Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers’ Party of Belgium (Parti du Travail/Partij van de Arbeit)

To Be a Marxist and a Revolutionary in the World of 1988


Issued: 1988
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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A few hundreds of progressive people have signed appeals towards the unity between the PTB, the PCB [Communist Party of Belgium – EROL] and the POS [Socialist Workers Party – EROL] for the municipal elections of October 1988. They claim that this unity can be achieved, since these three organisations ”are marxist and revolutionary and distance themselves from social-democracy and from christian-democracy”. The PTB welcomes the interest shown by these progressive people for the constitution of a truly revolutionary movement, to the left of social-democracy. The build-up of such a movement will be possible if a truly revolutionary meaning is given to the word “unity”. Indeed, in the name of unity, one may use the worst demagogy. For 70 years, social democracy has been trying to prevent the development of the communist movement, in the name of unity. For some, unity is a tactic, in order to save themselves from a crisis situation; for others, unity is a maneuver, that they consider as clever and efficient, to attack and to weaken the communist movement. In the best hypothesis, the PTB, the PCB and the POS agree, at least verbally, with the principles of marxism, leninism, socialist revolution and the struggle against reformism. In what follows, the PTB will try to give a precise meaning to those general principles. This will permit to clarify with which political forces a unity on revolutionary positions is actually feasible.

Our age and the fundamental revolutionary forces

1. We live during the historical age of imperialism and socialist revolution.

In the present phase of imperialism, capitalist monopolies and multinationals have firmly established their hegemony in the developed capitalist countries; through an accelerated internationalisation of the whole political and economical life, they reinforce exploitation and oppression in the industrialised countries, and push to its paroxism their looting, exploitation, oppression and terrorist domination of Third World countries. In order to eliminate imperialism from the face of the earth forever, the national democratic revolution must triumph in the Third World countries and the socialist revolution in the imperialist ones.

2. At the present time, the world is governed by four fundamental contradictions of an antagonistic nature.
The contradiction between the socialist world and imperialism. As long as imperialism exists, it will not resign itself to the existence of socialism. It will wage various forms of struggle against socialist countries, in order to limit the attraction that they exert on the workers of the capitalist world and the Third World, and in order to resubmit them to’ capitalist exploitation. The socialist countries are forced to insure their defense so as to prevent imperialism from setting up military adventures against them. They also have to fight in the political and ideological spheres against imperialist influence and subversion.
The contradiction between capital and work. In the imperialist countries, the antagonistic contradiction between capitalism, basically monopoly capitalism, and the’ working class and the other working masses, can only be resolved through socialist revolution and expropriation of the monopolies.
The contradiction between. imperialism and the countries and peoples of the Third World. The effective liberation of the countries and peoples of the Third World can only be realised by leading to its term the National Democratic Revolution. This means, to liquidate completely the economic seizure, the political domination and the military control that imperialism exerts on these countries, directly and through the comprador bourgeoisie and to eliminate the precapitalist and/or feudal structures in the countryside.
The contradictions between imperialist powers and between monopolies. The fierce struggles between the US, the EEC and Japan, as well as the struggles inside the EEC, and the confrontations between the various multinationals increase the financial and economical instability of the whole capitalist world. Inter-imperialist wars have become less likely: for the different imperialist centres, the main confrontations are with the countries of the Third World and the socialist camp.

3. Today, the world movement for socialism is made up of three revolutionary international trends supporting each other.
The struggle for socialist edification in the various socialist countries. The overthrow of the capitalist system in several countries has been the result of the struggle of the popular masses of those countries, which were helped by the struggles waged against the common enemies by the workers of the whole world.
The struggle for the triumph of the National Democratic Revolution in the Third World. The cruel domination of imperialism over the Third World countries cannot provide minimal conditions for a human life to hundreds of millions of human beings. In Asia, Africa and Latin America, the economical and political contradictions become more and more explosive. The National Democratic Revolution undermines the imperialist system and therefore sharpens the internal contradictions of the imperialist world. By weakening imperialism, they bring closer the day when the working class of the capitalist countries will be able to overthrow the exploitation system. To the extent that the National Democratic Revolution is carried through in a consequent fashion, the political and economic conditions are created for its transformation into a socialist revolution.
The struggle for the triumph of the socialist revolution in the imperialist countries. In these countries, the capitalist system has deep historical and economic roots. It benefits from the shameful exploitation of the peoples of the Third World and it enjoys a solid structure of political, economic, ideological and military domination over the working masses. The revolutionaries of these countries have still ahead of them a whole historical period of preparatory work for the socialist revolution. Moreover, by mobilising vast segments of the population against imperialist interventions, aggressions and wars, as well as against exploitation and looting of the Third World, they help to strengthen the socialist countries and the revolutionary movement of the peoples of the Third World.

We believe that it is impossible to define a revolutionary policy starting essentially from the situation in Belgium, envisioning only the nearby future, and trying to be “realist” in that framework. Nevertheless, the common platforms of the PCB and the POS are built on this approach. Belgium is at the heart of “Europe 92” sharpening its weapons in order to fight the US and Japan on all the world markets. In the hands of the multinationals, finance, production and trade have become international as well as communication, information and transport. In this situation, we must follow a policy of unity with the main revolutionary forces existing at the international level: the socialist countries and the movement for the National Democratic Revolution. This thesis is attacked by the POS. Realism demands that revolutionaries declare: no solution is possible on the basis of the economical and political system of imperialism; a true alternative requires a socialist revolution. This thesis is denied by the PCB.

Today, every revolutionary must place his action within a struggle which has taken a world dimension. But the present world can only be understood as the product of revolutionary history.

4. The imperialist system, which has deep historical roots, is an inhuman system whose upholding has become incompatible with the survival of mankind on earth.

