Hold High the Invincible Banner of Marxism-Leninism
Article of the newspaper "A Classe Operaria", central organ of the CP of Brazil (July 1977),
published in “'Zëri i Popuillit”, of August 30, 1977
Albania Today, 1977, 5
Four years ago, “A Classe Operaria” published the article “On the Anti-Imperialist Struggle". This article was an affirmation of the resolute stand of the CC of the CP of Brazil in connection with the false role which was being attributed to the so-called third world. This article armed the Brazilian communists with a correct understanding of the problems connected with the anti-imperialist united front and gave them a clear perspective of the struggle for the revolution and the hegemony of the proletariat.
Since that time, life has fully confirmed the assessment made in this article. The party was not sucked in by the harmful orientation which preached reformist solutions according to the theory of the third world to the dependent countries. Thus ideological confusion in its ranks was avoided.
Today, when the confusing, counter-revolutionary theory of three worlds is taking form and efforts are being made to implant it in the communist movement, the article. “On the Anti-imperialist Struggle” is assuming greater importance and is very valid today for our Party. Although all the problems included in this theory are not dealt with, the arguments which the article presents are opposed in essence to the mistaken theses from which it is formed.
At the present time, the ideological debate is centred on the theory of three worlds, against all aspects of which a consistent struggle must be waged. We are living at a moment when everyone must take his stand. Just as in the sixties, the question is posed again, whether to accept or reject an orientation which is a fundamental violation of the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism.
One of the arguments most in fashion which the partisans of the theory of three worlds are spreading is the hypothetical decadence of US imperialism. This decadence allegedly determines the possibility that US imperialism can become one of the allies in the struggle against social imperialism and facilitate the rise of the third world. "A Classe Operaria” has opposed this thesis, which is neither new nor original and has always been linked with the "peaceful road", since that time.
The Brazilian comrades long ago recognised its real content. In 1945, basing himself on Browderism, Prestes defended the idea that "imperialism had lost its teeth”, and in this way, to some degree accepted that its nature had changed. According to him, the USA was no longer able to stop the advance of various countries to democracy. Thus he substantiated the opportunist orientation of the peaceful road which the party was following. It did not take long for it to be shown that this thesis was without foundation. In 1947, Truman went on the offensive, with the aim of establishing world domination, and the feeble democracy in Brazil was wiped out.
Later in 1956, it was Khrushchev who claimed that "imperialism had lost its teeth". Allegedly a profound change had taken place in the ratio of forces in the world, and this would allow the communist and workers' movement to achieve its objectives in a peaceful way. Moreover, with the "decadence” of imperialism, the conditions had allegedly been created for the existence of a world “without arms and without wars”. Such an orientation caused the revolutionary movement great harm and did not respond in the least to the reality.
Now this issue has emerged again on the political scene, decked out in new rayment, but still with the same opportunist character. By talking about the "decadence" of US imperialism, efforts are being made to minimize its aggressive and predatory activity, to present it as less dangerous than its Soviet rival, to justify alliance with it (reliance on one superpower to combat the other). If this theory were taken to its logical conclusion it would be catastrophic for the peoples.
As long ago as in his time, Lenin stressed that imperialism is capitalism in its death throes, in decay. Although it continues to develop as a system, it has now reached its peak, and is in its fatal decline. In this way we can speak of the decadence of imperialism, both US imperialism and Soviet imperialism and the others. This shows that the historical conditions are ripe for socialism, that the proletarian revolution has become an objective necessity.
However the decadence about which the partisans of the theory of three worlds are speaking is something quite different. According to them, the decadent imperialism is the one which is falling behind its competitors, the one that is in decline in comparison with the positions it occupied earlier in the context of its exploitation of the world. In this case, they say, its nature is not what it was before and it can play a positive role in the struggle against the more powerful forces, and even become a reserve of the revolution. But the very nature of capitalism in its monopoly phase is aggressive, expansionist, and predatory. It will continue to display this character in any circumstances, and will carry it to the grave. It is known that British, French, German and Japanese imperialism have lost their former "brilliance" and that the ambitious post-war plans of US imperialism are being cut back. Nevertheless, British imperialism coped with Nazi Germany. In the fifties British imperialism, together with French imperialism, attacked Egypt. In the fifties and sixties the French monopolists waged the war in Indochina and Algeria. German and Japanese imperialism are raising their heads and preparing to secure a “place in the sun”. In regard to US imperialism, it has been the banner-bearer of armed aggressions since World War 2. They have all suffered defeats at the hands of the national liberation movements. Despite this, however, they have not reconciled themselves to defeat, have not become harmless to the peoples, and certainly not their friends. All of them, without exception, are striving for expansion and trying to find neo-colonialist formulas to achieve their ambitions.
