A Proposal Concerning the General Line
of the International Communist
The Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Reply to
the Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of
March 30, 1963
June 14, 1963
Foreign Languages Press, 1963
The Central Committee of the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has studied the letter of the
Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of March 30, 1963.
All who have the unity of the socialist camp and the international communist movement
at heart are deeply concerned about the talks between the Chinese and Soviet Parties and
hope that our talks will help to eliminate differences, strengthen unity and create
favorable conditions for convening a meeting of representatives of all the Communist and
It is the common and sacred duty of the Communist and Workers' Parties of all countries
to uphold and strengthen the unity of the international communist movement. The
Chinese and Soviet Parties bear a heavier responsibility for the unity of the entire
socialist camp and international communist movement and should of course make
commensurately greater efforts.
A number of major differences of principle now exist in the international communist
movement. But however serious these differences, we should exercise sufficient patience
and find ways to eliminate them so that we can unite our forces and strengthen the
struggle against our common enemy.
It is with this sincere desire that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
approaches the forthcoming talks between the Chinese and Soviet Parties.
In its letter of March 30, the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. systematically presents
its views on questions that need to be discussed in the talks between the Chinese and
Soviet Parties, and in particular raises the question of the general line of the international
communist movement. In this letter we too would like to express our views, which
constitute our proposal on the general line of the international communist movement and
on some related questions of principle.
We hope that this exposition of views will be conducive to mutual understanding by our
two Parties and to a detailed, point-by-point discussion in the talks.
We also hope that this will be conducive to the understanding of our views her the
fraternal Parties and to a full exchange of ideas at an international meeting of fraternal
(1) The general line of the international communist movement must take as its guiding
principle the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory concerning the historical mission of
the proletariat and must not depart from it.
The Moscow Meetings of 1957 and 1960 adopted the Declaration and the Statement
respectively after a full exchange of views and in accordance with the principle of
reaching unanimity through consultation. The two documents point out the characteristics
of our epoch and the common laws of socialist revolution and socialist construction, and
day down the common line of all the Communist and Workers' Parties. They are the
common programme of the international communist movement.
It is true that for several years there have been differences within the international
communist movement in the understanding of, and the attitude towards, the Declaration
of 1957 and the Statement of 1960. The central issue here is whether or not to accept the
revolutionary principles of the Declaration and the Statement. In the last analysis, it is a
question of whether or not to accept the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism, whether or
not to recognize the universal significance of the road of the October Revolution, whether
or not to accept the fact that the people still living under the imperialist and capitalist
system, who comprise two-thirds of the world's population, need to make revolution, and
whether or not to accept the fact that the people already on the socialist road, who
comprise one-third of the world's population, need to carry their revolution forward to the
It has become an urgent and vital task of the international communist movement
resolutely to defend the revolutionary principles of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960
Only by strictly following the revolutionary teachings of Marxism-Leninism and the
general road of the October revolution is it possible to have a correct understanding of the
revolutionary principles of the Declaration and the Statement and a correct attitude
(2) What are the revolutionary principles of the Declaration and the Statement? They may
be summarized as follows:
Workers of all countries, unite; workers of the world, unite with the oppressed peoples
and oppressed nations; oppose imperialism and reaction in all countries; strive for world
peace, national liberation, people's democracy and socialism; consolidate and expand the
socialist camp; bring the proletarian world revolution step by step to complete victory;
and establish a new world without imperialism, without capitalism and without the
exploitation of mall by man.
This, in our view, is the general line of the international communist movement at the
(3) This general line proceeds from the actual world situation taken as a whole and from a
class analysis of the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world, and is
directed against the counter-revolutionary global strategy of U.S. imperialism.
This general line is one of forming a broad united front, with the socialist camp and the
international proletariat as its nucleus, to oppose the imperialists and reactionaries headed
by the United States; it is a line of boldly arousing the masses, expanding the
revolutionary forces, winning over the middle forces and isolating the reactionary forces.
This general line is one of resolute revolutionary struggle by the people of all countries
and of carrying; the proletarian world revolution forward to the end; it is the line that
most effectively combats imperialism and defends world peace.
If the general line of the international communist movement is one-sidedly reduced to
"peaceful coexistence", "peaceful competition," and "peaceful transition" this is to violate
the revolutionary principles of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement, to discard
the historical mission of proletarian world revolution, and to depart from the
revolutionary teachings of Marxism-Leninism.
The general line of the international communist movement should reflect the general law
of development of world history. The revolutionary struggles of the proletariat and the
people in various countries go through different stages and they all have their own
characteristics but they will not transcend the general law of development of world
history. The general line should point out the basic direction for the revolutionary
struggles of the proletariat and people of all countries.
While working out its specific line and policies, it is most important for each Communist
or Workers' Party to adhere to the principle of integrating the universal truth of Marxism-
Leninism with the concrete practice of revolution and construction in its own country.
(4) In defining the general line of the international communist movement, the starting
point is the concrete class analysis of world politics and economics as a whole and of
actual world conditions, that is to say, of the fundamental contradictions in the
If one avoids a concrete class analysis, seizes at random on certain superficial
phenomena, and draws subjective and groundless conclusions, one cannot possibly reach
correct conclusions with regard to the general line of the international communist
movement but will inevitably slide onto a track entirely different from that of Marxism-
Leninism. What are the fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world? Marxist-
Leninists consistently hold that they are:
the contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp;
the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the
the contradiction between the oppressed nations and imperialism; and
the contradictions among imperialist countries and among monopoly
The contradiction between the socialist camp and the imperialist camp is a contradiction
between two fundamentally different social systems, socialism and capitalism. It is
undoubtedly very sharp. But Marxist-Leninists must not regard the contradictions in the
world as consisting solely and simply of the contradiction between the socialist camp and
the imperialist camp. The international balance of forces has changed and has become
increasingly favorable to socialism and to all the oppressed peoples and nations of the
world, and most unfavorable to imperialism and the reactionaries of all countries.
Nevertheless, the contradictions enumerated above still objectively exist.
These contradictions and the struggles to which they give rise are interrelated and
influence each other. Nobody can obliterate any of these fundamental contradictions or
subjectively substitute one for all the rest.
It is inevitable that these contradictions will give rise to popular revolutions, which alone
can resolve them.
(5) The following erroneous views should be repudiated on the question of the
fundamental contradictions in the contemporary world:
a) the view which blots out the class content of the contradiction between the socialist
and the imperialist camps and fails to see this contradiction as one between states under
the dictatorship of the proletariat and states under the dictatorship of the monopoly
b) the view which recognizes only the contradiction between the socialist and the
imperialist camps, while neglecting or underestimating the contradictions between the
proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the capitalist world between the oppressed nations and
imperialism, among the imperialist countries and among the monopoly capitalist groups,
and the struggles to which these contradictions give rise;
c) the view which maintains with regard to the capitalist world that the contradiction
between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie can be resolved without a proletarian
revolution in each country and that the contradiction between the oppressed nations and
imperialism can be resolved without revolution by the oppressed nations;
d) the view which denies that the development of the inherent contradictions in the
contemporary capitalist world inevitably leads to a new situation in which the imperialist
countries are locked in an intense struggle and asserts that the contradictions among the
imperialist countries can be reconciled, or even eliminated, by "international agreements
among the big monopolies"; and
e) the view which maintains that the contradiction between the two world systems of
socialism and capitalism will automatically disappear in the course of "economic
competition", that the other fundamental world contradictions will automatically do so
with the disappearance of the contradiction between the two systems, and that a "world
without wars", a new world of "all-round co-operation", will appear.
It is obvious that these erroneous views inevitably lead to erroneous and harmful policies
and hence to setbacks and losses of one kind or another to the cause of the people and of
(6) The balance of forces between imperialism and socialism has undergone a
fundamental change since World War II. The main indication of this change is that the
world now has not just one socialist country but a number of socialist countries forming
the mighty socialist camp, and that the people who have taken the socialist road now
number not two hundred million but a thousand million, or a third of the world's
The socialist camp is the outcome of the struggles of the international proletariat and
working people. It belongs to the international proletariat and working people as well as
to the people of the socialist countries.
The main common demands of the people of the countries in the socialist camp and the
international proletariat and working people are that all the Communist and Workers'
Parties in the socialist camp should:
Adhere to the Marxist-Leninist line and pursue correct Marxist-Leninist
domestic and foreign policies;
Consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and the worker-peasant
alliance led by the proletariat and carry the socialist revolution forward to
the end on the economic, political and ideological fronts;
Promote the initiative and creativeness of the broad masses, carry out
socialist construction in a planned way, develop production, improve the
people's livelihood and strengthen national defense;
Strengthen the unity of the socialist camp on the basis of Marxism-
Leninism, and support other socialist countries on the basis of proletarian
Oppose the imperialist policies of aggression and war, and defend world
Oppose the anti-Communist, anti-popular and counter-revolutionary
policies of the reactionaries of all countries; and
Help the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed classes and nations of
All Communist and Workers' Parties in the socialist camp owe it to their own people and
to the international proletariat and working people to fulfil these demands.
