Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung

A Comment On The Statement Of The CPUSA

[SOURCE: Renmin Ribao, Editorial, March 8, 1963]

On January 9 of this year, the Communist Party of the United States of America issued a statement[*] publicly attacking the Communist Party of China. Certain comrades of the CPUSA have also made a number of other attacks on the Chinese Communist Party in recent months.

The CPUSA statement was particularly vicious in slandering the Chinese Communist Party for the position it took on the Caribbean crisis. It said that the Chinese Communist Party had advocated “a policy leading to thermonuclear war”, and that “this pseudo-Left dogmatic and sectarian line of our Chinese comrades dovetails with that of the most adventurous U.S. imperialists and gives the latter encouragement”.

What kind of talk is this? People cannot help being amazed that U.S. Communists should utter such shameful slanders.

The position of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people on the Caribbean crisis was very clear. We supported the five just demands of the Cuban Revolutionary Government, we were against putting any faith in Kennedy’s sham “guarantee”, and we were against imposing “international inspection” on Cuba. From the outset we directed the spearhead of our struggle against U.S. imperialism, which was committing aggression against Cuba. We neither advocated the sending of missiles to Cuba, nor obstructed the withdrawal of so-called offensive weapons. We opposed adventurism, and we also opposed capitulationism. We would like to ask: What was wrong with this correct position of ours? How can it be described as “a policy leading to thermonuclear war”? What was there about it that “dovetails” with the line of U.S. imperialism?

It is not hard to see that there is a line which does dovetail with that of U.S. imperialism. On the question of the Caribbean crisis, certain leaders of the CPUSA direct the spearhead of their struggle, not against U.S. imperialism, the criminal aggressor against Cuba, but against the Chinese Communist Party, resolute supporter of Cuba. In this respect, aren’t they really cheek by jowl with the most adventurous U.S. imperialists?

Since you describe the Chinese comrades, who resolutely oppose U.S. imperialism, as being “pseudo-Left”, we would like to ask: What do you consider to be the genuine Left? Can it be that those using the sovereignty of another country as a counter for political bargaining with U.S. imperialism are to be considered the genuine Left? To act in that way is indeed to be through-and-through pseudo-Left, or rather, genuinely Right.

It is no accident that certain leaders of the CPUSA have attacked the Chinese Communist Party on the question of the Caribbean crisis. This action is a reflection of their completely wrong understanding of U.S. imperialism and their completely incorrect class stand.

For a considerable period, certain leaders of the CPUSA, in their reports and statements, have been doing their utmost to prettify U.S. imperialism, to prettify Kennedy, the U.S. imperialist chieftain, and to affirm their loyalty to the U.S. ruling class.

They spoke highly of Kennedy’s idea of the “New Frontier”, which extends U.S. spheres of influence over all six continents, saying that “to speak of a New Frontier, as Kennedy does, is good”.[1]

They praised Kennedy’s Inaugural Speech, which called on the people of the United States to make sacrifices to promote the cause of U.S. imperialism, saying that it was “a possible opening on the road to peace”.[2]

They sang the praises of Kennedy’s State of the Union message of 1961, where he proclaimed the dual tactics of counter-revolution in the words, “The American eagle holds in his right talon the olive branch, while in his left is held a bundle of arrows”, and said it was “welcomed by the overwhelming majority of the American people”.[3]

They held that the Kennedy Administration’s “main mass support” is “the working class, the Negro people and the peace forces”, and they wished for “a shift in policy... in the direction of peace and democracy” on the part of the Kennedy government.[4]

From Kennedy’s 1962 State of the Union message, in which he announced the stepping up of armaments to realize the U.S. goal of world domination, they drew the conclusion that the Kennedy Administration “can be compelled to yield to the pressures from the people”.[5]

They described Kennedy’s action supporting the Rockefeller group in its attack on the Morgan group during the 1962 incident concerning steel prices as having “awakened anew the anti-monopoly tradition of Americans” and “rendered a great service”.[6]

