Source: Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) (used with kind permission)
Date : 7 November, 1967
First published : Ganadabi 22 November, 1976
HTML Markup : Salil Sen for marxists.org September, 2007
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
When, in the post-Second World War situation, the liberation struggles of the exploited masses the world over appeared to be marching towards the ultimate victory, the insidious growth of revisionism in the leadership of international communist movement turned this prospect into an agonizing setback. How could this happen ? This speech analysed elaborately the root cause of all this and pointed out the ways and means to fight the danger of revisionism.
This year we are observing November Revolution Day in the midst of a number of very serious and significant events. You know that the international situation generally, and the post-Second World War international situation particularly, unfolded great possibilities before the liberation struggles of the exploited masses of the world. But through continuous deterioration since then, the situation has reached such an agonizing pass today, which you too must be feeling very much. On this great occasion I consider it necessary to analyse once again — in the perspective of the lessons and objectives of the November Revolution and the glorious example it set before mankind and the liberation struggles of the exploited masses — how could all this come about ?
The liberation struggles of the exploited masses are passing through an extremely complex and critical situation today. Whatever the difference or diversity in the form of struggle of the exploited masses in their specific course and twists and turns in different countries, it cannot be denied that the mass movements in each and every country today face an extremely critical situation. In those countries where revolution has not yet been achieved, that is, where workers and peasants have not yet come to power, socialist revolution or people's democratic revolution, as the case may be, under the leadership of the working class has not yet been victorious and in countries which are still fighting against imperialism for national freedom, for the establishment of independent sovereign national states, the movements are under intense counter-revolutionary attack by the reactionary cliques today. What is responsible for all this ? What is its nature ? Let us examine these questions thoroughly.
In the post-Second World War period, the emergence of a socialist camp as a world system or a system of states parallel to the imperialist camp, the weakening of imperialism and the attainment of national freedom from the clutches of imperialism by many countries and establishment of national states in these newly independent resurgent nationalist countries and, more particularly, the mounting surge of the national freedom struggle in many countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America created such a situation in the world arena that it appeared to many that the days of imperialism-capitalism were numbered. It seemed as though the dreams of the working class, the aspirations of the exploited masses were fast going to be fulfilled in the wake of successive victories of revolution in different countries. The international situation in the post-Second World War period indeed opened up such bright prospects before the liberation struggles of the exploited masses.
The Soviet Union, even taken singly, was formidable in strength at that time. Militarily, politically and economically, its supremacy was beyond question. It appeared that the Soviet Union alone was strong enough to confront the combined strength of the imperialist camp. Secondly, after the establishment of a New Democratic State in China through revolution, this country of seventy crore people joined the socialist camp with her formidable strength. Moreover, the people's democratic countries of Eastern Europe, Mongolia, North Korea and North Vietnam, etc., together, led to the establishment of a world socialist camp over a vast part of the globe. As a result, not only had the balance of world forces changed, the overall supremacy of imperialism that had been there, was also shattered completely, and imperialism became completely cornered, so to say. The world-wide democratic movements in the capitalist-imperialist countries, pulsating with youthful vigour, appeared to be moving firmly towards the ultimate victory, step by step. Truly, there was an upsurge of democratic mass movements of unprecedented dimensions throughout the world when a strange thing happened.
Before the anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, peace-loving and freedom-loving peoples of the world, the Soviet Union very naturally stood as the leader of the socialist camp. Being the first working class state based on Marxism-Leninism and built up and reared by Lenin and Stalin, it enjoyed the unflinching confidence and high esteem of people across the world. Very naturally, it was for the Soviet Union to provide leadership to the socialist camp. It was its task then to co-ordinate the mass movements in different countries with the peace movement of the socialist camp against the imperialist war machinations. As the leader of the socialist camp, the main task of the Soviet Union was, on the one hand, to maintain the relative superiority of the socialist camp over the imperialist camp in nuclear arms which could act as the guarantee of world peace against 'nuclear blackmailing' by imperialism, and, on the other, not only to expose the real face of the imperialist's nuclear blackmailing, or nuclear war threats, but also to unmask the nefarious US politics of engineering local and partial warfares here and there all over the world, of instigating one country to get embroiled in war with another, and its policy of 'cash and violence' and of wanton interference in the internal affairs of other countries through coup by stooges propped up by the CIA in the armies of different countries. Not only this. As the leader of the socialist camp it was incumbent upon the Soviet Union to mobilize fully and consolidate the strength of the socialist camp in order to build united resistance against this menace. Not to express just a moral opposition, the supreme task of the Soviet Union was to come forward and build up active resistance against imperialism with the firm resolve that the nefarious imperialist machinations must be foiled at any cost.
Prior to the Second World War, the slogan of "we want peace" raised against the imperialist war design from the socialist camp, had no real effect in practice, except for some ideological and moral significance. It had only a moral and humanitarian appeal, but not enough force to ensure world peace. The Soviet Union then stood alone as the only socialist state in the world. As a result, it could not make others pay heed. The course of events in the world was then determined by the interest of the imperialists, rather by the inherent contradictions or conflicts in the economy of imperialism which generate wars. In fact, it was the interest or necessity of the imperialist economy and politics which acted as the determinant for how long peace in the international sphere would be maintained or when war would break out. For the Soviet Union, therefore, it was possible only to exhort for peace and exert a moral influence to that end. As a matter of fact, the Soviet Union did not have adequate strength at that time to mount effective pressure on imperialism so as to impose peace, resist and foil their war machinations or to determine whether there would be peace or war.
By 'maintaining peace', I mean, maintaining just that condition in which there can be no war between the states. Whether this world peace would be maintained or whether a war, a world war at that, would break out, was solely determined by the imperialists till the Second World War. That is why the League of Nations could not last long. Nobody paid any heed to the fervent appeals of the Soviet Union then. But after the Second World War, a powerful world socialist camp, comprising the socialist countries, emerged and imperialism had to pack up from vast territories of the world. This is why imperialism became, since then, more crisis-ridden. The acute economic crisis in the imperialist-capitalist countries before the Second World War, as a result of which they got involved in conflicts with one another for domination over the market which led to this War, was not solved through it. On the contrary, the War intensified further this capitalist crisis of the market because the erstwhile world imperialist-capitalist market became substantially squeezed following the emergence of the world socialist camp. With the emergence of the socialist camp, the countries comprising it, all of which barring the Soviet Union were previously under the control of imperialism-capitalism, went out of the orbit of the world capitalist market. What did happen as a result ? Well, when the whole world was a market for loot by the imperialist-capitalists, even then there had been not one but two imperialist wars, because of acute crisis of the imperialist-capitalist market; now with this market getting further contracted after the War, the conflicts between the imperialists over the market began to intensify further.
Thus a new factor was added. The newly independent countries of Asia and Africa began to try utmost, according to their respective capabilities, to consolidate the strength of capital and industries, and attempt to enter into the already shrunk world imperialist-capitalist market as new competitors. As there was competition between these newly independent resurgent nationalist countries centring round their respective attempts to extend influence in the world market, on the one hand, so also definite bids could be noticed among them to strive for unity in order to offer combined and united opposition to the traditional imperialist-capitalist countries. Consequent upon this effort for unity, these newly independent resurgent nationalist countries, through Afro-Asian Solidarity Organization, Bandung Conference, Colombo Conference, etc., forged a sort of a united front to pool their economic power and resources to meet the competition and the challenge of imperialism in the economic field. Since it was not possible to achieve this unity on the economic strength alone, they sought to create a favourable anti-imperialist political atmosphere and, keeping themselves largely free from the domination and command of the big imperialist countries, went on trying to increase their economic power and industrial growth through mutual co-operation in the market.
The international situation then was such that along with this bid an anti-war voice was raised and consciousness was developing even in the imperialist countries on the necessity of building up democratic movements. This was perhaps a reaction to the belligerent postures and war threats by US imperialism immediately after the end of the Second World War. Such a development had not taken place after the First World War. For a long time after the First World War a pro-peace attitude did prevail throughout the world. The urge for peace led to the formation of the League of Nations. This time, however, right from the time of birth of the UNO, a bellicose attitude of the USA was clearly perceptible. The USA was in need of a new war with all the capitalist countries together on its side; its economy could not be sustained any longer otherwise. This is, however, a subject requiring a long discussion but I cannot deal with it in detail today. Still then, to help you understand, I should take it up in brief at this point.
Broadly speaking, the point is that the American economy is a capitalist economy and its problem is the problem of excess capital, that is the problem of excess finance capital. You know, capital cannot remain idle. A common man may not know all this, but the students of economics should. In case you do not know, please try to understand it in this way that capital is a thing which cannot remain idle. 'Mr Capital' cannot sit idle. If 'he' is to sit idle, 'he' would definitely do some mischief or harm. Capital requires to be in motion all the time. What harm is caused if capital remains idle ? It begets a tendency for inflation, when prices of commodities keep on soaring rapidly. The reason is that if capital is not invested then production cannot increase. As a result, when production is low compared to the money in circulation, the value of money goes down steeply. Even this steep decline would not have mattered much had the common people's income risen to compensate the loss. But in the capitalist economy, common people's income cannot go up in proportion. No doubt, their income in terms of money may increase a little, but even then the real income does not increase; rather it falls. And if inflation assumes serious proportions, then the prices of commodities soar tremendously and life becomes unbearable for people. Accumulation of surplus money means that the channel of investment in industry has got blocked. When that becomes the case, production would necessarily slump. This would inevitably aggravate the problem of unemployment. Besides, the increase of population remains an additional problem. If we assume for argument's sake that population remains constant, even then, with the existing population level, unemployment problem would go on intensifying.
