p Right- and “Left”-wing opportunism have much in common. For all their outward difference, the opportunists of the Right and “Left” wings concur in the main thing: they both distort the Leninist theory of the socialist revolution, and downgrade the role of the working class and its vanguard— the Marxist-Leninist parties—in the socialist revolution and socialist construction. Both abandon the principles of proletarian internationalism, thereby weakening the struggle against imperialism and impeding the development of the revolutionary process. Both are marked by nationalist narrow-mindedness in their assessment of many key 434 problems of the revolutionary struggle. Such narrow-mindedness sometimes ends in actual chauvinism. This is especially true of the opportunists and Left-wing sectarian adventurists, who cover up their activities by ultra-revolutionary phraseology. Any type of opportunism weakens the revolutionary movement and plays into the hands of the bourgeoisie. The imperialist bourgeoisie view any brand of opportunism (which is also common to both the Right- and the “Left”-wing varieties) as a political ally in the struggle against the communist movement.

p Both Right-wing opportunism and the “Left”-wing variety make concessions to nationalism and sometimes openly espouse it. Lenin long ago noted this connection. "The ideological and political affinity, connection, and even identity between opportunism and social-nationalism are beyond doubt.”  [434•* 

p The Communist and Workers’ Parties, which firmly maintain the purity of Marxism-Lenini; m, are waging a resolute struggle against anti-Sovietism, \\hich provides a common platform for Right- and “Left”-wing opportunism. The present tactics used by the imperialists in the struggle against the communist movement are support for any forms of antiSovietism. The bourgeois ideologists and bourgeois propaganda, Leonid Brezhnev stressed, "have been trying to induce the opportunist elements in the Communist Parties to make something of an ideological deal. They appear to be telling them: just give us proof that you are anti-Soviet, and we shall be prepared to proclaim that you are the true ‘Marxists’, and that you are taking completely ’independent attitudes”’.  [434•**  Communists point out that anti-Sovietism is doing great harm to the cause of the peoples’ social and national liberation, and that, if unity of the communist movement is to be achieved, it must be recognised that the common interests of the entire world revolutionary movement are most fully and profoundly expressed in the strategy and tactics of the CPSU. Addressing the CPSU’s TwentyFourth Congress, Georges Marchais said: "Indeed all the liberation movements, all the battles for social liberation, 435 national liberation and peace enjoy the support of the world socialist system, in the first place of the Soviet Union. That is precisely the reason why anti-Sovietism, whatever its form and whatever its origins, is a crime against the interests of the working class and of the peoples. We have fought and will continue to light it in the most resolute manner.”  [435•*  Loyalty to Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism is incompatible with anti-Sovietism, that poisoned weapon of the imperialist reactionaries and their accomplices.

p Both the Right- and “Left”-wing varieties of opportunism are marked by subjectivism and an inability to analyse reality scientifically. Adapting itself to the day-by-day happenings, Right-wing opportunism and revisionism ignore or misunderstand deep-lying historical processes. “Left”– wing opportunism turns a blind eye to significant and fundamental changes, and is divorced from reality, clinging to yesterday’s positions.

p “Left"-wing opportunism (especially its extreme adventurist forms) is not always linked with dogmatism and conservative thinking. The ideological sources of “Left”-wing opportunism are, as a rule, of an eclectic nature, forming as they do a fanciful congerie of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois theories, Utopian and reactionary ideas, and long-familiar revisionist and dogmatic views. The essence and forms of “Left”-wing opportunism are determined by numerous socioeconomic, political and ideological factors. In combating the various forms of opportunism, the Communist Parties make a point of identifying the concrete sources and manifestations of a particular type of opportunism. One thing is beyond doubt: “Left”-wing opportunism is, more often than not, associated with immature forms of the working-class and democratic movement. The reactionaries consciously take advantage of this to undermine the positions of the progressive forces, fan ultra-radical and anarchist sentiments among the politically immature youth, and set it against the socialist countries, the Communist and Workers’ Parties.

p Being equally hostile and alien to creative Marxism, Right-wing opportunism and its “Left”-wing variety, far 436 from being mutually exclusive, complement and boost each other. It is precisely the Leftist mode of thinking that ignores reality, often seeks to turn Marxism-Leninism into a dead abstraction, and provides a pretext for revisionist allegations of the “dogmatic” nature of the revolutionary doctrine.

p With their fear of the new and their inability to creatively develop Marxist-Leninist theory, the “Lefl”-wing opportunists create a situation in which the revisionists can don the disguise of “creative” Marxists.