US imperialism is the savagest oppressor and exploiter of the peoples, one of the greatest enemies of national freedom and independence. With its use of the atomic bomb in Japan and the horrors of the war in Korea and Vietnam, it has shown just what it is capable of in its attempts to achieve its aims. The champions of the theory of three worlds say that now it is on the defensive, whereas social imperialism is on the offensive. But defensive does not indicate any change in the warmongering and exploiting nature of imperialism. On the contrary, frequently it is the form in which to prepare for a future aggression. In any case the question must be asked: who is on the offensive in the Middle East, Latin America and even the Indian Ocean region? Likewise in Spain and Portugal? Who commands the military union of Western Europe in the framework of NATO? It is clear that it is the USA despite the contradictions and differences it has with the governments of some of these states. One of the criteria for assessing the offensive or defensive positions of a given country, in regard to its ambitions for world domination, is its preparations for war. At present the USA is leading in the armaments race. In total volume, no other country spends so much, none is so intensively perfecting death-dealing weapons. Indeed, Carter is ready to order the serial production of neutron bombs, weapons intended to wipe out people on an unimaginable scale. The Soviet Union, too, is intensifying its armaments industry. It is increasing its war fleet to extraordinary proportions, has built up its stocks of nuclear missiles, and has created new types of devastating offensive weapons.
The fact is that US imperialism and Soviet social imperialism are competing fiercely for world hegemony and are preparing for a new world bloodbath. Each of them is striving to gain strategic positions. In a number of zones, the Russians are on the offensive, in others, the Americans. But their plans run up against the struggle of the peoples, who are dealing them continual blows and opposing their plans for domination, Sometimes they are forced to withdraw from the places in which they had been established, but they never abandon their ominous aims.
In trying to argue the "decadence" of US imperialism, the partisans of the theory of three worlds point to the superiority of social imperialism in all fields. It is true that capitalism develops unevenly, and consequently, it is possible that the Soviet Union will outstrip the USA but it cannot be said flatly that the Soviet Union is ahead of the Americans. It must be pointed out that the great development of the Soviet Union comes about as a result of its development in the period when it was a socialist country. Since it became an imperialist country, its foreign debts have increased, it has taken foreign capital to increase its production, its foreign trade has suffered serious upsets with the need to import colossal quantities of grain. It is incontestable that it has tried to expand and has transformed its allies into "satellites", is carrying on an extensive arms trade, and investing capital outside its borders in order to secure maximum profits. But this kind of development is precisely one of the factors leading to the decay of the new system. The USA has a great advantage in the basic branches of the economy and the total volume of gross production, in the financial field and in technology. And it is not lagging behind in the creation of a powerful military arsenal.
The superiority of one imperialist country over the others is a factor for war, because that country seeks to redivide the world to its own advantage, and this can be achieved only by means of force. There is no doubt that the Soviet Union has pretensions to world domination, is following a counter-revolutionary policy of aggression and hegemony. But the USA is still superior to Soviet social-imperialism.
And even if we accept that the Soviets will manage to surpass the Americans and take the initiative to launch an aggression on a world scale, would they be the only aggressors? Isn't the USA trying to establish its hegemony? In defending the positions they have, the imperialist countries (mainly the USA) are preparing to attack and defeat their rival. In inter-imperialist conflicts, there are no aggressors and victims of aggression, there is no just or unjust cause. The two sides incite aggression, the cause they defend is unjust. In war they are pursuing with other means the same expansionist, predatory policy they followed previously.