This is because production cannot remain fixed for long at a definite level. If production does not increase, it is bound to decrease, because, in capitalist system, demand for 'market' either increases or decreases. Again, in the capitalist system, this demand is not determined by the yardstick of man's actual needs and requirements; rather a man's 'needs' are decided solely by his purchasing power. His 'needs' are determined by taking into account his purchasing power according to his income and the market prices. Besides, when production falls, the market prices of commodities soar and the purchasing power of the low-income group of people and the unemployed naturally falls further. Therefore, the market shrinks more and more. That is why, in accordance with the law of capitalist economy, there must be a channel to invest capital in other countries. Secondly, whatever industries, whatever employment opportunities are there in a capitalist country, these cannot provide jobs to all. But neither can they accept the situation of the whole country teeming with unemployeds, because, that too would create even deeper crisis. Therefore, when they cannot increase production in the normal course by way of adequate industrialization, an urge for production of armaments, a tendency of militarization of the industries appears in the economies of all capitalist countries. The advantage is that it is possible to create an artificial stimulation in the market by this measure, even if temporarily. Since the industries cannot run without a boom in the market, production does not pick up and there is no urge for investment of capital and consequently the number of shifts are reduced in the factories, the factories close down and the number of the unemployeds increases further. This is why unemployment is on the increase even in the USA. If the number of the unemployeds goes on swelling on such a scale, then the whole production system may collapse one day under the impact of mounting unemployment and it may become impossible to keep the production and the industries growing. Therefore, from the urge to stave off such a catastrophe, they need create a boom in the market by such artificial means. The tendency of militarization appears in such a specific situation.
What is meant by this militarization of industries ? It means that the government places orders and the government itself buys up the products. It is not necessary to depend upon the market, that is, the purchasing power of the common people for selling the products. Only, the government's military budget keeps on increasing. Therefore, even if temporarily, the industries escape what we call recession — a situation when there is no market, no work, no orders. The position becomes like this that the government places orders for manufacture of, say, bombers, fighters and other such military equipment and hardwares or for other similar wasteful products and the government itself purchases those. And since it does not have to depend on the market or purchasing power of the people, the economy can be protected to an extent from the mounting pressure of recession for the time being. But there is within it an inherent contradiction. It is like this : as more and more military hardwares and armaments are produced, if these are not released, then owing to continuous stockpiling of the war materials so produced, a tendency of stagnation is sure to appear in the economy consequent upon which the war industries would have to close down, one after another. But the government, too, cannot buy up these materials and stock them endlessly and without purpose. Therefore, to release the war materials, they need local and partial wars. This basic economic feature is giving rise to crises, one after another, which are at the root of the present war policy.
This is the crux, the mystery of the policy of the US imperialism to instigate one country against another, and boss over them around the globe and make forcible entries to do 'good' to them in the name of protecting their 'independence'. Today, for the US imperialist economy, peace is as good as the grave. Therefore, whether they succeed in triggering off a world war or not, they badly need local and partial warfares here and there around the globe. For, they have to enhance their military strength continuously. And if they go on increasing the military strength and keep the arms race unrelenting, they have no other alternative than to engineer localized and partial warfares, conflicts and conflagrations from time to time, to release their stockpile. Now, does war mean only world war ? When someone is against war, does it mean he is against only world war ? Are these local or partial wars engendered here and there by the imperialists wars too ? The way the USA is encroaching on other nations and pushing them to war against one another, or is supplying information to one about another to drag them into conflicts and warfares, are machinations for war. Are they not ? Suppose Ram and Shyam are two persons. The USA is going to Ram and telling him that Shyam has done such and such against him. Again, it is providing Shyam with secret information about Ram and telling him: Ram is hatching up such and such plots against you. In this way the USA is providing both parties with information against each other with the sole object of inciting one against the other. They are carrying out such designs through their worldwide network of secret agencies.
During the last Indo-Pak War1, the USA helped Pakistan with armaments. Whatever the official justification might have been given by it, its objective was very clear. By lending political support to Pakistan's demand for Kashmir, it did everything it could, right from creating tension in the sub-continent. In point of fact, infiltrators from Pakistan entered India with the advice and help of American and British lobbies. Again, the CIA secretly supplied the information to India that Pakistani infiltrators were entering into her territory and it cautioned India against the danger. Thus, they urged both the sides to gird up their loins. They advised Pakistan to send infiltrators to India and then raise the question of Azad Kashmir in the UNO as otherwise the US could not be of any help to Pakistan ; at the same time, they were informing India that Pakistani infiltration was going on and India had to be alert. Report goes that it is the CIA which first gave India the information about Pakistani infiltration. In this way, the USA did string-pulling from behind the screen so that both the countries got entangled in war. What role the Indian ruling class did play on that occasion is an altogether different matter. I cited this example only to point out the nature of politics the USA is pursuing.
This is the country of Abraham Lincoln which once unfurled the flag of liberty and democracy. Today that country is committing acts of piracy against other countries — one after another. It would be a mistake to view the matter as if we, the communists, always speak ill of that country. It is, therefore, necessary to elucidate this point a bit. I can name two renowned personalities in Europe who are not communists — Bertrand Russell and Jean Paul Sartre, whose thoughts basically are not at all in agreement with the communist ideology and who, from the philosophical point of view, can be called even anti-communists or opposed to communism, and whose thoughts are being used as major weapons by the bourgeoisie, the reactionaries today. Of course it is true that they are personally honest, they have dedication to and faith in their respective ideologies, they are humanists of the olden time. But in any way they are not communists. Even then, no less a personality than Bertrand Russell, at an age of ninetyfive, had the guts to declare that the US could no longer be called a democratic state. He said: "It is a sordid military regime, it can never be called a democratic government". He made this comment on the USA in the Trial Court for war criminals which he had set up in Stockholm.
It is not expected of Bertrand Russell to become a communist at the age of ninetyfive. Besides, he has fought the communists lifelong in the belief that the communists are against individual freedom. Had Bertrand Russell been younger in age and if he had the opportunities to analyse with a scientific outlook, he would have understood perhaps whither the 'standard bearers' of so-called individual liberty are taking the world. The country of Abraham Lincoln, the citadel of civil liberties, is today reduced to a country of brigands. There is no heinous crime that the USA does not perpetrate. The Nazis were condemned as war criminals. What the USA is doing today in Vietnam and in many other countries of the world puts even the Nazis to shame. The Gestapo activities and the activities of the Fifth Columnists are known as grievous conspiracies against civilization. I would like to put the question : What are the CIA and FBI doing today all around ? Is there any kind of mischief which they do not commit ? They are engaged in all sorts of nefarious activities — committing political murders, engineering coup d' etat, etc., all over the world. The one and the only aim of all these activities is to maintain a war psychosis here and there all over the world, engineer local and partial wars, embroil one in conflict and battle with another so that the conventional weapons which are getting stockpiled and becoming obsolete can be released by inducing different countries to consume these. So, the more the wars, the more the war psychosis in the world, the more is the gain for them — the imperialist-capitalists, and especially the US imperialists.
As the leader of the socialist camp, it was the bounden duty of the Soviet Union to understand correctly this nefarious character and heinous politics of the USA, and to point out and expose their real character before the world and to co-ordinate and integrate the politics of the socialist camp with the revolutionary mass movements of the world against the international plunder and piracy of US imperialism. But the Soviet Union could not understand a whit of this heinous politics of US imperialism. The politics of nuclear blackmailing, of creating a nuclear war phobia that the USA has been pursuing from the very beginning, has an ulterior motive. It knows very well that so long as the socialist camp has distinct superiority in nuclear strength, the USA cannot unleash a nuclear war. For, if nuclear war breaks out in such a situation, it is the USA that would suffer most and be devastated in no time. That is why it is raising a bogey before the world, trying to create panic on the score by circulating thrilling stories about how the world would burn out to ashes in a moment if nuclear war breaks out, just as some people like H. G. Wells wrote science fiction as stories for the cinema. In short US imperialism is trying to create a panic among people of the world in different countries and engender a feeling that mankind itself would be exterminated in the event a nuclear war breaks out, since, after all, everything is meant for the people, and nothing should ever be done which could bring ruin to mankind and civilization. The US objective of spreading such horrors is to browbeat the socialist camp that in the event of its interest being jeopardized in any way, war would break out. So, beware ! Strange indeed ! As if the responsibility to see that a world war is not triggered off lies only with others and not with them. As if, it is the socialist camp with which alone lies the responsibility to ensure that a world war does not break out and mankind does not perish, whereas their job is to land up in other countries to start wars ! And if the USA is resisted, then the world war, a nuclear war at that, might break out, bringing havoc to the world ! So it is for the others to tolerate silently all its devilish activities and appease it ! But nonetheless, it is a fact that the US imperialists have succeeded in making the present Soviet leadership fall a prey to its politics of nuclear blackmailing.
