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Left Archive: Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist), Red Patriot, August 1982 including Communiqué of the Central Committee of the CPI (M-L) on the Occasion of the Party’s 12th Anniversary June 21, 2010

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist Leninist), Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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CPIMLREDPAT82

Many thanks to Tommy Graham, editor of ‘History
Ireland’
, for this donation.

This addition to the Archive actually comprises of two documents. The first is a neatly presented and reworked Red Patriot which was restarted after an hiatus of two years or so as the Organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist). The second is a lengthy Communiqué of the Central Committee of the CPI (M-L) on the Occasion of the Party’s 12 Anniversary.

Both provide useful insights into the nature of the CPI (M-L) at this point in time, a period where it had shifted from support for Mao Zedong Thought, which had characterised its position during the 1970s, to support for the Party of Labour of Albania.

Red Patriot contains a varied selection of articles, leading with commemorations of the H-Block hunger strikes, one year on from the deaths of the hunger strikers. The article notes that “No one who fights for Irish freedom can be called a criminal!” and that:

…the immediate cause for which Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty and Thomas McElwee and the other martyrs fought – the prisoners five demands – have still not been fully achieved; the patriotic prisoners of the H-Blocks, as well as Armagh, Crumlin Road, and not forgetting the Irish prisoners subjected to inhuman conditions in jails in Britain : – all these are still fighting in various ways for the recognition of their rights to be treated as political prisoner, out of their just refusal to be treated as criminals.

This strong identification with national struggle continues throughout. A short ‘Report: Recent H-Block Commemoration’ notes:

… the events of this commemoration serve to illustrate the role of the Irish bourgeoisie and the Free State apparatus, gardai etc., as national traitors and native sell-outs to British imperialism.

The Editorial is written beside the slogans ‘Bolshevise the Party! Disseminate the Marxist-Leninist Line! Prepare the Conditions for Revolution!’

It notes the publication of the Communiqué and continues:

The restatement of CPI(ML)’s Marxist Leninist political line and the thorough repudiation and public condemnation of the revisionists, who came up internally to try to destroy our Party over the last three years or so, open up great prospects for CPI (ML) to advance its work and influence over the next period.

It also argues that:

The existence of the genuine Communist Party of the working class, based on Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, is the most crucial subjective factor in developing the conditions for revolution, when it comes, is carried through to a successful conclusion…

Other pieces deal with the struggle in Palestine, health workers in Northern Ireland ‘alongside their class brothers and sister in Britain’ and information on the Second International Sports and Cultural Festival Britain 1982. Included on the list of events are performances of Cornelius Cardew’s Instrumental Compositions and a Memorial Competition for Musical Composition. There is a page devoted to the Centenary of the birth of Georgi Dimitrov. Also included are a number of Albanian centred reports.

This latter feature is part of the shift in the ideological positioning of the CPI(M-L) where, as noted in the Communiqué:

The work of the Party was a great achievement, made in the teeth of complex and adverse conditions — attacks by British imperialism and the Irish bourgeoisie and their state powers, as well as from the social-democrats and the revisionists, not least from Chinese revisionism. It was this last achievement which stood the Party in great stead and ensured that CPI(M-L) has been able to overcome both the adverse effects of Maoism and the concerted attempts by revisionist cliques amongst the former leaders of the CPI(M-L) to subvert and liquidate our Party over the last three years or so, and turn CPI(M-L) into yet another revisionist Party, to wipe out once again the essential Marxist-Leninist headquarters of the Irish working class.

It mentions the repudiation of “Mao Zedong Thought” which it traces back to the historic Report of the Central Committee of the Party of Labour of Albania of Comrade Enver Hoxha to the Seventh Congress of the PLA, in November 1976. It notes that

…our party militantly denounced the Chinese revisionists as a new aggressive social-imperialist power, when China launched its perfidious and hostile attack on the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania and the PLA, by cutting off all internationalist aide and all trade with socialist Albania in July 1978. Our Party denounced the origins of Chinese revisionism in the anti-Marxist theory of “Mao Zedong Thought” in September 1979.