The present capitalist world has developed starting with the conquest of Latin America, Central America and North America and the extermination of entire peoples living in those lands. For centuries, it fed itself on the black slave trade which cost the lives of tens of millions of Africans. The slave work produced gigantic fortunes. It grew through the shameless exploitation of the working masses of its own countries and through the colonisation of Africa and of Asia, which dragged the wealth of these continents towards the metropoles. It threw the peoples of the world into two World Wars, whose main goals were the repartition of the different continents between the competing imperialist forces. It continues to survive with an exploitation of unmatched force, of more than two billions of people in the Third World, and through the militarisation of its own economy, which threatens the world with nuclear destruction.

One must have a clear understanding of the realities on which our “democratic” system is built. But the POS claims that imperialist democracy is superior to democracy in the socialist countries. The PCB claims that a broadening of bourgeois democracy will lead us peacefully towards socialism.

5. Since World War I, the leaders of the social-democratic parties have definitively joined the side of imperialism.

During the first inter-imperialist war, they sent the workers of their own countries to be slaughtered in order to defend and to widen the colonial conquests of their bourgeoisie. At the end of the war, they supported or encouraged the military repression of the workers’ insurrections. During the thirties, they participated actively in the direction of the colonial policy of their countries. They fought against the Soviet Union and against the revolutionary movement at home. The most right wing trends of social democracy compromised themselves politically and ideologically with the rise of fascism. During the antifascist war, the social-democratic leaderships aligned themselves on the positions of American imperialism and of the big European antifascist bourgeoisie. At the end of the war, they fought eagerly, under the direct impulse of the American secret services, to restore the capitalist order and against the communist “danger”. They proved themselves to be the defenders of colonialism and of neo-colonialism.

6. A social-democratic government is a bourgeois government.

The revolutionaries who have effectively broken away from reformism may in no way spread illusions on the class nature of social-democracy. Since social-democracy has adopted a program to defend the bases of capitalist society and of the imperialist world, the revolutionaries may not present the coming to power of social democracy as the arrival of a “worker’s government” and even less to make believe that such a government will break away from capitalism.

7. The revolutionaries must support the left wing of the social democratic movement.

In social-democracy, the working class rank and file and the progressive elements have always expressed certain anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist positions. Revolutionaries must support all those who struggle effectively against some aspects of capitalist and imperialist society; this support must go along with a fraternal and adequate critique of reformist ideology.

The decline of the PCB, since the end of the Second World War, is mostly due to the fact that it seeks unprincipled alliances with social democracy, from which it hardly distinguishes itself. The “fundamental” slogan of worker’s government, put forward by the POS, spreads illusions on the class nature of social-democracy.

8. The October Revolution in Russia opened, for the entire world, the way towards the socialist revolution; it marked the beginning of a new historical period.

Tsarism, the Russian big bourgeoisie, and French, British and German imperialism threw all their political and military strength into the battle to destroy the revolutionary movement in the Soviet Union. That shows the amount of resistance that the big bourgeoisie will oppose everywhere its power is threatened. This is why the strategy and the tactics elaborated by Lenin and the bolshevik party during the Russian Revolution keep to this day their fundamental value for the revolutionary movement of all countries.

The PCB considers this position “archaic” and “dogmatic”. The POS supports the October Revolution verbally but rejects its main characteristics (armed struggle led by workers and peasants, the passing over to the side of the people of many soldiers and officers; the leading role of the communist party).

9. During the Twenties and the Thirties and thanks to their heroic efforts, the peoples of the Soviet Union, led by the bolshevik party, have built the basis of a socialist society in a single country: the USSR.

In 1920, at the end of the war of intervention, the country was completely ruined. Facing the constant threat of imperialist aggression, which became more precise when Hitler came to power In Germany, the Soviet people performed a historical achievement: socialist industrialisation, collectivisation of agriculture, development of education and of popular culture and a remarkable progress of science and technology. Thus was accomplished what the whole imperialist world regarded as impossible: that workers get rid of capitalist exploiters and set up an economy capable of facing the capitalist world. During that period, all sincere revolutionaries considered the firm defense of the unique socialist country as their main duty in international politics. All the imperialist reactionary forces kept the hope of destroying the first socialist State; this destruction was always possible and corresponded to the interests of all the capitalist forces.

10. The Soviet people made extraordinary sacrifices to build socialism; these sacrifices were uselessly increased by serious mistakes made by the leadership of the party.

This first experience of building socialism was made in extremely hard circumstances: coming from absolutism, the people had never known democracy; the productive forces were very backward and mostly destroyed by the war; the people had to confront the fierce hostility of the tsarist elements, of the big bourgeois and of the rich peasants; imperialism organised subversion and infiltration and supported all the opposition forces to socialism; the capitalist encirclement was a permanent threat for the young Soviet state. These conditions imposed immense sacrifices on the Soviet people, who had to show an unparalleled heroism in the struggle for socialist edification. But the victories were accompanied by negative tendencies in the life of the bolshevik party: democracy was often stamped on, due attention was not paid to the different viewpoints of the popular masses. trends towards personal power were felt and repression, necessary against the irreducible enemies of socialism, was arbitrarily extended to many communists and to many honest workers. As a result, the price paid by the party and the people for socialist edification was heavier than it should have been.

The trotskyites have always claimed that the construction of socialism in the USSR was “impossible” because one cannot build socialism in a single country. Along with all right wing forces, the trotskyites waged the struggle to overthrow the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet regime. They violently attacked all parties which defended socialism in the USSR, calling them hired agents of Moscow.

11. The Soviet Union played a determining role in the victorious resistance against fascist aggressions and in eventually crushing them. The Soviet Union therefore made an essential contribution to the liberation of all mankind from the yoke of the most reactionary forces of world capitalism.

