First Published: Marxist-Leninist Quarterly No. 1, Spring 1972
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
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“The Socialist camp...belongs to the international proletariat and working people as well as to the people of socialist countries.” (C.P.C. l, p.8) Because the communist movement is internationalist in character the policies and political record of all MarxistLeninist organisations must be open to questioning and criticism. Only on these principles can a genuinely proletarian inter nationalist communist movement be built.
The danger of a world war still exists, but revolution is the main trend in the world today. All genuine revolutionaries have a duty to consistently implement policies which advance this trend.
The prime force in making revolution in any country the revolutionary people within that country basing their struggle on the principle of self-reliance. They must reject the illusion that the strength of socialist countries will allow the peaceful transition to socialism throughout the world. The existence of the socialist countries provides an important base for world revolution (C.P.C. 3, p27-28). The victory of the Socialist revolution in any country provides further support for the world revolutionary movement. Therefore it is vital that all MarxistLeninists have a full understanding of the policies guiding Socialist countries not on in general outline but in relationship to actual situations as they develop.
The basis of all policy, including the foreign policy of Socialist states and the international relations of Communist organisations, lies in making distinctions. These distinctions should be made on the basis of an analysis of the progressive and-reactionary forces the world at any particular time. Guided by this analysis a broad united front should be created against the main enemy or enemies and as many countries as possible should be won to the united front. In this the forms of struggle at Party and at State level will so be distinct.
The major contradictions in the world today are those four outlines by the Communist Party of China over the last decade or more:
between the oppressed nations on the one hand and imperialism and social-imperialism on the other; between the proletariat and the bourgeois and the capitalist and revisionist countries; between the imperialist and socialimperialist countries and among the imperialist countries; and between socialist countries on the one hand and imperialism and social-imperialism on the other. (P.R.2, p.l2).
In addition to these major contradictions there are others which vary according to historical circumstances. Today the main enemies on a world scale are the two super-powers. Generally speaking within non-socialist countries not occupied by foreign troops the main contradiction is between working class people and the ruling-class. In areas of the third world the class contradictions vary so that the area is not homogeneous. In their foreign policy Socialist states concentrate on achieving the most effective united front against the main enemies while within the front struggling against reactionary policies. Within these non-socialist countries the main enemy is the ruling-class. The fight against these ruling-classes is supported by MarxistLeninists in other countries, bearing in mind at all times the primary world struggle against the main world enemies.
What then is the general line of foreign policy for socialist countries? We believe it continues to be that proposed by the C.P.C. in 1963:
In our view the general line of the foreign policy of the socialist countries should have the following content: to develop relations of friendship, mutual assistance and co-operation among the countries of the socialist camp in accordance with the principle of proletarian internationalism: to strive for peaceful co-existence on the basis of the Five Principles with countries having different social systems and oppose the imperialist policies of aggression and war; and to support and assist the revolutionary struggles of all oppressed peoples and nations. These aspects are interrelated and indivisible and not a single one can be omitted. (C.P.C. 1, p.36)
The fundamental principle of this line is proletarian internationalism (C.P.C. 2, p25-28). Peaceful co-existence is proletarian internationalism applied to the requirements of socialist state policies. The strategic aim of world revolution in turn places responsibility on socialist countries to develop throughout the world conditions for revolutionary change, thus supporting the people within the non-socialist countries in making their own revolution. In applying such a policy any socialist country will have to continually resolve certain non-antagonistic contradictions. To have state relations with a country of a different social system based on the Five Principles (“mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, non-interference with each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful co-existence.”) (C.P.C. 2, p13) while actively supporting a democratic and revolutionary movement within that country aimed at replacing the Government heeds both a highly principled and flexible policy. The “leftist” error of attempting to export revolution must be opposed, with the recognition that for a genuine revolutionary movement to achieve power it is necessary to base the struggle on the self-reliance of the workers and peasants of that country. The other error to be opposed is that of the rightist position of putting the “national interests” of a socialist country before that of actively aiding revolutionary struggles wherever they occur.
In recognition of this type of contradiction socialist countries accept the need for compromise with the reactionary forces, including the main enemies of the world's peoples, the two super-powers. The fact that these compromises may be on important (though certainly not all) issues ”does not require the people in the countries of the capitalist (or any other part of the non-socialist–C.F.B.) world to follow suit and make compromises at home.” (Mao. 4 p.87). Peaceful co-existence defines a relationship between countries of different social systems never between oppressed and oppressor classes or nations.
In order to correctly resolve the contradiction between the policies of peaceful co-existence and that of supporting revolutionary struggles wherever they occur it is necessary for socialist countries and the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties and organisations to develop closer and closer links. These will be based on full equality whatever the size of the organization and will develop on the principles of frank exchange of views, criticism and self-criticism.
On this basis a more democratic and powerful international communist movement can be built than has previously been possible. From this will grow a greater understanding of the different tactical lines which have to be carried out by revolutionaries in different concrete situations. But above all it will help develop a common strategy for all revolutionary forces to unite “to carry the proletarian world revolution forward to establish a new world without imperialism, without capitalism, and without the exploitation of man by man.” (C.P.C. 1, p4)
C.P.C.1 – “A Proposal Concerning the General Line” (1963)
C.P.C.2 – “Peaceful Coexistence, Two Diametrically Opposed Line” (1963)
P.R. – “Peking Review”, No.35. 1971. “Unite The People, Defeat the Enemy”
Mao 4 – Mao, Selected Works Vol. 4 PP87/8.