The following is the third in a series of articles under the title “Hold High the Bright Red Banner of Marxism-Leninism and Proletarian Internationalism”. The first appeared in PCDN, Volume 7 Number 221, September 15, 1977, and the second in PCDN, Volume 7 Number 222, September 16, 1977.
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Further, the theoreticians of “three worlds” are mixing up two things when they state: “Lenin’s outstanding contributions to the theory of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat are that he revealed the law of development of imperialism, the last stage of capitalism, and created the great theory that victory in the proletarian revolution could be won and socialism built in the country forming the weakest link in the imperialist front.” These two things are: 1) The “contributions to the theory of the proletarian revolution and dictatorship of the proletariat” and 2)“proletarian revolution could be won and socialism built in the country forming the weakest link in the imperialist front.”
While denouncing Trotsky’s theory of “permanent revolution”, Stalin presents what the theoreticians of “three worlds” call “Lenin’s outstanding contributions to the theory of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat”. Stalin points out (and we give an extensive quote from Stalin):
In his study of imperialism, especially in the period of the war, Lenin arrived at the law of the uneven, spasmodic, economic and political development of the capitalist countries. According to this law, the development of enterprises, trusts, branches of industry and individual countries proceeds not evenly – not according to an established sequence, not in such a way that one trust, one branch of industry or one country is always in advance of others, while other trusts or countries keep consistently behind the other – but spasmodically, with interruptions in the development of some countries – and leaps ahead in the development of others. Under these circumstances the ’quite legitimate’ striving of the countries that have slowed down to hold their old positions, and the equally ’legitimate’ striving of the countries that have leapt ahead to seize new positions, lead to a situation in which armed clashes among the imperialist countries become an inescapable necessity. Such was the case, for example, with Germany, which half a century ago was a backward country in comparison with France and Britain. The same must be said of Japan as compared with Russia. It is well known, however, that by the beginning of the twentieth century Germany and Japan had leapt so far ahead that Germany had succeeded in overtaking France and had begun to press Britain hard on the world market, while Japan was pressing Russia. As is well known, it was from these contradictions that the recent imperialist war arose.
Stalin further elucidates this “law of the uneven, spasmodic, economic and political development”:
This law proceeds from the following:
1. ’Capitalism has grown into a world system of colonial oppression and of the financial strangulation of the vast majority of the population of the world by a handful of “advanced” countries’
2. ’This “booty” is shared between two or three powerful world robbers armed to the teeth (America, Britain, Japan), who involve the whole world in their war over the sharing of their booty’.
3. The growth of contradictions within the world system of financial oppression and the inevitability of armed clashes lead to the world front of imperialism becoming easily vulnerable to revolution, and to a breach in this front in individual countries becoming probable;
4. This breach is most likely to occur at those points, and in those countries, where the chain of the imperialist front is weakest, that is to say, where imperialism is least consolidated, and where it is easiest for a revolution to expand;
5, In view of this, the victory of socialism in one country, even if that country is less developed in the capitalist sense, while capitalism remains in other countries, even if those countries are more highly developed in the capitalist sense – is quite possible and probable.
Stalin concludes: “Such, briefly, are the foundations of Lenin’s theory of the proletarian revolution.”
The entire argument Stalin presents is against Trotsky who advocated the erroneous view that proletarian revolution is not possible in a country which “is less developed in the capitalist sense”. The entire historical development has proven Lenin’s thesis to be correct, and the “imperialist front” was breached at several points giving rise to several socialist countries comprising the socialist camp after the Second World War. But the theoreticians of the “three worlds” are using this thesis, at the present, from the other side, that is: the proletarian revolution is not possible in “those countries” which “are more highly developed in the capitalist sense...” Lenin’s thesis does not support this conclusion. Stalin points out:
...October Revolution ... represents a model of the practical application of Lenin’s theory of the proletarian revolution.
He who has not understood this specific feature of the October Revolution will never understand either the international nature of this revolution, or its colossal international might, or the specific features of its foreign policy.
’Uneven economic and political development,’ says Lenin, ’is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country taken separately. The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and organized its own socialist production, would stand up against the rest of the world, the capitalist world, attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, raising revolts in those countries against the capitalists, and in the event of necessity coming out even with armed force against the exploiting classes and their states.’ For ’the free union of nations in socialism is impossible without a more or less prolonged and stubborn struggle of the socialist republics against the backward stases.’...