Until September 1939, the basic policy of England and France was to direct Hitler’s expansionism towards the East. The entire European bourgeoisie was of the opinion that the Soviet Union would be defeated by Germany, should a conflict occur, since the latter enjoyed a most modern economy and army. The historical victory of the Soviet Union in the antifascist war was due to five factors: the socialist economy, built up in less than twenty years, was able to produce the modern weapons needed to crush the Nazis; thanks to the intense military preparation of the Soviet armed forces, the first onslaught was contained, the strategic defense was organised and the victorious counteroffensive was carried through; the socialist system showed its strength and its ability to conscientize and mobilize the popular masses and finally, the bolshevik party proved to be the vanguard force which led the whole Soviet people firmly and heroically.

Before the war, the trotskyites made propaganda saying that the Soviet Union could not come out victoriously from a military confrontation with nazism. During the war, they fought against the antifascist alliances, led by the communists.

12. The construction of socialism in the Soviet Union and its victorious defense against the Nazis had a determining influence on the evolution of world revolution.

Without the edification of socialism in the USSR, the world communist movement would never have known the extension on all the continents that we have seen during the 20’s and the 30’s. The National Liberation Movement in the colonies would never have gained the strength that it had during the same period. The struggle and the victory of the USSR against fascism contributed to the strengthening of the communist parties throughout the world. It made easier the victory of the National Democratic Revolution in China, Vietnam and Korea and the realisation of the socialist revolution in Eastern European countries.

They also gave an impulse to the anticolonial struggle.

During the 30’s the trotskyists claimed that the communist parties had become counterrevolutionary forces, which had gone over to the side of the imperialist order.

13. The triumph of the Chinese revolution opened a new stage in the revolutionary process of this century; it opened the way of the National Democratic Revolution, direct preparation of the socialist revolution, in Third World countries.

In the elaboration of the strategy of National Democratic Revolution, the Chinese Communist Party was able to adapt the principles of Leninism to the fundamentally different realities of the underdeveloped countries, of a basically feudal character, and oppressed by imperialism. The Chinese revolution has driven the fundamental masses of our world, the oppressed masses of Asia, Africa and Latin America into the process of national and social liberation.

The trotskyites have always fought against the Chinese revolution, led by the Chinese Communist Party. Its strategy of National Democratic Revolution was called counterrevolutionary.

14. The Soviet Union evaluates critically the errors and the crimes committed during the socialist edification so as to better apply socialist principles. The reactionary Western circles try to use this in order to develop anticommunism and to hide the monstrous crimes that they have committed since the beginning of this century.

Among other things, the superiority of socialism is shown by the fact that the Soviet people “lives” its history, that each period of its revolutionary past is discussed and analysed. At the present time, contradictory and impassioned debates take place in the Soviet Union about the following problems: the role of Stalin, the way collectivisation was made, the responsibilities in the repression against communists during the 30’s, the preparation for the war of resistance and so on. The reactionary Western circles point to all the facts that they think could be used to support their anti-Communist propaganda. Fascinated by the “black spots” in the history of revolutions, these reactionaries erase in a systematic fashion the history of their own monstrous crimes against mankind. What are social-democrats and social-christians, who are so fond of the history of the Soviet Union, waiting for before embarking themselves in a deep critique of their own history? How come that the social-democrats, who “know” that Stalin did not prepare well the Red Army against the Nazi aggression, do NOT know that the president of their own party, Henri De Man, acclaimed the occupation of Belgium by Hitler? Why don’t we have revelations on the responsibilities of the social-democrat and social-christian leaders in the colonial wars, the forced labour imposed on the “natives”, the slaughters in the colonies, the butchery of World War I, the repression of the workers’ revolts, the collaboration with the rise of fascism, the collaboration with the Nazi occupant, the destruction of the ecosystem which leads to famine and catastrophe in the Third World and so on?

The POS supports all the bourgeois and anti-Communist positions that one may read nowadays in the Soviet press about the 30’s and the 40’s. They use them to fight against the central thesis of the Communist Party about the construction of socialism in the USSR thanks to the heroic work of the party and of the popular masses.

The struggle for the edification of the socialist countries is the main revolutionary current in the contemporary world.

15. The general laws of socialism come out of a diversified practice.

Socialism has long existed as a utopia, and then as a scientific prevision. For 70 years, socialism has been a reality certainly a complex, changing and contradictory one but mostly: a lively, material one. To speak of socialism while ignoring the reality of the socialist world is an idealist attitude, which is easily manipulated by bourgeois ideologues. The notion of a unique and compulsory way towards socialism, which was for a long time upheld in the Soviet Union is nowadays rejected by all countries referring themselves to scientific socialism. Although the various socialist countries have known rather diverse economical and political developments, their experiences show certain general laws of socialism.

16. The State power of the working masses.

Every socialist revolution had to destroy the old state structure which represented the interests of the exploiting classes. In the course of the construction of socialism, revolutionary armed forces, political and administrative structures, new laws were created to express the power of the working masses and, in the first place, of the proletariat.

17. The leadership of the Communist Party.

During the development of the class struggle, every bourgeois and petit bourgeois party stood up against the revolutionary forces. In countries as different as Russia, China, Cuba and the German Democratic Republic, revolution finally triumphed under the leadership of the Communist Party, the only thorough revolutionary party. A correct leadership of the Communist Party, which adapts the principles of scientific socialism to the realities of its country is necessary for the triumph of the revolution and for the construction of socialism. If this party makes too many serious mistakes, the revolution will be defeated or the construction of socialism will suffer crises, sometimes even collapse.

18. The collective ownership of the main means of production.

Socialism is impossible without the nationalisation of the large estates and of the capitalist monopolies. The planning of the national economy is based essentially upon the main means of production, owned by the socialist state. Experience shows the necessity for relatively backward economies to maintain for a long period a coexistence of collective, individual and capitalist property. Socialism allows to put in practice the principle: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his work”, and to avoid excessive inequalities as well as egalitarianism in the distribution of income.

19. The development of socialist democracy.

The way in which socialist democracy can be developed depends on the national and international class struggle. A Communist Party must always improve and extend socialist democracy. One of the main features of this democracy is the possibility for the working masses to observe and to judge the behaviour and the positions of the members and the cadres of the party.

