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The Towering Crimes of Deng Xiaoping

by Bob Avakian, Chairman of the RCP,USA

Revolutionary Worker #896, March 2, 1997


On January 29, 1979, RCP Chairman Bob Avakian rose to address hundreds of Maoist revolutionaries in Washington, DC. This was ten years before Deng Xiaoping ordered the infamous 1989 Tiananmen massacre--but Deng had already committed historic crimes in China.

Deng was in Washington to cement a close new alliance with U.S. imperialism. This moment symbolized an embrace, at the highest levels of U.S. power, for the sinister changes that Deng has brought to once-revolutionary China. But this would not happen unopposed--the Maoists had gathered to challenge and denounce Deng's treason in the streets of imperialism's capital. Police attacked the march in what became an international incident.

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Two years earlier, after Mao's death in 1976, rightist forces led by Deng inside the Communist Party of China seized overall power. Revolutionaries all over the world were put to the test. Would they go along with the pro-capitalist approach preached by this new Chinese leadership? There were those who answered "yes"-- including some leading figures at that time within the RCP,USA itself.

In that difficult time, Chairman Avakian of the RCP,USA stepped forward. He exposed Deng Xiaoping and the rest of China's new leadership as "capitalist roaders." Avakian upheld Mao Tsetung and the cause of revolution.

The U.S. ruling class responded by trying to destroy the revolutionary leadership of the RCP,USA. At the 1979 Deng demonstration, Chairman Avakian had been arrested, along with others who became known as the Mao Tsetung Defendants. And the government threatened him with several lifetimes in prison on trumped-up charges--forcing him into exile in 1980.

Here are excerpts from that historic speech that Chairman Avakian gave to the revolutionaries gathered in Washington, DC on January 29, 1979.

Real Freedom in Mao's Revolutionary China

I remember a song, I think it came out in the 1960s, by Nina Simone. I remember the words to it very clearly: It said, "I wish that I knew what it felt to be free." It's a very moving song, but the song itself does not provide an answer to that question. But we know we have the answer. It's not an answer we have only from books, but it was an answer being provided in living reality by the struggle and the achievements of the Chinese people and the Chinese revolution taking our class of people and the oppressed people throughout the world to the greatest heights we have yet scaled...

The Chinese people knew, as we long to know. They had the taste of freedom in their mouth, and they knew what it meant to be free. Not yet free of all classes. Not yet free of every bigshot who would oppress the people. But free of the kind of madness, that daily hell, that we have to go through in their so-called "greatest of all countries."

And Deng Xiaoping wants to tell the Chinese people and the people around the world that they should aspire to live like we have to live in this hell-hole that they call a country!

The Chinese people...knew what it felt like to hold your head up and not have to bow before anyone. They were tasting and they were bringing about in reality what we can only still dream about, though we're working every day to turn our dream into reality. They knew that dream, and sometimes it seems an impossible dream, of what it would be like not to have these goddam pigs coming down the street brutalizing us and shooting us down for nothing more than trying to walk with a little pride.

They knew what it meant to be free of discrimination. They knew what it meant to be free of back-breaking, mind-breaking, and body-breaking grinding work for some boss who doesn't deserve nothing himself more than to be stuck in the ground. They knew what it meant to be free of all the decadence and decay and humiliation. They knew what it meant to be free of a society where people are driven so half-mad that they'll kill each other over a parking space. That's what this "greatest of all countries" is all about--and we know because we taste its bitter taste in our mouths every day. That's why we throw it all back up and we're going for revolution.

The Chinese people, they knew what it meant, not through some magical gift from a condescending savior, or some god descending out of heaven, but through their own struggle on the soil which they nurtured with their own blood in their millions. But there were others--snakes in the grass, back-biters, double-dealers and traitors, sawed-off revisionist pimps like Deng Xiaoping, and the rest of these strutting peacocks who're gonna get cut down to size before too long by the Chinese people.

Capitalist Roaders like Deng

There were these people who maybe took part in the revolution. They even waved their achievements around like capital and told everybody, "Get in line and listen to me because I'm a veteran of the revolution." Maybe they took part in it, even maybe they were heroes in it up to a point, but their view of revolution was still the old self-seeking one.

They thought the revolution was about taking the tanks away from Chiang Kai-shek and letting them ride on top of them. That's what they thought the revolution was about--taking away the palatial mansions of the old exploiters and letting them live in them....That it was a question of using the people's struggle for your own gain...