By fulfilling these demands the socialist camp will exert a decisive influence on the
course of human history. For this very reason, the imperialists and reactionaries
invariably try in a thousand and one ways to influence the domestic and foreign policies
of the countries in the socialist camp, to undermine the camp and break up the unity of
the socialist countries and particularly the unity of China and the Soviet Union. They
invariably try to infiltrate and subvert the socialist countries and even entertain the
extravagant hope of destroying the socialist camp.
The question of what is the correct attitude towards the socialist camp is a most important
question of principle confronting all Communist and Workers' Parties.
It is under new historical conditions that the Communist and Workers' Parties are now
carrying on the task of proletarian internationalist unity and struggle. When only one
socialist country existed and when this country was faced with hostility and jeopardized
by all the imperialists and reactionaries because it firmly pursued the correct Marxist-
Leninist line and policies, the touchstone of proletarian internationalism for every
Communist Party was whether or not it resolutely defended the only socialist country.
Now there is a socialist camp consisting of thirteen countries, Albania, Bulgaria, China,
Cuba, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Poland, Rumania, the Soviet Union and the
Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Under these circumstances, the touchstone of
proletarian internationalism for every Communist Party is whether or not it resolutely
defends the whole of the socialist camp, whether or not it defends the unity of all the
countries in the camp on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and whether or not it defends
the Marxist-Leninist line and policies which the socialist countries ought to pursue.
If anybody does not pursue the correct Marxist-Leninist line and policies, does not defend
the unity of the socialist camp but on the contrary creates tension and splits within it, or
even follows the policies of the Yugoslav revisionists, tries to liquidate the socialist camp
or helps capitalist countries to attack fraternal socialist countries, then he is betraying the
interests of the entire international proletariat and the people of the world.
If anybody, following in the footsteps of others, defends the erroneous opportunist line
and policies pursued by a certain socialist country instead of upholding the correct
Marxist-Leninist line and policies which the socialist countries ought to pursue, defends
the policy of split instead of upholding the policy of unity, then he is departing from
Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
(7) Taking advantage of the situation after World War II, the U.S. imperialists stepped
into the shoes of the German, Italian and Japanese fascists, and have been trying to erect
a huge world empire such as has never been known before. The strategic objectives of
U.S. imperialism have been to grab and dominate the intermediate zone lying between
the United States and the socialist camp, put down the revolutions of the oppressed
peoples and nations, proceed to destroy the socialist countries, and thus to subject all the
peoples and countries of the world, including its allies, to domination and enslavement by
U.S. monopoly capital.
Ever since World War II, the U.S. imperialists have been conducting propaganda for war
against the Soviet Union and the socialist camp. There are two aspects to this
propaganda. While the U.S. imperialists are actually preparing such a war, they also use
this propaganda as a smokescreen for their oppression of the American people and for the
extension of their aggression against the rest of the capitalist world.
The 1960 Statement points out:
"U.S. imperialism has become the biggest international exploiter."
"The United States is the mainstay of colonialism today."
"U.S. imperialism is the main force of aggression and war."
"International developments in recent years have furnished many new proofs of the fact
that U.S. imperialism is the chief bulwark of world reaction and an international
gendarme, that it has become an enemy of the peoples of the whole world."
U.S. imperialism is pressing its policies of aggression and war all over the world, but the
outcome is bound to be the opposite of that intended—it will only be to hasten the
awakening of the people in all countries and to hasten their revolutions.
The U.S. imperialists have thus placed themselves in opposition to the people of the
whole world and have become encircled by them. The international proletariat must and
can unite all the forces that can be united, make use of the internal contradictions in the
enemy camp and establish the broadest united front against the U.S. imperialists and their
The realistic and correct course is to entrust the fate of the people and of mankind to the
unity and struggle of the world proletariat and to the unity and struggle of the people in
Conversely, to make no distinction between enemies, friends and ourselves and to entrust
the fate of the people and of mankind to collaboration with U.S. imperialism is to lead
people astray. The events of the last few years have exploded this illusion.
(8) The various types of contradictions in the contemporary world are concentrated in the
vast areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America; these are the most vulnerable areas under
imperialist rule and the storm centers of world revolution dealing direct blows at
The national democratic revolutionary movement in these areas and the international
socialist revolutionary movement are the two great historical currents of our time.
The national democratic revolution in these areas is an important component of the
contemporary proletarian world revolution.
The anti-imperialist revolutionary struggles of the people in Asia, Africa and Latin
America are pounding and undermining the foundations of the rule of imperialism and
colonialism, old and new, and are now a mighty force in defense of world peace.
In a sense, therefore, the whole cause of the international proletarian revolution hinges on
the outcome of the revolutionary struggles of the people of these areas who constitute the
overwhelming majority of the world's population.
Therefore, the anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle of the people in Asia, Africa and
Latin America is definitely not merely a matter of regional significance but one of overall
importance for the whole cause of proletarian world revolution.
Certain persons now go so far as to deny the great international significance of the anti-
imperialist revolutionary struggles of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples and,
on the pretext of breaking down the barriers of nationality, color and geographical
location, are trying their best to efface the line of demarcation between oppressed and
oppressor nations and between oppressed and oppressor countries and to hold down the
revolutionary struggles of the peoples in these areas. In fact, they cater to the needs of
imperialism and create a new "theory" to justify the rule of imperialism in these areas and
the promotion of its policies of old and new colonialism. Actually, this "theory" seeks not
to break down the barriers of nationality, color and geographical location but to maintain
the rule of the "superior nations" over the oppressed nations. It is only natural that this
fraudulent "theory" is rejected by the people in these areas.
The working class in every socialist country and in every capitalist country must truly put
into effect the fighting slogans, "Workers of all countries, unite!" and "Workers and
oppressed nations of the world, unite!"; it must study the revolutionary experience of the
peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, firmly support their revolutionary actions and
regard the cause of their liberation as a most dependable support for itself and as directly
in accord with its own interests. This is the only effective way to break down the barriers
of nationality, color and geographical location and this is the only genuine proletarian
It is impossible for the working class in the European and American capitalist countries
to liberate itself unless it unites with the oppressed nations and unless those nations are
liberated. Lenin rightly said,
The revolutionary movement in the advanced countries would actually be
a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe and
America were not closely and completely united with the hundreds upon
hundreds of millions of "colonial" slaves who are oppressed by capital.
[Lenin, "The Second Congress of the Communist International", Selected
Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1952, Vol. II, Part
2, pp. 472-73.]
Certain persons in the international communist movement are now taking a passive or
scornful or negative attitude towards the struggles of the oppressed nations for liberation.
They are in fact protecting the interests of monopoly capital, betraying those of the
proletariat, and degenerating into social democrats.
The attitude taken towards the revolutionary struggles of the people in the Asian, African
and Latin American countries is an important criterion for differentiating those who want
revolution from those who do not and those who are truly defending world peace from
those who are abetting the forces of aggression and war.
(9) The oppressed nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America are faced with
the urgent task of fighting imperialism and its lackeys.
History has entrusted to the proletarian parties in these areas the glorious mission of
holding high the banner of struggle against imperialism, against old and new colonialism
and for national independence and people's democracy, of standing in the forefront of the
national democratic revolutionary movement and striving for a socialist future.
In these areas, extremely broad sections of the population refuse to be slaves of
imperialism. They include not only the workers, peasants, intellectuals and petty
bourgeoisie, but also the patriotic national bourgeoisie and even certain kings, princes
and aristocrats, who are patriotic.
The proletariat and its party must have confidence in the strength of the masses and,
above all, must unite with the peasants and establish a solid worker-peasant alliance. It is
of primary importance for advanced members of the proletariat to work in the rural areas,
help the peasants to act organized, and raise their class consciousness and their national
self-respect and self-confidence.
On the basis of the worker-peasant alliance the proletariat and its party must unite all the
strata that can be united and organize a broad united front against imperialism and its
lackeys. In order to consolidate and expand this united front it is necessary that the
proletarian party should maintain its ideological, political and organizational
independence and insist on the leadership of the revolution.
The proletarian party and the revolutionary people must learn to master all forms of
struggle, including armed struggle. They must defeat counter-revolutionary armed force
with revolutionary armed force whenever imperialism and its lackeys resort to armed
The nationalist countries which have recently won political independence are still
confronted with the arduous tasks of consolidating it, liquidating the forces of
imperialism and domestic reaction, carrying out agrarian and other social reforms and
developing their national economy and culture. It is of practical and vital importance for
these countries to guard and fight against the neo-colonialist policies which the old
colonialists adopt to preserve their interests, and especially against the neo-colonialism of
In some of these countries, the patriotic national bourgeoisie continue to stand with the
masses in the struggle against imperialism and colonialism and introduce certain
measures of social progress. This requires the proletarian party to make a full appraisal of
the progressive role of the patriotic national bourgeoisie and strengthen unity with them.
As the internal social contradictions and the international class struggle sharpen, the
bourgeoisie, and particularly the big bourgeoisie, in some newly independent countries
increasingly tend to become retainers of imperialism and to pursue anti-popular, anti-
Communist and counter-revolutionary policies. It is necessary for the proletarian party
resolutely to oppose these reactionary policies.
