First Published: Unite!, Vol. 2, No. 6, December 1976-January 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The months of October and November mark the anniversaries of the Russian and Chinese Revolutions. All over the world, workers and oppressed people pause to celebrate these great holidays of the working class, and focus attention on the unfinished tasks of socialist revolution. During the month of October, the Central Committee of the MLOC conducted political presentations on the responsibilities of proletarian internationalism to workers and comrades in several important industrial and political centers in the U.S.
Whether to uphold proletarian internationalism or national chauvinism has always been a question of class stand. The great Karl Marx pointed out that no nation can be free if it oppresses other nations.
It is the class stand of the proletariat that determines its adherence to proletarian internationalism. It is the very nature of imperialism to divide nations, and it is the historic task of the proletariat to unite the workers and oppressed people of the world in struggle against imperialism.
This great truth led Lenin to recognize, shortly after the historic Bolshevik victory, that,
We have never made a secret of the fact that our revolution is only the beginning, that its victorious end will come only when we have lit up the whole world with these same fires of revolution. (Collected Works, Vol. 29, p. 502, Progress Pub.)
Mao Tsetung, after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, stated that,
China has an obligation to make a greater contribution to humanity. (Peking Information, No. 8, 2/24/69, p. 7).
Based upon an analysis of the four fundamental contradictions in the world today, the MLOC advanced four corresponding calls to action which comprise the essence of proletarian internationalism today for workers in the U.S. It is one thing to mouth fine slogans, but it is entirely another to define proletarian internationalism in terms of the actual practical activity required to fulfill our internationalist duty.
Proletarian internationalism today requires:
1. Concrete support for all socialist countries and the dictatorship of the proletariat where it exists.
2. Support for all national liberation struggles which objectively weaken imperialism.
3. Opposition to all Superpower war preparations and imperialist aggression.
4. Support for the struggles of the multi-national working class oppressed nationalities, oppressed minorities and oppressed women in the United States.
The main content of the presentations included a commemoration of Mao Tsetung, a brief analysis of the second stage of the general crisis of capitalism, a concrete discussion of each of the four tasks, of proletarian internationalism, a report on party building, and a brief discussion of our final aim, a communist society. In different cities, the content of the program varied in accord with the context in which it was presented.
The concrete tasks of proletarian internationalism change and develop with the growth of the class struggle of the proletariat. The COMMUNIST MANIFESTO by Marx and Engels issued the first great call of proletarian internationalism, “Working men of all countries, unite!” For over sixty years this historic call guided the workers of the entire world in their common struggle against exploitation and oppression. As the competitive stage of capitalism gave way to the monopoly and parasitic stage, imperialism, Lenin inherited, defended and developed the great call of Marx to apply to the changing conditions: “Workers of all countries and oppressed nations, unite!” Lenin recognized the absolute necessity for the unity of action between the workers of the capitalist countries and the oppressed nations and colonies. The struggles of the workers in the capitalist countries and of the oppressed nations and colonies, inevitably assist each other. Then, after the anti-fascist war, WWII, Comrade Mao Tsetung recognized the profound re-alignment of class forces that had taken place in the world and called for the United Front Against U.S. Imperialism. With the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, Mao Tsetung issued the call for the United Front Against Both Superpowers.
There is no way to carry forward the historic mission of the proletariat, the glorious tradition of the October revolutions, without concretely defining the unfinished tasks of the proletariat. Lenin stated in 1921, that “the best way to celebrate the anniversary of a great revolution is to concentrate attention on its unsolved problems.”
In the past, many revolutionaries had seen October as simply a time to celebrate only the Chinese and Russian revolutions. On this question, and many others, there is a sharp two-line struggle. The MLOC recognizes that the significance of the Russian and Chinese revolutions extend far beyond Russia and China – and that all the socialist countries, where ever there is a dictatorship of the proletariat, must be seen as a direct extension of the glorious revolution in Russia in 1917. Therefore in October the MLOC brought to light the great victories not only in China, but in Albania, Korea, Vietnam, and Romania.
In discussing the significance of the protracted struggle waged by our Vietnamese comrades against French and U.S. imperialism; the achievements of Juche (self-reliance) in North Korea or the remarkable Children’s Palaces; the important role that Romania is playing in the fight for an independent Europe; or the new socialist system of distribution and wages implemented in Albania, we explained how the dictatorship of the proletariat really works to improve the daily life of the people.
At the same time, some elements opposed this discussion, stating that we should only celebrate the Chinese revolution. This is a national chauvinist stand, which denies the duty to universally support the dictatorship of the proletariat wherever it exists, and that we cannot ignore this duty because some socialist countries are small, or because in the past, we have ignored the duty to learn about all socialist countries. In addition, the MLOC pointed out the importance of building friendship associations with the peoples of all socialist countries – and that these associations must be built primarily on the friendship between the working class of the socialist countries and the U.S.
