First Published: The Forge, Vol. 3, No. 19, September 6, 1978
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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While Soviets instigated aggression in Ethiopia, in Kampuchea, in Zaire, while the USSR engineered coups d’etat in Afghanistan and South Yemen, what was in Struggle(IS) doing? It was busy covering the pages of its newspaper with more and more rabid and slanderous attacks against socialist China, and stepping up its campaign against the three worlds theory. It was busy supporting the lies contained in the letter written by Albanian leaders (IS, No. 120, p. 3) which said that in China power is “in the hands of bourgeois elements“ and that China has become a “superpower” seeking “hegemony.” At the same time it has remained as silent as a tomb on the social-imperialist offensive.
It brings to mind the role the Trotskyists were playing on the eve of the Second World War. At the very moment that Hitler was preparing to devour Europe, Japan was occupying China and Franco was massacring the Spanish people, the Trotskyists were spending all their breath attacking the Soviet Union, then a socialist country, and doing their best to disparage the anti-fascist united front.
In 1937, when Franco’s fascists, backed by Hitler and Mussolini, were preparing a furious counter-offensive against the Spanish Republican united-front government which the USSR supported, Trotsky was calling for an offensive against ’Stalinism”. In a brochure written that year, It is Time to Pass to an International Offensive against Stalinism, he took after the Spanish Republic. “[T]he so-called Republican Government serves as a screen for the criminal bands of Stalinism...”
This is a clear example of how the Trotskyists came to the aid of countries like Germany, the most aggressive imperialist countries of the period. Their tactic was to concentrate their attack on the Soviet Union and to destroy whatever opposition there was to fascism, to destroy the united front.
In Struggle has embarked on the some path today. It is actively sabotaging the united front against the superpowers and their war preparations; it is attacking any forces capable of driving imperialism into a retreat – forces like national liberation movements and national independence struggles.
And, as it has shown numerous times in the past, it conciliates with and objectively helps cover up the world-wide Soviet offensive. it has even envisioned the possibility of a tactical alliance with the USSR, the most dangerous of the two superpowers (IS, June 9, 1977).
Yesterday the Trotskyists sabotaged the anti-fascist united front. Today iS is sabotaging the united front against the superpowers. What is even worse, IS opposes any form of anti-imperialist united front against American imperialism and its lackeys which Mao Tsetung called for in the ’50s.
This is what IS has to say about this powerful weapon of the world proletariat; “And so goes life, from one anti-imperialist united front to another; yesterday it was the anti-fascist united front, then it was the Anti-American united front, soon it’ll be the anti-Soviet united front, and after that, the anti-Western European or maybe the anti-Japanese front.” (Against Right Opportunism in International Questions, Declaration of IS, Sept. 6, 1977).
But in fact the victory of the world’s peoples in smashing fascism and safeguarding the world’s first socialist state, the Soviet Union, was precisely a victory of the strategic and tactical principles of the anti-fascist united front, developed by Stalin.
This victory created excellent conditions for the development of world revolutionary forces. Following the Second World War China, Albania and several countries in Eastern Europe overthrew imperialism and capitalism.
Of course, this position leads IS to liquidate all support for national liberation movements. According to IS, it is essential that a “communist party, the party of the proletariat, be at the head of the truly anti-imperialist forces if the national liberation struggle against imperialism is to victorious”(IS, 109, p. 17). In other words, IS tells us that it’s not worth supporting ZANU (Zimbabwe African National Union) because it isn’t a communist party and therefore its struggle won’t be victorious. it’s a waste of time!
Trotskyists were always ferocious opponents of the struggle to defend national independence.We can see this clearly in their attacks on the Spanish Republic in the 1930s. According to them only socialist revolution counts. IS says the same thing, “There’s only one way of struggling against the superpowers’ attacks against the independence of the other, capitalist countries, and that’s to make proletarian revolution in these countries” (IS, no. 109, p. 17).
This comes down to saying that it is wrong to fight the superpowers’ domination and plunder. If US imperialism were to invade our country, we should sit by and watch. And above all, we should not call on the people to fight the military occupation. This would amount to “social-chauvinism says IS.
Despite all its “left” phrase-mongering, this position is anti-Marxist from A to Z.
This is why Lenin, while criticizing the opportunists who tried to support their own bourgeoisie in the imperialist war, clearly insisted that “Defence of the fatherland in a war waged by an oppressed nation against a foreign oppressor is not a deception. Socialists are not opposed to “defence of the fatherland” in such a war.” (A caricature of Marxism and imperialist economism, Vol. 23, p. 34)
The positions IS takes push this revisionist group to sabotage the struggles of the third-world peoples and to clearly oppose any anti-imperialist movement. It brings them to oppose anything that weakens or breaks up imperialism. This is why IS opposes China and the world united front against the superpowers and the war danger. And, at the same time, it brings iS to objectively support social-imperialism, to hide its war preparations and to disarm the world’s peoples in the face of the war danger and the more dangerous of the two superpowers.
The history of Trotskyism shows where these kinds of positions lead to: open and concerted collaboration with the peoples’ most dangerous enemies.