Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

E.F. Hill

Imperialism in Australia

The Menace of Soviet Social-Imperialism


The early chapters of this booklet dealt with the Soviet Union. It was pointed out that the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was a programme for the foundations of Soviet social-imperialism.

In the first chapter it was shown how 2 generations of advanced workers had defended and revered socialism in the Soviet Union.

How then was it possible for Khrushchov in 1956 publicly to outline the basis for a programme of imperialism?

In his Critique of the Gotha Programme, Marx spoke of the socialist revolution and the society that emerges from it. He said: “What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on the contrary, as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges.”

Lenin wrote to a similar effect:

The dictatorship of the proletariat is the most determined and most ruthless war waged by the new class against a more powerful enemy, against the bourgeoisie, whose resistance is increased tenfold by its overthrow (even though only in one country) and whose power lies, not only in the strength of international capital, in the strength and durability of the international connections of the bourgeoisie, but also in the force of habit, in the strength of small production. For, unfortunately, very, very much of small production still remains in the world, and small production engenders capitalism and the bourgeoisie continuously, daily, hourly, spontaneously, and on a mass scale. For all these reasons the dictatorship of the proletariat is necessary, and victory over the bourgeoisie is impossible without a long, stubborn and desperate war of life and death, a war which requires perseverance, discipline, firmness, indomitableness and unity of will. (“’Left-wing’ Communism, an infantile disorder”).

After the victory of liberation in China, Mao Tsetung said:

The class struggle is by no means over. The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the class struggle between the different political forces, and the class struggle in the ideological field between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie will continue to be long and tortuous and at times will even become very acute.

Speaking before nationwide liberation but on the eve of it, (March 5, 1949) Mao Tsetung said:

With victory, the people will be grateful to us and the bourgeoisie will come forward to flatter us. It has been proved that the enemy cannot conquer us by force of arms. However, the flattery of the bourgeoisie may conquer the weak-willed in our ranks. There may be some Communists, who were not conquered by enemies with guns and were worthy of the name of heroes for standing up to these enemies, but who cannot withstand sugar coated bullets; they will be defeated by sugar coated bullets. We must guard against such a situation. To win country wide victory is only the first step in a long march of ten thousand li. Even if this step is worthy of pride, it is comparatively tiny; what will be more worthy of pride is yet to come.

Khrushchov, his colleagues and his heirs and successors were and are simply the political representatives of the resurgent capitalist class which was always present during socialism in the Soviet Union but managed to worm its way to state power after Stalin’s death in 1953. That which the interventionary powers after the October 1917 Revolution failed to do, that which the hostile capitalist encirclement failed to do, that which the Nazis failed to do in World War II, namely, restore capitalism in the Soviet Union, was done by the class of highly paid top technocrats of the Soviet Union. Khrushchov and Co. were and are the political representatives of this class.

Revisionism uses the words of Communism but it omits, obliterates and distorts the revolutionary side of Communism, its revolutionary soul”. (Lenin). That was precisely what Khrushchov did in 1956 in his 20th Congress report. By use of the words of Communism he outlined a programme of imperialism. Now we call it social-imperialism – socialism in words, imperialism in deeds.

As has been pointed out, as early as this very report in 1956 (that is almost 20 years ago) Khrushchov was talking about “detente” between the Soviet Union and U.S. imperialism. He could not have been talking about detente in any sense other than the sense of easing the tension between two imperialist powers. This can be said because already in the 20th Congress report he had outlined a programme for Soviet social-imperialism and for capitalism in the Soviet Union. Moreover, detente is a very different thing from the Marxist-Leninist foreign policy of peaceful co-existence towards countries with differing social systems. Lenin had laid the theoretical foundations for that aspect of the foreign policy of the socialist Soviet Union (it is by no means the only aspect). Lenin said:

“socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois for some time.” . . . and again

“Only the working class, when it wins power, can pursue a policy of peace not in words . . . but in deeds.” These views of Lenin can be said to constitute the theoretical basis of the policy of peaceful co-existence.