In order to develop democracy, the socialist government must provide a general scientific high quality education and a lively political formation to all citizens.

The Communist Party must provide the conditions for an active participation of the workers, of their representatives and of their mass organisations in the management of local, regional and national affairs. Laws must define the rights and duties of citizens in the framework of socialist society.

20. The defense of revolutionary conquests.

Workers must be ideologically and practically prepared to fight the antisocialist trends developed by class enemies and encouraged by imperialist subversion and intervention. As long as it survives, imperialism will never cease to prepare its restoration in the socialist countries. It will try, in the first place, to conquer the political and ideological field by supporting various forces hostile to the communist party. It will uphold freedom for the bourgeois press, the independence of the unions with respect to the Communist Party and the creation of political parties, legal as well as illegal ones, hostile to the Communist Party. The socialist army and the popular militia must be ready to defeat possible aggressions of the imperialist forces.

If we want to consider the problem of unity as revolutionaries, we must first speak of unity with the socialist countries. The trotskyites systematically disparage existing socialism. They attack the leadership of the Communist Party, which has proved to be the crucial point in every socialist revolution. They demand freedom for bourgeois and pro-imperialist parties and for their press. They support all counterrevolutionary movements, claiming that these lead the “anti-bureaucratic political revolution. The trotskyites supported the counterrevolutionary uprising in Hungary, whose leading forces were former fascist organisations and American agents. In Poland, they present Solidamosc as an “alternative which practises democratic socialism,” while the leadership of that organisation is increasingly dominated by reactionary, clerical and antisocialist trends.

21. Socialism has already proven its superiority over capitalism in many areas. But objective difficulties and serious political and economical mistakes prevented this superiority exhibiting itself in all its dimensions.

The USSR underwent an extremely rapid development of its productive forces until the beginning of the 60’s. Socialist countries as different as the German Democratic Republic, Albania, Cuba and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea have accomplished remarkable progress during the last decades. Generally speaking, the position occupied by the workers in the political and economical structures enables them to better protect their economic, social and political rights that under the capitalist regime. With a billion people, socialist China has clearly shown that socialism is the only way for the hundreds of millions of oppressed people in the Third World. By observing the absolute misery which is the fate of the people in the rest of Asia, in Africa and Latin America, one may imagine the hell in which the Chinese workers and peasants would live, if they were still under the yoke of the landlords, the comprador bourgeoisie and the imperialist powers. In order to sustain its anticommunist campaigns, the bourgeoisie systematically conceals the successes of the socialist countries and enlarges out of proportion their difficulties and their mistakes. All the socialist countries have to face many objective problems: they start from a backward economic base; the historical novelty of the task of socialist edification brings unavoidable trials and errors; they cannot enjoy the “advantages” of the exploitation of other countries as the capitalist powers do; they must face the economical, political and military pressure of imperialism. The many exposures made by Gorbachev in the Soviet Union have shown that the socialist system can go through serious phenomena of degeneration. Some examples are: corruption, parasitism, monopolisation of positions, incompetence, refusal of criticism and of contradictory debate, repression of dissenting opinions, indifference towards the concrete problems of the masses, the destruction of the revolutionary and critical spirit of marxism-leninism. “At the end of the seventies and the beginning of the eighties, a corrupt part of the administrative and economic apparatus, which controlled the distribution of material goods, was showing unashamedly its greed, its immorality, its everything-is-allowed”(Zaslavskaia). Under socialism, capitalist elements, exploiting the labour of workers, continue to exist; some of the bureaucracy may degenerate and appropriate for themselves, thanks to their position in the state apparatus, part of the value produced by the popular masses. These two types of exploiters can assist each other in building well-organised networks of anti-socialist forces. Class struggle continues under socialism, although under fundamentally different forms.

The Soviet Union is at the beginning of a long process of rebuilding a socialist orientation and Leninist principles, in internal and external policy.

Serious mistakes of the communist movement can never be corrected by appealing to bourgeois and social-democratic ideology. The recovery of socialist countries which have serious problems, starts with the revolutionary recovery of the Communist Party. The socialist system can, inside itself, find resources and means to fight and eliminate the evils from which society suffers. The main condition is that the Communist Party keeps or recovers its revolutionary spirit, its links with the masses, its spirit of sacrifice and develops its political, technical and scientific abilities, in order to play a vanguard role in society.

22. Socialist countries have, as their main duty of proletarian internationalism, the socialist build-up in their own countries.

In order to stimulate the revolutionary socialist movement in the world, socialist countries must prove, by their achievements the economical, political, and social superiority of socialism with respect to capitalism. These solutions will have a greater impact on Third World countries, faced with the problem of building up a national independent economy.

23. Socialist countries must adopt an international policy serving peace, national independence, and socialism.

The communist parties which lead the socialist countries must develop friendship, solidarity and cooperation with all the communist and revolutionary parties of the world, based on the principles of independence, autonomy, equality and mutual respect. The socialist countries follow an international policy corresponding to the interests of all democratic peoples. They have put forward several proposals trying to limit the risks of a world nuclear war and to dismantle weapons; they have the duty to oppose all wars of aggression and to help the aggressed and oppressed peoples of the world. The socialist countries must take the principles of peaceful coexistence as the basis of their relations with all countries of the world. Imperialism cannot exist without using war, threat of force, interference in other peoples’ internal affairs, violations of sovereignty. The struggle for the strict application of the principles of peaceful coexistence is a struggle which attacks the very essence of imperialism.

