The collapse of the Soviet Union and the introduction of a naked capitalism in that country and in Eastern Europe, as a consequence of the counter-revolutionary policy of Gorbachov and Yeltsin, represent a turning point in the international situation. It is a victory for imperialism and reaction.
These counter-revolutionary events exacerbated all basic contradictions in the world: the contradiction between socialist countries and imperialism, the contradiction between oppressed people in Asia, Africa, Latin-America and imperialism, the contradictions between monopolies and imperialist powers and the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie. The forces of reaction, racism, fascism and war have started their offensive on a world scale.
In this situation, parties and organisations, that stay loyal to the revolutionary principles of marxism-leninism, are trying to draw the lessons from the counter-revolutionary processes which destroyed socialism in the Soviet Union. Faced with the offensive unleashed by the reactionaries, they feel the need to unite for a counter-offensive in favour of the oppressed and exploited masses, in order to keep high the flag of socialism and communism and to restore confidence in the socialist future of mankind for all those who are fighting against capitalism and imperialism.
We have drawn up a minimal common framework allowing marxist-leninist organisations of different tendencies to meet, to exchange experiences and analysis and to take common initiatives.
This minimal common framework, stated in this document, will allow us to discuss frankly and openmindedly the important ideological and theoretical divergences and to tackle the current issues of policies and tactics. That minimal common framework will allow us to start a process of theoretical and political unification.
Since 1956, the international communist movement has been devided and has fallen apart. The revisionist line adopted by Khrushchev is the first and main cause of division. Later on, the anti-revisionist movement itself split under the influence of ultra-leftist attitudes.
Today, as a result of the restoration of capitalism under Gorbachov, the "pro-Soviet" tendency crumbled into innumerable tendencies. In the sixties, a "pro-Chinese" tendency emerged but splitted into various tendencies after Mao's death. There has been a "pro-Albanian" tendency, which also splitted after the collapse of socialism in Albania, and a so-called "pro-Cuban" tendency, mainly in Latin America. Some parties, finally, maintained an "independent" position vis-a-vis the tendencies mentioned.
Whatever one's opinion about the correctness or the necessity of these splits at a certain point in history may be, it is nowadays possible to overcome these divisions and to unite the Marxist-Leninist parties, which are divided in different currences.
All Parties that remain loyal to marxism-leninism are aware that revisionism has weakened and divided the International Communist Movement and that it has finaly degenerated into open treason.
After the complete restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, all the communists must agree that revisionism is the most dangerous ideological enemy of Marxism-Leninism. Life has proved that revisionism represents the bourgeoisie within the communist movement.
In the past, several parties and organisations gathered on the basis of a specific political and ideological orientation. Within the various groupings, some parties succeeded in striking deep roots among the masses, acquired a revolutionary experience of their own, and succeeded in linking Marxism-Leninism to the reality of their country. Within each of these groupings, some organizations have deviated to Left or Right opportunism, roamed about without a grip on the struggle, and disappeared.
In the present situation, all parties that stick to the revolutionary principles of marxism-leninism feel the need to overcome the former divisions and to unite.
Communists must unite on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. When it comes to uniting, on an international level, parties and organizations with a quite different history, it's impossible to require an ideological unity beforehand. We have to accept that disagreements, however serious they might be, may exist for a long time; we have to accept criticism and countercriticism, and to preserve unity by keeping in mind the common interests of the whole movement. Upholding both Marxism-Leninism and unity are two aspects of a consistent revolutionary policy.
Since it was created in 1919, the International Communist Movement has stirred history and changed the outlook of the world. The Second Congress of the Communist International held in July 1920 adopted a constitution, requirements for admission, the Manifesto and other essential resolutions which characterized the international communist movement vis-a-vis Social Democracy. Until 1956, it kept its revolutionary orientation and its unity; its strength and its influence in the world never ceased to increase.
In order to reappear on the world scene as a significant current, the International Communist Movement must claim this common history.
Lenin continued the revolutionary work of Marx and Engels and developped it under the new conditions of imperialism. He drew the principles of the creation of the Communist Party, elaborated the strategy and the tactics of the socialist revolution and put them into practice. He denounced social-democracy as the ideology of the bourgeoisie and of imperialism inside the working class movement. He formulated the guidelines for the socialist construction under the dictatorship of the proletariat. He set up the Communist International and defended proletarian internationalism.
Stalin applied the leninist principles and under his leadership, the Bolchevik Party transformed a backward and ruined country into an industrialized socialist country. The collectivisation and modernisation of the soviet agriculture, the socialist industrialisation, the cultural revolution, the building of strong defense forces, the victory in the patriotic anti-fascist war, the reconstruction of the country and the adoption of a consistant foreign policy defending world peace and supporting the anti-colonial and anti-neocolonial struggles in Asia, Africa and Latin America are achievements of an historical and world wide significance.
