control” which gave the bourgeois Armed Forces the right to gain access to and break into any place suspected of storing weapons. This was a great help to the fascists in preparation for the 1973 coup; months, days before the coup, the bourgeois Armed Forces, using the law voted for by the whole UP together with the Christian Democrats and fascist mummies, broke into industrial establishments, intimidated workers and confiscated some old shotguns and pistols, thus inhibiting the ability of the workers to respond to the massacre that they were preparing.

The “military” policy of revisionism, apart from handing over the disarmed people to their enemies, obtained some meager results in the person of Army General Carlos Prat, Air Force General Bachelett, some officers of the military police and a handful of members of the Navy, who were arrested and tortured by the armed forces days before the coup itself. Finally, it is important to point out that the “extreme left” has been blamed for the coup for many years. When revisionism adopted its amorphous “policy of popular rebellion,” which never put forward any goal other than the “return to the democracy” which existed before the coup, it organized “the armed struggle” against Pinochet, but once again without the masses, based on highly specialized armed equipment. And they, together with the other sectors of the bourgeois opposition to Pinochet, denied and abandoned this struggle at the most crucial moment.

The UP materialized petty-bourgeois thought, not only of revisionism, with some phrases borrowed from Marxism-Leninism; it also expressed the thought of social-democracy, represented with lower or higher degrees of radicalism by the Socialist Party of Chile, whose member and leader was Salvador Allende, and by the Radical Party; most of their leaders, including Allende, admitted that they were organizationally and philosophically members of the Masons. Another element that contributed to the total ideological and organizational confusion in the leadership of the UP was the “progressive” Christian thought represented by elements who split from the Christian Democrats (DC), by the MAPU and the Christian Left (IC) who, based on their origins and petty-bourgeois thought, vacillated between the “left” and the “right.” In any case, their weight within the UP was never determining, among other reasons because both organizations were a hybrid of political definitions, which prevented them from forming a different line from that of the “C”P-”S”P axis.

For a better understanding we believe it is very important to depict the ideological and political lines of, at least, the main trends in the UP, that is the “S”P and the “C”P.

The Socialist Party of Chile 

Perhaps it would be enough to define them by the popular term, “slick partners” [phony socialists], since in general, apart from scarce and remarkable exceptions, the majority of them have always used their membership as a personal step up the social ladder, to have access to the bureaucratic apparatus of the bourgeois capitalist State, and get their share of the exploitation of the workers and the alienation of the national resources. Always, in one way or another, through ministries, agreements or anything else, the “S”P has participated in an open or disguised manner in almost all of the regimes that have governed Chile. The exception, and moreover, the persecution to which they were subjected during the fascist military dictatorship, must be understood in the general international framework of the inter-imperialist struggle between the two imperialist super-powers of that time, Yankee imperialism and Russian social-imperialism. In that context, the “S”P and its alliance with the “C”P was placed under the umbrella of Soviet revisionism, one of the elements against which Yankee imperialism stirred up reaction and the bourgeois Armed Forces. The other and main objective was, as we all know, to prevent the working class, leading the people, from advancing towards the conquest of political power, which would have led to the expulsion of imperialism from Chile and the beginning of the construction of a new country of popular democracy and socialism.

The leaders of “S”P, who yesterday were government ministers, ambassadors, members of parliament, top union and student leaders in the period of the UP, are today the champions of neo-liberalism and defenders of the institutional order inherited from the dictatorship. Their members of parliament share seats, banquets and privileges with the fascist members of parliament, with the senators appointed for life, with Pinochet himself. Their ministers, like Ricardo Lagos, are received with honors by the representatives of Yankee imperialism, the local capitalist bosses express their public approval, even “if one of them were one day to become President of the Republic.”

The “S”P leaders have been put in charge of the dirty work of the reactionary Chilean State. The “socialist” Marcelo Schilling, a member of the Central Committee, was the founder of the sinister “Office of Investigations” of the government of reconciliation, whose objective has not been the dismantling of the fascist legacy but, on the contrary, to infiltrate, provoke and destroy the revolutionary organizations of the people and even in some cases to assassinate their members. The Gendarmerie of Chile is in charge of keeping behind bars and annihilating psychologically and physically dozens of social fighters in “high security jails,” while hosting in a “five star hotel” a couple of symbolic military fascist criminals, and it has been and is led now by top “socialist” leaders.

The “S”P was born ideologically, politically and organizationally as a clearly social-democratic, opportunist, anti-communist formation, something which it was never able to overcome. The left-wing positions that it has adopted at times were due to their exclusion from the bourgeois government in office or to tactics tending to resolve the problems of hegemony in relation to other bourgeois political formations, such as revisionism, for example.

Another feature of the “S”P of Chile is that of being a shelter for various opportunist positions and figures that call themselves “leftists,” that have attacked or attack Marxism-Leninism. Trotskyites, Titoites and their anti-communist embryo of self-management, the phony arm-chair guerrillas have found shelter or rather a hide-out there; in these years of “reconciliation,” a large number of former MIR, former FPMR and former CP members have joined them. Those who tired of fighting have joined with fascist militarism in the administration of the bourgeois State, profiting from the exploitation of the workers and viciously fighting those who have not leaped with them into the marsh of betrayal.

The social-democrats of the “S”P have always found their brothers in the leadership of the “C”P, the tireless peddlers of unity of both organizations and positions. Before the formation of the “UP” the General Secretary of the “C”P reiterated again and again that “we will keep insisting that that which unites the socialists and communists is much stronger [than that which divides them]” (Luis Corvalan, Fighting in Broad Daylight).

Today, 25 years after the coup, the leadership of the “C”P persists in its efforts of “unity” with the “S”P. In this respect Jorge Insunza, in a lengthy interview in “El Siglo” (Number 890, August 6, 1998) regarding the proposals made to the “S”P for joint tributes to Salvador Allende, complained about the failure of his initiative and confessed with a bitterness worthy of better lovers: “Frankly, we did not achieve the success we had hoped for. This week, after more than two months of dedication, we received the answer from the leadership of the Socialist Party that they will not honor the commitment that they had made to us to form a broad national committee in which they would participate.”