Commenting on Kennedy’s 1963 State of the Union message in which he expressed the intention of using nuclear blackmail to establish “a world of order” led by the United States, they played up his statement that “we seek not the world-wide victory of one nation or system but a world-wide victory of man” and described this deceitful rubbish as Kennedy’s “recognition of world realities”, which “most people were happy to hear” and which inspired “hopefulness”.[7]

They said that they would “any day and every day” take an oath not to advocate using violence to overthrow the U.S. government. When someone asked, “If the Soviet Union attacked the U.S. whom would you support?”, the answer was, “I would defend my country if I thought it was being attacked . . .”.[8]

Statements of this sort by certain leaders of the CPUSA, prettifying U.S. imperialism and affirming their loyalty to it, have nothing in common with the Marxist-Leninist conclusions about U.S. imperialism set forth in the Moscow Declaration and the Moscow Statement.

Presenting a scientific analysis of U.S. imperialism, the Moscow Declaration and the Moscow Statement clearly point out that U.S. imperialism is the greatest international exploiter, the centre of world reaction, the chief bulwark of modern colonialism, the international gendarme, the main force of aggression and war, and the enemy of the people of the world.

Under the cover of “peace” and “disarmament” U.S. imperialism is stepping up arms expansion and war preparation. It is preparing for wars of all types, for all out nuclear war as well as for limited wars, and it is already waging “special warfare”. In order to suppress and sabotage the national-democratic revolutionary movement and to promote neo-colonialism all over the world, and especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America, U.S. imperialism is using dual counter-revolutionary tactics  —  using the dollar and armed force both alternately and simultaneously  —  and is employing the revisionist clique of Yugoslavia as its special detachment for this purpose. U.S. imperialism is voraciously plundering the wealth of many countries, not even sparing its own allies. Since World War II, U.S. imperialism has taken the place of German, Japanese and Italian fascism and rallied around itself all the most reactionary and decadent forces of the world. Today it is the most parasitic, most decadent and most reactionary of all capitalisms. It is the main source of aggression and war.

From the reactionary nature of U.S. imperialism, from its policies of aggression and war and from world realities, more and more people everywhere are coming to see ever more clearly that U.S. imperialism is the most ferocious enemy of all oppressed people and nations, the common enemy of the people of the world and the chief enemy of world peace.

Some leaders of the CPUSA will probably say they do not deny that U.S. imperialism is perpetrating criminal aggression and waging war in various parts of the world. When they mention these criminal activities, however, they always hasten to add that these evils are not the work of the president of the United States, but of the “ultra-Rights”, or are done by the president under the pressure of the “ultra-Rights”. They have described the former U.S. president, Eisenhower, and the present president, Kennedy, as being “sober-minded”, “realistic” and “sensible”. These leaders of the CPUSA often speak of “two power centers in Washington, one in the White House, the other in the Pentagon”, and speak of “the Pentagon generals and admirals and their coalition partners among the ultra-Rights, the Republican leaders and Wall Street” as forces independent of the White House. We should like to ask: Do the leaders of the CPUSA still accept the Marxist-Leninist theory of the state and admit that the U.S. state apparatus is the tool of monopoly capital for class rule? And if so, how can there be a president independent of monopoly capital, how can there be a Pentagon independent of the White House, and how can there be two opposing centres in Washington?

Let us consider, for instance, the present U.S. president, Kennedy. He is himself a big capitalist. It is he who ordered the armed invasion of Cuba in 1961, and who ordered the military blockade and war provocations against Cuba in 1962. It is he who has carried on the inhuman “special war” in southern Vietnam, who has used the “United Nations force” to suppress the national liberation movement in the Congo, and who has organized “special forces” in a frantic effort to crush the national-democratic revolutionary movement in various Latin American countries. Every year since he became president, Kennedy has greatly increased U.S. military spending. Kennedy’s 1963-64 budget calls for military expenditures of over $60 billion, or over 30 per cent more than the $45.9 billion for military expenditures provided in Eisenhower’s 1959-60 budget. These facts show that the Kennedy Administration is still more adventurous in pursuing policies of aggression and war.