Stalin maintained the idea that class struggle goes on under socialism. He stressed the fact that the old feudal and bourgeois forces didn't cease their fight for restoration, and that the opportunists within the Party, the Trotskyites, the Bukharinists, the bourgeois nationalists and the bureaucratic elements helped the antisocialist classes and strata to gather their forces together.
Khrushchev imposed its revisionist line to the Soviet Party and part of the International Communist Movement. This line was formulated in his report to the XXth Congress, his secret report on Stalin, and his report to the XXIInd Congress.
In 1956 Khrushchev has launched an attack on Stalin's internal and foreign policy in order to change the fundamental ideological and political line of the Party. Subsequently, a gradual degeneration of the political and economic system followed. Krushchev's theories on the "State of the whole people" and "the party of the whole people" led to the destruction of the dictatorship of the proletariat and a cessation of the class struggle against the bourgeois forces and influences. The theory of the "cooperation between the Soviet Union and the United States in the struggle for peace and security for all the peoples" strongly jeopardized the anti-imperialist struggle. Its theory on "the parlementarian and peaceful path to socialism" strengthened the social-democrat tendencies within several communist parties.
Brezhnev never questioned the revisionist programme of the XXth and XXIInd Congress. He even "developed" the theses on "the state and the Party of the whole people", and declared that the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union was no longer possible. He destroyed all revolutionary vigilance and let bureaucratism, technocratism, careerism and corruption develop. In regard to other communist parties and socialist countries, he often applied a policy of intrusion and control.
Under Gorbachov and Yeltsin, revisionism was pushed to its final consequences, Soviet Union was dismantled and a wild capitalism was installed.
In the whole world, the bourgeoisie celebrates the defeat of socialism. In fact, we have witnessed the defeat of revisionism that Khrushchev initiated 35 years ago. This revisionism ended in a complete economic failure, in the capitulation in front of imperialism, in a capitalist restoration, in a social catastrophe and in reactionary civil wars.
Khrushchev started his destructive work by alleging that his critics of Stalin's errors were aimed at restoring Leninism in its original purity. Gorbachov made the same demagogical promises to disorient the leftist forces. But the criticism of "stalinism" was only a trick to camouflage the attacks on all marxist-leninist principles. The day Gorbatchev completely destroyed "stalinism", he declared his open hostility to leninism and his adherence to social democracy.
The discussion about the experience of the CPSU under Stalin must be reopened inside the International Communist Movement. Anti-stalinism has been the Trojan horse for anti-communism, introduced in the ranks of the International Communist Movement.
For a certain period of time, there will continue to be differences in the assessment of the different policies put into effect by comrade Stalin. These discussions should be dealt with in a scientific manner and on the basis of a revolutionary class perspective.
History shows that, after the XXth Congress of the CPSU, the majority of communist parties strongly underestimated Khrushchev revisionism.
In the sixties, Mao Zedong and Enver Hoxha were best to grasp the dangers of revisionism. Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Sung, Che Guevarra and other communist leaders made important contributions to the fight against revisionism.
In the light of the degeneration of the Soviet Union there is a need to revaluate the work of comrade Mao Zedong. By leading the national-democratic revolution and by transforming it into a socialist revolution in a large Third World country, he made a contribution of world-wide significance. Mao Zedong resisted Khrushchev and later on Brezhnev's revisionism. He made the first attempt in history to bring the masses into the fight against degenerative tendencies within the Party.
Different opinions in the International Communist Movement on the merits of Mao Zedong will remain for a certain time; they must be approached scientifically, seeking truth from the facts and in a revolutionary class spirit.
The ideological struggle against revisionism is a complex and prolonged task. Revisionism, that destroyed so many parties, will not disappear spontaneously. Tito's revisionism had been criticised by the International Communist Movement as early as 1948. Khrushchev, in developing his opportunist course,did no more than refurbish Tito's revisionist ideas. If the revisionist ideas and theses are not analyzed and criticised in depth, they will continue to exist and the liquidationist current can strike again and claim new victims. The relationship between the lines of Khrushchev and Brezhnev and the policies of Gorbachov, must be analyzed in detail, as well as the development of the degenerative process from its origins till its outburst.
The pernicious influence of revisionism facilitated a revival of social-democracy (a bourgeois trend) and Trotskyism (an anti-communist trend). The struggle against the social-democratic and trotskyist ideologies is a condition for the development of the marxist-leninist movement.
Khrushchev started to destroy the unity of the International Communist Movement by cutting all relations with those parties that opposed his revisionism. In some countries, where the leadership was following Khrushchev's revisionism, it was correct for the communists to set up new marxist-leninist parties.