The Soviet leadership failed utterly to grasp this objective of the US nuclear blackmailing. They could not understand at all that so long as the Soviet Union and the socialist countries have nuclear superiority, the USA would not dare unleash a nuclear war. What is more, the cardinal point is that foiling this conspiracy of imperialism is the only effective means or guarantee for thwarting nuclear warfares. Otherwise, if a world war breaks out some day from these imperialist machinations, then it would inevitably lead to a nuclear war. Therefore, nuclear war cannot be avoided just by appeasement. To thwart the nuclear war, one has to strike at the roots so that the imperialists do not succeed in making preparations for it. In order to implement it in practice, it is necessary, first of all, to take full advantage of the contradictions within the imperialist camp so that the imperialists cannot unite and form blocs for starting wars and do whatever is needed to achieve it; secondly, to support the newly independent resurgent nationalist countries in their contradictions against imperialism in such a manner that the anti-imperialist struggle gets strengthened and imperialism can be cornered even more; thirdly, to actively help the working class in the capitalist-imperialist countries fighting for revolution and the people of the colonial countries fighting for freedom, providing active help to these struggles so that revolution in these countries succeeds, being free from counter-revolutionary attacks and interference from outside, and in this way such a congenial condition should be created so that revolutionary struggles in those countries can achieve final victory; fourthly, in foreign affairs to pursue such a diplomatic policy by which the USA can be isolated politically and economically — for it is the USA that is today providing leadership in organizing international loot and plunder, in exporting counter-revolution and is the chief instigator of wars in the world.
To co-ordinate the above programmes was a very important task for the Soviet politics, its foreign policy and what relates to international communist movement in general. But after the demise of Comrade Stalin, the Soviet leadership could not only not do this, but they brought a number of such conceptions into play which have as such no bearing on fulfilling these tasks. Rather, owing to these erroneous conceptions of the revisionist Soviet leadership, whatever support had developed among the people in favour of fulfilling these tasks, based on a rather superficial idea about it, in the post-War period was lost. Some irrelevant questions which the capitalists were continuously trying to get raised in the communist camp to create confusion among the common people, taking advantage of the low level of theoretical consciousness of the communists, led to a situation when the present Soviet leadership fell victim to all these i.e., the unfounded and unnecessary fear of the nuclear war and overzealousness to maintain peace at any cost. So they started arguing, world war would break out and if that happened then the whole civilization would perish.
True, peace has got to be maintained. But does maintaining peace mean that the USA would go on landing in other countries, starting wars there, organizing counter-revolutions and engaging in international piracy — but the USA would not be effectively resisted since peace would be disturbed thereby ? What would then follow ? The result would be that the USA would go on doing whatever it wanted to, but no effective resistance could be put up since such resistance might bring about a world war. What a queer logic ! But Khrushchev's argument runs exactly like this. His argument is : What will happen if a world war breaks out in the event the USA is resisted ? And in case of a world war, it cannot but be a nuclear war, and in case of a nuclear war civilization will be destroyed, and if civilization is thus destroyed, shall we build up socialism on its ashes ? But the condition is just the reverse. The very presumption that a nuclear war would be triggered off the moment the USA is resisted, is noting but a subjective thinking, a utopia.
In the beginning the USA was not so sure that its politics of nuclear blackmailing was working so well, for the Soviet Union was trumpeting anti-imperialist slogans then as they are even now. But the real face of the Soviet Union's anti-US stand was not clear till then to the USA. And because of this, the USA was moving accordingly. As a result of defeat in Korean War, the prestige of the US imperialist might was at a low ebb. It happened in the Korean War that the Chinese volunteers even with their small and conventional weapons gave the US troops a good dressing down pushing them off beyond Seoul — the troops of the USA, the possessor of atom bombs, the most powerful among the imperialist-capitalist countries in the post-Second World War period. Again, thousands of US troops are dying in Vietnam but the aggressors have not been able to enhance their security even by an inch. The USA, to speak the truth, is in a precarious condition there, its crisis mounting every moment and the military costs increasing. Even by using the most sophisticated armaments so far produced, and trying their utmost they have not been able to improve their position there.
Here too, it has become a question of prestige for the USA; it is now a dour struggle to defend that prestige. In an attempt to retrieve its prestige, it has even resorted to some sort of adventure. The myth that was there about the US might, had been exploded in the Korean War. The main purpose of this adventure was to refurbish its image.
The USA made the first experiment of its nuclear blackmailing in the Caribbean. By this experiment it tried to ascertain the real import of the Soviet Union's anti-imperialist stand. The counter-measure which had succeeded against the UK on the Suez Canal issue — what was in reality its depth ? By critically examining the politics practised by Khrushchev and the conduct of the Soviet revisionist leadership on different issues, the American diplomats felt that they had been able to grasp the point correctly. In fact a kind of war phobia had gripped the Soviet leadership and they had already become victim of nuclear war psychosis. Now, once the imperialists can smell that the socialist camp is afraid of war, then what is expected naturally is happening now. And this has happened owing to the weakness of the Soviet leadership. The irony is that the Soviet leadership could not grasp even that the USA in reality wanted to test the Soviet politics in the Caribbean. The leaders of the CPSU could not grasp that by this the USA wanted to push the Soviet Union into such a position that it could test as to how far the Soviet Union would go against imperialism in any trial of strength. That is, the USA wanted to test specifically whether the Soviet Union would enter in a trial of strength with it in a partial or local war or it would launch an all-out counter-offensive to stop the US piracy even at the risk of a world war, if necessary. The USA resorted to the Caribbean blockade to test this point in particular.
They created the blockade in such a manner that if the Soviet Union could be drawn into a local war by threats and instigations, then since the area offered logistic advantage due to proximity to the USA, it would be possible for the USA to defeat the Soviet Union. On the other hand, had the Soviet Union adopted a policy that it would not only be involved in a local war with the USA on the issue but would not tolerate such American piracy, come what may, even if there be a danger of a world war, i.e., the US action would be considered by the Soviet leaders to be an all-out war between the USSR and the USA — then the USA would retrace its steps. Then, by mouthing words of peace, posing as an apostle of peace, it would retreat on the plea of maintaining world peace. The Caribbean blockade was considered as an experiment to test the Soviet attitude, to see how it reacted. And Khrushchev, like a schoolboy politician, did the very thing that the USA expected of him.
Without understanding the true implication of the event, Khrushchev held out a threat at the very outset. He could not understand that the USA had not taken this move only to be cowed down. Actually, the USA wanted to see the real extent of the Soviet threat. The USA wanted to know specifically, whether the threat meant only that the Soviet Union would confine itself to a local war with the US warships there or it meant something more. The USA had then nothing to fear from the Soviet threat, because it had the logistic advantage there. In a local war there, it was the Soviet Union that was sure to be defeated. Or else, if the Soviet threat amounted to an all-out war between the USA and the Soviet Union then the threat had some real danger for the USA and there were reasons to be afraid of. For, it would then mean a world war. And in Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM), the Soviet Union till then had superiority over and was far ahead of the USA. That means, the USSR had such capacity that from their own country they could blast away the US bases within fifteen minutes. The ICBMs would take only fifteen minutes to cover the distance. This was the situation. Such a deadly weapon was in the hands of the Soviet Union.
But what we saw was that the Soviet Union threatened first and in reply the USA gave counter-threat. At first the USSR said : 'We are sending warships then'. The USA accepted the challenge because all military strategists knew what this would amount to. All the military Generals at once advised Khrushchev that the Soviet Union would be defeated in a local war there. The Soviet Union would have to carry war materials in ships and planes from thousands of miles away since it did not have the logistic advantage. It was not possible therefore for her to conduct and continue war this way. The only war the USSR could opt for was nuclear war and not local war. For, the USA would fight from its bases there and had close proximity and links with its rear bases, whereas the Soviet Union was thousands of miles away.
It was not possible for the Soviet Union to carry things in submarines or across many countries and fight there. Therefore, if a battle was to be fought at all, it could only be a world war and not a local war. Khrushchev said: 'Good Lord ! If there is a world war, then the world will be destroyed ! That cannot be allowed ! So, we had better surrender'. And in the name of peace Khrushchev actually capitulated to the US piracy. At this, a band of humbugs clapped in appreciation. They said that with this Khrushchev held aloft the banner of peace in the world. But they could not see what a grievous harm was done. By this the reactionaries the world over formed a high opinion about the Pentagon and its military might. The US military might regained its lost prestige. The glory the USA had lost in Korea was thus regained. A feeling gained ground amongst many : here you can see the USA's real power and the Soviet Union is not as strong as is said or as appears outwardly, and if the USA rises up in resistance, the Soviet Union is afraid to confront it. The reactionary cliques all over the world were assured that the USA was really a dependable ally, they got emboldened and assured at the idea that such a strong power like the USA was by their side. They had no reason to fear about revolution or liberation struggles of the people or anything else. Thus the image of the USA and its Pentagon military might was refurbished before the reactionary cliques, and the US administration as a whole regained its lost prestige.