Generally speaking, the bourgeoisie in these countries have a dual character. When a
united front is formed with the bourgeoisie, the policy of the proletarian party should be
one of both unity and struggle. The policy should be to unite with the bourgeoisie, in so
far as they tend to be progressive, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal, but to struggle against
their reactionary tendencies to compromise and collaborate with imperialism and the
forces of feudalism.
On the national question the world outlook of the proletarian party is internationalism,
and not nationalism. In the revolutionary struggle it supports progressive nationalism and
opposes reactionary nationalism. It must always draw a clear line of demarcation between
itself and bourgeois nationalism, to which it must never fall captive.
The 1960 Statement says,
Communists expose attempts by the reactionary section of the bourgeoisie
to represent its selfish, narrow class interests as those of the entire nation;
they expose the demagogic use by bourgeois politicians of socialist
slogans for the same purpose. . . .
If the proletariat becomes the tail of the landlords and bourgeoisie in the revolution, no
real or thorough victory in the national democratic revolution is possible, and even if
victory of a kind is gained, it will be impossible to consolidate it.
In the course of the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed nations and peoples, the
proletarian party must put forward a programme of its own which is thoroughly against
imperialism and domestic reaction and for national independence and people's
democracy, and it must work independently among the masses, constantly expand the
progressive forces, win over the middle forces and isolate the reactionary forces; only
thus can it carry the national democratic revolution through to the end and guide the
revolution on to the road of socialism.
(10) In the imperialist and the capitalist countries, the proletarian revolution and the
dictatorship of the proletariat are essential for the thorough resolution of the
contradictions of capitalist society.
In striving to accomplish this task the proletarian party must under the present
circumstances actively lead the working class and the working people in struggles to
oppose monopoly capital, to defend democratic rights, to oppose the menace of fascism,
to improve living conditions, to oppose imperialist arms expansion and war preparations,
to defend world peace and actively to support the revolutionary struggles of the
In the capitalist countries which U.S. imperialism controls or is trying to control, the
working class and the people should direct their attacks mainly against U.S. imperialism,
but also against their own monopoly capitalists and other reactionary forces who are
betraying the national interests.
Large-scale mass struggles in the capitalist countries in recent years have shown that the
working class and working people are experiencing a new awakening. Their struggles,
which are dealing blows at monopoly capital and reaction, have opened bright prospects
for the revolutionary cause in their own countries and are also a powerful support for the
revolutionary struggles of the Asian, African and Latin American peoples and for the
countries of the socialist camp.
The proletarian parties in imperialist or capitalist countries must maintain their own
ideological, political and organizational independence in leading revolutionary struggles.
At the same time, they must unite all the forces that can be united and build a broad
united front against monopoly capital and against the imperialist policies of aggression
While actively leading immediate struggles, Communists in the capitalist countries
should link them with the struggle for long-range and general interests, educate the
masses in a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary spirit, ceaselessly raise their political
consciousness and undertake the historical task of the proletarian revolution. If they fail
to do so, if they regard the immediate movement as everything, determine their conduct
from case to case, adapt themselves to the events of the day and sacrifice the basic
interests of the proletariat, that is out-and-out social democracy.
Social democracy is a bourgeois ideological trend. Lenin pointed out long ago that the
social democratic parties are political detachments of the bourgeoisie, its agents in the
working-class movement and its principal social prop. Communists must at all times
draw a clear line of demarcation between themselves and social democratic parties on the
basic question of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat and
liquidate the ideological influence of social democracy in the international working-class
movement and among the working people. Beyond any shadow of doubt, Communists
must win over the masses under the influence of the social democratic parties and must
win over those left and middle elements in the social democratic parties who are willing
to oppose domestic monopoly capital and domination by foreign imperialism and must
unite with them in extensive joint action in the day-to-day struggle of the working-class
movement and in the struggle to defend world peace.
In order to lead the proletariat and working people in revolution, Marxist-Leninist Parties
must master all forms of struggle and be able to substitute one form for another quickly
as the conditions of struggle change. The vanguard of the proletariat will remain
unconquerable in all circumstances only if it masters all forms of struggle— peaceful and
armed, open and secret, legal and illegal, parliamentary struggle and mass struggle, etc. It
is wrong to refuse to use parliamentary and other legal forms of struggle when they can
and should be used. However, if a Marxist-Leninist Party falls into legalism or
parliamentary cretinism, confining the struggle within the limits permitted by the
bourgeoisie, this will inevitably lead to renouncing the proletarian revolution and the
dictatorship of the proletariat.
(11) On the question of transition from capitalism to socialism, the proletarian party must
proceed from the stand of class struggle and revolution and base itself on the Marxist-
Leninist teachings concerning the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the
Communists would always prefer to bring about the transition to socialism by peaceful
means. But can peaceful transition be made into a new world-wide strategic principle for
the international communist movement? Absolutely not.
Marxism-Leninism consistently holds that the fundamental question in all revolutions is
that of state power. The 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement both clearly point out,
"Leninism teaches, and experience confirms, that the ruling classes never relinquish
power voluntarily." The old government never topples even in a period of crisis, unless it
is pushed. This is a universal law of class struggle.
In specific historical conditions, Marx and Lenin did raise the possibility that revolution
may develop peacefully. But, as Lenin pointed out, the peaceful development of
revolution is an opportunity "very seldom to be met with in the history of revolutions".
As a matter of fact, there is no historical precedent for peaceful transition from capitalism
Certain persons say there was no precedent when Marx foretold that socialism would
inevitably replace capitalism. Then why can we not predict a peaceful transition from
capitalism to socialism despite the absence of a precedent? This parallel is absurd.
Employing dialectical and historical materialism, Marx analyzed the contradictions of
capitalism, discovered the objective laws of development of human society and arrived at
a scientific conclusion, whereas the prophets who pin all their hopes on "peaceful
transition" proceed from historical idealism, ignore the most fundamental contradictions
of capitalism, repudiate the Marxist-Leninist teachings on class struggle, and arrive at a
subjective and groundless conclusion. How can people who repudiate Marxism get any
help from Marx?
It is plain to everyone that the capitalist countries are strengthening their state machinery-
-and especially their military apparatus—the primary purpose of which is to suppress the
people in their own countries.
The proletarian party must never base its thinking, its policies for revolution and its entire
work on the assumption that the imperialists and reactionaries will accept peaceful
The proletarian party must prepare itself for two eventualities— while preparing for a
peaceful development of the revolution, it must also fully prepare for a non-peaceful
development. It should concentrate on the painstaking work of accumulating
revolutionary strength, so that it will be ready to seize victory when the conditions for
revolution are ripe or to strike powerful blows at the imperialists and the reactionaries
when they launch surprise attacks and armed assaults.
If it fails to make such preparations, the proletarian party will paralyze the revolutionary
will of the proletariat, disarm itself ideologically and sink into a totally passive state of
unpreparedness both politically and organizationally, and the result will be to bury the
proletarian revolutionary cause.
(19) All social revolutions in the various stages of the history of mankind are historically
inevitable and are governed by objective laws independent of man's will. Moreover,
history shows that there never was a revolution which was able to achieve victory without
zigzags and sacrifices.
With Marxist-Leninist theory as the basis, the task of the Proletarian party is to analyze
the concrete historical conditions, put forward the correct strategy and tactics, and guide
the masses in bypassing hidden reefs, avoiding unnecessary sacrifices and reaching the
goal step by step. Is it possible to avoid sacrifices altogether? Such is not the case with
the slave revolutions, the serf revolutions, the bourgeois revolutions, or the national
revolutions; nor is it the case with proletarian revolutions. Even if the guiding line of the
revolution is correct, it its impossible to have a sure guarantee against setbacks and
sacrifices in the course of the revolution. So long as a correct line is adhered to, the
revolution is bound to triumph in the end. To abandon revolution on the pretext of
avoiding sacrifices is in reality to demand that the people should forever remain slaves
and endure infinite pain and sacrifice.
Elementary knowledge of Marxism-Leninism tells us that the birth pangs of a revolution
are far less painful than the chronic agony of the old society. Lenin rightly said that "even
with the most peaceful course of events, the present [capitalist] system always and
inevitably exacts countless sacrifices from the working class". [Lenin, "Another
Massacre", Collected Works, FLPH, Moscow, 1961, Vol. V. p. 25. ]
Whoever considers a revolution can be made only if everything is plain sailing, only if
there is an advance guarantee against sacrifices and failure, is certainly no revolutionary.
However difficult the conditions and whatever sacrifices and defeats the revolution may
suffer, proletarian revolutionaries should educate the masses in the spirit of revolution
and hold aloft the banner of revolution and not abandon it
It would be "Left" adventurism if the proletarian party should rashly launch a revolution
before the objective conditions are ripe. But it would be Right opportunism if the
proletarian party should not dare to lead a revolution and to seize state power when the
objective conditions are ripe.