p In their turn, the Right-wing revisionists, by attempting to invalidate the revolutionary content of Marxism, enable the dogmatists to pose as “orthodox” Marxists and present their dogmas as revolutionary principles, thus grossly distorting Marxist-Leninist theory and tactics. The revisionists describe as “dogmatists” those genuine Marxists who resolutely uphold the revolutionary essence of Marxism-Leninism.

p An inability to creatively apply Marxism-Leninism in an analysis of new facts gives rise to an imaginary contradiction between dogmatically understood theoretical principles and falsely interpreted facts. This provides a basis for a Right- or “Left”-wing revision of certain fundamental Marxist principles. The Right-wing revisionists contrapose the new facts and phenomena to the very fundamentals of revolutionary theory, and demand its revision and an abandonment of Marxism-Leninism.

p A successful struggle against Right- and “Left”-wing opportunism is impossible without overcoming dogmatism, and without a sound application of Marxism-Leninism in the specific conditions of a particular country or stage of development. Only a genuinely creative application and development of Marxism-Leninism in dealing with concrete problems of the revolutionary struggle can make it possible to deal a death blow at the spurious “creativeness” of the revisionists and the imaginary Marxist-Leninist “orthodoxy” of the “Leftists”.

p Stressing the connection between the Vietnam people’s successful struggle and the loyalty of the Vietnam Working People’s Party to Marxism-Leninism, Ho Chi Minh wrote: "The Party has been tirelessly combating reformist bourgeois trends and petty-bourgeois political adventurism in the 437 national movement, the Leftist phraseology of the Trotskyites in the working-class movement, and the Right- and ‘Left’-wing deviations within the Party.... Marxism– Leninism has helped us to stand up to all trials.”  [437•* 

p Patent testimony to the kinship between Right- and “Left”-wing opportunism is provided by the evolution of individuals and entire ideological and political trends from revisionism to joining the enemies of socialism. The history of the working-class movement is replete with examples of certain leaders or even parties, starting out with a dogmatic ossification of Marxism-Leninism and doctrinaire “ orthodoxy”, and backsliding into the camp of revisionism and becoming avowed enemies of Marxism.

p Such was the case with certain "Left-wing Communists" in the Comintern and with the Trotskyites and Zinovievites in the USSR, who rapidly went over from “revolutionary” slogans to support of dyed-in-the-wool Right-wing reactionaries. Many inveterate sectarians, dogmatists and Left-wing adventurists, all those who were opposed to Leninism, the USSR, the world’s first socialist country, and the Leninist Party, ended up in the camp of the enemies of socialism, the revolution and Marxism-Leninism.

p Trotskyism, as is common knowledge, came out under the false flag of a more “Left”-wing and more “revolutionary” trend than Leninism. The Trotskyites proclaimed themselves “genuine” fighters for the world revolution, while in actual fact they were fighting against Leninism. Trotskyism propounded the so-called "permanent revolution”, whose cornerstone was a denial of the possibility of socialism triumphing in one or several countries prior to the world revolution.

p The Trotskyites saw the main task of victorious proletariat, not in building socialism but in waging revolutionary wars against imperialism and in instigating revolutions in other countries. The Trotskyites considered a world war the most important way of achieving the goals of the world proletariat. All their “theories” were marked by a lack of faith in the revolution’s internal forces and in the possibility of victory for the socialist revolution in Russia.


p A lack of faith in the triumph of socialism on a national scale gave rise to the thesis of the "degeneration of the Party" and the inevitable "restoration of capitalism" in the USSR. At the Seventh Enlarged Plenum of the Comintern’s Executive Committee in 1926, the Trotskyites tried to accuse of Right-wing deviation, not only the CPSU but the entire Comintern. Intertwined in Trotskyism were “Left”-wing adventurism, Social-Democratic survivals, and brazen slander against the leadership of the Communist Parties and the Comintern.

p Double-dealing, splitting and factionalist activities were characteristic of Trotskyism. Levelling slanderous accusations against the Comintern and the CPSU, Trotskyism publicised itself as the "sole revolutionary party”, and tried to appropriate the right to be called a "Leninist opposition”, and a "revolutionary minority" allegedly destined to bring about a revolutionary revival of the “bourgeoisiefied” Communist Parties. In demanding freedom of factions in the Communist Parties, the Trotskyites undermined the foundations of ideological unity and sought to destroy the Parties’ organisational structure serving the interests of leadership of the revolutionary mass struggle. Trotskyism became an utterly reactionary force and a mainstay of the reactionary bourgeoisie in its struggle against the international revolutionary movement.