Lenin repeatedly dealt with the ultimately irreconcilable positions of socialism and imperialism:

. . . the lesson all workers and peasants must master is that we must be on our guard and remember that we are surrounded by men, classes and governments openly expressing their extreme hatred for us. We must remember that we are always at a hair’s breadth from all kinds of invasions.

He brilliantly forecast something of the actual position today when he said:

. . . the imperialist powers, with all their hatred of Soviet Russia and desire to throw themselves upon her, have had to reject this thought, because the decay of the capitalist world is increasingly advancing, its unity is becoming less and less, and the pressure of the forces of the oppressed colonial peoples, with a population of over 1,000 million, is becoming stronger with each year, each month and even each week.

Khrushchov and his successors threw all this overboard. Khrushchov spoke only of the U.S.A. in terms of “detente” and he spoke of the power of the Soviet Union and the U.S.A. being sufficient to solve all problems. His ideas were aimed at paralysing all workingclass struggle and all struggle for national liberation so that the Soviet social-imperialists could have “detente” with the U.S. imperialists. Detente really meant, as it means today, the redivision of the world by the U.S. imperialists and Soviet social-imperialists, and particularly grabbing of the lion’s share by the new Soviet imperialists. That re-division would be according to the respective strengths of these 2 powers.

It is necessary to repeat that the Soviet social-imperialists advanced “theoretical” propositions for the abolition of all struggle of the workers for social revolution and for the abolition of all struggle for national liberation and independence of dependent countries. It is well worth restudying the documents of the Soviet “Communist” Party to see the truth of this.

“Detente” was the fig-leaf to cover the contention and struggle of the Soviet social-imperialists with the U.S. imperialists.

The simple fact is that like all imperialisms, Soviet social-imperialism seeks to dominate the world, seeks to seize raw materials, markets, spheres of influence. It is a global matter. Because it is a global matter and because Australia is rich in raw materials, a valuable sphere of influence and an important strategic area, it is of necessity embraced in imperialist contention. The central imperialist contention in today’s world is that between U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism.

This booklet commented upon the rise and decline of British imperialism in Australia and commented upon the rapidity with which U.S. imperialism moved into Australia with the decline of British imperialism and it commented on the more junior Japanese imperialism in Australia. Now U.S. imperialism has entered the period of its decline. Soviet social-imperialism, in the long period of the uneven development of capitalism, is the newest imperialism. It is expanding in every way it can, just as all other imperialisms do and have done.

As has been seen, Lenin pointed out that imperialism is a system when the whole world is dominated by imperialism but that domination certainly does not preclude but on the contrary, pre-supposes the repartition of the world as the strengths of the contending imperialisms change.

Australia has been dominated by and has been a victim of British imperialism in its ascendant phase, then of U.S. imperialism in its challenge to British imperialism. This is not to overlook the skirmishing over Australia by the lesser imperialisms, German, French and particularly Japanese imperialism. But the decisive contention that in the past affected Australia was the global contention between British and U.S. imperialism.

It is important too to remember that each imperialism in Australia had comparatively small beginnings. This is even so of Britain. The British penal colony was small, the added semi-peasant economy was weak and it was nearly a century after seizure of Australia from the black people that British imperialism entered on large scale export of capital to Australia. Likewise U.S. imperialism had small beginnings in Australia. It only advanced by leaps and bounds in the export of capital to Australia when British imperialism was decisively weakened by World War I and even more by World War II.

Thus Soviet social-imperialism, being comparatively new to the world of imperialist powers, must have comparatively small beginnings and develop from those beginnings. Soviet social-imperialism’s beginnings, even though in Australia they are as yet comparatively small, are a deadly menace to Australia. It is possible to discern not only those beginnings but their development in Australia. Later, that aspect of the matter must be given close attention.

Lest there be any doubt about the global interests (and of necessity and by definition that embraces Australia) of Soviet social-imperialism a glance at a few events will be of interest.