At the same time, the need to link concrete support for the dictatorship of the proletariat to the struggle of the national liberation movements, the struggle to oppose imperialist war, and the revolutionary struggle of the working class in this country was clearly presented.
A genuine vanguard party must actively and materially support all national liberation movements which objectively weaken imperialism. A clear teacher by negative example here is the so called Revolutionary Communist Party – who has never undertaken a single major national campaign in support of national liberation movements, and failed to mobilize the workers in opposition to the war in Indochina (when they were the Revolutionary Union) under the pretext that the workers will not understand this question). Our task is to launch a massive campaign of propaganda and agitation in support of all genuine national liberation movements, to actively mobilize the masses in their support. Our failure to carry on this responsibility leaves the workers vulnerable to the influence of the revisionists and reformists, as was the case around Angola, and to some degree around Azania.
At the same time, in discussing the necessary preparations for superpower war, the MLOC spoke to the importance of our attitude toward the state, the importance of secret work, and the importance of actually organizing to turn an imperialist war into a civil war.
The basic Marxist-Leninist position on these three questions was then linked to the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat in the U.S., and the three strategic tasks of forging the vanguard communist party, the united front and the armed revolutionary struggle.
The MLOC reported to the workers on the progress to forge the vanguard communist party, the key link in our revolutionary struggle today.
In this discussion the MLOC briefly summed up the history for the struggle for a party since the degeneration of the “C”PUSA in 1944, and spoke directly to the essence of party building, the fusion of communism with the workers’ movement. In contrast to the abstract discussions of groups such as WVO and ATM about the “advanced worker”, the MLOC pointed out how industrial and political concentration was essential to forging a vanguard party and winning over the advanced – a task which cannot be accomplished by a left bloc sitting in a closet in New York or Los Angeles. While all the discussion about the advanced worker had produced a lot of heat, little light had resulted, except for those Marxist-Leninists who had actually taken this question into the big factories, mills, mines and fields of this country.
A particularly important point raised was the question of what kind of a party must we build. The MLOC has set out not to build a party of a few dozen, a few hundred or even a few thousand, but a party of the millions of workers, a party which actually represents the majority of the people. And further, that this must be a party not only for the working class, but of the working class, that the working class composition of the party must be guaranteed.
At the same time, it was pointed out that the truest test of proletarian internationalism for the working class in the U.S. is the stand toward the oppressed Black Nation in the Black Belt South – and this ran as a revolutionary thread throughout the entire program.
The program was concluded by pointing out the necessity to link the day-to-day struggles with the final aims of our movement, communist society. That the vanguard communist role is to link the immediate struggle for economic demands, defense of basic democratic rights, the struggle for democracy and opposition to imperialist war with the protracted struggle for a classless society, communism.
Again, on all of these questions, sharp two-line struggle appeared. There were those who argued that we cannot link the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat to the question of national liberation struggles, imperialist war and party building. There were those who sought to divert the discussion simply to the question of party building.
On one instance, in Washington, D.C., the WVO and its associates actually managed to disrupt the presentation we outlined on the pretext of the need to only discuss party building. The events of this struggle are outlined in SEEK TO UNITE, NOT TO SPLIT.
The presentations made by the CC of the MLOC represent a significant advance for the workers’ struggle in this country, and an important contribution toward defining the true internationalist character of the vanguard party we are building. The struggle of the workers of this country was concretely linked to the struggle of the workers and oppressed people of the world. The key link of party building today, which is the necessity to fuse communism with the workers’ movement, was clearly tied to the long-term tasks of proletarian revolution, socialist construction and communism.
In many parts of the country, very significant advances were achieved in building a genuine multi-national program, indicating the basic multi-national character of the vanguard party we are building. Many workers commented on the bold, party style of work that was presented, and the importance of the internationalist stand toward the tasks of the workers of this country.
Other workers in summing up the events, pointed out how Marxism-Leninism can become a torch which illuminates and clarifies the road ahead, connects all our various tasks, orders them, and allows us to carry forward the cause of the proletariat with confidence and self-assurance. And further, that through such discussion the pressing need for a genuine vanguard communist party, to unite all these tasks as the fingers on a single fist striking a death blow at monopoly capitalism, becomes clearer and clearer.
In future articles the MLOC will talk more of the concrete tasks of proletarian internationalism and the struggle to forge a united front against the two superpowers.
Today, two worlds stand facing each other locked in combat, the world of capital and the world of labor. As internationalists, the workers of America will stand resolutely with the workers and oppressed people of the entire world. The victory of one is a victory for all.
WORKERS, OPPRESSED NATIONS, AND PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, UNITE!