Only socialism can truly respect independence and sovereignty of other countries. On the other hand, revolution cannot be exported. In manifest cases of subversion and of imperialist aggression against a socialist country or a Third World country, a socialist country has the duty to respond to requests for help from the legal government. For example, China sent one million soldiers to Korea to repel the American aggression and the Soviet-Union helped to crush the counter-revolution in Hungary in 1956. Another thing is the application by socialist countries of a policy of hegemony which, under the pretense of help, interferes with an independent country’s internal affairs, influences the class struggle through the use of strength and dictates its own policy. This was the case of the Soviet military intervention in Czechoslovakia, of military occupation of Afghanistan by the Soviet-Union and of Kampuchea by Viet-Nam. Revolutionaries must criticise these interventions in the name of communist principles and, at the same time, dissociate themselves from the positions of imperialism and reaction. On the basis of the principles of peaceful coexistence, socialist countries reinforce their relations of friendship and of solidarity with other socialist countries so as to contribute to the unity and strength of the socialist world. They develop friendship with Third World countries so as to help them build an independent national economy, they cooperate with capitalist countries on the basis of equality and mutual advantage.

The POS attacks those theses as “bourgeois nationalism”. It is against peaceful coexistence, which would be a “betrayal” of the internationalist duty of a socialist country. The trotskyites defend the principle of exporting revolution, military intervention in the internal affairs of other countries “to help world revolution”.

24. Socialist countries need the support of the revolutionaries of the entire world.

To contribute to the strengthening of the world revolutionary movement, communists must develop relations of friendship and solidarity with socialist countries.

They must make the positions, struggles, achievements of the socialist countries known, so as to combat the slandering campaigns. The support must never be blind, and must be based on a judgment for which one is solely responsible. Communists must defend the socialist countries against anticommunist campaigns, fabrication and slander propagated by the bourgeois forces. To contribute to the healthy development of the international communist movement, communists must criticise in a responsible way errors and mistakes that they believe occur in the work of the socialist countries. The criticism is made between comrades, is based on communist principles and has as a goal to push forward the common cause of the socialist revolution.

The movement for the National Democratic Revolution in the Third World is the main strength in the struggle against imperialism.

25. The development of the Third World is the main problem facing mankind today.

A nuclear war could kill hundreds of millions of men. But, today, the extermination of tens of millions of men each year is already a fact in the Third World. One estimates that, within ten years, famine will have a destructive strength equal to that of a limited nuclear war: 55 million people will die of starvation each year, as many as during the second World War. Almost 2 billion people live in unbearable conditions: $1.200 billion of debt make development impossible, their countries are looted through the falling prices of raw materials and the increase of those of industrial goods. Their workforce is overexploited by the multinationals, their development is slowed down by protectionist measures in the developed countries, they suffer from the military tyranny which imperialism uses to maintain its domination.

26. The Third World countries have to fulfil the task of the National Democratic Revolution which, carried through under communist leadership, prepares the transition to a socialist revolution.

The character of the revolution is determined by the tasks that it must fulfil: in the Third World countries, an end must be put to economic, political and cultural domination of imperialism; in other words, one must fulfil the ideals of democracy and national independence.

In the revolutionary process, the working class, the peasantry, the petit-bourgeoisie and the patriotic bourgeoisie have their role to play and, under certain circumstances, each of these classes may find itself leading the anti-imperialist struggle. Experience shows that the National Democratic Revolution can be carried through under the foI1owing circumstances: a front between the working class, the peasantry and the petit-bourgeoisie forms the basis of the revolution, the patriotic bourgeoisie allies itself to this front and the whole revolutionary process is lead by an authentic communist party. When the struggle for national independence and democracy leads to victories under the leadership of the revolutionary forces of the petit-bourgeoisie of or the national bourgeoisie, these victories cannot be consolidated and deepened and compromise with imperialism will occur; eventually, one will see the return of pro-imperialist forces. Under these conditions, the communists have to have a policy of unity and of struggle with petit-bourgeois and bourgeois revolutionaries. Carrying through the National Democratic Revolution, one may create the objective conditions – economic – and the subjective ones – influence of the Communist Party, political organisation of the vast masses of workers and peasants – which allow the passage to socialist revolution.

The liberation of the peoples of the Third World cannot be achieved by struggling for the immediate realisation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This “struggle” is put forward by the POS under the name of the “struggle of the permanent revolution”. This struggle ignores the objective tasks of the present stage of the revolution: the national and democratic tasks. It divides the people, prevents the isolation of the main enemy, and leads to a total failure. In the name of the “permanent revolution”, the Trotskyites have fought against the Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean revolutions and they continue to fight against the main forces of the National Democratic Revolution in the Philippines, in Palestine and in South Africa. They betray the Nicaraguan revolution by presenting it as a socialist revolution, while the Sandinistas claim that the present stage of the struggle is national and democratic. If we want to speak about the problem of unity as revolutionaries, we must have a policy of unity with the forces that wage the National Democratic Revolution; fighting this revolution in the name of the “struggle for the immediate realisation of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the trotskyites divide and weaken the revolutionary forces. Starting from its general conception of the “peaceful transition to socialism”, the PCB often supports reformist forces in Third World countries. If it supports the anti-imperialist movement, it does not have a clear picture of the National Democratic Revolution.

27. The first international duty of the revolutionaries of the imperialist countries is to support the revolutionary struggles of Third World peoples.

Famine, sickness, poverty and underdevelopment in the Third World countries constitute the greatest problem facing mankind today. The oppressed masses of the Third World are the most important revolutionary force against international capitalism. One must criticise eurocentrism and Western chauvinism which underestimates the gigantic problems of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as their revolutionary potential. In Third World countries, imperialism dominates essentially through weapons; either thanks to direct military intervention, or through the local armies, trained and helped by imperialist officers. Under these circumstances, our solidarity must go in the first place to the peoples engaged in the armed struggle for the triumph of their national and democratic cause: the peoples of El Salvador, Guatemala, Palestine, South Africa and the Philippines are the vanguard of all the revolutionary forces in the Third World. Then, the countries trying to build up an independent national economy need our support. These experiences are diverse, ranging from Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Libya to Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Angola.

28. While supporting the revolutionary struggles of the Third World, the communists make the different progressive causes of our world progress.