The Soviet Union, as a social imperialist power, must not be underestimated. It is a perfidious and savage enemy, one of the main inciters of war. Under the mask of socialism, which it has betrayed, and of Leninism, which it has denied, it is trying to pave the way to its domination over the peoples. The peoples are faced with the major duty of exposing it and destroying its hegemonic plans. But its opponent in world-wide rivalry, Yankee imperialism, is no less dangerous and no less barbarous. The hatred of the masses of the working people is focussed on it. Likewise, the struggle of the exploited and oppressed throughout the continents is directed against it.
It would be fatal for the proletariat to rank itself on the side of one or the other war-mongering group, to link itself with one of them. In this case, the two sides are the main enemy. In the time of the inter-imperialist war of 1914-1918, Lenin proclaimed the genuine proletarian policy, supporting the decisions taken in Basel against war and its transformation into a war for social liberation. The parties which wanted to find out which was the aggressor and which was the more dangerous in this fight between jackals slipped into chauvinism, betrayed the international cause of the proletariat. If the present-day Marxist-Leninist parties allow themselves to be sucked in by the absurdity that in every war, even in an inter-imperialist war, there is always a main enemy against which the working class must take the side of its rival, they would be making the criminal blunder, which led to the defeat of the Second International.
In conclusion, the so-called inferiority and "decadence" of the USA, preached by the theoreticians of the three worlds, serves to lull to sleep the revolutionary consciousness of those exploited by capital, to hitch them to the strategy of one of the two aggressive blocs. Likewise, the so-called aid which Soviet revisionism is giving for national liberation and its alleged desire for the reduction of tension on a world scale, propagated by the servants of the Kremlin, serve to deceive the peoples, to blunt their vigilance, to facilitate its domination over them. To rely on one of the two superpowers, under whatever pretext, to believe in their demagogy about peace, to accept that one of them can join the oppressed to help their liberation, means to commit the gravest blunder, to deviate from the principle of the class struggle, to turn one's back on the revolution and plunge into the filth of opportunism.
The so-called third world is introduced as a decisive part of the theory of the three worlds. In the present conditions, it is supposed to be the motive force of social development, the fundamental basis for the defeat of the superpowers, and first and foremost, for the defeat of the Soviet Union, defined as the main and most dangerous enemy. It allegedly represents a growing force, which is scoring victory after victory over imperialism. The countries it includes are allegedly advancing in the construction of an independent and progressive society.
It was a time when this third world, the world of the non-aligned or developing countries – three definitions, which express the same content, – appeared to be united and achieving considerable successes. This "world" surged ahead in the years 1972-1973. The demand for 200 miles of territorial waters was presented as a determined anti-imperialist stand (now, the United States, the Soviet Union and France, too, have established the 200 miles limit). The raising of the oil price was hailed as the liberation of countries oppressed by imperialism and the demand for the evaluation of raw materials of the third world was pointed out as a new road for national liberation. The third world became fashionable. Allende in Chile, Peron in Argentine, Velasco in Peru, Fidel Castro in Cuba – all considered themselves as belonging to the third world. Indeed, even Geisel fell in love with this trend. Precisely at this time certain revolutionary, socialist circles began to sing praises to the third world and consider themselves as an integral part of it, obscuring the distinctions in principle between socialism and capitalism.
Our Party never accepted this astonishing classification, or this tattered rag of the anti-imperialist united world front. As early as 1973 it revealed the incoherence and opportunist character implicit in it. “The prospect of a third position which some trends are giving the anti-imperialist movement is false, both theoretically and politically," stressed the article in "A Classe Operaria”.
Now, whether its apologists like it or not, the concept of the third world is in crisis. The so-called independence of the majority of these countries was nothing but a passing illusion. Changes have taken place in almost all of them, which have put an end to the alleged anti-imperialism of their governments. They have become still more dependent on the international finance capital (including that of the Soviet Union). According to figures published recently by the UN Conference of Trade and Development, on the basis of the figures released by World Bank, the foreign debts of these countries in 1974 were 80 billion dollars, whereas now they have reached 240 billion dollars. This is a heavy burden which has turned these countries into vassals of the big powers. At the same time, they are taking part in the armaments race. Never before have they bought so many modern weapons which bind them to the imperialist suppliers from the technical and military standpoints. The military coups or phoney elections have destroyed what was left of the democratic freedoms and have established ultra-reactionary and fascist systems. Their unity has been smashed. Annexationist tendencies emerged in some of them and bloody clashes burst out in many regions. India, Indonesia, Syria, Iran and others subjugated their neighbours by means of force or are organizing campaigns for such aims. Brazil subjugated the neighbouring countries to its own interests and is threatening Guyana. Peru and Chile are arming themselves and threatening each other. Guatemala seeks to annex Belize. Territorial conflicts in Africa are becoming more acute. Apart from the ominous aims of the ruling classes of these countries there are the manoeuvres of imperialism, which is trying to exploit the conflicts and quarrels to strengthen its own positions. The much trumpeted development of the productive forces in the backward countries is a dependent development, subordinated to foreign capital, totally in opposition to the interests of these nations.