Even in ordinary times, when it is leading the masses in the day-to-day struggle, the
proletarian party should ideologically, politically and organizationally prepare its own
ranks and the masses for revolution and promote revolutionary struggles, so that it will
not miss the opportunity to overthrow the reactionary regime and establish a new state
power when the conditions for revolution are ripe. Otherwise, when the objective
conditions are ripe, the proletarian party will simply throw away the opportunity of
The proletarian party must be flexible as well as highly principled, and on occasion it
must make such compromises as are necessary in the interests of the revolution. But it
must never abandon principled policies and the goal of revolution on the pretext of
flexibility and of necessary compromises.
The proletarian party must lead the masses in waging struggles against the enemies, and
it must know how to utilize the contradictions among those enemies. But the purpose of
using these contradictions is to make it easier to attain the goal of the people's
revolutionary struggles and not to liquidate these struggles.
Countless facts have proved that, wherever the dark rule of imperialism and reaction
exists, the people who form over ninety per cent of the population will sooner or later rise
If Communists isolate themselves from the revolutionary demands of the masses, they are
bound to lose the confidence of the masses and will be tossed to the rear by the
If the leading group in any Party adopt a non-revolutionary line and convert it into a
reformist party, then Marxist-Leninists inside and outside the Party will replace them and
lead the people in making revolution. In another kind of situation, the bourgeois
revolutionaries will come forward to lead the revolution and the party of the proletariat
will forfeit its leadership of the revolution. When the reactionary bourgeoisie betray the
revolution and suppress the people, an opportunist line will cause tragic and unnecessary
losses to the Communists and the revolutionary masses.
If Communists slide down the path of opportunism they will degenerate into bourgeois
nationalists and become appendages of the imperialists and the reactionary bourgeoisie.
There are certain persons who assert that they have made the greatest creative
contributions to revolutionary theory since Lenin and that they alone are correct. But it is
very dubious whether they have ever really given consideration to the extensive
experience of the entire world communist movement, whether they have ever really
considered the interests, the goal and tasks of the international proletarian movement as a
whole, and whether they really have a general line for the international communist
movement which conforms with Marxism-Leninism.
In the last few years the international communist movement and the national liberation
movement have had many experiences and many lessons. There are experiences which
people should praise and there are experiences which make people grieve. Communists
and revolutionaries in all countries should ponder and seriously study these experiences
of success and failure, so as to draw correct conclusions and useful lessons from them.
(13) The socialist countries and the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples and
nations support and assist each other.
The national liberation movements of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the
revolutionary movements of the people in the capitalist countries are a strong support to
the socialist countries. It is completely wrong to deny this.
The only attitude for the socialist countries to adopt towards the revolutionary struggles
of the oppressed peoples and nations is one of warm sympathy and active support; they
must not adopt a perfunctory attitude, or one of national selfishness or of great-power
Lenin said, "Alliance with the revolutionaries of the advanced countries and with all the
oppressed peoples against any and all the imperialists— such is the external policy of the
proletariat." [Lenin, "The External Policy of the Russian Revolution", Collected Works,
4th Russian edition, State Publishing House for Political literature, 1949, Moscow. Vol.
XXV, p. 69.] Whoever fails to understand this point and considers that the support and
aid given by the socialist countries to the oppressed peoples and nations are a burden or
charity is going counter to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
The superiority of the socialist system and the achievements of the socialist countries in
construction play an exemplary role and are an inspiration to the oppressed peoples and
the oppressed nations.
But this exemplary role and inspiration can never replace the revolutionary struggles of
the oppressed peoples and nations. No oppressed people or nation can win liberation
except through its own staunch revolutionary struggle.
Certain persons have one-sidedly exaggerated the role of peaceful competition between
socialist and imperialist countries in their attempt to substitute peaceful competition for
the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations. According to their
preaching, it would seem that imperialism will automatically collapse in the course of this
peaceful competition and that the only thing the oppressed peoples and nations have to do
is to wait quietly for the advent of this day. What does this have in common with
Moreover, certain persons have concocted the strange tale that China and some other
socialist countries want "to unleash wars" and to spread socialism by "wars between
states". As the Statement of 1960 points out, such tales are nothing but imperialist and
reactionary slanders. To put it bluntly, the purpose of those who repeat these slanders is
to hide the fact that they are opposed to revolutions by the oppressed peoples and nations
of the world and opposed to others supporting such revolutions.
(14) In the last few years much— in fact a great deal— has been said on the question of war
and peace. Our views and policies on this question are known to the world, and no one
can distort them.
It is a pity that although certain persons in the international communist movement talk
about how much they love peace and hate war, they are unwilling to acquire even a faint
understanding of the simple truth on war pointed out by Lenin.
It seems to me that the main thing that is usually forgotten on the question
of war, which receives inadequate attention, the main reason why there is
so much controversy, and, I would say, futile, hopeless and aimless
controversy, is that people forget the fundamental question of the class
character of the war; why the war broke out; the classes that are waging it;
the historical and historico-economic conditions that gave rise to it.
[Lenin, "War and Revolution", Collected Works, 4th Russian edition,
SPHPL, Moscow, 1949, Vol. XXIV, p. 362]
As Marxist-Leninists see it, war is the continuation of politics by other means, and every
war is inseparable from the political system and the political struggles which give rise to
it. If one departs from this scientific Marxist-Leninist proposition which has been
confirmed by the entire history of class struggle, one will never be able to understand
either the question of war or the question of peace.
There are different types of peace and different types of war. Marxist-Leninists must be
clear about what type of peace or what type of war is in question. Lumping just wars and
unjust wars together and opposing all of them undiscriminatingly is a bourgeois pacifist
and not a Marxist-Leninist approach.
Certain persons say that revolutions are entirely possible without war. Now which type of
war are they referring to— is it a war of national liberation or a revolutionary civil war, or
is it a world war?
It they are referring to a war of national liberation or a revolutionary civil war, then this
formulation is, in effect, opposed to revolutionary wars and to revolution.
If they are referring to a world war, then they are shooting at a non-existent target.
Although Marxist-Leninists have pointed out, on the basis of the history of the two world
wars, that world wars inevitably lead to revolution, no Marxist-Leninist ever has held or
ever will hold that revolution must be made through world war.
Marxist-Leninists take the abolition of war as their ideal and believe that war can be
But how can war be abolished?
This is how Lenin viewed it:
. . . our object is to achieve the socialist system of society, which, by
abolishing the division of mankind into classes, by abolishing all
exploitation of man by man, and of one nation by other nations, will
inevitably abolish all possibility of war. [Ibid., p. 363]
The Statement of 1960 also puts it very clearly, "The victory of socialism all over the
world will completely remove the social and national causes of all wars."
However, certain persons now actually hold that it is possible to bring about "a world
without weapons, without armed forces and without wars" through "general and complete
disarmament" while the system of imperialism and of the exploitation of man by man still
exists. This is sheer illusion.
An elementary knowledge of Marxism-Leninism tells us that the armed forces are the
principal part of the state machine and that a so-called world without weapons and
without armed forces can only be a world without states. Lenin said:
Only after the proletariat has disarmed the bourgeoisie will it be able,
without betraying its world-historical mission, to throw all armaments on
the scrap heap; and the proletariat will undoubtedly do this, but only when
this condition has been fulfilled, certainly not before. [Lenin, "The War
Program of the Proletarian Revolution", Selected Works, FLPH, Moscow,
1952, Vol. I, Part 2, P. 574.]
What are the facts in the world today? Is there a shadow of evidence that the imperialist
countries headed by the United States are ready to carry out general and complete
disarmament? Are they not each and all engaged in general and complete arms
We have always maintained that, in order to expose and combat the imperialists' arms
expansion and war preparations, it is necessary to put forward the proposal for general
disarmament. Furthermore, it is possible to compel imperialism to accept some kind of
agreement on disarmament, through the combined struggle of the socialist countries and
the people of the whole world.
If one regards general and complete disarmament as the fundamental road to world peace,
spreads the illusion that imperialism will automatically lay down its arms and tries to
liquidate the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations on the pretext
of disarmament, then this is deliberately to deceive the people of the world and help the
imperialists in their policies of aggression and war.
In order to overcome the present ideological confusion in the international working-class
movement on the question of war and peace, we consider that Lenin's thesis, which has
been discarded by the modern revisionists, must be restored in the interest of combating
the imperialist policies of aggression and war and defending world peace.
The people of the world universally demand the prevention of a new world war. And it is
possible to prevent a new world war.
The question then is, what is the way to secure world peace? According to the Leninist
viewpoint, world peace can be won only by the struggles of the people in all countries
and not by begging the imperialists for it. World peace can only be effectively defended
by relying on the development of the forces of the socialist camp, on the revolutionary
struggles of the proletariat and working people of all countries, on the liberation struggles
of the oppressed nations and on the struggles of all peace loving people and countries.