The “Communist” Party of Chile (“C”P) 

For a variety of ideological and political reasons, both national and international, the revisionist “C”P was the main force that defined the thought and practice that gave birth to the experience of the UP. This can not be understood without understanding the long work carried out by the leadership of the revisionist “C”P in this respect. One can have an almost complete global picture of the ideological and political support that made the UP government possible and that led the workers and the people into that arms of the fascist massacre of September 11, 1973, only by following the development of the “C”P, something which is not the same as that of the “S”P with its carnival-like existence.

The main support for the so-called “Chilean road to socialism” was developed contrary to all the historical experience of the working class and its revolutionary outlook, Marxism-Leninism. The ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin on the revolutionary struggle, power, the State, the leading role of the working class, the proletarian character of the party, etc, were never present. Therefore the tragedy and defeat of the “UP.” which was paid for by the working class and the people, just as in the revisionist former USSR and the countries of Eastern Europe, were the tragedy and defeat of social-democracy and revisionism, not of Marxism-Leninism. In any case, when Gladys Marin, General Secretary of the revisionist “C”P and eternal candidate for the presidency of the Republic, speaks of retaking the “path of the UP and Allende,” it is no longer a tragedy but a farce.

For many years the revisionist leadership of the “C”P has idealized the possibilities of parliamentary work, adopting an attitude of “parliamentary cretinism,” against which Lenin often warned the communists. For many years it has disguised the dictatorship of the bourgeois classes under the mask of holy bourgeois “democracy,” and it gambled on the “great tradition of respect for the law and democracy” that the bourgeois Armed Forces and other State institutions supposedly showed. All the arguments of revisionism were and are based on subjective idealism, on opportunism, not on Marxism-Leninism. To start, let us look at some of its historical manifestations.

Under the often used slogan of “all parties and sectors without exception,” the revisionist “C”P in the mid-1940s managed for a short period to join the government of Gabriel Gonzalez Videla. Having been elected with the votes of the “C”P, he later expelled them from the government and banned them. All this, nevertheless, was no problem for the opportunist leadership of the “C”P, who from the beginning did not understand what was happening, and even offered their “constructive support to the government.”

From abroad, the “C”P accepted “willingly” or “unwillingly” the negative influence of Browderism. Browder at that time was the General Secretary of the “C”P of the USA who supported the opportunist trend of class conciliation, reducing the role of the Party to some kind of cultural organization. This influence from abroad united with a strong tendency that negatively influenced the leadership of the “C”P of Chile, which put forward the necessity of constructing the Antifascist United Fronts (necessary to confront fascism on a world scale) in an exclusively legalist and pacifist manner. They actually subordinated the proletariat to other forces, to the so-called “progressive bourgeoisie,” renouncing the necessary and irreplaceable leading role of the proletariat in this front. The “foreign” influence further strengthened the opportunist pacifism that had already been consolidated in the leadership of the “C”P.

The influence of the Soviet Union at the time of comrade J. Stalin, of his proletarian internationalist policies, and the enforcement of the anti-communist law of Videla, known as the law for the defense of democracy, or known by the people as the damned law, led a section of the leadership of the revisionist “C”P to adopt a more radical stand, embodied in the “Program of National Salvation.” But soon this section was defeated and its supporters were expelled. The “C”P adopted a new line of class conciliation, putting out an opportunist document called the “Emergency Plan,” in total opposition to the earlier program.

The revisionist leadership of the “C”P gave strong support to Ibanez by putting forward its proposal of “decisively contributing to the success of the work of Mr. Ibanez’s government for the good of the country.” Later they added, reaffirming their character of extinguishers of the fire of the class struggle, that “our invariable rule is to see to it that labor conflicts should be solved harmoniously by any means. We only support going on strike, which is a right recognized by the Labor Code, when all other means fail.” (Document of the Leadership of the “C”P in the first year of the government of Ibanez).

The opportunist line of the leadership of the revisionist “C”P found support in the revisionist leadership of N. Khrushchev, whom they blindly followed. Despite the foolish attempt of the revisionist leaders, who tried to present themselves as “independent” and “original,” it is good to remember the actions of Volodia T., Mr. T. He exuberantly tried to be more Catholic than the Pope, going around telling whoever would listen, the bourgeois press, that the “C”P was for perestroika before Gorbachev launched his perestroika. This was no “return to Leninism,” as the Trotksyites and revisionists claimed.

The devious attitude (see the interview published in El Siglo N. 890) of the “C”P is today focused on using the “experience of the UP” to attack and slander the proletarian socialism constructed in the times of Lenin and Stalin, in the times of the dictatorship of the proletariat. See how Jorge Insunza attacks socialism: “In many respects, the program of Allende meant completely distancing oneself from that model.” “To retake the experience of the Popular Unity and its government is to show the people that we do not bow to models which were actually opposed to what we wanted to put into effect.” It is a fact that the UP did not have anything to do with the proletarian socialism that makes the opportunists so uncomfortable. But Mr. Insunza, let us remind you that, in the time of Khrushchevite revisionism, the leadership of your party here in Chile sneezed when your “elder brother” in Moscow caught a cold.

The tailism of local revisionism in relation to Soviet revisionism had its highest and most grotesque expression in the hasty convocation of the Xth Congress of the “C”P of Chile, barely two months after the XXth Congress of the CPSU, in which the “peaceful path to power” was “discovered.” Issue #35 of the journal “Principios” (Principles, Note of transl.), referring to the “peaceful path,” argued that “this question has been put forward from the high tribune of the XXth Congress of the CPSU.” After this, the deceptive efforts to claim “originality” and “ones own elaboration” seem ridiculous. Corvalan made his “contribution” to the “creative development” of Marxism in the same way that Khrushchev presented his bourgeois poison, saying that “to tell the truth, it (the peaceful path) had already been put forward by life itself. In many countries revolutionary changes have taken place through new paths that cannot be considered as insurrectional.