It also refers to internal struggles where ‘former leading cadres of our Party… formed revisionist factions which both colluded and contended with one another, and which attempted to use the opportunity of the repudiation of ‘Mao Zedong Thought’ as a Trojan horse to smuggle revisionism into the heart of the Party, so as to eliminate everything revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist which had been established in CPI(M-L) since its foundation, on the hoax that this was ‘carrying through the repudiation of Maoism and its effects on CPI(M-L).’

And…

In this struggle, the Central Committee has had the particular, important assistance of our fraternal parties, the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), as well as the profound inspiration of the growing strength and unity of the International Marxist-Leninist Communist Movement and the heroic example of the struggle of the Party of Labour of Albania, headed by Comrade Enver Hoxha, against revisionism — against the Titoites, Kruschevites, Maoists, Eurocommunists etc. which were brilliantly summed up in Comrade Enver Hoxha’s Books — ‘Imperialism and the Revolution’, ‘Reflections on China’, ‘The Kruschevites’ etc.

The account of the struggles within the CPI(M-L) references the British and Irish Communist Organisation, the Socialist Party of Ireland and others. There is particularly interesting reference to:

The promotion of revisionist lines to conciliate and collaborate with the revisionists, social-democrats and opportunists, and in general, with the labour aristocracy controlling the trade unions, under the hoax that this was ‘repudiating the main error of CPI(M-L)’s past under the Maoist influence, ‘left sectarianism’ which became a trend in articles on the workers’ struggles in ‘Red Patriot’ during 1979, in particular for a short time support for the slogan of the labour aristocracy in the campaign against the burden of PAYE income tax, ‘Tax the Greedy, not the Needy’ which had been developed by the revisionist so-called ‘Sinn Féin the Workers’ Party’.

It would be useful to see copies of Red Patriot from that period. Obviously at this remove it is difficult to assess the accuracy of the charges, but what is striking is how the influence of those other formations, and perhaps as importantly the concepts they promoted, impinged, even rhetorically, on the CPI(M-L). This is not to overstate that dynamic or that influence, but simply to note that on the further left it existed to some limited extent both as a pole of attraction and repulsion.

Also outlined are the ‘Basic Principles and Programme of the CPI(M-L).

All in all a useful addition to the Archive which clarifies the self-perception of CPI(M-L) as it entered the 1980s.

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Comments»

1. Phil - June 21, 2010

clarifies the self-perception of CPI(M-L) as it entered the 1980s.

Poor buggers.

I wrote about my own brush with the Hoxhaites here. That old RCPB(M-L) slogan “Make the rich pay for the crisis” has weathered rather well, it has to be said.

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Starkadder - June 21, 2010

“Make the rich pay for the crisis.”

The English industrial band Test Dept. actually sampled an
English woman saying that and other Hoxhaite phrases on
their “The Unacceptable Face of Freedom” album-it also
has a song that mentions the dirty protests in NI.

Has Tommy Graham ever discussed his time in the CPI (ML) ?
It would be interesting to hear a former member’s account.

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Phil - June 22, 2010

I remember that track. I always assumed it was Radio Tirana – later on there’s the line “This is the model dictatorship of the proletariat”.

It closes with a cut-up – “The truth is- the truth. The truth is- the truth.” A bit cruel, but quite a good summing-up of that beleaguered they’re wrong, they’re wrong, but we’re right” mentality.

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WorldbyStorm - June 21, 2010

Phil, that’s a good anecdote on your site. Like the link too.

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2. ejh - June 21, 2010

“Red Patriot” is a curious title, especially given the slogan that stands just above it. What was that about?

