Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line


Three Worlds and the International Communist Movement

First Published: Discussion Bulletin #2, January 15, 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Patrick Muldowney, Anita Hood and Paul Saba
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Lenin in his thesis for the Second Congress of the Communist International wrote very extensively on the problems that confronted the international communist movement around the early 1920’s. I thought that it would be very worthwhile to reprint sections of it and to give some comments which are pertinent to the state of flux that the international communist movement is in today. Also, particular emphasis will be given to revisionist distortions to the 3 Worlds Theory within Australia.

ONE: “The present stage in the development of the international communist movement is marked by the fact that the finest representatives of the revolutionary proletariat in all capitalist countries have fully grasped the fundamental principles of the Communist International, vis, dictatorship of the proletariat and Soviet power, and have ranged themselves with unbounded enthusiasm on the side of the Communist International. An even bigger and more important step forward is the definite sympathy with these fundamental principles that has everywhere taken shape among the broadest masses....”(pg 195)

Although Lenin summarised well the state of the international communist movement in his period of time, many changes have come about since then. The revisionist takeover in the Soviet Union and particularly since the early I960’s the international communist movement has been literally dismantled. Of course the revisionists have their own so called Communist International but it is well known that it is a stage managed farce, bankrupt and decadent, serving the interests of Soviet social-imperialism. The genuine Communist Parties and organisations that adhere to and grasp the fundamental principles of the International’ Communist Movement (I.C.M.) as Lenin had stated very clearly are not organised internationally as in the time of Marx, Lenin or Stalin. In fact one can say that they are very disorganised. This disorganisation is also very apparent internally in the various Communist parties. Australia is such an example. Apart from the internal problems that the Communist Parties must overcome, internationally, problems also exist. Particular comrades and fraternal Communist Parties have emphasised their support for the Theory of Three Worlds espoused by China. They claim that it gives Communists a concrete road to take in waging the international class struggle. Many comrades are not convinced of this and it is relevant to ask how true and correct is this 3 Worlds Theory in terms of an overall Communist International when one does not exist? The Peoples Republic of China has supposedly used the 3 World’s theory as its official principled policy for years in the conduct of its international affairs. That does not mean that all fraternal parties have to adhere to this so called correct theory when no authoritative explanation of it had been given until after the death of Chairman Mao. Of course this can due to the sinister influence of the gang of four!

All of a sudden, after Mao’s death, the Chinese are making great propaganda about the 3 Worlds theory and how it is supposed to guide the International struggle.

Instead of conducting some sort of International Communist Congress the Chinese have invited individual Communist leaders separately to brief them on this revelationary theory of the 3 Worlds. We now have a situation where fraternal parties oppose or support the 3 Worlds theory and the very real danger of an international split grows.

Lenin very clearly explained what the I.C.M. is all about and particularly emphasised its fundamental principles, namely the dictatorship of the proletariat and Soviet power.

TWO: “The victory of socialism...over capitalism requires that the proletariat, as the only revolutionary class shall accomplish the following tasks. First – overthrow the exploiters, and first and foremost the bourgeois, as their principle economic and political representative,...” (pg 196) Second – win over and bring under the leadership of the communist Party, the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat, not only the entire proletariat, or its vast majority, but all who labour and are exploited by capital, ......”(pg 196)

THIRD – “Neutralise or render harmless, the inevitable vacillation between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, between bourgeoisie democracy and Soviet power, to be seen in the class of proprietors in agriculture, industry and commerce...(pg 197)

The first and second tasks are independent ones, each requiring its own special methods of action with regard to the exploiters and to the exploited respectively. The third task follows from the first two.....(pg 197)

In speaking at the Second Congress of the Comintern Lenin was outlining its basic principled tasks. Approximately fifty years after the Second Congress the basic Communist principles do not change even though we live in a more rabid imperialist world. Only the revisionists have changed these principles. Within the disorganised state of the I.C.M. today emerges this 3 Worlds theory. This theory does not particularly emphasise or even mentions the basic principles of international communism. If anything the theory of the three worlds is part of China’s own explanation of its actions in diplomatic circles. That categorically means that it has got nothing directly to do with international communism. If the Peoples Republic of China attempts, as it is doing now, to make this theory a guiding principle for other fraternal Communist Parties, then it is in my opinion a serious and unprincipled error.

Certain comrades have come out and supported the 3 Worlds theory and at the same time stated that particular revisionist capitulators inside the Australian Communist Party(M-L) have applied it to Australia internally. They are correct. But that does not mean that the theory of the 3 Worlds is a correct Marxist-Leninist critique of communist tasks internationally. If we study the present Chinese leadership analysis of this theory, as stated before, no basic communist principles are emphasised. Therefore, we have to realise that it is very open for the new revisionists to apply it to Australia. Australia is not the only country where the revisionists have applied it internally. The 3 Worlds theory denies class struggle and ignores the dictatorship of the proletariat. The new revisionists have used it to deny the growth of the Communist movement both externally and internally. Instead of having Communist principles to fight for, the revisionists preach, capitulation and unity with sections of the bourgeoisie on an unprincipled basis. No wonder fraternal parties overseas are opposing this theory. Our own Party, which has brilliantly paid lip service to the Australian proletariat, now preaches reformism, to defend bourgeoisie democracy. Of course this is done under the guise of fighting for an ”independent Australia”. The revisionists that preach this claim that they get their inspiration from the theory of the 3 Worlds.

All this taken into account, the international situation is very favourable for the waging of the class struggle, but it cannot be done successfully when the Communist Parties are not organised, when differences have not been thrashed out.

On the diplomatic level, such as in the U.N. and its relations with third world countries, the Peoples Republic of China has had a great deal of success. No one cannot reasonably attack China’s actions. But diplomacy with all sorts of countries is one thing and the international communist movement is another. We have to realise that Communist parties that, as yet, haven’t got state power are going to find it very irrelevant to use the three worlds theory both internally and externally unless as our very “own” Communist Party has done, use it for an excuse to capitulate to certain sections of the bourgeoisie. One of the obvious flaws that has existed for years has been the lack of information on struggles of other parties overseas.

October 1977