Should we criticise that which we do not understand? The communist movement is full of people trying to find mistakes and come up with ‘new ways’ of doing things that are just the old ways of the bourgeioisie. They are not involved in any major struggle let alone a successful revolution. Mao is criticised for the Three Worlds analysis or for nationalism. On the other hand Stalin’s picture is erased and Mao’s differences with Stalin are made primary. Others carry aloft the picture of Stalin but erase Mao’s picture. Both will lead to revisionism. A great revolutionary leader can only be criticised by those who have reached their level of practice and surpassed it. This is not a moral question. If an armchair revolutionary could come up with a better scientific theory of revolution than Mao, then we would be duty-bound to accept it. But science says this is impossible. All knowledge comes from practice. Either it is your practice or the practice of others. If you are not making a revolution yourself, you can only look at the practice of others.
But which others? Lenin and Mao or Lenin and Hoxha? Some knowledge is just specific to a task and is not generalisable into a theory. Some knowledge has a general application. Hoxha was a great revolutionary leader and the history of his revolution is deserving of intense study. But he only ever claimed to be a Marxist-Leninist, he did not come up with his own new development of theory.
Lenin led the great October revolution and created a new revolutionary theory for the entire world to follow, he developed the principle of democratic centralism and he analysed imperialism as the last stage of capitalism.
Mao made many important philosophical advances. These advances led to the core Maoist belief that the class struggle continues under socialism.
Therefore, Mao did lead a revolution and did use that experience to develop a new theory that can be generalised. Unless we are doing the same at a high level we cannot develop the theory. There is no practice on which to base the criticism. All our theories will be subjectivism or petit-bourgeois fanaticism. Our criticisms will be liberalism or anarchism or Trotskyism. They will have no basis in practice and the class struggle.
Mao criticised Stalin for giving bad advice to the Chinese party. Hoxha criticised Mao because he thought Mao had the same ideology as Deng Xiaoping.
What is important is not what leaders say about other revolutions. We judge them about what they have done in their own revolution, not what they say about others. If Stalin did give bad advice, then this has nothing to do with his standing the leader of the Soviet Communist Party. Bad advice can be rejected. It is the responsibility of every revolutionary party to make the revolution in their own country. It is not anybody else's responsibility. The revolution cannot be exported. If a revolutionary takes bad advice it is their responsibility not the responsibility of the person they have listened to. Stalin’s leadership was outstanding so Marxist-Leninist-Maoists should not erase his picture. They should support Mao Zedong thought.
Hoxha thought Mao and Deng followed the same policies. They did not. Once Hoxha stated his opinion did socialism in Albania end? Did everything the Party of Labour had achieved disappear? Of course not. His allegation was not of great significance.
So, should we base our own ideologies on these criticisms? Should we endlessly debate which criticism was right? Are we Marxist-Leninists or Marxist-Leninist-Maoists or ‘Hoxhaists’. What a waste of time! If we circulate endless criticisms of great revolutionaries we will just promote anarchism and Trotskyism. Ultimately only the ideology of the bourgeoisie will be left. Let’s stop wasting time and effort! Maoism is the latest great development of Marxist theory, so we believe in Mao Zedong thought.
The criticism of ‘not enough internationalism’ amounts to a desire that parties should criticise each other a great deal. Some believed and still believe that there needs to be an international group where everyone endlessly criticises each other’s line. This will not prevent revisionism. There is little you can do about the progress of one revolution if you are in another country. You cannot vote in their congresses, appoint different leaders, draw up policies. Only they can do that. It is a waste of time just to endlessly talk.
Do we really need a ‘new stage’? Maoists who have not made revolution say that Maoism was overthrown in 1976 in China so it must have been wrong and we must criticise. Mao himself said that the revolution could be overthrown by the bourgeoisie. It was going that way in the 1960s and the people were mobilised to prevent it. After 10 years of struggle the revolution was overthrown by bourgeois renegades backed by the military. Revolutions will happen in the future and some of them will be overthrown again. That is what Mao Zedong thought teaches.