But this had been only the first experiment that the USA made with the Soviet Union. Therefore, the USA thought that the Soviet Union might have grasped and got over the earlier mistake and that this might not be her permanent policy. Therefore, to test it, the USA made another experiment, this time in Tonkin Bay. The war was going on in South Vietnam, but all on a sudden the USA attacked North Vietnam with the Seventh Fleet. It destroyed a number of North Vietnamese gun-boats with torpedoes. In fact, they started the attack on North Vietnam by cooking up a story as an excuse, as they always do. By this attack they tested and tried the Soviet Union, to see how the situation developed. This was just their first step. For, the situation here was not exactly the same as in the Caribbean. In this case the Soviet Union was committed to honour a declared policy that attack on any socialist country would be considered as an attack on the Soviet Union itself and the defence or security of any socialist country ultimately rested with the Soviet Union. But the whole incident of the US attack on North Vietnam and subsequent events proved that the Soviet leaders were so much obsessed with nuclear war phobia that they could trample so easily such an important declared policy of a socialist country on this issue.
Not only this. Once there had been an understanding or a secret pact between the Soviet Union and China by which the Soviet Union was committed to help China in developing nuclear weapons. But after discussion with the USA — I do not remember who was the US President then, Eisenhower or Kennedy, whoever he may be it is all the same — the Soviet Union gave an assurance to the USA that if the latter agreed to stop nuclear tests in the atmosphere and try to limit the nuclear weapons, then the Soviet Union, in turn, would not provide any help to China for manufacturing nuclear weapons. By this, the Soviet Union even divulged to the USA its secret pact with China. What does all this boil down to ? Here the conduct of the Soviet leadership was like that of a humanist or an honest priest, which has nothing to do with or has no relevance to politics. This can be called an example of total ignorance or an act of sheer servility of the Soviet leadership to the USA. Whatever might be the case, its impact on practical politics was the same. The USA, however, took full advantage of it. When China subsequently criticized the USSR for having thus divulged the secret pact to the USA, for not providing nuclear weapons to her and for having come to such an understanding with the USA, in spite of being a socialist country, which would damage and harm the socialist camp most, and practically forced the USSR to give a reply, the Soviet Union said : Why should China need to manufacture nuclear weapons ? And does she not know that the Soviet Union has enough nuclear power for the entire socialist camp ? What use is it, therefore, to divert and waste China's resources unnecessarily in this direction ? The Soviet Union tried to make China believe that China should instead concentrate all her efforts and energies on economic development so that she could prosper economically in a planned way and bring about her development rapidly.
At that time, even such a queer economic plan was churning in Khrushchev's brain that the socialist countries would be divided into a number of 'sectors' — the industries would be the affairs of certain socialist countries, while some other countries would be agriculture-based. But no socialist country was in a position to accept this; rather they were sure to reject such a scheme. This is because there is a national psychological make-up in each socialist country, each of them has a national form of state which has not outlived its existence at present. The matter is not that the national character of the socialist states has become exhausted as a world socialist system has come into being. Rather, each socialist country today exists separately within its national boundary, with its own national psychological make-up. Nobody can deny this fact. In such a situation, no socialist country can sacrifice its economic power to others. The Soviet Union would have steel and other advanced technology and industry, while others would switch over to agriculture only to supply raw materials to the Soviet industries — can any socialist country agree to such a preposterous proposition ? None can agree and this is exactly what happened in practice — nobody did actually agree because it would take a long time for such a system to develop and work. When the world socialist system would be established, conflicts between nations would disappear. When the socialist states would outlive their national form of existence and merge into a unified, single international human society — only then could such a situation arise, not before that. Before that, such forcible imposition would be taken by others as a domineering attitude and her supremacy would be looked upon with suspicion. In fact, such a suspicion about the Soviet Union has already reared its ugly head among the Balkan states. Even in China this is happening and this is bound to happen. There are objective reasons for this suspicion to grow because this plan of Khrushchev bears no relation to the realities; there is no reflection in it of the existing reality of the present stage through which socialist revolution is passing. Therefore, it has not been possible for anyone to accept this unrealistic and fantastic plan.
Such was the line on which the Soviet Union was arguing on the question of making nuclear bombs by China. China's reply was that the Soviet Union had initially committed a mischief and had followed it up with another mischief. The first had been that in a sudden show of bravado the Soviet Union had made the commitment to the USA that it would not carry on testing nuclear arms in the atmosphere. At once some progressive(!) people like Rajagopalachari applauded and said that at long last a humanist approach had been made by the Soviet Union. And the USA which had been lagging behind the USSR in nuclear military strength, utilized the respite in full to bridge the gap by surreptitiously continuing the underground nuclear experiments in particular. In a short time, the blunder of the USSR became evident. What a self-defeating policy the Soviet Union was pursuing — China pointed out.2 The avowed object for which the Soviet Union had stopped nuclear weapon testing — the imperialists would not move even one step in that direction. They would pat and applaud the Soviet Union as a great 'humanist', while trying at the same time their best to see how soon they could obliterate the gap between them and the USSR in nuclear strength. And the moment this gap is wiped out and the USA supersedes the Soviet Union in nuclear strength, all these 'humanistic' verbiages would be in vain and the atomic war might break out in actuality. The main reason why the USA is not unleashing a global war today, is the overall superiority of the Soviet Union in nuclear armament. The USA is well aware that even a slap from the USSR would be hard for it to withstand. And herein lies the true guarantee against nuclear war, because so long as imperialism exists, war maniacs are there, military regimes exist and the capitalist-imperialist states are run on the basis of militarization of economy — war is a reality and the possibility of war does exist. Therefore, one of the major guarantees to stave off war is the superiority of the Soviet Union and the socialist camp in nuclear strength. Why did the Soviet Union then stop nuclear testing — China questioned. China also argued that the USSR should have told the USA only this much that it was ready to stop all testing and destroy its armaments provided the USA also was ready to destroy all its arms. That is why they should have talked not of just controlling nuclear testing, but about complete and all-out disarmament and about destroying all nuclear weapons. China objected to mere control over atomic weapons because, taking this opportunity, the USA would try to make good the disparity between its atomic strength and that of the Soviet Union. And the progress in the field of technology, like any other field of science, does not follow such a course that since the Soviet Union today is advanced in this respect, this superiority would be there all through. Such thinking is simplistic and unscientific. There may be ups and downs. That is why, one should be always on guard against it. In science and technology, constant vigilance should be maintained so that the Soviet Union does not for a single moment lag behind the USA even an inch in technology and nuclear science. Otherwise, danger may befall the socialist camp any time. At the insistence of China and under pressure of other socialist states, the Soviet Union accepted this point for the time being, but the difference continued even after this acceptance.
When the Soviet Union put pressure on China to desist from making atomic weapons, China did not agree because even at that time, many in the Communist Party of China had the apprehension that because of the course the Soviet Union had taken willy-nilly the danger of war would come true one day. Because, war cannot be averted by chanting sermons like, "we do not want war". What the Chinese leadership was trying to impress was that the USSR's 'no war' attitude was almost like performing religious rites for so-called self-purification by fasting and chanting incantations. But to the true revolutionaries, 'no war' slogan can have one and only one implication and that is to pursue such a concrete and objective politics and programme through which the very designs, machinations and preparation for war by the imperialists would be foiled and imperialism would be more and more cornered through the victories of the anti-capitalist forces and movements. That is, even while making all sorts of preparation for war, in reality, imperialists would find themselves in a more and more disadvantageous position than before regarding the feasibility of unleashing such wars. This means the imperialists should be placed into such a difficult position that while they go on making all-out preparations for war and drawing up such plans, one after another, they would find themselves more and more isolated within a span of a few years through the successful culmination of the liberation struggles of the people in different countries — such concrete and objective policies should be taken.
Thus while the imperialists would be trying to manage the situation sometimes here, sometimes there, sometimes filling the gap here, sometimes there, they would find to their dismay, within a few years that the situation has deteriorated further, and such dents have developed elsewhere that matters have already gone beyond their power to 'manage'. That is, one country has gone out of the imperialist camp, revolution has been victorious in another country and some other has gone out of their orbit and economic crisis has reached its peak. Thus by integrating and co-ordinating all the movements from various sides, imperialism is to be weakened so much so that their whole conspiracy to unleash war is defeated.
Therefore, the main tasks should be :
First, to strengthen the anti-imperialist national liberation struggles in the colonial countries and the anti-capitalist revolutionary movements of the people in the capitalist-imperialist countries;
Secondly, to link-up and integrate these national liberation struggles in the colonial countries and revolutionary movements of the people in the capitalist-imperialist countries;
Thirdly, to integrate politically and diplomatically in all aspects the national liberation struggles of the colonial countries and the revolutionary movements in the capitalist-imperialist countries with the peace movement and the movement based on the policy of peaceful co-existence of the socialist camp and to thoroughly expose the real design behind the politics of nuclear blackmailing of the imperialists;
Fourthly, to take advantage of the contradictions between the imperialist countries, between the imperialist and the newly independent resurgent nationalist countries and the contradictions among the newly independent resurgent nationalist countries themselves — to carefully study these contradictions and utilize these in such a way as to take full advantage of these contradictions to make imperialism more and more weakened and isolated.
Thus by currently applying this programme, making revolution victorious in country after country and cornering imperialism in such a manner, it may be possible that while scheming for war, imperialism gets exterminated from the world before it can actually unleash a war. This is the only practical way of freeing the world from the threat of wars. This concrete situation had arisen after the Second World War, the situation in which the possibility of wars could have been totally eliminated by putting an end to imperialism-capitalism in one country after another before imperialism could make full preparations for war. Even if that were not possible, at least such measures were needed to be taken whereby a number of capitalist countries could have been encircled so as to tie their hands by the success and impact of revolutionary struggles in all the countries so that they do not get objectively a situation to trigger off wars. And this is the only method of preventing wars. But the leadership of the CPSU headed by Khrushchev chose the method of fasting, so to say, that is, requests and appeals — some useless and hollow talks which the devil or the tiger, as the imperialists are, do not pay any heed to.