Such is the Leninist policy. Any policy to the contrary definitely will not lead to world
peace but will only encourage the ambitions of the imperialists and increase the danger of
In recent years, certain persons have been spreading the argument that a single spark
from a war of national liberation or from a revolutionary people's war will lead to a world
conflagration destroying the whole of mankind. What are the facts? Contrary to what
these persons say, the wars of national liberation and the revolutionary people's wars that
have occurred since World War II have not led to world war. The victory of these
revolutionary wars has directly weakened the forces of imperialism and greatly
strengthened the forces which prevent the imperialists from launching a world war and
which defend world peace. Do not the facts demonstrate the absurdity of this argument?
(15) The complete banning and destruction of nuclear weapons is an important task in the
struggle to defend world peace. We must do our utmost to this end.
Nuclear weapons are unprecedentedly destructive, which is why for more than a decade
now the U.S. imperialists have been pursuing their policy of nuclear blackmail in order to
realize their ambition of enslaving the people of all countries and dominating the world.
But when the imperialists threaten other countries with nuclear weapons, they subject the
people in their own country to the same threat, thus arousing them against nuclear
weapons and against the imperialist policies of aggression and war. At the same time, in
their vain hope of destroying their opponents with nuclear weapons, the imperialists are
in fact subjecting themselves to the danger of being destroyed.
The possibility of banning nuclear weapons does indeed exist. However, if the
imperialists are forced to accept an agreement to ban nuclear weapons, it decidedly will
not be because of their "love for humanity" but because of the pressure of the people of
all countries and for the sake of their own vital interests.
In contrast to the imperialists, socialist countries rely upon the righteous strength of the
people and on their own correct policies, and have no need whatever to gamble with
nuclear weapons in the world arena. Socialist countries have nuclear weapons solely in
order to defend themselves and to prevent imperialism from launching a nuclear war.
In the view of Marxist-Leninists, the people are the makers of history. In the present, as
in the past, man is the decisive factor. Marxist-Leninists attach importance to the role of
technological change, but it is wrong to belittle the role of man and exaggerate the role of
The emergence of nuclear weapons can neither arrest the progress of human history nor
save the imperialist system from its doom, any more than the emergence of new
techniques could save the old systems from their doom in the past.
The emergence of nuclear weapons does not and cannot resolve the fundamental
contradictions in the contemporary world, does not and cannot alter the law of class
struggle, and does not and cannot change the nature of imperialism and reaction.
It cannot, therefore, be said that with the emergence of nuclear weapons the possibility
and the necessity of social and national revolutions have disappeared, or the basic
principles of Marxism-Leninism, and especially the theories of proletarian revolution and
the dictatorship of the proletariat and of war and peace, have become outmoded and
changed into stale "dogmas".
(16) It was Lenin who advanced the thesis that it is possible for the socialist countries to
practice peaceful coexistence with the capitalist countries. It is well known that after the
great Soviet people had repulsed foreign armed intervention the Communist Party of the
Soviet Union and the Soviet Government, led first by Lenin and then by Stalin,
consistently pursued the policy of peaceful coexistence and that they were forced to wage
a war of self-defense only when attacked by the German imperialists.
Since its founding, the People's Republic of China too has consistently pursued the policy
of peaceful coexistence with countries having different social systems, and it is China
which initiated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
However, a few years ago certain persons suddenly claimed Lenin's policy of peaceful
coexistence as their own "great discovery". They maintain that they have a monopoly on
the interpretation of this policy. They treat "peaceful coexistence" as if it were an all-
inclusive, mystical book from heaven and attribute to it every success the people of the
world achieve by struggle. What is more, they label all who disagree with their
distortions of Lenin's views as opponents of peaceful coexistence, as people completely
ignorant of Lenin and Leninism, and as heretics deserving to be burnt at the stake.
How can the Chinese Communists agree with this view and practice? They cannot, it is
Lenin's principle of peaceful coexistence is very clear and readily comprehensible by
ordinary people. Peaceful coexistence designates a relationship between countries with
different social systems, and must not be interpreted as one pleases. It should never be
extended to apply to the relations between oppressed and oppressor nations, between
oppressed and oppressor countries or between oppressed and oppressor classes, and never
be described as the main content of the transition from capitalism to socialism, still less
should it be asserted that peaceful coexistence is mankind's road to socialism. The reason
is that it is one thing to practice peaceful coexistence between countries with different
social systems. It is absolutely impermissible and impossible for countries practicing
peaceful coexistence to touch even a hair of each other's social system. The class
struggle, the struggle for national liberation and the transition from capitalism to
socialism in various countries are quite another, thing. They are all bitter, life-and-death
revolutionary struggles which aim at changing the social system. Peaceful coexistence
cannot replace the revolutionary struggles of the people. The transition from capitalism to
socialism in any country can only be brought about through the proletarian revolution and
the dictatorship of the proletariat in that country.
In the application of the policy of peaceful coexistence, struggles between the socialist
and imperialist countries are unavoidable in the political, economic and ideological
spheres, and it is absolutely impossible to have "all-round co-operation".
It is necessary for the socialist countries to engage in negotiations of one kind or another
with the imperialist countries. It is possible to reach certain agreements through
negotiation by relying on the correct policies of the socialist countries and on the pressure
of the people of all countries. But necessary compromises between the socialist countries
and the imperialist countries do not require the oppressed peoples and nations to follow
suit and compromise with imperialism and its lackeys. No one should ever demand in the
name of peaceful coexistence that the oppressed peoples and nations should give up their
The application of the policy of peaceful coexistence by the socialist countries is
advantageous for achieving a peaceful international environment for socialist
construction, for exposing the imperialist policies of aggression and war and for isolating
the imperialist forces of aggression and war. But if the general line of the foreign policy
of the socialist countries is confined to peaceful coexistence, then it is impossible to
handle correctly either the relations between socialist countries or those between the
socialist countries and the oppressed peoples and nations. Therefore it is wrong to make
peaceful coexistence the general line of the foreign policy of the socialist countries.
In our view, the general line of the foreign policy of the socialist countries should have
the following content: to develop relations of friendship, mutual assistance and co-
operation among the countries in the socialist camp in accordance with the principle of
proletarian internationalism; to strive for peaceful coexistence on the basis of the Five
Principles with countries having different social systems and oppose the imperialist
policies of aggression and war; and to support and assist the revolutionary struggles of all
the oppressed peoples and nations. These three aspects are interrelated and indivisible,
and not a single one can be omitted.
(17) For a very long historical period after the proletariat takes power, class struggle
continues as an objective law independent of man's will, differing only in form from what
it was before the taking of power.
After the October Revolution, Lenin pointed out a number of times that:
a) The overthrown exploiters always try in a thousand and one ways to recover the
"paradise" they have been deprived of.
b) New elements of capitalism are constantly and spontaneously generated in the petty-
c) Political degenerates and new bourgeois elements may emerge in the ranks of the
working class and among government functionaries as a result of bourgeois influence and
the pervasive, corrupting atmosphere of the petty bourgeoisie.
d) The external conditions for the continuance of class struggle within a socialist country
are encirclement by international capitalism, the imperialists' threat of armed intervention
and their subversive activities to accomplish peaceful disintegration.
Life has confirmed these conclusions of Lenin's.
For decades or even longer periods after socialist industrialization and agricultural
collectivization, it will be impossible to say that any socialist country will be free from
those elements which Lenin repeatedly denounced, such as bourgeois hangers-on,
parasites, speculators, swindlers, idlers, hooligans and embezzlers of state funds; or to say
that a socialist country will no longer need to perform or be able to relinquish the task
laid down by Lenin of conquering "this contagion, this plague, this ulcer that socialism
has inherited from capitalism".
In a socialist country, it takes a very long historical period gradually to settle the question
of who will win— socialism or capitalism. The struggle between the road of socialism and
the road of capitalism runs through this whole historical period. This struggle rises and
falls in a wave-like manner, at times becoming very fierce, and the forms of the struggle
are many and varied.
The 1957 Declaration rightly states that "the conquest of power by the working class is
only the beginning of the revolution, not its conclusion".
To deny the existence of class struggle in the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat
and the necessity of thoroughly completing the socialist revolution on the economic,
political and ideological fronts is wrong, does not correspond to objective reality and
(18) Both Marx and Lenin maintained that the entire period before the advent of the
higher stage of communist society is the period of transition from capitalism to
communism, the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In this transition period, the
dictatorship of the proletariat, that is to say, the proletarian state, goes through the
dialectical process of establishment, consolidation, strengthening and withering away.
In the Critique of the Gotha Programme, Marx posed the question as follows:
Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the
revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. There corresponds
to this also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing
but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. [Marx and Engels,
Selected Works, FLPH, Moscow, 1955, Vol. II, pp. 32-33.]
Lenin frequently emphasized Marx's great theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat and
analyzed the development of this theory, particularly in his outstanding work, The State
and Revolution, where he wrote:
. . . the transition from capitalist society— which is developing towards
communism— to a communist society is impossible without a "political
transition period", and the state in this period can only be the revolutionary
dictatorship of the proletariat. [Lenin, Selected Works, FLPH, Moscow,
1952, Vol. II, Part 1, p. 289.]
He further said:
The essence of Marx's teaching on the state has been mastered only by
those who understand that the dictatorship of a single class is necessary
not only for every class society in general, not only for the proletariat
which has overthrown the bourgeoisie, but also for the entire historical
period which separates capitalism from "classless society", from
communism. [Ibid., p. 234.]