“In Chile itself, the possibility of utilizing the parliamentary road to achieve power by the popular forces had already been shown. But this question was not sufficiently clear for us” (Luis Corvalan, “Our revolutionary path”). And, to leave no room for doubt as to the “contributions” that revisionism is so proud of and which have done so much harm to the workers’ and popular struggle, Corvalan reminds us that: “we pointed out the necessity to make in it (the program of the “C”P) a more complete and richer analysis of the peaceful road. We said that it should be clearly established that this path only excludes civil war and armed insurrection.”

The whole period prior to the fascist military coup of 1973, from Ibanez to S. Allende, including the time of Alessandri and Frei Montalba and their “revolution in liberty,” which followed the guidelines and demands of the “Alliance for Progress,” was for local revisionism a period for giving proof of its good behavior to the bourgeoisie and imperialism. At the 24th plenary session of the C.C. held in 1957, the revisionist leadership of the “C”P made very clear their counterrevolutionary political objectives: “We want and demand our freedom. And we solemnly proclaim that, being free to take part again in political life, we will not constitute a threat to any respectable interest. We stand for the democratic resolution of all questions according to the will of the majority of the country within the framework of the free play of all parties and political currents. Today we do not aim to replace the property of the Chilean capitalists with collective property. And if tomorrow it should be necessary to advance along this path, we believe that this should be done according to the will of the majority of the Chileans, through the peaceful road and by guaranteeing the well-being and the rights of the capitalists, that is by compensating them properly.”

Special attention should be paid to the “constructive” attitude of the revisionist leadership of the “C”P towards the “pro-development” or bourgeois reformist government of Eduardo Frei Montalba who, consistent with his class character, had not the least hesitation in suppressing and murdering workers, peasants, the indigenous Mapuches, students and neighborhood residents, who were fighting for their economic and political demands (who does not remember, for example, the massacre of residents of Puerto Montt).

From the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies the “C”P and the “S”P voted for the most diverse projects of Frei’s government. The peasants who seized lands, the students who radicalized the struggle for university reform, the workers and union leaders who opposed and ignored the “agreement” between the C.U.T. and the government that restricted the workers demands, those who from revolutionary positions called for the armed struggle and the road of mass insurrection, all these were denounced as ultra-leftists in the pages of “Siglo,” the organ of the “C”P.

As their Italian brothers in opportunism, the revisionist leadership of the “C”P never, even in the period of the UP stopped trying to form their boasted-of “Historic Compromise” with the Christian Democrats.

In December of 1970, Salvador Allende had already been elected President of the Republic. Luis Corvalan (International Journal, December 1970) rendered an early homage to the thesis of the electoral way or the “peaceful road” of revisionism, of N. Khrushchev and his successors. “The ‘Chilean example’ will show that the ways and methods of the revolutionary process have their own peculiarities in each country, and proves that the thesis of the XXth Congress of the CPSU in not so absurd.” Two and a half years after Corvalan, leading the Volodias, Millas and Marin, etc., rejoiced at the alleged “triumph” of the Khrushchevite thesis, in September of 1973 not only the absurdity of the thesis proclaimed by the XXth Congress of the Russian revisionist party was proven, but its criminal and treacherous character was exposed. The shamelessness of Corvalan has no limits: a few years before the election of Allende, in Indonesia, the absurdity of the “peaceful path” had been proven once again, when more than 500,000 communists and patriots were murdered by the fascist coup carried out by the bourgeois army of general Suharto against the “constitutional” President and father of the motherland SUKARNO.

The anti-reformist “left” 

From the “left,” that is those sectors who took up the struggle against the “peaceful path” or the “electoral road,” great efforts were made to oppose bourgeois reformism, the “peaceful path” and class conciliation imposed by the so-called “traditional Left.” A large number of comrades who belonged to the “revolutionary left,” the MIR [Movement of the Revolutionary Left], PCR {Revolutionary Communist Party] and other smaller groups, were examples of courage in confronting the fascist dictatorship. Although the revisionists claimed that they were responsible for provoking the coup, in fact, apart from their ideological and political mistakes, it is in these groups that one can find the most consistent search for a revolutionary way out of the crisis of the bourgeois democratic form of capitalist exploitation that existed in Chile before September 11, 1973.

In one way or another the experience of the UP caused different reactions within the “revolutionary left.” For example the Marxist Revolutionary Vanguard, which to a certain extent struggled against Khrushchevite revisionism at that time, was paralyzed and self-destructed. Most of its members opportunistically joined the “S”P and some the “C”P, swelling their most “left” wings and, curiously enough, became the most fervent defenders of the UP government, formed on the basis of the so-called “peaceful path to socialism” that they had formerly fought. In the end it became clear that their break with revisionism never went beyond tactical contradictions, the supposed contradiction of simple paths, that is the armed path versus the “peaceful path.” With the electoral “victory” of the UP, the contradiction that initially motivated their difference with the latter ceased to exist. They never understood that the electoral victory of the UP would prove the non-existence of the “peaceful path.” Those who did not join the UP maintained certain organizational links and mostly died fighting the fascist coup.

With respect to the Revolutionary Communist Party, one should acknowledge that the process of cooptation and destruction caused by the electoral “victory” of the UP and its “peaceful path” also weakened it greatly and caused it great internal divisions, leaving it with little influence among the popular masses and almost isolated from the great fervor and the existing class confrontation. This was just at the time when two highly explosive elements began to combine: the general dissatisfaction of the workers and the people with the vacillation, paralysis and legalism of the leadership of the UP and the open sabotage of the reactionaries and fascists under the shelter and orders of Yankee imperialism.

In order to wage political struggle and preserve themselves, the Revolutionary Communist Party mechanically transplanted the international position of the C.P. of China, which led them to serious mistakes in characterizing the main imperialist enemy of the Chilean revolution. They attacked equally and sometimes more forcefully Russian social-imperialism than Yankee imperialism, ignoring the fact that, although both imperialisms were equally dangerous for the peoples in general, Yankee imperialism was dominant in Chile. In any case, an important merits of the PCR was that it kept alive the anti-imperialist debate, and did not confine it almost exclusively to the level of propaganda. With the inevitability of the confrontation that the social conditions gave rise to, by the end of 1979, and after having promoted and participated in the resistance to the fascist military dictatorship, both factions into which the PCR had split ceased to exist as a party and some of their rank-and-file, of those who stayed in Chile, continued the struggle for the Popular Revolution and Socialism.