In trying so hard to portray Kennedy as “sensible”, are not these CPUSA leaders serving as willing apologists for U.S. imperialism and helping it to deceive the people of the world?

The fact that certain leaders of the CPUSA are so eager to prettify U.S. imperialism and so eager to affirm their loyalty to the ruling class of the United States recalls to mind Browder’s revisionism, which existed in the CPUSA for some time. This renegade from the working class, Browder, denied Lenin’s basic thesis that imperialism is parasitic, decaying and moribund capitalism, and denied that U.S. capitalism is imperialist in its nature, maintaining that it “retains some of the characteristics of a young capitalism” and would play a progressive role and be a force for world peace for a long time. Why don’t these leaders of the CPUSA stop and consider: What is the difference between your present embellishment of U.S. imperialism and Browder’s revisionism?

It is obvious that differences of principle exist in the international communist movement today as to how to appraise and how to deal with U.S. imperialism, the arch enemy of the people of the world.

We have always held that, basing ourselves on Marxism-Leninism and taking things as they really are, we must constantly expose the reactionary nature of U.S. imperialism, constantly expose the policies of aggression and war pursued by U.S. imperialism, including its government leaders, and clearly point out that U.S. imperialism is the chief enemy of the people of the world. We must ceaselessly carry on revolutionary propaganda among the masses of the people, arm them ideologically, enhance their revolutionary staunchness and vigilance, and mobilize them in waging the struggle against U.S. imperialism.

However, there are certain persons who, while calling themselves Marxist-Leninists, do their utmost not only to prettify U.S. imperialism, but also to stop others from unmasking it. They smear revolutionary propaganda against U.S. imperialism as being nothing but “curses”, “vilification”, “verbal weapons”, “incantations”, “cardboard swords”, etc., etc. And they add, “vituperation alone, however just, will not weaken imperialism”. In the eyes of these persons, aren’t all the revolutionary propaganda undertaken by Communists since the time of the Communist Manifesto, all the writings of Marx and Engels exposing capitalism, all Lenin’s works exposing imperialism, the Moscow Declaration and the Moscow Statement jointly drawn up by the Communist Parties of the world  —  aren’t they all only “cardboard swords”? These persons completely fail to understand that once the theory of Marxism-Leninism grips the masses of the people a tremendous material force is generated. Once armed with revolutionary ideas, the masses of the people will dare to struggle and to seize victory, and they will accomplish earth-shaking feats. What then is the purpose of these persons in opposing the exposure of imperialism and in opposing revolutionary propaganda of any kind? It can only be to prevent the people from waging a revolutionary struggle against imperialism. Clearly, such a stand is completely contrary to Marxism-Leninism.

We have always held, moreover, that we must rely on the masses of the people to wage a tit-for-tat struggle against imperialism and its running dogs. This is the basic lesson the Chinese people have drawn from their 120 years of struggle against imperialism and its running dogs. It is also the common lesson which all oppressed nations and people of the world have drawn from their struggles against imperialism and its running dogs. The imperialists and the reactionaries in every country use every available means and method against the revolutionary people. It is therefore imperative for the revolutionary people of all countries to study and master every means and method of struggle that can hurt the enemy and protect and develop their own forces. Examples are: to oppose the counter-revolutionary united front of imperialism and its running dogs by a revolutionary united front of the masses against imperialism and its running dogs, to oppose dual counter-revolutionary tactics with dual revolutionary tactics, to counter a war of aggression with a war of self-defence, to counter negotiation with negotiation, to oppose counter-revolutionary propaganda with revolutionary propaganda, etc. That is what we mean by “tit for tat”. Experience has demonstrated that only thus can we temper and expand the forces of the people, accumulate and enrich our revolutionary experience and win victory for the revolutionary cause. And only thus can we puncture the arrogance of imperialism, stop imperialist aggression and safeguard world peace.