We can only come up with a ‘new stage’ when we have created a new revolution and come up with a new theory of general significance. If there was a revolution in Africa that built on the achievements of Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong thought but developed a new general line that was not revisionist then we could speak of a ‘new stage’. We cannot do this if we are only 20 people. If there are 20 people, we must start with Mao Zedong thought. If we reach a high level of revolutionary struggle, only then can we achieve some ‘new stage’ if that is required. But this must be revolutionary not a ‘new stage’ of multi-party competition or market economics or uniting with the world’s sole remaining super-power.
The traitor Hua Guofeng said ‘uphold every word of Mao’ so he could destroy Mao Zedong thought. Jiang Qing should have led China but the balance of forces was against her and there was counter-revolution. Soon Deng Xiaoping was back and he destroyed socialism. But still we must follow everything Mao said. If we must endlessly dispute this part and that part of Mao Zedong thought and argue about which ‘new approach’ we should use, we will carry on driving around in circles. Our practice has not reached the height of Mao’s so how do we dispute? Once we follow Mao Zedong’s teachings, then we will find it easy to develop revolutionary practice. We can find our answers in Mao. Otherwise we just spiral off into subjectivity and petit-bourgeois fanaticism
Do we base our support for Mao on science or faith? It is science. If practice could show that Mao was wrong and someone else was right, we would follow them. But this has not occurred. Mao saved China from ruin, built socialism and massively expanded the welfare of the people. Others have not done better so we should follow his lead and not waste time questioning every word he wrote. Every year the bourgeoisie come up with a new stories about vile crimes that they say Mao committed. At one point they had got the number of people Mao had ‘killed’ up to 70 million. There were people who showed this was nonsense. Some time ago a comrade from India did good work in questioning these foolish figures about the Great Leap Forward. Now there is some good work being done by people in China. Those who have done well at this work should continue it. But the whole movement cannot spend time debating every atrocity story the bourgeoisie cooks up. When you disprove one lie, they just come up with five more. Would it really have been possible that 30 million or 70 million people died without people knowing until decades later? We know of Mao’s great achievements and therefore we uphold Mao whatever new story the bourgeoisie comes forward with. Anything that can be proved scientifically must be accepted. But if something is on the face of it absurd and against everything we know about a subject, then we have to proceed on the basis that it is not true. Let us support those who do some investigation on the main lies that are levelled against Mao. But we cannot be immobilised by lies.
The Marxist-Leninist-Maoists criticise Mao for the Three Worlds analysis. They are wrong. Until 1976 the Chinese Communist Party advocated struggling against both Soviet Hegemonism and US imperialism. Deng Xiaoping liquidated any struggle against imperialism with the Three World’s Theory. This was not Mao’s theory. Mao was forced to ally with the USA against Soviet hegemonism. He wanted the people to free their own countries from domination by the superpowers and make revolution. The Soviet Union was trying to suppress the principal world standard bearer for revolution. Supporting an international struggle against this hegemonism was absolutely correct. Once Mao died and capitalism took hold in China again this momement passed. There was no point in trying to apply the Three World's Analysis to the world after this. Revolutionaries outside the Soviet sphere of influence just needed to make revolution in their own countries. There was no point in supporting right-wing reactionaries who opposed the Soviet Union such as Solidarity in Poland. Only a fool would think that the so called East European revolutions of 1989 did anything other than strengthen the power of imperialism.
Today some Maoists think we are still in the world of the two superpowers. The Soviet Union was a super power that was intervening in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa -all over the world. But what is Russia doing now? Russia has been struggling to maintain its naval base in Syria by fighting the rebels and to secure its borders by the intervention in Ukraine. These actions do not make it a world superpower. It is a Second World country. Mao identified certain countries that were rich but not superpowers like France, Italy etc. Some of these countries engaged in military imperialism according to their own agenda, like France but not on a world scale like the USA and USSR. Today Russia is like one of these countries. Unlike countries like France and Italy it is not allied to US hegemonism and is trying to pursue an independent line. We should not support the world’s sole remaining superpower against Russia.China is also not a superpower. Today many of the Third World countries have developed industry and are urbanised. But the people are still much poorer than those in the West.