An organization that stood out for uniting important sectors in disagreement with the bourgeois reformism of the leadership of the UP, was the Movement of the Revolutionary Left, MIR. This movement was made up mainly of radical students strongly influenced by the Cuban experience and the figure of the guerrilla fighter Ernesto Che Guevara. They raised slogans for the armed struggle based on the theory of the “guerrilla foco,” of “going to the mountains.” The MIR in those years developed various experiences working with the masses in specific fronts, which led them to become the largest of the organizations of the “ultra-left,” as the revisionists of the UP used to call them. Politically, the MIR developed a sort of critical support of the government of Salvador Allende. They took certain actions for the seizure of small agricultural and industrial properties, as well as large and monopolistic ones, which they regarded as being the same or almost the same. This helped to increase the confusion as to who were the main and the secondary enemies of the Chilean revolution.

Outstanding figures of the old MIR were men such as Miguel Henriquez, who took up with exemplary courage the commitment to the revolutionary struggle. On the other hand, others today are a slap in the face of the former; they not only retreated to the extent of turning the MIR into small remnants, but even renounced all revolutionary ideas and transformed themselves into spokespersons of capitalist exploitation, joining the “S”P or the PPD or even the Christian Democrats.

An example of individual anti-reformist struggle, isolated from the masses, reached its clearest expression in the Organized Vanguard of the People, VOP. Faced with police persecution and as a way to “wake up” the masses from the illusion of the UP, its members turned themselves into “Living Bombs” and exploded themselves in front of the general headquarters of the Investigation police, where all their members and some policemen died.

Coming from organized Trotskyism, and only to add humor to this paper, it is good to remember the vicious attacks of one of their leading figures, who today seeks to “save Marxism with Christian ethics.” Luis Vitales, not satisfied with his membership in a large number of small petty-bourgeois groups, pretended to be a historian and attacked Bernardo O’Higgins and other independence fighters of the Spanish colonial period for not having fought for the Socialist Revolution.

Another fact that, were it not for the confusion and desperate search by the masses for a Revolutionary alternative to the UP, would only serve to calm our nerves, was the Trotskyite Revolutionary Workers Party, which was divided into little groups. During the UP, its newspaper called for a National Strike in support of Allende; 15 days later, having failed in realizing a national strike, it called for a Continental Strike, and without expecting any kind of sympathy for their call, 15 days later it called for a “World Strike in support of Allende and against the imperialist attack.”

All the various groups of the left, apart from the Trotskyites who are brothers in treason with revisionism, sought for a revolutionary way out of the crisis of the bourgeois democratic system existing in Chile until September 11, 1973. They made great efforts, among which were examples of heroism. No one can conclude that their defeats were due to a lack of “will” or courage; on the contrary they had plenty of that. The explanation for their defeats must be sought in the ideas that guided their practice, in their eclectic thinking, which was far from the proletarian revolutionary understanding, from the Marxist-Leninist ideology, from the teachings of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin applied to the reality of Chile.

Once more, at the expense of the blood of the workers and people, of the lives of honest and militant fighters, the class struggle reminded us that the working class and the peoples have no future, no perspective for genuine social change, for socialism, if they do not have a genuine Proletarian Party, tempered in the class struggle and formed on the basis of the communist ideology, Marxism-Leninism.

On the 25th Anniversary of the fascist military coup, the working class and the people of Chile do not only have defeats to show, but mainly a treasure of valuable lessons learned through blood and 18 years of ideological, political and organizational efforts for the construction of a genuine Marxist-Leninist Party. These efforts have been crowned with success in the Chilean Communist Party (Proletarian Action) PC(AP). This party has no commitment other than that which emanates from revolutionary consistency, from Marxism-Leninism, from the Revolutionary interests of the working class and the peoples of Chile. It has been able to and can provide, unlike any other organization that calls itself left or revolutionary, the elements that allow us to expose the true causes of the past events, to face with success the present revolutionary struggle and point out its perspectives.

To conclude, let us present the following excerpt from the Programmatic Thesis of the PC(AP) published in June of 1995: “The heroic days of struggle that preceded us should be summed up from an open, scientific point of view, leaving aside the dogmatist, idealist and essentially religious conduct that deprive them of any revolutionary essence, presenting them (the days of struggle. Note of translator) as something already concluded, not subject to an analysis that might expose their successes and shortcomings, the positive and negative lessons that emanate from them. Those who today proceed in that way disguise their ideological and intellectual inability, or even worse, persist in past errors that will lead to new defeats for the people.

“From a sound and correct point of view, both the objective and the subjective conditions that have determined all past struggle should be studied, in order to draw revolutionary scientific rigor correct lessons that will enable us to accomplish the historic demand of Popular Democracy and Socialism that our country requires today.

“Based on the understanding that the objective conditions (national and social oppression and exploitation) for a revolutionary change in a country like ours have always been present, it is above all necessary to analyze more profoundly the politics that were in control of past struggles.

“Without a doubt, the quality of the subjective factor is always of primary importance, and the outcome of the struggle, its victory or defeat, depends fundamentally upon this. The failure of past struggles are not a result of the absence or weakness of the objective factor, of historical fatalism, or betrayal by this one or that, and still less of the lack of commitment of our unselfish people. On the contrary, our people have filled thousands of pages with their heroism that would move anyone to tears.

“The resistance to and rejection of imperialism and reaction in the past, particularly in the republican period, could not rely on programs with a genuine revolutionary class alternative, for the destruction of the existing bourgeois power and the construction of a new one, of socialism. On the contrary, these alternatives had been based on progressive reforms, on ‘broadening democracy,’ on trying to gradually ‘take over’ the Capitalist State dependent on imperialism, seeking the ‘transformation’ of the latter to put it into the ‘service’ of the people and the workers. Based on this erroneous ideological and programmatic foundation of the former leaders of the Popular Movement, forms of struggles were developed that did not have the perspective of placing the seizure of power, that is the social revolution, on the order of the day. A good example of this is the parliamentary road, the ‘peaceful path,’ chosen by the Popular Unity, with the whole tragedy that this meant for the Chilean Workers and Popular Movement. This can also be seen in the anti-fascist resistance itself which, although it engaged in open and mass combat, even armed combat, was always carried out under the banner of the restoration of the bourgeois democracy that existed before September 11, 1973.