As stated above, the fundamental thesis of Marx and Lenin is that the dictatorship of the
proletariat will inevitably continue for the entire historical period of the transition from
capitalism to communism, that is, for the entire period up to the abolition of all class
differences and the entry into a classless society, the higher stage of communist society.
What will happen if it is announced, halfway through, that the dictatorship of the
proletariat is no longer necessary?
Does this not fundamentally conflict with the teachings of Marx and Lenin on the state of
the dictatorship of the proletariat?
Does this not license the development of "this contagion, this plague, this ulcer that
socialism has inherited from capitalism"?
In other words, this would lead to extremely grave consequences and make any transition
to communism out of the question.
Can there be a "state of the whole people"? Is it possible to replace the state of the
dictatorship of the proletariat by a "state of the whole people"?
This is not a question about the internal affairs of any particular country but a
fundamental problem involving the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism.
In the view of Marxist-Leninists, there is no such thing as a non-class or supra-class state.
So long as the state remains a state, it must bear a class character; so long as the state
exists, it cannot be a state of the "whole people". As soon as society becomes classless,
there will no longer be a state.
Then what sort of thing would a "state of the whole people" be?
Anyone with an elementary knowledge of Marxism-Leninism can understand that the so-
called "state of the whole people" is nothing new. Representative bourgeois figures have
always called the bourgeois state a "state of all the people", or a "state in which power
belongs to all the people".
Certain persons may say that their society is already one without classes. We answer: No,
there are classes and class struggles in all socialist countries without exception.
Since remnants of the old exploiting classes who are trying to stage a comeback still exist
there, since new capitalist elements are constantly being generated there, and since there
are still parasites, speculators, idlers, hooligans, embezzlers of state funds, etc., how can
it be said that classes or class struggles no longer exist? How can it be said that the
dictatorship of the proletariat is no longer necessary?
Marxism-Leninism tells us that in addition to the suppression of the hostile classes, the
historical tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the course of building socialism
necessarily include the correct handling of relations between the working class and
peasantry, the consolidation of their political and economic alliance and the creation of
conditions for the gradual elimination of the class difference between worker and
When we look at the economic base of any socialist society, we find that the difference
between ownership by the whole people and collective ownership exists in all socialist
countries without exception, and that there is individual ownership too. Ownership by the
whole people and collective ownership are two kinds of ownership and two kinds of
relations of production in socialist society. The workers in enterprises owned by the
whole people and the peasants on farms owned collectively belong to two different
categories of laborers in socialist society. Therefore, the class difference between worker
and peasant exists in all socialist countries without exception. This difference will not
disappear until the transition to the higher stage of communism is achieved. In their
present level of economic development all socialist countries are still far, far removed
from the higher stage of communism in which "from each according to his ability, to
each according to his needs" is put into practice. Therefore, it will take a long, long time
to eliminate the class difference between worker and peasant. And until this difference is
eliminated, it is impossible to say that society is classless or that there is no longer any
need for the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In calling a socialist state the "state of the whole people", is one trying to replace the
Marxist-Leninist theory of the state by the bourgeois theory of the state? Is one trying to
replace the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat by a state of a different character?
If that is the case, it is nothing but a great historical retrogression. The degeneration of the
social system in Yugoslavia is a grave lesson.
(19) Leninism holds that the proletarian party must exist together with the dictatorship of
the proletariat in socialist countries. The party of the proletariat is indispensable for the
entire historical period of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The reason is that the
dictatorship of the proletariat has to struggle against the enemies of the proletariat and of
the people, remold the peasants and other small producers, constantly consolidate the
proletarian ranks, build socialism and effect the transition to communism; none of these
things can be done without the leadership of the party of the proletariat.
Can there be a "party of the entire people"? Is it possible to replace the party which is the
vanguard of the proletariat by a "party of the entire people"?
This, too, is not a question about the internal affairs of any particular Party, but a
fundamental problem involving the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism.
In the view of Marxist-Leninists, there is no such thing as a non-class or supra-class
political party. All political parties have a class character. Party spirit is the concentrated
expression of class character.
The party of the proletariat is the only party able to represent the interests of the whole
people. It can, do so precisely because it represents the interests of the proletariat, whose
ideas and will it concentrates. It can lead the whole people because the proletariat can
finally emancipate itself only with the emancipation of all mankind, because the very
nature of the proletariat enables its party to approach problems in terms of its present and
future interests, because the party is boundlessly loyal to the people and has the spirit of
self-sacrifice; hence its democratic centralism and iron discipline. Without such a party, it
is impossible to maintain the dictatorship of the proletariat and to represent the interests
of the whole people.
What will happen if it is announced halfway before entering the higher stage of
communist society that the party of the proletariat has become a "party of the entire
people" and if its proletarian class character is repudiated?
Does this not fundamentally conflict with the teachings of Marx and Lenin on the party
of the proletariat?
Does this not disarm the proletariat and all the working people, organizationally and
ideologically, and is it not tantamount to helping restore capitalism?
Is it not "going south by driving the chariot north" to talk about any transition to
communist society in such circumstances?
(20) Over the past few years, certain persons have violated Lenin's integral teachings
about the interrelationship of leaders, party, class and masses, and raised he issue of
"combating the cult of the individual"; this is erroneous and harmful.
The theory propounded by Lenin is as follows:
a) The masses are divided into classes;
b) Classes are usually led by political parties;
c) Political parties, as a general rule, are directed by more or less stable groups composed
of the most authoritative, influential and experienced members, who are elected to the
most responsible positions and are called leaders.
Lenin said, "All this is elementary."
The party of the proletariat is the headquarters of the proletariat in revolution and
struggle. Every proletarian party must practice centralism based on democracy and
establish a strong Marxist-Leninist leadership before it can become an organized and
battle-worthy vanguard. To raise the question of "combating the cult of the individual" is
actually to counterpose the leaders to the masses, undermine the party's unified leadership
which is based on democratic centralism, dissipate its fighting strength and disintegrate
Lenin criticized the erroneous views which counterpose the leaders to the masses. He
called them "ridiculously absurd and stupid".
The Communist Party of China has always disapproved of exaggerating the role of the
individual, has advocated and persistently practiced democratic centralism within the
Party and advocated the linking of the leadership with the masses, maintaining that
correct leadership must know how to concentrate the views of the masses.
While loudly combating the so-called "cult of the individual", certain persons are in
reality doing their best to defame the proletarian party and the dictatorship of the
proletariat. At the same time, they are enormously exaggerating the role of certain
individuals, shifting all errors onto others and claiming all credit for themselves.
What is more serious is that, under the pretext of "combating the cult of the individual",
certain persons are crudely interfering in the internal affairs of other fraternal Parties and
fraternal countries and forcing other fraternal Parties to change their leadership in order
to impose their own wrong line on these Parties. What is all this if not great-power
chauvinism, sectarianism and splittism? What is all this if not subversion?
It is high time to propagate seriously and comprehensively Lenin's integral teachings on
the interrelationship of leaders, party, class and masses.
(21) Relations between socialist countries are international relations of a new type.
Relations between socialist countries, whether large or small, and whether more
developed or less developed economically, must be based on the principles of complete
equality, respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, and non-
interference in each other's internal affairs, and must also be based on the principles of
mutual support and mutual assistance in accordance with proletarian internationalism.
Every socialist country must rely mainly on itself for its construction.
In accordance with its own concrete conditions, every socialist country must rely first of
all on the diligent labor and talents of its own people, utilize all its available resources
fully and in a planned way, and bring all its potential into play in socialist construction.
Only thus can it build socialism effectively and develop its economy speedily.
This is the only way for each socialist country to strengthen the might of the entire
socialist camp and enhance its capacity to assist the revolutionary cause of the
international proletariat. Therefore, to observe the principle of mainly relying on oneself
in construction is to apply proletarian internationalism concretely.
If, proceeding only from its own partial interests, any socialist country unilaterally
demands that other fraternal countries submit to its needs, and uses the pretext of
opposing what they call "going it alone" and "nationalism", to prevent other fraternal
countries from applying the principle of relying mainly on their own efforts in their
construction and from developing their economies on the basis of independence, or even
goes to the length of putting economic pressure on other fraternal countries—then these
are pure manifestations of national egoism.
It is absolutely necessary for socialist countries to practice mutual economic assistance
and co-operation and exchange. Such economic co-operation must be based on the
principles of complete equality, mutual benefit and comradely mutual assistance.
It would be great-power chauvinism to deny these basic principles and, in the name of
"international division of labor" or "specialization", to impose one's own will on others,
infringe on the independence and sovereignty of fraternal countries or harm the interests
of their people.
In relations among socialist countries it would be preposterous to follow the practice of
gaining profit for oneself at the expense of others, a practice characteristic of relations
among capitalist countries, or go so far as to take the "economic integration" and the
"common market", which monopoly capitalist groups have instituted for the purpose of
seizing markets and grabbing profits, as examples which socialist countries ought to
follow in their economic co-operation and mutual assistance.