And it could not be otherwise, because those who consider themselves of the third world are the ruling classes in the semi-colonial and dependent countries, and the governments which represent them. In general, these classes are reactionary because they have always been linked, in one way or another, with imperialism which they have never intended to destroy. They are guards protecting old structures. Threatened by the difficulties and under the great pressure of the revolutionary movement, they began to demand certain advantages. But the solutions which they propose, whether of an economic or political character, are interwoven with the "goodwill" and “aid” of the developed countries, that is, of the big monopolies. As they themselves say, they want to strike bargains with imperialism. They do not represent the genuine democratic and anti-imperialist movement which is undoubtedly growing in almost all zones of the world. On the contrary, this movement, which gathers in its ranks the majority of every nation, is resolutely fighting such classes and governments, traitors to the national interests.
Thus, how it can be said that these reactionary forces are motor of social development? How it can be accepted, without making a gross opportunist deviation, that this heterogeneous conglomeration linked with the monopolies represents the bastion of the struggle against the superpowers and for liberation from the yoke of imperialism? The Albanian comrades are completely correct when they stress that, “to speak in general terms about the so-called 'third world' as the main force of the struggle against imperialism and revolution, as the supporters of the theory of the 'three worlds' are doing, without making any distinction between the genuine anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces and the pro-imperialist, reactionary and fascist forces in power in a number of the developing countries, means a flagrant departure from the teachings of Marxism-Leninism and to advocate the typically opportunist viewpoints, causing confusion and disorganization among the revolutionary forces”.
It is a deception to call on the peoples to close their ranks around the third world, that is around the reactionary forces of the underdeveloped countries. In this way they will never achieve the solution of their fundamental problems, shake off the yoke of oppression and defeat their sworn enemies.
The partisans of the third world are deviating from the revolution, they do not want it and do not fight for it, because the revolution – an objective necessity for national and social liberation – is directed both against the external enemy, and against the reactionary and fascist governments of semi-colonial and dependent countries. The partisans of the third world formulated the thesis that the fundamental task of those countries is to ensure their economic independence, because allegedly they have their political independence. This thesis, with a reformist content, responds to the aspirations of the reactionary bourgeoisie. By mechanically separating economic independence from political independence, they deny the necessity for the revolution, subordinate the struggle of the people to the leadership of the bourgeoisie which is allegedly fighting for economic independence, when in fact it is opening the doors of the country to foreign capital and making enslaving agreements with imperialism. There is no doubt that the winning of genuine political independence is the fundamental premise for ensuring economic independence. Without the former, the latter cannot be won. Precisely for this reason it is necessary to carry out the revolution, because none, or almost none, of the countries of the so-called third world enjoys real national independence. In one way or the other they have been trapped in the web of imperialist domination, are suffering under the oppressive yoke of the foreign monopolies and still have a backward agricultural structure. In general, their governments are anti-popular. The peoples of the oppressed nations "can put an end to imperialist oppression and exploitation”, stressed the article of "A Classe Operaria” in July 1973, "only by following the road of the revolution. This must smash the main obstacles to national progress and independence, must overthrow the power of the reactionary forces, isolate the conciliatory forces, liquidate the bureaucratic apparatus, ensure extensive freedoms for the masses and create the people's armed forces". It also stressed that this task requires the leadership of the proletariat and an appropriate socialist perspective.
