Publisher’s Note; This appendix an article from ”Australian Communist”, No. 72.
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The struggle between U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism for spheres of influence and world hegemony is deepening. This struggle involves Australia. It involves the Indian Ocean. It involves the whole world and is leading to world war. Because of this, it is of the most urgent importance that revolutionaries in Australia fully understand the real character of the Soviet social-imperialists, both in the international context and with regard to our own country.
There must be no illusions about the Soviet Union being any less dangerous, aggressive and warlike than U.S. imperialism. Such illusions are fatal. On the contrary the Soviet social-imperialists are even more dangerous than the U.S. imperialists.
The U.S. imperialists are on the defensive. They have suffered a number of important and crippling defeats. When an aggressive imperialist power is forced on the defensive as has happened to U.S. imperialism, the rot sets in. The U.S. imperialists, at the end of the Second World War, were on the offensive. They continued this offensive after 1945. They penetrated Europe. They moved into Australia. They attempted to take-over Asia. They stepped-up their colonisation of Latin America. Everywhere they presented a ferocious image of unlimited strength. Then, one by one, the nations which they had oppressed began to flex their muscles and throw off the U.S. imperialists. They were kicked out of China, Korea, Cuba, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Today the U.S. imperialists present a sorry picture. They are still powerful, and they may still do damage to the people. But they are universally despised, discredited and, to a degree, defeated. Their doom is sealed. For this reason we can accurately say that U.S. imperialism is on the wane.
However, although in a historical sense Soviet social-imperialism is also irrevocably doomed to extinction, it is not in the same position as U.S. imperialism. The Soviet social-imperialists have not been forced onto the defensive as yet, although this won’t be long. While U.S. imperialism savagely fought throughout the globe for its imperialist interests, the Soviet social-imperialists mustered their strength, built up their military forces, and, trading on the previous great name of the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin, made some headway. The contention between it and U.S. imperialism quickly grew.
This is not to build up the social-imperialists as a great bogey. They too are weak, like all reactionaries. There is no reason to tremble before the Soviet social-imperialists. They will share the same fate as their U.S. competitors. However, the relative position of each superpower must be clarified.
We have said that, for the reasons given above, the Soviet social-imperialists are today even more dangerous than the U.S. imperialists. They are on the offensive. U.S. imperialism is on the defensive. They have built themselves up over a period of years. The U.S. imperialists have suffered crushing defeats at the hands of the people over a period of years.
Yet this is not the only reason why Soviet social-imperialism is a great menace. Social-imperialism is “socialism in words – imperialism in deeds”. The “socialism in words” aspect is a further factor in making the social-imperialists doubly dangerous. The socialist, facade which the Soviet new Tsars erect around themselves confuses many people. Although in the long run the Soviet social-imperialists will be exposed, in the short run they are bound to spread many illusions and much confusion. Thus there may be a hesitance in some quarters to stigmatise the Soviet Union as imperialists. Or, even amongst the people who do characterise the Soviet Union as social-imperialist, there may be a hesitance or an inability to see it as even more dangerous than U.S. imperialism, the traditional post-war enemy of national liberation movements throughout the world.
This means that we must be doubly active and alert against the Soviet social-imperialists. Although we need only pick up the bourgeois press to find the latest revelations about U.S. corruption, CIA intrigue and so on, the Soviet social-imperialists are less exposed to the people. The USSR still has some credibility. The U.S. imperialists have none. The Soviets are still spoken of as “socialists”. The U.S. imperialists are universally, within and outside America, attacked as murderers and thieves. It is in this context that we speak of the Soviet social-imperialists being more dangerous than the U.S. imperialists.
A further factor comes into play with regard to Australia. The Soviet Union, during the period of the Cold War, was attacked by the imperialists and their local collaborators and agents such as Menzies. In those days, the ruling class was vilifying socialism. It was attempting to spread the tale of the “Red menace”. It was attacking the great achievements of the Soviet Union under the dictatorship of the proletariat and the leadership of the great Communist Party of the Soviet Union, led by Comrade Stalin. Thus many progressive, socialist and patriotic people justly reacted against these vile slanders. They correctly defended the Soviet Union against these lies and inventions.