The fight for real independence of Third World countries strengthens world peace by depriving imperialism of the bases necessary for launching large scale aggression wars. The assimilation of the revolutionary experiments of the peoples of the Third World by the progressive forces in the industrialised countries is necessary for the anti-capitalist movement to acquire a real revolutionary consciousness.

In general, the PCB underestimates the importance of revolutionary struggles in the Third World; it does not understand that they constitute an essential contribution to the fight to overthrow the imperialist system. It neglects the education in the direction of proletarian internationalism and it does not help Belgian communists to assimilate the revolutionary lessons resulting from Third World struggles.

The inhuman imperialist system will eventually be buried by the socialist revolution.

29. The principal contradiction which characterises capitalism increases.

The scientific and technical revolution, the extraordinary expansion of the means of transportation and of communication have created a vast world market and have introduced a mass production for that world market. The internationalisation of the economic, political and cultural life is developing as well as the concentration of capital in the multinational corporations which extend their grip to the whole world. The contradiction between the productive forces that have become so huge and the capitalist relations of production, ruled by the thirst for profit of a small minority of exploiters becomes deeper. This contradiction finds its social expression in the antagonism between’ capitalism and labour, in the irreducible struggle between the monopolist bourgeoisie and the working masses of the industrialised and of the dominated countries.

30. Imperialism has become a threat to the survival of mankind. Concentration of capital and internationalisation create increasing economic instability at the national and international levels: the economic, financial and commercial crises take on international dimensions and become more destructive. For hundreds of millions of people, imperialism means misery, famine, desperation and death. Even in the industrialised countries, the health of the workers deteriorates, exploitation increases, unemployment hits hard. In the Third World, hundreds of millions of people live today on the verge of starvation. Nuclear overarming threatens mankind with extermination. The race for maximum profit destroys the environment and creates new dangers for survival on earth.

31. The nuclear threat shows the inhuman and barbaric nature of imperialism.

Imperialism was the first to develop nuclear weapons and to use them. It develops the arms race and declares itself ready to use nuclear weapons in the event of a major conflict. War is the continuation of politics by other means. If imperialism dares to launch a nuclear war this will be a continuation of its inhuman, destructive and barbaric policy. If imperialism launched a nuclear war, a great part of mankind would be exterminated and a great part of the world would become impossible to live in. All peaceful forces must unite in order to stop the arms race and to impose the destruction of all nuclear weapons in the world.

32. Militarisation of the economy is a fundamental characteristic of imperialism, stage of the rot of capitalism.

By its economic nature, imperialism is pushed to aggression and war. First of all, the production of military supplies is a source of big profits for the monopolies. In order to partly avoid the overproduction crises, the capitalist state develops the arms market. To conquer and to defend the supply its raw materials and its strategic bases, imperialism uses military power. As the general crisis of the capitalist system deepens, the most reactionary fractions of the bourgeoisie extol the use of violence in international affairs in order to impose their interests.

33. Imperialism also uses nuclear weapons as a way to blackmail peoples, in order to force them to capitulate.

The military policy of imperialism has a nuclear aspect as well as a conventional one. They form a coherent whole aiming at world domination. Imperialism threatens entire continents with extermination by its nuclear weapons; its first goal is to push the peoples of the Third World to capitulate and to accept the imperialist domination carried by conventional military means. Therefore, the struggle against the threat of a nuclear war must be linked to the struggle against the wars of aggression that imperialism wages already against the peoples of the Third World. During these last years, imperialism has escalated classical and special wars, the “low intensity warfare” in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The victorious resistance against these wars of aggression and domination weakens the possiblity for imperialism to launch a world war.

In the struggle for disarming and mostly for nuclear disarming, the PCB often follows a tactic of “pressure” on the imperialists so that they will show “good will” and “realism”. The struggle for peace is weakened if it maintains illusions in imperialism. The struggle for peace is part and parcel of the international class struggle against imperialism. It must rely on the struggle of the Third World masses towards national liberation and educate the progressive forces of the West about the inhuman and warlike nature of imperialism.

34. In politics, imperialism is characterised by its tendency to strengthen the reaction and to scoff at democracy.

In order to impose its will and to make impossible any true expression of the will of the popular masses, the monopolist bourgeoisie has at its disposal all the means of modern technology; the most reactionary political tendencies base themselves on the most modern techniques. Bourgeois democracy is increasingly reduced to formal elections, devoid of any substance and completely manipulated by the ruling class and by the media. The parliaments. reflecting less and less the true interests of the working masses, have lost to a large extent the right to edict laws and to control the government. But, in the name of this democracy, imperialism organises subversion in the socialist countries and in some Third World countries. Imperialism attacks democratic rights as well as the unions, organises police control and political spying on a large scale, increases the means of repression. It divides workers using racism and chauvinism which themselves fuel neo-fascist organisations. In the ideological field, the reaction propagates the cult of violence and of individualism.

35. The socialist revolution must fulfil two essential tasks, the first one being to destroy all the repressive state apparatus and all the other state structure expressing the interests of the monopolist bourgeoisie.

The state is the organ through which the ruling class exerts its domination on the oppressed classes. During the last two centuries, the bourgeoisie has built up a coherent set of laws that protect the private property of the means of production and take away from the oppressed masses their possibility to protest and to resist. The top executives among the judges and the civil servants are part of the big bourgeoisie. The army and the police constitute the armed kernel of the state apparatus. These essential means of the State have been set up by the bourgeoisie so as to serve its class domination and can only do that. The popular forces have been able to obtain certain political, democratic and union rights and to conquer certain positions in the state apparatus. These positions can be used in the struggle. The working class uses certain institutions of the state to educate the masses and to obtain some concessions and it uses the contradictions in the state apparatus, in order to prepare the complete dismantling of the repressive and bourgeois organs of the state. The structure of a new revolutionary state apparatus, expressing the interests of the popular masses, will be created during the revolutionary struggle.