It is not correct to speak of an upsurge of the so-called third world. The true democratic and anti-imperialist movement is on the rise. It is developing on almost all the continents, coping with the most brutal reaction of the reactionary ruling classes of those countries. This movement, and not the third world, must be considered as a support basis and ally of the world revolution, as one of the pillars on which the strategy of international proletariat is based. It is a fraud to confuse this movement with the reactionary governments. This means to deny the principle of the class struggle, to plunge into the filth of reformism, of narrow and anti-progressive nationalism, it means to maintain the capitalist system on a world scale, which is in its final phase and in the throes of its general crisis.
In the strategic scheme of the theory of three worlds there is a so-called second world, which is presented as a victim of the plunder and oppression by US imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism. Allegedly it is threatened by the imminent Russian domination and opposes the growing pressure of the USA. Its members are supposed to be imperialist countries of Europe and Asia, as well as Canada, Australia and the European satellites of the Soviet Union. They allegedly have common demands which bring them into rapport with the dependent countries of the third world, which they can help and unite with in the struggle against the superpowers.
In fact, this second world is an opportunist invention. Although social imperialist threats and US pressures exist, the countries of Western Europe, Japan, Canada and Australia are allies of the USA and not of the dependent countries. The other bloc, that of Eastern Europe, despite the latent discontent, is the ally of the Soviet Union. Although elbowed out from their old domains as a result of the revolutionary movement, the European countries and Japan remain plunderers and exploiters of peoples as always. Their predatory and war-mongering nature has not changed. All of them employ neo-colonialist forms in their relations with the backward countries, keep close to the reactionary ruling classes of the oppressed nations with the aim of establishing the necessary connections for economic penetration and the strengthening of their political influence.
The aid of the second world for the third world is a fraud. For instance, to regard the nuclear agreement between Federal Germany and the Brazilian dictatorship as aid for the efforts of our people to ensure their true independence, would show a total lack of the revolutionary spirit. This agreement, which is thoroughly harmful to the fundamental interests of Brazil, and which is opposed by the broad patriotic forces, is a profitable deal for the German monopolies, a means which will enable them to get their hands on the reserves of uranium in our country, and in particular, will assist in the nuclear arming of Germany. It will also serve the Brazilian military regime to produce atomic weapons intended to threaten the neighbouring peoples and satisfy the megalomaniac great power ambitions of the fascist generals.
Federal Germany is now one of the biggest investors in Brazil, second only to the USA. The aim of its investments is not in the least different from that of US monopolies. It is mercilessly exploiting the Brazilian workers and people, drawing fabulous profits from their sweat and blood and the plunder of natural assets. Can it be said that the German monopolists act differently in other countries? They act in the same way everywhere.
The countries of the so-called second world not only invest capital, plunder the raw materials, provide high interest loans, and technical aid under heavy conditions, but also strive to secure key positions in the home markets of the undeveloped countries. They are acting more and more openly in the political field, too, trying to strengthen their influence there.
It is well-known that Federal Germany, jointly with the United States of America or for its own account, is carrying out intensive activity in this direction, in an effort to curb the political processes which are undesirable for imperialism. In Portugal and Spain it financed and provided political support for the so-called moderate circles of those countries, with the objective of closing the road to the advance of the Left. In Latin America it is trying to organize the social-democratic (or Christian-democrat) movement as a counterweight against the revolutionary forces after the fall of the dictatorships. France, which still has colonies, is intensifying its activity in Africa, trying to rally around the metropolis the countries which were under its domination in the past. It is selling them modern arms, accompanied with French technicians and advisers. It is also taking part in military actions, as in the case of Chad and Zaire. Britain, which is perpetrating aggression against the people of Ireland and undertakes acts of war against Iceland, is still rallying around itself the old colonies of the British Commonwealth. Although they have lost their so-called colonial majesty, the imperialist countries of Europe and Asia are still monopolist and colonialist. The financial income which is drawn from capital invested abroad, from their unequal trade with the undeveloped countries, the sale of arms, from the interest of usurious loans, etc., still represents a considerable part of their national incomes, that is, a part of the total volume of capitalist profits. They are enemies of the revolution, and the freedom and independence of the oppressed peoples. There are contradictions between them just as there are contradictions between them and US imperialism and Russian social-imperialism, which are inevitable contradictions between the exploiters, between wild beasts from the same pack.