The opportunists of all countries assert that the proletarian revolution can begin – if it is to begin anywhere at all, according to their theory – only in industrially developed countries, and that the more highly developed these countries are industrially the more chances there are for the victory of socialism. Moreover, according to them, the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country, and one in which capitalism is little developed at that, is excluded as something absolutely improbable. As far back as the period of the war, Lenin, taking as his basis the law of the uneven development of the imperialist states, opposed to the opportunists his theory of the proletarian revolution about the victory of socialism in one country, even if that country is one in which capitalism is less developed.
It is well known that the October Revolution fully confirmed the correctness of Lenin’s theory of the proletarian revolution.
Can we say then that the “contributions to the theory of the proletarian revolution and dictatorship of the proletariat” are equal to “proletarian revolution could be won and socialism built in the country forming the weakest link in the imperialist front”? No, we cannot say that because, at best the question is left extremely vague as the questions of “proletarian revolution” and final victory of “socialism” are not clarified at all. To advance the theory of “the weakest link” and leave it there without further expounding the Leninist thesis leaves very harmful illusions.
Stalin clarifies the question in this manner:
... it joins the question of the possibility of building socialism by the efforts of one country – which must be answered in the affirmative – with the question whether a country in which the dictatorship of the proletariat exists can consider itself fully guaranteed against intervention, and consequently against the restoration of the old order, without a victorious revolution in a number of other countries – which must be answered in the negative.
In order to fully elaborate this point and present the correct Leninist thesis on the question, Stalin points out:
... I divided the question into two – into the question of a full guarantee against the restoration of the bourgeois order, and the question of the possibility of building a complete socialist society in one country.
“On the question of the victory of socialism” in one country, Stalin presents the view: “We can build socialism, and we will build it together with the peasantry under the leadership of the working class”... for “under the dictatorship of the proletariat we possess... all that is needed to build a complete socialist society, overcoming all internal difficulties, for we can and must overcome them by our own efforts.”
“On the question of the final victory of socialism”, Stalin presents the view:
The final victory of socialism is the full guarantee against attempts at intervention, and hence against restoration, for any serious attempt at restoration can take place only with serious support from outside, only with the support of international capital. Therefore, the support of our revolution by the workers of all countries, and still more the victory of the workers in at least several countries, is a necessary condition for fully guaranteeing the first victorious country against attempts at intervention and restoration, a necessary condition for the final victory of socialism.
Lenin points out: “We are living not merely in a state, but in a system of states, and the existence of the Soviet Republic side by side with imperialist states for a long time is unthinkable. One or the other must triumph in the end.”
Stalin further clarifies the plo-ce of one socialist country surrounded by hostile countries: “For what is our country, the country ’that is building socialism’, if not the base of world revolution?”
The Leninist thesis can be presented in brief that:
1. Because of the “law of the uneven, spasmodic, economic and political development of the capitalist countries”,
2. Proletarian revolutions can take place “in those countries, where the chain of the imperialist front is weakest” even “if that country is less developed in the capitalist sense”;
3. The “victory of socialism in one country” is possible but
4. For the final victory of socialism in one country “the victory of the workers in at least several countries, is a necessary condition for fully guaranteeing the first victorious country against attempts at intervention and restoration....”
Now the theoreticians of the “three worlds” do not even recognize that the main content of our epoch is transition from capitalism to socialism (they recognize this only in words) and they raise the issue of “international united front against hegemonism of the two superpowers” as the main task. Then why did they talk about the contributions of Lenin to the theory of proletarian revolution and dictatorship of the proletariat”? They did so in order to suggest that the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties who put forward the correct view that there are two worlds in contention, the world of capital and the world of labour, two social systems in contention, the socialist system and the capitalist system, and that the international proletariat is the centre of world socialist revolution, are against these “contributions of Lenin”. They are suggesting that if the parties follow these “ contributions of Lenin”, then they would come to the conclusion that there are “three worlds”. But the “law of uneven economic and political development of capitalist states” does not prove the theory of “three worlds”. On the contrary, it points out that the proletarian revolutions are the order of the day especially in those countries where the “chain of the imperialist front is weakest”.