MN Roy

The Awakening of the East

Source: The Call, July 15, 1920, p. 5 (772 words)
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.


The world revolution, in order to accomplish its great mission must cross the borders of the so called Western Countries where capitalism has reached its climax. Until very recently this truth was almost entirely unknown among the revolutionaries of Europe and America, who hardly gave a moment’s thought to the social and economic conditions of the Asiatic generally. It was generally maintained that, owing to their industrial backwardness, the hundred’s of millions of the masses in the East would not count for anything in the great struggle between the exploiter, and the exploited. Consequently the “World” of the world revolution was limited to Europe and America,

But revolution is the result of objective, conditions; it breaks out in the least suspected place if the dynamic forces are there. The inevitable result of oppression as that sooner or later the oppressed rebel. This is happening to-day in the Eastern countries, where the myriads of toilers, have been groaning under the same exploitation against which their more fortunate and less, downtrodden comrades of the Occident have been carrying on an heroic fight. The East is awakening: and who knows if the formidable tide, that will sweep away the capitalist structure of Western Europe, may not come from there. This is not idle fancy, nor is it mere sentimental brooding. That the final success of the Social Revolution in Europe will depend greatly, if not entirely, on a simultaneous upheaval of the labouring masses of the Orient, can be proved scientifically.

The theory of over-production is very well known; it is equally well known and accepted by all exponents of the Proletarian Revolution that the highly centralised capitalist organisation will crumble under the insupportable weight of over-production. But all the European countries, where the system of large scale production has reached the highest perfection, have been for a considerably long time the home of overproduction. Nevertheless, these countries are still the strongest citadels of Capitalism. The easy solution of the problem of over-production they found in Imperialist extension—in carrying their standard of exploitation to the lands inhabited by peoples less politically conscious than their European fellows. These imperial possessions, rich in natural resources and replete with human labour, have furnished the European capitalists, since more than a quarter of a century ago, a tremendous super-profit in return for the over-production at home. Or in other words, colonial expansion has proved to/be a very powerful remedy (though only preventive) against the epidemic of over-production in which, Marx predicted, capitalism will perish.

As the rise of bourgeois democracy was destined to triumph over feudalism on Europe, so the exploited masses must eventually overthrow Capitalism. It dominates today over the whole human race, and wherever it went and thrived, it carried within its own organism the latent causes of its destruction in due time. It went to the far-off colonies and imperial possessions to escape the disaster of over-production. Even its bitterest enemies, for a long time, failed to understand the imperativeness of counteracting this strategic move. During almost a century World Capitalism kept on invigorating itself by sucking the blood of the colonial toilers. But along with the bloody sword of organised exploitation, it carried in its womb the incipient forces that were destined to rise against it and build the new society upon its ruins. To-day these forces are manifesting themselves in the growing revolutionary fermentation among the Eastern peoples, who were considered till the other day negligible factors in the World Revolution. This awakening of the East must open a new vision before the revolutionary leaders of Europe. If ought to show them the way through which the retreat of the cunning enemy can be cut. A formidable upheaval of the colonial and “protected” peoples will take away from under the feet of Imperialist Capitalism, the rock of super-profit which has helped so far, hi; offset the effects of overproduction. If the greatest prophet of human history is not to be proved false—if over-production is to be the grave of capitalist society, then the World Revolution must assume world-wide character. And, behold, it is rapidly pushing its way into the confines of the Asiatic countries inhabited by industrially backward peoples, because therein lies the most vulnerable spot of the enemy line. The disruption of Empire is the only thing that will complete the bankruptcy of European capitalism; and the revolutionary upheavals hi the Asiatic countries are destined to bring about the crumbling of the proud imperial structure of capitalism. So, the awakening of the East is perhaps the fifth act of the World Revolution.


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