(22) The 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement lay down the principles guiding
relations among fraternal Parties. These are the principle of solidarity, the principle of
mutual support and mutual assistance, the principle of independence and equality and the
principle of reaching unanimity through consultation— all on the basis of Marxism-
Leninism and proletarian internationalism.
We note that in its letter of March 30 the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. says that
there are no "superior" and "subordinate" Parties in the communist movement, that all
Communist Parties are independent and equal, and that they should all build their
relations on the basis of proletarian internationalism and mutual assistance.
It is a fine quality of Communists that their deeds are consistent with their words. The
only correct way to safeguard and strengthen unity among the fraternal Parties is
genuinely to adhere to, and not to violate, the principle of proletarian internationalism
and genuinely to observe, and not to undermine, the principles guiding relations among
fraternal Parties— and to do so not only in words but, much more important, in deeds.
If the principle of independence and equality is accepted in relations among fraternal
Parties, then it is impermissible for any Party to place itself above others, to interfere in
their internal affairs, and to adopt patriarchal ways in relations with them.
If it is accepted that there are no "superiors" and "subordinates" in relations among
fraternal Parties, then it is impermissible to impose the programme, resolutions and line
of one's own Party on other fraternal Parties as the "common programme" of the
international communist movement.
If the principle of reaching unanimity through consultation is accepted in relations among
fraternal Parties, then one should not emphasize "who is in the majority" or "who is in the
minority" and bank on a so-called majority in order to force through one's own erroneous
line and carry out sectarian and splitting policies.
If it is agreed that differences between fraternal Parties should be settled through inter-
Party consultation, then other fraternal Parties should not be attacked publicly and by
name at one's own congress or at other Party congresses, in speeches by Party leaders,
resolutions, statements, etc.; and still less should the ideological differences among
fraternal Parties be extended into the sphere of state relations.
We hold that in the present circumstances, when there are differences in the international
communist movement, it is particularly important to stress strict adherence to the
principles guiding relations among fraternal Parties as laid down in the Declaration and
In the sphere of relations among fraternal Parties and countries, the question of Soviet-
Albanian relations is an outstanding one at present. Here the question is what is the
correct way to treat a fraternal Party and country and whether the principles guiding
relations among fraternal Parties and countries stipulated in the Declaration and the
Statement are to be adhered to. The correct solution of this question is an important
matter of principle in safeguarding the unity of the socialist camp and the international
How to treat the Marxist-Leninist fraternal Albanian Party of Labor is one question. How
to treat the Yugoslav revisionist clique of traitors to Marxism-Leninism is quite another
question. These two essentially different questions must on no account be placed on a
Your letter says that you "do not relinquish the hope that the relations between the
C.P.S.U. and the Albanian Party of Labor may be improved", but at the same time you
continue to attack the Albanian comrades for what you call "splitting activities". Clearly
this is self-contradictory and in no way contributes to resolving the problem of Soviet-
Who is it that has taken splitting actions in Soviet-Albanian relations?
Who is it that has extended the ideological differences between the Soviet and Albanian
Parties to state relations?
Who is it that has brought the divergences between the Soviet and Albanian Parties and
between the two countries into the open before the enemy?
Who is it that has openly called for a change in the Albanian Party and state leadership?
All this is plain and clear to the whole world.
Is it possible that the leading comrades of the C.P.S.U. do not really feel their
responsibility for the fact that Soviet-Albanian relations have so seriously deteriorated?
We once again express our sincere hope that the leading comrades of the C.P.S.U. will
observe the principles guiding relations among fraternal Parties and countries and take
the initiative in seeking an effective way to improve Soviet- Albanian relations.
In short, the question of how to handle relations with fraternal Parties and countries must
be taken seriously. Strict adherence to the principles guiding relations among fraternal
Parties and countries is the only way forcefully to rebuff slanders such as those spread by
the imperialists and reactionaries about the "hand of Moscow".
Proletarian internationalism is demanded of all Parties without exception, whether large
or small, and whether in power or not. However, the larger Parties and the Parties in
power bear a particularly heavy responsibility in this respect. The series of distressing
developments which have occurred in the socialist camp in the past period have harmed
the interests not only of the fraternal Parties concerned but also of the masses of the
people in their countries. This convincingly demonstrates that the larger countries and
Parties need to keep in mind Lenin's behest never to commit the error of great-power
The comrades of the C.P.S.U. state in their letter that "the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union has never taken and will never take a single step that could sow hostility among
the peoples of our country towards the fraternal Chinese people or other peoples". Here
we do not desire to go back and enumerate the many unpleasant events that have
occurred in the past, and we only wish that the comrades of the C.P.S.U. will strictly
abide by this statement in their future actions.
During the past few years, our Party members and our people have exercised the greatest
restraint in the face of a series of grave incidents which were in violation of the principles
guiding relations among fraternal Parties and countries and despite the many difficulties
and losses which have been imposed on us. The spirit of proletarian internationalism of
the Chinese Communists and the Chinese people has stood a severe test.
The Communist Party of China is unswervingly loyal to proletarian internationalism,
upholds and defends the principles of the 1957 Declaration and the 1960 Statement
guiding relations among fraternal Parties and countries, and safeguards and strengthens
the unity of the socialist camp and the international communist movement.
(23) In order to carry out the common programme of the international communist
movement unanimously agreed upon by the fraternal Parties, an uncompromising
struggle must be waged against all forms of opportunism, which is a deviation from
The Declaration and the Statement point out that revisionism, or, in other words, Right
opportunism, is the main danger in the international communist movement. Yugoslav
revisionism typifies modern revisionism.
The Statement points out particularly:
The Communist Parties have unanimously condemned the Yugoslav
variety of international opportunism, a variety of modern revisionist
"theories" in concentrated form.
It goes on to say:
After betraying Marxism-Leninism, which they termed obsolete, the
leaders of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia opposed their anti-
Leninist revisionist programme to the Declaration of 1957; they set the
League of Communists of Yugoslavia against the international communist
movement as a whole, severed their country from the socialist camp, made
it dependent on so-called "aid" from U.S. and other imperialists.
The Statement says further:
The Yugoslav revisionists carry on subversive work against the socialist
camp and the world communist movement. Under the pretext of an extra-
bloc policy, they engage in activities which prejudice the unity of all the
peace-loving forces and countries.
Therefore, it draws the following conclusion:
Further exposure of the leaders of Yugoslav revisionists and active
struggle to safeguard the communist movement and the working-class
movement from the anti-Leninist ideas of the Yugoslav revisionists,
remains an essential task of the Marxist-Leninist Parties.
The question raised here is an important one of principle for the international communist
Only recently the Tito clique have publicly stated that they are persisting in their
revisionist programme and anti-Marxist-Leninist stand in opposition to the Declaration
and the Statement.
U.S. imperialism and its NATO partners have spent several thousand millions of U.S.
dollars nursing the Tito clique for a long time. Cloaked as "Marxist-Leninists" and
flaunting the banner of a "socialist country", the Tito clique has been undermining the
international communist movement and the revolutionary cause of the people of the
world, serving as a special detachment of U.S. imperialism.
It is-completely groundless and out of keeping with the facts to assert that Yugoslavia is
showing "definite positive tendencies", that it is a "socialist country", and that the Tito
clique is an "anti-imperialist force".
Certain persons are now attempting to introduce the Yugoslav revisionist clique into the
socialist community and the international communist ranks. This is openly to tear up the
agreement unanimously reached at the 1960 meeting of the fraternal Parties and is
Over the past few years, the revisionist trend flooding the international working-class
movement and the many experiences and lessons of the international communist
movement have fully confirmed the correctness of the conclusion in the Declaration and
the Statement that revisionism is the main danger in the international communist
movement at present.
However, certain persons are openly saying that dogmatism and not revisionism is the
main danger, or that dogmatism is no less dangerous than revisionism, etc. What sort of
principle underlies all this?
Firm Marxist-Leninists and genuine Marxist-Leninist Parties must put principles first.
They must not barter away principles, approving one thing today and another tomorrow,
advocating one thing today and another tomorrow.
Together with all Marxist-Leninists, the Chinese Communists will continue to wage an
uncompromising struggle against modern revisionism in order to defend the purity of
Marxism-Leninism and the principled stand of the Declaration and the Statement.
While combating revisionism, which is the main danger in the international communist
movement, Communists must also combat dogmatism.
As stated in the 1957 Declaration, proletarian parties, "should firmly adhere to the
principle of combining. . . universal Marxist-Leninist truth with the specific practice of
revolution and construction in their countries".
That is to say:
On the one hand, it is necessary at all times to adhere to the universal truth of Marxism-
Leninism. Failure to do so will lead to Right opportunist or revisionist errors.
On the other hand, it is always necessary to proceed from reality, maintain close contact
with the masses, constantly sum up the experience of mass struggles, and independently
work out and apply policies and tactics suited to the conditions of one's own country.
Errors of dogmatism will be committed if one fails to do so, if one mechanically copies
the policies and tactics of another Communist Party, submits blindly to the will of others
or accepts without analysis the programme and resolutions of another Communist Party
as one's own line.