p Much of the Trotskyite ideological and political arsenal has been borrowed by the present-day “Left”-wing opportunists and sectarians, who have objectively formed a united front with revisionism and against Marxism-Leninism and the world communist movement.

p A departure from Marxist-Leninist ideology and sinking into the morass of revisionism lead to anti-Sovietism and anti-communism. A good example in point is the evolution of Milovan Djilas. the Yugoslav revisionist and renegade from communism. Just like the renegade Karl Kautsky, who, exposed by Lenin, tried to give an ideological “ substantiation” of the need for armed intervention against the young Soviet Republic, Djilas is now calling on the "free world‘s” reactionaries to join in the struggle against the socialist community. Some renegades from Marxism, in fact the accomplices of the Right-wing revisionists in 439 Czechoslovakia, demanded that bourgeois governments should sever diplomatic relations with the USSR and other socialist countries; they are now calling for the overthrow of the working-class rule in the socialist countries.

p In the present-day conditions, Right-wing revisionism is a kind of stimulator of Leftist deviatory trends. Beside the immediate harm it does to the communist movement, revisionism provokes, as it were, the emergence of “Left”– wing opportunism and its growth as a false antithesis to the Right-wing deviation. "The international communist movement, "said Todor Zhivkov,"cannot remain indifferent to this. It is an old truth that, no matter how much they war among themselves in the realm of theory, those who depart to the ‘Left’ of Marxism-Leninism and those who depart to the Right, in effect help each other and ultimately come together under one and the same banner, the banner of anti– communism.”  [439•* 

p Although the Right-wing and the “Left”-wing brands of opportunism are one in their hostility to creative Marxism, either of these opportunist trends may emerge as the main danger at different junctures, this depending on the socioeconomic conditions in individual countries. Which form of the distortion of Marxism is more dangerous to a Communist Party at a particular time depends on the concrete historical conditions, and on the particular form that has the greatest weakening effect on the revolutionary movement in the given conditions, and impedes the development of the class struggle.

p Thus, any deviations from Marxism-Leninism undermine the Communist Parties’ militancy and weaken the positions of the working class and the unity of the anti-imperialist forces.

p Of course, the struggle against opportunism in all its varieties is, in the first place, a matter for the respective Communist and Workers’ Parties to decide for themselves. The Communist Parties cannot make progress unless they wage a resolute struggle for the purity of Marxism-Leninism. Al the same time, however, historical experience has shown 440 that, if this struggle is discontinued in any section of the revolutionary movement, that has a negative effect on the movement as a whole.

p The experience of the CPSU’s struggle against anti– Leninist factions has shown that the danger of opportunism arises wherever it is not combated. A Communist Party cannot allow itself to slacken even for a moment the propaganda of Marxism-Leninism. It must vigilantly preserve the purity of the revolutionary doctrine, tolerating no compromise in the struggle against bourgeois ideology; it must be constantly on the offensive against Right- and “Left”-wing opportunism.

p The international communist movement arose and has developed in an uncompromising struggle against the antiMarxist-Leninist ideology and practices of opportunism, revisionism and “Left”-wing adventurism, nationalism and sectarianism. Past and present experience has shown that major successes in the revolutionary struggle are achieved by those Parlies which resolutely combat all types of opportunism and “Left”-wing sectarian adventurism, as well as centrism.

p “In the present epoch,” Leonid Brezhnev has stressed, "when the international class struggle has grown extremely acute, the danger of Right and ‘Left’ deviations and of nationalism in the communist movement has grown more tangible than ever before. The struggle against Right- and ‘Left’-wing opportunism and nationalism cannot therefore be conducted as a campaign calculated for only some definite span of time. The denunciation of opportunism of all kinds was and remains an immutable law for all Marxist-Leninist Parties.”  [440•* 

Loyalty to Marxism-Leninism, that great internationalist teaching, is a guarantee of further successes for the communist movement. The Communist and Workers’ Parties see their task in firmly upholding proletarian internationalism and the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist principles against any attacks, unswervingly implementing them, constantly developing Marxist-Leninist theory, and enriching it with .the current experience of the class struggle and socialist construction.

* * *


[434•*]   V. I Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 154.

[434•**]   24th. Congress of the CPSU, p. 27.

[435•*]   Greetings to the Twenty-Fourth Congress of the CPSU, p. 289.

[437•*]   Ho Chi Minh, On Lenin, Leninism and Unbreakable SovietVietnamese Friendship, Selected Articles and Speeches, Politizdat, Moscow, 1970, p. 206 (in Russian).

[439•*]   International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, Moscow 1969, p. 292.

[440•*]   L. I. Brezhnev, Following Lenin’s Course, p. 303.