When Soviet social-imperialism emerged in the mid-fifties it had in a certain way a ready made sphere of imperialist interest in the countries of Eastern Europe. With the defeat of the Nazis and the Nazi collaborators in Eastern European countries, the working people of those countries had established their own power and begun to build socialism. Soviet social-imperialism set out to convert these countries into colonies or semi-colonies for itself, and certainly into spheres of Soviet social-imperialist interest. But the process was difficult. Despite the use of “Communist” deception, appeals to Communist loyalty, the peoples of these countries resisted Soviet social-imperialism. Albania broke right away and persisted magnificently in building socialism. Rumania proved far from compliant. Yugoslavia persisted in following a course independent of Soviet social-imperialism. And in almost all these countries there was revolt or unrest amongst the people against the Soviet lackeys who had in almost all cases been installed by the Soviet social-imperialists. The most graphic demonstration of the process was the Soviet military invasion and armed occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968. This occurred when Czechoslovakia showed signs of moving from the Soviet social-imperialist sphere of influence. Soviet military invasion and armed occupation of Czechoslovakia was imperialism pure and simple. No question of saving Czechoslovakia for socialism could possibly arise or have arisen for two very good reasons among many other reasons. First the Soviet Union was not a socialist country. Second Czechoslovakia was not a socialist country. The whole question was a question of a huge imperialism, Soviet social-imperialism and its imperialist dependency, Czechoslovakia. A little thought shows this to be correct. Ordinarily it would be so obvious that no explanation would be called for. But the apologists for Soviet social-imperialism have a great facility for rationalising away Soviet social-imperialism’s foul deeds. In Czechoslovakia in 1968 before the Russian invasion there was no threat to over-turn the already existing social system there. There was in fact no socialism. But what was happening was that one set of capitalist rulers was being replaced by another, and that other was more directed to the Western powers. Assume, contrary to fact, that it was a socialist government in Czechoslovakia in 1968 before the Russian invasion, then there was no proposal to change it. All that was involved was a change of leaders. There was no change of social system involved whatever way the matter is looked at. Hence the Soviet invasion was a clear cut imperialist invasion, imperialist occupation and installation of Soviet social-imperialist puppets as the government of Czechoslovakia.

There is another extremely important feature of the Czechoslovakian experience. It was that the Soviet social-imperialists invaded Czechoslovakia at the “invitation” of “sound” elements in Czechoslovakia. This is a warning indeed because pro-Soviet social-imperialist elements in any country can invite the Soviet social-imperialists to come into that country. Put in another way, it means that a pro-Soviet political party (and the Soviet social-imperialists are – expert at creating them) is always a menace, in that in circumstances seemingly appropriate that “party” can invite the Soviet social-imperialists to enter a country. This type of thing is precisely the weapon of all imperialisms. British imperialism used it. U.S. imperialism created puppet regimes in Vietnam and Korea and then answered “requests” for U.S. assistance.

The rationalisers of Soviet policy can never reconcile their position with the absolute principle of Marxism-Leninism that revolution can neither be exported nor imported. As we have said, no question of socialism ever arose in this case, but assuming against the fact that it had, then the Marxist-Leninist principle was clearly broken. No foreign troops had invaded Czechoslovakia; there was no external interference. Once again it must be affirmed that Soviet social-imperialism was in the time-dishonored position of imperialist aggressor.

But Czechoslovakia, and no one can deny the invasion, is very important for still another reason. The focus of the main imperialist competition has always been largely in Europe. British, French, German and Russian imperialism have all originated in Europe. The central conflict in World Wars I and II was in Europe. U.S. imperialism is exceedingly deeply involved in Europe. Australia herself, because of her British and U.S. ties, was involved in both World Wars in Europe. Europe is the present critical centre (not by any means the only place, for the whole world is involved) of U.S. imperialist and Soviet social-imperialist contention and struggle. The invasion of Czechoslovakia really underlined that.

It may be illustrated another way. The NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) in the 10 years 1963-73 spent US $991,000 million on arms: the Warsaw Pact countries (the Soviet social-imperialists and their “allies”) spent US $779,300 million. This is an imperialist confrontation. As we have seen, no question of socialism arises. The figures are from an American source, so, as the lawyers say, it is an admission against interest and can be taken to be roughly correct.

And while on such questions, in that same period the Soviet social-imperialists SOLD $15,600 millions worth of weapons to other countries. (The U.S. figure for itself is $29,700 million). Here then is an allegedly SOCIALIST country SELLING this enormous amount of arms in ordinary commercial dealing. Truly the Soviet social-imperialists are merchants of death in time-dishonored imperialist tradition.