The imperialist ruling cliques are devils to the bone. And it should always be kept in mind that in any imperialist country, an administrator, even if he is not personally a scoundrel, has no option but to prepare for war driven by the exigencies of the imperialist economy and politics. The question whether a particular person in power in such a country is good or bad is absolutely irrelevant here. Even if a man is personally good or honest, that does not mean that he can run a clean administration honestly with pro-people attitude. The military Generals, the warmongers of that country, that is, the big monopoly capitalists would not like him unless he acquiesces in boosting the war economy. Whatever line he may adopt politically, despite the fact that he is a humanist and has a flexible approach, the monopolists would throw him out unless he shapes the economy basically in line with war economy. This happens because it is they who wield the real power. In this matter, they cannot depend on any individual. What happens if an administrator in a capitalist-imperialist state is good and humane ? He remains helpless in this system, and practically powerless. Either he has to serve this system or, if he cannot do so, he has to leave because those who control real power would not tolerate him, they would drive him out. Maybe, for this a political murder might be engineered but it is sure that he would not be in power and the imperialists would ultimately stick to their chosen course.
In the post-Second World War period, such a situation had arisen that once I opined that we had almost reached the threshold of world revolution, so to say — just a few yards from it. Just at that time the world communist movement slipped into a labyrinth. That is, the situation was such that there was a bright possibility of revolution becoming victorious from country to country. The power of resistance of imperialism was totally shattered. All the imperialist countries of Europe were then totally war-ravaged. They were producing below capacity. They were not able to feed their people. There was a surge of anti-imperialist liberation struggles in the colonies. As a result, they were unable to keep the working class of their respective countries satisfied. Till then, they had tried to keep their working class contented by plundering the colonial markets. As a result, apparent quiet had reigned in those countries. But many a country having now come out of the yoke of imperialism and the prospect of imperialist exploitation in those newly independent resurgent nationalist countries having declined, owing to setting up of new industries there, naturally a tremendous pressure came upon the imperialist economy. In reality, the whole US economy stands on quicksand. The situation is such that it may tumble down any moment. Its whole economic system rests on war economy. The type of war depending on which it has been maintaining its economic stability at present, is a local, partial, temporary affair — it cannot last long. And it can keep these local wars going mainly because the national liberation movements have not yet been victorious. Thus, the very moment the victory of national liberation struggles of different colonial and dependent countries would be completed, the opportunities for the imperialists to trigger off local wars would also diminish. Therefore, the task of the socialist camp under the leadership of the Soviet Union was to force them to pursue the policy of peaceful co-existence.
How did this policy of peaceful co-existence evolve at all ? The imperialists always take resort to the propaganda that the communists are forcibly imposing communism on the world. It is in reply to this that Comrade Stalin expounded the theory of peaceful co-existence. In reply to the imperialist propaganda that communists want to establish communism in different countries forcibly through war, Comrade Stalin said that it was a blatant lie; a socialist state does not believe in such a theory and method as well. Again, after the war, the USA started clamouring that its existence was at stake and it was the communists who were endangering its existence. By this, the USA meant that resisting the USSR was its policy then. In reply, the Soviet Union said: No, it is not true that their existence is threatened by the Soviet Union. Soviet military might does not pose a danger to them; the socialist camp is ready to give a blank cheque that if attacked, only then the Soviet Union would counter-attack; otherwise, it would not touch anybody and would never interfere in the internal affairs of any country. But the imperialists, too, would have to put their signature on it and abide by it. They would have to declare at the same time and assure that they, too, would not force their presence in any country to oppress the people there, would not attack, aggress on and annex any land. Then the Soviet Union would have no conflict with them and the question of its resisting imperialist interference and aggression in other countries would not arise at all. It would mean that nobody could interfere in the internal affairs of any country.
Because, the communists know that revolution can neither be imported nor be exported. If the forces within the country cannot generate the invincible strength of revolution, then by external instigations there can be "monkey dance" for some days in the name of revolution, but not a revolution proper. Revolution can succeed in a country only when it attracts the people, can strike firm root in that particular soil and help develop the forces of revolution, drawing necessary strength from within. Revolution triumphs in a country only when such conditions are created. External help can then add to its strength — only this much. But unless the revolutionary forces in a country can draw sustenance and nourishment from their own soil, they cannot acquire invincible strength of revolution. For example, the revolutionary strength of Vietnam is not based on external help and is not fed from outside. Had it been so, it could have been torn into pieces by the US military might in no time. But that could not be done because the revolution there grew drawing its vitality from its own soil and sustained itself therefrom. There, even a boy of nine joins the battle with rifle in hand — mother, son, daughter, all have taken up arms. Even when cultivating the fields, they are shooting down planes with their rifles. So, is it a hotheaded frivolous act of a few people in the name of revolution and inspired from outside ? Its roots have gone down deep into the soil of the country. Revolutionary consciousness has grown among the people there and they have become imbued with revolutionary consciousness. True, the Soviet Union, China, the socialist camp as a whole, all progressive people of the world, who yearn for liberation, support the liberation struggle of Vietnam.
But is this support to the liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people an interference in the internal affairs of Vietnam ? It is an elementary knowledge that just as science, epistemology, theories etc., have no geographical or national boundaries, so also there can be no geographical or national barriers in sympathizing with the movement for progress. I can recall, once the Congressites wanted to send volunteers under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru for the Spanish freedom struggle against fascism. That was an internal affair of Spain. But why did they still want to send volunteers ? Because, it was a progressive struggle by the people against reaction. It is for all freedom loving people, whoever once fought or are fighting today for genuine freedom, who still value freedom, to help in freedom struggles all over the world. But freedom is not attained anywhere just with the help of others. Every country has to earn its own freedom by itself. If anybody aspires for his own freedom then he would surely feel sympathy and support for freedom movements by others. Whoever can, will help. But the others cannot come and win freedom for them. They themselves have to fight and win their own freedom. When they can acquire strength from the soil of their own country, only then would they be invincible.
This is the theory and concept of the communists. On this was built a basic tenet of communism — "Revolution can neither be imported nor exported". One of the fundamental principles of Marxism or dialectical materialism from which this tenet follows runs thus — "The internal contradiction is the basic cause of change of matter, while external contradiction only influences or can influence that change".
But unless the internal contradiction matures, that is, unless the internal condition is ripe, no change or revolution can take place. Therefore, for a revolution to take place in any country, the communists need not impose it in hot haste from outside. For, the concept of exporting revolution through military operation from outside has found no place, except in the thoughts of Trotsky, in the mainstream of Marxism, that is genuine Marxism. This concept had no place in Stalin's thinking nor is it in the thinking of the leadership of China. Nor can it be the thinking of any genuine communist. It was a concept of Trotsky. Trotsky's contention was that after the establishment of socialism in one country, its primary task would be to export revolution to other countries by sending army there. That was the theory of "permanent revolution" propounded by Trotsky. But the Leninist theory, the Marxist theory, that became historically established as against this, is that if revolution is attempted in this manner by being imposed on other people, then the bourgeoisie of those countries would make use of the sentiment for national freedom among their people against the revolution itself. They would term this as aggression and, as a result, the revolutionary movement growing inside the country would in the natural course suffer a serious setback. This is extremism in the name of revolution and not the real course of revolution. And I feel that another point should be dealt with here. It was Stalin and not Khrushchev who enunciated the theory of peaceful co-existence. On the basis of Leninist teachings, this theory was evolved at the time of Stalin. Khrushchev has now degraded that theory, but he is giving such airs as if it is his theory. But students of Marxism-Leninism cannot be deceived in this way. They know very well that it was Stalin and not Khrushchev who really formulated this theory.
So it is clear that the theory of peaceful co-existence came into being to counter the imperialist propaganda. By this, the Soviet Union wanted to tell the people of the world that it was ready to follow the principle of peaceful co-existence, but they should force the USA to follow the same. While the USA was rushing hither and thither on the plea of defending freedom, was the Soviet Union going that way anywhere on the same plea of defending freedom or suppressing reaction ? Like the USA, has the Soviet Union sent troops or raided any country by bombing ? Is there till now a single instance that the Soviet Union has rushed to any country to counter the military intervention of the USA, which, in the opinion of the Soviet Union, is out and out reactionary ? Besides, who did assign the USA the role of being the 'sentinel' of world freedom ? So, the Soviet Union declared that let the people of each country determine its own destiny. Which country would welcome communism and which would carry the banner of democratic ideals of Abraham Lincoln, whither they would go — let the people of the country decide it for themselves. In the struggle between capitalists and the working class, between the reactionaries and the progressives in the different countries, let the people of each country fight it out with the exploiters — the bourgeoisie of that particular country. Let not the imperialists aggress on other countries in the name of defending democracy. The Soviet Union, as such, had no need to do the same — it could give a blank cheque. But let the imperialists agree that they would not attack others.