The PCB has rejected most of Lenin’s theses on the State.

36. The second task of the socialist revolution is the expropriation of the capitalist monopolies. The main means of production become the property of the socialist State, the collective property. Planification must insure a faster and more efficient growth of production, whose goal will be the satisfaction of the needs. of the community and of each of its members. Scientific and technical development will be encouraged and technology will be developed towards the full satisfaction of mankind.

37. Social revolutions are exceptional periods in the life of a people.

Lenin spoke about the necessary conditions for a revolution to be victorious. The majority of the workers must be conscious that it is impossible to live like before, the exploiters must be unable to govern as before; the majority of the workers must be aware of the necessity of the revolution and must be ready to die for it; the repressive apparatus of the ruling classes must be divided and weakened to the point of not being able to oppose an efficient resistance to the popular will.

38. There have been, during this century, two periods when the conditions of socialist revolution were present in Europe.

The first one was at the end of World War 1, during which hundreds of thousands of workers died for the unjust cause of the splitting of the world between the colonial powers. During that war, the workers acquired an experience of armed struggle, oppression and misery had reached an unbearable extent, the big bourgeoisie of all countries was considerably weakened. At that moment, an armed popular insurrection, prepared and supported by general strikes, could have been victorious. The second period followed the victory over fascism. The big bourgeoisie of all occupied countries had, in its great majority, collaborated with the fascists and had lost its prestige among the workers; the army and the repressive apparatus were very much weakened; the workers which had had most of the weight of the partisan struggle on their shoulders could use their military experience against their bourgeoisie and its Anglo-American protectors. This possibility existed in almost all European countries. It is the quality of the work done by the communist parties between 1934 and 1944 which determined the victory of the popular revolution in Yugoslavia and Albania and its defeat in Greece, France, Italy and Belgium. It is impossible to predict today in what particular conditions a revolutionary situation will occur in the future. But communists must have a clear picture of the realities of a revolutionary situation and of the tasks that the latter demands.

A majority of the leaders of the PCB consider that the very idea of a socialist revolution in Western Europe is anachronistic, outdated. Therefore, they do not even consider the issue of under which objective and subjective conditions a revolution is possible.

39. A general strike cannot solve the fundamental problems of the socialist revolution.

The revolution cannot win as long as the bourgeoisie keeps large numbers of people under its ideological and political control, among which it will always find fascist gangs that will suppress the workers’ vanguard through terror, with the help of the regular armed forces. No general strike can solve the problem of counterrevolutionary terror.

Belgium has never known a general strike during which the majority of the workers was convinced of the impossibility to live as before and was ready to die for the revolution. As long as the army and the police are not disunited, divided and weakened, it is an illusion to think that the bourgeoisie can be overthrown. The general strike in itself cannot foster this division and weakening inside the repressive forces. The “takeover of the power through a general strike” is a reformist statement. The only power that one can take through a general strike is a reformist one, under the shadow of the bourgeois army, inside the existing system. This can in no way be the socialist revolution. At most, it can be a stage in the preparation of that revolution.

The POS claims that it will realise the transition to socialism through a general strike; this old radical reformist conception was explicitly rejected at the foundation of the Communist International. Whoever confuses general strike and the fulfilment of the socialist revolution shows only that he has never seriously considered the way a revolution takes place. But this naive and reformist presentation of the revolution as a general strike may also lead to adventurism. Indeed, call for the revolution at a time when the conditions are not present is adventurist and irresponsible. The trotskyites maintained that a revolution was possible in Belgium in 1960 and in France in 1936 and 1968. But, in neither of those cases the subjective and objective conditions of a revolution were present.

40. In general terms, one may consider that the socialist revolution could occur in a peaceful way or through armed struggle.

The communists hope that the tasks of the socialist revolution can be realised through the expression of the will of the majority of the people and through the development of its mass revolutionary struggles. Throughout history, such a transition has never taken place: the bourgeoisie throws all its forces, including the armed ones, into the struggle when it fears to lose its privileges. The working class must be ideologically ready for the hard struggles that the bourgeoisie wants to impose. They must strengthen their revolutionary will, accumulate revolutionary forces in different mass organisations and try to control all forms of struggle. The more the capacity of the masses to fight is developed, the more they will be able to take advantage of possibilities of seizing power without armed struggle.

But, in any event, the working class must base itself on bitter realities. Today, we see in the Third World what kind of violence the big bourgeoisie, linked to imperialism, uses when its domination is threatened by the people. This violence is carried out by officers trained in the “best” Western schools, the plans of anti-popular violence are elaborated by experts of imperialist armies and the details of the operations are, most of the time, supervised by Westerns “technicians”. So, when imperialism loses its power in the metropoles, the stakes will be much higher.

41. In the imperialist countries, a long period of maturing of objective and subjective conditions is necessary for revolution to be on the agenda.

The Communist Party must be the most dynamical political force, with the most penetrating analysis and adequate anti-capitalist slogans in all the partial struggles that are waged by the popular masses.
The struggle against the threat of a nuclear world war, against the nuclear arms race of imperialism, for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
The struggle against the conventional arms race.
The struggle against interference, intimidation and military aggression against Third World countries.
The struggle against capitalist exploitation.
The struggle for improving health, living and working conditions.
The struggle for jobs and ~or a decent income for all jobless people.
The struggle for social, political and economic equality of women.
The struggle for the defense of the environment, against the policy of the destruction of nature and of health, the squandering of natural resources caused by the lust for profits of the monopolies. The struggle for the defense of civil rights and of the unions, against repression, against population control, and spying by the police. The struggle for complete political rights for all inhabitants of Belgium, against all forms of racial discrimination. The struggle against fascist propaganda, for the banning of all fascist organisations.
The struggle against interference and control by the U.S. of Belgian internal affairs, the struggle for the withdrawal of Belgium from NATO.
The struggle for the defense of revolutionary movements in the Third World and for the support of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America that are struggling towards their liberation from imperialism.
The struggle for a democratic. scientific and internationalist culture. In all these partial struggles, the Communist Party follows a Popular Front policy which regroups all the forces that effectively struggle for precise anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist goals. The trade union movement is the basis of this united front policy. In all these struggles, the communists try to make those who participate in these struggles conscious of the general long term interests of the working people; while struggling for reforms, the communists try to expose the inhuman character of the imperialist and capitalist system. They fight against reformist ideologies which use the reforms to foster illusions about the real nature of capitalism and imperialism.