Perhaps one ought to develop this. If the Soviet Union GAVE arms to a socialist power which was in trouble, that would be perfectly understandable. But all facts show that this is not what happens at all nor could it happen, because the Soviet Union is not a socialist country. It is a true imperialist merchant of death and sells arms on a strictly commercial basis. There has been enough public disclosure for example by Egypt, to show the truth of this. Egyptian President Sadat said in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde:

Last year we had to pay $80 million Egyptian (about $US180 million) in partial payment of debts for purchases of arms and equipment goods.

This year we asked for a 10 year moratorium on our debts similar to that granted to Syria. With investment in infra-structure we cannot honor our payments.

But the Russians turned a deaf ear. (January 22, 1975).

There are many other pieces of evidence of the global interests of Soviet social-imperialism – global interests entirely inconsistent with any question at all of socialism. Of course a truly socialist country does have trade interests with other countries. Those trade interests rest on relations of equality and reciprocity. This has nothing at all in common with imperialist trade relations, with imperialist investment in other countries nor with the manipulation of other countries for exploitation and trade advantage. Soviet social-imperialism’s global interests are imperialist global interests determined by the competition for raw materials, the competition for spheres of influence and so on.

The Soviet social-imperialists violently opposed and oppose the demand of a great majority of nations for a 200 nautical mile maritime rights limit (a demand supported in a qualified way by the Australian government). Why do the Soviet social-imperialists oppose this demand? How can it occur that a country which claims to be socialist opposes this demand of independent countries? It occurs because Soviet social-imperialism wants access to the offshore wealth such as gas, oil, etc. of these countries. She wants to steal the fish of these waters. Already off the Western Australian coast Soviet fishing ships have menaced the fishing resources of Australia. A 200 nautical mile maritime rights around the coast of all countries is a very serious blow to the global strivings of imperialist powers. Hence the two chief opponents of such a limit are Soviet social-imperialism and U.S. imperialism. These 2 superpowers need the old 3 mile and 12 mile limits so that they can pursue their mutual struggle for redivision of the world. The 200 mile limit puts a difficulty in the way of the imperialist powers.

Then the Soviet social-imperialists and the U.S. imperialists have fought desperately to insist upon free passage for their ships through the various straits of the world. They want to deny to the independent countries on either side of such straits (for example, the Malaccan Straits) any right to say what ships may pass through the straits. Again this is pure and simple imperialism. No one will forget the old adage “Britain rules the waves”. Imperialism rides roughshod over the rights of independent countries. Soviet social-imperialism follows faithfully the old imperialist course.

The Soviet social-imperialists maintain an immense navy which roams all the seas of the world. Its ships prowl the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. Its admirals brag of the power of the Soviet Union and its navy and of the Soviet Union as a great maritime power etc. etc.

The Soviet social-imperialist Vice-Minister of Defence and Commander-in-chief of the Soviet Navy S.G. Gorshkov wrote a book entitled “The Navy in Times of War and Peace.” In this book Gorshkov speaks of the Soviet navy fulfilling numerous complicated and arduous tasks in a nuclear world war, of the need for the Soviet Union constantly strengthening its sea power, of moving into the oceans of the world, of these oceans having become direct targets of contention among the big powers whose struggle for dividing the oceans gets fiercer every day. Gorshkov said that the sphere of naval operations is the seas which make up seven-tenths of the surface of our planet, in the seas are 10 million tons of gold and 4,000 million tons of uranium, the seas have great military significance, the seabed knows no boundary; whosoever occupies it, owns it, the Soviet navy must protect the interests of the country beyond its frontiers, the Soviet navy has actually become a diplomatic means of intimidation and containment, the Soviet Union has the right to occupy the places “discovered” by the old Tsars.

All this again is sheer naked imperialism, Soviet social-imperialism. No socialist country could have its warships roaming all over the world. A socialist country has armed forces strictly for defence. The Soviet naval forces follow U.S. naval forces around the world and U.S. naval forces follow Soviet naval forces around the world. This is imperialist rivalry and contention.