China is engaged in disputes over territorial waters in the South China sea but it is not like the USA or the Soviet hegemonists. It does not send its armies all over the world to overthrow governments or occupy countries. It is not a superpower. It is true that China exports capital. But no country can become a superpower simply by exporting a lot of capital. Some capitalists in all nations export their capital. It is only when the export of capital is backed up on a world scale with military force that a country can become a superpower. Just because we think a country might become a superpower 25 years from now or we think their leaders would like them to become a superpower does not make them one now.
Chinese capitalists may exploit low wages elsewhere but the western capitalists still exploit low wages in China. After 1978 China decided it could grow quickly by exporting its goods to the West, especially to the USA. Now the USA is using China’s economic dependence to undermine the regime. This is why Mao did not go down the path, he knew where it would lead. China could only become a superpower by defeating the USA in war or the USA will just use its economic power to crush China.
It is true that countries that are not superpowers can act in an imperialist way on a regional level. France does this in parts of Africa. Other countries can be regional bullies too. The key thing about a superpower is that it imposes a global political and economic order that is backed up by military aggression. Any country that wants to make revolution will have to fight the USA as well as their own government and regional bullies. This is why Mao saw the fight against superpowers as of such primary importance. The main enemy of the people of the world today is the sole superpower, the USA. We cannot pretend that there are two or three superpowers to allow us to make alliances with the USA and the vile sexist, racist bully that leads the country. All the oppressed peoples of the world must unite against US imperialism and its allies.
When can we criticise? When a party becomes revisionist. it should be obvious. The imperialists knew straight away when the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) went revisionist in 2006. We took longer to speak out because we had supported them and this was an error.
The basic rule is that as long as a party keeps to the revolutionary line in their own country do not concern yourself with what is saying about anyone else. Mao was forced to meet Nixon in 1972 but he fought like a tiger to keep China socialist so he was not a revisionist. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) broke with Stalin and Mao and then announced their support for the bourgeois parliamentary system. They became revisionist.Parties that engage in subjectivism and advocate bourgeois individualism will go revisionist. Individualism always leads to societies based on exploitation. The freedom of a few is based on the subjugation of the many. Those who encourage the workers to be individualists, want the workers to sell each other out so that all can be exploited. As Mao said, there should be democratic centralism among the people. The working class has a collective interest and should only have one party. When the workers are encouraged to use their ‘individual choice’ to vote for different parties they are simply being deceived into voting for different factions of their oppressors.
What of the Maoist-Third Worldism? Mao was a Third Worldist as his Three World’s analysis demonstrates. He also thought that revolution in the advanced countries might take longer than in other countries. Did he give up on all hope of revolution in the imperialist countries? The worker in the imperialist nation has a higher standard of living due to unequal exchange and the greater level of investment in technology this can finance. But the capitalist cannot survive unless they force the worker to make profits for them whatever plunder is shared with the worker. Thus, there is oppression but there is also a benefit from imperialism. Mao left the question of revolution in the imperialist nations open and did not impose a dogma. He acknowledged the difficulties of the revolution in these countries, especially in terms of knowing when the revolution would come. However, he was certain that it would happen. Nationalism in a Third World country is progressive, elsewhere it is reactionary. In the imperialist nations we must urge the workers to pull down the flag and stamp on it. The workers in these countries should never support their government when it goes to war against anyone. If they chose chauvinism, they will live out their lives as better off slaves (albeit wage-slaves). They will lose their chance to realise their historic destiny.
It must be said that Lin Biao was a traitor. His self-interest and treachery grievously undermined Mao and his allies in the Communist Party. It strengthened the capitalist roaders. There was no ‘Lin Biaoism’. He just repeated the views of Mao and then he tried to flee the country to join socialism’s enemies.
What of the future? Let us make the revolution. If we have doubts and uncertainties let us not spend a life-time criticising others and coming up with our own half-baked answers that always lead to revisionism. We do not know the answers so let us find the answers in the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao rather than picking this bit from Mao and that bit from the bourgeois and trying to mix it all together. We are not born knowing the answers and we cannot learn them from the bourgeoisie. We must follow the line of Mao Zedong thought. Parties that follow Mao Zedong thought will make victory. The right line is learned from practice and we must study Mao’s practice. The correctness of line determines everything and will bring victory to the proletariat.