But subsequently, sectarianism and ultra-leftism resulted in innumerable unjustified splits. Real differences were exaggerated to the point f antagonism and split. There have been important ideological and political conflicts about Czechoslovakia in 1968, Cambodia in 1979,Afghanistan in 1980, the liquidation of the tendency around Chiang Ching in 1976, the Three World Theory in 1977, the line of Deng Xiaoping in the early 1980s, and so on.
All these conflicts were important. Fundamental disagreements have to be clarified, but it requires time and a serious materialist and dialectic analysis and debate. Each party should have seriously studied the different colliding points of view, formulate its own point of view while preserving the unity of the movement.
Every party applies the Marxist-Leninist principles to the present reality according to its own conception. Nobody can demand concessions on questions judged to be questions of principal. Every party defines its policy in complete independence. But this doesn't contradict the duty to maintain the unity of the International Communist Movement, for this unity is also a question of principleof first importance.
The habit of the CIA and other secret services to exploit the disagreements between communist parties is very well documented. The enemy is aware of the importance of unity among communists and he often supports all centrifugal tendencies, sponsoring at the same time Right revisionism and Leftist positions, in order to accelerate divisions and splits.
By safeguarding the movement's unity, each Party will be able to learn more and faster. We can learn not only from the parties with which we generally agree, but also from those with whom we have major differences.
First of all, our judgment can be wrong.
Secondly, experience has taught that Parties can draw lessons from certain aspects of the mass work, the experiences, the theoretical work, and so on of Parties with whom we have differences.
Thirdly, fundamental disagreements must not preclude certain forms of cooperation and common struggle as regards to racism, trade union rights, anti-imperialist struggle, etc.
Fourthly, we must take possible developments into account. Some parties with which we desagree may correct themselves, or some factions may develop positively.
Finally, the parties with which we desagree may degenerate completely, and openly turn to the bourgeoisie. Maintaining relations with such parties can teach us many useful lessons by negative example.
We have decided to organise a single common initiative that should be realistic, adapted to the present reality and needs, to bring together, once a year or every two years, all communist parties loyal to marxism-leninism and proletarian internationalism.
A realistic unitary initiative can guarantee efficiency and optimum results enabling us to rationalise to the maximum the use of our time and our leading cadres.
Most communist parties, notably in the Third World, don't have the necessary financial resources nor executives to travel abroad several times a year in order to meet the different components of the International Communist Movement.
The resources of each of our organisations are limited. None of us can thoroughly study all essential subjects. We can have only a limited number of valuable practical experiences each year. Each of us, in order to progress faster, must make an effort to assimilate the best theoretical works and the best practical experiences of the others. This also pleads for a unitary initiative.
In the present situation, it is not possible to build an new international organisation on the model of the Third International with a leading body and a common discipline for all members. The basic aim of the unitary communist initiative is to stimulate exchanges and cooperation.
For the moment, the most suitable organisational form for the unitary initiative are the seminars. Their first purpose is to exchange of informations, documents and analyses. Through the presentation of political and theoretical analyses and reports of practical experiences, the different parties learn to know each other and to share their knowledge.
Secondly, debates on crucial issues of common interest will be organised.
Thirdly, coordination of actions and activities can be organised on a volontary basis.
Resolutions will be drafted in the spirit of a broad concensus. Each party and organisation has the right to sign or not to sign a resolution and to participate or not to participate in the proposed activities.
Draft resolutions have to be submitted before the seminar starts.
As the struggle against imperialism and imperialist aggressions assumes a special importance in the present situation, the seminar to be held in Brussels on May 1996 will deal with these issues. Papers will be presented on the revolutionary experiences of some parties as well as papers analysing the actual strategy of imperialism and resolutions and propositions for action.
A coordinating group will be set up to take charge of this seminar and of the other tasks formulated by common aggreement. The comrades of the Belgian Party of Labour will be in charge of the fullfillment of this decision.
The 1997 seminar will take the form of an international conference of the Communist Movement, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Great October Revolution. We hope that this Conference can be organized in the former Soviet Union and that the marxist-leninists of the former Soviet Union can join in its preparation.
The 1997 Conference should tackle at least these points.
To prepare the 1997 Conference, a book will be published in 1995-96, containing a series of analyses written by different parties, on the first two points.
It is necessary to publish a theoretical journal to keep in touch with the different parties, to exchange experiences and analyses and to organize debates on a regular basis. The coordinating group will study the possibilities and modalities of such an initiative.
Revolutionary anti-imperialist organizations who don't adhere to Marxism-Leninism, can be invited to attend the 1996 seminar as observers.