Some people are now violating this basic principle, which was long ago affirmed in the
Declaration. On the pretext of "creatively developing Marxism-Leninism", they cast aside
the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism. Moreover, they describe as "universal Marxist-
Leninist truths" their own prescriptions which are based on nothing but subjective
conjecture and are divorced from reality and from the masses, and they force others to
accept these prescriptions unconditionally.
That is why many grave phenomena have come to pass in the international communist
(24) A most important lesson from the experience of the international communist
movement is that the development and victory of a revolution depend on the existence of
a revolutionary proletarian party.
There must be a revolutionary party.
There must be a revolutionary party built according to the revolutionary theory and
revolutionary style of Marxism-Leninism.
There must be a revolutionary party able to integrate the universal truth of Marxism-
Leninism with the concrete practice of the revolution in its own country.
There must be a revolutionary party able to link the leadership closely with the broad
masses of the people.
There must be a revolutionary party that perseveres in the truth, corrects its errors and
knows how to conduct criticism and self-criticism.
Only such a revolutionary party can lead the proletariat and the broad masses of the
people in defeating imperialism and its lackeys, winning a thorough victory in the
national democratic revolution and winning the socialist revolution.
If a party is not a proletarian revolutionary party but a bourgeois reformist party;
If it is not a Marxist-Leninist party but a revisionist party;
If it is not a vanguard party of the proletariat but a party tailing after the bourgeoisie;
If it is not a party representing the interests of the proletariat and all the working people
but a party representing the interests of the labor aristocracy;
If it is not an internationalist party but a nationalist party;
If it is not a party that can use its brains to think for itself and acquire an accurate
knowledge of the trends of the different classes in its own country through serious
investigation and study, and knows how to apply the universal truth of Marxism-
Leninism and integrate it with the concrete practice of its own country, but instead is a
party that parrots the words of others, copies foreign experience without analysis, runs
hither and thither in response to the baton of certain persons abroad, and has become a
hodgepodge of revisionism, dogmatism and everything but Marxist-Leninist principle;
Then such a party is absolutely incapable of leading the proletariat and the masses in
revolutionary struggle, absolutely incapable of winning the revolution and absolutely
incapable of fulfilling the great historical mission of the proletariat.
This is a question all Marxist-Leninists, all class-conscious workers and all progressive
people everywhere need to ponder deeply.
(25) It is the duty of Marxist-Leninists to distinguish between truth and falsehood with
respect to the differences that have arisen in the international communist movement. In
the common interest of the unity for struggle against the enemy, we have always
advocated solving problems through inter-Party consultations and opposed bringing
differences into the open before the enemy.
As the comrades of the C.P.S.U. know, the public polemics in the international
communist movement have been provoked by certain fraternal Party leaders and forced
Since a public debate has been provoked, it ought to be conducted on the basis of equality
among fraternal Parties and of democracy, and by presenting the facts and reasoning
Since certain Party leaders have publicly attacked other fraternal Parties and provoked a
public debate, it is our opinion that they have no reason or right to forbid the fraternal
Parties attacked to make public replies.
Since certain Party leaders have published innumerable articles attacking other fraternal
Parties, why do they not publish in their own press the articles those Parties have written
Latterly, the Communist Party of China has been subjected to preposterous attacks. The
attackers have raised a great hue and cry and, disregarding the facts, have fabricated
many charges against us. We have published these articles and speeches attacking us in
our own press.
We have also published in full in our press the Soviet leader's report at the meeting of the
Supreme Soviet on December 12, 1962, the Pravda Editorial Board's article of January 7,
1963, the speech of the head of the C.P.S.U. delegation at the Sixth Congress of the
Socialist Unity Party of Germany on January 16, 1963 and the Pravda Editorial Board's
article of February 10, 1963.
We have also published the full text of the two letters from the Central Committee of the
C.P.S.U. dated February 21 and March 30, 1963.
We have replied to some of the articles and speeches in which fraternal Parties have
attacked us, but have not yet replied to others. For example, we have not directly replied
to the many articles and speeches of the comrades of the C.P.S.U.
Between December 15, 1962 and March 8, 1963, we wrote seven articles in reply to our
attackers. These articles are entitled:
"Workers of All Countries, Unite, Oppose Our Common Enemy!",
"The Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Us",
"Leninism and Modern Revisionism",
"Let Us Unite on the Basis of the Moscow Declaration and the Moscow Statement",
"Whence the Differences?— A Reply to Thorez and Other Comrades",
"More on the Differences Between Comrade Togliatti and Us— Some Important Problems
of Leninism in the Contemporary World",
"A Comment on the Statement of the Communist Party of the U.S.A.".
Presumably, you are referring to these articles when towards the end of your letter of
March 30 you accuse the Chinese press of making "groundless attacks" on the C.P.S.U. It
is turning things upside down to describe articles replying to our attackers as "attacks".
Since you describe our articles as "groundless" and as so very bad, why do you not
publish all seven of these "groundless attacks", in the same way as we have published
your articles, and let all the Soviet comrades and Soviet people think for themselves and
judge who is right and who wrong? You are of course entitled to make a point-by-point
refutation of these articles you consider "groundless attacks".
Although you call our articles "groundless" and our arguments wrong, you do not tell the
Soviet people what our arguments actually are. This practice can hardly be described as
showing a serious attitude towards the discussion of problems by fraternal Parties,
towards the truth or towards the masses.
We hope that the public debate among fraternal Parties can be stopped. This is a problem
that has to be dealt with in accordance with the principles of independence, of equality
and of reaching unanimity through consultation among fraternal Parties. In the
international communist movement, no one has the right to launch attacks whenever he
wants, or to order the "ending of open polemics" whenever he wants to prevent the other
side from replying.
It is known to the comrades of the C.P.S.U. that, in order to create a favorable
atmosphere for convening the meeting of the fraternal Parties, we have decided
temporarily to suspend, as from March 9, 1963, public replies to the public attacks
directed by name against us by comrades of fraternal Parties. We reserve the right of
In our letter of March 9, we said that on the question of suspending public debate "it is
necessary that our two Parties and the fraternal Parties concerned should have some
discussion and reach an agreement that is fair and acceptable to all".
The foregoing are our views regarding the general line of the international communist
movement and some related questions of principle. We hope, as we indicated at the
beginning of this letter, that the frank presentation of our views will be conducive to
mutual understanding. Of course, comrades may agree or disagree with these views. But
in our opinion, the questions we discuss here are the crucial questions calling for
attention and solution by the international communist movement. We hope that all these
questions and also those raised in your letter will be fully discussed in the talks between
our two Parties and at the meeting of representatives of all the fraternal Parties.
In addition, there are other questions of common concern, such as the criticism of Stalin
and some important matters of principle regarding the international communist
movement which were raised at the 20th and 22nd Congresses of the C.P.S.U., and we
hope that on these questions, too, there will be a frank exchange of opinion in the talks.
With regard to the talks between our two Parties, in our letter of March 9 we proposed
that Comrade Khrushchev come to Peking; if this was not convenient, we proposed that
another responsible comrade of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. lead a delegation
to Peking or that we send a delegation to Moscow.
Since you have stated in your letter of March 30 that Comrade Khrushchev cannot come
to China, and since you have not expressed a desire to send a delegation to China, the
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has decided to send a delegation to
In your letter of March 30, you invited Comrade Mao Tse-tung to visit the Soviet Union.
As early as February 23, Comrade Mao Tse-tung in his conversation with the Soviet
Ambassador to China clearly stated the reason why he was not prepared to visit the
Soviet Union at the present time. You were well aware of this.
When a responsible comrade of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
received the Soviet Ambassador to China on May 9, he informed you that we would send
a delegation to Moscow in the middle of June. Later, in compliance with the request of
the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U., we agreed to postpone the talks between our two
Parties to July 5.
We sincerely hope that the talks between the Chinese and Soviet Parties will yield
positive results and contribute to the preparations for convening the meeting of all
Communist and Workers' Parties.
It is now more than ever necessary for all Communists to unite on the basis of Marxism-
Leninism and proletarian internationalism and of the Declaration and the Statement
unanimously agreed upon by the fraternal Parties.
Together with Marxist-Leninist Parties and revolutionary people the world over, the
Communist Party of China will continue its unremitting efforts to uphold the interests of
the socialist camp and the international communist movement, the cause of the
emancipation of the oppressed peoples and nations, and the struggle against imperialism
and for world peace.
We hope that events which grieve those near and dear to us and only gladden the enemy
will not recur in the international communist movement in the future.
The Chinese Communists firmly believe that the Marxist-Leninists, the proletariat and
the revolutionary people everywhere will unite more closely, overcome all difficulties
and obstacles and win still greater victories in the struggle against imperialism and for
world peace, and in the fight for the revolutionary cause of the people of the world and
the cause of international communism.
Workers of all countries, unite! Workers and oppressed peoples and nations of the world,
unite! Oppose our common enemy!
With communist greetings,
The Central Committee of
the Communist Party of China
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