The so-called unity of this "world" with what is called the third world does not serve the policy of national liberation, but serves the alliance of the imperialist countries of Europe and Asia with the reactionary ruling classes of the oppressed nations. It assists them to regain the positions they have lost and to intensify their plunder. This harmful orientation deceives the peoples with a false perspective, and creates confusion in the democratic and anti-imperialist movement. It is only natural that the contradictions in the imperialist camp can and should be skilfully exploited when the possibilities exist, but never by accepting that the enemy can be transformed into a friend because we have aims identical with his, and creating the illusion that he is ready to liquidate the system which belongs to him and which he is defending tooth and nail.
The theory of the three worlds is openly opposed to the Marxist-Leninist doctrine. The roads which they point to are different. The one leads to revolution (for national and social liberation) while the other, to the maintenance of the capitalist-imperialist system. One road favours the struggle for the hegemony of the proletariat, while the other binds the working class and the progressive forces to the bandwagon of the bourgeoisie. One road aids in strengthening the communist parties, in order to awaken and unite the broad masses of the exploited and oppressed, while the other divides the parties of the vanguard forces, merges the revolutionary struggle in a front dominated by reactionary trends. One enhances the political consciousness and fighting spirit of the working people and the masses of the people, while the other reduces the class consciousness of the proletariat.
The revolution is the main objective of the working class, it is the inevitable trend of our epoch. As far back as 1848, with the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels, the proletariat raised high its independent banner of the struggle against the bourgeoisie. This was not merely a formal proclamation.
That same year, it attempted to attain its socialist objectives in France and again threw itself into the attack in the heroic and ever relevant Paris Commune in 1871. It triumphed in old Russia in 1917. Likewise it attempted to seize power in Hungary and Germany after the First World War. Later, it triumphed in a number of countries of Europe and Asia. Because of the revisionist betrayal, it suffered a setback, but it stood gloriously in Albania and China. Whatever the zigzags of history, the future belongs to it. And for this reason it publicly proclaims its revolutionary objectives and never, under any pretext, conceals its socialist aims, because they are the beacon that illuminates its consciousness and the road to victory.
On various occasions attempts have been made to divert the proletariat from this correct course. The ideals in connection with the transformation of the world have been deliberately distorted. Thus the time came to take decisions, and these decisions divided the revolutionaries from the opportunists.
Now, too, the communist and workers' movement is living through a decisive moment; either to continue to forge ahead on the road opened by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, despite the very great difficulties which emerged for it, or to enter a deceptive blind alley, by accepting theories which have nothing proletarian about them.
The time has come to define one's stand. These are moments in which the ideological and political structure of every party, every leader, every vanguard militant is revealed. He who does not take a stand, in reality takes inconsistent, vacillating stands, devoid of any spirit of determination. The theory of three worlds is no ordinary theory, towards which one can adopt a neutral stand. It lays down the guidelines, it is an entire concept that claims to be the strategy and tactics of the revolutionary proletariat and calls for organization of the forces to put it into practice. A resolute struggle must be waged against it. Only struggle will help the honest elements who have been misled to correct their mistakes.
The Communist Party of Brazil will firmly adhere to the attitude it adopted in 1962 when it broke with revisionism, when it upheld the ideals of the revolution and took its place beside those who were defending Marxism-Leninism. It expressed its opposition to the theory of three worlds, to the strategy and tactics which stem from it, to creation of sham Marxist-Leninist parties to give it support. Four years ago, and indeed even earlier, in the article “On the Anti-imperialist Struggle", it opposed the opportunist attempts to abandon the common course laid down after the exposure of Khrushchev and his flunkeys. And it will continue to march forward on the same road.
Unity is a great thing. We will defend the unity of the revolutionary movement but on the basis of principle. We hail the courageous and unwavering stand of the Party of Labour of Albania and the other sister parties which have come out openly in defence of Marxism-Leninism, against the new opportunist trend on a world scale. These are consistent stands of historic importance, which clearly show the vitality and invincibility of the doctrine and ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin, of the proletarian revolutionaries of the present day. Marxism-Leninism will triumph throughout the world. Although the proletarian revolution has now suffered a number of setbacks, owing to the treachery of revisionists, the factors which condition this revolution continue to develop intensively and in colossal proportions. The day will come when mankind will make a new, powerful leap forward towards socialism and communism.