I remember that when Stalin first expounded this theory of peaceful co-existence, the Trotskyites in our country howled that it was nothing but a policy of class collaboration. Their point was — how could there be peaceful co-existence with the imperialists, the fascists or the capitalists ? In their opinion it was nothing but a policy of class collaboration. I pointed out to them that they had not at all understood the contention of the theory of peaceful co-existence. Are they not the camp followers of 'permanent revolution' who talk loudly of 'permanent revolution' today and to oppose communism, enlist their names tomorrow in the American free society ? And exactly this has happened with them. All should understand that the policy of peaceful co-existence is never a policy of class collaboration. In reality, it is an objective socialist approach to keep the revolutionary movements in different countries free from organized attacks of international counter-revolution and to guarantee peace. It is such a policy in support of which not only the people of capitalist countries would respond but even a group among the capitalists would respond. On the other hand, by this, those among the capitalists who are warmongers, war maniacs, would be totally isolated and cornered. The efficacy of this policy is that even those forces in different countries who do not share the communist ideology but are against war — even they would resist war if it breaks out in their country and would put pressure upon the imperialists to make them accept the principle of peaceful co-existence. In reply to the clamours the imperialists are raising that the communists are endangering their existence, it is these sections of people who would retort that since the socialist camp is giving a blank cheque that it would not interfere in the internal affairs of any country, then why should the imperialists openly attack it. They themselves would accuse that it is the CIA, the US agency, that is instigating and fomenting trouble in different countries.
Let the imperialists conduct ideological propaganda just as the socialist camp preaches its ideology. But the USA is not doing this. It is sending CIA agents into countries and poking its nose into the internal affairs of other countries, through its policy of "cash and violence". They have not been able to adduce any reliable proof of the socialist camp being guilty of this crime, but they are spreading the false propaganda that the socialist countries, too, are operating by creating fifth columnists inside other countries just like the CIA. This is nothing but a heinous political slander out and out. Those in different countries who believe in communism and propagate it are called by them the fifth columnists. My question is whether acceptance of a noble ideology in life and struggling hard for that makes one a stooge. If that be so, then by accepting the concept of bourgeois democracy, one becomes equally a stooge either of the USA or of Britain. Again, when we use electricity, we become stooges of a foreign country because electricity was not discovered by an Indian scientist. How can those who argue in this way be made to understand that just as science cannot be bound up in a single country, as it has no country of its own, so also theories, philosophy, epistemology, etc., too have no country or race of their own. Communism is an ideology — how can it have barriers of countries and nations ? Those who would like it would accept it. When Russia first accepted communist ideology it had to face the accusation that since this ideology first originated in Germany, by embracing this ideology the Russians had become stooges of Germany. Everybody knows that this ideology originated not in Russia, but in Germany. Karl Marx, the founder of this ideology, was driven out of his country, Germany, and died in England later. Engels, too, who was a close associate of Marx in developing this ideology, hailed from Germany. Thus we see that it is Germany that gave birth to this ideology, but Russia consummated this ideology through revolution. After Russia, China organized revolution guided by this Marxist ideology. At the time of Chinese revolution, China was condemned as a lackey of the Soviet Union. It was said that through this the Soviet imperialism was expanding its territory. These are all false propaganda. There should be a limit to confusing the people by taking advantage of their low level of consciousness. Taking advantage of the lack of political consciousness and consequent weaknesses of the people, the imperialists are even crossing that limit. This is because the common people do not generally think about all this, nor do they ponder over these problems. They talk and think simple. They do not think even about the nature of the main problems and the trends in the country's politics.
Besides, history has proved beyond doubt who are really the stooges. Communists of real worth in any country have never been the stooges of anybody. True communists everywhere are fighting for the noble ideal of freedom, for the liberation of the country. The real point is — they are fighting for liberating the masses from exploitation of all kinds — they are the most worthy and best sons of the soil. We know that today the bourgeoisie, the reactionaries, would not accept this. Their interest is different, so they speak in a different way. In fact they call patriots, those who are spineless, who barter away all the noble qualities of a man in lieu of money. Let the imperialists adorn these people with whatever laurels they want to, but the Soviet stand was that let there be an international understanding that they would not come in support of such 'patriots'(!) anywhere. The Soviet Union gave word that it would not go in support of even those whom they knew to be the revolutionaries, the worthy and best sons of the soil. Was this condition acceptable to the imperialists ? If they agreed, let them sign the agreement. This was the real meaning of pursuing the policy of peaceful co-existence, that is, it meant that the policy of peaceful co-existence would have to be imposed upon the imperialists, they would have to be forced to accept it. Its objective was to protect the revolutionary movements of the different countries from the conspiracy and attacks of international counter-revolutionary forces.
If we take the case of Chinese revolution, it would be clear what a tremendous difficulty they had to experience. Who does not know that the might they possessed could have destroyed Chiang Kai-shek's power in one blast. But the USA backed up Chiang Kai-shek with all its military and economic might. Therefore, did the Chinese people fight against just Chiang Kai-shek alone ? They had to fight against the total US military strength in the Pacific and against all-out counter-revolutionary attack of international capitalism. The object of the policy of peaceful co-existence was to put a halt to such imperialist attacks. A socialist country does not need to export revolution to other countries. In any country, revolution triumphs by drawing the majority of the people in its favour. Therefore, it is an invincible force by itself. Who helped the Russians for the victory of their revolution ? Nobody. But after the revolution, the imperialist countries, encircling and attacking from all sides could not destroy the nascent Soviet state. The situation today is no more like that. It is now time for beating the drum of victory of revolution from country to country. Now, nobody can defeat the revolutionary movement of any country. In every country the forces of revolution are irresistible today. For their victory, they hardly need any external assistance. What they need is only protection from international counter-revolutionary attacks. Take the case of the Vietnamese people. Be it socialism, democracy or any other kind of independent state they want to establish in their country, it is to be guaranteed that they can do so by fighting out the reactionary forces of their own country. But what happened in reality ? International reaction, that is, the USA, Britain and other powerful and advanced capitalist-imperialist countries arrayed themselves with all their military might behind the reactionary forces inside the country whom the Vietnamese people could have kicked out in no time. Therefore, the unarmed Vietnamese people now have to fight against united forces of international reaction single-handed. This means, revolutionary movement of the practically unarmed people in each country has today to confront the mighty international imperialist military power with all its sophisticated arms, and therefore the revolutions fail to make headway. That is why, the real significance of the policy of peaceful co-existence was to protect this victorious march of revolution of the exploited masses, the victorious march of freedom struggle and socialism in different countries, from the interferences of external predatory forces.
But Khrushchev reduced the understanding of the policy of peaceful co-existence to such a state that it meant that peace would prevail between the socialist and imperialist camps and the imperialists would be free to enjoy lavish food and drink in socialist countries, to introduce jazz and twist dance in their culture, spoil the youth of the socialist countries by inducing in them alcoholism and the habit of frequenting night clubs. And regarding the misdeeds perpetrated by the USA by aggressing on other countries, the Soviet stand would be only to tell that these are heinous, anti-humanitarian acts and these may lead to war — only this much; but the Soviet Union would not confront and resist such actions actively, because it pursues the policy of peaceful co-existence ! Therefore, just like the principle mongers, the Soviet Union is not to go anywhere to resist these dark deeds of the imperialists ! It transpires that Khrushchev's policy of peaceful co-existence virtually means that, sitting tight, the socialist countries would just sermonize like obsessed moralists and virtually allow the US pirates to aggress on other lands. Does this mean adherence to the policy of peaceful co-existence ? This can never be accepted as correct. The true purport of the policy of peaceful co-existence is that as the Soviet Union would not interfere anywhere, so it would not allow the USA, too, to do so. The USA has no right to go with warships and instigate Isreal to be at war with Egypt. What right of piracy has the USA in open waters ? This also cannot be allowed. Once the imperialists could not be made to pay heed to this as the Soviet Union then did not have that strength. Today, the socialist camp certainly possesses that might. Backed by this, it was the duty of the Soviet Union to force them to strictly abide by this policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of any country. This was the real significance of the policy of peaceful co-existence.
The present leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union could not grasp this significance of the policy of peaceful co-existence. This they could not do because of their low level of ideological consciousness. Now, we are to probe a little as to how this low standard prevailed and wherefrom it originated. Now, in science any high standard connotes that it is high standard in the relative sense. One's capacity to understand is very high or consciousness is of a very high standard — this means that his thinking and knowledge are of a very high standard in a given situation. That is, in a given situation, in the background of contemporary problems, he reflects a very clear understanding and possesses a critical power of analysis of high standard. But if the level of his consciousness remains static there — if he fails to uplift his standard continually keeping pace with the newer and newer problems that appear with the change of time and condition, then this high standard of today becomes low in the perspective of the changed situation, in relation to newer and newer problems. There are many people who are not men of science, who are not conversant with developments of science or who are out and out opposed to science, and naturally when a new theory comes into being in science, a new theory relegating a prevailing one to the background, they say that science does not stand on truth. They say how is it that science tells one thing as correct today, and another thing as correct the next day — how, therefore, can there be truth in science ? But they do not know even that science never says that the earlier proposition was all wrong. In science, just as the Euclidean geometry is correct, so also is Einsteinian concept of geometry. Einsteinian concept of geometry is not applicable in the domain of Euclidean geometry. Their domains or fields of application are different. Newtonian mechanics in its domain is still valid and true, it has not been proved wrong there. But there are certain fields where Newtonian mechanics is inadequate. That gave birth to Einsteinian theory to cover those fields. Therefore, both the Newtonian mechanics and Einstein's theory are correct, only their fields of application are different. Again, in a changed situation, facing a number of new problems, perhaps it might be found that Einstein's theory has become inadequate in tackling these. Then science would have advanced further and newer theories would have come into being. It is in this way that the scientific theories have been advancing, there has been continuous advancement in all spheres, in all aspects of science. This equally holds good for social science. This is true for the development of political knowledge, economics and all aspects of political science as well.