Certain persons, however, deliberately misrepresent and attack our view that a tit-for-tat struggle has to be waged against imperialism, charging that we are opposed to negotiations with the imperialists. Following them, the CPUSA in its statement also misrepresents and attacks this view of ours without any valid grounds. Actually, these persons are not unaware that the Chinese Communist Party has consistently approved of negotiations between socialist and imperialist countries, including summit meetings of great powers, in order to settle international disputes peacefully and relax international tension. They are also aware that the Chinese government has made positive efforts and important contributions to this end.

Why then do these persons keep on distorting and attacking this correct stand of ours?

The basic reason is that there is a difference of principle between them and us on the question of the fundamental policy for fighting imperialism and defending world peace. We place our confidence in the great strength of the masses. We hold that in fighting imperialism and defending world peace we should rely mainly on the unity and struggle of the people of all countries, and on the concerted struggle of the socialist camp, the international working class, the national liberation movements and all peace-loving forces. In contrast, these persons have no confidence in the masses and pin their hopes not on the unity and struggle of the masses, but mainly on the “reason” and “goodwill” of the imperialists and on talks between the heads of two great powers. They are infatuated with the idea of summit meetings and laud them as marking “a new stage”, “a turning point in the history of mankind” and opening “a new stream in world history”.

In their opinion, the course of history and the fate of mankind are determined by two great powers and two “great men”. In their opinion, the statement that all countries are independent and equal irrespective of size is an empty phrase, and the hundred and more countries in the world ought to allow themselves to be ordered about by these two great powers. In their opinion, the statement that the masses are the makers of history is another empty phrase, and every matter under the sky can be settled if the two “great men” sit together. Isn’t this great-power chauvinism? Isn’t this the doctrine of power politics? Does this have anything in common with Marxism-Leninism? Actually, there is nothing new about this view, it has been copied from the renegade Browder. Browder said long ago that the “alliance” of the two greatest powers in the world “will be a great fortress for the collective security and progress of all peoples in the post-war world”, and that “the future of the world” depended upon the “friendship, understanding and cooperation” of the two greatest powers.

With an ulterior purpose, the statement of the CPUSA referred to Taiwan, Hongkong and Macao. It said that the Chinese comrades were “correctly, not following the adventurous policy in Taiwan, Hongkong and Macao that they advocate for others. Why this double standard approach?”

We know from what quarter they have learned this ridiculous charge. And we know, too, the purpose of the person who manufactured it.

Here we should like to answer all those who have raised this matter.

For us there never has been a question of a “double standard”. We have only one standard, whether in dealing with the question of Taiwan, whether in dealing with the questions of Hongkong and Macao, or whether in dealing with all international questions, and that standard is Marxism-Leninism, proletarian internationalism, the interests of the Chinese people and of the people of the world, the interests of world peace and the revolutionary cause of the people of all countries. In international struggles we are opposed both to adventurism and to capitulationism. These two hats can never fit our heads.

Inasmuch as some persons have mentioned Taiwan, Hongkong and Macao, we are obliged to discuss a little of the history of imperialist aggression against China.

In the hundred years or so prior to the victory of the Chinese revolution, the imperialist and colonial powers  —  the United States, Britain, France, Tsarist Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal  —  carried out unbridled aggression against China. They compelled the governments of old China to sign a large number of unequal treaties  —  the Treaty of Nanking of 1842, the Treaty of Aigun of 1858, the Treaty of Tientsin of 1858, the Treaty of Peking of 1860, the Treaty of Ili of 1881, the Protocol of Lisbon of 1887, the Treaty of Shimonoseki of 1895, the Convention for the Extension of Hongkong of 1898, the Treaty of 1901, etc. By virtue of these unequal treaties, they annexed Chinese territory in the north, south, east and west and held leased territories on the seaboard and in the hinterland of China. Some seized Taiwan and the Penghu Islands, some occupied Hongkong and forcibly leased Kowloon, some put Macao under perpetual occupation, etc., etc.