And so they didn't like the way the Chinese revolution was gonna go. They didn't believe it when Mao said we've got to go on to communism, this is only the first step. They said, "Oh, no. This is quite far enough. I'm tired." "I want to settle down and have all this for myself. That's what we made revolution for, wasn't it?"...

Pushing Forward the Revolution, Or Going Back to Capitalism

Now the masses of people, for whom it's a struggle every day, the people whose work, whose sweat, pushes society forward and whose struggle keeps things moving forward, they wanted to keep on making revolution. They wanted to keep on going forward because they saw there was much to be done to advance mankind to communism and that, as Mao taught them, even then we have to keep on struggling to resolve contradictions. We can never settle down and have a nice little tea party.

But Deng Xiaoping and them, they bitterly hated this. They had only wanted to make revolution in order for them to get in, in order for them to have their chance to ride on the back on the people. And they were even willing to go down on their knees once again before the foreigners if they thought they could replace Chiang Kai-shek as the one selling the Chinese people and selling China.... Mao Tsetung said, "No, we've got to go forward." And they isolated Mao... they couldn't knock Mao down, but they encircled him. They tried to hound him every day...

It came to a head in the Cultural Revolution, when Mao said, alright, we'll see...you think you've got control over the Party positions, you got the bureaucracy locked up, you're handing out the patronage jobs, well we'll see. We'll see who's got the real power down here when we unleash the masses. And all these revisionists ran for cover like rats and the people tracked 'em down like rats, club in hand. They smashed this dude Liu Shaoxi and Deng Xiaoping, they drove 'em out of office...

Counterrevolution from the Inside

I remember when I was in China, the first time in 1971...there was this group of little kids about 5-6 years old. We went to visit a grammar school there. They talk about how terrible the educational system was under the "gang of 5."* I thought it was tremendous. I had never seen anything like it, because I'd never been to a country controlled by the working class before....

These little 5 and 6-year-olds, and I'm telling you they weren't full grown adults but just like some of these young brothers and sisters around here now--they knew basically what they were talking about and they came out and did a dance about supporting the struggle of the world against imperialism, and they knew what the hell imperialism was... And I remember thinking to myself, I would die before I let those imperialists in the U.S. drop bombs on these little kids.... And I remember carrying that feeling with me but then what happened?

The U.S. imperialists were not able to drop bombs on China, they were not able to wipe it out from the sky or from the outside, but Deng Xiaoping and Hua Guofeng did it. GODDAMN IT! They did it right from the inside. They did it without bombs having to be dropped. They wiped that out through their back-stabbing treachery, that they carried off in their coup of October 1976....It fills me up with hatred for Hua Guofeng and Deng Xiaoping, for wiping out what those Chinese people had gained, for wiping out the future that was being shown brilliantly in the faces of those young kids.

And today, they want to wipe out altogether the banner of revolution. They want to use both sugar-coated bullets and real bullets to wipe out revolution. They want to hold up Deng Xiaoping and Hua Guofeng--I'm talking especially about the people who rule this country and their kind throughout the world. They want to hold up what's happened there, and say, "See? Revolution is impossible. Your dreams of being free will never be realized. You will never know what it feels like, not to have to go through this madness."...

Deng Xiaoping is talking about modernization, and praising the benefits of living in a country like this, an imperialist country. We know what modernization means. Look at Washington D.C. Here you've got all these modern buildings, here you've got all thse modern imperialists and the masses of people are living in rat holes, with modern rats, modern roaches, modern landlords, modern pigs, modern machines exploiting us. No one has to tell us about the glories of modernization...

They're trying to trample the banner of revolution into the dust... There are storms gathering. There are going to be upheavals. And they know it... People are going to look for a way out. They're going to look for a banner that's clear, that's firm, that's uncompromising, that stands for the way forward, and is held up by people who are determined to make a way forward....We're going to raise that banner of revolution up. We're going to prepare the people every day to make revolution. We're going to organize ourselves and strengthen our ranks. We're going to go out among the people and rip the mask off of this enemy. We're going to educate, we're going to mobilize, we're going to organize, and most of all, we're going to prepare the people for when the time comes, when the contradictions boil up, when the system can't go on the way it's going on, when people are driven to the wall, and say I'd rather die than live one more day like this.



* Mao and his closest revolutionary comrades at that time, who were known as the "Gang of Four." After Mao's death, the four, including Mao's wife, Chiang Ching, were arrested by Deng and the counterrevolutionaries who seized power in China.

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