Having come into politics myself in the early Eighties, just when this sort of stuff was largely disappearing, I often feel I missed a lot that was probably worth missing…

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3. PJ Callan - June 22, 2010

Interesting addition to the archive, thanks for sharing Tommy. You must have a treasure trove of other stuff (hint, hint)

On the last page of the newspaper there is a reference to “one of the CPI(ML)’s songs ‘Dawn Is Breaking’ – any chance of the lyrics or info on what other songs the ML’s had?

ejh – here’s a quote from Mao Tse Tung that might make sense of the term ‘Red Patriot’ for you.

PATRIOTISM AND INTERNATIONALISM

Can a Communist, who is an internationalist, at the same time be a patriot? We hold that he not only can be but must be. The specific content of patriotism is determined by historical conditions. There is the “patriotism” of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler, and there is our patriotism. Communists must resolutely oppose the “patriotism” of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler. The Communists of Japan and Germany are defeatists with regard to the wars being waged by their countries. To bring about the defeat of the Japanese aggressors and of Hitler by every possible means is in the interests of the Japanese and the German people, and the more complete the defeat the better. This is what the Japanese and German Communists should be doing and what they are doing. For the wars launched by the Japanese aggressors and Hitler are harming their own people as well as the people of the world. China’s case is different, because she is the victim of aggression. Chinese Communists must therefore combine patriotism with internationalism. We are at once internationalists and patriots, and our slogan is, “Fight to defend the motherland against the aggressors.” For us defeatism is a crime and to strive for victory in the War of Resistance is an inescapable duty. For only by fighting in defence of the motherland can we defeat the aggressors and achieve national liberation. And only by achieving national liberation will it be possible for the proletariat and other working people to achieve their own emancipation. The victory of China and the defeat of the invading imperialists will help the people of other countries. Thus in wars of national liberation patriotism is applied internationalism. For this reason Communists must use their initiative to the full, march bravely and resolutely to the battle front of the war of national liberation and train their guns on the Japanese aggressors. For this reason, immediately after the Incident of September 18, 1931, our Party issued its call to resist the Japanese aggressors by a war of national defence, and later proposed a national united front against Japan, ordered the Red Army to reorganize as part of the anti-Japanese National Revolutionary Army and to march to the front, and instructed Party members to take their place in the forefront of the war and defend the motherland to the last drop of their blood. These are good patriotic actions and, far from running counter to internationalism, are its application in China. Only those who are politically muddle-headed or have ulterior motives talk nonsense about our having made a mistake and abandoned internationalism.

– Mao Tse Tung, “The role of the Chinese Communist Party in the national war”

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ejh - June 22, 2010

I am not wholly sure that quotes from the late Chairman and swimming champion explain very much to me at all.

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LeftAtTheCross - June 22, 2010

ejh,

I don’t know, it does seem reasonably clear from the quote that patriotism (equated with defence of the motherland during wartime) was something that was promoted by Stalin and adopted by Mao.

If you’re saying that patriotism equates with nationalism and thus clashes with the internationalism of the banner statement “Workers of all countries unite!” I’d tend to agree.

But that apparent contradiction isn’t one which would be limited to the Maoists I would have thought?

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ejh - June 22, 2010

No, but it’s still a very unusual title for a Marxist paper to choose, isn’t it?

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4. Starkadder - June 22, 2010

What’s with the bit about Carole Evans (nee Reakes),
Alan Evans and David Vipond leaving the party over disputes? Does
anyone know more about this?

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5. Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen (und nicht so radikalen) Linken « Entdinglichung - June 23, 2010

[...] * Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI M-L): Red Patriot, August 1982 [...]

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6. Bashkohuni! « The gaping silence - June 26, 2010

[...] in the Cedar Lounge Revolution‘s continuing series of ‘Left Archive’ posts, viz. Communist Party of Ireland (Marxist-Leninist), Red Patriot, August 1982 (including Communiqué of the Central Committee of the CPI (M-L) on the Occasion of the [...]

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7. A request for the Archive in relation to the CPI (M-L) in the late 1970s. | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - July 15, 2013

[…] it appears there was a serious disagreement in that party. This is detailed, albeit obliquely, in this document here in the Archive from CPI (M-L) from […]

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