“In this trend the National and Social Liberation, the Popular Democratic and Socialist revolution was absent.

“The subjective factor, the political leadership and its ideas is therefore the determining element on which the workers and popular struggles depend. The collapse the former USSR and of the countries of Eastern Europe are the Universal proof of our statement, that what happened there was not the failure of Socialism, still less of communist ideology, but was, on the contrary, a consequence of their desertion and betrayal. Today this is clear even to the ultra-blind idealists, to those who did not want to see the revisionist and anti-communist reality of the leaderships of those Parties and those former States.

“National and international reaction have muddied the waters for a short historical period, some self-proclaimed leftist and revolutionaries have abandoned the trenches of struggle and have openly joined reaction, others still vacillate and in an opportunistic manner try to serve reaction and imperialism, using ‘progressive,’ social-democratic phrases.

“The masses, although temporarily confused, seek a way out of the crisis of capitalist super-exploitation, the workers and popular movements follow one another. In general, it can be stated that in Chile, as in the rest of the world, a new wave of revolutionary struggle of the workers and peoples is taking shape. This should be greeted with a revolutionary class ideology and politics, of a higher caliber than those in the past, which will really allow us to reach the objectives put forward for the present period and will assure the socialist perspective of the process.”

Source

Anasintaxi on the Restoration of Capitalism in the Soviet Union (Part 6): Reactionary anti-communist bourgeois theories that conceal the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union (1953-1990)

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The violent overthrow of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat from the traitorous clique of Khrushchev-Brezhnev-Mikoyan-Suslov, etc. in 1953 after the death-murder of Joseph Stalin (on 5th March 1953), ushered in a completely new period in the history of the Soviet Union: the period of the reactionary process of destruction of socialism-communism and the progressive restoration of capitalism completed in the mid-60s – when the most comprehensive capitalist economic reform was implemented (Plenum in September 1965) – with the complete elimination of socialism in that country.

In the period after 1953, when the economic reforms of capitalist character were gradually introduced in, the still socialist, economy of the Soviet Union under the direct guidance of Khrushchev-Brezhnev bourgeois social-democratic CPSU, two reactionary anti-communist bourgeois theories were developed on international scale that attempted to disguise this regressive process i.e. the gradual but, in due course, the complete all-round restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union: the one was proposed by the traditional bourgeois anti-communist defenders of capitalism-imperialism. The theory of “convergence” of the two opposite economic-social systems in general and more particularly those seen during the historical period after 1953, claiming, in other words, that the “socialism” of the Soviet Union and the capitalism of the western countries were mutually approaching to each other. The second theory was put forward by the anti-communist Khrushchev-Brezhnev revisionist social democrats representing the new bourgeoisie of the Soviet Union (originally under development and subsequently fully shaped bourgeoisie): the theory of the so-called “developed socialism”.

Both of these theories concealed for decades the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union because they presented the objective historical social-economic reality in the Soviet Union and other revisionist countries at that time (1953-1990), primarily in the field of state power and the ideology as “Socialism” (!) showcasing the reactionary bourgeois-fascist power (prohibition of works of Stalin, etc.) of Khrushchev -Brezhnev-Gorbachev period 1953-1990 as the “power of the working class”(!) and claiming that the dominant ideology was “Marxism-Leninism”, although it had already been replaced from Khrushchevian revisionism (a variant of bourgeois ideology) and number of other traditional bourgeois trends, including the ultra-reactionary philosophy of Nietzsche, German Romanticism, etc. In field of economics, they presented any “changes” in the Soviet economy as an indication that the two allegedly “different” economic-social systems come close to one another. From these views flows directly and explicitly hide the regressive process of restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union – a phenomenon that was discovered and denounced from the outset only by the revolutionary Marxists who analyzed it, not completely, but at least in its basic aspects*

Moreover, the theory of “convergence” put forward by the western bourgeois reaction, and had supporters even in the revisionist countries of the reinstated capitalism, as admitted by revisionist theorists**, and the theory of “developed socialism” put forward by the Khrushchevians were both anti-communist reactionary bourgeois theories because, during the period of their dominance (1955-1990), they were directed against the communist perspective of the Proletariat, obscured the communist prospect, presenting the restored capitalism of the Soviet Union as ‘the communist’ future, but at the same time they were in total breach with the objective historic progress of society toward socialism-communism.

Both of these reactionary, anti-communist theories dominated for decades the ideological “pseudo”-conflicts and controversies inside the ranks of imperialism, between the Western capitalist camp led by the imperialist U.S. and the eastern camp of reinstated capitalism during the Khruschev-Brezhnev-Gorbachev period led by the capitalist-imperialist Soviet Union (1953-1990). Having disoriented the international workers’ and communist movement for many decades under the appearance – from both sides – of a conflict between “capitalism” – “socialism”, these theories were buried under the ruins of the collapse of the revisionist capitalist camp and the final dissolution of the Soviet Union***.

The class character and content of the two theories is based on the defence of capitalism: for the theory of “convergence” it was traditional capitalism of the Western countries, while for the theory of “developed socialism” it was the restored capitalism of the Soviet Union and the other revisionist countries.

A. The reactionary anticommunist bourgeois theory of “convergence” capitalism-socialism

From the mid-1950s, among the bourgeois defenders of capitalism began to emerge various views suggesting a “new phase”, a “new stage”, in the development of the society. These views gave rise subsequently to the theories of the so-called “industrial society”, or the theory of “convergence” of the two economic-social systems (capitalism-socialism). Initially, the main representatives of these theories were Raymond Aron (French), Jan Tinbergen (Dutch) and later John Kenneth Galbraith (U.S.) with his work: “The New industrial State” (Boston 1967), etc.