However, as a result of this, some people may now feel uncomfortable when speaking of the Soviet threat, a threat which today is real and growing. In order to do away with this feeling we must recognise the changed situation and come to grips with reality.
In the Soviet Union capitalism has been restored. This is an indisputable, well-documented fact. Production has been transformed from a socialist basis (geared to the needs of the people) to a capitalist basis (geared to making maximum profits). Because the new rulingclass in the USSR has managed to take over the organs of proletarian state power, through subversion, deceit and coercion, the new form of capitalism in the Soviet Union has a highly centralized, monopolistic character. It is capitalism none the less! In the USSR today, official enterprises producing various stages of a given product attempt to make profits from each other so as to better “fulfil their plan”. Instead of having state funds allocated for their production needs, enterprises have to pay an interest charge on their capital of about six per cent. The new relations between the enterprises and the state are relations between industrial capitalists (the enterprise directors) and finance capitalists (high Party and State bureaucrats) jointly exploiting the workers. Having the power to determine the wage-structure of their particular enterprise, the directors and managers expropriate to themselves huge salaries and bonuses.
Not only has capitalism been generated indigenously by the new ruling clique but the Russian people also have and are being subjected to the entry of foreign capital into their land. Fiat has considerable investment in motor manufacturing in the USSR. Pepsi-Cola has built a huge soft-drink factory there. Fifty U.S. industrial monopolies are going to take part in the construction of the KAMA Automobile Plant and in the setting up of branches of the chemical industry. Rockefeller, head of Chase Manhattan Bank, has said that U.S. capital investment in the Soviet economy wall possibly influence the balance of payments of the USA. The U.S. Occidental Oil is going to build a fertiliser producing complex in the Volga Basin.
This is but a small selection of the many ways in which the revisionist clique in the USSR has prostituted the once great Soviet Union to foreign monopolies. Under Lenin and Stalin, the Soviet Union was self-reliant. It did not seek enormous foreign loans or barter away its resources to foreign imperialism. For years it was subject to blockade, sabotage and so on by the imperialists. In spite of this the Soviet Union became a mighty socialist country. Now the picture is very different.
Capitalist relations in agriculture have also been restored. The extension of the private plot and encouragement of the market economy have contributed to this. Agricultural products from all the private plots of land in the USSR account for one-half to two-thirds of the total agricultural products of the whole country. With the declaration of 1965 that “all commodities on the free market could be sold at prices obtaining at the market”, collective and state farms arbitrarily reduced acreage under the less profitable crops and increased under the more profitable ones. State farm chairmen receive full pay no matter whether the crops are good or bad.
The economic problems which the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union has brought to the Soviet people are well-documented on a regular basis in Chinese publications and in “Vanguard”. We need not go into them here. The central point which must be stressed is that the USSR is part and parcel of the capitalist world. There exists in the USSR a capitalist class which exploits the labour of the working people.
Historically all periods of temporary restoration have been marked by violence and what is happening in the Soviet Union is no exception. The revisionist clique seized power violently and they continue to rule on the basis of growing open violence – fascism. There is little room for deception in the Soviet Union. The new bourgeoisie in the Soviet Union does not rule through deception, eg., parliament, “free” press, and so on, but rather rules directly through force.
Brezhnev reported to the Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU in March 1965 that: “The rate of profit should be made the basis for the objective assessment of the operation of the collective and state farm.” However, in order to implement such blatantly capitalist declarations, the new ruling clique had to suppress or destroy opposition to their treachery. Nearly 70% of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party, elected at the 19th. Party Congress in 1952, were removed at the 22nd. Congress in 1961. It has been admitted by the Central Committee of the Communist Party that one hundred thousand members were expelled from the Party between the years 1963 and l965.