Because the leadership in the Soviet Union possesses a wealth of experiences, has made revolution victorious, because the leadership in China has made revolution successful and Mao Zedong has given birth to newer strategy and tactics of revolution, because they are endowed with such vast experiences in so many fields, therefore their level of consciousness can never become inadequate, even in the relative sense, or their present high standard of consciousness will remain the same forever — such a concept is erroneous. Many communists hold such wrong conceptions, and from this grows blindness. But it should always be borne in mind that communism has no relation with blindness. At least the way in which we have understood communism, our party has understood it — we hold that there is no relation between blindness and communism. We hold that dialectical materialism, on which the whole theory of communism stands, is such a science as will continually develop, advance and constantly throw light on newer and newer problems of life, society and epistemology. Therefore, the communists would grasp the old truths, try to grasp the new ones and in this way continually develop and advance Marxism. Despite the widespread gigantic economic activities in the Soviet Union in Stalin's time, and despite the great advancement and increase of organizational strength of the communist movement from country to country under Stalin's leadership, it is true that adequate stress was not put on the sphere of ideological struggle, that is, on cultivation of philosophy or this theoretical aspect of epistemology. As a result, because of the failure to continually advance the standard of ideological consciousness keeping pace with the great advancement of economic and technological sciences, a big gap has developed between the two. Consequently, the standard of ideological consciousness is falling fast. And if the standard of consciousness goes down and down like this then in future it would eventually give rise to deeper crisis — that is, facing the then complex problems, this leadership with low standard would not be able to throw light, find the way out and tackle those problems. As a result, they would bring various sorts of vices into the communist movement.
Let me clarify the point a bit further. What I am trying to bring home, is that the efforts that go on to organize revolution on the basis of communist ideology in different countries over the globe, at the initial stage, are not only not inimical to nationalism conducive to liberation struggle, but the patriotism born out of this nationalism in turn is not opposed to revolutionary communist movement, rather it is in agreement with it. But after revolution, after the establishment of socialism in many countries, a truly international sense of unity has got to be forged among the socialist countries. This unity or understanding is not like the understanding between the capitalist countries, that is between the USA and Great Britain or between Great Britain and India, or it is not like the understanding between the capitalists of India and those of USA. It is an understanding of entirely different nature. It is the unity among the communists free from national vanity, it signifies a genuine attempt at unity of the socialist states completely free from national vanity in the interest of international proletarian revolution and liberation of mankind from all sorts of exploitation, in the interest of socialism. The very national mental make-up which did not cause any harm during freedom struggle or at the time of revolution, unless fought out in post-revolutionary period and attuned with proletarian internationalism, would one day trigger off conflicts even between the communist countries. When the dispute between Tito and the Soviet leadership surfaced, I gave the pointer that the way the communists were moving, the way the feeling of national humiliation, centring round the national states, was still blended in their mental make-up as an alloy, the influence of mechanical thinking that was still present within the communist movement and in the mutual relation between the communist countries, the domineering attitude still prevailing — if all these remained, then even though it might appear inconceivable, I would not be astonished at all if the communist countries were found to be fighting and confronting one another after the establishment of socialism through victory of revolution from one country to another all over the globe.
I thought even as much as, that unless these shortcomings could be eradicated from the international communist movement, then even after capitalism-imperialism was wiped out, the national form of existence of the socialist states still remaining, a serious problem would arise in combining them together and establishing a single, unified international society of mankind — such a society where the necessity and urge for separate identity of nations would die out. The humanists too had visualized such a unified universal social order. Rabindranath Tagore and Bertrand Russell too had such an idea. They, in their own way, dreamt of such a society, though utopian. But the communists have conceived of such a society scientifically, realistically. In my opinion, if the problems in the communist movement, which I have dwelt on, persist, then that would put serious obstacle to the process of developing such united community of mankind. The teaching of Marxism-Leninism is that wars and conflicts are objective outcomes of the conflicts inherent in imperialist-capitalist economy and politics. But now I find, if what is going on among the communists centring round national question and national mental make-up and mechanical thought process is not eradicated in due time, then that would create new problems amongst us even after imperialism-capitalism is wiped out. All these are due to the inadequate standard of consciousness among the communists.
Here the workers of our party have to remember the particular point: it is an essential task of theirs to make the people understand that what is truth must be voiced. They have to courageously point out where the Chinese leadership has upheld the truth, has spoken correctly. They need not care for what the bourgeoisie would say, because in order to uphold truth one has to pay for it, make some sacrifice — it has always been so and will be so today. This is not a task for the cowards. At the same time, we are to bear in mind that the attitude that since China is saying so, it must be true, is also to be given up. It is also not correct to think that since Mao Zedong is a wise man, therefore, whatever he says is true, every analysis of his is faultless. No, we are to critically examine his analyses as well. For example, if he says that the revolution in India is anti-imperialist and anti-feudal and that India has not yet attained freedom — should we swallow and parrot that ? In my opinion, this should not be. The communist movement in India will not be able to strike roots if such an attitude continues — rather it will languish. The heads that are there on the shoulders of the Indian communists are not for copying others but for acting on their own. It means there should not be national vanity but one should have an independent spirit, vigour and an independent judgement and these are not for copying. Herein lies the secret of success for the communist movement to win over the masses of the country, to strike deep roots in the soil. No one has ever been able to make revolutionary ideology strike roots in the national soil by copying others.
They (the party workers) should remember that these basic theoretical aspects of the present dispute between the Soviet Union and China are very important. The Soviet Union has put forward some such unrealistic conceptions about the policy of peaceful co-existence, is pursuing such politically wrong, if not apolitical, outlook about nuclear blackmailing which is responsible for their passive support to the national freedom struggles. Consequently, the nature of support and assistance which is essential for the decisive victory of those struggles is not forthcoming. As for example, when they have the responsibility of protecting Vietnam, they are providing help to Vietnam only to that extent as is normally done by one state to another in distress. As I have already pointed out, it was their declared pledge that they would consider any attack on a socialist state as an attack upon the Soviet Union itself, but today when the USA is carrying on bombing raids on North Vietnam daily and conducting attacks on the economy — the industries, factories, roads, bridges, dams etc. — and in fact is mounting an all-out attack against the whole people of that country, the Soviet Union, in the name of helping Vietnam, is sending some weapons just for defence. That is, the nature of Soviet help is such that if the US planes come to raid, they can just be shot down and nothing more. I do not say that such weapons are not necessary. It is also true that if Vietnam did not receive even such weapons it would have been placed in greater difficulty. Vietnam may be grateful to the Soviet Union for this because whatever aid is coming from the Soviet Union is of help to it. But what is the Soviet Union actually doing ? The help it is providing amounts to this that if enemy planes come, these can be shot down. Again, what is the extent of this help ? It cannot be called a massive aid of equipment that can shoot the US air force out of the sky.
Now, if anybody asks the Soviet Union that, supposing in an incident, US planes from the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean or a US base in Turkey or Israel would have flown over to the Soviet Union, say Moscow or Leningrad and destroyed bridges and dams by continuous bombing, what would have been its reaction ? Would it have, even in such a situation simply sat tight and shot at the planes ? Would it have then only said to the USA, lest the world war might start, just this: 'Look, don't do this, this is violation of peace; remember, it is you who are attacking'. Would it have allowed the USA to carry on continuous attacks like this ? If not, then what would it have done ? It can reasonably be guessed that the Soviet Union would have retaliated, would have blasted off the base from which the US was conducting the attacks, that is, would have struck at the roots of the US attack. It is obvious. But why is the Soviet Union not taking this attitude in case of Vietnam ? If it has not done that, then the Soviet Union does not consider the question of its own security and that of North Vietnam as one and the same. To them, there is a difference between the two. If this be the case, then does the talk of proletarian internationalism fit in at all with them ? What necessity then was there of their loud talks of proletarian internationalism ? How could the USSR then advise other socialist countries that they need not require to develop their own nuclear strength since the Soviet Union would protect them from imperialist attacks as and when necessary ? Is it giving that protection today ? Can the help it is giving to Vietnam be deemed in any way to be real protection ?
