Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

In Struggle!

On the theory of three worlds

Differences to solve on the basis of Marxism-Leninism

First Published: In Struggle! No. 96, Sept 1, 1977
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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An important struggle concerning the international situation is being waged at the present time within the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement. This struggle goes beyond the boundaries of our country. In recent months; in particular, it has involved the entire international Marxist-Leninist movement, and affects the future of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and oppressed peoples all across the world.

It’s a struggle between the bourgeois line and the proletarian Marxist-Leninist line concerning the analysis of the current international situation and, especially, the path that the proletariat and peoples must choose in order to get rid of capitalist exploitation, oppression, torture, wars and all that which characterizes the barbarity of the worldwide imperialist system in which we live. This struggle involves the question of the relationship between the struggle for peace and the struggle for socialism, and that of the attitude of the proletariat and oppressed people toward the bourgeoisie in their own country. It involves the question of who makes up the camp of imperialism and reaction and who makes up the camp of the revolution. However, all these questions are crystallized around a key issue, which is the recognition of the theory of three worlds as a strategic concept. In other words, is it the theory of three worlds that must guide the Marxist-Leninists and the proletariat in every country in order to succeed in eliminating imperialism from the face of the earth?

Thus this struggle is not simple bickering among Marxist-Leninists. It affects not only the future of the Canadian proletariat, but also that of the proletariat and oppressed peoples of all countries. It is thus the duty of all workers to consider the question and actively take part in the debate.

We are publishing this special supplement today in order to arm ideologically all our readers and, more generally, all the friends of the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement. We believe that it is an indispensable instrument for everyone in the preparation of the third public conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists, which will deal with the analysis of the world situation.

Become acquainted with all the points of view, and adopt a position in all independence, on the basis of Marxism-Leninism

The fact that there are divergences within the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement and that divergences also develop on the level of the international movement is simply a reflection of the class struggle.

These divergences are not limited to the relations between two or several parties; they also concern the general line of the international communist (Marxist-Leninist) movement. Faced with this situation, what attitude would we adopt? Should we camouflage the contradictions? Should we prevent the distribution of Enver Hoxha’s report to the 7th Congress of tho PLA, as did a Marxist-Leninist party in France? Should we imitate the Canadian Communist League (Marxist-Leninist), which contents itself with removing the documents of the international communist movement that don’t fit with its position of the theory of three worlds from the shelves of its bookstores, and for whom knowing whether you’re for or against the theory of the three worlds is enough to classify, you as a revisionist or a real Marxist-Leninist? Here again, with one simplistic attitude after another, the League is in the process of sabotaging the ideological struggle by misleading its members, sympathizers and readers as to what’s at stake in the current debate in the international communist movement. The CCL (ML) even goes so far as to affirm that IN STRUGGLE! “attacks the worldwide Marxist-Leninist movement” because it dares to criticize the chauvinist deviations that appear in our movement. [1]

In fact, this kind of attitude is profoundly opportunist, and contrary to the principles that must govern the struggle to resolve divergences between Marxist-Leninists. As the CPC said in 1963,

If it is not a party that can use its brains to think for itself and acquire an accurate knowledge of the trends of the different classes in its own country through serious investigation and study, and knows how to apply the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism and integrate it with the concrete practice of its own country, but instead is a party that parrots the words of others, copies foreign experience without analysis, runs hither and thither in response to the baton of certain persons abroad, and has become a hodgepodge of revisionism, dogmatism and everything but Marxist-Leninist principle. [2]

Moreover, these remarks of the CPC are sadly confirmed by the activities of the so-called “Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)” which up until very recently was still repeating mechanically the programmes of Peking Radio and which, unhappy with not being “recognized” by China, and for lack of a,proletarian line in Canada, is today trying to be “recognized” by Albania, and now parrots the programmes of Tirana Radio. And while the CPC (ML) is now courting the PLA, the League has replaced the CPC(ML) in courting the CPC.

We must reject all forms of tailing after, and in particular that of the CCL (ML) which is objectively following a scissionist path by ignoring a large part of the Marxist-Leninist movement, not only in Canada (something we have been criticizing for a long time)(4) but also on an international scale. The fact that the League maintains privileged relations with certain parties whose point of view it shares is one thing; but the fact that in doing so it hushes up the very existence of Marxist-Leninist parties and organizations that criticize the points of view that it defends denotes an attitude that is not at all consistent with Marxist-Leninist principles.

Actually, this way of operating is an extension of the scissionist line developed by the League with regard to the Canadian Marxist-Leninist movement in order to better disguise its own opportunist and social-chauvinist positions, criticized by us for nearly a year now. It’s a typically rightist attitude: boycotting public Marxist-Leninist conferences on the pretext that opportunists might take the floor; ignoring criticisms addressed to those who, like the League, advocate collaboration with their own imperialist bourgeoisie, on the pretext of not creating division – that’s the best way to consolidate right opportunism and water the poisonous weeds of revisionism, under the pretence of “being firm”.