Since 1965 many reactionary orders, ordinances and decrees have been passed to strengthen “law and order”, a familiar cry of the capitalist class when it is threatened by the revolutionary people. Under the regulation on preliminary commitment, issued in July 1969, those to be proceeded against can be detained and tried on an arbitrary charge of being “suspects”. The law on additions and modification of principles of penal laws for the USSR, issued in July 1969, emphasises the suppression “of extremely dangerous political offenders”, “massive riots”, etc. It is reported that there are over 1,000 labour camps with a total of more than 1,000,000 prisoners. Political dissidents are arbitrarily declared “lunatics”, “mentally disordered”, “schizophrenic”, and thrown into “lunatic asylums” under the control of the State Security Committee and the Ministry of the Interior. Thus the Soviet revisionists have transformed the organs of proletarian power, which were used under Lenin and Stalin to defend the working people against internal and external plots, into organs of fascist oppression of the people.
Thus we see that not only is the USSR a capitalist state, but also a fascist state. The new capitalist class rules through open violence.
This is the internal character of the state which is today described as “social-imperialist”. The growing mountain of evidence of the Soviet Union’s social-imperialist international character warrants no repetition here. What must be stressed, however, is that absolutely no illusions must exist about this capitalist, fascist, social-imperialist nation. It is capable of perpetrating the worst atrocities in the world against the people. Thus, although we must not over estimate the Soviet socialimperialists, it would be even more foolish to underestimate them.
In Australia the removal of the American presence is the subject of a vigorous and growing mass movement. However, Soviet influence in our region has not been in the public eye as much, and is not as yet fully understood nor sufficiently opposed. Already the Soviet Union has a “scientific base” in Tasmania. The imperialists, particularly the superpowers, are great people for building “scientific bases”. Their interest in the “science” of plunder and destruction is unlimited. However, the Soviet threat does not begin and end there. It is in the long-term interests of the Soviet Union to prepare the minds of the Australian people for possible future penetration and to ensure that the mass movement, firstly, does not include the Soviet Union as an additional enemy, and secondly, does not go too far along the direction of a national liberation struggle such that any parliamentary foothold they might seek in Australia is removed.
In its greedy designs for Australia, Soviet social-imperialism has to contend with the current owner of economic and political power here, U.S. imperialism. In the ensuing contention the Soviet Union, like the United States, requires agencies to promote for it support and sympathy among the Australian people. This is undertaken in an obvious way by organisations such as the “Socialist” Party of Australia and the USSR-Australia Friendship Society. Just recently, for example, an agreement was signed between the Union of Soviet Societies for Friendship and Cultural Relation with Foreign Countries, and the USSR-Australia Friendship Society, in Canberra.
The Soviets also have disguised agents in the left-wing movement. With the ailing prestige of the Soviet Union in the world, “beggars can’t be choosers”, and the social-imperialists are prepared to depend on anyone who will give support in any way to their “socialist” claims. Political organisations such as the Trotskyites, who still refer to the Soviet Union as a “managerial”, “degenerate”, “bureaucratic” and “deformed”, but nonetheless socialist state, perform the necessary service of reducing people’s just opposition to the real imperialism of the Soviet Union. When Trotskyite Guru Ernest Mandel visited Australia last year, he made a strong point of defending the New Tsars against attacks by anti-imperialist students.
The social-imperialists are also making overtures to the Australian government, on an official level. They are seeking any crack, no matter how small, in which to wedge themselves. Thus during Whitlam’s recent visit to Moscow, Soviet Premier Kosygin was invited to tour Australia. This will serve the purpose of giving Kosygin a chance to trumpet about “detente” and to accustom the Australian people to the presence and “friendly” nature of the Soviet social-imperialists.
The Soviet Union is a capitalist state, where an imperialist bourgeoisie rules through undisguised fascism. It poses a direct military threat to Australia. It contends with U.S. imperialism for control of the Indian Ocean, whose waters wash on Australia’s western coast. Its nuclear submarines are frequently seen in waters around Australia and it is well known that many spy flights have been made over Australia by Soviet military reconnaisance aircraft.
The struggle for the independence of Australia is directed at the U.S. imperialist overlords but it also must embrace, in conditions of growing superpower contention, the machinations of Soviet social-imperialism. Australia can be torn out of this contention through the united efforts of the people. In developing action against U.S. economic domination and its military bases the people must be alerted to the new, lurking danger of Soviet social-imperialism which is trying to move in wherever U.S. imperialism is kicked out.