At the time the People’s Republic of China was inaugurated, our government declared that it would examine the treaties concluded by previous Chinese governments with foreign governments, treaties that had been left over by history, and would recognize, abrogate, revise or renegotiate them according to their respective contents. In this respect, our policy towards the socialist countries is fundamentally different from our policy towards the imperialist countries. When we deal with various imperialist countries, we take differing circumstances into consideration and make distinctions in our policy. As a matter of fact, many of these treaties concluded in the past either have lost their validity, or have been abrogated or have been replaced by new ones. With regard to the outstanding issues, which are a legacy from the past, we have always held that, when conditions are ripe, they should be settled peacefully through negotiations and that, pending a settlement, the status quo should be maintained. Within this category are the questions of Hongkong, Kowloon and Macao and the questions of all those boundaries which have not been formally delimited by the parties concerned in each case. As for Taiwan and the Penghu Islands, they were restored to China in 1945, and the question now is the U.S. imperialist invasion and occupation of them and U.S. imperialist interference in China’s internal affairs. We Chinese people are determined to exercise our sovereign right to liberate our own territory of Taiwan; at the same time, through the ambassadorial talks, between China and the United States in Warsaw we are striving to solve the question of effecting the withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from Taiwan and the Taiwan Straits. Our position as described above accords not only with the interests of the Chinese people but also with the interests of the people of the socialist camp and the people of the whole world.

Why is it that after the Caribbean crisis this correct policy of ours suddenly became a topic of discussion among certain persons and a theme for their anti-China campaign?

These heroes are apparently very pleased with themselves for having picked up a stone from a cesspool, with which they believe they can fell the Chinese. But whom has this filthy stone really hit?

You are not unaware that such questions as those of Hongkong and Macao relate to the category of unequal treaties left over by history, treaties which the imperialists imposed on China. It may be asked: In raising questions of this kind, do you intend to raise all the questions of unequal treaties and have a general settlement? Has it ever entered your heads what the consequences would be? Can you seriously believe that this will do you any good?

Superficially, you seem to agree with China’s policy on Hongkong and Macao. Yet, you compare it with India’s liberation of Goa. Anyone with a discerning eye can see at once that your sole intention is to prove that the Chinese are cowards. To be frank, there is no need for the Chinese people to prove their courage and staunchness in combating imperialism by making a show of force on the questions of Hongkong and Macao. The imperialists, and the U.S. imperialists in particular, have had occasion to sample our courage and staunchness. Shoulder to shoulder with the Korean people, the finest sons and daughters of the Chinese people fought for three years and shed their blood on the battlefields of Korea to repulse the U.S. aggressors. Don’t you feel it “stupid” and “deplorable” on your part to taunt us on the questions of Hongkong and Macao?

We know very well, and you know too, that you are, to put it plainly, bringing up the questions of Hongkong and Macao merely as a fig-leaf to hide your disgraceful performance in the Caribbean crisis. But all this is futile.

There is an objective criterion for truth, just as there is for error. What is right cannot be made to look wrong, nor can wrong be made to look right. To glory in your shame will not add to your prestige. How can the correct policy of the Chinese people on the questions of Hongkong and Macao be mentioned in the same breath with your erroneous policy on the Caribbean crisis? How can such a comparison help you to whitewash yourselves? Our resolute defence of our sovereignty in the matter of Taiwan is completely consistent with our resolute support of the Cuban people in defending their sovereignty during the Caribbean crisis. How can this be described as having a “double standard”?