At times of crisis, as in the Middle East or Cyprus, there is simultaneously a concentration, near the affected area, of Soviet social-imperialist armed forces and U.S. imperialist armed forces.

Soviet social-imperialist contention and struggle with U.S. imperialism can be seen with striking clarity in the Middle East. Here what is at stake is oil particularly and other natural resources and important strategic positions. The Soviet social-imperialists manoeuvre and struggle to improve their position in the Middle East; their machinations in Egypt, Syria, the Sudan and so on, are well known. They maintain covert but close relations with the Israeli ruling circles. Where Kissinger goes Gromyko follows. All this is desperate struggle between Soviet social-imperialism and U.S. imperialism.

In Latin America, the Soviet social-imperialists stick their nose into the very backyard of U.S. imperialism. It is nothing whatever to do with socialism or promoting socialism in Latin America. Even Cuba has been drawn into C.M.E.A. (the Soviet counter-part of the EEC), turned into a semi-colony for Soviet social-imperialism with a one crop (sugar) economy to form part of the Soviet social-imperialist empire. It is a base for penetration by Soviet social-imperialism into Latin America, an area of vast U.S. imperialist investment. The Soviet social-imperialists sought to use Chile (and a special chapter will be devoted to the lessons for Australia of Chile). They cultivate special “sphere of influence” relations with Peru, Argentine and Brazil. Again, all this is part of the global contention and struggle between Soviet social-imperialism and U.S. imperialism. Thus, far from Russia, the Soviet social-imperialists are casting their net. They are challenging U.S. imperialism.

And the process extends to Africa and Asia.

Now again a few more words about detente. Almost 20 years ago Khrushchov used this word to describe U.S.-Soviet relations. It has been used almost every day by the Soviet social-imperialists since.

“Detente” is an essential feature of Khrushchov’s plans for the foundations of imperialism, foundations loyally and energetically built upon by Khrushchov’s successors. “Peaceful transition” to socialism, peaceful coexistence, reconciliation of the Communists with social democracy, all disarm the people so that capitalism and capitalist exploitation are preserved. The imperialist contention in the world goes on. Detente serves a purpose essentially similar. It is to disarm the people. It is the Soviet social-imperialists saying: “this is all a matter between the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union and there is detente between us; everything is all right; you need not struggle against either of us; we are in the position to handle the U.S. imperialists and we are socialists so why worry”. This is the most desperate and despicable deception. When it is thought about, the eternal 20 year repetition and harping on “detente” COULD ONLY ARISE if there was some tremendous struggle going on for just that time. Detente only arises and can only arise from contention. It follows logically then that just as long as this word has been used, there has been the most desperate struggle. That struggle is the struggle between U.S. imperialism and Soviet social-imperialism, a global struggle. If there were no struggle how could “detente” continuously arise?

Actually when the struggle deepens, the Soviet social-imperialists sing out louder than ever about detente. But if in 1956 there was real detente, why still shout even more emphatically and loudly about it in 1975? It is because contention and struggle have deepened and become more intense.

Today’s events and those to which reference has been made, prove that detente is just a fraud, a weapon of deception, a weapon of Soviet social-imperialist expansion.

The Soviet social-imperialists draw upon their four major summit conferences to try to give body and soul, flesh and blood to their hoax of detente. Let us glance at that. Well, after the second U.S.-Soviet talks the Middle East war broke out, after more Soviet agreements the Cyprus events occurred and at the time of Ford’s talks with Brezhnev the Soviet social-imperialists and the U.S. imperialists each announced the testing of new sophisticated weapons directed at each other.

Detente simply arises from and conceals the desperate contention and struggle between the older and declining U.S. imperialism and the newer and advancing Soviet imperialism. The centre of that contention and struggle is Europe; the Mediterranean and the Middle East are in a certain way appendages of Europe, but the contention and struggle extends all over the world. It extends into every possible sphere, some only of which have been mentioned here. The testing of nuclear and other weapons, troop deployments and many other things reflect it, but the point is probably sufficiently illustrated by what has been said.

Now let us turn for a moment to Australia.