First, let us note that the term “convergence”, in addition to being deceptive, has been transferred from the natural sciences (geometry, biology, medicine, etc.) to the field of social sciences to describe a kind of “synthesis” between capitalism-socialism and a supposedly “inevitable process of amalgamation of the two economic-social systems in general. Yet, we should note that the theory of “convergence” is not identical with the theory of “industrial society”, whose core position is also the denial of the deterministic replacement of capitalism from socialism-communism, but it results from it.

Raymond Aron formally expressed these views in his work: “die Entwicklung der Industriegesellschaft und der sozialen Stratification” (1957), although it followed his earlier book “L’Opium des intellectuels” (The Opium of The Intellectuals) (Paris 1955), in which he declared that “In the West, the controversy between capitalism and socialism loses its actual intensity” and his Sorbonne lectures (1955-1956), later included in his work: «Dixhuit lecons sur la societe industrielle» (Paris 1962), in which he attempted for the first time to formulate the key features of ‘industrial society’ and present “socialism” and “capitalism” “as two versions of the same kind of industrial society … the Soviet and capitalist societies are only two species of the same genus, or two versions of the same social type, namely, the progressive industrial society “(Greek 1972: p.46-47), emphasizing, at the same time, the main purpose of this “theoretical”, reactionary, bourgeois and anti-communist approach i.e. “to avoid ahead of the opposition socialism-capitalism “(!)

Among the most important representatives of the theory of “convergence” in the economic and sociological field were Jan Tinbergen (economist), Pitirin A. Sorokin (Russian-born American sociologist) and Walter Buckingham (American economist).

Since most of, if not all, subsequent versions of the theory of “convergence” have incorporated the anti-scientific views of Walt Whitman Rostow’s famous anti-communist work: «The Stages of Economic Growth – A Non communist Manifesto» (1960, German 1961), we need to make a very brief reference to it. Rostow was had an ultra-reactionary adviser of the most aggressive militaristic circles of the American imperialism during the John F. Kennedy-Lyndon Johnson period, (within a very short time, his book was translated in 17 languages, and Rostow himself was hailed as the theorist -savior” of capitalism).

Rostow’s infamous “five stages of development” (= “traditional society”, “preconditions for take-off”, “take-off”, “drive to maturity”, and “high mass consumption. In German: “traditionelle Gesellschaft”, “Anlaufperiode”, “Aufstiegperiode”, “Reifestadium” ,”Zeitalter des Massenkonsums”, German p.18-27) – that were distinguished from one another according to the different level of development of production and consumption (!) – represent a pseudoscientific construction, because firstly, they have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual historical evolution of society, and secondly, because this completely arbitrary construction has completely omitted the “productive forces-productive relationship” and the dialectical relationship between them, the “property relations” and the corresponding “class relations”, class interests, class conflicts, etc., that would allow a scientific approach to the historical progress of society as successive economic-social formations. Of course, the term “class struggle” is also not mentioned, because, as known, it is the driving force of historical development and all revolutionary changes in society.

The omission of all these does not mean at all that Rostow makes no attempt to provide a scientific-like form to his pseudoscientific construction by creating the misleading impression that he supposedly “accepts” the Marxist concept of “productive forces”. However, the theory of “five stages” is based only on “technique” and it is, thu, in contrast with Marx who notes regarding this question: “Social relations are closely linked to the productive forces. By attaining new productive forces, people change their mode of production and by changing the mode of production, how to earn their living, they change all their social relations. The hand mill yields a society with the feudal ruler, the steam mill yields a society featuring the industrial capitalist… The production relations of every society form a whole” (MARX / ENGELS: Bd. 4, p.130).

In the description of the last “stage”, i.e. the “era of mass consumption”, the main PURPOSE of production in capitalism is completely transformed to its opposite: instead of a production system for PROFIT (especially for maximum profit), capitalism is presented as production system for consumption, i.e. for the alleged “satisfaction” of the needs of “all” classes in a bourgeois society. The maximization of profits is not related of course to the “nature” – “substance” of a nonexistent, abstract “man,” not even with the “psychology” of the bourgeoisie as a social class in general (anti-Marxist approaches) but it is connected, instead, to the objective economic laws underlying capitalism, in particular the Law of SURPLUS VALUE and the law of capitalist accumulation.

In this essay-manifesto, Rostow calls Marx “a 19th century romantic” (p. 186). When he “evaluates” the contribution of Marx, he argues that supposedly “nothing really important in Marx can be found after the year 1848″ (p. 187), while “communism” is characterized as “a transition disease” (p.193). In this formulation, we see, in embryonic form, Rostow’s first attempt to “biologise” social life, socio-economic-political phenomena and social sciences that is promoted later in his work: «Politics and the Stages of Growth», Cambridge 1971, p 410). In this book, a failed effort is made to revive certain old views on “biologisation” of social life, in other words Rostow searches for a “biological science of politics”, promotes a “fusion” of “political science with psychiatry,” and proclaims that “political science may be, at best, only a variant of biological science and art.”

Besides the subjective-idealistic approach, the “scientific” value of Rostow’s is such that he achieves the impossible: he includes in the concept of «traditional society» three (3) modes of production: the primitive communism, slavery and feudalism, while the two others, “capitalism” and “socialism-communism”, are presented as variations of a “single industrial society”. These are completely unfounded and unsubstantiated claims on a theoretical level. Worse still: they have no connection whatsoever with the actual historical development of society.

Nevertheless, Rostow’s book, bearing the characteristic subtitle “A non communist manifesto”, has been widely used by the international bourgeois-imperialist reaction to invalidate Marxism – it was showcased as a “counterweight” to the “Communist Manifesto” – and more specifically the Marxist theory of the development of social-economic formations. Even Rostow himself does not deny this fact when he writes that that the “stages” theory is “an alternative account to the Marxian theory of modern history”: “Alternative zu der Marxschen Theorie der modernen Geschichte” (p. 16), a view presented in the last chapter (p. 174-198). Needless to note that, despite the bourgeois reaction’s boasting that the theory of Rostow succeeds in “refuting” revolutionary Marxism, this extremely naïve and unreasonably ambitious endeavour is a grand fiasco and expresses the profound crisis of bourgeois “thought” in that historical period.