Tailing after has nothing to do with Marxism-Leninism, for it inevitably leads to opportunism and revisionism. Our duty towards the Canadian proletariat and the whole of the international communist movement is to express our opinions in the present debate clearly, firmly and independently. We must examine rigorously all the arguments and points of view, and defend the Marxist-Leninist line in all circumstances. To do this, we should add, it is essential that the masses take part in the debate so as to give their opinion and judge the soundness of the Party’s positions. That is why we are publishing in this supplement the basic texts enabling everyone to make up their mind concerning the current struggle over the recognition of the theory of three worlds as a strategic concept, as a Marxist-Leninist theory. This is the only correct path for the resolution of our divergences and the triumph of the Marxist-Leninist line.

IN STRUGGLE! rejects the theory of three worlds as a strategic concept

Before the Third Conference, IN STRUGGLE! will publish a communique that will make known our position in the current debate within the Canadian and international Marxist-Leninist movement. We have always insisted that in determining the strategy of the revolution, both on a worldwide scale and in each country, it is fundamental to start with the four major contradictions of our era: “the contradiction between two opposed systems, socialist and capitalist, the contradiction between labour and capital in the capitalist countries, the contradiction between oppressed peoples and nations and imperialism, the contradiction between the imperialist powers”.

These four fundamental contradictions of our era describe the major forces that confront one another in the present movement. As Lenin demonstrated, our era is one of imperialism and proletarian revolution. Our era is characterized by the irreconcilable opposition between the camp of imperialism and world reaction on the one hand and on the other hand, that of the proletarian revolution and socialism which is made up of the authentically socialist countries, the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat in the capitalist and imperialist countries, and the national liberation struggles of the peoples and nations oppressed by imperialism. This is what characterizes our era, this is what constitutes the foundation of the strategy of the proletariat in its struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

As for the theory of three worlds, it ignores the class viewpoint and replaces it with an analysis of the balance of power between countries. To consider the division of the world into three types of countries as a strategic concept leads to the weakening of national liberation struggles by including the imperialist countries of the “second world” and the reactionary forces of the “Third World” that are the agents of imperialism in the countries among the friends of the people. To consider the theory of three worlds as a strategic concept leads also to the abandoning of the proletarian revolution in the imperialist countries where, according to certain people who call themselves Marxist-Leninists, the proletariat should ally with the bourgeoisie against the two superpowers, or even against a single one of the two, and thus strengthen the struggle of the countries of the “second world”, most of whom are controlled by imperialist bourgeoisies, for their national independence! Finally, to consider the theory of three worlds as a strategic concept is to weaken the dictatorship of the proletariat in the socialist countries, which the theory of three worlds puts on the same footing as other Third World countries like Chile or Iran.

We invite all the sympathizers and friends of the Marxist-Leninist movement to read the documents in this supplement attentively, to confront the arguments, to adopt a point of view on these crucial questions and to come and defend their positions at the Third Conference of Canadian Marxist-Leninists, to be held in Montreal next September 9, 10 and ll.

We particularly invite the CCL (ML) to come and defend its positions during the conference, for if the League is convinced of the soundness of its line it is its duty towards the masses and the revolution to defend it.

There are four documents in this supplement [MIA Note: not reprinted here]. One is Teng Hsiao-Ping’s speech at the United Nations which presents the thesis of the division of the world in three. The second is an editorial from the news-paper Zeri i Popullit, official organ of the Central Committee of the PLA. This text reaffirms the PLA’s position on the strategy of the proletarian revolution and severely criticized the “theory of the three worlds”. We also reproduce a text of the Communist Party of Germany (Marxist-Leninist) which means to refute the argument according to which the concept of the three worlds is an integral part of the thought of Mao Tse Tung. In the supplement you will also find an extract from the historical materials of the Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist) which sketches a picture of the main divergences between the party and certain other European parties.

Finally, we provide an annotated bibliography of various texts of the international Marxist-Leninist movement on the analysis of the world situation.



[1] See, for instance, our article reporting the internationalist conference in Rome (IS, no 83, p13); when the League says that IN STRUGGLE! “hardly ever speaks about organizations and parties in the world except to criticize them” (The Forge, Aug 4, 1977, p. 15), is it pretending to ignore the fact that the parties of Germany, Latin America, Italy, Spain, Greece and Albania, whose activities the article salutes, are in effect organizations belonging to the world-wide Marxist-Leninist movement even if The Forge has never mentioned (or even the existence) of the meeting of these parties.

[2] A Proposal Concerning the General Line of the International Communist Movement, Peking edition p. 55-56.