We say to these friends who are acting the hero, it is you, and not we, who really have a “double standard”. With regard to the U.S. imperialists, one day you call them pirates and the next you say they are concerned for peace. As for revolutionary Cuba, you say that you support her five demands for safeguarding her independence and sovereignty, but on the other hand you try to impose “international inspection” on her. With regard to the Sino-Indian boundary dispute, you speak of “fraternal China” and “friendly India” on the one hand, but on the other you maliciously attack China and support the Indian reactionaries in diverse ways. As for Hongkong and Macao, while you ostensibly speak for China, you are actually stabbing her in the back. Are you not applying a “double standard” in all your actions? Is this not a manifestation of dual personality?

The Chinese Communists and the Chinese people and the Communists and people of the United States are fighting on the same front against U.S. imperialism. We highly esteemed Comrade William Z. Foster, builder of the CPUSA and outstanding leader of the U.S. proletariat. We have not forgotten that the U.S. Communists represented by him warmly supported us Chinese people in the difficult years of our revolution and laid the foundation for friendship between the Chinese and the U.S. Parties and between the Chinese and American peoples. U.S. Communists are now being savagely persecuted by the U.S. government; we have great sympathy for them in their difficult position. In a statement issued a year ago, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party condemned the U.S. government for its outrageous persecution of the U.S. Communists. The Chinese people also launched a mass movement in support of the U.S. Communist Party. But, for reasons beyond us, the leaders of the CPUSA did not think it worthwhile to inform its members and the people of the United States of the support given to the U.S. Party by the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese people.

The leaders of the CPUSA assert that they are conscious of their international obligations in the heartland of the world’s most powerful and arrogant imperialism. We will of course be glad if they indeed have a correct understanding of their obligations. In the United States, there is a powerful working class, there are extensive democratic and progressive social forces, and there are many fair-minded and progressive people in the fields of science, art, journalism, literature and education. In the United States, there are large-scale workers’ struggles, there is the ever growing struggle of the Negro people, and there is the movement for peace, democracy and social progress. In the United States, there is a broad social basis for a united front against monopoly capital and against the U.S. imperialist policies of aggression and war. And there are not a small number of genuine Communists, both inside and outside the Communist Party of the United States, who firmly adhere to Marxism-Leninism and oppose revisionism and dogmatism.

The leaders of the CPUSA can show that they really understand their international obligations and are fulfilling them, if they carry on and enrich the revolutionary tradition of Comrade Foster; if they identify themselves with the masses, rely on them and do arduous revolutionary work among them; if they combat the corrosive influence of the bourgeoisie and the poison of reformism in the working-class movement and eliminate the revisionist influence of the Lovestones and Browders from their ranks; and if they develop the revolutionary struggle of the American people against their imperialist ruling class and co-ordinate this struggle in the heartland of U.S. imperialism with the international fight of all people against U.S. imperialism. The Chinese people and the people throughout the world have the highest hopes for the working class and the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists of the United States.

Today, the urgent task confronting the Communists of all countries is to unite the people of the whole world, including the American people, in the broadest possible united front against imperialism headed by the United States. The great slogan “Workers of All Countries, Unite!” inspires the people of the socialist countries and the proletariat of all countries, inspires the oppressed people and nations throughout the world, and rallies them all to fight shoulder to shoulder in the common struggle against imperialism headed by the United States.

We Communists throughout the world must unite. We must unite on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism and on the basis of the Moscow Declaration and tile Moscow Statement and direct the spearhead of our struggle against the imperialists headed by the United States. We must carry through to final victory the great cause of the people of all countries for world peace, national liberation, democracy and socialism.



[*] Communist Party of the United States of America, On the Ideological Position of the Communist Party of China. New York. January 9, 1963. []

[1.] Gus Hall’s report to the National Committee of the CPUSA, Political Affairs, February 1961.

[2.] The Worker, January 29, 1961.

[3.] The Worker, February 5, 1961.

[4.] Policy Statement by Gus Hall, The Worker, July 16, 1961.

[5.] Political Affairs, February 1962.

[6.] The Worker, April 22, 1962.

[7.] The Worker, January 20, 1963.

[8.] The Worker, February 24, 1963.

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