One of the earliest representatives of the theory of “convergence”, the American economist Walter Buckingham: «theoretical economic system» (New York 1958), argues that the capitalist system has radically changed, the “non-capitalist systems are still present”, “and that in the future a “single economic system” will emerge through the mutual convergence of capitalism and socialism. In relation to the ongoing capitalist economic reforms in the Soviet Union, there was an article from the Executive-Director of the U.S. Congressional «Joint Economic Committee» Dr. Grover W. Ensley in 1957 – after coming back from Moscow where he met Soviet economists – with the feature title “The revolution in the economic thought of the Soviet Union”in which, among other things, he wrote that, according to Soviet economists, productivity growth will be achieved through the ” Profit motiv” (in: «Nation’s Business» 1/1957 and German: «Die Revolution im wirtschaftlichen Denken der Sowjetunion» in: «Konjunkturpolitik» 5-6/1957, pp. 301-314).

Pitirin A. Sorokin developed his views on the US-Soviet Union convergence in the sociological and cultural sector in his article «Soziologische und kulturelle Annaeherung zwischen den Verinigten Staaten und der Sowjetunion» (Zeitschrift fuer Politik » 4/1960, p.341)

Jan Tinbergen wrote his famous article in 1960 entitled: «Do Communist and Free Economies Show a Converging Pattern» (in: Soviet Studies, Vol. 12, Oxford 1960/61, p.333 and in German: «Kommt es zu einer Annaeherung zwischen den kommunistischen und den freiheitlichen Wirtschaftsordnungen?» in «Hamburger Jahrbuch fuer Wirtschafts-und Gesellschaftspolitik » (1963) pp. 11-20), where he put forward the view that both systems “change”, that “there are certain trends of convergent development”, and that “these changes involve, in certain respects, a convergent development”, “changes” that lead to a desired “optimal, mixed economic system”. He had already published in 1959 his work entitled: «The Theory of the Optimum Regime» (in Jan Tinbergen: «Selected Papers», Amsterdam 1959) in which thoughts about a “perfect economic status” were developed for the first time. This was also argued in other articles later, including:: «Die Rolle der Planungstechniken bei einer Annaeherung der Strukturen in Ost und West», 1966, etc. Taking into account all the capitalist economic reforms implemented in the Soviet Union, Tibergen says in this article: “Since the objectives of social and economic policy of the West and the East – in my opinion – come ever closer to each other, and among many structures only one is excellent, the two structures will gradually fuse into this Optimum. This kind of convergence will be achieved through a better knowledge of the social forces and the application of planning techniques respectively”. A year later, he wrote: “the systems of West and East are dynamic: they are undergoing constant changes … generally these changes are converging, thus the differences between the two systems are reducing” (Jan Tinbergen: “Roads to the Ideal Socio-Economic System» in:« The Oriental Economist», February 1967, p.94).

The reactionary anti-communist theory of “convergence” presents three basic claims: a) a general claim according to which the two social-economic systems, “capitalism” and “socialism-communism” will “converge” in the future to form an alleged “unified” industrial system, b) one specific claim according to which Soviet Union’s “socialism” in the 1950’s and 1960’s borrows certain “elements” from capitalism (“profit”, “interest”, “capitalist price of production” etc) while the capitalism of the western countries borrows from “socialism” “elements” like “planning” leading to the convergence of the two systems towards each other that will result in the formation of a “joint” “capitalist-socialist” system(!) c) a secondspecific claim according to which this “unified-” economic system will constitute the future “ideal economic formation”(!).

A few short but essential comments that rebut the totally unfounded and unscientific claim of the reactionary bourgeois theory of “convergence” from the viewpoint of revolutionary Marxism, i.e. Leninism-Stalinism.

1. The theory of “convergence” is based on a subjective-idealist approach to the study of social-economic formations and on various unscientific views of vulgar bourgeois political economy that has lost its scientific character long time ago: i.e.“Thenceforth, the class struggle, practically as well as theoretically, took on more and more outspoken and threatening forms. It sounded the knell of scientific bourgeois economy. It was thenceforth no longer a question, whether this theorem or that was true, but whether it was useful to capital or harmful, expedient or inexpedient, politically dangerous or not. In place of disinterested inquirers, there were hired prize fighters; in place of genuine scientific research, the bad conscience and the evil intent of apologetic… It is a declaration of bankruptcy by bourgeois economy (Marx). And elsewhere: “vulgar bourgeois economy becomes more and more openly apologetic… Its last form is the professorial form… Such essays appear only when the course of political economy as a science has reached an end ,representing at the same time the grave of this science”(Marx).

These scientific evaluation from Marx allowed Rudolf Hilferding, when he was still a Marxist in the beginning of the 20th century, to conclude his very important polemical article «Boehm-Bawerks Marx-Kritik» (Marx-Studien, Wien 1904) with the famous sentence: “the last word of the bourgeois political economy is its self-annulment”: «diese oekonomische Theorie bedeutet die Leugnung der Oekonomie; das letzte Wort, das die buergerliche Nationaloekonomie dem wissenschaftlichen Sozialismus antwortet, ist die Selbstaufhebung der Nationaloekonomie».

2. The general claim about the “convergence” of the two social-economic systems, “capitalism” and “socialism-communism”, was a completely unfounded and arbitrary one – it can never be proved – because they are diametrically opposite systems. Each one has its own fundamental attributes in all sectors (economic, political and ideological) and develops according to its own objective laws both conforming to the inevitable general historical course of the replacement of capitalism from the classless communist society by means of a violent Proletarian Revolution. Moreover the assertion made by this reactionary theory regarding the “convergence” of the two diametrically opposite systems has also been refuted by the objective historical fact of the simultaneous presence of capitalism and socialism (the first stage of communism), during the existence of the latter for more than 35 years in the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin without being any sort of “convergence” between the two social-economic formations.