In the struggle for reforms, the PCB seeks in general the smallest common denominator with the reformists and does not do any work to make people conscious of the necessity of the revolution and related tasks.

42. In each country, the communists must be united in a single vanguard party in order to face the enormous means that the big bourgeoisie has.

The Communist Party must make continuous efforts to be the vanguard force which fights in the most consequent way for the immediate interests of the workers, as well as for their historical and general interests and which supports the international revolutionary movement. The essential task of the Communist Party is to lead in a correct fashion the popular struggles which are waged in his country. To direct itself efficiently in this complex struggle, the Communist Party has at its disposal the theoretical and political experience of the entire international communist movement. The Communist Party takes as its guide marxist-leninist theory, which is the basis of scientific socialism, the science of the social revolution. It regards the history of the international communist movement as its own history, drawing lessons from the positive experiences as well as from the mistakes and from the failures. It studies the experience of the socialist countries to get a realistic conception of socialist society, of its potentialities and problems and it defends their fundamental achievements against anticommunist campaigns. It assimilates the experience of the National Democratic Revolution which weakens our own exploiters and which offers invaluable lessons of revolutionary morality, of the strategy and tactics of the anti-imperialist struggle. It studies the positive and negative experiences of the communist and revolutionary parties. To withstand the highly centralised ideological and repressive apparatus of the bourgeoisie, the Communist Party must have a strict discipline and complete unity in action of all its members. Inside the party, the rules of democratic centralism must be strictly enforced, allowing truly democratic discussions and respecting majority rule. The party strictly forbids tendencies and organised fractions inside the party. These are the privileged battleground for infiltrated enemies and for degenerate elements and they lead unavoidably to intrigues and splits.

For many years, the PCB has neglected the education of its cadres and of its members, with respect to marxism-Ieninism and the history of the international communist movement. It deprives itself of the ideological and political means to realise the unity of thought and action in the party; it follows that the PCB is no longer able to maintain democratic centralism and discipline in its ranks. Division and anarchy become open and become worse with the division of the party according to linguistic criteria.

43. The unity, at the organisational and political level, of all workers of Belgium, irrespective of their language or of their national origin is necessary in order to advance the cause of the socialist revolution.

Big business increases its concentration at the Belgian, European and world level. The main elements of political power (army, repressive forces, secret services, justice) also become increasingly concentrated at the national and European level. The multinationals adapt themselves very well to federalism, while reinforcing the “unitary” and supranational character of their strategic decisions. From 1960-61 on, the slogan of “federalism and anti-capitalist structural reforms” was launched by reformists in order to divert the true anti-capitalist movement towards the dead end of nationalism. Twenty-eight years of propaganda in favour of federalism have given the following results: weakening of class solidarity between all the workers of Belgium; division of the working class; strengthening those trends favoring class collaboration with “Flemish” or “Walloon” bosses. The “federalisation” of Belgium fulfils mostly the purpose of increasing the control of the right over the popular masses while developing the nationalist ideology. The communists of Belgium, irrespective of their language or of their nationality, must be united in a single Communist Party. The communists have as ideology proletarian internationalism, the principle of class solidarity and they are irreducible adversaries of bourgeois nationalism. The communists must not be divided on the basis of language, to take a stand on linguistic or other problems: the collective discussion between the Flemish, Walloon and foreign communists is a guarantee of the democratic and internationalist character of the positions thus adopted. The communists are opposed to any form of discrimination on a linguistic or national basis; in any given culture, they support only democratic and progressive elements and fight against reactionary and backward elements.

Since 1960, the trotskyites have made noisy propaganda for federalism, supporting all those who made bourgeois nationalism penetrate the working class. They advertised the prospect of a “Walloon workers’ power”, facing a Flanders dominated by rightwing parties. The PCB is practically split in three parts: a Flemish, a Walloon and a Brussels-based party. The Flemish Communist Party speaks of a “real Flemish economic autonomy” and foresees a future where “the Flemish working class will have conquered the power in its own State”.

44. The communists fight for the defense of the unity of the international communist movement, on the basis of the principles of marxism-leninism.

At present, several tens of thousands of communists lead the struggles of hundreds of thousands of workers in very different conditions, either the construction of socialism, the fight for national liberation and for democracy and the anti-capitalist fight. One of the first duties of every communist party is to defend the unity of the international communist movement against the continuing efforts of imperialism to destroy it. Historical experience has shown that certain parties may commit very serious mistakes; others may degenerate and disappear.

While maintaining unity, the other parties must then criticise the mistakes that they perceive in a responsible and profound way . Unity is a task to be fulfilled at every step of the historical process; it is maintained and reinforced by eliminating right and left wing opportunist deviations that manifest themselves inevitably in the equality among all parties. There can be no father-party, nobody can interfere in the internal affairs of another party and even less plot inside it. No party has the monopoly of truth nor the right to impose its strategy or its tactics on another one. On this basis, friendship, solidarity, exchange of views and cooperation can be developed between all parties, reinforcing the international communist movement and its unity.

If we want to speak of unity as revolutionaries, we must adopt a principled position on the defense of the unity of the international communist movement, which regroups more than 90 million communists. In their fight against the international communist movement, the trotskyites reject all those positions. Extremely marginal at the international level, the few thousands of trotskyites are divided into four groups, each of which is itself divided in factions that blossom thanks to the “right to tendency”. Their organisation is efficient only in the struggle against the communist movement.