Here, too, the Soviet leaders have failed to comprehend another aspect of the US politics. They are thinking that the aid they are giving to Vietnam for protecting them is the real help. It cannot be denied that this help has in one sense enabled Vietnam to defend itself somewhat, but there is another aspect too. That is the stark reality. What is that ? The USA wants to keep the war going for the very needs of its economy, but it cannot go on fighting without an opponent. Therefore it is necessary that the country the USA fights against also draws some strength from any source for the continuity of the war. It is the Soviet Union which is providing such strength to Vietnam and as a result is objectively helping the USA to clear its stockpile of armaments. For, the Soviet leaders failed even to understand that in the very interest of its economy, the USA required its piled up arms to be released and destroyed through this war. Because unless the arms and planes are destroyed, the boom they are seeking to continue in their economy through militarization of the industries would not last long. The arms produced by their armament factories would accumulate. But the USSR thinks that the USA is getting a fitting rebuff when with the equipment that is provided to Vietnam, American planes are being destroyed. But it is no rebuff to the USA; rather in a sense it is coming to its help. So when the USA has made its forcible presence in Vietnam and a war is raging there, those who think that the defence weapons the USSR is supplying to the Vietnamese have put the USA in serious difficulty, are committing a grievous mistake.
The loss the USA is suffering there is political and moral. The war being prolonged, countless Americans are dying in the Vietnam war. Mothers have lost their sons, wives their husbands, sisters their brothers. It has its impact on the US people. What for this war ? — they have started thinking. For whom they are fighting there ? Questions are agitating their mind : is it true what the Pentagon bosses are trying to make them believe ? Or, is the truth otherwise ? Because people are not allowed there to know the whole truth, a mentality has developed there that whatever comes from the government should be accepted as truth. This being so, then how can it be ascertained whether what the government says is true or not ? Particularly, where the government itself is a bunch of swindlers, criminals, the matter naturally becomes different. Therefore, the people should always judge for themselves. Besides, if what the government is saying is true, why then have they such objection to allow the people to voice and express their opinion ? Let the people be given the right to judge what is true and what is not. No, they would not allow that. Their attitude is such that whatever they say is truth and would have us accept as such. And to say anything different from the official version would be construed to be blasphemy, a treason ! In this way, the US government has not allowed the people to know the truth. The American people, too, were till then quite blissfully satisfied with their fast living and worldly comforts. They did not bother about these questions so far. From traditional anti-communist bias, they have thought all along that the communists are bad people — because they have been fed with such queer and concocted stories about the communists. Being used to this type of propaganda, they formed the idea that there was not much difference between a communist and a beast — say, a rhinoceros or a gorilla. All such distorted ideas about the communists were deliberately dished out to them. But those among them who have travelled in different countries, have come in contact with people there, have come to know of the other side, started to realize the truth gradually. Even men like Bertrand Russell and Jean Paul Sartre who because of their wisdom and sagacity are held in high esteem by the American people, too, are vocal against the USA. The impact of all these is having its effect on the American people. Besides, they see for themselves that the war is taking a heavy toll, they are losing their sons. The people who are going to war are coming back with different experiences. They are going to the war front with the simple faith that they are going to fight for justice, freedom and democracy. But there they are finding the matter quite different. They are witnessing that it is the Vietnamese who are fighting against US aggression for the freedom of their country. Not even one among the common people there is on the side of the USA. Therefore, many of those who are going to the Vietnam front are turning against war. And when these disillusioned people are coming back, the state is gagging their voice, sacking them from service so that they cannot spread discontent and dissatisfaction among the armed forces and destroy their morale. As a result of all these, the American people are gradually being able to get at the truth.
Questions are agitating them as to whose freedom they are going to fight for in Vietnam ? Hundreds of thousands died — but what for did they lay down their lives ? Are they fighting there for stooges like the Ky Government or fighting there to serve the interest of the Pentagon ? Or else are they fighting to safeguard the interest of the big bosses of Wall Street, the war merchants, war-criminals who amass profits by selling war materials ? If that be so, what is the interest of the American masses in that ? Thus, a new awakening has dawned on the American people.
An American journalist, while reporting on North Vietnam during the war, has also given a description of Saigon, the city which has been flooded with US dollars. It is gathered from the reports that he was officially sent there to assess the Vietnamese attitude to the peace proposal as also to send a comparative report on the two areas under different rules there. These news came out in The Statesman. In his study he has shown the comparative picture of social situations and the moral standards of the two parts as also the type and character of the rule of that part in defence of which the US troops have been ostensibly stationed there. Side by side with this, the description of North Vietnam that he has given is amazing ! He reports that in North Vietnam, amidst grim battle and severe bombing raids, people are coming out before dawn and removing the rubbles of destruction to clear the road. But in Saigon where the US are spending millions of dollars, rubbish and dirt even worse than what you see in Calcutta streets are piling up. People there do not move out of their homes before late morning. The streets are often not swept or cleaned. Side by side, he has also presented a picture of respective moral standards in the two parts. He has given a description of how the children in North Vietnam behave, the moral standard of the people and the civic life there. In it he has shown that amidst such a devastating war, the women are doing everything. They are guarding the grounds and again coming underground into the shelters during bombings. They are attending to all other daily chores. And in the midst of all these, they are singing, organizing theatre shows and through various recreational activities enlivening the society with vitality. It is an altogether new way of life. For them there is no place for fear, perversion of any kind; only the concern for the country is uppermost in their minds. Wherefrom do they get this ? How could they attain this new approach to life, this consciousness, this standard of ethics and morality ? It is because they have been imbued with the noble ideology and consciousness of communism. Only as a result of this has it been possible for them to conduct their lives like this.
So, the international situation in the post-Second World War period has been such that the socialist forces have made great progress. Starting from only one country, the communists have become a great force now the world over. The revolutionary movements are taking shape in different countries. Despite such tremendous attacks by the USA and no effective Soviet resistance against the same, the Latin American countries are carrying on their freedom struggles courageously. The freedom loving people of Vietnam are fighting amidst a multitude of difficulties and the people's struggles for liberation are gaining in strength from country to country. As a result, the communist movement is posing a serious challenge to the capitalists and the imperialists the world over. The very name communist is striking terror into the capitalists. The invincible advance of the communists can no longer be contained — the imperialists are getting scared about this reality more and more. But it is really strange that despite imperialism being weakened and cornered and the socialist camp and world revolutionary movement having gained so much in strength, imperialism can still show domineering attitude and arrogance so much so that it is aggressing on other countries even today. That is why I made the comment that when we communists had reached within ten yards, so to say, from the threshold of final victory, we were lost in a maze. Due to various wrong practices and theoretical muddle, confusions and even trickeries, we are again falling back by miles. This could happen due to the weakness of ideological struggles and low standard of consciousness in the communist movement.
Those who think only in terms of day-to-day struggles and feel concerned only about providing mass line and particular slogans to be raised and about increasing the party strength anyhow — I would request them to ponder deeply over a very important point. Such attitude prevails in the so-called communist parties of our country, and unless we remain vigilant we too may fall victim to this attitude any time. The so-called communist parties in our country, whenever they gain somehow in party strength, become so much power conscious that they lose their head. How far are their workers advancing ideologically, whether theoretical consciousness among them is increasing, whether the workers who are swelling their ranks are imbued with correct communist consciousness, whether the base of higher communist ethics and morality and ideological dedication exists in them, whether they have the necessary advanced thinking and conceptions or command over different branches of knowledge — science, philosophy etc., or are simply some passionate slogan shouters swelling the ranks — they do not pay any attention to these very important aspects. One cannot really distinguish this type of "communist" workers from the loafers in the localities unless one knows them to be the cadres of particular parties. They are the workers who come to crowd these parties and swell their membership figures of which the leaders feel so boastful. Swelling of party ranks in this manner may increase the strength numerically which may be of help in parliamentary election politics, in making leaders out of some or getting the propaganda work done but this brings severe setback to the cultural-ideological atmosphere, to the very revolutionary outlook and mental make-up, essential for revolution. Because by observing the filthy behaviour and conduct of such rank and file party workers, the common people who want to understand communism and communist ideology turn against communism. From daily contact with such party workers, they find that these people who talk about communism have practically no difference with the lumpens of the locality — they are just like those lumpens even in knowledge, learning, intelligence, ethics, morality — in all respects. Unless one knows beforehand that such an individual is a member of the communist party, there is nothing to distinguish him from others.
However, it is not possible for me to dwell any more upon the international situation at this meeting because I shall have to speak about the national situation, too, at some length. I am concluding the discussion on the international situation by reminding you that even the unity of the socialist camp has got disrupted because of this weakness in ideological struggles of the communist movement, shortcomings and low standard of ideological consciousness from leaders to workers. Consequently, instead of taking up a united or combined stand behind the people's liberation movement from country to country, the socialist states themselves have suffered disintegration creating advantages only to the imperialists. True, this disunity in the international communist movement is providing a temporary advantage to the imperialists, but there is nothing in this for them to be elated. Rather, in my opinion, this surfacing of the weaknesses in the socialist camp at this stage will be of benefit in one sense. It would have wrought far more damage if instead of surfacing at this stage, it came later. Because of these weaknesses coming into the limelight, the communists all over the world are now feeling the urgent necessity of constant cultivation and practice of the ideology and theory of international proletarian revolution. The realization has begun to dawn upon them that it is not possible to organize revolution by sheer slogan chanting, nor can by this the unity of the communist parties be ensured. And if the standard of ideological consciousness cannot be continuously uplifted and the banner of proletarian internationalism held aloft, then the communist parties would ultimately be fighting among themselves on the basis of national mental complexes. If their consciousness remains at such a low level, then they are bound to fight each other on the basis of national mental complex and, in fact, there is no escape from this.
1 The war of 1965.
2 Till then China and the Soviet Union had not fallen apart.