3. The first specific claim about the “convergence” between the “socialism” of the Soviet Union and the other eastern countries, during the Khrushchev-Brezhnev-Gorbachev period, with the capitalism of the western countries towards a “joint” unified system which would combine the positive features of “socialism” and “capitalism” was from the very beginning completely unfounded because what happened in reality was not the “exchange” of elements between one system and the other but, on the contrary, something totally different. And this was the restoration of capitalism, as confirmed by the subsequent historical course of the Soviet Union, with the introduction of capitalist features (“profit”, “interest”, “capitalist price of production”) in the socialist economy of the Soviet Union by means of the capitalist economic reforms that were implemented – after the death-murder of Stalin and the triumph of the Khrushchev’s revisionist counter-revolution – under the direct guidance of the bourgeois CPSU. The goal of these reforms was the elimination of socialism in the sphere of economy and the gradual restoration of capitalism that was completed in the middle 1960’s with the more comprehensive capitalist reforms approved by the Central Committee Plenum of CPSU in September of 1965. In the political level, the Proletarian Dictatorship had already been overthrown while in the ideological level, the bourgeois counter-revolutionary ideology of Krsushchevism was dominant. It was this restored capitalism that collapsed at the end of 1980’s (1990-1991) bringing about the complete and final dissolution of the imperialist Soviet Union.

4. In addition, the second specific claim made by the “convergence” theory about the formation of a “unified system” which would evolve to an excellent economic system” was not only unfounded and unproved but it was consciously misleading because what happened was NOT the mutual approach between the economies of the capitalist countries and those of the revisionist countries to form a supposed “unified”, let alone “optimal”, economic system but, on the contrary, the inevitable regression of the Soviet Union to the capitalist exploitative system after the overthrow of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, in 1953.

5. Because the reactionary and anti-communist “convergence” theory misleadingly regarded the restored capitalism of the Soviet Union of the Khrushchev-Brezhnev-Gorbachev period as “socialism”, it discredited the socialism-communism built in that country during the period of Lenin-Stalin – according to the Marxist conception of communism. Socialism-communism was thus presented as a system, which, not being able allegedly to work on its own basis and with its own economic laws, was compelled to “borrow” capitalist elements (“profit”, “interest”, “capitalist price of production”). In other words, it was presented as an allegedly “failed” and “bankrupt” economic system in an attempt to “prove” the nonexistent superiority of capitalism over socialism-communism.

6. By presenting the Soviet Union’s regression to capitalism as “socialism”, the “convergence” theory deliberately confused the communist viewpoint of the proletariat for many decades. Instead of communism, the proletariat was made to envision the exact opposite: the reactionary process of capitalist restoration as this was going on in the Soviet Union during that period (1953-1990).

7. The “convergence” theory denied the inevitable replacement of capitalism by socialism-communism and the laws underlying this change by attacking the Marxist theory of social development seen as a necessary succession of social-economic formations.

8. The “convergence” theory rejected the character of the 20thcentury as the historical era of transition from capitalism to socialism-communism. Instead, it adopted the unfounded claim that the 20th century was the era of the “unified industrial society” and the alleged “capitalism-socialism fusion”. Both had absolutely nothing to do with the reality of that historical period because the only thing that happened then – that was confirmed historically – was the return of the Soviet Union to capitalism.

Finally, by supporting the view that the two diametrically opposed social-economic systems were “approaching each other” and converged towards an “optimal economic system”, the “convergence” theory denied the irreconcilable contradiction between capitalism and socialism-communism and attempted without success to corroborate this arbitrary claim also made by the theory of “unified industrial society”, as formulated by one of its chief representatives, Raymon Aron, namely: to get around in advance the socialism-capitalism contradiction.

Closing, it is necessary to point out that the aim of this very short and incomplete article was not to shed light on all, or even most of, sides of the reactionary, anti-communist “convergence” theory but to show what is relevant to our main discussion, i.e. the concealment of the regressive process of capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union and the other eastern countries.

The initial scientific prediction and the later evaluation made by the revolutionary Marxists, i.e. of Leninists-Stalinists regarding the return of the Soviet Union to capitalism from the time when the Dictatorship of the Proletariat was overthrown, after the death-murder of Stalin, was confirmed by: a) the complete restoration of capitalism in the middle of 1960’s and b) the subsequent overall historical course of the Soviet Union until the total collapse of the restored capitalism at the end of 1980’s and the final breakup of the Soviet Union (1990-1991).

** Like, for example, the Soviet L. Leontiev, (Moscow, 1972) who mentions: “an unprecedented exaltation of the convergence theory”, the East-German H. Meissner (Berlin-DDR, 1969): “It is not surprising that these views (he means concepts of the theory of “convergence”) were endorsed by some socialist theorists whose Marxist foundation was not so stable …”, the Czechoslovak J. Filipec in: Freyer/Bossle/Filipec (Mainz 1966) and another Soviet, Lew Alter, who admits that the theory of “convergence” is based on new phenomena («Pr. d. Fr. u. d. S.», 9/1968).

*** The true historical course of the Soviet Union during the period 1953-1990 did not confirm any of the two bourgeois anti-communist theories, i.e. the theories of “convergence” and of “developed socialism” but, on the contrary, refuted both. Not only the claim that “socialism” was built in the Soviet Union during the Khrushchev -Brezhnev-Gorbachev period (1953-1990) but also the other claim that the soviet economy was “approaching” the economy of the Western capitalist countries both converging at an “optimal economic system”, collapsed “overnight” simultaneously with the fall and the final dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991 exactly because none of the two claims was realized. As mentioned before, what did happen was the return of the Soviet Union to capitalism, as predicted, albeit incompletely and along general lines, right from the beginning (since the middle 1950’s) by the revolutionary communists.

However, despite the complete refutation of these two reactionary anti-communist theories, the discussion about the causes that brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union – especially the discussion about the character of the post-1953 reforms, without which is obviously impossible to determine the nature of the soviet economy of that period – does not have only historical interest but it is entirely timely and of great importance for the correct orientation of the working and communist movement, i.e. for its socialist-communist prospect because it is directly related to the Marxist (or anti-Marxist) conception of socialism.

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